Chan in Bellwood (Rewrite) - Inkaliber (2024)

Chapter 1: Welcome to Bellwood: Part 1

Chapter Text

Hello everybody! I want to personally welcome you to the rewrite for Chan in Bellwood. I personally feel that it was the best course of action to go ahead and reboot the series after I came across a few glaring problems. I know you want to dive right in to the story, but I have one thing to get out of the way. Readers over on , let me explain a few things that delayed the posting of this reboot.

While working on rewriting the chapters the regular way, I came across the aforementioned problems. The first of these is the fact that Bellwood only showed up four times in the story, with references and mentions few and far between. For a story literally titled "Chan in Bellwood" that is a very big error on my part. I tried to see if there was a simple fix to this mess, but then another issue reared its ugly head.

There was no way I could easily justify Jade going between San Francisco and Bellwood in a reasonable manner. Even if I throw in the idea that she swaps back and forth from time to time, there's still a lot that she'll miss out on from being away most of the time. Many of the adventures they'd have either wouldn't be relevant or end with a bad scenario. The best fix that I could find for this problem was to have the group from San Francisco already living in Bellwood, hence the new summary. After that, however, I came across an entirely new beast.

A giant plot hole was made when reworking the story in these ways. There would probably be major changes to how the original events play out with the Chan Clan, minus Jade of course, already living in Bellwood. That would mean the events of the first season would be experienced somewhat by Ben and Gwen, the cousins already living in the city. That's not to mention how the Plumbers would probably become involved when a stinking dragon suddenly bursts out of a tall building and flies off in another direction. With all these things in mind, there was only one solution.

Instead of starting during the Demon Sorcerer arc, we will be going back to the very first season of Jackie Chan Adventures. This will make changes to the chapters already written up to a certain point, especially with the new living situation of the group. As to what these changes might be, you'll just have to wait and see. I honestly feel better doing it this way, seeing as things were getting pretty hard to write as they were. Anywho, let's get on with the first chapter of Chan in Bellwood's reboot.

I don't own Ben 10, Jackie Chan Adventures or any other series to appear in the story and the universe. I do own OC characters, objects, ideas and concepts unless stated otherwise.

Voices

“Talking.”

‘Thinking.’

“YELLING!”

“Author/Guest/High or demonic entity talking. Also, surprise at the end of a section.”

“AUTHOR/GUEST/HIGH OR DEMONIC ENTITY YELLING!”

“Whispering.”

“Author/Guest/High or demonic entity whispering.”

[Language Indicator]

“Machine or alt communication talking/Talking in flashback.”

“MACHINE OR ALT COMMUNICATION YELLING/YELLING IN FLASHBACK!”

“Machine or alt communication whispering/Whispering in flashback.”

Bellwood, Pennsylvania

The streets were empty as the night wore on. Very few individuals could be found at this point in the day, especially in this part of town. Birds flew through the sky as they watched over the area below. The silence was stifling, not befitting the peaceful setting of the city. A lone car pulled into the area, breaking the atmosphere.

The vehicle came to an abrupt stop as it came across an atm machine. Four men departed from the vessel, each wearing a ski mask of a different color. The largest of them patted a crowbar against his palm as the group approached the machine. The apparent leader, the one wearing blue, quickly gestured to the purple wearing one. The skinny man seemed to understand as he walked over to the console.

He typed on the screen a few times, reaching the withdrawal section. He typed into it a few times, attempting a dummy code of some sort. Imagine his surprise when his code actually failed, returning a denial message. He tried typing it in again, only for the same result to ensue. He was about to try again when his orange wearing colleague groaned in frustration.

"I thought you said you had this covered, Don!" cried the man. "We are messed over if we can't get Valmont his money!" The red wearing member of the group smacked his partner in the back of the head.

"Cut it out Mick!" roared the burly crook. "'E's just havin' a little trouble 's all. If Don can't hack this his way, I'll just hack it my way." Don looked back at the duo with a sigh.

"Could you two zip it?" questioned the brains of the operation. "Lee said there's cops around this area, and I don't like the idea of going to prison more than you guys. Also, Red, please pick up a dictionary once we pay off our debt." Red prepared to give the brainiac what for when the leader of the group, presumably Lee, smacked him on the arm.

"Knock it off idiots!" cried the head thug. "You wanna blow our cover!" He then turned to Don, the man typing in yet another combination. "Get it done Don, or we're leaving you for the po-po to pick up!" The purple wearing man cried out in anger as he took his hands off the device.

"You messed me up! Now we're locked out of the system!" Mick sounded off his annoyance as he held the sides of his head. "How was I supposed to know this was an advanced ATM!?" Red chuckled as he pushed Don out of the way.

"Now we do things my way!" cheered the brute. He slammed the end of his tool into the door of the machine, denting it in just the right way. He jerked on the crowbar, beginning to pry the hatch off. The screen of the ATM began to glow as a symbol appeared on it. Red looked up at the new light, his brows narrowing in confusion as it grew in strength.

It soon became so bright that it blinded him to look at it. "WHAT THE…" He was suddenly launched back by a green laser, crashing into the door of the car. The other crooks shuffled back as the ATM began to make weird noises. Legs suddenly sprout out of the now black, white, and green device.

"Next time you forget your password, just call the bank!" taunted the machine. A green circle appeared on the screen, causing the orange masked man to scream. The device crawled out of the wall, leaving a hole in its wake. Red grunted as he tried to remove himself from the vehicle, but his body ached too much to respond. The others began to pull out makeshift weapons as they prepared to defend themselves.

The machine's hatch opened, revealing a makeshift gatling gun. "Eat this, Ninja Turtle Rip-offs!" The villains scattered as the ATM began to fire upon them. The group broke rank as they tried to avoid the oncoming projectiles.

"First broken codes, then a friggin laser, and now it's shooting…" began Mick. He looked to the dropped ammo, taking notes of the familiar shine. His eyes widened as he recognized the objects in questions. "Change! This thing is literally shooting money at us!"

"Shut up Mic!" cried Don. "Forget the money! Grab dome TNT out of the trunk and let's blow this bugger to smithereens!" Lee looked like he had an objection to the plan, only to be launched by a kick to the side. The leader hit his head on the wall, landing on the ground unconscious.

The machine then moved to stop Mic, only to be hit with a bullet from a gun. The machine turned to Don, the thug readying another bullet as the machine's laser powered up. He shot the screen, ending the attack before it could begin. The ATM rushed the genius, seemingly unstoppable on its warpath. Don had no time to move as the assailant knocked him into a nearby lamp post.

"EAT THIS SUCKA!" The ATM had little to no time to respond as a stick of dynamite landed before it. Mick watched as the explosive detonated, covering the area in debris. He laughed to himself as the legs of the device remained in place, no other traces anywhere in sight. He grabbed at his side as he dug a bent coin out of his suit.

Unbeknownst to him, a sludge carrying the same color pallet as the ATM began to form behind him. "Good thing I snagged this Kevlar vest before the heist. And they called me an idiot." He flipped the coin in his hand, only to freeze as an emerald light went off behind him. A new light casted his shadow, seeming very specific with its placement.

"I'll give you props for catching me off guard," stated a new voice. Mick slowly turned around, fearing whatever he was about to see. Imagine his shock when a set of orange lights met his eyes. He stepped back as he took in the being of fire and brimstone before him. The only part of the figure not on fire was the strange green and black hourglass symbol on his chest.

The monster clenched its fists as it gave the man a smirk. "It's been a while since I had to switch forms. Enjoy this moment." The robber didn't stand a chance as he received a jab to the gut. A large burnt spot could be seen on his vest as he fell over, joining the others in slumber.

The being took on a heroic pose as he stood above his defeated enemies. Realization suddenly hit him as burning money began to float down from the sky. "Oh crap." The sound of police sirens began to enter the air as lights in the nearby buildings flickered on. "That's my cue to leave."

He hit the symbol on his chest, enveloping the area in an emerald light. A blue blur sped off from the area just as the authorities arrived. The mass continued to move at high speeds as it raced towards a suburban area. It soon stopped as it came to the side of a small house. A jingle rang through the air right before another emerald flash filled the scene.

A window slid upwards from the outside, the silence within remaining intact. A small figure quickly snuck his way into the building, shutting the makeshift entrance behind him. He turned a lock on the frame, ensuring that entry the same way would be difficult. He tiptoed through the building, hoping to not be discovered. He smirked to himself as he made his way up the stairs.

He slowly opened a door, revealing an unlit bedroom. A few game memorabilia and other such items could be found all across the many surfaces of the room. He slowly shut the door behind him as he turned around. He ever so slowly shut the door, snickering to himself. Imagine his surprise when the room lit up right as he closed the entrance.

He slowly returned his attention to the room, revealing the style of his brown hair and the green of his eyes. He wore a black striped, white t-shirt, military green cargo pants with side pockets, and black and white sneakers with black stripes. Upon his wrist rested what appeared to be a large wristwatch. The device was primarily black and gray in color, with a gray dial in the middle that had a green hourglass shape on it. The boy let out a nervous chuckle as he looked at two very familiar people, both taking different stances.

The first one was a man with brown hair and brown eyes. He wore a green polo shirt, a brown belt with a gold buckle, khaki pants, and brown shoes. He stood with his arms crossed as he had his back against the wall. The next person, giving the boy a motherly glare, was a woman with green eyes and blonde hair. She wore a purple sweater over a lavender shirt, white pants, and purple Mary Janes as she held her hands on her hips.

"Benjamin Kirby Tennyson!" cried the woman. "Were you out late doing criminal runs again!?" The boy, now identified as Benjamin, cringed as he tried to gather his thoughts.

"In my defense, they were stupid enough to say their plan out in the open," began the young man. His parents gave him no leeway as they continued to level their glares at him. The boy groaned as he shook his head. "I couldn't just sit by and do nothing. The ATM would have been empty if I didn't do something!"

He then gestured to the watch on his arm, a determined look on his face. "What's the point of having this if I don't use it to help people?" His father sighed as he shook his head.

"We understand Ben, but we would like for you to tell us when you're going to do this kind of thing," reassured the man. "It's one thing when the world's in danger, but even then we'd at least like for you to give us some idea of what you're doing. Do you have any idea how worried we are every time you go out without telling us? How many times that we thought something was wrong when you weren't back ‘til midnight?" Ben looked away in thought as his frown softened.

He… hadn't really thought about that part. With threats like sorcerers, aliens, and warlords running amok, it wouldn't be surprising if they feared he would meet his match. While he may have been Ben Tennyson, secret hero of the world, to them he was their Ben. The hero rubbed his arm as he looked back towards his parents.

"I'm sorry guys. I… I'll try to talk more." This brought a soft smile to his mother's face, as well as a falter in the expression on his father.

"That's all we ask," reassured the woman. She knelt down and placed a hand on her son's shoulder. "That being said, you're not getting out of this one so easily. It may not be a school night, but by the sound of that explosion you didn't exactly leave things nice and tidy in that part of town either." Ben said nothing as his father stood up straight.

"Tomorrow you'll be working on cleaning the Rustbucket for Grandpa Max," exclaimed the Tennyson patriarch. This earned a shocked look from his son. "Afterwards, you'll help him out with anything else he needs. If you get done fast enough, you two might be able to have a little fun before he drops you off back here." At this bit of news, Ben's frown did a one-eighty.

"I think I can live with that. The old girl will be good as new by the time I'm done with her." His mother chuckled a bit as she stood up. She ruffled his hair as she passed him by. His father soon joined her as he opened the bedroom door.

"Get some sleep. You'll be heading out early tomorrow to get started. Try not to get into too much trouble while you're out." Ben waved off the man with a smirk.

"With the Omnitrix in play, I think trouble's gonna have a hard time getting away with anything." His father said nothing as he rolled his eyes, shutting the door behind him. Ben quickly changed into a gray long-sleeve and green sweatpants before hopping into his bed. He held his arms behind his head as he rested on his pillow, awaiting the day to come. With everything set up to be amazing, how could anything crazy happen?

The Following Day

The city of Bellwood glistened under the morning sun, a much nicer setting than the previous night. Cars, motorcycles, and other vehicles rode through the streets as their drivers hustled to reach their destinations. Men and women ran through the streets as they tried to reach their place of work, hoping to be on time for once. Kids could be seen playing on the nearby playground, awaiting the next session of school. One child, however, had very different reasons to be in this city.

Within the backseat of the car sat a young girl as she lazily watched the traffic go by. She had raven black hair and brownish-amber eyes. She wore pink lipstick, a white long-sleeved shirt, an orange short sleeve hoodie, blue high-water jeans and red sneakers. The child sighed as she looked to the front of the vehicle, looking the driver in the eye. She was Jade Chan, daughter of two workaholic parents.

She had what one might call a reputation back home. She didn't really get along with the other kids, and the teachers never really understood her different learning habits. This led to fights with the other students and trouble with the school. Could they really blame her when her parents weren't around as much to take care of her? It was clear that something had to give, so said parents did what was best in their minds.

They shipped her off to America in hopes that the school system there would help her adjust. Not only that, but she was supposed to live with some family members she didn't even know. Jade looked away as her escort glanced back at her. Her parents thought it was a great idea, though she had a rather opposing opinion. The car rolled to a stop as they came across a shopping street.

"This is the address where they said their uncle lives, along with your uncle." stated the driver. "I'd be pretty excited if I were you, Jade. I hear your uncle, Chan Kong-sang, is an archeologist and a former actor." The young Chan rolled her eyes as she unbuckled her seatbelt. She just wished they'd stop telling her all these things to make her like this place.

She would rather be back home in Hong Kong, though if she was to be here she’d want to explore instead of being chauffeured around. She didn't need some dude who digs up junk parenting her. For all the frustration she had, however, Jade couldn't help but smile at the thought of getting some actual parental experience. She looked up at the building before them, taking note of its Chinese design. The sign on the door read "Uncle's Rare Finds," no doubt an antique shop.

The escort pulled out her bags before leading her inside. The bell rang as they entered the store, the poor man having to carefully maneuver her large bag to ensure it didn't break anything. There was a cry at the back of the store, an old man standing up from behind the desk. The clerk wore a white polo under a yellow polyester vest, blue jeans, and brown dress shoes. Jade had to suppress a chuckle as she took note of the man's hair.

She couldn't tell if his gray hair spiked naturally or if he was just that stressed today. She watched as the elderly man approached her escort. The younger man placed her remaining bags down as he turned to the clerk. "Hello Mr. Chan! Sorry to…" His apology was cut off by a slap to the head, only two fingers used in the attack.

"YOU BREAK IT YOU BUY IT!" cried the elderly man. The young Chan had to hold her ears at the sound of his voice. It was very clear indoor voice was not his setting when angry. Her escort rubbed his head as he looked at the clerk.

"Of course Mr. Chan. I apologize for my recklessness. My name is Wu. This is Chan Yu, but she’s chosen to go by Jade so as to not confuse other kids in school. We are here to…" The old man didn't let up, however, as he pointed to the man before him.

"One more thing! Uncle's shop is not a hotel! Unless you come to buy antiques, take bags and leave!" Jade looked between the two men, a little worried about the situation. Her escort took a deep breath as he looked at the man, who apparently went by Uncle. "One more…"

"Mr. Chan, I am here to drop off your grandniece! This was the address Shin gave me!" Uncle's eyes widened as he looked towards Jade, though the girl did not like the sudden attention. The elder Chan let his face soften as he stood before his niece.

“[Mandarin] Hello Chan Yu. I apologize for my outburst. My nephew forgot to make coffee this morning. Can you speak English?” Jade slowly nodded in response, letting her nerves settle for a bit.

"I... it's fine, Uncle Jing," replied the young Chan. She had elected to use English instead of her native tongue, showing proof of her capabilities. “I am capable of speaking English. Just speak whichever language makes it easier for you.” The old man smiled as he held up his hand.

"Please, everyone just calls me Uncle." Jade once again nodded in response. Uncle looked to the escort, a small frown on his face. "I will have my nephew take care of her bags as soon as I am finished studying his latest find." The old man returned to his work as her guide knelt down to meet her in the eye.

"Remember to behave yourself while you are here Jade," instructed Wu. "Your parent's gave you this opportunity to have experiences they couldn't give you at the moment. Please at least give this place a try." The girl gave him no answer as she crossed her arms under her chest and looked away, but this was what the man was expecting. He ruffled her hair before standing up once more.

He gave her a polite bow, which she returned in kind. "It was nice to meet you Jade, and I hope you enjoy your stay in America." The escort walked away from the girl as he exited the shop, the bell ringing once again to signify his departure. Jade looked to the desk where Uncle was examining the artifact, unsure how to proceed in this situation. The phone rang, interrupting the atmosphere around them.

"Hello?" The man's face scrunched up in annoyance, making the young Chan slightly worried. "Aiyah! How many times does Uncle have to tell you, no medication! I have enough natural remedies and garlic in my shop to ward off vampire!"

Jade said nothing as the old man hung up the phone, slamming it in annoyance. Jing rubbed his forehead as he fought off a headache. The young Chan was about to check on the old man when he pulled on a leaver. A ringing could be heard upstairs soon after, the sound of footsteps following suit. A door opened up above them, the footsteps slowing down in pace.

Jade looked up just as a figure came into view. A man looked over the railing, a little sweaty for some reason. The girl couldn't help the familiar vibe he was giving off as he looked at the old man.

"What is it Uncle?" questioned the man. “Is everything alright down there?” Uncle looked up at the man, his soft smile returning as he stretched out his arms.

"Come," beckoned the old man. "Give Uncle a hug." The younger man smiled as he flipped over the railing. Jade watched in awe as the man backflipped towards the ground, landing with only a short grunt.

Now that she actually got a good look at him, she could better see the man's finer details aside from his short black hair. He had a square jaw, brown eyes, a wide nose, and thick eyebrows. He wore a light blue sweater, tan trousers, and brown running shoes. She swore if it wasn't for the outfit he'd look just like… Her eyes widened in realization, facepalming in frustration.

'Chan Kong-sang… is Jackie Chan!?' thought the girl. ‘I’m staying with THE Jackie Chan: one of the best superstars to come out of Hollywood!’ She had watched some of his newer movies, especially the English version to ensure she got the best experience. It also helped her to make sure she actually understood the English language. How could she have missed the signs!?

She finally came to understand why people were talking about her uncle so highly. He was actually a huge deal in her eyes. The former actor walked forward as he prepared to give Uncle the requested embrace. Instead, however, all he received was a slap to the head. The man cried out in pain as he looked towards Jing.

"You did not make coffee this morning!" chastised Uncle. "Coffee is the only thing keeping Uncle's ancient heart beating! Do you want dead Uncle? No? Then you make coffee!"

"Yes Uncle," replied Jackie. He had honestly been so caught up in training that he had forgotten to make a pot for himself. He turned to walk away, hoping to fulfill…

"One more thing! You received a phone call from the university. They want you to translate parchments." Jackie nodded as he slowly turned his body away.

"Ok." He turned to walk away once more. He was rather excited to translate ancient parchments. It was like looking into the past with…

"One more thing! I cannot read inscriptions." He held up the artifact, stunning Jade once more by its appearance. From what she could tell, it was some kind of old shield. It was forged into a round shape out of some kind of gold colored metal, two leather straps on the back. The odd thing about it was the small gray pentagon in the center, a red rooster etched into it.

Jackie narrowed his eyes as he noticed the words Uncle was trying to point out to him. "Very old writing. I must go in back, look at my journals." The archeologist nodded in response, a polite smile on his face.

"Ok." He quickly turned away this time, hoping to at least start one of the tasks set upon him. He began to wonder if he should start on a pot of coffee before…

"One more thing!" Jackie resisted the urge to sigh as he turned to the old man once more. Uncle then gestured to Jade, the girl freezing up as the former star looked in her direction. "This is Chan Yu, your niece. She is currently going by Jade to avoid confusion.”

The old man nodded his head to the girl before returning his attention to Jackie. “She will live with you for six months, okay?" The archeologist nodded his head in acceptance.

"Ok." The man blinked a few times, the young Chan returning the gesture. His face suddenly went into shock as he took a step back. "I HAVE A NIECE!?" Jade growled at this outcry as she looked away.

‘Of course he doesn’t know I exist,’ growled the girl in her mind. ‘Do Mom and Dad even tell others about me? Do I really dishonor them that much?’ She let a sad frown form on her face as she shifted her gaze to the floor. Uncle nodded as he looked between the two, not noticing Jade’s expression.

"Your cousin Shin's girl from Hong Kong," explained the old man. Jackie walked to the other side of the counter as he stood before his niece, though technically they were more cousins in and of themselves. "She is not doing well, getting in trouble with school. Your cousin thinks she will do better in America with you." Jade looked up carefully as she waited for the man's response.

"But nobody asked me! They couldn't have called first so I could be more prepared?" This reply was done through whispers so as to not offend the girl, though no one could blame him for freaking out. This was a big bombshell that his cousin was dropping on him. Uncle shrugged his shoulders in response, not seeing the issue.

"Did not want to bother you." The elder Chan picked up the shield as he walked towards the back of the shop. "Now, you two get acquainted while I go do work." Jackie glanced back with a pleading look, hoping for some form of assistance.

"But I don't know anything about taking care of children. The closest I got was that one…" He cut off his own words as he quickly noticed he was alone with Jade, a family member he had never met. Seeing as she was family, however, he made up his mind to at least try.

The young Chan was a little too starstruck to start the conversation, earning a nervous chuckle from the former star. "Hello. I am Jackie. Welcome to Bellwood, Jade." The girl did not respond, still staring at him with an upset look on her face.

The man hummed to himself as he rubbed his chin. "No English." He leaned over to meet her in the eye, bowing in the process. “[Mandarin] Hello. I am Chan Kong-sang. Welcome to Bellwood, Chan Yu.”

Before Jade could voice her displeasure with the man, the door to the shop opened rather abruptly. Jackie quickly took his place behind the counter as a trio of men walked through the building. "Welcome to Uncle's Rare Finds. How can I help you?" Jade looked at the group as they came to a stop, though something didn't sit right with her.

The first one to catch her eye was the one to the right. He had olive skin, short black hair, and brown eyes. He wore a bandage across his nose, most likely serving as a fashion statement; a long-sleeved, collared, white shirt under a black dress coat; a light red tie; black slacks; and black dress shoes. He seemed to be very brutish with the look he was giving the joint. She quickly turned her head as he began to look her way.

The next one to catch her eyes was an Asian man that, like his partner, sported short black hair. He wore stylish orange sunglasses, a black jacket, a gray shirt of some sort, black pants, and black dress shoes. He seemed to be too confident for his own good, the sunglasses never leaving his face. She then looked to the last member of the group, the one standing in the front. It was clear that he was the brains of this entourage, if they had any to begin with.

He seemed to be of Irish descent, if the red hair, green eyes, and pale skin had anything to say about it. He wore a 70's white disco suit over a pink long-sleeved, button-up shirt, and blue-black shoes. The golden pendant hanging from his neck was enough to tell Jade that this man was all about the money. He seemed to ignore the look shot his way as he looked at Jackie with a sly smirk.

"So this is where the great Jackie Chan ended up after he left the movie busi," stated the man. "Archaeology and running an antique shop. Not the route I would have gone, but it's definitely a neat place." The Kung Fu master rubbed the back of his head, embarrassed by the sudden attention.

"I dabble in the study of past civilizations. The movie business was great, but I had to leave it behind in order to help my uncle with his shop." Jade looked to the man she would now call Uncle Jackie, a little surprised by his reasoning for leaving the show business behind. The redhead didn't seem fazed as he nodded his head.

"How thoughtful of you. In any case, we heard that you recently 'dabbled' a shield from a Bavarian castle. Our extremely wealthy employer is interested in purchasing that shield." This was enough to catch Jackie's suspicions, seeing as it was during a private expedition that he retrieved said item. He looked between the three men as he tried to maintain his cool.

"I am sorry, but I already donated that piece to the university." Jade looked between the two groups, catching the obvious lie her uncle had dished out. The redhead's smirk never faltered as he looked towards his olive-skinned partner.

"Really?" The brute seemed to get the hint as he tipped over a couple of vases. Jade flinched as she saw the artifacts fall towards the ground. In Hong Kong, the trio would find themselves in prison for weeks for such a crime. If it was decided the key to the cell was lost, they would have been waiting for months. Still, in her mind it was what criminals like them deserved.

Jackie cried in terror as he leapt into action, catching the two artifacts as he slid across the ground. The Asian thug chuckled to himself before flicking a third vase off its stand. The former star grabbed a pillow with his feet as he flung it towards the floor. The porcelain container bounced off the cushion before any damage could be done. Jackie leapt up from his position, quickly landing on his feet.

He placed the two vases down next to each other before catching the third one. He quickly sat it alongside the others as he sat in a nearby chair, his arms crossed in success. The three thugs gaped in response, Jade gasping in excitement. The olive skinned man whistled in shock at the scene.

"Whoa!" gasped the brute. "He really does do his own stunts." The redhead shook his head as he regained his composure. He placed his hand atop Jade's head, a villainous smirk on his face.

"It would be in your family's best interest for you to un-donate the shield Mr. Chan." His smile fell as he released the girl. "We'll be back by this time tomorrow." The trio walked out of the building, leaving the duo behind. The door to the back opened just as the thugs left, Uncle entering the room.

"Did I hear customers?" questioned the salesman. “Did they buy anything?” Jackie shook his head in response.

"No," stated the former star. He quickly braced himself as Jing cried out in disappointment. The old man crossed his arms as he sent his nephew a glare.

"You are terrible salesman!" Jade sent the old man a raised brow in response to the accusation. Before she could utter a word, Jackie sent the elder Chan a serious frown.

"Watch her and hide the shield." The Kung Fu master ran off in search of the assailants, leaving the duo behind. Jade quickly snuck to the side, wanting to watch the action unfold. Uncle harrumphed as he held his hands on his hips.

"Where am I supposed to hide a big shield!?" He turned to look at the aforementioned artifact, only to see that it was nowhere in sight. He scratched the back of his head in confusion. "Where did I put it?" Unaware of his grandniece's departure, the old man began to look for the missing object.

Mr. Smoothies

An elderly man sat at a nearby table as he awaited his order. He wore his hair in a short military cut style, allowing his green eyes the freedom to be seen. He wore a red buttoned-up Hawaiian shirt with a floral design, a pair of khakis, and brown shoes. If one were to look at him, they'd think he was just any old man. The truth, however, was far more miraculous than that.

This was Maxwell Tennyson, one of the greatest plumbers in the world. He's been cleaning the grime and yuck of the world one country at a time. He'd still be doing that too if he were still active in the field, but these days he's been upgraded to management of his home branch. He tapped his fingers on the table as he continued to practice his patience. Imagine his relief when he heard the speakers come to life.

"Tennyson, your order is ready," informed the cashier over the mic. The man stood up as he walked towards the counter. He came to a stop as a small teen handed him a drink holder carrying two cups and a bag.

"One medium coconut smoothie, one medium peanut butter smoothie, and a small order of chili fries," listed the employee. “There are napkins and straws in the bag.” The elder Tennyson nodded in response.

"That should be everything," agreed Maxwell. “Thank you.” The teen smiled in return.

"Thank you for dining with us. Enjoy the smoothies." The plumber walked backwards for a bit before turning to the exit. Once outside, he took a breath of the fresh air around him. He always did enjoy a nice afternoon in the city.

He continued on his intended path as he exited the cup shaped restaurant. He was looking forward to sharing the rest of today with his grandson, even if the first bit was to serve out a punishment brought about by his son. Ever since that fateful Summer road trip, he had never felt closer with either of his grandkids. He soon reached his intended destination, only to stop dead in his tracks as he gawked. If he wasn't the man he was, he would've dropped the drinks and food at the sight before him.

"Oh my…" He let his words die in his throat as he slowly approached a large mobile home. It had one red and one blue stripe running down its side, though the paint-job seemed to have been chipped off from years of use. Several satellite dishes and receivers lined the top of the machine, ready to provide the inhabitants with entertainment of all kinds. The license plate on the back read "RU5T BUCK3T", signifying its name.

What surprised Maxwell was, in spite of the chipped areas and a bent antenna, the old vehicle was spotless. Even the headlights were squeaky clean, the one broken one replaced with little signs of resistance. Max had never seen something so beautiful in years of his life, saved for the mother of his children. The door to the vehicle opened as Ben stretched his arms. The boy smiled as he leaned against the frame.

"What do ya think Grandpa?" questioned the young Tennyson. "Did I do the old girl justice?" Max rubbed the side of the vehicle, a smooth feeling overtaking his fingers. He smiled as he looked at his grandson.

"How did you do it Ben? Last I checked you haven't unlocked any of the more cleanly aliens." The boy chuckled as he shook his head.

"That's what you think. I was able to use XLR8 to get a good look at where the Rustbucket needed a little love, then I went Graymatter to check on all the hard to reach places. I still had a little time so I checked on all the systems." His grandfather whistled as he looked over his home.

"The Rustbucket looks great. Is there anything you didn't do?" Ben sounded off his distaste as he looked away.

"I kinda left the fridge and the pantries untouched. It's really hard to tell when something is out of date or your next big meal plan." Maxwell chuckled to himself as he shook his head. He then held up the meal he had just acquired, shaking it a bit as he had the drink holder in his other hand.

"I don't suppose you'd be interested in some smoothies and chili fries after a hard day's work." The boy instantly lit up as he moved to the side, allowing his grandfather room to enter the vehicle. He shut the door behind him, allowing no further access to the vehicle. After a bit, the Rustbucket departed the area. Little did they know that they were heading down a road that led to action.

Jackie ran across the sidewalk as he tried to keep up with the white limousine. He had been following the crooks for a while now, hoping to remain unseen. It was actually rather simple, seeing as the trio had yet to pay attention to what was behind them. Seeing a chance to get the high ground, the Kung Fu master leapt towards a lowered ladder. He quickly climbed the metal stairway as he reached the first balcony.

He then hopped across signs and awnings as he tried to keep up with his quarry. The villains didn't even bother to look up as the Kung Fu master ran across the rooftops. The Rustbucket soon entered the same street as it rode diagonally from the expensive vehicle. Ben slurped on his smoothie, like any child would, as he looked towards the white limousine. He whistled in interest as he looked over the vehicle.

"That's something you don't see every day," admitted the boy. Maxwell also looked at the vehicle, sharing a similar interest with his grandson. Last he checked there were no celebrities coming into town, let alone any huge figures. Whoever this was had a lot of money on them, however they got such cash remaining a mystery. Ben continued to watch the vehicle as his grandfather kept his eyes on the road.

Meanwhile, Jackie continued to hop from building to building as he followed the goons. All concerned parties came to a stop as the traffic light turned red. The archeologist looked down at the target, intent on getting a closer look. He began to climb down a nearby drain pipe, scaling towards the individuals. Imagine his horror when he heard the sound of breaking restraints.

He looks up at the top of his makeshift ladder as it begins to fall to the ground, taking him with it. Ben's eyes widened in shock as he watched the man land right on top of the limousine, spooking the occupants within. The crash also caught the attention of Maxwell, the elderly man just as surprised at the sudden occurrence. Jackie moaned as he rubbed his head, soon meeting eye to eye with the brute of the trio. He chuckled as the driver leveled a glare at him.

"That will buff right out," reassured the former star. "So… you'll send me the bill?" The olive skinned goon said nothing as he put the pedal to the metal. Jackie found himself pressed against the car windshield as the vehicle zoomed forward, ignoring the safety of property and civilians around it. Ben scowled as he looked at his grandfather.

"Grandpa!" Maxwell nodded in agreement as he took off after the group, taking better care to mind his surroundings. The white limousine drove along the sidewalk before crashing into a wire fence. Jackie found himself lying on the hood of the car as he tried to regain his bearings. He was given no such luxury, however, as the brute readied to pound down on him.

The Kung Fu master quickly dodged the attempt just as the disco-redhead exited the vehicle. He quickly launched the metal piping at both goons, sending them hurtling back. He leapt into the air as he dodged the Asian goon's flying kick. His prior opponents attempted to nab him, but he quickly ducked into the open sunroof. They moved to open the doors, only to have said entries hit them square in the face.

The Rustbucket pulled upon the scene as the Kung Fu master leapt out of the vehicle once more. Ben watched in amazement as Jackie leapt over the fence, narrowly avoiding the trio once more. The former star rolled across the ground for a bit before ending up in a crisscross position. The boy's eyes widened as the man teased his opponents. "No way!"

Maxwell looked back at his grandson, curious about whatever discovery the boy made. "That's Jackie Chan: one of the greatest Kung Fu movie stars ever! I didn't even know he was here!" The plumber paid little attention to his grandson's fanboying as he kept an eye on the battle. He watched as the three goons reached into the inside of their shirts, earning a curious look from the heroes.

Imagine their surprise when the men pulled out expanding rods. They readied the weapons over their heads as electricity began to course through them. Jackie was quick to get to his feet as he stepped away from the barrier between them.

"Electric swords?" The villains quickly tore through the wire fence before running after their target. The former star quickly dodged out of the way as multiple swipes were sent his way. He entered a backflip in order to escape a three pronged attack. He rolled across the windshield of a large truck, ripping off two pieces of equipment.

He raised both weapons in order to defend himself, only to look down in confusion as he held a pair of windshield wipers in his hands. Nevertheless, he took a defensive stance as he prepared his makeshift weapons. Even Ben had to look on in confusion as he waited for a response, equally as confused as the villains were. The redhead readied his sword with a smirk as he charged the man first. Jackie was quick to dodge a few strikes, launching one of his makeshift weapons into the air.

He caught it just as quickly as he launched it, avoiding another attack from the redhead. He smacked the villain in the hand with one of the windshield wipers, forcing him to drop his weapon in pain. The Kung Fu master then began to block multiple attacks from the other two, making sure to keep an eye on both of them. Ben continued to watch on in awe, only to narrow his eyes as he noticed something behind the brute. A playground filled with children was right across from the combatants, putting the occupants in imminent danger.

"There's no way I'm letting a bunch of kids get hurt." The Omnitrix wielder quickly activated his device, causing the faceplate to rise from its position. He turned the dial a bit, cycling through various different silhouettes. He smirked as he came across a large shadowy figure. "Come on Fourarms!"

He slammed down on the core, setting off a huge flash of light. In spite of the bulky size of the image, however, the boy had disappeared from sight. Maxwell turned around to locate his grandson, quickly looking down upon a grunting noise. Before him stood a tiny frog-like creature with large green eyes and a black line running between them. The creature looked down as it took in a very familiar white and black suit.

"Awe man!" cried the being. "Graymatter!? I chose Fourarms!" The amphibian growled as he tried to reach his back. "Round two here I come!"

"Ben, I don't think that's a…" began Maxwell. His attempts at reasoning were cut off as another emerald light filled the area. He moved his gaze upward as Graymatter was now replaced with a pudgy green gerbil-like alien wearing a suit of a similar color scheme. It looked down at itself, letting loose another groan.

"Upchuck!?" roared the creature in a much deeper voice. "I ain't eating something a kid's been playing on! No telling what they last had their hands on!" His grandfather shook his head as the boy tried to reach for the Omnitrix once more.

"Maybe pick something before you turn into an alien that's too big for the Rustbucket. I'd rather not have to rebuild it… again." The gerbil chuckled to himself as he rubbed the back of his head. The creature took a deep breath as he prepared for another try.

"Third time's the charm." He tapped the device once more, almost blinding Maxwell in the process. This time, a larger creature stood in the middle of the vehicle. It was a raptor-like creature with a black and blue color palette, save for the white and black suit. It had a black and blue striped tail, balls in between its two-toed feet and a visor covering its face. The being looked at its three clawed arms, sounding off its interest.

"Eh!" cried the dinosaur. "XLR8 works just as good as any." He soon took note of how the redhead was looking towards the children, earning a frown from the alien. "Gotta go save some kids Grandpa! Be back in a second."

The hero was out the door before his grandfather could even utter a word. The disco man snuck his way over towards the onlooking audience, ready to pull a fast one on Jackie Chan. He grabbed at his electric sword as he approached one of the unsuspecting victims. "Heads up!" The villain had no time to react as he was dragged across the playground.

He cried out in fear as he was dragged across the ground. He finally came to a stop as the mysterious force released him. The villain soon returned to his feet as he tried to locate his assailant. "On your left!" He turned once more, this time ready to strike.

Instead, he received a fist to the face for his troubles. He fell back on his rear as he lost hold of his weapon, the device rolling out of his reach. He looked up as XLR8 rolled in front of the villain. "Wow! I called you out twice and you still didn't see that one coming."

The creature was gone just as soon as it arrived, leaving the redhead in a stupor. He blinked multiple times as he tried to process what just happened. He sighed as he rubbed his forehead.

"I must have hit my head pretty hard or something," guessed the villain. He woozily returned to his feet as he looked to the battlefield. He watched as Jackie Chan knocked over his olive skinned companion with a mighty kick. The Kung Fu master stepped over his opponent as he ran for the playground. He waved his arms frantically upon approach, earning fearful looks from the children.

"No more play time!" cried the man. "GO-GO-GO!" The children ran off in fear, leaving the Kung Fu master by himself. He turned around as the trio came at him from three different sides, their weapons raised once more. He ran the other way as he approached the geodesic dome.

He then landed on the other side, quickly noting the brute's approach. He took advantage of the nearby tetherball as he kicked it, sending it flying into the man's face. The Kung Fu master quickly turned around as the other goons ran at him. He ducked under the redhead's swipe before tripping up the Asian man. The sunglasses-wearing villain fell on top of a horse animal springer, hurting himself where the sun didn't shine.

"Get back here Chan!" Jackie ran from the redhead as the brute soon caught up to them. He leapt to the top of a swing set just as the duo were about to grab him. He quickly twisted the chains of one of the seats, tying the two dunderheads together. "Hey what the…"

He then leapt from his position, landing on the arched monkey bars. He turned to the trio as they approached him, striking a fighting stance. The olive skinned man gasped in interest, rubbing at his sore arm.

"If it weren't us being beat up, I'd seriously be geeking out right now," admitted the brute. His allies didn't seem to share this sentiment as they began to back up. Jackie motioned for them to come at him, striking a confident smirk.

"Let's just get out of here! Valmont can find someone else to deal with him!" The trio ran off, the Asian man hobbling as he was still recovering from the low blow. Jackie stood tall as he leapt off the equipment. Imagine his surprise when his niece stood before him, an excited expression on her face.

"Jade?" questioned Jackie. "Why are you…" His words were cut off as a gas was sprayed in the air. He fell over unconscious as a group of men entered the area. Jade made herself scarce before anyone could really notice her, something she found to be surprisingly easy at the moment.

XLR8 watched over the scene in confusion. It seemed like another person was after the famous movie star. He bent forward as he prepared to come to the man's rescue, only for a familiar jingle to catch his attention. He groaned as he looked down at the symbol on his chest, a red blinking light emanating from it.

"Aw man!" cried the alien. "Now!?" Not wanting to be discovered, the hero sped off towards the Rustbucket. He quickly opened the door as the jingle neared its end. He shut the door behind him as he erupted in another emerald light.

"Some dudes in shades just gassed Jackie Chan!" cried Ben, now back to his regular self. Maxwell said nothing as he started the vehicle. "We have to go after them! They just up and took him after…" The boy stopped talking as his grandfather looked back at him through the rearview mirror.

"He's fine Ben," reassured the elder Tennyson. "I saw the whole thing through the live feed. I know exactly who took him and where they're gonna be." Maxwell began to drive the Rustbucket as his grandson took a seat on the couch. Ben looked to the road as he kept an eye on where they were going.

"Who were those guys, Grandpa, and what did they want with Jackie Chan?" Max said nothing as he kept his eyes on the road. He smirked as he turned a corner, catching sight of a black van.

"A few old friends who will answer both of our questions." The young Tennyson looked to his grandfather in confusion, unsure of the meaning behind his words. The Rustbucket drove on as it continued to follow the van. Unknown to both parties, however, Jade was hot on their tail. She held onto the ladder of the mobile home, hoping to not fall off before reaching the destination.

"He's coming to," stated an unknown voice. Jackie groaned as he grabbed at his head. He was not expecting to have a strange substance puffed in his face, let alone be drugged into unconsciousness. He soon opened his eyes, blinking as he tried to relax his eyes. Finally releasing the strain from his face, the Kung Fu master laid eyes on a group of men.

While they each seemed unique in appearance, one in particular stood out to him. The apparent leader of this troupe was a tall bald man with red eyebrows. He wore a red turtleneck, a black trench coat, gray pants, a black leather belt, and black loafers. The man seemed wary of Jackie, awaiting some form of reaction. The group jerked back as the Kung Fu master let out what seemed to be a battle cry.

"AUGUSTUS BLACK!" cheered Jackie. He embraced the bald man, confusing his subordinates. "What are you doing here!?" He suddenly groaned as he released the man, rubbing his forehead in discomfort. "What am I doing here?"

"I'm afraid it's official business, my friend," denied Augustus. Jackie looked over the man in confusion. He then looked to the subordinates behind him.

"I didn't think these would be your backup singers." The duo looked between each other as the Kung Fu master sent his friend a slight scowl. "Where have you been? I don't hear from you for six years, and then BOOM!"

He stretched out his arms for emphasis, shocking the other men once more. "You're here in Bellwood saving my butt." He groaned before anyone could answer, rubbing the back of his head. "Those thugs must have knocked me out before you got there." Augustus chuckled nervously as he rubbed the back of his head.

"Actually, that was me. Sorry." Jackie said nothing as he looked the man in the eye. The black van came to a stop behind a set of buildings, just in time for the former star to throw the doors open.

"Why would you do that!?" He hopped out of the vehicle before anyone could stop him. Augustus stood at the exit of the vehicle as the man walked towards a phonebooth.

"Jackie…" The Kung Fu master paid his old friend no attention as he continued to approach the communicator. He then turned as he noticed the bald man's shadow approach him.

"I thought we were friends!" The man said nothing as he let Jackie take a few deep breaths. He smirked as he crossed his arms.

"We are, and always have been. We couldn't let anyone know about our location, so I had to follow company policy." The Kung Fu master feigned understanding as he gestured to a few piles of trash.

"Oh, yes. I can see that this is some very special garbage the studio doesn't want anyone knowing about." He turned his back to his old friend as he reached out for the door to the phonebooth. "Maybe when I see you in another six years, you'll learn how to treat people better!" Augustus sounded off his concern as he reached out for the man.

"Jackie I wouldn't…" His pleads fell on deaf ears as the former star began to punch in a phone number. Imagine the shock on Jackie's face when the sliding door closed all by itself.

"What?" He suddenly felt himself being pulled forward as a door opened in front of the booth. Augustus winced as his friend was pulled through the path, screaming in terror. The other men approached him as he rubbed his temples.

"I probably should've explained what happened before I told him about the gas. Guess we're taking the stairs." The other bald member of his group sounded off his distaste as the group followed their leader. Meanwhile, the Rustbucket pulled past the area as it approached a small building. Jade sounded off her confusion as she looked up at the abandoned washing machine store.

"Maybe I should've followed the van instead of hopping back here," guessed the young Chan. She was about to hop off the vehicle when she heard the sound of a large door opening. The side of the building split into two doors, revealing a large parking spot. She held on tighter so as to not be seen, waiting as the large vehicle pulled into the spot. The platform began to lower as the doors slid shut, taking all occupants with it.

Back with Jackie, he continued to scream as he was pulled along by the fake phone booth. There seemed to be no end to the halls as the device continued to zoom forward. It soon came to a slow stop, allowing the former star to catch his breath. A moment was all he got, however, as the elevator began to plummet towards the ground. Jackie screamed once more as he held onto the sides of the booth, not wanting to fall through.

Everything came to a sudden stop, forcing Jackie to faceplant into the door once more. The device slid open as a ding rang through the air, allowing the Kung Fu master to fall to the floor. The door closed behind him as it awaited the next usage. The poor man looked up as a familiar pair of shoes stood before him. Augustus rubbed the back of his head in embarrassment.

"I tried to warn you. The elevator is being placed in out-of-order status tomorrow so the technicians can fix the glitch." Jackie looked the man in the eye, shock still laced in his expression.

"How did you get down here then?" questioned the Kung Fu master. The bald man pointed towards a door nearby. His colleagues from before left the duo behind as Jackie stood to his feet.

"The stairs. Follow me. There's a lot of explaining to do on both of our ends." Augustus led his old friend through the facility, an unreadable frown on his face. They passed by what appeared to be a hangar on their way through the area.

The platform from earlier lowered into the room, earning the attention of a few guards. Three of them kept hands on their guns as they approached the unknown vehicle. Ben looked out the window on his side, quickly spotting the individuals. He prepared to activate the Omnitrix, only to have his arm gently grasped by his grandfather. Maxwell opened the door to the vehicle, a serious look on his face.

"Code 7-5 Zeta," declared the elder Tennyson. The guards seemed to accept the man's words as they eased off their weapons. Ben followed the elder Tennyson out the door, taking in the sight before him. He heard a shuffling nearby, turning to identify the creator of it. He began to sneak towards the back of the mobile home, hoping to avoid blowing his cover.

He got to the area, only to find no one there. He moved to activate the Omnitrix, prepared to use it if necessary. "Come on Ben!" The boy turned to see that his grandfather and the three escorts were waiting on him, the men seeming jumpy over his actions. He sighed as he let the distraction go.

"Coming!" cried the young Tennyson. He soon joined the group, sticking close to his grandfather. He looked up at the man with an inquisitive expression. "What's that code mean anyway?" Maxwell looked to his grandson with a smirk.

"It's used for meetings between the heads of two different divisions. The Plumbers came up with it in order to keep in touch with allied governments on other worlds." The boy nodded his head in response, understanding the situation. Back at the pad, Jade slid out from underneath the Rustbucket. She sounded off her relief as she wiped her brow, only to smirk as she looked towards a lineup of mopeds.

Back with the longtime friends, they continued to walk through the corridors. Jackie took note of how a few people they passed by seemed to get nervous around him. At first he figured it was because he was unknown to them, especially seeing as a few began to whisper to each other. That idea was smashed when he overheard a few younger members geeking out over the fact that he was there. It honestly left him embarrassed when one of the younger women asked for an autograph, but he was soon pulled along by Augustus.

They finally came to a stop as they approached a sliding door, the mechanism automatically activating. Imagine Jackie's surprise when he saw the large room before him. Many floors could be seen from his position, men and women of all ages walking along the path. Some were dressed in business attire, scientists could be seen donning their lab coats, and others were wearing strange suits of unknown origin. Augustus smiled as he took in the expression on the Kung Fu master's face.

"Welcome, Jackie Chan, to Section 13," greeted the bald man. "Part of why I went dark years ago was because I was putting the finishing touches on this place." The former star looked at his friend in shock.

"I thought you were with Interpol all those years ago. How did you find the time to do all this?" The bald man continued to look over the scene, a sense of pride flooding over him.

"Even when you knew me back then, I was shepherding this agency in secret. I bounced between divisions in order to get a feel for how they ran. I even got a job at S.H.I.E.L.D. for a few years." Jackie pointed to Augustus in surprise.

"You're a spy?" He then moved his attention to the various people around him. "They're spies?" The head agent shook his head in response.

"Law enforcement Jackie. Elite special forces, along with a few top of the line scientists for R&D." The Kung Fu master shrugged as his longtime friend walked past him.

"So why give me the big tour? Why bring me into this?" Augustus looked towards him, his scowl deepening slightly.

"We recently learned that you acquired a rare artifact in Bavaria." The Kung Fu master groaned as he rolled his eyes. He spread out his arms as Augustus gave him a raised brow.

"How come everyone knows about this!? It was supposed to be a private dig!" The head agent gave his friend a deep scowl, waiting for an explanation. "You are the second person to approach me about the shield today." Augustus sighed as he rubbed his chin.

"As I feared. They moved first." The Kung Fu master crossed his arms in response to the realization.

"Want to fill me in? I would like to know why there is a target on my back." Augustus nodded his head as he walked over to a computer. He quickly began to type away, quickly scanning through an interface.

"Section 13 was founded to investigate international crimes that were a little too small for S.H.I.E.L.D's paygrade. A large factor of these crimes can often be traced back to a syndicate known as the Dark Hand." The screen shifted to a set of security camera surveillances, most depicting a violent theft or some other heinous crime. "This syndicate has connections within nearly every criminal organization in history, and they're not afraid to play with big contenders like A.I.M and the League of Assassins. Their leader is this man; Valmont."

Jackie narrowed his eyes as he took in the appearance of the syndicate head. He was a tan skinned man of average height with long white hair that was pulled back into a low tail and blue eyes. He wore a green business suit, a black dress shirt, a yellow tie, gold earrings, and black shoes. He could tell that something was definitely off about this man, especially with the deceptive smile he seemed to be wearing in a few of the photos. He would remember this man.

Xiaoling Industries Tower (1).

The building had a dark and ominous aura about it, especially for a place as sunny and cheery as Bellwood. It was once one of the many Stark Industries towers around the world, though the building was later bought out by the current owner. Where the Stark logo once stood, a huge golden dragon head adorned the top of the building. Even the stone that made up the building was changed, taking on a purple color to match the gold aesthetic. Within the top floor, one would find a room with a red carpeted floor.

A lone man stood before the three goons that came to Uncle's antique store. He has a margarita in one hand and a cane in the other. He sipped at the cup, revealing his long white hair. The trio held great uncertainty as they awaited the beginning of the conversation. The man turned towards them, revealing himself as none other than Valmont.

"You are telling me that one man stopped you?" questioned the head villain. The goons looked at each other, the worry growing on their faces. The redhead sounded off his concern as he shook his head.

"Yes, but he…" began the disco man. He was cut off by the stamping of his employer's cane. Valmont leveled a glare at the trio, disappointment written on his face.

"Three of my enforcers- armed with high tech weaponry only S.H.I.E.L.D. and A.I.M. have access to these days- were defeated by an archeologist? Is that supposed to be some kind of joke?" The redhead tilted his head a bit, trying to think of what to say.

"Did we mention he was Jackie Chan and he had windshield wipers?" This only served to deepen the scowl on Valmont's face. He looked beyond the group, aiming his gaze much higher than any of them could reach.

"Tohru." Loud footsteps could be heard as the trio froze in place. A large shadow encased them entirely, a sight that brought a chill to their spines. The trio slowly turned around to face the unknown arrival. They gasped at the sight of the giant before them.

The large man was of Japanese descent, having black hair that he pulled up into a traditional style and eyes of a matching hue. He wore a simple white t-shirt, black overalls, and brown Japanese sandals. He towered over the group with a sinister glare, his large stomach portraying his strength. He picked up the trio no problem as he brought them into a crushing bearhug. Valmont took another sip of his drink as the Enforcers grunted in pain.

"Tohru! Can't… breathe!" In spite of this plea, the Japanese giant continued to constrain the trio. Valmont seemed to become annoyed by the grunting, placing his cup on the counter behind him.

"Enough." At that command, Tohru released the Enforcers. They fell on top of each other one by one, gasping for air as they grabbed at their sides. The large man looked to his employer with a softer glare than usual, awaiting the next command. Valmont seemed to contemplate this next action as he rubbed the top of his cane.

He looked up to meet his guard dog's eyes, tapping his cane lightly against the ground. "Tohru, bring me the shield." The Japanese giant nodded his head in acceptance, turning to make his way out. Before he could do so, a low hissing sound filled the air. Valmont looked to his left, knowing full well where this noise came from.

"Your Tohru is impressive, Valmont," stated a new voice. A set of glowing red eyes came to life in the nearby darkness. The lights turned on to reveal the owner of the glowing set, a large golden Chinese dragon statue. The figure was coiled in a circular formation as it hung from the wall, the head of the beast facing the group. Along its body rested twelve slots, void of whatever once occupied them.

Purple smoke came from the beast's mouth as its focus remained unclear. "In the event that he too should fail, however, it might be wise to enlist the aid of my own enforcers." Upon the utterance of the statue's advice, the shadows in the room began to grow in volume. The darkness even reached out into the well-lit areas of the room, though they stopped before they could extend beyond their boundaries. Without any warning, shapes began to rise from the shadows.

The Enforcers couldn't help the shocked looks that appeared on their faces as a group of blue skinned figures surrounded them. They bore the same colored eyes as the statue and wore a black shinobi suit with a red sash running around their waist. "The Shadowkhan; an elite squadron of shadow warriors, ready to complete any task given to them." Valmont nodded his head as he looked away from the golden statue.

"As you wish, Shendu." The ninjas returned to the shadows as the black mist began to fade from the dragon's mouth. Tohru sent an unreadable frown at the statue, not fond of the feeling it gave him. The figure seemed to emit evil intent with its very presence, making his instincts scream to get rid of it. Nevertheless, the giant would see to it that Valmont's orders were fulfilled by any means necessary.

Section 13

Jackie watched as Augustus shut down the computer, having shown enough visuals for the moment. The head agent got up from his seat as he turned to his longtime friend. Not much time had passed since the information dump of Dark Hand intel. The former star got the gist of it all, even if he didn't understand a few of their motives. The bald man, seeing the understanding on his audience's face, rolled his shoulders a bit.

"We recently learned that the Dark Hand has gained an interest in retrieving certain historical artifacts," continued Augustus. It was here that Jackie began to understand the level of involvement this information had placed him in. Being an archeologist, it made sense that a syndicate would be interested in what he does. He shook his head as he looked the head agent in the eye.

"Why?" questioned Jackie. "The shield didn't seem particularly valuable, aside from historical importance." Augustus shook his head in response.

"Unknown. It's always been difficult to track their movements. In any case, with this new development in mind, Section 13 could use an archeologist of your expertise." Jackie shook his head in response, Embarrassment well hidden behind a serious frown.

"I wouldn't call myself an expert. I'm really just an amateur." Black smirked as he tilted his head slightly.

"A wise and intelligent amateur." He placed his hand on the former star's shoulder. "You're the only one I can trust with this job Jackie." The Kung Fu master shook his head once more, apprehension visible on his face.

"But my museum work. I can’t just…" Augustus frowned as he released the man's shoulder.

"It wouldn't be full time. All we need is someone to help with research so we can stay one step ahead of Valmont." Jackie looked down as he began to think over his options. While he was not fond of the idea, he wasn't one to leave his friends in situations like this. He sighed as he returned his gaze forward.

"I will consider it." Before anything else could be said, the sound of a running motor cut through the atmosphere. Warning cries blared through the air as the sound drew closer and closer. Jade suddenly turned the corner, wearing a helmet as she drove one of the mopeds from earlier. Her eyes widened at the sudden appearance of the duo.

"Jackie!" cried the young Chan. The adults dodged out of the way just in time as the vehicle zoomed past them. The head agent looked at Jackie with an angry scowl.

"WHO IS THAT!?" demanded the man. The Kung Fu master groaned as he sat up. He quickly looked to Augustus with a scowl of his own.

"No relation," denied Jackie. Jade soon turned around before she could hit anyone else, scaring one of the agents into scattering his papers in the air. The former star looked to a nearby rolling chair, an idea formulating in his head. "Hold on!" He then hopped onto the movable furniture as the girl drew closer.

"Grab on!" cried Jade. Jackie did just that as he grabbed the seat of the vehicle. Jade glanced back for a second with a serious smirk. "I'm busting you outta here! I so can't believe I'm saving Jackie Chan." The Kung Fu master moved to scold his niece, only to stop as realization hit him.

"You speak English!?" Jade had no time to answer as she drove down a flight of stairs. Captain Black watched from the railing as the girl swerved through the crowd of people, her uncle apologizing to each person they almost hit as well as giving a warning to potential victims. Meanwhile, the Tennysons were soon approaching the main area. Ben looked around as he rubbed at the arm with the Omnitrix.

"Hey Grandpa?" questioned the young Tennyson. Maxwell looked to the boy, acknowledging the request. "Do you ever feel like something's about to happen out of nowhere?" The elder Tennyson sent his grandson a confused look, unsure of how to answer the question. Before he could contemplate a response, one of the guards shoved him to the right.

"GET DOWN!" cried the man. Ben found himself backing up as the Chans blurred towards them. Time seemed to slow as he and Jade locked eyes. A shine seemed to swirl around both of their irises before time returned to normal. The Omnitrix wielder walked ahead of the guards as he looked in the direction the duo took off, gasping softly in interest.

He couldn't help but take note of the weird feeling in his stomach as he chased after the vehicle. Jade remained distracted as she drove in a straight line, having a similar feeling hitting her. This distractedness was enough for Jackie to finally reach for the handle. He flipped the off switch, causing the moped to scrape across the ground. His niece turned the vehicle to the side in response to the sudden loss in momentum, sending him flying through the air.

She winced as she watched him crash into a stack of boxes, his chair sliding across the ground as it continued rolling. Captain Black soon knelt down as the Kung Fu master sat up. He held up two fingers as he began the age old test.

"Jackie, how many fingers do you see?" questioned the head agent. Jackie took a few seconds to respond as he swayed back and forth. He suddenly brought his own hand closer to his face as he gave off a drunken smile.

"Look," directed the former star. "Fishies." Augustus frowned as he heard the sound of resistant grunting. He turned to watch two of his agents holding Jade by the arms, having a hard time containing her. The man clenched his fists as he looked the young Chan in the eye.

"Young lady, how did you get in here?" Jade was finally able to fight her way out of the guard's hold, blowing raspberries at one of them. She smirked as she crossed her arms under her chest.

"I hitched a ride," answered the girl. Jackie soon regained his composure as he stood up. He placed his hands on his hips as he looked down at his niece.

"Where did you get the bike?" questioned the former star. "Stealing is wrong, and you could've been hurt!" Jade smirked as she pulled him down to meet her.

"I snuck it out of their garage. Some idiot left the keys in the ignition." Captain Black looked beyond the duo, sending one of his men a serious glare. The culprit chuckled in embarrassment as he shrugged. The head agent shook his head in response, disappointed in the development.

Jackie was able to regain control of his shirt as Jade released him. "I figured it would be the best thing to get us out of here. Ready to blow this popsicle stand?" The Kung Fu master chuckled in response, not very pleased with the situation.

"Yu…” Jade immediately held up her hand, waiting patiently for Jackie to nod his head. As soon as she got the go ahead, she crossed her arms under her chest.

“As long as I’m in America, it’s Jade. I’m not gonna keep being confused when someone says ‘you’ in any conversations. I already had that happen at the airport. It was already embarrassing enough trying to find Mr. Wu when I kept hearing people say my name.” Jackie nodded his head again, understanding where she was coming from.

“...Jade, these people are my friends." Jade sent her uncle a confused look. This was something that seemed to boggle her mind.

"Your friends knocked you out and took you to a secret underground base? Is that… normal here?" Jackie slowly turned his torso as he looked back at Augustus, a small frown on his face.

"Let us hope not." The head agent held up his hands in defense, not fond of being called out. Jackie turned to meet his niece once more, quickly noting the smile on her face.

"America is so cool! What's next? Are alien superheroes gonna stop a ninja army? Is this the part where we get some super secret agent mission!?" Augustus ignored Jade's enthusiasm as he looked at the now gathered group of agents.

"Can someone please explain why a child was able to breach our security, in broad daylight no less?" questioned the head agent. Jade sounded off her annoyance as she crossed her arms.

"I'm not a child, I'm 12! And I'm Jackie's niece." The Kung Fu master sighed in embarrassment as he facepalmed. It was clear to him that Jade had no concept of what qualifies as a child. Captain Black hummed in interest as he walked over to the duo, his arms crossed.

"I didn't know you had a niece Jackie." The Kung Fu master sighed as he shook his head. He looked at the head agent with a sad frown.

"Join the club," informed Jackie. "I just found out today." Jade looked away again as she frowned, reminded of how her own uncle didn’t know she existed. The more she thought about it the more hurt she felt. Captain Black once again shook his head before looking towards the girl.

"It still doesn't make sense how a girl her age could have possibly penetrated our defenses. How did you actually get in here?" Jade sent the man a small glare as she prepared to defend her information, only to be cut off by the sound of running footsteps.

"I think she may have hitched a ride with us back at the playground," theorized Maxwell as he approached the group. The agents soon turned their attention to the new arrivals, Ben panting slightly as he stood beside his grandfather. Him and Jade soon locked eyes once more as the girl turned his way, the feeling returning once again. Augustus stood between them as he approached the elder Tennyson, shock written on his face.

"Sergeant Tennyson? Is that you?" Max smiled as he nodded his head.

"It's Magister Tennyson now, actually. I see you were able to get everything up and running, Captain." The Plumber looked to Jade with a knowing smirk, crossing his arms as he caught her attention. "We came to ask a few questions after my grandson watched you knock out Jackie Chan. I believe Miss Chan here grabbed onto the ladder of my vehicle on the back of the Rustbucket before we took off."

The young Chan rubbed the back of her head as she blushed in embarrassment. "I think it would be best if we take this conversation somewhere a little more private, Augustus." The head agent nodded as he gestured his head away from the area. The agents took this as a sign to return to business as they shuffled back to their previous tasks. Ben finally had enough as he pushed his way through the crowd, coming face to face with Jade.

"What you did back there was so cool!" cried the young Tennyson. This declaration brought about a blush on Jade's face, the girl not used to being complemented by kids her age. "You just zoomed past us with Jackie Chan hot on your heels! I think I saw him grind across the walls a few times!" The girl played around with her hair as she looked away from the boy.

"Um… thanks," replied Jade. She soon regained her composure as she fought down the blush. "I'm Chan Yu, but I’m going by Jade while in America. What’s your name?" She reached out an arm for a handshake, something the young Tennyson quickly returned in kind.

"Ben Tennyson." They broke the hold as soon as it began, letting their arms drop to their sides. Neither really knew what to say, something that was uncommon for them. Ben appeared to have a thought cross his mind, only for Jackie to quickly place his hand on Jade's shoulder.

"It was nice to meet you Ben," greeted the Kung Fu master. "Now, if you would excuse us for a moment." He pulled his niece to the side, leaving no time for objections. In spite of the upsetting departure, jade couldn't help but smile as she turned to her uncle.

"Come on Jackie! Wasn't I brave back there?" The Kung Fu master sighed as he got down on one knee, placing both hands on the girl's shoulders.

"Yes, but it was dangerous and immature. You must have the wisdom to know when something is too difficult to achieve. Courage without wisdom is foolishness. Do you understand?" The young Chan looked away with a mischievous grin.

"Um… my English must not be that good." Jade rubbed her arm as she tried to look past her uncle. "Can I talk with Ben some more before we go?" The Kung Fu master sighed as he shook his head. Before he could give his answer, his phone sounded off.

"I'll give you five minutes. We need to be back in time for dinner." The young Chan smiled in response, running over to the boy. Ben smirked as he noticed the new girl approach once more, walking to meet her.

"I've got five more minutes before we have to leave. Got any fun ideas to pass the time?" The boy contemplated this question for a bit, a few ideas coming to mind. He quelled most of them, seeing as they involved using the Omnitrix and revealing himself. He shrugged as he sounded off his denial.

"Not anything that'll be fine with the adults," informed the young Tennyson. He placed his hands in his pockets as he looked around a bit. "Maybe we can just talk or something. Beats being silent the entire time." Jade nodded in response, a smile on her face.

"Eh! Talking’s fine with me." The two kids wandered off as Jackie found a nearby spot to answer the call. He couldn't help the smile that formed on his face as he watched his niece converse with the Tennyson boy. He finally pressed the answer button before bringing the device up to his ear.

"Hello?" questioned the Kung Fu master. "This is Jackie speaking." He heard a familiar hum on the other end of the phone.

"Jackie," began Uncle. "Where are you?" The Kung Fu master looked behind him, noticing that most of the remaining agents and the two agency heads could hear the old man's loud voice over the line.

"Um… I can't say. I don't really know myself. It is an unfamiliar part of town." There was a hum of acceptance from the elder Chan.

"One more thing. Have you seen Jade? She has disappeared." Jackie sighed as he shook his head. He looked towards the girl in question, watching as she and Ben sat down on a few containers.

"She followed me while I chased down the thugs. She's with me and unharmed." He heard his uncle's usual cry on the other side, though he could tell that it was directed at the news.

"As bold and reckless as you were! Will make nice young lady when mature." The Kung Fu master smirked as he nodded his head, silently agreeing with the old man. "One more thing. I have been doing research on shield from Bavaria."

Jackie nodded once more, awaiting the new information. Captain Black seemed to cut his conversation with Max short as he approached the archeologist, his interests peaked. "I have found out the meaning of the markings. They are incantations." The former star blinked a few times as he cleared his throat.

"Um… incantations? So it was used in rituals of some kind?" He heard a harrumph on the other end, signaling Uncle's denial.

"The incantations themselves are magic. Very powerful, but shield not important." Jackie gained an incredulous look on his face as he looked at his phone.

"Of course the shield is important! Everyone I have met today wants the shield!" He took a deep breath as he reigned in his emotions, not wanting to have an outburst. Uncle, oblivious to this battle, decided to keep going.

"No. Shield not important." Jackie sighed as he shook his head. He was about to correct the old man, when he heard a yelp on the other end of the line. His eyes widened as he brought the phone back to his ear.

"Uncle?" No answer, save for the swaying of a dangling landline. "Uncle!? Is everything alright!?" He then heard a heavy breathing pattern on the other end of the line.

"Your uncle is fine for now, Mr. Chan," stated a new voice. "However, every hour I do not possess the shield is a moment closer to that statement being false. Bring the shield to the Chinese Tower and tell no one." Jackie nodded in response, having no time to respond as the line went dead. Captain Black approached Jackie from behind.

"Everything alright?" questioned the head agent. "Sounds like something happened." The former actor shook his head in response, putting his former profession to good use.

"Uncle just realized that he didn't have his medicines. I'm going to pick them up real quick and bring them to him. Please watch over Jade until I get back." The agent seemed to buy this information, nodding his head. The man watched on as the Kung Fu master made way for…

"Jackie, wait!" The cry came too late as the elevator skyrocketed upwards. The head agent winced as Jackie screamed once more. He sighed as the voice faded into the distance. Max didn't seem to share the younger man's trust, however, as he looked to the now absent elevator.

Meanwhile, Ben and Jade currently found themselves resting against the wall as they awaited the end of the latter's time in the base. It was a little awkward trying to find something to talk about, though they were able to find a few common grounds they could agree upon. They were both big gamers, they had a similar love of comic books, and they both enjoyed some good movies that Jackie starred in. As neat as a game of 21 questions was, however, it quickly got boring trying to come up with new questions. Ben hummed to himself as he held his hands behind his head.

"So Jade, I don't think I've seen you around town before," began the boy. This caught the girl's attention as she looked up from the floor. "Are you new here or…" The young Chan smiled as she looked his way.

"Yep," answered Jade. "Just flew in from Hong Kong today. I'll be honest, I wasn’t looking forward to being here at first. No one told me I would be spending the year with Jackie Chan of all people. If I knew that I might have been a little more excited when I got here." The Omnitrix wielder nodded as he turned towards her.

"Must be cool to be related to such an awesome actor. Just goes to show that your family was made for coolness." The young Chan frowned sadly as she looked away from the boy. She didn't want to admit it, but she did feel that her parents might have been the exception. It was hard for her to think about how distant her folks could be.

Sensing the air that began to form, Ben decided to change the subject. "Well, welcome to America. There’s a lot of fun things to do and experience. You'll find that things are actually a little crazier here than they appear, especially in Bellwood." The girl let her smirk return as she looked towards him.

"Does that include the people here? I didn't expect to be living in an antique store after all." The young Tennyson smirked as he nodded his head.

"Trust me, you'll make a lot of friends here that are more than they seem. Everything is not what it seems, especially when you travel abroad. I met some pretty weird people on a summer road trip with Grandpa and my cousin two years ago." Jade filed this information for a later date as she leaned over a bit. She looked the boy in the eye as she smiled.

“So what kind of things do you think are good experiences here? Since you’re an American Expert apparently.” Ben chuckled at the title, looking forward as he thought.

“Well I know we have some great food, especially Mr. Smoothies. I don’t know if you have any of those back home, but the flavor combinations are great. We also have some pretty good music. I could play some for you if you’d like.” Jade quickly shook her head in denial.

“Maybe later. I’ve heard it can be hard to keep up with music when it’s not in a language you’re fluent with.” She thought of something as she smirked. “You know any good places to do gymnastics around here?” Ben furrowed his brow as he looked up at the roof.

“I never really took an interest in that, mostly because a lot of guys in my school would say I’m just trying to look at girls’ butts for some reason. Plus it’s more of a girly thing from what I’ve seen. I know my school has a club for it though. If you end up going there my cousin could tell you when they meet.” Jade smirked as she nodded her head.

“Gymnastics is for everyone who’s interested, but everyone has different tastes. I started young so that I could keep in shape. I’ll definitely need to see if whatever school I go to has a club or not.” Ben hummed at this, the thought of the girl in one of the suits he would see from competitions on tv actually intriguing him. He blushed a bit as he realized why the guys would make such teases about the sport.

Their conversation came to an end when they noticed the approach of Captain Black. The duo quickly stood up in order to show him they were listening. The man came to a stop as he looked over the duo.

"Jade, Jackie had to leave in order to pick up his uncle's medicine," informed the agency head. The young Chan furrowed her brow as she looked away from the man. "He just got off the phone after your granduncle realized he forgot them. You'll be staying with us for a little while longer." The girl nodded slowly as she let a smile form on her face.

"Cool," replied Jade. "So we’re staying here then. Do we get to see all the cool spy stuff?" Ben seemed to share her interest as he looked to Augustus. The head agent quickly shook his head in response.

"Not without an adult to watch over you two. Ben may be here with his grandfather but you weren't even supposed to know about this place. If it weren't for Jackie I'd have you shipped off to juvie for trespassing." Jade glared at the head agent, crossing her arms under her chest in a huff as she shook her head. Believing he had said enough, Captain Black returned to his conversation with Max. Jade suddenly got an idea as she sent a small smile towards her new friend.

"I gotta go check on something real quick." Without giving Ben so much as a second to respond, the young Chan ran down the hall. She soon came across the hangar, a few of the guards looking away from the area. She smirked as she began to sneak her way across the room, ducking behind crates a few times. She approached the mopeds once more, only to find that there were no keys this time.

"And just where are you going young lady?" questioned a familiar voice. Jade turned around on a dime, coming face to face with Maxwell Tennyson. She chuckled as she rubbed her arm, trying to come up with a good bluff.

"I just… Wanted to make sure Jackie got back okay. From what Captain Black told me he left in a rush." The Plumber said nothing as he crossed his arms. He smirked as he shook his head.

"You're a pretty good liar for a girl my grandson's age. I wouldn’t try to improve that skill if I were you." Jade sighed as she looked away from the man. "So something seemed off to you too." Recognizing that this was more of a statement than a question, she decided to come clean.

"When I first got to Uncle's shop, he got a call from the doctors' office. He shouted them down for trying to get him to come in, saying he has enough natural remedies to last a lifetime. Why would he suddenly turn around and have Jackie go pick up a prescription…?" Maxwell nodded as he let his arms drop.

"When he supposedly has all the stuff he needs to keep himself healthy? Jing would never let anyone but himself do something to care for his health." Jade sent the elder Tennyson a curious brow.

"You know Uncle?" Maxwell nodded his head in response. He began to fish through his pocket as he turned to the Rustbucket.

"A story for another day. We need to get to Jing's store." Ben approached the duo as his grandfather pulled out his keys.

"So I take it you didn't intend to come back earlier," teased the Omnitrix wielder. Jade rubbed the back of her head in embarrassment. "Well now you're stuck with us, so no more sneaking off without me." He walked in right after his grandfather, stopping in the entrance as he looked back. "Jade, you coming or not?"

The girl smirked as she rushed forward, following the Tennysons. A guard cleared them for departure, signaling to one of the operators. The woman pressed the button, allowing the platform to rise back to the surface. The doors slid open as soon as the Rustbucket reached the top. The vehicle sped off, leaving the secret base behind.

Uncle's Rare Finds

Jackie ran into the building, nearly ripping the door off through momentum. He looked around the building as he tried to find the shield. He had no time to waste on keeping things tidy. Uncle was being used as a hostage, his very life on the line. The Kung Fu master groaned as he shook his head.

"Where would he hide a shield!?" cried Jackie. "It should be an obvious thing to spot!" He looked over to a nearby folding screen, an idea running through his head. He pulled the object to the side, only to be met by Jade and Ben. He screamed in surprise as he jerked back, patting his chest as he took deep breaths.

"Hi Jackie," greeted the young Chan. She crossed her arms under her chest in response to his glare. "Did you get Uncle's medicine?" Jackie huffed in response to being found out, only to shake his head as his glare returned.

"What are you two doing here!? Better question, how did you get here!?" Ben shook his head in response.

"No offense Mr. Chan, but she would've come even if we didn't bring her with us," began the young Tennyson. "We couldn't just let her wander the streets at this time of night." Grandpa Max walked into the room, a small frown on his face.

"Pardon the intrusion Jackie, but this is personal to us too," informed the elder Tennyson. The Kung Fu master turned towards the other adult, a little shocked by his sudden appearance. "Jing was a friend of mine back in our young days, so any threat to him is of great concern to me." Jackie sighed as he shook his head.

"Fine," allowed the archeologist. "You can help me find the shield, but afterwards you two will be leaving." He then turned his attention to Jade, a small frown on his face. "As for you, you will be heading to your room." The young Chan sounded off her disappointment as she watched her uncle crawl around the floor.

“What room?” questioned Jade. “I got here four hours ago? I only ever saw the main shop.” Jackie pointed towards the stairs, implying the way to her room. His niece could only groan in annoyance before beginning to search for the shield herself.

Ben couldn't help but feel a little upset by the development as well. He had always heard the term "never meet your heroes," but he didn't think it would be true. He still respected the man, but it was a little disheartening to know that he would react this way. He looked to the side as he tried to ignore the new point of view. His eyes narrowed as he took note of something.

Sitting with a bunch of stuff on top of it was a slightly dome shaped object. He shook his head as he approached the object. There was no way that it was that easy to find. Jade seemed to share his disbelief as she grabbed at the edge of the object. Imagine his surprise when she prepared to yank it out.

"Jade, wait!" cried Ben. It was too late, however, as the collection of items toppled towards Jackie. The Kung Fu master had no time to move out of the way as the avalanche covered him. The young Chan winced as she brought the shield up to her face. Jackie popped his head out of the rubble as she looked over the edge.

"My bad," She looked over the object, once again taking note of the stone in the middle. The symbol seemed to shine a bit, as if it had power within. Shaking her head, Jade decided to save herself some trouble and raise it up. "I think I got some of that wisdom you were talking about since I found this." Jackie quickly stood up as he retrieved the item of interest from his niece.

"Thank you," replied the archeologist. "Now go to your room. Up the stairs and to the right. I’ll clean it out in the morning." The young Chan growled in disappointment as she stomped her way upstairs.

The Kung Fu master then turned to the Tennyson duo. "Thank you both for your help, but it is time for you to leave." Ben frowned as he crossed his arms.

"But you can't go by yourself!" cried the young Tennyson in denial. "It's gonna be a trap! Even with your awesome skills, there's gotta be a limit to what you can take! You need our help!" The Kung Fu master shook his head in response.

"I have to go alone. Besides, you are too young to fight." Ben growled as he reached for the Omnitrix, feeling a need to prove himself. He was stopped, however, as Grandpa Max put his hand on his shoulder. The boy calmed down as he took note of the man’s smile.

"It'll be fine, Ben," reassured the Plumber. He then looked at Jackie, a small frown on his face. "Good luck. Say hi to Jing for me." The Kung Fu master nodded as he ran out the door. Ben looked up at his grandfather, a concerned frown on his face.

"We're not actually letting him go out there all by himself are we?" questioned the young Tennyson. "It's gotta be a trap." Maxwell nodded in response.

"Of course it is. He can't say he went alone if he rolled up in the Rustbucket now could he?" This question made Ben smile. The duo walked out of the building, unaware that they had a set of eyes on them. Jade smirked as she rubbed her hands together, not intent on being left behind.

Chinese Tower

Jackie stood before the building with the shield in hand, a determined look on his face. The building represented one of the old Chinese temples, hence the name. He frowned as he looked up to the top floor, the destination of his meeting. He caught the appearance of a figure at the top, most likely the kidnapper. He ran into the building as the figure vanished from view.

Nearby, the Rustbucket pulled into an abandoned Club Queen restaurant. Jade smirked from her place on the back, looking up to the top of the tower. She gulped at the size of the massive man on top, not looking forward to dealing with it. She shook her head as she began to focus. Uncle and Jackie needed her help. She prepared to run off, only to be grabbed by her hoodie.

"Your devotion to your family is a good trait Jade, but now really isn't the best time to try and be a hero," stated Maxwell. Jade looked up to find the old man holding her up by her hood, something she really didn't think he could do. Ben smirked as he held his hands behind his head. He honestly thought it was kinda cute to see Jade so determined. A blush formed on his face as he processed his thoughts.

'Where did that come from?' questioned the boy in his head. Jade harrumphed as she looked away from the elder Tennyson. Maxwell put her down, allowing her to turn his direction.

"Like I'm actually gonna sit back at home and twiddle my thumbs," began the young Chan. "Jing's my granduncle! I can't just sit by while some bigots with their wigs on too tight hurt him! There’s no way they’ll hand him over that easily when they get what they want!" Ben grinned as he nodded his head.

"Gotta admit, she does have a point. If the big guy wasn't up there, I'd say let her sock it to 'em." He hopped out of the vehicle as the young Chan looked his way. "I've got a plan, but it's gonna take some good timing and some muscle." Maxwell shot his grandson a curious brow, unsure how to take this news.

"Am I going to like this plan of yours?" questioned the elder Tennyson. "Last time you thought of a plan on the spot ended up with me and Gwen covered in gunk." Ben cried out in disagreement, waving off his grandfather.

"Details, details. Now, all we need is a heavy hitter to get Big Chungus with. Anyone got a bludgeon or something?" Jade tilted her head in confusion, not understanding the reference the boy made. Grandpa Max shook his head in response.

"Ben, just get on with it." This brought about a surprised look from his grandson and an inquisitive look from Jade. "We're pressed for time as it is. One person knowing won't change anything." The young Chan groaned as she rolled her eyes.

"What's with the secrets?" questioned Jade. "Is there something you wanna tell me or not?" Ben smirked as he reached for the Omnitrix, activating it in an instant. He soon found the creature he wanted, raising his arm in accordance.

"Why tell when I can show!?" questioned the boy. He slammed down on the core, enveloping the area in an emerald light. Jade had to shield her eyes as the light grew in intensity. When the light died down, the girl could not believe her eyes. Before her stood a large crystalized being with a black and white sleeveless unitard and yellow eyes.

"Awe man!" cried the being. "Oh well. Diamondhead's better than nothing." He then turned to the duo, quickly taking note of the newcomer’s shock. Grandpa Max seemed to notice this too as he placed a hand on Jade's shoulder.

"We'll explain everything later Jade," denied Maxwell. "Right now, we need to stay on track. What's the play Ben?" The large crystal creature pulled the two humans into a huddle, doing his best to keep quiet. Jade listened to the boy intently, smirking as she heard her part of the plan.

A tune played throughout the room as it rose through the tower. Jackie carefully held the shield, not wanting to be caught off guard. He couldn't help but hum to the beat of the jingle, his eyes going back and forth as he bobbed his head side to side. He could've swore he heard the band somewhere in public, probably at a mall or something (2). His thoughts were cut off as the device came to a stop.

The elevator let out a jingle, signaling its arrival. The Kung Fu master stepped out of the room, holding the shield up defensively. He looked around the area a few times, checking if the coast was clear. He soon caught sight of his targets, the rather large kidnapper and his uncle. The mountain of a man squeezed uncle's shoulder harder, reminding Jackie of his threat.

"The shield," ordered Tohru. Jackie kept the shield raised, ready for anything. He sent the Japanese giant a heavy scowl.

"Why does your employer want it!?" questioned the archeologist. "What makes it so special!?" Tohru remained stoic as he glared down at his target.

"That is none of your concern. My patience wears thin, Mr. Chan." Jade popped her head out of the stairway door, trying not to be seen. Jackie looked her way as she peaked towards him. He motioned to the large man, receiving a thumbs up in return.

"Okey-dokey! You want the shield? Catch!" He threw the artifact like a frisbee, causing the large man's eyes to widen. He reached up to catch the item, only to miss by a hair.

The shield seemed to do a roundabout as it sailed right back the way it came. Tohru moved to catch the object once more. He missed the object once again, allowing it to soar right by. Jackie caught it out of the air, readying it once more. The Japanese giant was finally able to regain his composure as he turned to the hero.

"FOOL! SAY GOODBYE TO YOUR UNCLE!" He turned to deliver a crushing blow to the old man, only to falter as there was no one there. He looked up from the spot to find Jade leading the man along. He growled as he looked at the Kung Fu master once more.

"I bet I run faster than you!" Jackie turned to run away, only to slow down as he heard a loud plop to his side. He began to pick up the pace once more, only to come to a stop as five more followed the first one. He turned around, only to find himself surrounded by the Shadowkhan. His eyes widened in shock as the mysterious creatures stood in waiting, menacingly glaring at him.

He looked around a few times, trying to find a way through the crowd. He brought the shield up once more, still unsure about his next course of action. "Um… come and get it." Upon that half-hearted taunt, the villainous shinobi rushed towards him. He blocked a few strikes from one opponent, quickly turning on a dime to block a flying kick from another.

Tohru ignored the group as Jackie continued to defend himself. He pressed a button on the elevator, activating it once again. The door slowly opened, only to reveal Diamondhead. The large man's eyes widened as the crystal creature stood before him, standing as still as a statue. The hero reeled his arm back, taking advantage of his opponent's lack of response.

"Hey there, Sumo Reject!" cried Diamondhead. Tohru moved to block the attack, but he was still sent flying backwards. Jackie was lucky enough to move out of the way just in time to avoid the flying goliath, a few Shadowkhan not so lucky. The Kung Fu master looked towards the new arrival, his eyes widening in shock. He cried out in terror as the shinobi began to close in.

Recognizing the look on the actor's face, the hero rushed into the crowd. "Out of the way, Mr. Chan!" Jackie was thankfully able to perceive the message, ducking with the shield over his head. Diamondhead skidded to a stop as he aimed his arms forward. Crystals of multiple sizes shot out of his arms, hitting the villainous shinobi straight in the chest.

The beings dissipated due to the injuries they received, bringing a relieved look to the creature's face. "So you guys are one of those kinds of henchmen." He pounded his palm as the ninjas soon surrounded him. "Now I'm excited!" He punched one of the villains square in the jaw, sending it flying into a few of its comrades.

Jackie flipped over a few ninjas as he tried to find a way out, only for more shinobi to come his way. He blocked their advances with the shield before swiping at them. The beings moved out of the way in order to mitigate any harm it could've done. Jackie soon found himself back to back with the large diamond being.

"What are you!? What is all this!?" Diamondhead looked back with a nervous chuckle.

"I'm what you call a superhero, Jackie Chan! As for these things… I have no idea what they are. All I do know is that they aren't living things, which means I get to do this!" The Petrosapien stomped his foot against the ground, stabbing a bunch of the Shadowkhan in the chest.

Diamondhead patted his hands in satisfaction as the villains dissipated into smoke. A few of the enemies tried to get the jump on the distracted hero, only to have the shield bashed against their faces. They disappeared into puffs of smoke as the artifact soared through the air. Jackie used another Shadowkhan as a platform to jump off of as he caught the object midair, spinning a bit afterwards. He then landed on the ground, blocking yet another flurry of blows.

Tohru roared in anger as he climbed his way back up, enraged by the earlier attack. He charged the duo, intent on flattening them. The ninjas dodged out of the way as the Japanese giant continued on his rampage. Diamondhead moved to bring about more crystals, only to be rammed by the Japanese giant. He let his feet drag against the ground as he tried to push back against the behemoth.

He found himself being hoisted into the air as the large man skidded to a stop. Tohru stood near the edge of the building, his opponent high above his head. He threw the being over the side, watching as he fell towards the nearby trees. Satisfied with his work, the giant moved back to the elevator. He pressed the corresponding button, remaining stoic and still as he rode all the way down.

He too found himself humming the tune of the elevator. It was a surprisingly catchy toon. Jackie moved to check on his new ally, only to be met by a wall of the shinobi. He raised the shield just in time to block yet another volley of strikes, scooting back a bit from the force. The Kung Fu master leapt backwards, attempting to evade the villainous forces.

He ran across the roof siding, the Shadowkhan quickly leaping to follow. Jade led Uncle out the front door, the duo coming to a stop in order to catch their breaths. They looked up to the scene above them, the young Chan holding her hands together in a pleading manner. The Kung Fu master did a few backflips as he once again dodged a storm of shuriken. He soon found himself at the edge of a sideways post, waving his arms around as he tried to catch himself.

"Jackie!" cried Jade. The archeologist was finally able to regain his balance, earning a sigh of relief from his niece. The shinobi drew closer, menacingly readying their weapons. The man looked down to the duo below, smirking as he got an idea. He slid the shield off his hand, dropping it towards the ground below.

Jade quickly caught the relic in her hands, quickly noting its surprising lack of weight. She turned to run away from the scene, only to bump into a rather large mass. She looked up to see Tohru, the man staring down at her menacingly. She giggled as she backed up towards Uncle, holding the shield in front of her defensively.

"The shield," calmly demanded the giant. Uncle let off a battle cry as he entered a fighting stance. He hit the large man with a palm strike, but it had little effect. Tohru's eyes narrowed, his visage looking scarier than before. Jade readied to hand over the shield, only to pause as she looked behind the man. A pat hit Tohru on the back, the man turning around in confusion.

"You didn't say please!" roared Diamondhead. The crystal figure decked Tohru in the face, sending him stumbling back a few feet. Uncle gasped as he pointed towards the alien.

"A GOLEM!?" cried the old man. "WHAT IS A GOLEM DOING HERE!?" Tohru, not caring about the significance of the find, roared as he rushed his opponent. Diamondhead smirked as he dodged to the side, allowing the giant to strike the ground. He suddenly grabbed the arm of his enemy, using the momentum to flip him.

The Shadowkhan abandoned Jackie all together as they leapt at the new target. The alien quickly raised his right arm, sending a volley of crystal shards at the group of shinobi. Most of them took the attack, dispelling into a puff of blue smoke. The few that survived raised their blades, ready to cut through the hero. Said creature crossed his arms, easily blocking and shattering the weapons.

Jade's eyes sparkled as she watched the battle unfold. Diamondhead threw one of the shinobi onto the ground, stomping down on it. The girl had never seen anything so spectacular in her life. Tohru caught the alien by surprise, catching him in a bear hug from the front. The hero retaliated by using his namesake to headbutt the opponent, a resounding smack ringing through the air.

The large man released his opponent, falling backward with a thud. Two remaining shinobi grabbed the large man from both sides, looking to the group before them. They glared at the crystal creature for a bit before dragging their comrade into the shadows.

"That… was… AWESOME!" cried Jade. The stone creature turned towards the two Chan's, a smirk on his face. The symbol on his chest began to blink, a familiar jingle ringing through the air. Diamondhead sounded off his nervousness as he looked around the area.

"I'LL TAKE AUTOGRAPHS LATER!" cheered the hero. "I'M NEEDED ELSEWHERE! DIAMONDHEAD OUT!" He ran off into the woods, disappearing into the tree line. Uncle was about to rush off after the golem, but the sound of a running motor soon cut off the moment.

A helicopter flew into the area, shining a light down on Jackie. The side door opened to reveal Captain Black. He brought a megaphone to his face, the device crying out as it activated.

"It's just a research job!" shouted the agent. "Honestly!" The Kung Fu master allowed a small smile to grow upon his face as the vehicle lowered down to his level. Once on the ground, the man ran towards his family. The young Chan ran up to him, a huge smile plastered on her face.

"Did you see that Jackie!?" questioned Jade. "That Diamondhead guy just took on an army by himself! He was all like…" She took her focus off her uncle as she mimicked some of his attacks, holding her arm out while making laser noises. The man chuckled in amusem*nt as he rubbed the top of her head.

"I am just happy he was able to keep you safe and recover the shield," answered Jackie. “That’s the important part.” He received a smack to the head from Uncle, the old man seeming peeved by the statement. "What!?" The elder Chan stood up straight as he pointed a finger at his nephew.

"SHIELD NOT IMPORTANT!" roared Uncle. He smiled as he held his index finger up. "The talisman in the center of the shield is. That is where the magic lies." Captain Black furrowed his brow, not entirely sure whether to take the old man seriously or not.

"Don't worry," reassured the head agent. "We'll look into that as soon as we get the stone out of the shield." Jade chuckled at those words, quickly reaching into her pocket.

"I wouldn't worry too much about that part," explained the girl. She pulled the stone out of her pocket, showing it off to the adults. "I was gonna pull a switcheroo on the big guy when Diamondhead saved us. I was thinking of exercising that wisdom you told me about, Jackie." The archeologist couldn't help but smile at the girl's antics.

"Jade!" cried a familiar voice. The group looked to the origin, watching as Ben and Maxwell ran over to them. "Are you alright? Did you see Diamondhead?" The girl nodded her head, her excitement clearly present on her face.

"He was so awesome! If this is the kind of stuff I'm gonna see in America, then this is gonna be the best year of my life! That guy was hands down the coolest hero I'd ever seen!" Ben seemed to blush a bit as he rubbed the back of his head. Jackie quickly retrieved the talisman from his niece, looking it over for a bit.

"Maxwell?" questioned Uncle. "Is that you?" The plumber smirked as he held his hands in his pockets.

"It's been a while, Jing," greeted Max. "Last time I saw you, you were arguing with the clerk for not carrying sheep tongues." The others seemed confused by this statement, only to be interrupted as Uncle let off a slight chuckle.

"You showed me one of the best markets around for all the odds and ends that earned Uncle strange looks. Not one store carried canned octopus or pickled mung beans." Jade sounded off her disgust at the mentioned ingredients, Ben patting her on the back for comfort. Captain Black cleared his throat, regaining the group's attention.

"It's nice to play catchup and all, but we still have a situation," clarified the agent. “We need to figure out what’s so important about this 'magic' rock.” He received one of Uncle's famous slaps, crying out indignantly at the attack.

"Getting there! The markings on the stone depict the Rooster, a creature of the Chinese Zodiac. There are eleven more creatures in the Zodiac, meaning that there is the same number of talismans remaining." Maxwell rubbed his chin, quickly piecing things together.

"If I were a betting man, I'd bet my bottom dollar that this 'Dark Hand' will be after those too," guessed the plumber. His face hardened as he looked at his former subordinate. "Whatever purpose these stones have, they cannot fall into the wrong hands. We've had our fair share with magical or mythical objects, and it's never pretty." Captain Black rolled his eyes at the statement.

"Right… 'magic,'" teased the man. He shook his head before looking at Jackie. "What do you say Jackie? You in?" The Kung Fu master sounded off his reluctance, not sure whether he wanted to go deeper into it.

"Absolutely!" cried out Jade. The archeologist looked down at his niece, noticing the huge grin on her face. The girl was clearly thrilled to have this kind of opportunity. He could hazard a guess that things like this would keep happening unless someone put a stop to the Dark Hand. He smiled softly, nodding his head in acceptance.

"Maybe we should lend a hand Grandpa," whispered Ben. The elder in question looked down to his grandson, noting the pleading look on his face. "This could be another Hex situation, and magic is nothing to be messed with. They could use some Omnitrix power." Maxwell nodded in response, knowing firsthand the kind of effect artifacts of this scale held.

"This is still Section 13's operation, but I don't see the problem with helping out now and then," agreed the plumber. He approached the head agent of the aforementioned agency, a smirk on his face. "Mind letting an old man in on the action, Augustus? Looks like things have gotten interesting." The bald man sent his former mentor a pleased smirk.

"Majister Tennyson, it would be an honor," accepted the man. “But first, I believe none of you have eaten yet. Dinner’s on me tonight. I hope you like burgers.” Max nodded his head, intrigued by the offer. Jade also hummed in interest, having never had a burger before.

Ben fist pumped in the background, happy to finally be back in the action. He felt a great need to tell his cousin, Gwen, about this whole situation. It wouldn’t be the whole team without her being involved. He was about to rush over to the group, when he felt a hand on his shoulder. He turned to find Jade playing with her hair, the girl looking slightly nervous.

"Hey Ben?" questioned the young Chan. "I was wondering how that watch of yours worked. Maybe after dinner, you can show me a few of the other aliens in there? I’ve never had burgers before so I’d like to try one before we get to anything crazy." The boy smirked as he crossed his arms. This looked to be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

Xiaoling Industries Tower

Valmont stood with his cane in his hand, angered by the current situation. Not only did the Shadowkhan prove to be ineffective, but Tohru was unable to obtain the shield. If it was Jackie Chan alone that held the problem then he would have understood. It would've been impressive for one man to be able to bring down the army by himself, yet the supposed "truth" had the business man digging into the wood of his false crutch. He turned to the battered and beaten Tohru, his eyes conveying his lividness.

"First it was my top enforcers being defeated by a man with windshield wipers," stated Valmont. "Now, you're telling me that you and a handful of mystical assassins were defeated by a 'crystal man?' I never would have expected such excuses from a man of honor such as yourself." The Japanese giant shook his head in response.

"I speak the truth, Master," informed Tohru. "The being called itself 'Diamondhead.' It was able to make crystals fly out of its arms and overpower an entire army of Shendu's minions." Valmont bopped his cane against the ground, bringing the large lackey to lower his head. To the surprise of everyone, however, Finn stepped forward.

"I don't know, Big V," stated the disco reject. "I didn't wanna say anything, but something similar happened during our fight with Chan." Shendu's eyes glowed, a hum escaping from his stone form.

"Explain yourself, red one," requested the dragon. Valmont shifted his gaze between the three individuals. Deciding to humor the chances, the head villain nodded to his subordinate.

"I was gonna grab a kid at the playground- you know the whole hostage scenario- when someone, or something, called out to me. The next thing I knew, I was by the swing set on the other side. I pulled out my rod to try and hit the guy but he caught me off guard the exact same way, this time taking me to the merry-go-round. When I looked up, I was being chastised by what had to be some kind of talking blue dinosaur." Valmont did a double take as he gave the redhead an incredulous look.

"Pardon me?" questioned the man. "You’re saying a ‘talking blue dinosaur’ attacked you? You must have hit your head rather hard. There is no way such a creature could exist." Finn nodded his head, his eyes widening as he held his arms up defensively.

"That's what I thought too. Tohru's story got me thinking, though, that it might have actually been real." A small flame puffed in Shendu's mouth, the dragon's eyes glowing brighter.

"I can assure you that the creatures seen on this day are as real as I am," informed the dragon. The humans looked to the talking statue, baffled by the revelation. "Both the golem and the reptilian creature are beings from beyond the Earth itself, extending into the stars." Chow held his hands in the shape of a T, sounding off his disbelief.

"Time out, Lizard Breath," interrupted the Chinese punk. "You're saying that those were aliens, as in from outer space kind of aliens? Those things are actually real?" The stone dragon sent a small torrent of fire at the annoyance, the man dodging out of the way.

"DO NOT QUESTION ME, FOOL! I know very well the exact creatures described here today! The only question now is how did they get here and how have they been able to remain hidden from the populace for so long?" Valmont took a deep breath, cursing his luck at this very moment. He had just had to follow the family legacy and make a deal with a literal demon.

And that, readers, is the new first chapter to Chan in Bellwood! It's only the first part of it to boot! There's still one whole half of the story, the second episode of JCA to be precise. Gwen still needs to be introduced into the story, and there's still some questions that Jade and the others want answered. One thing's for sure, the hype train is back on track!

Anywho, what did you think of the first chapter? Do you like the new starting point, or do you wish things started out like they did before? Did you like Diamondhead's big battle? Let me know what you think and I'll get back to you ASAP. Until then this is Inkaliber, signing off.

(1) I thought it would be neat if Valmont had a cover business that raked in a good bit of his funding.

(2) The song is the elevator version of Gitchee-Gitchee-Goo from Phineas and Ferb. Even Tohru seems to have liked the tune.1

Chapter 2: Welcome to Bellwood: Part 2

Chapter Text

Hello everybody! Welcome back! I'm glad to see that the old story still has some interest going for it. This was, and still kinda is, my big writing project and I hope to see it through till its end. With all that said, let's answer some reviews.

...I guess there weren't any reviews that I couldn't answer till now. That's embarrassing.

Anywho, let's get on with the chapter! I don't own Ben 10, Jackie Chan Adventures or any other series to appear in the story and the universe. I do own OC characters, objects, ideas, and concepts unless stated otherwise.

Voices

“Talking.”

‘Thinking.’

“YELLING!”

“Author/Guest/High or demonic entity talking. Also, surprise at the end of a section.”

“AUTHOR/GUEST/HIGH OR DEMONIC ENTITY YELLING!”

“Whispering.”

“Author/Guest/High or demonic entity whispering.”

[Language Indicator]

“Machine or alt communication talking/Talking in flashback.”

“MACHINE OR ALT COMMUNICATION YELLING/YELLING IN FLASHBACK!”

“Machine or alt communication whispering/Whispering in flashback.”

Bellwood, Pennsylvania

Jade moaned as she rolled around in her bed, her alarm going off on the end table nearby. She reached out for the device, only to accidentally push it out of reach. She groaned in annoyance as she laid flat on her back. She really didn't wanna get up today, thinking she could probably sleep in for longer. The prior night had already been a lot for her.

After having dinner with Captain Black and the Tennysons, Jade having enjoyed a plain burger while sitting next to Ben, she was immediately returned to Uncle’s shop. She had to wait for Jackie to clean out the room before she could actually get to sleep, forced to stand around in her purple nightgown. She was lucky to get her bag so that she could change into said outfit and set up her toiletries in the bathroom. She suddenly heard a knock at the door, ending any hope of sleeping in later.

"Time to get up Jade," whispered Jackie. The archeologist opened the door, smiling softly at the lump in the bed. "Today is the first day of school. Don't want to be late." The young Chan looked at her uncle for a bit, only to flip back onto her side.

"Five more minutes," pleaded the girl. "School's boring." The Kung Fu master sighed as he shook his head. He began to realize that this might have been part of the trouble she got into back at school in Hong Kong. He smirked as he suddenly got an idea, leaning over to rest on the doorframe.

"Well… I guess you'll just have to miss Ben then." The girl's eyes widened as she shifted a bit in the bed. "There's only one school in the area, so there's a big possibility he'll be there. I suppose you can sleep in if…" Jade suddenly jumped straight up, her chest bouncing a bit from the rushed movement.

"WHY DIDN'T YOU SAY SO!?" The young Chan quickly ran to her uncle, pushing him out the door. "Get out! I gotta get ready!" Jackie yelped as he felt the door hit him on the butt, rubbing the area in order to soothe the pain.

Jade took time in the shower, making sure to wash up everywhere. Once she was done, she quickly changed into another set of the outfit she wore yesterday, not feeling like trying anything new. She practically ran downstairs as she adjusted her backpack on her back. She came to the counter, slinging her bag onto the ground before hopping into her seat. Jackie set a plate of eggs and bacon before her, a smile on his face.

“I made you breakfast for your first morning in America.” Jade bowed slightly in gratitude before she began to woof down her meal, earning a look of concern from her uncle. “So… you do not sleep with a bra? You made that apparent when you got up this morning. You know, you could incur back pains by doing that.” This apparently was not a good thing to mention as the girl held her arms in front of her chest.

“How I sleep is my business. I know what to expect and have plenty of practice getting up without one. Stop asking about it.” Jackie nodded his head, understanding that he may have made a bad play. He placed her lunchbox on the counter as she wiped her mouth with her sleeve.

"I packed a nice, healthy lunch for you. I even put a fruit bar in there as a special treat." The young girl sighed, shaking her head as she retrieved the object.

"Thanks Jackie." She looked at the clock as she sipped on some juice, only to spew her drink as her eyes widened in panic. "I'm gonna be late! Why didn't we leave earlier!?" Her uncle gestured outside, a small smile on his face.

"We still have plenty of time before the bus even…" His words died in his throat as he noticed that the vehicle was already at the bus stop, a few kids getting on. He quickly pulled off his apron as his niece slid out of her chair. "GO-GO-GO!" Jade pulled her bag onto her back as she rushed out the front door.

"Wait for me!" Jade rushed to the bus without a moment to lose. The doors were about to shut when a foot propped it open. She ran in and panted as she came to a stop, holding her hands on her knees. "Thanks."

"No problem," replied the other girl. Jade finally stood up as she caught her breath, getting a good view of the helpful kid. She had short red hair, fair skin and green eyes. She wore a blue hair clip to keep her hair in place, a blue raglan shirt with a cat logo on her chest, white capris, and a pair of white shoes with dark blue stripes. Before anything else could be said, the bus driver cleared his throat.

"Please take your seats." ordered the man. "I'd like to arrive on time for the first day this semester." The duo nodded as they quickly searched for a seat, luckily enough sitting right next to each other. Jade smiled as she looked at the helpful kid next to her.

"I'm Chan Yu, but here in America I go by Jade," greeted the young Chan. The redhead quickly shook her hand, a smile of her own forming. They soon released their hold as she nodded her head.

"Nice to meet you, Jade," replied the local. "I'm Gwen." The green eyed girl looked over her new friend a bit, her brows furrowing slightly. "Are you new? I haven't really seen you around before." The Chinese girl nodded in response.

"Yeah. I just got here yesterday. My parents sent me here to spend a year with my uncle." Gwen quickly caught the slight drop in the smile of her companion. She could tell that there might have been some familial issues going on, but it wasn't really her place to say. She smirked as she placed a hand on the foreigner's shoulder.

"Well then, welcome to Bellwood, Jade. This place might not be as big as San Francisco or New York, but there's plenty of cool stuff here." Jade smiled as her mind wandered to one example she was already acquainted with. It didn't take long for the bus to reach its intended destination, the young Chan happy to Finally be there. She wasn't really looking forward to taking part in the school year, but it would at least be worth it if her newest friend really was there. It's not like there was anyone else interesting in the city… right?

Hours Later

Jade had never been so wrong about school in all her life, that much she was convinced of. It wasn't even lunch time yet, and she had already met some neat kids her age. The first was a young girl by the name of Julie in English, the girl in question a tennis player with a dream of being a pro. Then she met Simone in History, a lover of the theater and classical horror tales. None of the people she met were like Ben and Gwen, but it was still cool to see just how many people were willing to accept her presence. She also found out when the gymnastics club was meeting, though there was unfortunately no meeting planned for that day.

It wasn't all sunshine and rainbows, however. She had the displeasure of making a rival in gym class. The boy's name was Drew, and he had to be one of the most annoying boys she had ever met. He seemed to have an ego bigger than hers, and she wasn't usually one to admit to her own shortcomings. Thankfully, they only seemed to share a few classes.

Jade couldn't help but frown as she tapped her pencil against the desk. Don't get her wrong, she kind of liked biology. The only problem she was having was that she hadn't seen Ben all say. Did he have different classes or something? She didn't have time to ponder the answer as the bell rang.

She quickly made her way to the lunch room, hoping to Find the watch boy there. She weaved through the other kids, her eyes darting around the room. She smiled as she caught sight of Gwen, the redhead sitting by herself as she pulled out an apple. She resumed her dodging as she scooted between the crowd of children. She was about to reach her destination when she felt an obstruction against her foot.

Jade barely caught herself with her arms before she hit the ground. She growled as she looked back at the perpetrator, meeting eye to eye with a head the shape of a sideways football. The boy had black eyes, short black hair, and tan skin. He wore a gray shirt with blue accents and with a light blue cash register on it, blue shorts, and white shoes. He gave her a co*cky look as he cracked his knuckles.

"Look who decided to cross my path," began the bully, his status becoming obvious via the tone of his voice. "I heard there was a new kid in school this year. Looks like I'll have to give you the newbie run down myself." The young Chan quickly rose to her feet, glaring at the bully before her. She clenched her fist, ready to fight.

"Leave her alone Cash!" cried a familiar voice. Jade looked to her right as Gwen now stood by her side, the redhead standing defiantly against the boy. The bully growled at the presence of the other local, seeming hesitant to continue. "Are you really that pathetic that you have to pick on girls when J.T. isn't here?" Cash raised a fist as he approached the duo, anger present on his face.

"I'm not afraid of hitting some stupid girls! Everyone talks about equal treatment these days, so I'll treat you like I do your stupid cousin!" He was about to let loose on the girls when he felt something catch his arm. Jade's face lit up as she saw a familiar looking watch.

"I learned a few things over the past few years, Cash," informed Ben. The bully looked back towards him, surprised by the show of strength. The alien hero pulled his captive to the other side of him, sending him stumbling towards the crowd. "I learned that bigger doesn't always mean better. In the case of a teacher or adult though, it can actually be helpful when dealing with bullies."

"Stop messing with me Tennyson! No stupid words or fancy moves are gonna stop me from reintroducing your underwear to the flagpole!" The bully was about to resume his prior action, aiming for the new target in front of him, only to stop as he heard someone clear their throat. He slowly turned around, turning pale as he looked up to meet the eyes of a teacher. Now he realized what the latter half of the boy's words meant.

"The first day back and you're already picking fights," groaned the older man. "I thought you would have at least shown some form of respect to the school's guest student." The teacher grabbed Cash's arm before he could run off, earning a pleading cry from the boy. "It's to the principal's office for you young man. The rest of you will be let off with a warning for not escalating the situation." The bully continued to try and fight his way out of the teacher's grasp as he was dragged away from the cafeteria.

"Some people never change," sighed Ben. He shook his head in disappointment before he turned towards the girls, a smirk on his face. "You alright there Jade? Cash can be a butt at times." The young Chan nodded in response, holding her lunchbox behind her back as she twisted her heel.

"I'm fine," replied Jade. "I was able to catch myself before anything was damaged." The boy nodded his head, grateful for the information. Gwen seemed to have a surprised smile on her face as she approached the watch boy.

"Looks like someone's finally maturing… somewhat," teased the redhead. Ben's smile faded as he looked at the girl beside him. He crossed his arms as he slid his left foot away from his right slightly.

"And what's that supposed to mean, Doofus? I can be mature when I want to be." Gwen laughed as she put her hands on her hips, not at all deterred by the statement. Jade looked between the duo, a suspicious look forming on her face.

"Are you two siblings or something?" questioned the young Chan. "I'm kinda at a loss here." The local duo looked at each other a bit, only to laugh amongst themselves. Noticing the look on Jade's face, Ben let his arms drop to his side.

"Not exactly. This is my doofus cousin, Gwen, though it looks like you guys have already met." The young Chan sighed in relief as she placed a hand on her chest. She didn't care if Gwen noticed the strange reaction, not knowing why she held her breath herself. She quickly regained her composure as she brought her lunch box into view.

"Would the hero like to have lunch with us?" Gwen's brow furrowed as she looked to her cousin. The look on his face made it obvious that there was something more conveyed in those words. Did the new girl actually know his secret? With only one way to know for sure, the redhead decided to bide her time and wait.

Xiaoling Industries Tower

A video recording of the day prior played upon a large tv screen, Valmont and his Enforcers watching it with careful eyes. This specific moment was viewed from a camera above the playground, the device having been "acquired" in order to assess the battle. They watched the moment Finn was dragged around the dedicated zone over and over again, hoping to catch a glimpse of their newest adversary. The employer actually took pity on his grunt, now seeing firsthand the kind of fight they were thrown into. He quickly pressed the pause button after the blur stood above the redhead villain.

His eyes narrowed as he got a good look at the alien creature. He could clearly see a few features that were not present in his disco era lackey's story, such as the striped tail and the balls in between the creature's toes. He pulled up some old reports from across the continent, Finding several matches for the mysterious fighter. The olive skinned man, Ratso, cried out in surprise as he pointed to one of the papers.

"I was there for that one!" cried the brute. "I only really saw the blur, but he was fighting this massive mutant frog thingy. When he disappeared, this cool four armed one came in and slugged it in the jaw." Valmont tapped his cane, signaling his underling to return to his seat. He really didn't need confirmation of another potential threat to the plan.

"First it was Jackie Chan getting in my way, and even then he was just one man," lamented Valmont. "Now I have to deal with extraterrestrial beings who look like dinosaurs and sapient rocks." A hum filled the room as Shendu's statue awakened. The being's red eyes glowed as it came to life.

"It would appear that we are dealing with more than just a Kineceleran and a Petrosapien," mused the dragon. "The two creatures share one thing in common; they bear the mark of the First Thinker. It was that accursed being that helped the humans to seal me away all those years ago, on his mission to catalog the creatures of the galaxy. My kind were the first to welcome him, those pompous scholars." This new piece of information shocked the villains.

Aliens really were on Earth for a long time. Seeing that the group was losing focus, Shendu decided to press on. "We must be wary of any more surprise visitors of the extraterrestrial variety. From now on, the Shadowkhan will keep an eye over the operations of your men." The redhead scoffed as he stood up.

"You think we can't take care of ourselves?" questioned the disco reject. "Give us a situation without those pesky aliens and we'll clean house. Plus, if we're more prepared, those freaks won't know what hit them." The Asian grunt nodded in agreement.

"Yeah," began the punk. "We'll show them why humans dominate the Earth." Shendu chuckled in amusem*nt, seeming to get a kick out of their show of frustration.

"Very well then. If you can retrieve the Rooster Talisman from this 'Jackie Chan' by the end of the night, you may take care of these cretins yourselves." The olive skinned member of the trio quickly brought a hand to his ear as he approached his allies.

"I don't know Finn," doubted the brute. "I saw the four armed one throw a giant toad across a street. You and Chow sure ya know what you're getting' into?" Finn scoffed as he shook his head.

"Relax Ratso," reassured the redhead. "They seem to only come out one at a time. If we outnumber even one of them we have a fighting chance." The olive man, now identified as Ratso, sighed as he shook his head. He really wished they could go back to collecting protectorates.

Bellwood Academy (1)

Jade rested her head in her palm as the lesson droned on. It wasn't like she hated the subject, mind you. She actually enjoyed knowing a bit about the mythology of ancient civilizations, like that of Rome or Japan. In fact, she could probably tell you a bit about the various yokai and oni if you gave her enough time to reread some old material. There was one thing, however, that pulled her focus away from the current discussion: the Omnitrix.

That was the name of the awesome wristwatch that gave Ben his powers. Another fun fact that comes from this knowledge is that aliens do indeed exist. The device apparently allowed the boy to turn into one of billions of aliens, though he only had access to 22 of them right now. Diamondhead happened to be one of the original ten he had access to. The thought of creatures cooler than him was enough to drive her mind mad.

"Are you sure it was a good idea to tell her about the watch?" questioned Gwen. She sat behind the new girl, slightly worried by her distracted aura. "I think you might've broken her." Ben looked to his newest friend, noticing the bored look on her face. He shrugged as he returned his attention to the chalkboard.

"It's not like I had a choice anyway," explained the alien hero. "Grandpa literally told me to transform in front of her. Besides, she's handling it better than most kids our age." The red haired girl prepared to retort, only to pause as she noticed Jade was still taking notes. She sighed as she shook her head.

'I guess I have to hand it to her. For someone who grew up in a mostly normal life, she's taking this rather well.' The bell suddenly rang, signaling the end of the day. Both Ben and Jade were the first out of their seats, rushing for the exit with their bags in hand. They nearly squashed Cash as they fought to reach the lockers.

Jade opened her locker straight away, picking up her remaining schoolbooks from the day. She really hoped she had time to check out some of Ben's other aliens before they had to leave. There was no way she was missing out on Fourarms if what the watch boy said about him was true. She shoved the last of her belongings in the bag before making her way to the exit. She soon caught sight of the cousins, grinning as she rushed towards them.

"Jade!" cried a familiar voice. She winced slightly as she came to a stop. She slowly turned to see Jackie standing next to a taxi. "Over here!" Gwen turned around to see the man, shocked by his appearance.

She heard from Ben that Jade was related to Jackie Chan, but she didn't really think it was true. Now that the man was here, however, it was clear they weren't just telling tales. The young Chan gave him a pleading look as she gestured towards the Tennyson duo.

"Can't you give me five minutes!?" questioned the girl. “I wanna talk with someone for a bit!” Jackie shook his head in denial.

"You can play with your friends later, Jade! We have to finish getting you settled into your room!" Jade groaned in defeat as she walked towards her uncle, her hands in her pockets. The Tennysons watched as the vehicle drove away, waving the girl goodbye. Gwen's face took on a worried tone as she looked at her cousin. Noticing the look on her face, Ben nodded his head.

"He doesn't know about the Omnitrix," answered the boy. "After seeing how he coddles Jade, I don't think I want him to know right now. He's so overprotective he'd probably ship her back to China in order to keep her away from all the trouble." The redhead sighed as she shook her head.

"How come you always get yourself into these situations?" questioned Gwen. The boy gave her an incredulous look as she rubbed her temples. She then lowered her hand as she gestured to the now empty area. "How did you even meet them in the first place?" He smirked in excitement, happy to recount the events of yesterday.

Downtown Bellwood

Jade groaned as she looked between the two adults at the table, Jackie and Uncle. They decided to talk about the stone talisman somewhere public in order to avoid confrontation. What better place to do so than having dinner at a restaurant? The only problem she was having with this was their choice of dining tonight. She looked at Jackie with an annoyed frown.

"Chinese food?" questioned the girl. "I just moved here from Hong Kong! I'm tired of rice and noodles! Couldn't we grab some don don at least?" Uncle looked in her direction, a calm frown on his face.

"Uncle cannot handle spicy foods," denied the old man. "Bad for digestion." Jade sighed in defeat as she crossed her arms. She could admit that Mexican food could be a little spicy at times. Plus she didn't wanna know how the bathroom would smell if Uncle had indigestion.

Seeing that there would be no interruptions, the expert looked to his nephew. "Jackie, the Rooster Talisman possesses enormous power." Jade's eyes widened as she processed the man's words. The little rock had that much power to it? She picked the stone up, looking over the engraving on its face.

"What does it do? Make people do the Funky Chicken?" Jackie shook his head as he gently took the stone from his niece's hand.

"Manners, Jade," scolded the archeologist. "We are in a restaurant." He placed the object next to his soup bowl, not seeing the slight glow it gave off in that split second. Uncle cleared his throat as he brought up the back of his menu. To the surprise of the others, it displayed 12 animals surrounding a dragon logo.

"Ancient legend speaks of 12 talismans; one for each animal of the Chinese Zodiac," regaled the elder Chan. "Each possesses a magic of its own, setting it apart from the rest." Jade's excitement began to bubble as she leaned in closer. This was almost as exciting as learning about the Omnitrix. Her mind wandered back to the Tennysons, wondering what they were up to.

Seeing as there was no interruption, Uncle decided to press on. "Legend also says that the talismans were scattered to the four corners of the globe, yet never explains why. Should this or any talisman fall into evil hands…" Jade smirked as she did a few fighting movements with her hands.

"Jackie and the heroes of Bellwood will kick their hinnies to the curb!" cheered the girl. She stopped just inches from hitting the table, quickly noting the eyes on her. She chuckled as she returned to the proper sitting position. Her uncle scoffed as he rolled his eyes.

"The golem was one thing Jade, but the heroes of Bellwood are just a myth made up to promote that one children's cartoon," chastised the Kung Fu master. He himself chuckled as he shook his head. "There are some who think they are aliens from outer space." Jade looked away from him in uncertainty, having full knowledge of that fact. An idea hit her head as she sent him an excited smile.

"So Jackie? When are you gonna teach me some of that Kung Fu? I've always wanted to flip bad guys over my shoulder." The archeologist sighed as he looked away from his niece.

"Later, Jade." The young Chan harrumphed in response, crossing her arms once more. Jackie grabbed the Rooster Talisman once more, looking it over a bit. "Do you really believe in such a myth Uncle?" He received a slap from Uncle, chopsticks being the weapon of choice this time.

"Does that answer your question?" asked the elder Chan. Jade sighed as she rested her hands in her lap, blowing some strands of hair out of her face. She was trying to think of some way to show her uncle the potential she had, especially after she lost the chance when Ben defeated the big goon. Having grown up around a wealthy family, she knew the dos and don'ts of eating at a restaurant. Even if America was less stringent, she could tell that she almost made a scene with her earlier stunt.

She had to Find something that could inspire her uncle to train her. Before she could, however, the food arrived. She smacked her lips as she began to woof into her food. Jackie shot her an incredulous look as he watched his niece.

"Do not eat like a baboon! Chew your food, Jade!" The girl slurped up more noodles before sending the man a quirked brow.

"It's soup," argued the girl. "The vegetables I'll chew, but the noodles are another story." She resumed her devouring, humming in delight. Uncle looked away from the girl with a small sigh.

"She's your niece," stated the Elder Chan. The young Chan slurped up the last of the noodles, moving to chew on her vegetables. Her eyes wandered to the nearby fortune cookies, quickly grabbing one. She cracked it in half, removing the paper before eating the shell. Her eyes narrowed as she looked over the message.

"'Danger looms in your future?' That doesn't sound very encouraging." Uncle sounded off his agreement as his eyes took on a serious glare.

"We must tread carefully. Dark times are ahead." Jackie scoffed with a smile, almost laughing at the duo.

"You listen to a cookie?" questioned the Kung Fu master. The front door of the restaurant opened, catching Jade's attention. She looked towards the disturbance, only to blink upon seeing the Enforcers enter. Thinking quickly, she snuck the talisman from her uncle's side. Jackie began to drink his tea as Finn came to a stop behind him.

"Evening Chan," greeted the goon. The archeologist nearly spewed his drink in surprise. He slowly turned his head to meet the duo's gaze. Uncle shook his head as he tightened his grip on the chopsticks.

"Never mock the cookie," advised the old man. Jade quickly hid the stone in her finished bowl, narrowly avoiding the gaze of Chow. Finn sent Jackie a calm yet dark smile as he clenched his fists.

"Where's the talisman?" The Kung Fu master looked to the spot where he placed the stone, only to find that it was gone. He sounded off his uncertainty just as Ratso grabbed him by the collar. He quickly grabbed the brute's tie, pulling it tight around the villain's neck. Chow came at him with a punch, only for the hero to wrap his partner's tie around his hand.

He tried to chase after Jackie, only to come to a stop as he tightened the hold on Ratso. The Chinese punk tugged a few times, only realizing the position he was in when he turned around. Jade threw her fists around as the two buffoons tried to fix their situation.

"GO JACKIE!" cried the girl. "Kick their butts!" Jackie turned to send her away, only to duck out of the way of a chair. Finn went for an overhead smash, only to be tripped up from below. He pulled a gun out in preparation to threaten the man but the Kung Fu master kicked it into the nearby lobster tank.

The redhead had little time to react as his opponent kicked him across the restaurant. Chow and Ratso ran to their ally's side, looking over him for a second. The Asian man growled as he pulled out two small wooden objects. He took a fighting stance, extending his weapons into batons. He ran at Jackie with the intent to tackle him, only to be kicked in the back of the head as his opponent leapt over him.

Ratso walked towards the hero once again, only stopping to rip his tie off. He rushed to strike the archeologist, the man dodging in response. They kept this up for a bit as they made their way towards one of the now empty tables. The Kung Fu master looked back to find two full bowls, smirking at the coincidence. He dodged yet another punch as he grabbed one of the dishes.

He smashed the food into Ratso's face, blocking his view. Jackie slid behind the villain as he tried to clean his face. The olive skinned man looked around once his eyes were free, only to pause as his opponent tapped his shoulder. The hero threw the bowl into the air before flipping over the brute. He pulled the man backwards a bit, allowing the second bowl to fall food first into his face.

Jackie then kicked the brute back towards their table, causing him to fall on the ground. Jade gasped as the villain rose right in front of her bowl. He wiped the dish off his scowl, only to pause as he saw the broth. He smiled as he picked up the bowl.

"Ooh!" cried the man. "There's some broth left! Dibs!" The young Chan let her instincts take over as she leapt onto the table. She yanked the bowl out of Ratso's hands before stepping back a bit.

"It's mine!" She looked at the dish hesitantly, only to begin swallowing its contents that moment. She had to brace herself as she felt the talisman slide down her throat. The girl gagged as she grabbed at her neck. The villain gave her a concerned look as he stepped back.

"On second thought, I'll pass. Whatever they put in that stuff must taste terrible." He felt someone grab at his shoulder, Finn then making himself visible to the man.

"Let's just get out of here!" cried the leader of the stooges. "I ain't looking forward to seeing what that man can do with a spatula!" Gulping at the thought, Ratso followed the others out the door. Jackie smirked as he patted his hands together.

"Thank you for dining with us!" jeered the hero. He turned to the table, hoping to find the missing talisman. He looked all over the silverware as Jade hopped off, only to find nothing. The young Chan tugged at his shirt a bit.

"Um… Jackie?" began the girl. "I think I…" She was cut off as her uncle lifted the top of the tea kettle.

"The talisman is gone! They must have taken it during the fight!" Jade grabbed at his arm, trying to get his attention.

"Jackie I really need you to…" She was cut off once again as Jackie pushed her away. He looked at Uncle with a soft glare.

"Watch her." He ran out of the building, leaving the duo behind. Jade ran off to follow him, only for Uncle to place a hand on her shoulder. She looked up at him, noticing the calm smile on his face.

"Come and sit Jade," urged the old man. "There may be some more cookies." The girl groaned as she shook her head.

"You guys don't listen! The talisman was in my bowl of soup! Ratso was about to get a good look at it so I… ate it." Uncle blinked a few times, saying nothing as the minute wore on. His eyes widened as his face became stricken with horror.

"You what!? Why would you do that!?" The young Chan scoffed as she gestured to the exit.

"Would you rather let them have it? It wasn't exactly my finest moment. We have to get Jackie before they capture him!" Uncle crossed his arms in defiance.

"We are going back to the shop where Uncle will use natural remedies to remove the talisman. Jackie can handle himself." Jade gulped in fear, dreading what sort of "natural remedies" the elder Chan had in mind. She used the new expression to her advantage as she looked behind the old man.

"The restaurant owner! He looks very angry!" Uncle quickly turned around to confront said man, only to pause at the absence of any individual. He turned back to find his grandniece had disappeared. He groaned as he shook his head, mentally reminding himself that Jade was Jackie's niece.

Xiaoling Industries Tower

Valmont looked over the paper, sighing as he read the front page. It would seem that some buffoons that owed him money got defeated by an ATM machine and a man made of fire. Normally, he would chuck this off as them going mad. His mind moved back to the most recent revelation, however, forcing him to rethink the possibilities. He growled as he added "Fire Man" and "Living Machine" to the list of potential aliens.

'Must these things continue to pester me?' questioned the head villain. 'If Shendu wasn't making good on his promise of riches I would have pawned him off onto the next sorry sap.' His self-berating was cut off as he heard the communicator buzz. He pressed the accept button, meeting the faces of his Enforcers.

"Hey big V," greeted Finn. "Things didn't go exactly as planned." Valmont growled to himself as he clenched his fist.

"I am all ears." The redhead hesitated, trying to come up with some good news. Before he could say anything, Ratso pushed him out of the way a bit.

"We stomped Chan!" cried the man. The boss sighed, easily catching the lie. Finn soon regained his spot as he pushed his ally to the side.

"We stomped him good… but we didn't see the talisman. He might not have had it on him at all." Valmont considered the words of his men for a second. His head didn't move from its spot as he brought his finger up to the end call button.

"You will be punished," informed the head villain. The Enforcers looked like they had more to say but Valmont cut them off before they could utter a peep. The mob boss sighed as he rubbed his temples. His headache furthered as he heard a familiar hissing. He turned around to see that Shendu's red eyes were now glowing.

"A bit of hindsight, Valmont, but mayhap the blind can be made to see with the eyes of a dragon," stated the statue. One of the stone slots on its form melted as it gave way to a new object. A small statuette depicting four dragon heads pointing in opposite directions forced its way out of its creator. It fell towards the ground, only to be caught by a blue hand. The Shadowkhan rose from the ground, vengeance laced in their eyes.

Downtown Bellwood

Jackie growled as he ran through the streets, desperately searching for the Enforcers. He had to get the talisman back from them. Magic or not, it was obvious the stone had some form of importance. If things were normal he would have called the authorities about the theft. He had a niece to look after now, however, and whatever the Dark Hand had planned would affect her life as well.

He rounded the corner, coming face to face with his targets. He narrowed his eyes as the group began to take a few steps back. The villains bolted, not wanting to experience what the man was like when he was angry. Jackie gave chase just as Jade rounded the corner. The girl groaned as she rolled her shoulders.

"I have to get to Jackie now!" cried Jade. She ran ahead, making sure to remain hidden from view. Unbeknownst to both groups, the Shadowkhan were lying in wait. One held up the strange statuette as Jackie ran past, earning no response. It held up the stone once more as Jade ran by.

The head facing her glowed orange around the eyes and mouth. The shinobi waited for their target to get far enough away before beginning their pursuit. The Enforcers hopped into their car, quickly searching the seats. Finn growled as he looked towards his accomplices.

"Who has the key?" questioned the disco man. Chow searched his pockets in hopes of finding the requested object, only to turn up empty. Ratso gulped as he watched Jackie approach.

"Here he comes!" cried the olive skinned man. He turned towards the guys and reached for the sun visor. The keys fell into Finn's lap, bringing about a relieved smile on his face. He put the pedal to the metal, driving off at high speeds. The archaeologist was forced to come to a stop as the dust cloud flooded his system.

He cleared his throat, hoping to remove the debris. He growled as he watched the car disappear into the distance. He kicked the ground, angered by the loss. He quickly turned around, only to blink in shock as he watched Jade approach him.

"You came after me!?" questioned Jackie. "You were supposed to stay with Uncle! It's dangerous right… now…" His scolding came to a halt when he took notice of movement in the shadows. The Shadowkhan dashed into view, eyes gleaming in anger.

He blinked multiple times as before letting out a startled cry. "On second thought, follow me!" He scooped Jade up just in time to dodge a Shadowkhan attack. The duo cried out in terror as the villains continued to give pursuit.

"Aren't you gonna whump them!?" cried Jade. She shifted in her uncle's arms, feeling uncomfortable as the talisman rolled around. "You were able to do it before!" The Kung Fu master shook his head in response.

"Do you see a big rock creature around here!? Ancient Chinese proverb: do not fight when you can run!" He dodged a kunai right as it flew towards him. The shinobi ran across an oncoming truck as they hunted their prey. Tohru stepped out of a nearby alley as the group passed, his eyes narrowing in response.

Jackie soon came across an intersection in the road, seemingly losing the Shadowkhan for the moment. He placed Jade down in front of him before pointing towards the next road. "Go that way." The girl's eyes widened as she looked to her uncle.

"Jackie you don't understand! I need to tell you…" She was cut off as a kunai flew between them. The archeologist growled as he shook his head.

"You'll be safer away from me. They'll think I have the talisman, even if it's missing." Jade looked like she wanted to say more, but Jackie took off before she could say anything else. Growling in anger, the girl took off the way she was directed. She looked back as she continued, hoping the archeologist would be alright with all the…

"WHAT THE…!" She watched in terror and confusion as the band of ninjas turned her direction, ignoring her uncle all together. She cried out in fear as she continued running, hoping to escape the villains. Jackie looked down the road he just sent his niece on, shocked by the very same sight she saw. Wasting no time, he took off after them.

Jade continued on her path, looking back every now and again in order to check how far her pursuers were. She groaned as she looked forward. Why were they even chasing her? It's not like they knew that she had the talisman… did they? She looked back just in time to see a skateboard left in a dumpster.

She ran back towards it just as the ninjas rounded the corner. "Please have four wheels." To her relief the board did indeed have four wheels attached to it. Not having time to look for a helmet, the girl took off on the borrowed ride. The shinobi closed in on their target as she continued to push herself forward. She cried out in terror as another weapon was hurled at her.

"Checkmate!" cried a familiar voice. Ben groaned as he sat with his head in his palm. He found himself locked in a very unexpected form of combat with Gwen at the nearby cafe, one that most would say was uncharacteristic of him. He owed her this much for the earlier surprise, however, so this was the punishment he had to pay. Here we find our alien hero in one of the most mind twisting combat challenges of his life, chess.

Gwen celebrated a bit as she looked over the board. Not only were most of Ben's pieces gone, but she had the king piece surrounded on all moveable sides. That was either a sign of her skill or a hint that her cousin would never be fit for tournaments. She smirked as she tallied the score. "That's 4 out of 4 for me. Wanna have another go?" The Omnitrix wielder sighed as he shook his head.

"Tell me how not telling you about Jade until lunch period led to this?" questioned the boy. "Checkers I can attempt but this is a little much." The redhead shook her head, a coy frown on her face.

"Don't tell me the great Mr. 'Think on his feet' isn't able to comprehend a game of chess? Besides, this is also an apology to Jade after you overloaded her with information on the Omnitrix. You've got to learn to space out your information." The boy rolled his eyes, trying to think of a comeback to throw at his cousin. Before anything else could be said, however, a cry of terror entered their ears.

They watched as Jade skated past the window, a few Shadowkhan hot on her tail. The duo blinked for a bit as they watched the individuals disappear from view. Gwen finally broke the silence as she sounded her confusion. "Um… were those the ninjas you were talking about before or…?" Ben rose from his seat as he ran out the door.

"JADE!" The boy quickly gave chase, not caring if people saw him. Gwen stood up from her spot, running towards the restroom. She quickly pulled out a phone and a small book. She smirked as she opened the volume, a blue glow coming from it.

"As if I'm missing out on this." Back with Ben, he jumbled through images on the watch, sweat running down his brow. He watched her pull away from the shinobi a bit, though it was obvious she had no idea how to stop. If he didn't get to her soon she could… He smirked as he pressed the side button, causing the core to rise.

"Come on XLR8!" He slammed down on the Omnitrix, erupting in an emerald light. Instead of the requested alien, however, what could only be described as a walking battery with a lightning bolt on the front continued from where the boy was. The creature growled as it looked down at itself.

"Buzzshock!?" questioned the battery. The creature even sounded like Ben, only with a static filter over him. "Why can't you just give me what I want?" He growled as he went to slap the device but stopped to look at the area around him. He hummed as he looked at the streetlamps.

He came to a stop right in front of the device, a devious grin forming on his face. "On second thought… maybe I can work with this." Buzzshock turned into electricity as he dashed into the bulb of the light. The glass shattered as he zipped throughout the cables. He quickly followed the ninjas as Jade came to a hill.

"So long suckers!" cried the young Chan. She smirked as she began to gain distance, only to scream as the massive downhill came into view. The Shadowkhan came to a stop as they watched their target zoom away. They leapt into the air just in time to land on top of a moving truck. Jackie ran to catch up with the group, only to watch helplessly as the vehicle went down the hill.

"JADE!" cried the Kung Fu master. He looked around desperately for some way to reach them. He soon spotted an employee with a grocery buggy. He sighed in defeat as he pulled the object away from the man. "I'LL BRING THIS BACK LATER! THANK YOU!"

He pushed the cart over the hill before hopping on to the rear. Jade wobbled as she tried to stay on the board, hoping things would get better. Things took an opposite turn, however, when a car and another moving truck came in her path. Steeling herself, she grabbed the board and took a jump. She felt a grumbling in her stomach as she did so, the corners of her mouth glowing a bit as she jumped higher than she expected. She skated on top of the car before leaping to the top of the truck, earning a honk from the driver below.

She rode across the top of the vehicle before landing back on the ground in front of it, the light in her mouth fading as she did her best to stay balanced. The truck swerved a bit from surprise as the girl continued to ride the borrowed board. Up in the electricity, Buzzshock continued to follow alongside the girl, preparing for a chance to intervene. It wouldn't be good for his newest friend to become a pancake.

Back with Jackie, the Kung Fu master maneuvered the shopping buggy in order to avoid potholes. He cried out in fear as a moving van lowered its rear flap. Mustering up his strength, he veered the cart to the left, avoiding the catastrophe. He sighed in relief as he looked to the road, only to scream once more as he was now in oncoming traffic.

He forsook the makeshift ride as he hopped along the tops of cars. He made one huge leap as he grabbed onto the back of a moving truck. The man grunted as he pulled himself up, only to realize that the vehicle was moving the wrong way. He was quickly forced to jump over to one moving downhill, nearly missing as he waved his arms. He turned around to watch where the vehicle was going, only to frown as he saw the Shadowkhan in front of him on the truck. He quickly leapt over the first few as they charged at him, doing his best not to fall off the vehicle.

He grabbed one of them by the arm, hurling it at the others. He blocked a kick from the side, grunting as he slid backward a bit. He elbowed another in the chest, sending it flying backwards. It became impaled on a spire, disappearing in a puff of smoke. The statuette fell towards the ground, another Shadowkhan leaping to catch it.

The shinobi completed its task as it landed on the ground, looking over the stone idol. The sound of loud steps caught its attention, causing it to turn around. Tohru came to a stop before him, having been following the chaos for a bit. The Shadowkhan handed over the detector before returning to the shadows. Tohru hummed as he looked over the object, trying to understand how it worked.

The head facing the group glowed a bright orange, encouraging the large man to follow further. Jade continued to skate down the road, approaching the Bellwood Bridge. Buzzshock came to the last light, hopping out of the bulb as he looked over the area. His eyes widened as he noticed the construction sign. He looked to his newest friend, the girl looking back at the moving truck Jackie and the Shadowkhan used as their battleground.

"Jackie really does do his own stunts. I gotta get him to show me how to do that." She suddenly felt a pain in her stomach, causing her to groan as she grabbed the area. "I really should have just stuck it in my pocket." The electrical alien had no time to roll his eyes as he cupped his hands in front of his mouth.

"JADE!" cried Buzzshock. The girl looked his way, shocked by his appearance. She wanted to wave at him but the way he was flagging her down was worrying. Jade returned her attention forward, screaming as she approached a broken pipe. She grinded across the obstruction, soaring into the air.

She screamed as she braced herself for the long fall. "JADE!" The girl waited for the cold water below to crush her, yet that did not occur. She snuck a peek at her impending demise, only to gasp as she floated midair. She panicked before swimming back towards one of the bridge's cables.

"How'd I do that?" She began to wrack her brain around the possibilities, her stomach grumbling once again. She began to wonder if this was what Uncle meant by the talismans having magic, only to shrug as she slid down the cable. Buzzshock sighed as he sat down on the light post, only to panic as a familiar jingle filled the air. He returned to normal in an emerald flash, swinging as he fell towards the ground.

"Now?” questioned Ben. “Really?" The moving truck soon caught up with the group, the combatants still riding on top. The driver looked in his rearview mirror, catching a glimpse of Jackie blocking a kick from a Shadowkhan. He cried out in shock, losing control of his ride.

Jade leapt out of the way just in time to dodge the oncoming truck. The group on top of it was sent hurtling over the edge as the vehicle became propped against the siding. Jade's eyes widened in horror as she ran to the crash, Ben quickly following behind.

"Jackie!" cried Jade. The duo looked over the side, expecting the worst. Imagine their relief when they saw the Kung Fu master hanging on by one of the steel beams. The Shadowkhan held onto him, forming a chain with each other. Jackie's eyes widened as he noticed the presence of the young Tennyson.

"Benjamin?" questioned the man. "What are you doing here?!" His question went unanswered as he felt some shifting below. He looked down to see the ninja at the bottom of the chain was climbing up the others. "No cutting in line!"

The shinobi ignored his foe as he made his way up the links. He grabbed onto Jackie's back, trying to pull himself further. The man denied this action as he wriggled in anger. The Shadowkhan hit a nerve on its ally below, sending the rest of them falling to the water below. The group pulled flaps from their sides, gliding away from the surface of the liquid.

Jade looked around, desperately trying to find a way to help her uncle. She smirked as she saw a cable wheel. She ran over to the object, pushing it towards the edge.

"Give me a hand Ben!" The Omnitrix wielder nodded as he ran towards the object. He pushed alongside her, grunting from the weight. "Can't you just turn into Diamondhead and carry this thing?" The boy shook his head in response.

"The stupid watch is on cooldown," denied Ben. "I can't change into any aliens until it's recharged." The girl groaned as she shook her head. The duo soon reached their destination, looking over to see that Jackie was still struggling to get the enemy off. Jade grabbed the end of the rope, coiling it around her arm a few times.

"Jackie! Heads up!" She threw the rope down towards him, the object just within his reach. The Kung Fu master tried to grab the object, only for the Shadowkhan to grab his arm. The shinobi pushed its way to the man's shoulders, taking hold of the rope.

Jade gulped as she shook her head. "Uh oh." Ben swung the rope around a few times, wiggling it out of the villain's grasp. Jackie growled as he felt the weight of his opponent bearing down on him.

"Why do you want the girl?" questioned the Kung Fu master. He received no answer as the shinobi continued to reach for the rope. He responded by grabbing his opponent's ankle, weighing him down more. He swung on the appendage a few times before letting go. He soared up towards the beam as the Shadowkhan lost its grip.

He landed on the metal support, waving his arms as he tried to regain his balance. He grabbed onto a nearby support, allowing himself some time to breathe. He jumped up as he grabbed the rope, quickly climbing upwards. The Shadowkhan grabbed a hold of the object as he followed the man, intent on grabbing its target. Jackie soon reached the top, pulling himself over the edge as Jade grinned.

"Oh Mr. Ninja Man…" The shinobi looked up to see both Children looking down at him. His eyes widened as he saw that they had their hands on the large wheel. He shook his head pleadingly, only for them to shake theirs in denial. "Care to do the honors?" Ben hummed in thought for a moment, only to grin.

"How about together?" questioned the hero. The Shadowkhan began to climb faster, only to watch as the device came falling off the bridge. He watched the rope follow the wheel before sending the audience a deadpanned look. He plummeted towards the water, crashing before he could get his flight suit unfolded. He floated in the water for a bit, sighing as he shook his head.

The duo high-fived in success, a sight that made Jackie smile. Ben took a few steps back as he held his hands behind his head. "Never a dull moment around you guys is there? You're lucky Buzzshock was here to warn you about the bridge being broken." The Kung Fu master looked like he was about to question what was going on, only for Jade to hold her hand close to her chest.

"I know right! Even then I was able to float midair and run back like in cartoons! Was that one of his powers or something?" Ben gave her a surprised look, shaking his head in denial. Jackie waved his arms through the air, cutting off any more banter.

"It's nice that you have friends Jade but now isn't playtime," scolded the Kung Fu master. "Right now the Dark Hand is after you and I want to know why." Jade chuckled as she rubbed her arm, embarrassment clear on her face. She was about to answer when a shadow covered the group. Ben's eyes widened as he pointed behind Jackie.

"Look out behind you!" cried Ben. Before the archeologist could respond in time, a large hand squeezed down on his shoulder. He fell to the ground unconscious, revealing Tohru to the duo. The statuette glowed in their direction, bringing a hard glare from the Japanese giant.

"The talisman," demanded the behemoth. Jade looked for a way to get out of the situation, cursing her luck at the moment. Ben growled as he held a hand in front of Jade.

"Run! I'll take care of this!" The young Chan tried to get her friend to stop, only for the boy to stomp on Tohru's toes. The giant yelped in pain as he grabbed his foot, giving Ben a chance to slip behind him. The large man turned to the boy, watching as he sent raspberries at him.

Snorting in anger, the large man grabbed a nearby roll of large cables. He rolled it towards the boy, the object slowly gaining speed. Ben ran away as the object continued to chase after him. Satisfied with his work, Tohru turned to find Jade dragging her uncle away. He grabbed the girl by the leg, holding her high in the air.

"So… heh… how long have you been in Bellwood?" questioned the young Chan. Not interested in small talk, and hearing the sound of police sirens, Tohru slung Jackie over his shoulder before walking off. Back with Ben, he continued to run from the oncoming roll of cables. He continued to twist at the watch but it had yet to regain its charge. He tripped over a rock, falling onto his hands and knees.

He looked back as the object almost reached him, bracing for impact. Before it could touch the boy, however, the wheel of cables was hit with a blue blast. It suddenly came to a stop, landing on its side. Ben slowly straightened up as he looked at the object. He heard the sound of a tongue clicking against teeth, encouraging him to look forward.

"I guess ninjas are too much for the great Ben Tennyson," teased a familiar voice. Standing before him was Gwen, though her attire took a complete change. She now wore a purple cat ballroom mask, a black suit that ended at her forearms and shins, a purple sash, black gloves, and black shoes. She crossed her arms under her chest as she looked him in the eye. "You could've waited for me, ya know." The Omnitrix hero growled as he stood up.

"We don't have time for this!" roared Ben. Gwen stepped back a bit, surprised by the backlash. "The big guy from yesterday just kidnapped Jade and Jackie Chan! We gotta find them!" The girl nodded, frowning in recognition of the situation.

"Lucky for us I happen to know a spell that can guide us there, though I need something of theirs in order for it to work." Ben dug through his pockets to see if he had anything of theirs for the spell. He growled as he found nothing except for… He smirked as he pulled up a piece of fruit bar Jade shared with him at school. Gwen sounded off her disgust at the occurrence, but nevertheless kept her composure. "That'll work."

Helm's Fish Cannery

The Enforcers held Jade in their grasp, not letting loose an inch. It was honestly embarrassing having been shown up by Tohru but at least the Shadowkhan messed up just as bad as they did. Still here they were on babysitting duty while the big guy talked with the boss. It was a sting to their pride as the top guys of the Dark Hand. The Japanese giant ignored the looks of contempt pointed at him as he looked his master in the eye.

"Chan has been secured and the tracker points to the girl," explained the lapdog. "We have not found any traces of the talisman on her." Valmont growled in response to this answer.

"Well she has to have it hidden somewhere on her, Tohru," grumbled the man. "It's not as if she ate it. Unless…" Jade did her best not to look at the large man, sweat rolling down her face. Shendu's eyes came to life as Valmont straightened in his seat.

"Man is much the wiser when he looks within," stated the statue. “There is only one way to know for sure…” The Enforcers looked to Tohru in shock. They could not believe what the statue was suggesting. Tohru, his own face showing slight shock, shook his head in response.

"It would take some time but we could pump her stomach with the proper equipment," offered the Japanese giant. "We could chain her up and…" Valmont sighed as he shook his head.

"By the time we can purchase and ship the equipment the talisman would have dissolved," denied the head criminal. He took a deep breath before bringing his finger to the end call button. "You know what must be done. Make sure Chan has a front row seat, then finish him afterwards." Tohru went to try and reason with his master, only for the screen to go black before he could utter a peep.

Jade gulped, not liking the sound of what was to come. Outside, Ben and Gwen were sneaking around the building. They came to a stop as a man in a black suit made his way around the pier. The Omnitrix wielder went to use his signature tool, only to stop as his cousin held up a hand. Her spell book floated in front of her as she held her hand up.

"ENTROPICUS!" cried the girl. A blue beam hit the man's foot, causing him to slip and fall on his head. His glasses slid off revealing his unconscious condition. Ben whistled as he shot her a thumbs up.

"Not bad," complimented the boy. The duo continued their way through the area, doing their best to dodge the attention of the guards. They soon came across the entrance to the building, Gwen using a spell to unlock the door. They hid behind a box as the Enforcers kicked around the area. Chow sighed as he shook his head.

"I don't know about you guys but I'm not very proud about what's gonna happen to that girl," stated the Chinese man. Ben leaned forward a bit, a look of concern present on his face. "It just ain't right. I know we do a lot of stuff, but it’s a kid we’re talking about." Ratso shivered as he held his arms.

"I don't wanna think about it," complained the man. "She can't be too much younger than our nephews. Maybe we can convince Valmont to let us take some of that equipment from the hospital or something." Ben felt pressure build up within him, growling as his mind began to make connections. Finn shook his head in response to his allies’ conversation, a sad frown on his face.

"It's too late for that," denied the disco man. "Tohru's already got the sword. It's not like he likes that he has to do it himself." The Omnitrix wielder's eyes widened as he clenched his fists. He brought the Omnitrix up as his face twisted in fury.

"BEN NO!" cried Gwen as quietly as she could. Her cries went unheard as the boy erupted in an emerald light. He walked up behind Chow, scaring Finn and Ratso with his appearance. The Asian man looked at them in confusion.

"What?" questioned Chow. "I got something on my face or something?" A growling could be heard behind him, prompting the man to gulp. He slowly turned around, coming face to face with the aggressor. He screamed as the figure grabbed him by the face.

Jackie groaned as he shifted in his spot. He slowly returned to consciousness, rubbing his hand against his face. He had this voice yelling in his ear, giving him a slight headache. His eyes squinted as he began to recognize the owner of the cries. His eyes opened wide as he looked around the room.

He found himself in what seemed to be a butchery room, one that was used for fish. He tried to move around the room, only to have something pull him by the wrist. He looked to the offending force, only to find himself handcuffed to a pipe. He tried to pull himself free, only to stop as his hearing began to return. He looked to the origin of the noise, his eyes widening as he saw Jade strapped to a table.

Her hoodie and shirt had been removed, revealing a blue bra and a surprisingly well developed figure for a young pre-teen. The two top articles were laying on a nearby table, the girl blushing at the state she was in. She growled as she looked around the room.

"Hello?" questioned Jade. She wriggled under the hold of the straps, but they wouldn't budge. "Let me out of here and give me my hoodie back! I mean it! Just wait ‘til Jackinator wakes up or the Heroes of Bellwood find you! You guys are so busted!" Jackie sighed as he shook his head.

"Jade?" questioned the man. His niece gasped as she looked towards him. She gulped as she wriggled a little more.

"Jackinator?" Before anymore could be said, the sound of an elevator ringing caught their attention. Tohru came walking out of the vehicle, the man taking a deep breath. He brought the tracker up to the girl's stomach, receiving a glow of confirmation. He brought up an ornate cutlass, causing the girl to wriggle even more.

"I had hoped this was not the case," sighed the behemoth. "I do not take pleasure in hurting children, much less what I now have to do." He walked away from the girl as he approached a grinding circle. He powered it on, bringing the edge of the blade to the stone. Jade shook her head as she continued to struggle.

"I should've just pulled the stupid stone out of the broth! Even putting it in my pocket would have been better than this!" Jackie's eyes widened in realization.

"You ate the talisman!?" questioned the Kung Fu master. "Why would you eat it!? It's a relic! Not to mention it is unsanitary!" The young Chan growled as she shook her head.

"Would you rather me let them have it earlier!? The other guy would've eaten it!" Jackie gestured to her with his free hand, an angry look on his face.

"It would've been much safer if you had! Now you are literally on the chopping block! We have to find a way to get you out of here!" Jade tried to find a way out of the situation. She smirked as she got an idea.

"The talisman! I can make myself fly out!" She pushed her stomach into the air, trying to concentrate her powers. Jackie deadpanned as he watched his niece undergo this strange action.

"That's enough Jade! Even if you could fly- not that you can- you're strapped down to a table that's bolted to the floor!" The girl ignored his pleas, causing him to lower his head in shame. He did nothing but watch as a small can float past his face. He had to think of some way to get free before…

His eyes furrowed as he looked at the object that just passed him by. He slowly looked behind himself, only for his jaw to drop as he watched boxes float around aimlessly. "Jade?" The young Chan looked towards her uncle, her reaction similar to his own. "You're tele-tele-tele… you can move things with your mind!" The girl grinned from ear to ear as she hatched up a plan.

"No! With my stomach!" She was about to set things into motion when a shadow was cast over her. She looked up to see Tohru with an apologetic look on his face.

"Hold still," ordered the man. "It makes it easier for both of us." He raised the weapon, seeming hesitant to use it at all. Jade growled as she tried to focus on the large box above her aggressor. He came to a stop, unaware of the now shifting crate above him.

He sent the girl a raised brow as he lightly lowered the weapon. "Why are you growling?" The latch of the chain holding the box clipped open, freeing it. Tohru looked up just in time to watch as the crate fell on top of him. Jackie covered his face as a fish slapped into him.

Tohru laid under a pile of fish, the sword a few inches away from his hand. Jade cried out in victory, happy with her success. She sent her uncle a cheeky grin.

"Think I'm ready for some Kung Fu now?" Jackie's smile fell as he shook his head. Now wasn't the time for that.

"Talk later," denied the man. "Cut yourself free." The girl repeated her earlier action, raising the sword into the air. She chopped down on her restraints, setting herself free. She grabbed her tops, sliding them on one at a time as she ran for her uncle.

One of the entrances to the room suddenly burst open, allowing the Enforcers to run in. They quickly pushed large boxes in front of the entrance, stacking smaller ones on top. Ratso placed a bucket on the very top, sighing as he wiped his brow. The trio turned around, only to blink as they looked upon the Chan family. The two groups blinked multiple times as they processed the situation.

"Chan!" cried Finn. "Why can't we get one win today!?" Jackie quickly looked at Jade, a serious frown on his face.

"Jade! Run, fly, something!" He grabbed her by her arm, gently throwing her into the air. Responding quickly, the girl floated midair. Finn sounded off his surprise, only to shake his head at the sound of a thump above.

"Get the girl before it gets down here! Chan's mine." The duo ran at the girl jumping up and down as they tried to catch her. The redhead ran towards Jackie, his fist reared back. The Kung Fu master ducked to the left, avoiding the attack.

He took the opportunity to search the man's pocket, only to come up empty. Finn went for another strike, only to get a knee to the ribs. Jackie checked the other pocket, this time fishing up the keys he was looking for. The hero kicked his opponent away, quickly trying to unlock his cuff. Jade laid back and relaxed as she floated out of the reach of the terrible twosome.

Finn stood up, using a hanging hook to support himself. He suddenly threw it at Jackie, the man barely getting the handcuffs off before grabbing on for a ride. The hero kicked off the wall, swinging back at his opponent. The redhead villain's eyes widened as his opponent came right back at him with a kick. He rolled across the ground, knocking over his allies.

The villains quickly regained their composure as they ran at the family. Jackie leapt over Ratso, forcing him to run into the wall. Finn came at the hero with a pipe, knocking him into a barrel of fish. Ratso held a barrel over his head as Chow walked over with a wooden board. The hero quickly regained his composure, quickly grabbing a pair of fish.

He stood up before slinging the fish around in a display of skill. The villains couldn't help but laugh at their opponent. Finn went to attack the man, only to be hit square in the jaw with a salmon. Chow came in from the right, meeting the same fate with a trout. Ratso blinked a few times, dropping his barrel in an attempt to run.

This ended up with his head running into a metal beam. The villain began to slide downwards, allowing Jackie to rest for a bit as he groaned. He was suddenly grabbed from behind, quickly being lifted into the air. The hero was forcefully turned to face Tohru, the large man glaring at him.

"I hate fish," growled Tohru. Jackie gulped before chuckling nervously. Jade gasped as she looked over to the fighters. She was about to take action when the wooden door began to bulge. The Enforcers began to recover, slinking back as they watched the barricade slowly fall apart.

"He's coming!" cried Ratso. The makeshift wall was now all over the place as the door continued to bulge. The wood finally broke open, revealing a scaly, clawed gray hand with four webbed fingers. The head of some form of mixture between anglerfish and a catfish popped out of the opening.

"HERE'S RIPJAWS!" roared the creature. He broke the door the rest of the way, revealing his humanoid body. The rest of his body held the same white coloration save for a black loincloth-like flap on the front and back of its person. His feet were two toed in structure, a single sheet of skin separating them. A familiar symbol brandished his plated chest, revealing his allegiance.

Jackie blinked multiple times as he looked at the scene. He screamed in shock as he hopped back a bit. He couldn't believe his eyes, yet he had seen a lot of crazy stuff these past two days. Jade floated towards her uncle, chuckling at the tension in the air.

"What was that you said earlier, Jackie?" questioned the girl. “Why fight when you can run?” Jackie slowly backed up, nodding in approval.

"You're learning," agreed the Kung Fu master. The duo ran for the nearby set of stares, leaving the group behind. Tohru growled as he stomped his foot, ignoring the second yelp from his prior opponent. If this was one of that crystal creature's allies, then the big man would settle the score.

"Get the girl and finish Chan," ordered Tohru. Not wanting to be on the receiving end of Tohru's anger, the enforcers left to complete those orders. Ripjaws smirked as he pointed to the massive villain.

"I remember you. You're the human bowling ball that Diamondhead knocked out with a headbutt. From what I heard you were kind of a letdown." The Japanese giant growled as he popped his neck. He roared as he ran at the fish man, his arm raised for combat.

Ripjaws quickly dove out of the way, narrowly avoiding a hard strike. The Omnitrix wielder kicked the behemoth in the back of the knee, forcing him to kneel down. Tohru turned to throw a punch at his opponent, only to hit open air as the target leapt back. The fishman bit down on his arm, eliciting a roar of pain from him. He flung his arm to the side, sending the hero flying.

The duo continued their fight as the Japanese giant tackled Ripjaws into the stairs. Jackie and Jade burst through the upper room door, only to pause as they stare at the group of unconscious guards on the ground. It was clear that the fishman below was the cause of most of them, a few of the villains sticking out of crates. Ignoring the mass group, the duo snuck their way through the room. Jackie shushed Jade as they approached the elevator, only for the device to ding.

The doors opened to reveal the Enforcers, the trio grinning at the heroes. Jade floated out of reach once more as the villains rushed Jackie. The archeologist blocked attack after attack as he weaved through the onslaught of his opponents. He kicked Chow in the shin as the villain tried to perform a kick, sending him tumbling into Finn. He flipped backwards as Ratso tried to smash him with a small box.

Both groups huffed and puffed as they tried to regain their energy. The hero took a quick glance at the nearby exit, silently planning their escape. That plan fell to pieces as Ripjaws came flying through the doorway. Tohru stepped into the room, sweat running down his brow. Jade sounded off her worry as she floated next to her uncle.

"What happens when you can't run?" Jackie frowned as he held his arm in front of his niece. He popped his free knuckles before slowly approaching the villains.

"Do not watch." Jade sounded off her annoyance, smirking as she did the exact opposite. The Kung Fu master squared off against his opponents, the Enforcers preparing once more. Ratso came at him with the box again, but Jackie quickly bopped him in the side. The makeshift weapon fell from the brute's grasp, landing square on his noggin.

Chow and Finn went in together, taking turns attempting strikes. The Kung Fu master quickly dodged and weaved out of the way, almost dancing through his opponents' attacks. He raised his hands to grasp a set of punches, a resounding smack filling the air. The trio stood their ground, not moving an inch. They suddenly cried out in pain as they began to shake their hands.

Chow took the initiative as he tried to get a strong kick in. Jackie quickly dodged out of the way, pushing his opponent into a spin. Ratso moved in for another attack, only for a blue beam to hit him in the foot. He ended up stepping on a fish, sending him sliding across the room. He screamed as he approached the wall, crashing straight into it.

"Night, night Mommy," hummed the goon. He groaned as he slowly fell to the floor, a dopey look on his face. Chow and Finn continued their assault on Jackie as they took turns striking at him. Finn smirked as he performed a low sweep at the Kung Fu master.

Jackie leapt into the air, only to receive a gut punch from Chow. He flew backward a bit before landing on the ground. He groaned as he tried to prop himself up. The terrible twosome slowly walked towards their downed opponent, only to stop at the sound of giggling. A blue energy hit a crate hanging above the duo, its bottom flipping open in response. Finn was the only one fast enough to get out of the way, Chow quickly being covered by fish.

The redhead looked around in confusion as the giggling continued. He found himself away from the fight, quickly pulling out a pair of nunchucks. He growled as he noticed some movement around the area.

"Whoever you are, I know you're there!" roared the man. "I'm not afraid of you!" A plop caught his attention, prompting him to turn towards the noise. His eyes widened as he watched Gwen hold up her spell book. "Lucky Girl? But you're just a…"

"Kid?" finished the magical girl. "Make sure you remember that. CRIOSYS!" The villain had no time to react as he found himself frozen in a block of ice. The young heroine smirked at her good work before moving away from the villain. Finn sounded off his distress as he began to wiggle away from the area.

Back at the battle, Ripjaws slowly began to rise from his position. Jade floated down to be beside his head, keeping an eye on the behemoth before them. Tohru cracked his neck, causing the girl to gulp.

"Maybe choose something that can't be knocked around so much?" suggested the young Chan. "Maybe go for Diamondhead again?" The fish man shook his head in denial.

"A little too late for that," stated Ripjaws. "The watch is almost out of juice. I gotta do this the old fashioned way." The hero rushed forward, earning a battle cry from the Japanese giant. He punched the man in the chin just as he was about to be grappled.

He then followed up with a stomp, digging his toe into his opponent's foot. The goon went in for another grapple, only to have his feet swept out from under him. He was quickly able to catch himself, a hard thud resonating through the building. Ripjaws stood over the man, readying an elbow drop. He was caught off guard when the villain grabbed him by the ankle.

The hero was lifted into the air as his opponent rose from the ground. Tohru then proceeded to beat the ground with his opponent, hitting the same spot a few times. Jade growled as she clenched her fists, unable to do anything as she watched her friend be beaten. She had to find something heavy to hit the big… She facepalmed with a heavy groan.

"Duh!" She poked her stomach out at the big man, slowly floating him into the air. Ripjaws groaned as he hung in his opponent's grasp. Tohru brought the hero face to face, a scowl on his own mug.

"I hate fish," growled the man. He reared his fist back for a punch, only to stop as he felt something hit his head. He looked up to see a ceiling light right above him. He slowly looked down, the situation quickly catching up with him. He dropped the fish man in a blind panic, flailing as he was spun around for a bit.

"Hands… off… my… FRIEND!" Jade finally gave out after a few more spins, sending Tohru flying. Ratso and Chow ran to grab Jackie as the man got up, only for their ally to crash into them. Finn came to a stop just in time to see his team flying at him, his eyes widening in fear. He tried to hobble back the way he came, only to be caught up in the attack.

The villains careened out of the wall, crashing into the ocean. Finn found his icy prison being used as a flotation device, his colleagues resting their arms on him. Jade huffed and puffed as she lowered to the ground, Gwen running to meet her.

"Jade!" cried the redhead. The young Chan landed on the ground, barely able to hold herself up. She tilted her head a bit as she slowly pieced the puzzle together.

"Gwen? Just how many…" Her thoughts were cut off as they heard the sound of footsteps. A familiar jingle soon followed, Ripjaws groaning as he approached them from behind.

"Time to go Lucky Girl," informed the hero. Gwen sighed in disappointment, sending Jade a short nod. The duo quickly made their exit as Jackie approached the area. He would find Jade looking the way the heroes came, unresponsive to his worrying. She would sleep the rest of the way back to base.

Section 13

Jackie soon found himself following Captain Black through the halls of Section 13 once more. This was not the night that he was expecting to have. It was one thing when the Dark Hand came at him again. Things got weird when the Rooster Talisman actually gave Jade telepathic powers. He quickly shook his head as he remembered the fish creature, hoping to drown it out.

"I'm telling you captain, Uncle was right," began the hero. "The talismans do possess magical powers. I watched Jade lift things tele…tele… with her mind with my own eyes!" Captain Black rolled his eyes, not buying it at all.

"Of course they are," teased the man. "I'm more interested in the appearance of a Piscciss Volann. It's no coincidence that these appearances happen two days in a row." Another set of footsteps soon joined them, Maxwell making himself known.

"I'll have the Plumbers look into it," reassured the elder Tennyson. Jackie gasped in surprise, patting his chest frantically. "I have a feeling that, whoever these individuals are, they're on our side." Captain Black nodded his head, a contemplative look on his face.

"I trust your judgment, Magister, but we can't pull any punches. Regardless, we have a lot of work ahead of us." They soon came to a stop in front of a door. "You should get some rest Jackie, especially after all you've experienced." He opened the door, revealing a dojo with lanterns strung across the walls.

"All my stuff!?" questioned the Kung Fu master. "How did it get here?" The head agent nodded his head as Jackie turned his way.

"Until we can take down the Dark Hand, it's safer for you here. I hope Section 13 feels like home." The hero took another glance around, still processing all of the information. He gained a concerned frown as he turned back to the agents.

"But… What about Uncle? He's not here." Captain Black sighed as he thought back to the old man.

Uncle's Rare Finds

Uncle could be found walking around the isles of his shop. He grabbed a handful of orange dust out of a bag, quickly spreading it across the area. He repeated this action several times, assuring to himself that everything was covered. The old man even walked the same path once or twice. He scoffed as he looked outside, his eyes narrowed in annoyance.

"Good magic is stronger than bad magic," grumbled the man. He spread some of the dust into the air. "Men with guns will not deter evil spirits." He reached into the bag once more, quickly returning to his work. He would continue on this path for the next hour, possibly going for longer.

Section 13

"He refused to leave the shop," informed Captain Black. "Something about 'messing up his feng shui' or something." Jackie sighed as he shook his head. This is exactly the kind of attitude he expected from his uncle.

"Uncle is very stubborn," admitted the archeologist. "I think I see where Jade got it from." Speaking of, the door to the room was opened by a pair of agents. Jade was escorted in by the duo, holding her stomach with discomfort. The orange wearing agent held his hands behind his back.

"Stomach successfully pumped," informed the man. "The stone is being cleaned as we speak." Jade looked at the trio before her, nearly burping a bit. She groaned as she felt the discomfort continue.

"co*ck-a-doodle-doo," moaned the girl. "I will never look at soup the same way again." Jackie sounded off his concern as he looked between his niece and the agents. He leaned his head back towards Augustus.

"What about her? She does have school." The head agent gestured his head to the left, revealing Jade's things in a pile behind them. The young Chan's eyes sparkled as she hobbled over to the group, her stomach still bothering her. She began going through them as the two men looked at each other.

"I trust you'll be able to keep your niece in check," stated Captain Black. "We'll have an agent escort her to the bus stop whenever you need to go Talisman hunting." The Kung Fu master sighed in defeat, allowing his shoulders to slump.

"Hey Jackie!?" questioned Jade. The adults looked her way, taking note of the look on her face. "Does this mean I'm a secret agent now?" Jackie and Captain Black quickly sent frowns at the young Chan.

"No," denied the duo. The girl pouted in disappointment, upset by the choice. She was about to argue her skills when the sound of running feet caught her attention. Gwen and Ben busted in the door, shoving each other as they entered.

"I got here first!" cheered Ben. "I told you I'd beat you here!" Gwen placed her hands on her hips as she looked her cousin in the eye.

"No way doofus!" denied the redhead. "My foot went in first!" Max sighed as he rubbed his temples, embarrassed by the moment before him. Jade couldn't hold in her excitement as she ran over to the duo.

"So, Lucky Girl?" teased the young Chan. "What's up with that?" Gwen waved her hands a bit, trying to signal her friend to be quiet.

"Not in front of Grandpa! He doesn't know I'm Lucky Girl again!" Jade couldn't help but wave the redhead off.

"Relax. I'm only kidding! Seriously though… aliens, magical girls, talismans that make people floaty? Just how crazy are things around here?" Ben hummed as he rubbed his chin.

"How can we sum it up?" questioned the Omnitrix wielder. "There's only one way to answer that question." Gwen nodded in response, a small smirk on her face. The cousins turned to her with straight faces.

"Welcome to Bellwood," greeted the duo. Silence reigned between the trio, the adults in the background being the only sound. They suddenly burst into laughter, their own antics being amusing. Jade came to a stop as she looked over the duo. She couldn't help but feel that things were going to be better from here on out.

And that's the chapter! I know this one took longer than it should have, but college is pretty crazy. In any case, I wanted to give this chapter a little extra spin. I also had to introduce Gwen and her abilities, so that took a bit. Overall I'm happy with the results.

What did you think of the chapter? Did you like the changes from the original episode? How about Gwen's introduction? Let me know what you think in a review down below and I'll get back with you ASAP! This is Inkaliber, signing out.

(1) I decided to give Ben's High School a name.

Chapter 3: The Mask of the Bull

Chapter Text

James: Hurry up! He'll be back any minute!

Meowth: Hold yer Rapidashes! It ain't easy mimicking Boss's writing style. He writes better than da two of yas combined.

Jessie: He's almost here! Hurry up!

Inkaliber: Okay. Time to get back on the grind and… What the heck are you guys doing? This isn't the Let's Go Stitch booth.

BANG!

Team Rocket: Surprise!

Inkaliber:… What did you guys do?

James: We know things piled up recently in your life with working around the studio, family time, and that one trip…

Inkaliber: Just get to the point.

Meowth: Seeing as you housed me and these two slouches even doh we're criminals, we decided to finish this chapter for ya.

Inkaliber: YOU WHAT!?

Jessie: Don't scream like we committed a crime! Do you know how hard it is to copy an entire writing style and story flow?

James: Not to mention watching kids shows to get the story right… I will admit they were pretty good though.

Inkaliber: Let me see that.

Flip… Flip… Flip…

Inkaliber: Oh wow. That's actually what I was going for.

Meowth: We even deleted that message for ya and wrote answers for da reviews.

Inkaliber: You know if this went wrong I would have made you feed the Saibamen by yourselves.

James: Worth it for you, Boss.

Inkaliber: Why are you calling me… it doesn't matter. Hey readers! As you can see the chapter's finally done. Took me a little longer than I hoped it would after I left the message. Let's not wait much longer and answer some reviews.

Guest #1- Sorry it's been a while! I had to get my mojo back after a burnout. Here's a new chapter primed and ready for ya!

Guest #2- Here's a new chapter right now! Sorry it took almost a year to finish.

Guest Questioner- Again, really sorry for the long wait! I hope it can do just as good as its predecessor. I hope I can keep on the ball this time.

Reader- Sorry I couldn't deliver on my word, but at least I did it before the month was fully over. It's my mission to make sure this story is just as good as the one before it. I love the Jade X Ben pairing too! Trust me. I have good things planned for Jade.

Inkaliber: Anywho, it's finally time to get his story back on track! Meowth, if you'd like to do the honors.

Meowth: You got it Chief! The author doesn't own Jackie Chan Adventures, Ben 10, or any oder series that may appear here. He does own OC characters, species, objects, concepts, and other stuff. So no stealing! Roll tape!

Voices

“Talking.”

‘Thinking.’

“YELLING!”

“Author/Guest/High or demonic entity talking. Also, surprise at the end of a section.”

“AUTHOR/GUEST/HIGH OR DEMONIC ENTITY YELLING!”

“Whispering.”

“Author/Guest/High or demonic entity whispering.”

[Language Indicator]

“Machine or alt communication talking/Talking in flashback.”

“MACHINE OR ALT COMMUNICATION YELLING/YELLING IN FLASHBACK!”

“Machine or alt communication whispering/Whispering in flashback.”

Mayan Pyramid, Mexico

The sun blazed over the jungle, creating a thick, moist blanket of heat. The ancient pyramids of the great Mayan empire stood tall amidst the swaying trees. Tourists would usually flock to a location such as this, but the temple remained secluded from the public eye by the environment around it. This fact alone made it the perfect hiding place for lost artifacts. Huffing and puffing could be heard as a familiar archeologist made his way up the steps.

"A Chinese Talisman in the middle of Mexico," sighed Jackie. He soon reached the top, stopping between two bull statues. He stretched his back as he turned to get a look at the view. "Uncle wasn't kidding when he said, 'scattered to the four corners of the globe.'" Taking a moment to take in the jungle before him, the martial artist failed to see a glint nearby.

"Looks like Chan beat us here," hummed Finn. He adjusted his binoculars as he watched Jackie walk into the temple. He pulled the object away from his face as he turned to a few goons, including his usual companions. "Let's go." The group began to walk towards the pyramid, only for one of them to walk into the middle of them.

"Time out here guys!" cried the freckled man. "Don't pyramids have mummies inside them, sir?" Finn rolled his eyes in response.

"Only in Egypt." The others began to walk around the interruption, intent on completing their orders. The young man held his arms up, however, barring their path.

"Why don't we just let Chan find the talisman? Sure, he's Jackie Chan, but he can't take all of us… Can he?" Finn sighed as he shook his head. Of course, the rookie had to try and be the smart guy. He walked up to the fellow redhead with a serious frown.

"Good instincts but there are two things going against us. One, he took on our little trio without breaking a sweat. No way is a bunch of low-level cronies gonna do him in. Two, there's no telling what kind of powers these talismans have. He could come out of there fifty feet tall with laser eyes." The rookie gasped in fear.

"I don't wanna fight giant laser eyes!" The coward gestured for everyone forward. "Follow me guys!" The crew quickly followed along as the little grunt took charge. Finn chuckled to himself as he and his comrades followed behind.

Inside the pyramid, Jackie lit a torch in order to get a better view. He scanned the area, taking note of the ox motif. He soon spotted a large bull statue, a hole representing the nostrils. The martial artist placed the torch in a nearby hole in the wall before pulling out a piece of paper. He looked over the instructions, nodding as he read over it one last time.

He put the paper away as he approached the stone beast. He placed two fingers into each end of the hole, searching around for a trigger. He soon pushed towards him, finding his target. He smiled as the maw of the ox slid open. When he saw the contents of the hatch, more so the lack thereof, he hummed out loud in confusion.

A pedestal with a hexagonal inlay stood in the lower jaw, the slot empty. The archeologist couldn't believe his eyes, worrying that he traveled all this way for nothing. He felt around the area just in case the mythical object popped out of place.

"Where is it?" questioned Jackie. His search was cut short by a battle cry. He turned just as Ratso and Chow tackled him to the ground. Finn smirked as he walked up to the statue.

"Thanks for the hard work Chan," mocked the villain. "The Dark hand will put the Ox Talisman to… Hey! Where is it?" He turned to the martial artist, only to receive a quick headshake.

"I don't know where it is!" Finn scoffed in disbelief, nodding as a shadow enveloped Jackie. The star looked up to see Tohru grabbing him by his legs. The giant shook him down in search of the talisman, but no such luck occurred. Tohru then grabbed the hero by his torso before pressing him against the wall.

"Where is the talisman," demanded the villain. Jackie quickly waved his arms in concern. This was going downhill fast.

"Someone else must have taken it. It could have been gone for years, maybe even centuries!" Tohru growled as he reared his fist back.

"I do not believe you." He went to throw a punch, only for a spooky moan to fill the air. The group looked to the source of the noise, the grunts stepping back in shock. An Egyptian mummy stood before the group, its eyes glowing as green as the green stripes that appeared on its clothing. The redhead grunt nearly wet himself as the figure raised its hand towards the group.

"MUMMY!" cried the man in fear. Jackie couldn't believe the sight himself. Had he not seen the crystal golem or the fish man this would have broken his mind. Having lost the will to fight, the group of grunts broke ranks. "RUN FOR YOUR LIVES!"

Tohru growled as he looked between Jackie and the mysterious arrival, only to double back to see it was Finn he had in his grasp. Jackie began to crawl around the mummy, hoping not to be seen. He gasped as he saw Jade waving to him from a nearby doorway. She was wearing a gray vest over a blue qipao, some blue jean shorts, and her usual pair of shoes. It was more suitable for the hot weather they found themselves in, though it was her presence that made her uncle’s eyes go wide.

"JADE!?" whispered the actor, trying to control his voice. The Japanese giant growled as he noticed the cry. Seeing as he was caught, the martial artist abandoned stealth in order to run for his niece.

"CHAN!" Tohru batted the mummy aside as he chased after the duo. The goons soon exited the pyramid, only to gasp at the sight before them. Their tires were flattened and some of the bikes were totaled. They turned back towards the pyramid just as Jackie and Jade ran out the entrance.

"I told you to stay at the hotel! What about your homework!?" Jade scoffed in response.

"I breezed through it," answered the girl truthfully. "You're lucky I did. Tohru was about to… cream… you." Jackie huffed in disappointment.

"Don't finish your homework early when we're on trips. Not only could you have missed something, but it's also too dangerous with everything going…" He was cut off as he bumped into one of the goons from earlier. He chuckled nervously as he backed away from the man. Finn clapped his hands as Tohru approached the heroes from behind.

"I gotta say Chan, your niece has imagination," complimented the tuxedo villain. "Setting up a mummy puppet was pretty sneaky. Could have been a little more convincing if it weren't Egyptian instead of Mayan." Jade raised a brow at the man, humming in confusion.

"Mummy puppet?" questioned the girl. "I thought Jackie set that one up." The martial artist shook his head in denial. Even Tohru seemed surprised by the claim, only to find his arms restrained by bandages. He was pulled backwards, falling on his back with a loud thud.

"You dare defile this sacred tomb with your malicious intent," hissed a raspy voice. The mummy stepped on Tohru's stomach, earning scared looks from the grunts. On display for all to see was the Omnitrix symbol on his chest. "I will show you to respect the dead!" Chow growled as he pulled out a pair of nunchucks.

"It's one of those alien freaks!" roared the Asian goon. "There's no way he has any of the curse stuff! Get him!" The group began to run at the alien, intent on returning him to the grave. The hero leapt into the air, wrapping up a few more of them before flinging them to the sides.

More villains ran at the hero, only to slip as oil from the bikes began to pool out of the gas caps. Gwen giggled from her hiding spot amongst the trees, sending chills down the spines of some of the men. She raised glowing pink hands as she looked to the rising Tohru.

"ENTROPICUS!" cried the young mage. The spell slung forward, hitting a bandage right at the large man's foot. He stepped on it just as the attack hit, making the cloth stronger than natural. He ended up tripping over his own weight, falling flat on his face. He groaned as he laid on the ground.

The mummy hero leapt over a few of the villains as he wrapped them up, making them one huge bundle. Chow went to punch him, only to slip on oil. The rest of the Enforcers picked him up as they saw the mummy slowly turn towards them.

"Live to fight another day?" asked Ratso. The other two nodded before they bolted, with the big guy down and their leaders deserting them, the goons began to run off into the jungle. A familiar blinking occurred as the mummy disappeared into the jungle himself. Jackie turned to where the mummy was after watching the villains run off, frowning at the being's disappearance. Jade grinned from ear to ear as she clenched her fists.

"These alien guys are so cool!" cheered the girl. "Guess they don't just protect Bellwood." Jackie sighed in response to his niece's admiration for the creatures. He wasn't sure whether they could actually be trusted or not, especially since they suddenly appeared one day if records are to be believed. Knowing it wouldn't be long before Tohru awakened once more, the man took his niece back to town.

One Hour Later

The Chans soon arrived at the nearby town, the city bustling with tourists and residents. Various shops and restaurants called out for people to sample their goods. Two children carried handmade luchador action figures as they ran around the nearby fountain. Jackie looked around, trying to find any signs of the talisman. Jade, however, was more focused on everything other than their objective.

"The ancient pyramids, the mummies, the alien heroes, the churros!" cheered Jade. "Mexico is mondo coolio Jackie! I wish I had a phone to get pictures for everyone back home." Jackie sighed as he shook his head, ignoring the phone comment.

"The talisman could be a million miles away." Stated the martial artist. "Let's ask around and see what the locals know." Jade sighed as she shook her head, only to hear the sound of music playing. She smiled as she saw a mariachi band play at a street corner.

"Ooh, mariachis." Jackie frowned as he looked at the band. He sighed as he pointed a finger at Jade.

"Fine, but don't go anywhere." The martial artist walked away as the girl continued to watch the show. The band soon stopped playing, taking some necessary breaths. Jade clapped for the group, unaware of a presence approaching her.

"Hola." Greeted a voice. Jade turned to see a young boy with tan skin, brown hair, and brown eyes approaching her. He wore a green long-sleeved shirt, khakis pants, and brown sandals. "I am Paco. What could a charming senorita like yourself be doing this evening."

"Are you asking me out on a date or something?" questioned Jade. "Sorry, but I'm not interested." The boy quickly waved his hands in defense, understanding her confusion.

"Oh no, no, no! I am gathering an audience for El Toro Fuerte." Jade co*cked her brow in confusion.

"El Who-oh-what-a?" The boy opened a poster, revealing a muscular luchador with a red and yellow mask. There was a clear admiration in Paco's eyes.

"El Toro Fuerte, Mexico's mightiest wrestler." Jade took the poster looking it over. She hummed as she looked from the image to the boy. "He has never lost a match. I hope to grow up to be just like him."

"Wrestling? Tsst! Everyone knows it's all fake." Paco gasped, insulted by the comment.

"El Toro Fuerte is no fake! El Toro Fuerte is undefeatable because El Toro Fuerte is the best." Jade crossed her arms under her chest in disbelief.

"Oh really?" She pointed to Jackie with a determined smile. "See that guy right there?" Paco followed her line of sight as she returned to crossing her arms. "He's the best wrestler in the world. He can smack your boy down." Paco pointed back to Jackie in disbelief.

"The mouse man? There's no way he can defeat El Toro Fuerte." Jade frowned as she leaned closer to the boy.

"Can too." Paco leaned closer as well, clashing foreheads with the girl. He pushed her back a bit as he growled.

"Cannot." Jade quickly pushed back, surprising the boy. She too was unwilling to back down from her claim.

"Can too." The two argued back and forth a bit, unaware that a pair of eyes was on them. Ben watched the duo from a nearby table, a sombrero on his head and a churro in his hand. He grumbled as he kept his attention on Paco. He then scoffed as he took a bite of his churro.

"Who's that kid Jade's arguing with?" asked the Omnitrix hero. "He must feel high and mighty if he thinks he'll win." He continued to look on as he watched the argument unfold. Gwen sat across from him, wearing a matching sombrero as she read a spell book. She also wore a red tank-top and a black skirt, still having her usual shoes. She lowered the manuscript as she looked at her cousin.

"Since when do you care about who Jade argues with?" asked the magical girl. "Last I checked you encourage her to stand her ground, not even worrying about who she's talking to. You should be focusing on finding the Ox Talisman once that stupid watch gains its power back. Also, would it kill you to wear something different every now and again?"

She quickly gestured to her cousin’s outfit. “It can come off, unlike the Omnitrix. You can’t tell me you’re not burning up in those pants.” Ben rolled his eyes, ignoring Gwen as he tried to get a closer look at the ongoing argument. Paco suddenly stood up straight as he crossed his arms.

"If the mouse man really is good, then let us settle his worth in the ring," suggested the Hispanic boy. "It is only fitting that two bests should compete. I will see you and your mouse man tonight, senorita…" Jade huffed as she tilted her neck a bit.

"Jade,” answered the young Chan. Paco smiled as he backed away from the girl, handing a flier to a man before turning away. Ben chose this moment to walk towards her, Gwen quickly following behind him. He tried to find a good position to stand, unsure why he was putting much effort into it. He eventually stood with his arms crossed before clearing his throat.

"Talk about a dork," stated Ben. "Thinks his idol can beat Jackie Chan. He didn't even know who he was." Jade rolled her eyes, nodding in agreement.

"Yeah. Who does he think he is?" Jade suddenly looked his way, a smile on her face. She ran over and hugged the Omnitrix wielder, causing him to blush slightly. "I wondered when you were gonna show up." The boy quickly looked away as he tried to get his reddened cheeks under control.

"Had to get back to the hotel. Homework wasn't gonna do itself and Grandpa would've flipped if we didn't get it done." Jade chuckled as she pulled back, soon seeing Gwen walk up. She then hugged the redhead as Jackie walked over. He was adjusting a sombrero with one hand as he held the other behind his back.

"I haven't found anything about the Talisman, but I did find…" began Jackie. He sounded off his surprise as he saw the Tennyson kids. "Benjamin!? Gwendolyn!? What are you two doing here?" Gwen quickly held up her hand to get the man’s attention.

"Grandpa won a paid trip to Mexico," answered Gwen. "He got our parents’ permission to bring us along. Works out in the end. We had a paper on Latin culture anyway." Ben smiled as he tipped his sombrero.

"We’ve definitely been learning a lot here!" cheered the boy. "As our Spanish teacher would say, '¡México es asombroso!' I am so acing that Spanish quiz when we get back." Jade harrumphed as she crossed her arms under her chest, still slightly ticked off by Paco's challenge.

"Looks like everyone gets a sombrero except me," grumbled the young Chan. "Just great." Jackie smiled as he pulled one of the hats out from behind his back.

"Not for long," joked the martial artist as he put the hat atop her head. Jade smiled lightly as she adjusted the hat on her head. She quickly regained her focus as she unrolled the poster.

"Jackie, I told this boy that you are the best wrestler in the world! You have to prove it!" Gwen raised her finger in response as Jackie accepted the flier from his niece.

"You do know that Jackie is a Kung Fu master and not a wrestler, right?" corrected the redhead. "That kinda discounts him." Jade groaned in response as she rolled her eyes. She didn't really see the need to point out the difference. Jackie shook his head in denial, gesturing to himself.

"Jade, one should not fight for the sake of fighting," scolded the archeologist. "If I fight, it is only when I have no other choice." Ben hummed as he rubbed his chin. While he did agree with Jackie in that regard, there were times where he had to fight even if there was another choice.

"Makes sense," stated Jade. "When you get into the ring and this El Toro guy starts wailing on you, you'll have no other choice." Even Ben couldn't deny that her logic was a little twisted as he sent her a deadpan look. Jackie sounded his concern as he shook his head.

"You have a very interesting mind, young Jade. My answer is still no." Jade groaned as she clenched her fists.

"Jackie! You've got nothing better to do tonight!" Both Jackie and Gwen scoffed at the girl's proclamation.

"Are you serious?" asked Gwen. "We still have to find the Ox Talisman." Jackie pointed to the redhead, mentally thanking her for proving his point. A thought suddenly crossed Ben's mind as he rubbed his chin. He smirked as he stepped between the two sides.

"Hold on," requested Ben. "El Toro, as in Spanish for 'The Bull?'" Gwen sent her cousin a knowing look. It was easy to tell that he caught on to something.

"I guess," replied Jade. "I don't see how that's important right now. Besides, the Talisman could be a million miles away according to Jackie." Ben chuckled as he held his hand up.

"I'm getting there. If he's 'The Bull,' then it's kind of a funny coincidence. Bulls and Oxen are very similar animals. What if this guy knows where the talisman is?" Jackie rolled his eyes in response.

"A very good observation Benjamin, but it's impossible," argued Jackie. He looked down at the poster in order to get a better idea of what the man looked like. "The likelihood of someone named ‘El Toro’ knowing about the Ox Talisman is close to… Oh you have got to be kidding me." Ben smirked as Jade and Gwen looked over the man's arms, trying to get a look for themselves.

El Toro was a tall muscular luchador with a brown goatee. He wore a wrestling outfit consisting of a black tank top, yellow leggings, black boots, red armbands, and a red mask with yellow designs. The man’s physique definitely got the girls’ attention but the small gray stone with a blue ox head engraved into it quickly stole away their gaze. The stone was too similar to the Rooster talisman to be a coincidence. It looked like they were going to see a wrestling match after all.

Night Time

The building was illuminated by spotlights, the beams swinging back and forth. People were lining up quickly to catch a glimpse of the luchadores in action. Sombreros, homemade luchador masks, and churros marked the crowd that came to watch El Toro fight. A very specific group wasn't carrying any of that, however, as they neared the booth. Jade groaned as she became impatient.

"How long does it take for someone to pay for tickets!?" cried the girl. "How many people are in their family?" She watched painstakingly as a man slowly counted out dollars to hand over. Unknown to them, a group caught sight of them. Finn hummed as he adjusted his green poncho.

"I didn't peg Chan as a sports fan." Stated the tuxedo-wearing villain. "I always thought he was more of a serene and peaceful guy when not fighting." Ratso looked towards his companion in confusion, shaking his head in denial.

"What sport?" asked the olive-skinned man. "Wrestling's fake. Everyone knows that." Tohru stood behind them, a small sombrero on his head. He growled as he noticed the Tennysons were there too.

The heroes finally got their tickets and walked into the building. People walked back and forth as the families walked around the area. Ben grinned as he saw some of the guys lined up to fight. He had to admit that some of them looked really cool. Jade groaned once again as she grabbed Jackie by the arm.

"I still can't believe you came all the way out to a wrestling match and you aren't even going to get in the ring!" cried the young Chan. "You have to Jackie!" Jade soon stopped her tirade as she noticed Paco approach. Ben frowned as the boy approached, earning a confused look from his cousin. The Hispanic boy waved to the group.

"Hola, senorita Yade." Greeted Paco, using Spanish pronunciation for Jade's name. The girl waved to him in an attempt to hide her concern.

"Paco! Hi! Also, it’s Jade. Not Yade." The boy hummed as he looked at Jackie, still holding his smile.

"That is what I said. I cannot help my accent.” Jade could only sigh in response as she nodded her head.

“Alright. I walked into that one.” The Hispanic boy nodded his head with a small smile.

“I see you have brought a challenger for El Toro Fuerte, and an audience to watch. It is always good to have more people experience the magnificence of El Toro Fuerte." Ben rolled his eyes as he crossed his arms. It was unclear how many times Paco was going to say the man's name before the night was over. Jackie shook his head in response, a small smile on his face.

"That is not exactly why I am here," denied the martial artist. "Paco, was it, can you tell me what this is?" Jackie pointed to the Talisman in El Toro's mask, depicted in a nearby picture. The boy sighed in interest as he also pointed to the image.

"Of course! It is the sign of El Toro Fuerte, for he is strong like the bull." Ben snapped his fingers as he grinned, happy that he was right. The boy gestured for Jackie to get closer, the man getting on one knee in order to achieve the request. "I would fear him too if I were you."

Jade groaned as she rolled her eyes, Ben following suit. Paco smiled as he returned his attention to Jade. "Come, Yade. We have seats right in front, and your amigos may join us as well. In fact, I do not think I have asked for their names yet."

"I'm Max Tennyson," greeted Grandpa Max. "These are my grandchildren, Ben and Gwen." Gwen waved her hand in a friendly manor while Ben just nodded his head. "We’re in Mexico on a paid trip. We’re also here to learn about Mexican culture." Paco sounded his interest as he nodded his head.

"You are in luck then! El Toro Fuerte is the best luchador our culture has to offer! Vámonos mi amigos!" The boy grabbed Jade by the arm, leading her towards the wrestling ring. Ben was visibly irked by the action, earning a shocked look from Gwen.

"No way," gasped the girl. She and Ben trailed behind a bit due to the girl's words. Ben looked to his cousin in confusion, only to frown as he looked between her and Paco.

"What?" asked the boy. "See something about him I don't? Think I should go Graymatter in order to listen in on him?" Gwen shook her head as she pointed to him.

"You, Ben Tennyson, are jealous." The boy jerked back a bit in response to being called out. He growled as he leaned in a bit.

"Of who? Paco? What would I have to be jealous of? I'm the one with the Omnitrix." Gwen snickered as she shook her head.

"Oh I don't know. It’s just that every time he gets close to Jade you immediately frown. Not to mention when you reacted to him grabbing her by the hand. You really don’t like him being close to Jade in the first place." Ben blushed as he looked away, not wanting to grace Gwen with a positive answer.

"I am not jealous! Shut up and hurry up. We're gonna lose them in the crowd." Gwen smirked in success as she followed along. She knew she was right, and she was going to lord it over Ben for a long time to come.

Meanwhile, Jackie made his way towards the dressing rooms. He pushed apart the curtains, as he looked around the room. He soon laid eyes on a door with a blue star. He wondered how good his chances were that it was the room of El Toro. He knocked on the door with a serious frown.

"El Toro Fuerte?" asked Jackie. “Are you in?” He heard a heavy shift on the other side of the door.

"Si." Answered a deep voice. Jackie's eyes widened in response to the voice. How did these things keep happening to him? He cleared his throat as he regained his composure.

"I'm from housekeeping. There has been a mix-up. Your mask has not been properly cleaned." He really hoped that the man would buy it. He sounded as strong as his poster made him appear.

"What? El Toro Fuerte never removes his mask." Jackie shook his head as he sighed. At least the man gave him an opening to save some face. He didn't even notice the growing shadow behind him.

"Uh, that's what I told my boss. He won't listen to me! He says you cannot fight without a dirty mask! You…" Jackie was suddenly hoisted up into the air by his foot, coming face to face with Tohru. The giant growled as he sent a cold glare at the man.

"Hello Chan," greeted Tohru. "The Talisman." Jackie looked around, trying to find something he could use. Thinking quickly, he pulled down the large man's pants. Tohru quickly released one of his opponent's feet in order to pull up his pants, only for the man to flip free and kick off of him as he did so.

Jackie quickly ran down the hall, looking around for which way to go. He looked to his right, only to see the Enforcers and more Dark Hand goons rounding the corner. He quickly ran the other way, the call of "get him!" ringing out behind him. He continued to round corners to try and throw the men off, passing by some wrestlers. One moved to try and see where he was going, only for Finn to bump into his back.

"Move!" ordered the redhead. Jackie continued to open the doors as he tried to hide, the sound of footsteps approaching. After trying two doors, he finally found one that opened and ran inside. He took a few gasps as he tried to catch his breath, quickly laying eyes on a luchador mask. He smiled as he got an idea.

Outside, Finn growled as he looked around. "Where did he go?" As soon as the crooks walked by Jackie stepped out of the room, the luchador mask and a blue cape draped over his shoulders. He took a few steps of confidence as he walked the other way, only to run as he turned the corner. He came to a stop at a purple curtain.

Looking through it, he saw the ring and the people around it. There were a lot of people there. He actually saw Jade with the Tennysons and Paco, Ben doing his best to stay close to Jade. He chuckled to himself, realizing the signs. He felt a hand on his shoulder, making him gasp and turn around in response.

"Senor, it is time." Stated a man. He was dressed rather fancily, appearing to be the announcer of the match. He quickly grabbed Jackie by the arm, pulling him along towards the ring. Not wanting to get arrested, the martial artist was basically forced to get into the ring. Ben raised an eyebrow as Gwen's face deadpanned.

"He's not serious is he?" asked the redheaded mage. "I thought he was going to talk things out?" Ben hummed as he rubbed his chin. Something must have changed. The announcer grabbed the mic as he looked to the crowd.

"Amigos! Welcome to Lucha Libre!" The crowd went ballistic as he gestured to them. "Tonight two titans will clash here in this very ring. El Pollo Enmascarado…"

The man gestured to Jackie, who was fixing to try and leave the ring. He quickly stood in attention as the crowd booed at him. It was clear that either the man who usually wears the mask was being a heel or El Toro was the crowd's favorite. A man beside Jackie quickly ripped off his shirt, revealing the white undershirt underneath and startling him. "And the undefeated champion: El Toro Fuerte!"

El Toro Fuerte had his back to Jackie, a flamboyant red cape hiding his form. He turned around, revealing that the black sleeveless shirt was actually a one-piece wrestling uniform. He wore the championship belt around his waist, his champion status on full display. The man removed his cape before slapping himself, twice in the chest and twice in the face. The Ox Talisman seemed to glow in power atop his forehead, causing Jackie to frown.

The announcer continued to rile up the crowd as he held a finger up. "Tonight one shall drink deep from the cup of victory, and the loser shall be unmasked!" Ben sounded his interest in the stakes of the match. A big part of the luchador culture was that they never removed their masks, lest they be shamed. He suddenly began to realize something about the masked fighter as Paco sounded his confusion.

"Where did they get this mouse man?" asked Pablo. "He does not look like El Pollo Enmascarado." Jade also took a closer look at Jackie, beginning to piece the truth together. It was only when the archeologist turned towards them that they recognized him.

"Jackie?" asked Jade. She left her seat as she ran towards the ring, Ben and Gwen quick to follow. Jackie did some stretches before he saw the trio approach below. "Awesome! You're gonna do it?" Her uncle sighed as he crouched down to whispering distance.

"Only because I have no other choice." Answered the martial artist. "If I win, El Toro will be unmasked. Then I can take the mask and remove the talisman before…" Ben quickly noticed El Toro moving back towards the ropes on his side. As soon as the bell rang, the wrestler used them to sling himself forward at an increasing speed.

"Incoming!" cried the Omnitrix Wielder. Jackie turned at the warning, but it was too late as the muscular man crashed into him. The trio went back to their seats as Jackie stumbled away from the corner in a daze. He fell onto the mat as he continued to see stars. Paco whooped in excitement as the crowd went wild.

"El Toro!" cheered the Hispanic boy. He continued to chant his idol's name as Jade looked on in utter shock. Ben growled as he crossed his arms. There had to be some big thing they were missing when it comes to the power of the talisman. Jackie quickly shook his head as he recovered from the attack.

"Okay then," growled the archeologist. He quickly backflipped onto the ring post, remaining crouched as El Toro continued to glare him down. Jackie leapt at his opponent with a flying kick, only to be caught midair. Jade and Gwen watched in shock as El Toro slammed the star into the ground. It suddenly occurred to Ben as he snapped his fingers.

'Strong as an Ox!' thought the boy. El Toro hadn't even grunted from catching Jackie. Even if he could carry things heavier than the smaller man, he should have at least braced a little more from the impact. He was about to sneak away and go hero when he saw Tohru and Valmont's goons enter from the top. He turned his attention to Grandpa Max, hoping he could provide a distraction, when El Toro landed on Jackie for the pin. The referee quickly got down on his knees as he patted the mat.

"Uno… Dos… Tres!" counted the ref. He waved his hands in an x shape as the crowd went ballistic. El Toro stood up as Paco continued to cheer his name. The referee raised his hand in victory. "The Winner."

El Toro roared to the crowd as he did a power flex. He moved to the ring post as he riled up the crowd some more. Ben clicked his teeth as he watched the man jump down from the rope. The wrestler walked up to Jackie, holding him up by his torso with one arm. Paco looked to Jade with a frown of condolences.

"Do not watch, Yade," recommended the local boy. "This is the part where Yackie must lose his mask and, regrettably, his dignity." Ben growled as he looked between the Dark Hand goons and the wrestlers in the ring. El Toro wasted no time as he unmasked Jackie. Finn growled upon seeing him, pointing to him to notify his colleagues.

"There's Chan!" cried the tux wearer of the group. The others soon turned to see the man, their frowns reflecting his own. "Get him!" Finn was about to lead the charge when a large hand blocked his path. He looked to Tohru, the sumo man barring the others from proceeding as well.

"No," denied the giant of a man. "He does not have the talisman." El Toro held the championship belt high above his head, the talisman slightly glowing upon his forehead. Tohru left the arena area, the others following suit. Ben sighed in relief, moving his hand away from the Omnitrix.

"Too close," gasped the boy. Gwen looked at him, confusion written on her face. He looked her way, noticing the look on her face. "The Dark Hand walked in and saw the fight. They must have figured out the same thing we did 'cause they just left." Gwen frowned as she nodded her head.

"I'll tell Grandpa and Jade." Stated the young magician. "You keep an eye on the beefcake. Hopefully we can get the talisman peacefully." Ben smirked at his cousin’s use of such words, only to make his way through the crowd. Back on the mat, Jackie was beginning to come too as he heard a faint voice calling his name.

"Jackie!" cried the voice. Said archeologist barely opened his eyes as he hallucinated Uncle's head floating in green energy. "Remember, Jackie. Each talisman possesses a different magic." Jackie nodded his head in response.

"Yes," began the man. "Yes Uncle. 12 animals. Chinese Zodiac." He went to close his eyes again, but the floating apparition continued.

"One more thing. What happened to you?! You lost that match so fast! He gave you a serious whupping!" Jackie groaned as he looked to the head again.

"I know! He was so strong. He wasn't even Tohru's size. I could do nothing against him." The floating head hummed in thought.

"Perhaps the power of the Ox Talisman is strength." Jackie widened his eyes a little more. It became clear to him that strength was the answer.

"Of course! Strength!" It made so much sense to the martial artist. El Toro’s unbeatable streak made more sense now. A hand formed next to the floating head as it drew closer.

"One more thing." Instead of saying something, the hallucination Uncle slapped Jackie on the head. The man soon came too as he felt someone was holding his torso up from behind. The vision of Uncle soon turned into Max as Jackie finally woke up. The old man looked him in the eye as Gwen and Jade stood behind him.

"Easy there, Jackie," advised the elder Tennyson. "That was a nasty scrape. Still, at least you didn't outright demand his mask. If you were out any longer we would've called an ambulance." Jackie quickly shot up as he looked amongst the group.

"Where's El Toro?" asked the martial artist. "We have to get the talisman. It gives the wearer superhuman strength. If the Dark Hand get their hands on it…" Gwen held up her hand, interrupting Jackie.

"We figured out what the talisman does from watching your fight," began the sorceress. "Bad news: the Dark Hand did too. Good news: El Toro didn't get too far and Ben's keeping an eye on him. The dweeb just messaged me that Paco's got him signing autographs a few blocks away." Jackie nodded before the group left, hoping to reach them before the villains.

Ben kept a good distance as he watched Paco and El Toro. It was obvious the boy idolized the wrestler as he brought the poster from earlier today to him. Ben had to admit that Paco seemed to be a pretty nice kid with how he waited for others to have a turn with the wrestler. If only he wasn't interested in Jade. Ben quickly shook his head, regaining his composure as he watched El Toro finish signing the poster.

"Another autograph Paco?" asked the luchador. "How many have I written for you at this rate?" Paco didn't stop smiling as he received the paper from the wrestler.

"One for every victory, Señor Fuerte," answered the boy. "Gracias." El Toro couldn't help the smile on his face. Paco always managed to make his day after every match, keeping his mind off of the repetitiveness of his career. He soon saw a rather large shadow being cast from a nearby lantern, causing his smile to fall.

"El Toro," stated a voice. Ben growled as he watched the wrestler turn towards Finn and the rest of the Dark Hand goons. The redhead gestured to Tohru with a confident smirk. "Meet Tohru. Tohru, Toro."

The two strong men glared each other down, an invisible spark lighting between them. Finn decided to continue as he gestured back and forth. "Toro, Tohru. Tohru, Toro…" This continued a few times before Tohru pushed Finn back towards the others with one hand.

"The mask," ordered the sumo man. El Toro's eyes lit in fury as he bared his teeth. Ben quickly sent a message to Gwen before sitting to watch the show. If there was one thing you never do, it's demand a luchador to remove their mask. The wrestler adjusted his tux, an attempted flash of intimidation.

"El Toro Fuerte never removes his mask." Denied the man. Paco backed up in recognition of what was about to go down. Tohru wasn't taking no for an answer as he stood his ground.

"Then I will remove it for you." The big man tried to grab El Toro by the head, but the wrestler easily grabbed his arm. Tohru tried to pull back, but the Ox Talisman was empowering its wielder with the strength to keep him in place. The other villains grew nervous as the wrestler quickly used both hands to lift his opponent into a bench press above his head. He then threw the man, sending him crashing into a nearby car.

"That's it!" cried one of the lower goons. "New guy quits!" The man quickly ran away, an act the other grunts followed. Tohru groaned as he turned his head away, still reeling from being tossed. Chow turned towards El Toro Fuerte with sweat running down his brow.

"He nailed Tohru," stated the Asian villain. It was one thing if it was a few punches, but he wasn't gonna fight someone who could throw a massive man like he was a basketball. Ratso had the same notion in mind as he slowly backed away.

"Nobody nails Tohru," squeaked the olive-skinned man. The two bailed as Finn tried to reach out for them. He slowly turned towards El Toro, a scowl on the wrestler's face. He chuckled as he shrugged, quickly following his colleagues. Ben couldn't believe his eyes as he watched the wrestler stand tall.

"Wow," whispered the boy to himself. "That talisman could make Graymatter a tough guy." El Toro rubbed Paco fondly on the head before continuing on his way. Ben quickly made to follow the wrestler, keeping out of Paco's line of sight. The others soon walked out, Jade whistling at the sight of Tohru laying on top of a crushed car.

"El Toro's been eating his spinach," joked Jade. Gwen gave her a deadpanned look in response to her humor, also noticing the intrigued smirk on her face. The young Chan finally noticed the look she received, shrugging in response. "What?" Jackie shook his head as he looked to the direction El Toro went.

"The Dark Hand will send more," stated the martial artist. "El Toro and Benjamin are in danger. Let's hurry!" Jackie ran down the street towards the duo, the others quick to follow. Paco watched them run along, an excited smile on his face.

"More?" asked the boy. "This is so exciting! Wait for me!" The boy quickly ran after the group. They soon came upon where El Toro was walking, but Jackie held his hand back towards the children in denial.

"Stay put." The kids groaned in displeasure with the man as he looked at Max. "Maxwell, find Ben and get him out of here." Max shook his head in denial.

"Ben knows not to get into things he can't handle." Argued Max. "It'll be better to explain it if there are two of us." Jackie looked like he was about to argue, but Max didn't give him a chance as he walked forward. The martial artist groaned in response as he ran ahead of the elderly man.

"Excuse me Mr. El Toro!" El Toro stopped and turned to the men as Jackie came to a stop. "Erm… Señor." The wrestler couldn't help but smile. It was nice when a wrestler came by to talk to him after a match.

"I trust you had a nice siesta, Señor," began El Toro. "I was about to go to siesta myself. What can I do for you?" Max decided to step forward as he cleared his throat.

"I'm afraid you've been targeted by a dangerous organization, Señor." Informed the elder Tennyson. "A dangerous man is after the talisman in your possession. He believes it has some kind of 'magical properties.'" El Toro looked confused as he looked between the two tourists.

"Talisman? What talisman?" Jackie reached an arm forward as he pointed towards the stone upon the man's forehead.

"This talisman," began the martial artist. El Toro made a slight scowl as he smacked Jackie's hand away from his face. Jackie cried out in pain as the wrestler crossed his arms.

"Never touch the mask." Ben watched from a barrel to the side, waiting to see if he'd be needed. He watched Gwen step away in order to change into Lucky Girl, leaving Jade and Paco alone. This irked Ben slightly, but he suddenly saw a pair of red eyes light up in the shadows. He reached for the Omnitrix as Shadowkhan began to sneak into position all around the area.

"You are in grave danger! The longer you have the talisman the more the organization sends." Jade whistled to the adults, catching their attention.

"Oh Jackie~," began the young Chan. "They're here." The men soon realized that they were surrounded by the shadow ninjas, each of them bearing a weapon of some form. El Toro slowly began to remove the jacket of his tuxedo as the warriors began to close in, Max reaching for something in his pocket. Paco still held excitement in his face as he looked over all of the fighters.

"Woah!" cheered the boy. "Are they all wrestlers?" He looked at Jade in his excitement, only for his smile to fall at the scared look on her face.

"Shadowkhan." The ninjas leapt into action at the mention of their identity. Jackie cried out in shock as he dodged a strike from a tonfa user. Another one came at him with a flying kick, but he grabbed it by the leg and sent it hurtling towards the ground. El Toro grabbed two that were coming at him, throwing them into some nearby crates of fruit. He turned around in order to hit another ninja with a lariat.

Maxwell quickly stood by some cover as the ninjas threateningly approached him. He smirked as one tried to jump at him, prompting him to pull his hand out of his pocket. He aimed a laser pistol at the being's chest, firing a beam through it. The creature dissipated into smoke as the elder pulled a device out of his pocket. He smirked as he pressed a few buttons on the controller.

"It's like Terramorra all over again," stated Max. Some more ninjas rushed at him, only to be hailed down upon by a collection of blasters. Two flying turrets lowered into the area, locking their sights on the ninjas around their operator. Max quickly took cover behind a support as the machines fired on the Shadowkhan. One tried to jump at him from the roof, only to be frozen before it could make the jump.

"Stay away from my Grandpa!" cried Gwen. She stood tall on the roof in her Lucky Girl suit. Some of the Shadowkhan still on the roof rushed at her, but she quickly grabbed one of the dropped tonfas as she readied for battle. "PYROS!" She threw a hand forward, sending a fire ball towards some of the enemy ninja.

It hit a few of the villains, sending them hurtling backwards. One was about to hit her from behind, but she quickly turned around in order to hit it in the temple with the tonfa. She placed her free hand on the roof, making it glow blue with magic. "CRIOSYS!" Ice spread over the rooftop, freezing some Shadowkhan to the surface and causing others to slip and fall.

"Duck!" cried a nasally voice. Gwen quickly ducked out of the way of a dagger thrown by a nearby ninja. It went to throw another weapon, only to have its head covered in a disgusting green gunk. A large fly-like creature with a stinger tail and the Omnitrix on its face grabbed the being and dropped it on a group of its comrades, causing them to fall off the roof. "Steeeerike!" Gwen scrunched up her nose at a stench in the air.

"Gross! Seriously Ben? Stinkfly? That’s the best you could choose?" The bug raised its hands in defense.

"I was going for Fourarms! Blame the stupid watch! Heads up!" He shot a glob towards Gwen, causing her to duck as the substance stuck another Shadowkhan to a door. The being tried to remove itself from the surface, only for the substance constraining him to be too strong.

Back on the ground, Jackie had to dodge out of the way as two ninjas tried to slice him with their swords. He landed on a nearby table, kicking some pots at the shadow beings. The enemies sliced and kicked at the pottery, not once slowing down. Another threw a kunai at the man, but he quickly dove under the table. Two of the shinobi jumped over in order to catch him off guard, their weapons at the ready.

Jackie rolled out of the way, grabbing one of the poles of the overhead banister. The tarp collapsed on top of the Shadowkhan, the villains trying to fight their way out. Jackie then used the pole to block a sword strike from behind. He used the impromptu weapon to bat away an approaching ninja and the one that attacked him. Jade grinned as she looked towards Paco.

"Told ya Jackie rocks," gloated Jade. "Admit it." Paco nodded his head with a frown.

"Indeed… but El Toro did defeat him," argued the Mexican boy. "He settled that he was better in the ring." Jade growled as she looked at the boy.

"Is not."

"Is too."

"Is not."

"Is too."

"Is not." As the kids were arguing El Toro found himself tossing Shadowkhan over his shoulder. One of them ripped off his sleeve as he threw villain after villain. Max took the initiative to shoot each ninja that was thrown, each one popping into shadows. He had to hold his fire as Jackie was accidentally sent flying in the chaos. El Toro looked to his ally as the man landed on his back.

"Sorry," apologized the luchador. Jade facepalmed as Paco laughed at the occurrence. One of the shinobi twirled a net on a rope, sending it flying at the luchador. The projectile hit its target, covering his head. The villain pulled with all his might, catching Stinkfly's attention.

"Oh no you don't!" cried the bug alien. He went to stop the shinobi, only to have a bunch of them jump on his back. Gwen fired one of her spells to knock them off, but the damage was already done. With one final pull, the shinobi pulled the mask off of El Toro. Paco watched in horror as the villain pulled the man's mask out of the net.

"The mask!" gasped the super fan. El Toro growled at the villains, his bald head exposed. Rage built up within him, so much so that his veins began to show. Such an insult to his honor would not go unpunished. The wrestler puffed up his chest as a roar built up within him.

“[Spanish] El Toro Fuerte never removes the mask!" roared El Toro. He rushed at the villains, only to have a bola thrown at his feet. He fell over in response to the attack, landing with a thud. Paco's eyes widened in shock as his hero had fallen.

"NO!" Stinkfly growled at the scene as he prepared to fly over to stop the ninjas, only for the watch to blink as a familiar chime rang. The insect growled as he aimed the tubes on his face at the watch.

"Really!?" cried the alien hero. "Now!?" Ben had no choice but to land and hide before the time ran out. Max tried to aim his blaster at the villains, only for the shinobis to finally destroy it and his turrets. Tohru approached the ninja that had the mask, the creature bowing as it presented it.

The behemoth of a man took the object, ripping the Ox Talisman loose from it. He looked over the stone for a bit before throwing the mask back towards El Toro. The wrestler looked down at his defaced mask in dismay. The Shadowkhan that remained returned to the shadows from whence they came. Tohru then pocketed the talisman before slinging Jackie over his shoulder.

"Jackie!" cried Jade. She ran towards the big man as he carried her uncle towards a car. She began to beat him on the back of his leg, causing him to look back at her with his scowl. "Put him down!"

Jade kicked Tohru's leg over and over again as she tried to help Jackie. "Put him down! Put him down!" Tohru let this go on for a little bit longer before poking her away from him, causing her to land on her butt. He approached the vehicle where the enforcers were smiling at him.

"A souvenir for Valmont," stated Tohru. He laid Jackie down in one of the seats before taking his own in the back. Jade watched on helplessly as the villains drove off with the talisman and her uncle. El Toro continued to look down at his mask in shame, only to notice a shadow over his hand. He looked up to see a sight that stung him more than any hit during his early years: Paco crying in front of him.

"Yade was right," hiccupped the boy. "You are a fake!" The little fan ran away, trying to wipe his eyes of his tears. El Toro felt something break inside as he watched the boy run away. Ben ran past him with no regard, quickly helping Jade up.

"Jade!" cried the Omnitrix hero. "Are you alright!? He didn't hurt you, did he?" Jade continued to look off in the direction Jackie was taken, shaken by their defeat. She shook her head as she looked at the boy.

"I'm fine, but they have Jackie!" cried the young Chan. "We have to do something! Can't you Go Alien and chase after them!?" Ben sighed as he shook his head.

"If the Omnitrix was charged I could easily catch up to them. It still has a few minutes to an hour of recharge left." Jade growled as she looked in the direction the villains went. They had to do something. Gwen ran up in her usual clothes, a serious look on her face.

"We haven't lost yet," stated the redhead. "There's only one way to get back to Bellwood as fast as possible, the airport. I can use a spell to find their plane and we get them from there." Max nodded as he approached the kids.

"Sounds like a plan," Acknowledged the elder Tennyson. "Unfortunately, I don't think we can wait an hour for the watch to recharge. The airport is minutes away and we're without any big guns." The kids scratched their heads as they tried to think of something. Jade suddenly got an idea as she approached El Toro.

"Mr. Toro," began the young Chan. "We need your help to rescue Jackie." The wrestler said nothing as he looked down at the ground. He sighed as he looked up towards the girl.

"Paco is right," acknowledged El Toro. "I am a fake." Jade growled, not taking that as an answer. She grabbed him by the arm as she tried to pull him along. Emphasis on trying.

"Come on, come on, come on! Up we go, Beefcake!" Ben blinked multiple times, a bit irked at this point.

“Why do girls keep pointing that out?” questioned the boy. “We can all see he’s buff.” Jade finally had enough of pulling and released the man's arm, ignoring Ben’s comment. She crossed her arms under her chest as she waited, Ben and Gwen soon joining her. It was clear that the man needed to monologue.

"With the power of the Ox, I was undefeatable,” continued the luchador. “Hah! Look at me now." Gwen growled as she shook her head. They had no time for this.

"Yeah," began the magical girl. "Funny how cheating with power doesn't tend to last long, huh? Anyway, are you gonna help us or not? You beat Jackie up and he's in trouble, so now it's time to make amends." El Toro shook his head in denial.

"Without the mask, I can help no one." Jade quickly picked up the mask, presenting it to him. He did not receive it as he looked to the ground. "And without the talisman, the mask is useless." Max sighed as he watched the kids try to coax the big man into helping them. He was about to step in with some advice of his own, but Ben knelt on one knee as he looked at the wrestler.

"You'd think that, wouldn't you?" asked the Omnitrix wielder. "You lose the magic rock, lose all your power, and the world comes to an end. Sounds about right?" El Toro looked at the boy; a little bit confused.

"Yes. That actually sums it up." Ben smirked as he shook his head.

"This is gonna sound weird coming from a kid, but it's not really the end. Someone could come along and use the Ox Talisman but if they don't know how to fight, they could find themselves in a lot of trouble. You have to understand that it's not the talisman that gives the power but the person who uses it that matters. They know what the talisman can do, so now it's time to show them what El Toro Fuerte can do." El Toro looked the boy in the eye, his own lowly slanting as he looked to his clenched fist.

"You are right, niñito!" The wrestler stood tall as he kept looking at his fist. "They can disgrace me all they want, but no one messes with my home and Luchalibre! It's time for the bull to get back in the fight!" Jade cried out in excitement as she pumped her fist.

"That was mature of you, Ben." Stated Max. Ben turned to look at his grandfather, a smile on both of their faces. "Sounds like you spoke from experience. Anything I need to know?" Ben waved the man off as he walked back over to the girls.

"Eh!" denied the boy. "I'll tell ya later. Right now, we've got a talisman and a superstar to retrieve." It wouldn't take long for Gwen to find the villains, leaving them a good amount to work with. Ben just hoped the watch didn't take too long to recharge.

The plane engines revved as the Dark Hand prepared to take off. Tohru sat in the front of the vehicle alongside a remaining goon. He smirked darkly as he looked down at the Ox Talisman, quickly enclosing it in an ornate box. In the cargo area Finn and Chow were binding Jackie in rope, his mouth duct taped. The tux wearer looked at his companion with a serious frown.

"Now bind his legs," ordered Finn. "We don't want him back flipping and kicking us or something." Chow grumbled his agreement as he readied the next section of rope. A knock at the door ceased all actions. The trio looked to the window to see Jade waving with a smile.

"Jackie!" greeted Jade. Said martial artist shook his head in denial, trying to get her to run away. She had to get out of here. It wasn't safe! Finn growled as he saw her, proving Jackie's fear.

"I'll teach that brat some manners. Keep working." He quickly walked over to the door, Jade seemingly disappearing as she moved back. Jackie soon recognized something: Jade was not tall enough to reach the window. Finn didn't see the error as he opened the door, his eyes widening as he saw Jade sitting on El Toro's shoulders.

"Psych." The wrestler grabbed Finn by his tuxedo, pulling him out of the plane and throwing him behind him. Chow abandoned his task in order to check what was going on. This gave Jackie the opportunity to jump to a standing position and kick him out of the plane. El Toro quickly picked up Jackie and helped him off the plane.

Max quickly came over, handcuffing the two goons on the ground. "Hola Jackie! We came to rescue you." El Toro pulled the tape off of the martial artist's mouth, causing him to yelp in pain. He quickly regained his composure as he shook his head.

"No-no-no-no!" cried Jackie. "The talisman is on the plane in a box! We can't let it take off!" Jade smirked as she shook her head.

"No problem!" She quickly leapt off of the wrestler's shoulders, running into the vehicle. El Toro quickly followed to make sure she didn't get hurt, leaving Jackie behind. Jackie quickly noticed that he was still tied in the rope, which was still attached to the roll in the plane. The vehicle quickly began to take off as Max cuffed Chow.

"Alright Jackie," began the old man. "Let's get you untied before…" His sentence was cut off as Jackie screamed. He turned to see that Jackie was being pulled along behind the plane, eventually flying into the air with it. He sighed as he shook his head.

Jackie just couldn't catch a break. He went to retrieve the car, only to look around in confusion. "Ben? Gwen?" Back on the plane, the pilot looked back to see Jackie hanging off the back.

"We've got a situation." Stated the man. "Chan's loose." Tohru growled as he stood up as he went to resolve the matter, leaving the box with the talisman in the seat. He opened the door to the storage area, only to come face to face with El Toro. The two men growled as they squared off, neither of them backing down.

The two roared as they ran towards each other. They clashed in a push battle, each one giving it their all. Jade quickly snuck by them, using the struggle to go unnoticed. Gwen in her Lucky Girl outfit peeked out from behind a box. Now began the second phase of the plan. She began to sneak through, only to see that the rope was tight by the door.

"Help!" cried Jackie. Gwen's eyes widened as she ran to the door, opening it and letting the air rush out. She looked down to see Jackie crying from the force on his face. "Pull me up! Pull me up!"

"Don't worry Ja… sir!" cried Gwen. She quickly looked to the nearby roll as she readied magical energy in her hands. "RELLON!" She hit the wheel with the spell, causing it to reel in the line. Jackie felt the force increase on him as he was slowly being pulled up by the object.

"Thank you." Jade quickly entered the co*ckpit, trying to be stealthy. She soon saw the box in Tohru's chair, smiling at the sight. She did her best to reach for it, doing her best to stay out of sight. The pilot soon looked her way, however, growling as he began to stand.

"Hey!" roared the man. He went to grab Jade, a menacing growl erupting from his throat. The girl quickly sent a kick his way in a panic, hitting his family jewels. He quickly fell to his knees, holding the precious area. A small gray amphibian popped up from behind her head, wearing a white and black jumpsuit with the Omnitrix symbol on its back.

"Try some Galvan on for size!" roared the alien. He leapt onto the man's face, causing him to scream as he fell back. Jade quickly grabbed the box, pulling the talisman out of it. She looked to the window, only to gasp as she saw the plane begin to dip. The man ended up knocking himself out, causing Ben to whoop in victory.

"Um… Be… Graymatter?" asked Jade. Ben turned to her, quickly noting her concerned face. "That guy was the pilot." The boy soon realized his mistake as the vehicle suddenly went into a nosedive. Jackie's retrieval was put on hold as the wheel was unable to reel him in against the force of gravity on the plane.

The rope began to untie at the loop, causing the archeologist to cry out in fear. The knot came undone, causing Jackie to spin like a yoyo. He was quick enough to grab hold of the rope before he could go fully off the plane. He was able to pull himself towards the vehicle, making his way inside. Gwen quickly closed the door behind him, causing him to breathe a sigh of relief.

"Thank you," began the man. He looked at her, confused by her appearance. "Who are…?" Gwen panicked as she tried to find a way to hide her identity without talking. Thankfully Tohru and El Toro's struggle took the duo's attention off each other.

The big men slid towards the others in their push battle, coming to a stop in front of them. Neither of the men were willing to give up. They soon heard another sliding sound approach them. They glanced over to the incoming source, only to pause as they saw the unconscious pilot. Tohru blinked as he loosened his hold.

"If that is the pilot then…" began the large man. El Toro soon noticed the problem too as he also loosened his hold. All four present people suddenly turned towards the co*ckpit.

"WHO'S FLYING THE PLANE!?" cried both Jackie and Gwen. The group ran for the door, trying their best against the change in gravity. They burst into the room, watching as Jade was trying to pull the plane up while Graymatter looked over the buttons in a panic. Gwen ran her hands through her hair as she saw her fellow kids frantically trying to get the plane back on track. Jade looked back at them with a growl.

"A little help here!" cried the young Chan. "This isn't the job for a preteen girl!" Graymatter quickly pointed towards Jackie and Tohru.

“Mr Chan take over the wheel!” cried the little alien. “Big guy, take the copilot seat and press or twist anything that flashes!” Tohru growled at being ordered around, only for the Galvan to remind him of the approaching ground. “Would you rather be squashed and roasted!?” The two adults put aside their battle as they got to work, El Toro pulling Jade and Lucky Girl to the back to strap in.

“Stay here,” ordered the man. “This will get ugly.” He walked away from the girls, allowing them to look towards each other.

“Those muscles really aren’t just for show,” whispered Jade. “He could pull me around all day.” Gwen nodded her head, releasing a longing sigh. Graymatter was on the wall nearby, hanging on for dear life. All he could do was groan at the girls’ actions, chalking it up to them being weird.

Back in town, Paco was looking sadly at a wall. Posted on said structure was a poster of El Toro from that day’s match. The boy wiped his nose as he continued to sob.

"El Toro Fuerte, you are no longer my hero," cried the boy. He soon heard a commotion approaching him, causing him to snuff his tears. He turned around, only to gasp as he saw the oncoming plane. He watched in terror as the vehicle nearly tore through the town, the wings coming off from collision with some of the buildings. He was quickly grabbed up by Max, the man quickly running for cover.

"Look out!" cried the old man. The plane was finally forced to a stop as the scraping tore at its momentum. It nearly bumped the wall Paco was staring at earlier, causing the poster to fall off. Max and Paco looked out from a nearby support as the dust began to settle. Jackie, El Toro, and Tohru stumbled out of the plane as they tried to regain their balance.

After finally getting their footing, they assumed their battle stance. Toru took a sumo stance as Jackie and El Toro took their respective fighting stances across from him. Paco watched on with bated breath, not noticing that Max was pulling out a laser pistol in case things got bad. Gwen quickly hid away, using a spell to turn back into her normal self. Jade stood at the entrance of the plane as she held up the Ox Talisman.

"Mr. El Toro!" cried the girl. She threw the object to him, causing him to catch it. He looked down at him, feeling that old sensation come over him. He remembered Ben's words, however. Taking them to heart, he looked back at Jade.

"Gracias niña, but I would rather win as the man rather than use the stone," denied the wrestler. "A real luchador loses with dignity before he wins by deception." Paco watched on in awe, the old spark of his passion bursting into a flame. El Toro tossed the stone back to Jade, the girl quickly catching it. She rolled her eyes in disbelief.

"Whatever. I'll never understand boys. Er, no offense Ben." The little gray alien frowned in response.

“You’re the one being weird about muscly guys,” growled Graymatter. “We’ll talk about it later!” Jade huffed at him as she crossed her arms under her chest.

“I am not being weird… Am I?” She turned to look at Gwen, the redhead shaking her head in denial. Graymatter ignored the rebuttal in favor of planning out their next move. He tapped his lip in thought, only to smirk as he looked towards his companion.

"I've got an idea," Stated Graymatter. The girls looked at him with interest, watching as he pointed towards Jade. "Ready for a team up, Jade?" The girl in question became giddy in anticipation, nodding her head. He quickly gestured to the Omnitrix as he silently gave her instructions.

Jackie and El Toro soon stood side by side as they watched Tohru get into a stance. They nodded to each other as they prepared for the fight. The mountain of a man roared as he ran at them. The duo tried to dodge out of the way, only for Tohru to slam them away with a different arm. He smirked as he stood tall, looking over his now toppled foes.

"Now tell me," began Tohru. "Who's the mightiest?" A green flash went off behind him, going unnoticed.

"Give you a clue," stated Jade. Tohru's face contorted in confusion as he turned to her. He was surprised to find himself actually face to face with something. A red bald creature stood before him, four eyes and four arms present on its very masculine body. The large man gulped as he noticed Jade standing atop its shoulders, the Ox Talisman glowing from its place on an ornate belt buckle.

"Make that four," growled the red alien with a grin. Jade kicked Tohru in the face, her new strength causing him to tumble backwards. Her companion quickly hoisted the large man above his head with all four of his arms, the girl hopping off of him to make room. "The mightiest of all, is Fourarms!"

The now identified Fourarms barely broke a sweat as he held the massive man high above his head. He then threw him towards the wall, causing Jackie and El Toro to move out of the way. The villain crashed into the thankfully empty building, causing it to collapse on top of him. He quickly flexed all four of his arms as he growled, watching as Shadowkhan quickly removed the big man from the rubble before disappearing. Jade couldn’t help but blush as she looked the alien up and down.

“You know, I could get used to Fourarms.” The alien looked towards her, thankful that he apparently couldn’t blush himself. Gwen approached them as she rolled her eyes.

“Okay,” huffed the magical girl. “Now you’re being weird.” Jackie and El Toro turned their attention towards the destruction, not noticing as the two heroes ducked behind a nearby building. They turned in the direction of Jade, surprised to see that the creature was gone.

"How do they do that?" asked Jackie. He quickly regained his composure as he approached Jade. "Jade. The talisman." Jade harrumphed as she pulled the stone from the belt buckle, El Toro smiling at the sight.

"El Toro Fuerte?" asked Paco. El Toro turned towards the boy, watching as he approached with Maxwell not far behind. He had to look away in shame as the boy couldn't even look him in the eye. The young boy looked up to his hero, a smile forming on his face. "Will you teach me the ways of wrestling?"

El Toro's eyes widened in shock as he looked at the smiling boy. He felt a fire that died out long ago reignite within him as he saw the look in his biggest fan's eyes. No, not just a fan. His pupil. He knelt down with a grin, placing a hand on Paco's shoulder.

"With all the wisdom of my experience," answered the wrestler. The boy hugged the man around his neck, earning a hearty laugh. Jackie and Jade couldn't help but smile at the sight, Gwen doing the same as she approached the group. Paco smiled as he nodded his head.

"You are the greatest." This statement broke the peaceful moment as Jade frowned. Gwen rolled her eyes as she returned in her civilian attire, knowing where this was headed.

"No," denied Jade. The local duo looked at her in confusion. She pointed to Jackie without hesitation. "Jackie's the greatest." Paco mimicked her expression as he pointed to El Toro.

"No. El Toro is the greatest." Jade didn't waver as she kept her finger pointed at Jackie.

"Jackie."

"El Toro."

"Jackie."

"El Toro." Ben soon ran up to them, a clear frown on his face. He came to a stop as he gestured to where he just came from.

"What about Fourarms?" asked the Omnitrix wielder. "He helped you beat Tohru, Jade. Wasn't he cool?" Jade waved him off with a smile.

"He is, but Jackie's still the greatest human," answered the young Chan. This caused Ben to pout, nearly falling over in defeat. Paco nodded his head in response.

"No. El Toro is the greatest of all." Max chuckled as he watched the argument begin anew once more. He'd talk with Ben and Gwen about disappearing to help without cluing him in first later. At that moment, however, it was clear that everyone deserved a nice long rest.

And that's chapter 3 done and done! Again I'm really sorry this took so long. Things just kept piling on and on. I needed to take a trip with some friends in order to get my spark back, and it looks like it worked for the most part. I can't promise a consistent update schedule, but I'm making my way back to a more repetitive normal.

Jessie: Ehem!

James: Jessie! Elbow Jab

Jessie: OW! What!?

Meowth: Ya know we don't need recognition for everyt'ing we do right? I actually liked da feeling of doin' somethin' out of what goodness we have in our hearts.

Jessie: I'm just saying.

Chuckle.

Inkaliber: Thanks, you knuckle heads. I probably wouldn't have made the end of the month if you didn't push things forward. I had to proofread a few pages as the chapter played but it was good. I think some cake is in order. James, if you could sign us off.

James: Of course! Just save me a slice of that delectable cake!

Meowth: Better hurry or Meowth will eat your piece! Chief can't stop me this time!

James: You better not! Ehem! What did you think of this beautiful chapter? Did you enjoy the Author's way of sticking to canon? Did you enjoy the alien introductions?

Remember to leave your thoughts down below in the comments for those on Archive and for those on Fanfiction. While we may be used to commenting during the Let's Go Stitch series, we may be making more appearances in Boss's other stories' opening and closing notes. Either way, stay safe all you viewers. This is James of… the Author's Den, signing out.

Meowth: OOH! RED VELVET!

James: MEOWTH DON'T YOU DARE TOUCH MY SLICE!

SLAM!

Chapter 4: The Viper and the Cat

Chapter Text

Hey guys! Welcome back to another chapter of Chan in Bellwood! Sorry for being away for a while. I needed to work on school, so I started another story called Miraculous Gamer Guild in order to make sure my writing didn't go stiff. Now I've got the inspiration bug and it won't go away until I get back to work.

Anyway, we're getting back on track. Today we deal with the slippery snake talisman and the equally slippery Viper. How will the crew's usual shenanigans change things? Let's answer some reviews then we'll find out!

Guest Questioner- I guess I could have written his reaction better, but I was worried about changing things too much in the chapter. His reaction to being unmasked is the same in the chapter as it was in the episode, probably because he disgraced the sport by cheating with the talisman. He might not have known, but he still did it. As far as the magic goes I'll have to think about that.

Reader- You asked for it so here it is!

That looks like all of them. Let's get this party started! I don't own Jackie Chan Adventures, Ben 10, or any other series that may appear here. I do own OC characters, species, objects, and concepts unless stated otherwise. Roll tape!

Voices

“Talking.”

‘Thinking.’

“YELLING!”

“Author/Guest/High or demonic entity talking. Also, surprise at the end of a section.”

“AUTHOR/GUEST/HIGH OR DEMONIC ENTITY YELLING!”

“Whispering.”

“Author/Guest/High or demonic entity whispering.”

[Language Indicator]

“Machine or alt communication talking/Talking in flashback.”

“MACHINE OR ALT COMMUNICATION YELLING/YELLING IN FLASHBACK!”

“Machine or alt communication whispering/Whispering in flashback.”

Section 13, Bellwood

Ben sat in the midst of Section 13, tapping his foot with his arms crossed. He was waiting for Jackie and Jade to come into the main area. He had heard from Grandpa Max that they found another talisman, this time in Brazil. He was ready to face more villains and bring back another magical stone. There was just one little issue, which Gwen seemed to echo his feelings on as she groaned.

"Of course Grandpa tells us a talisman is found when a test was coming up." Groaned the redhead. "I would have loved to visit Brazil! Sure the beach wouldn't be an option but the rain forest would have made for some amazing photos. My friends would lose their minds." Ben growled as he looked at his cousin.

"Forget all that," corrected the boy. "I'm just worried something happened that I could have helped with. I'd hate for them to get hurt on one of these missions." Gwen looked him in the eye, gauging his reaction. A knowing smile grew on her face as she placed a hand on her hip.

"Sounds like you're more concerned about Jade getting hurt than Jackie. You really like her don't you?" Ben was oblivious to the meaning behind Gwen's words as he nodded.

"Yeah. She's one of my best friends. I don't wanna think of what I'd do if anything bad happened to her." Gwen sighed in disappointment, knowing that it would be a while before she got the answer she wanted. They soon heard the sound of the elevator coming to a stop, signifying the arrival of the Chans.

Ben quickly ran towards the device, Gwen right behind him. They couldn't help but slow down as they saw Jackie and Jade walk out, tired looks on their faces. "Hey guys! How'd the mission in Brazil go?" Both Chans groaned, Jade wobbling a bit.

"It was horrible," groaned the young Chan. She leaned over a bit, landing in Ben's grasp. "Some jerk explorer looking for fame, Wesley Rank I think, continued to get in our way. Then we got to the temple and, lo and behold, there was a GIANT SNAKE!" Ben did his best to keep his blush down as the girl stood up.

He had the strangest feeling that it would be good to let the girl finish. "We fight that and save the camera crew. We run into Rank again and the Dark Hand! We had the talisman, right in our hands, and he stole it right from under our noses!" She groans once again as she puts her head in her hands.

"I… I'm sorry to hear that, Jade." Apologized Ben. He did his best to comfort her as he rubbed her shoulder, earning a peek through her fingers. "If we didn't have a test in our class we would have went with you. I'm sure Fourarms would have tossed that snake around like a whip." Gwen sighed as she shook her head.

"Talk about bad luck." Growled the redhead. "The talisman could be anywhere at this rate!" Jackie groaned in agreement, having heard Gwen's words.

"You're telling me, Gwendolyn." Sighed the kung fu master. The kids quickly followed him as he walked into the Chans' living quarters. He sat down in a rather nice recliner as he leaned back. "We'll have to look all over to see where it is." Ben finally stopped rubbing Jade's shoulder, swapping to rubbing his chin in thought.

"If that guy had a camera crew… he might have a show he's on." Theorized Ben. "If we look up this Rank guy we could find out what show he'll appear on." Jade suddenly snapped her fingers.

"Yeah!" cried the fiery girl. "I think he called it Just the Artifacts or something." Gwen hummed as she pulled out her phone, quickly typing into it. She furrowed her brow as she tilted her head. Jackie rubbed his temples as he moaned.

"A good thought Ben, but I've never even heard of him before now. There's no way it'd be that easy to…" Gwen quickly took the remote from beside him, turning on the tv.

"Channel 10." Stated the redhead. "Just the Artifacts, but it's got a different name for the host." She quickly flicked to the channel, coming across a commercial for some Superman toy. Quickly the name of the show flashed on the screen. Jade growled as she saw a familiar face on screen.

"That's him alright!" roared the young Chan. "He stinks just as bad as his family name!" Ben couldn't help but chuckle at the jab. He had to admit that Rank looked like the sleazy type. The man pointed to himself with a grin.

"Welcome." Greeted the man. "I'm Wesley Rank and you're watching Just the Artifacts. Today we are exploring the once lost Temple of Culebra Gigante. I have just completed a harrowing adventure to the temple's great heights to bring you this: a snake talisman." Jackie frowned at the man's lie, Jade practically fuming as Ben massaged her shoulder some more.

"NO!" cried a familiar voice. Everyone jerked a bit, surprised by the cry. That was clearly Jade, but it was coming from the video. Wesley jumped back in shock as Jade ran up to him, wearing an explorer's getup. Present Jade sounded her surprise as she watched herself punch at Wesley's gut, as little an effect as it had.

"I'm on TV!?" cried the Chinese girl. "Wicked!" Ben smiled as he crossed his arms, happy to see the girl was excited. Jackie hummed as he rubbed his chin. Something was clearly off.

"Rank didn't edit that out?" asked the kung fu master. "Why?" On the screen Rank did his best to push Jade out of the picture.

"Liar-liar-liar!" cried Jade on the tv. The bad host finally was able to push Jade away, an oomph being heard. Ben felt his own blood begin to boil at the thought of his friend being hurt, only to smile as Wesley rubbed his stomach in pain.

"That hurt," whined the man. The scene suddenly shifted to Wesley running towards the camera, screaming like a frightened child. The frame froze on his frightened face as a man laughed. The image zoomed out to show a rather plump man wearing explorer's clothing. Jade and Jackie looked surprised at the sight of the man.

"The camera guy?" asked Jade. "What's he doing there?" The man himself finally came to a stop as he looked at the camera.

"Welcome to a special edition of Just the Artifacts." Greeted the former cameraman. "Wesley Rank may not know how to treat little girls, but he sure knows how to scream like one." The man began laughing once more, quickly cutting it off as he wiped a tear from his eye. "My name is Dino Stephenson, and I'll be your new guide." The trio of kids couldn't help but laugh at Wesley's replacement.

"Way to go camera guy. Better him than Rank." Ben couldn't help but nod in response.

"Can't help but agree." Stated the boy. "Looks like you're going to be famous with the archeology club. I mean you rocked that getup." Ben didn't register what he just said, watching as Jade looked away to hide a small blush. The group returned their attention to the screen, only to gasp at the sight.

"You'll also get the full scoop on how we recovered this Snake Talisman from a local pawn shop Rank sold it to." Explained Dino. The stone was definitely the one they were looking for, the green snake etched within shining a bit. "We, of course, donated the talisman to the New York museum. Hopefully we can come to understand its significance in the temple's past." Jackie sighed in relief as he stood up, popping his back in the process.

"After what we've been through, getting the talisman from the museum should be a snap." Stated the archeologist. "What could go wrong?" Ben facepalmed with a groan.

"No offense Mr. Chan, but you just jinxed it." Sighed Ben. "Hopefully Captain Black and Grandpa have already made a deal to get the talisman. I mean, there's got to be some leverage they can pull." Jade smiled, nodding enthusiastically. It's not like a museum can tell the government no.

Five Minutes Later

"What do you mean they said no!?" cried Jade. It turned out that Jackie's jinx had come back to bite them like a snake. "You work for the government! Can't you just claim it for security reasons?" Captain Black sighed as he shook his head.

"There's nothing I can legally do without a warrant here." Stated the head agent. "I figured he'd take a call from the government seriously but some lunatic called him about the talisman being magic. The old man was so forceful about it that they couldn't take me seriously. There's only one old man I know that would be behind this." Jackie groaned as he rubbed his temples.

"I shouldn't have called Uncle to tell him what happened." Groaned the kung fu master. Ben sent a glare the former actor's way, resisting the urge to tell him "I told you so." "Is there anything we can do now?" Grandpa Max walked up to the group with a small smile.

"We'll have to hope your fame will at least get the curator to listen to you, Jackie," began Max. "Otherwise we'll have to send in someone within the Plumbers to recover the talisman. It'd take a few weeks to retrieve it that way, so getting that talisman day one is our top priority. I'll be nearby at a swap-meet so if something goes wrong call me." Jade grinned as she pumped her fist.

"Looks like we're going to the jungle!" cheered the young Chan. Jackie quickly turned around, a frightened look on his face. "New York. The Concrete Jungle." Ben couldn't help but chuckle as Jackie slumped over with a sigh. It was true what they say, “No rest for the wicked”.

New York City, New York

The Statue of Liberty stood tall, greeting ships as they approached the US. New York was a rather popular city to visit, albeit the traffic was terrible at times. Cars could be seen doing their best to navigate the streets as crowds of people walked the sidewalks. The view focused on the New York Museum, where Jackie was trying to convince the curator to hand over the talisman. The duo stood before the talisman's case, Jackie quickly gesturing towards it.

"Please," pleaded the kung fu master. "You must give me the talisman. It's only a matter of time before the Dark Hand tries to steal it." The curator couldn't help but chuckle at the warning. He patted Jackie's shoulder with a smile.

"You worry too much, Mr. Chan," dissuaded the man. "While your warning is most welcome, we've recently upped our security." He led Jackie away from the talisman, unaware that Ratso was walking up to it. A camera popped out of a rose on the olive man's suit, taking pictures of the object. He looked around to make sure no one was watching.

The curator soon came to a stop as he brought Jackie to another display. Before them was a large pink diamond. "We've recently been assigned to watch over the rare Pink Puma Diamond. I assure you that this Dark Hand will not be getting anything from this museum so easily." Jackie moved to follow the curator, only to bump into Ratso.

"So sorry." The sound of debris hitting the ground caught his attention. He looked down, gasping as he saw the broken camera. "Oh no! I broke your spy… camera…"

He slowly looked up, locking eyes with Ratso. "You, uh… Dark Hand guy!" The villain moved fast as he grabbed a vase. He hurtled it towards Jackie, forcing the man to catch it. The grunt then ran for the front door.

Jackie growled as he put the vase down. He quickly rushed after the goon, doing his best to catch up. As the two ran by the Pink Puma Diamond, neither of them noticed a tan skinned woman looking at the gem. She had long black hair and a pair of sunglasses that were obscuring her eyes. She wore a straw hat with a pink rim, a discreet camera around her neck, a pink sundress, and black flats.

She secretly took a picture of the gemstone, a smile on her face. She continued to look at the gem when someone suddenly bumped into her. A silver haired teen quickly snapped a photo of the gem with a polaroid camera.

"Sorry!" cried the girl. "I love your dress by the way. See you later!" The woman didn't get a chance to call her back as a loud bang caught her attention. She, like many others, was shocked as Ratso had slammed the door to the museum wide open.

He rushed out with Jackie hot on his heels. The woman hummed, intrigued by the event. She moved on with her day, big plans in mind. Jackie chased Ratso down the street, making sure not to knock anyone over. They ended up bumping into a man on their way.

"Sorry!" cried Jackie. The duo soon came across an alleyway, Ratso trying to climb the fence. Jackie growled as he jumped between the wall and the fence rapidly, climbing it at a much faster rate. He landed on the other side, waiting for Ratso to do the same. The big brute didn't even notice that his enemy had beaten him to the other side as he climbed down. He turned around to continue running, only to blink at the sight of Jackie ready to fight.

"Alright," began the olive guy. "I'd be geeking out right now if it weren't me you were chasing." Jackie stepped forward with a glare.

"You're planning a heist, aren't you? When is it!?" Ratso decided to answer with his fists instead of his words, trying to knock out Jackie. The kung fu master ducks out of the way of the punch, pulling the back of Ratso's overshirt over his head. A tug match ensues as the cloth begins to rip.

With a mighty tear the back of the shirt came off, allowing Ratso to run off. Jackie was about to follow him when a ringtone rang through the air. He looked around for a source, only to realize that it was coming from the cloth in his hands. He found a pocket, pulling out a phone. He quickly answered, sounding his uncertainty.

"Uh…" coughed Jackie, doing his best impression of Ratso. "Yeah?" There was a sigh on the other side of the line.

"Is reconnaissance complete, Ratso?" asked Valmont over the phone. Jackie jerked, realizing that he was talking to the boss of the Dark Hand. He regained his composure as he nodded his head.

"Yeah." He really hoped he was doing a good job of mimicking the big guy. It seemed to be working so far as Valmont continued.

"Excellent. Hit the museum at midnight." Jackie's eyes widened in shock.

"Tonight?" Jackie quickly covered his mouth, realizing that he used his normal voice. Valmont seemed to miss his voice as a huff was heard on the other end.

"Is there a problem, Ratso?" Jackie began to sweat as he looked around. He quickly cleared his throat as he shook his head.

"No, boss." He quickly hung up in order to avoid any more questioning. He sighed as he lowered his arms. "No problem at all." If only that were the truth of it all.

Later

With the closest agent help being days away, Jackie had no choice but to handle the situation himself. He called Max to tell him what happened, but the old man just told him to stand by. While he could have easily done so, he felt that something had to be done now. That was why he was currently getting dressed to break into the museum. He found himself explaining things to Jade as she sat on the bed.

"I can't let them get the talisman." Sighed Jackie. "There's no telling what they'll do with the magic. Max is taking too long for my liking." Jade hummed as she nodded her head. She got excited as she watched Jackie grab a Statue of Liberty miniature from the nearby shelf.

"So whatcha gonna do?" asked Jade. "Break into the museum before the bad guys do and steal the talisman yourself?" Jackie quickly guffawed as he held a dark long sleeve in his hands.

"Steal… What!? That's crazy Jade. You're crazy." He spoke no further as he continued to get ready, but it's clear his niece had him figured out.

"You totally are gonna steal it!" She quickly stood up on the bed as Jackie tucked in the shirt. "Can I come with you Jackie?" The man held up his hand in denial.

"No." Jackie began to walk away, only to stop at the sound of sniffling. He turned to find Jade giving him a sorrowful frown as she held her hands together.

"Jackie please! Tomorrow's Thanksgiving, my first one ever! It's Thanksgiving-eve and I can't even spend it with my friends! Where's your Turkey Day spirit?" Jackie sighed as he sat down beside Jade on the bed.

"Jade… I really want to spend time with you but remember, you came into my life the same day as Section 13 and the Dark Hand. Things have been hectic. Now, you can't come with me tonight but I promise I'll take you to the parade tomorrow." He sent the girl a thumbs up, earning a harrumph as she crossed arms under her chest complaining under her breath.

"Fine." Jackie rubbed Jade on the top of her head before making his way towards the room to the hotel. He was about to leave when he remembered something. He yanked the blanket out from under Jade, leaving her exactly where she sat. She growled in annoyance, looking away with a huff as he left.

As soon as he was gone, however, she hummed while rubbing her chin. "I said I wouldn't come with Jackie. I didn't say anything about not following him." She quickly got ready to head to the museum. If she knew Ben and Gwen, they were probably already there.

Eventually, Jackie reached the museum. He easily scaled the wall, reaching the roof. He made sure there were no guards around before climbing onto the top. He did his best to sneak towards a nearby sky light, a laser alarm present on it. He looked over the laser before looking at his watch

"11 o-clock. One hour before company arrives." What he didn't know was that a woman had just landed a wall away from him. Her long black hair was pulled back into a ponytail and her eyes were brown. She wore a full body suit with a ski mask, a rope draped over her shoulder.

She looked around before approaching a skylight similar to the one Jackie stood in front of. She examined the laser before pulling out a pink device and typing on it. She held the device up to the system for the alarm, the light on top of it turning green. The device remained in place as the laser powered off. She lifted the glass panel before dropping an end of the rope down.

On the other side Jackie was considering how to go about the task. He got an idea as he pulled out a stick of gum. He pulled the gum out of the rapper before popping it in his mouth. "Ooh. Wintergreen."

He carefully placed the reflective side of the rapper, somehow getting the laser to line back into itself. The light on the unit glowed green, the remaining lasers powering off. He lowered a makeshift rope made from tied up blankets into the museum. Both he and the woman slid down their ropes, touching down as quietly as possible. Away from their landing point, Gwen was waiting outside in a bush, wearing her Lucky Girl attire.

"Come on doofus!" whispered the magical girl to herself. "How long does it take to turn off an alarm?" She was answered as the door across the path from her opened. She waited until the camera turned away from the spot that she ran into the building. She shut the door behind her as Graymatter landed on her shoulder.

She huffed a bit before frowning at him. "Could have timed that better Ben." The gray alien shrugged his tiny shoulders in response.

"I don't see you trying to pick a lock while avoiding the gaze of a security camera," argued Graymatter. "Let's just get this talisman and get out of here." Gwen was in no position to argue as she ducked away from the nearby camera's line of sight. She quickly followed along the trail, appearing to use a spell of some sort. She nodded to Ben before following the path.

Meanwhile, Jackie and the unknown thief rounded a statue, missing each other by a hair. The woman went down one path while Jackie later went down the path beside it. Jackie came to a stop as he noticed something about the path.

"You have got to be kidding me," groaned the kung fu master as quietly as he could. A complex set of laser alarms lined the hallway, leaving very few gaps. He moved carefully as he tried to avoid triggering the system. He groaned in unease as he had to move in rather awkward ways. By the time he made his way through the woman thief gracefully jumped through the gaps in the lasers.

They began to walk down the hallway, gaps in the walls making them appear like reflections of each other. Jackie walked past some statues, completely missing that Jade was posing like one of them. He just got past her as she decided to make herself known.

"Hi Jackie," greeted Jade in a whisper. Jackie gasped as he stopped in place. He turned to face her, only to frown in disappointment. She was wearing what looked like a gray long sleeve gymnastics uniform with a large blue wave depicted on it, dark gray sweatpants, her usual shoes, and a black beanie that still had the tag on it. Jackie quickly ripped the tag off the hat as he growled, pointing to the girl.

"No parade for you. I told you not to come with me!" Jade waved him off with a smile.

"One, I followed, so technically not coming with you. Besides, do you know how awkward it is wearing this over my gymnastics uniform? Two, it's cool how you got in! You’re like a superspy!" Jackie scoffed as he shook his head.

"It's not cool! I'm breaking the law!" Jade raised an eyebrow at him as he gestured to her. "You shouldn't be here! How did you even get in here!?" Jade gestured to another hall.

"Some idiot left the back door open. Anyway, now you've gotta let me help." Jackie sighed in disbelief as he handed her a small bag.

"Fine. Just hold this and don't touch anything." Jade saluted her uncle as she followed along, a pep in her step. In another hallway Gwen was using magic to float above the laser alarms, laying on her stomach as she did so. She landed on the other side as Graymatter crawled along the walls.

They nodded to each other as they made their way further in. Soon the unknown thief came upon her prize, the Pink Puma Diamond. She prepared a gray device similar to the pink one, attaching it to the side of the display. Some lights near the top powered off at the top, allowing her to take off the glass. The lasers remained in place.

Jackie lowered down at the talisman display, knocking on the front of the stand. He smirked as he finally got what he was looking for. He flicked two spots on the stand rather hard, shutting off the lights. He removed the top of the display, but the lasers were still focused on the talisman. He held his hand out to Jade, who pulled the miniature of the Statue of Liberty from the sack.

The unknown woman readied a strange device similar to a fishing rod, the diamond shaped container positioned over her prize. She lowered it like the claw of a claw game, keeping the lasers unbroken as it encompassed the Pink Puma Diamond. As this was happening, Jackie was nervously preparing the statuette as he held his other hand close to the talisman. Jade watched with bated breath as her uncle drew closer to making the swap.

With fast reflexes, Jackie swapped the talisman for the miniature. He sighed in relief as he wiped sweat from his brow. The woman at the diamond exhibit pressed a button, releasing a section from the middle of the slot. A claw rose up, the Pink Puma Diamond in hand. She held a bag similar to Jackie's below it, dropping the diamond into it.

Jackie and Jade went back down the same path, the unknown thief going down hers. The two sides walked down the hallway, only to stop. They slowly turned towards each other right as Gwen and Graymatter peaked around a nearby hallway. It was very clear to the two newcomers that the woman was a real thief. Jackie hummed as he looked into the thief's eyes, a slight swirl similar to when Ben first saw Jade occurring.

Jackie hummed in confusion as he looked the woman up and down. "I think this mirror is broken." The thief frowned as she suddenly jumped towards the duo. She hit Jackie with a flying kick, sending him rolling backwards. He ended up dropping the bag with the talisman, the object sliding across the floor.

He glanced back at the dropped bag, only to look forward as the thief ran at him with her arm reared back. He grabbed her mid punch and flipped her over him, sending her own bag sliding across the floor. The woman quickly got up, turning back towards Jackie before she ran at him. Gwen began to prepare a spell as Graymatter considered what form to take. Jackie and the woman counter combo-ed each other, only the latter to push the hero back with a kick.

She slowly moved from her kicking stance into a more balanced fighting step. Jackie pulled at his collar a bit at the sight of the woman. Jade grinned as she held her fists close to her chest.

"Wow!" cheered the young Chan. "She rules!" Jackie quickly looked at her with a serious frown. "I mean… go Jackie." He didn't have time to scold her as his instincts kicked in, causing him to dodge under a kick from his opponent.

"Maybe we should just let them fight and grab the talisman," suggested Graymatter from Gwen's shoulder. The redhead looked at him with a raised brow. "Jackie's doing a good job by himself and we've got plenty of time now." Gwen looked to her cousin, slowly nodding as she snuck towards where the two bags were. Jackie began to combat the woman once again, both he and his opponent unable to land a hit on each other.

The woman finally kicked Jackie to the side, only to gasp as she watched him fall towards a laser alarm. She quickly grabbed him by the back of his shirt before he could fall into the beams. She strained herself as she pulled him up. She instantly jumped back from him as he found his footing, both of them taking a fighting stance. Jackie glanced over to make sure Jade was alright, only to notice the time on his watch.

"You guys are twenty minutes early," realized the kung fu master. "Did your boss change his mind or something?" The woman thief suddenly stood straight, a look of confusion in her eyes.

"What guys?" asked the thief. "I'm an independent. In fact, why would Jackie Chan be breaking into a museum in the first place? Last I checked you add to these things." Jackie looked to find an answer to her question, only to shake his head.

"So… you're not with the Dark Hand?" The woman snorted, as if the question was a funny joke. Jade walked up as the woman slowly took off her mask. Jackie saw stars as her hair was freed from the hole of her mask. It was the woman who wore the pink sundress, a more serious look on her face.

"Name's Viper." The woman put her hand on her hip, waiting for some reaction from the duo. Jackie and Jade looked between each other.

"Someone else is after the Talisman?" asked the duo. They looked to Viper, trying to sense whether she was their enemy or not. She smirked confidently as she looked between the two.

"Talisman? I just nipped the Pink Puma." Jade looked awed by the woman as she walked forward.

"Wow!" cheered the young Chan. "When I grow up, I wanna be just like her." Jackie looked ready to retort the idea, only for Viper to chuckle.

"I'm flattered, Kid, but you look too innocent to end up like me. Keep it that way." Jackie hummed, surprised that he and Viper would agree on something. "How about we talk about why you brought a kid to a heist, Mr. Chan." Jackie sounded defensive as he gestured to Jade.

"I didn't bring her!" cried the archeologist in defense. "She followed me! I came to make sure the Talisman wouldn't fall into the wrong hands!" Viper hummed in response, intrigued by the weight of the man's words. Gwen and Graymatter approached the two bags, the little alien sounding his confusion as he scratched his head.

"Um… which one has the Talisman?" asked the amphibious alien. Before Gwen could bring up an obvious answer, a whip suddenly snatched up both bags. "HEY!" All eyes turned towards the origin of the cry, Jackie screaming at how there were more kids in the area. The two bags were grabbed midair by a clawed glove.

"Thanks for your help," thanked the individual. Now in the light, she looked to be a silver haired teen with green eyes and a black domino mask. She wore a leather catsuit complete with the aforementioned clawed gloves, white fur-like fluff around her neck, wrists and ankles. She also wore a cat charm, the item attached to a black choker. "This pretty Pink Puma now belongs to the Black Cat." Gwen charged up one of her spells in preparation for a fight, Viper growling at the sight of the other thief.

"Hey!" roared the woman. "That's my mark! Hand it over, young lady!" Black Cat hummed as she rubbed her clawed gloves together. She snickered as she wiggled her fingers in front of her.

"I don't think so. I think I'll hold onto it, as well as this Talisman you seem to be so interested in. Should fetch for a pretty penny on the Black Market." Gwen had heard enough, her spell being charged. She held her hands forward as her eyes glowed blue.

"ENTROPICUS!" cried the redhead. The spell hit the piece of stone Black Cat was standing on, causing it to collapse. The young thief cried out in shock as she fell forward, dropping both of the bags. She grabbed them midair, accidentally ripping a hole in one of them. She ran by Jade, bumping into the young Chan.

"Hey!" yelled both Viper and Jackie. They tried to catch Black Cat, but she left a scratch on Jackie's arm and dodged Viper's kick. She swung her claw through a laser alarm, tripping the system. The alarms blared as Black Cat slid out the back door, the lock activating as she slammed the door. Jackie hissed as he held his arm, looking to the entrance.

"The front,” growled the man. "Go-go-go!" Viper decided a temporary alliance was in order as the group ran for the entrance. Ben and Gwen fell behind as the group ran towards the front of the building. In a flash of green, XLR8 replaced Graymatter.

"No time!" cried the dinosaur alien. He grabbed Gwen and ran at fast speeds. He also grabbed Jade along the way, something that seemed to escape Jackie and Viper's attention. He got the three of them outside just before the armored wall shut off the entrance. Viper quickly pulled out a rather bulky gun, firing a small grenade at the blockade.

XLR8 got himself and the girls to a safe distance just as the blockade exploded, some debris flying across the street. Jackie and Viper leapt out of the newly made hole, rolling across the ground. They both groaned as they pushed themselves up, coming face to face with each other. Jackie grabbed his head as he stood up, soon shaking off the oncoming headache. He held out his hand to help Viper up, but she helped herself up instead.

"That mangy cat," growled Viper. "I'm telling her mother that she's been committing crimes again. Why didn't I recognize her earlier today!?" She kicked a small enough piece of rubble, causing it to skid across the ground. Jackie cried out in surprise as he looked at her.

"You knew that thief!?" cried the man. "We need to find her before the Talisman falls into the wrong… Where's Jade!?" Viper also looked concerned as she glanced everywhere she could. She sounded her interest as she crossed her arms.

"Either she's back in the museum or that other girl and the frog thing took her. Either way, we really need to get out of here before…" Her words were cut off as police sirens sounded off around her. "The police arrive." Police cruisers drove into the area, covering each street.

Viper reached for something to help her get away, only to find that a lot of her gear was missing. "And of course she took my gear." The duo quickly found themselves surrounded by the police, a few of them walking out with their guns aimed.

"Freeze!" cried one of the men. "Hands in the air!" Viper growled at being caught, following Jackie's example as she held up her hands. They were quickly grabbed by the officers, being brought over to a swat car. On the roof of the museum, the Dark Hand's Enforcers walked towards the front of the building.

"Let's rock 'n roll," whispered Finn. It was clear that the crooks didn't notice the scene down below. Ratso sounded his agreement as he began to lower a clawed rope.

"Yeah,” agreed the olive skinned goon. "These punks won't know what… hit em?" The others followed their companion's gaze, their eyes widening as they saw Jackie and Viper being loaded into the back of a police van. The back of the vehicle was closed as Jackie and Viper were sitting on opposite sides from each other. Chow hummed as he rubbed his chin.

"I'm shocked and all… but did you see that babe he was with?" asked the cool grunt. Finn puckered his lips as he nodded his head. "Chan's got game rocking with a chick like that." Ratso facepalmed, for once being the one focused on the mission. They needed to report this to Valmont.

Back on the ground, Jade looked on sadly as the police drove away with Jackie and Viper. XLR8 suddenly turned back into Ben, the watch running out of time. Gwen slumped to the ground with a sigh. The three remained silent as they looked at the ground. Jade growled as she ran her hands through her hair.

"This is so wrong!" cried the young Chan. "We can't just let Black Cat get away with this! What are we gonna do!?" Gwen seemed to contemplate an answer as she took her mask off, rubbing her temples. Ben, however, quickly got an idea as he grinned.

"We call in the cavalry," answered the watch hero. The girls looked at him, confused as he pulled out his phone. Gwen realized what he was doing, a smile gracing her lips. "Hey Grandpa? We’re here at the museum. Yeah… Jackie didn't wait at all."

Jade hummed in confusion as she tilted her head. She had heard from Ben that his grandfather was some kind of space cop, but he was supposedly retired. Not to mention he didn't look like the authoritative type. How much could he do when Captain Black couldn't negotiate a deal for the Talisman? As she would come to learn, he could do quite a lot.

Xiaoling Industries Tower, Bellwood

Valmont hummed as he looked over the news article on the paper. The page he was on clearly displayed the object of his interest. It read as follows, "Pink Puma Stolen. Suspects in Custody. The Infamous Viper and… JACKIE CHAN!?"

"Jackie Chan?" asked the boss. "A thief? Guess there's hope for him after all. He's also teamed with the Viper?" Ratso grinned as he nodded his head.

"What a pair they've turned out to be!" cried the olive skinned man. "The Pink Puma is a big score!" Valmont lowered his paper, displaying a frown to his minions.

"They have also procured the talisman." Ratso's excitement died down as he remembered that tidbit. "Go directly to jail, Ratso. If Chan has the talisman, this will lead you to it." Chow snickered as he adjusted his glasses.

"See if you can get that Viper chick to join our side," snickered Chow. "If not that then maybe get me her number." Valmont glared at Chow, causing Finn to smack him in the back of the head. They really needed to get their heads in the game. Still, it's not like Chan was going anywhere anytime soon.

NYPD, New York City

Jackie sighed as he sat in his cell, Viper in one across from him. He couldn't believe that he lost the Talisman AND got thrown in jail as a criminal. There were so many kids that looked up to him, and by now he was probably labeled a thief across the world. He also let Jade down by being a bad role model. He thought about calling Uncle or Captain Black for help when an officer walked up to his cell door.

"Someone wants to see you, Lance," grumbled the man. "Next time you claim to be my idol, I'm tossing you in here without a key." Jackie looked confused but followed the officer on his way out. They came to an interrogation room, where Max stood on his own. The old man shook his head in annoyance.

"Chase Lance," growled the old man. "Be more careful when you go undercover, alright?" Jackie felt like calling out the lie, only for Max to send him a harsh glare. He buckled under the pressure as he looked down. The officer sighed as he shook his head.

"Darn rookies. The camera's off as requested sir. Please keep your agents in line next time." Jackie waited for the police officer to walk out before raising his head. He looked both confused and upset.

"Agent?" asked Jackie. "Chase Lance? What kind of lies are you telling Maxwell!?" Max quickly held his finger up to his mouth, causing Jackie to stop. He sighed as he shook his head.

"I promise I'll tell you when you need to know, but there are things you aren't ready to comprehend." Promised the old man. "The important thing is that we need to get the Talisman and that diamond back. Ben told me something about a thief known as the Black Cat. She's done a good job of keeping her identity secret, seeing as we can't find anything on her." Jackie hummed as he rubbed his chin.

"Viper said that she knew the Black Cat. Something about telling her mother." Max hummed, getting an idea of his own.

"Really? What do you think of this 'Viper?'" Jackie bopped his head back and forth a bit.

"I mean, she's okay for a criminal. She told Jade that she shouldn't try to be like her so she has good morals. She does look like a very nice lady…" Jackie quickly cleared his throat as he shook his head. "I… I mean for a criminal."

Max smiled at Jackie, the idea finally forming in his head. Jackie quickly noticed the look, going pale as he came to the same conclusion. "No. You can't be serious!" Max nodded his head, causing Jackie to sigh in exasperation.

The next thing they knew, they had Viper sitting at the table with her hand cuffed. She looked bored by the scenario, the two keeping a close eye on her in order to keep her from picking the cuff. Jackie was still unsure about this, but they were low on options. He locked eyes with the thief, only to look away quickly. Viper couldn't help but smile as Max sat down across from her.

"The infamous Viper. I've heard a lot about you, even in my usual circle. You've got quite the collection of crimes attached to you." Viper hummed in response to the statement. She leaned back in her seat as she bobbed her head back and forth.

"I get around." Answered Viper. "You can't believe everything you hear. I'm going to assume you're the one in charge, seeing as 'Lance' over here can't lie to save his life." Jackie tried to defend himself, only to sigh as he lowered his head. Max remained unreadable as looked at a folder in his hand.

"I am collaborating with another agency on this case. Speaking of, Mr. Chan happened to mention that you know a certain cat burglar. One that swiped the Pink Puma and a certain Talisman." Viper looked defensive at this notion. She leaned forward a bit as she looked Max in the eye.

"Look, Buster. She's just a kid with some serious daddy issues. I'm not gonna rat her out and make her rot in Juvie or jail." Jackie sent a sad frown towards Viper, feeling a bit of sympathy for her. Max smiled as he placed the folder in front of her.

"I can agree that a child shouldn't go through something like that. You see, all we need is to retrieve the talisman she took. An enemy of ours known as the Dark Hand is seeking to acquire them for an unknown purpose. I am entirely certain that they will kill her to meet this goal." Viper paled at the man's words, looking down at her uncuffed hand.

Max slid the folder her way, his smile still present. "In this folder are the papers needed to clear your record. There's also a job opportunity for a security detail. If you help us retrieve the talisman and the Pink Puma, I can guarantee you this and Black Cat's safety." Viper hummed as she looked over the contents of the folder.

She could break out of here and run with the folder. She could also swipe the talisman from Black Cat and ensure her safety. The only problem was that there was no guarantee that she'd be able to get away. She also worried that the men would go after the girl anyway. She sent the men a serious face as she pushed the folder their way.

"Her name is Felicia Hardy."

Felicia Hardy sat in her room, reading over a school book. She was now wearing a black t-shirt with a white cat emblazoned on the front, a pink pair of shorts, and blue sandals. She groaned as she fell back in her bed, annoyed by the material. She closed the book as she sat up. She propped her head in her hand as she looked to her room.

"I hate math," growled Felicia. "I know it's a required subject but it gets so boring at times." She scanned her room, only to smile as she saw the sack on her table. She walked over to it, quickly picking it up. "Time to let this pretty kitty come out for some…"

Felicia stopped her sentence in its tracks as she felt a rough stone texture on her fingers. She pulled the object out, revealing it to be the Snake Talisman. "…air. One of those brats must have snatched the Pink Puma while I was running!" She threw the sack to the side, growling in anger.

She looked to the talisman with a rage filled expression. "What can I even do with this thing!?" Her question was answered as the engravings of the talisman glowed with power. In an instant she became invisible to the world, including herself. She tried to look over herself, seeing nothing at all.

She picked up a hand mirror, holding it up to her face. She could only see her breath hitting the mirror. As soon as she thought of it, the talisman glowed as it turned her back to normal. She grinned evilly as she looked at her nearby catsuit. "This is going to be fun."

Max worked rather quickly to get Viper out of the police station. Jackie wasn't fond of the agreement but stomached it to get the talisman back. The two sat in the Rustbucket as Max drove them back to the hotel. Jackie was expecting to get out as soon as they reached the hotel. He was shocked to watch Jade ran into the vehicle.

"Jackie!" cried the young Chan. She hugged her uncle's leg as he took a step back. Ben and Gwen walked into the Rustbucket, the former smiling at the sight of the reunited family. "Max got you out of the slammer!" Jackie sighed as he shook his head.

"With a plus one," informed the kung fu master. Jade looked at him in confusion, only to turn as Viper cleared her throat. She grinned as she let go of her uncle's leg.

"Wicked! You're like a female Jackie Chan!" Jackie guffawed at the statement, shock clearly present on his face.

"She is nothing like me! She's a criminal!" Viper scoffed as she rolled her eyes, annoyed by the yelling. Maybe she made the wrong choice. Ben groaned as he suddenly gestured to the kung fu master.

"Can we focus please!?" asked the watch boy. "We gotta get that talisman and I still want to see the Statue of Liberty." Gwen bopped him on the back of the head for his outburst, but it had the effect he desired. Viper smirked at the boy for having his head in the game. Max gestured to her to share the information causing her to sigh.

"As I've explained, Black Cat is a high school girl by the name Felicia Hardy," began the thief. "She's also my niece. I had hoped my sister would marry into a happy life and get away from this crazy world I found myself in. Instead she married another criminal, and Felicia just happens to follow his example." Gwen winced at the information, feeling sorry for Ms. Hardy.

Viper continued as she walked to the front of the Rustbucket. "She'll most likely keep the talisman in her house, so long as she doesn't figure out its value to the Dark Hand or other benefactors. In that case she'd keep it in a secure place that even I haven't been able to find. Without something she really wants to bargain with, she won't hand over anything." Jade smirked as she reached into the pocket of her hoodie.

"Would this be good enough?" asked the young Chan. Everyone looked at her in surprise as she pulled the Pink Puma out into the open. "Snagged it when she knocked me over last night. I figured we could return it saying it was found lost in an alleyway, but it could be the perfect thing to exchange the talisman for." Jackie quickly took the gem from her, a conflicted look on his face.

"Is there no other way?" asked the kung fu master. "I understand the girl's in danger but this is still considered a felony." Max sighed as he shook his head.

"That's just how life works sometimes Jackie." Answered the elder Tennyson. "We can always recover the Pink Puma later. The talisman and Felicia's life take precedence. I need you to be on board for this." Jackie hardened his resolve as he nodded his head.

Viper sounded her interest, finding the face to be rather attractive. Max received the Pink Puma from Jackie as he nodded to the group. "We go with Jade's plan. We'll head to the nearby high school and try to get in touch with Felicia. With any luck she'll comply and we can all move on."

Ben frowned at this, knowing that things didn't always go as planned for them. As the Rustbucket drove off, Ratso was seen parking across the street. He had a confused look on his face, having just left the prison. He decided to dial a number on his phone, dreading it dearly. He held the phone to his hand, hoping that Valmont wouldn't answer.

"Well, Ratso, did you get the talisman?" asked the boss. He didn't even bother to check if it was the right person on the other line. "Well?" Ratso sighed as he shook his head.

"Apparently it wasn't Chan at all." Answered the grunt. "Some guy named Chase Lance was posing as him. He was released with that Viper chick earlier. I don't even know if he had the Talisman." Valmont clearly growled on the other end of the line.

"Chase Lance? That's the most ridiculous fake name I've ever heard. Did you even use the tracker?" Ratso hummed as he pulled a bag up from the back. He sighed as he pulled out the stone tracker.

"It says the talisman isn't even…" His words halted as he saw the dragon head facing forward glow. The talisman was nearby. "Um… I'll call you back." He quickly hung up the line before driving with the tracker held up.

Back with the Rustbucket, Viper was changing out of her heist suit. She knew that Felicia would make them meet in a more public location, meaning that she needed to dress to meet the environment. She was thankful that her duffle bag wasn’t taken, pulling out a pink shirt and blue jean shorts, the legs of said shorts only reaching her knees. She normally only wore the outfit when relaxing, though it would suffice this time. She paired them with her black flats before stepping out of the bathroom. She frowned when she looked down to see Jade smiling at her.

“Hey Viper!” greeted the girl. “You ready?” The woman frowned as she took a step back.

“Maybe I’ll take a bit longer,” began Viper. “I forgot to put makeup on and…” Ben suddenly ran over, dancing a bit as he tried not to make his discomfort too obvious.

“Oh please be done!” cried the boy. “You already took a long time and I’ve gotta use the bathroom!” Viper looked between the duo, checking to make sure there was no deception. She sighed as she moved out of the way, allowing Ben to run into the restroom. He slammed the door behind him, leaving the duo alone as Gwen was busy prepping her spell book on the top bunk.

“Isn’t it so cool that we’re gonna work together!?” cheered Jade. Viper decided to try and ignore her as she moved over to the nearby table, only for the preteen to follow her. “I know the crime stuff isn’t good, but you’re so awesome with those fighting skills. How long did it take you to learn them?” The woman huffed as she sat down, rubbing her temples.

“How much money would it take for you to leave me alone for a bit?” questioned the thief. “I’ve had a heck of a day as it is.” Jade frowned at this, feeling a bit hurt.

“Sorry. It’s just… I haven’t met a girl as cool as you before. I figured it’d be nice to at least talk while we’re waiting to get to that school.” Viper looked towards Jade, looking to tell her off, only to stop when she looked the girl over again.

Jade was rubbing her arm as she looked down, a sign that she was needing some form of feminine company. With the way she wasn’t talking to Gwen, it became obvious to the woman that she was looking for an older figure. Her eyes also told quite the tale, one of someone who was missing something in her life. Viper couldn’t help but feel like she was looking at a familiar picture, having seen her sister looking the same way. She sighed as she gestured to the seat beside her.

“Fine, but I’m not giving you any tips that could lead you to a life of crime. It’s not some glamorous Robin Hood story.” Jade smiled as her eyes lit up, quickly sitting next to the woman in spite of being gestured to the other side of the table.

“Awesome! So, how’d you pull off all those cool moves? Did you do gymnastics or something? I know that’s what I’m doing but…” Her captive audience chuckled before shaking her head.

“Dancing, actually. You’ll be surprised how flexible you need to be to pull off some big moves. Before our parents hit some hard times I was one of the big performers. Made quite a few guys swoon over me back in my youth, and it wasn’t just the suit.” Jade blushed at the implications as Jackie looked back from the passenger seat.

“Don’t put scandalous thoughts in her head!” cried the man. “She’s already difficult to handle as it is,” Max bopped Jackie in the arm, causing him to cry out in shock. “What?” Jade chuckled nervously at this, looking away.

“Don’t mind him,” requested the Chinese girl. “It’s personal stuff.” Viper hummed as she looked towards the young Chan again, taking a closer look at her. She frowned as she noticed how some big sections of the girl’s hair seemed to be shorter than the others, betraying an amateur cut job. She rubbed her fingers over the area, causing the girl to flinch.

“Did you cut your own hair or something?” questioned the thief. “The cut’s too rough to be professional.” Jackie and Gwen both looked their way, concern visible in their eyes. Jade looked between the group, unsure what to do. The sound of the toilet flushing broke the atmosphere, followed by the quick sound of water running.

“I’m done now!” cried the voice of Ben. He opened the bathroom door, a smile on his face. He looked around, confused by the tension in the vehicle. “What?” Jade suddenly sat up a bit as she chuckled, something not common for her to do.

“Well I guess it’s my turn!” cried the girl. “I’ll be in there until we get to Black Cat’s school!” She was about to get up, only for Viper to grab her arm firmly yet gently. “Let go of…” She was suddenly pulled into the woman’s lap, growling as she tried to fight her way out.

Jackie was about to get up to stop the situation, only for Max to hold him back. It was this same gesture that stopped Ben from acting, his eyes narrowed on the duo. Viper leaned closer to Jade’s ear as she sighed.

“Everything’s fine,” reassured the woman. “I know what it’s like to have parent trouble. You probably got easier than me because my parents threw me out when they found out I was a thief. If you want, I could help you trim it so that it’d look more natural and the others won’t find out.” Jade looked back at the woman, her eyes widening a bit.

The girl slowly nodded her head, not wanting the others to know her troubles. Viper smiled as she nodded her head. “We’ll be right back. Jade’s having girl troubles.” Ben lifted his brows a bit, worried by the situation.

“Maybe you two shouldn’t be alone,” suggested the boy. “I’ll go with you and…” Viper chuckled as she and Jade stood up.

“You obviously don’t know what ‘girl troubles’ means. I’d ask your mother at some point before someone mistakes you for a creep.” Ben blushed a bit, surprised by the rebuttal. The two girls walked into the bathroom, leaving the rest of the group to wonder what was going on. Jade found herself sitting on the toilet lid as Viper cut at her hair.

The woman smirked as she did her best to keep things straight. “You have nice hair. I would have loved to have locks like these when I was your age. Your parents must have freaked out when they saw you cut it.” Jade quickly averted her eyes with a huff.

“There’s nothing wrong,” growled the young Chan. “My parents are just… busy.” Viper sent her a knowing look before turning her head a bit.

“I get it. I’m not your mother and we only just met last night. You have no reason to trust me. Just remember that, unlike me, you have people right here that you can turn to when you’re ready to talk about it. You’re honestly very lucky and I wouldn’t take it for granted.”

Jade looked down at the bathroom floor, not sure what to say at this point. Viper smirked as she nodded her head. “I’m done. Also, just know that it’s alright to let your hair grow out. You can have a bit of teenage rebellion and still look gorgeous, especially if there’s a guy you like.”

The woman walked towards the exit, glancing back at the girl one more time. “Another good way to get a guy is to have him see the ‘benefits’ of watching you do gymnastics. You didn’t hear it from me though. Your uncle would throw a fit.” Jade blushed at that last bit of advice, Viper chuckling to herself as she walked out.

The young Chan soon followed suit, rubbing the now naturally flowing areas. She didn’t even get two steps out before Jackie was on her. The man was looking her over to make sure she wasn’t hurt in any way.

“What did she do in there?” questioned the man. “Are you alright?” Jade grumbled as her uncle squished her cheeks a bit, quickly pushing his hands away.

“Nothing!” cried the girl. “I’m fine! Are we there yet?” Jackie nodded his head, causing the girl to groan. “Good.”

She pushed past her uncle, joining the others outside. Jackie huffed as he looked between his niece and the bathroom, not sure how to react. Max sighed in disappointment as he shook his head.

“I told you not to do that,” reminded the old man. Jackie didn’t give him time to add to that sentence as he walked outside, making sure everything was alright. The others were looking around, doing their best to see if they could spot Felicia before any attempt to go into the school. Jade looked rather miffed as she looked towards the school entrance, crossing her arms under her chest. Ben slowly approached as he looked her over.

“Hey, Jade?” began the boy. “Everything alright? If you don’t wanna talk about it that’s fine, but I was just wondering.” The girl looked towards him, causing him to jerk a bit. She sighed as she shook her head, her frown softening a bit.

“I’m… not ready to talk about it,” revealed the young Chan. “Thanks for being concerned, but for now I’m fine. Viper just… felt a need to fix my hair. I was letting it get a little long anyways.” Ben tilted his head, a bit confused by the reveal.

“I’m not sure about it just being hair, but I can wait until you’re ready. To be honest, I think your hair looks nice. I know girls usually keep their hair longer but…” He was suddenly elbowed by Gwen, causing him to cry out in pain. “What!? I was gonna say…”

He was hit again, causing him to growl. “Quit it!” Jade rolled her eyes with a smile before walking away a bit, allowing Ben to gesture towards her. “I was gonna say she could keep it however she likes it, Doofus!” Gwen crossed her arms under her chest with a growl.

“Well it sounded like you were about to say something about it ‘being okay if she wants to look like a boy’ or something,” growled the redhead. “You’re not the best at tact or reading a room, Ben.” The boy held up a finger as he prepared to correct her.

“One, short or not, her cut is very clearly a girl’s cut. You don’t see guys at school walking around like that. Two, what’s wrong with a girl wanting to look like a guy?” Gwen looked him up and down, her frown remaining the same. She groaned as she shook her head.

“You’re such a boy.” She pushed past him, trying to catch up with Jade. The boy growled as he quickly ran after her.

“How is that an insult!?” The duo quickly caught up with their friend, the girl looking around the area. Gwen still had her arms crossed under her chest, only for Jade to tilt towards her a bit.

“He might be such a boy, but at least he’s being sweet,” whispered the young Chan. “I’d take that over him being dumb.” Gwen sighed sadly, nodding her head in understanding. Jade suddenly felt a tap at her leg, causing her to turn away from Gwen. She looked to see who the offender was, her eyes narrowing in frustration.

She looked around to see who touched her, only to find no one there. Ben was too far back for it to be a prank, making her feel even more confused. She kept her eyes on the school, the Tennyson cousins looking at her in concern.

"What's going on?" asked Ben. "You look like someone just touched you?" Jade continued to scan the horizon, unable to see anyone suspicious. She put her hands in her pockets as she shook her head. Her eyes widened as she felt something.

"Huh?" She pulled out a folded piece of paper, obviously some kind of note. "When did this get here?" She quickly opened it, Ben looking over her shoulder. The others quickly joined them, Gwen looking over the girl's other shoulder.

"'I want my Puma,'" read Gwen. "'Come to the parade and we'll trade. Your rock for my diamond. Black Cat?' Where'd you find this?" Jade turned to the group with a frown.

"I don't know. I was just walking when something touched my leg, but there was no one close enough. When I put my hands in my pocket, the note was there. It's so weird." The adults began to think about the circ*mstances, at least until Ben snapped his fingers.

"I mean Felicia could have figured out what the Talisman does at this point," stated the Tennyson boy. "With how no one saw her, it's gotta be invisibility. I would have seen her walk by otherwise. Speaking from experience of watching movies, superspeed just doesn't fit what just happened." Jackie guffawed as he shook his head.

"This is not a movie Ben," scolded the former actor. Ben puffed his cheeks at the man in annoyance, considering showing where his experience really came from. Luckily, Grandpa Max got the message as he held up a hand.

"But he does have a point," argued the old man. "Snakes are known for their stealth, some even having camouflage. It makes sense that the talisman would cling to an aspect that best describes the trait all serpents share." Viper frowned, not liking the implication of magic. She waved her hand in order to dissuade further conversation.

"Let's just focus on the task at hand," requested the woman. "We need to get to the parade and find Felicia. The longer she has that talisman the more danger she's in." Ratso's car sped past the Rust bucket, not even noticing that Jackie and Viper were amongst the group. He grinned as he slowed to a stop, watching as Felicia uncloaked and walked into an apartment building.

"Bingo," snickered the olive skinned man. He pulled up the phone and brought it to his ear. "I found it. Send the ninja guys." Before he could fully hang up a few of the Shadowkhan were already around his car.

He sighed as he shook his head. "Use the tracker. She can be invisible." One of the ninjas took the object away from him before the group rushed into the building. At the top of the building Felicia could be seen in her Black Cat attire holding a mirror at the ready.

"This is going to be too easy," stated the girl. She held up the snake talisman in the other hand, the image imprinted on it shining a bit. She happened to move her mirror a particular way, her face falling as she saw a Shadowkhan pop up. "You know it's rude to sneak up on a lady." She turned just in time to dodge out of the way of a surprise strike by another ninja.

The teen backflipped to dodge another attack, a shuriken nearly nipping her hair. She moved her hand out of the way of a grapple as she kicked another one away from her. As she neared the edge of the roof, a large area of shadows began to amass. Valmont stepped through the portal alongside another Shadowkhan. She stood on the ledge as she laid eyes on the man, clicking her teeth in annoyance.

"Looks like your nine lives are up," threatened the man. "Hand over the talisman, young lady, otherwise this might need to get bloody." Felicia grinned as she held up the talisman, displaying it to the group.

"You want it? Catch." She flipped it like a coin, causing the Shadowkhan to ditch her in favor of grabbing it. Valmont ended up being the one to catch it, but it felt light in his hand. He tightened his grip, revealing that it was a convincing replica.

He growled as he looked to the edge, Black Cat now absent from it. He held up the tracker as he approached the opening, finding that it pointed to a metal staircase down below. "Clever little kitten. She could have been a good trainee. Oh well.”

He looked towards the Shadowkhan. “Kill her and retrieve the Talisman. Oh, and retrieve the Pink Puma while you're at it, por favor." The Shadowkhan quickly leapt after their target, intent on completing their mission. The sound of feet slamming against metal only made their job easier.

Back down at the parade, the group was on high alert as they tried to find Black Cat. Ben was currently sipping on a soda as he walked beside Jade. Ever since Felicia had snuck up on them like she did earlier he wanted to make sure he was close to the girl at all times until the Talisman was recovered. There totally wasn't any other reason to be walking right beside her. Jackie sighed as he shook his head.

"We can't find any trace of her," huffed the kung fu master. "She could sneak up on us to steal the puma and we'd never notice." Viper kept a sharp eye on the area, her eyes narrowed.

"She'll most likely give us a sign of some sort," corrected the thief. "She was always fond of leaving calling cards." Jade looked up as she heard a scuffle, her eyes widening as she saw Shadowkhan apparently fighting the air. She grabbed Ben's chin as he finished a sip of his soda, directing his gaze to the fight. The boy quickly ran off to transform with Gwen not far behind, giving Jade the opportunity to catch the adults' attention.

"I think she's a bit too preoccupied at the moment," commented the young Chan. “Look!” The adults followed her line of sight just as Felicia was revealed for a small moment. Viper's eyes widened in shock.

"Felicia!" She tried to find some way to get up there, but there weren't a lot of fast options. Jackie rubbed the top of Jade's head as he frowned.

"Looks like you get to see the parade after all, Jade," chuckled the kung fu master in a form of distraction. "I'll find you a soda." Jackie quickly ran over to an oncoming Super Moose balloon. He swiped the rope from the lead man, quickly running back towards the other carriers. "Sorry-I'll-Bring-This-Back-Thank-You!"

He ran alongside each person, apologizing as he batted the rope out of their hands. Quickly catching on to what he was doing, Viper ran after him. The balloon changed directions to run parallel to the building the fight was on, Jackie and Viper quickly climbing up the ropes. As Felicia was fighting the Shadowkhan one of them ended up kicking the talisman out of her hand. It landed on the nose of the balloon, bouncing a bit before it settled.

Seeing a chance to escape, Felicia quickly leapt down to the balloon below. Jackie tried to grab the talisman, only to be sent backwards a bit by the cat thief's landing. The relic was also sent flying into the air, where Viper ended up catching it. Jackie landed away from her, so she didn't bounce very high. Black Cat stood up with a suspicious smile, holding out her hands to the duo.

"Aunt Viper!" greeted the cat thief. "I see you got out of jail really quickly. I'd like to have that talisman back now. Did you bring my…?" Viper quickly held the stone away from her with a scowl.

"As soon as this is done, I am telling your mother," informed the older woman. "You nearly died over this. There are some treasures that just aren't worth it, Felicia." Black Cat harrumphed as she crossed her arms under her chest. She hated it when her super cool thief aunt made sense.

"You tell her Viper," cheered Jade. The group quickly looked her way, surprised that the girl was there. She pointed to the top of the balloon's head. "Also they're coming." Shadowkhan began to climb over the other side, some with their weapons drawn.

"Bad day," sighed Jackie. The ninjas quickly leapt at the group, forcing Jackie and Viper to dodge. Jackie found himself blocking a kick from a goon on his right, quickly spinning it around as a way to block another warrior's punch. He backflipped away from an attempted grapple, kicking the shinobi into its comrades. He gestured for them to come at him, a few quickly responding to the threat.

With Viper, she quickly found herself surrounded as the shinobi focused on her in order to retrieve the talisman. She dodged to the side as a few tried to grab her, cartwheeling to avoid a kick. The talisman soon glowed with light as the woman quickly became invisible. A few of the shinobi looked around in confusion before finding themselves being kicked in their collective guts. One noticed her movements in the balloon, only to have his ankle wrapped by Felicia's whip.

"Don't touch my aunt!" roared the girl. She yanked hard as she forced the creature to move, causing it to slip and bowl into a few more ninjas. Viper became visible again as she looked at the talisman.

"This thing is kinda fun," mentioned the older thief. Noticing Felicia's pleading look, she frowned as she held the object closer. "Get that idea out of your head young lady. Neither of our lives are worth dying over having this." The cat burglar sighed in defeat once again as she shook her head.

Soon the ninjas began to grow in numbers, doing their best to complete their three objectives. Jackie and Viper found themselves back to back as the ninjas grew in strength, Black Cat clenching her fists as she slowly backed up towards them. The two adults nodded to each other as the villains rapidly closed in. The duo held hands as they swung around, each taking kicks at the shinobi assaulting them. Jade took a moment to jump really hard on the balloon, sending one with a sword into a trashcan down below.

A few that landed on the ground tried to climb the ropes of the balloon, only for a familiar blue magic to suddenly hit one of them. The rope suddenly snapped, sending the ninjas on it plummeting once more. Gwen quickly ran over in her Lucky Girl attire, another bolt of magic ready in her hands.

"ENTROPICUS!" cried the redhead. She fired the blast directly at one of the Shadowkhan, causing him to lose his grip and slide down the rope. He crashed into a few others as they began to fall to the ground. Seeing the arrival of the little hero, Felicia saw this as the best moment to make her escape. She bowed out as Jackie and Viper lowered the number of enemies on the balloon down to one.

The shinobi quickly leapt between the duo, grabbing the talisman out of Viper's hand. It quickly turned invisible before proceeding to kick and punch at the duo. Jade tried to find a way through the situation, only to see Gwen run up on platforms at the side. Soon she also heard a large huff as something leapt from a nearby roof onto the balloon.

The invisible ninja came to a stop as he felt a breath on his neck. Jackie and Viper's eyes widened as what appeared to be an orange canine-like beast with no eyes and gills on its neck stood before them. It breathed through said gills before suddenly turning towards Jackie, letting loose a snarl. The creature took a bite at the air, catching the invisible Shadowkhan in its mouth before shaking him around. All the thrashing forced the shinobi to drop the talisman, making it visible for all to see.

"What the heck is that!?" asked Viper. "Nobody said anything about a… mutant attack dog!" Jade stepped between the adults, Jackie quickly holding her back.

"I think that's one of the Heroes of Bellwood!" cheered the young Chan. "Way to go… uh… doggie!" Ben harrumphed in annoyance as he quickly batted the Shadowkhan off the balloon. As it was falling, however, it threw a shuriken at the balloon. The group watched on in shock as the weapon punctured the balloon.

Before anything else could be said, the group found themselves holding on for dear life as the balloon flew all around the area. Lucky Girl tried to use a spell to slow it down, only to be hit by the balloon mid-flight. The balloon only came to a stop as it snagged on the torch of the Statue of Liberty. The unknown creature frantically hung onto the side of the balloon, the talisman bouncing off his head as it landed at the base of the Statue of Liberty. The stone glowed as its power activated, slowly turning the monument invisible.

"Well… at least we know where it is now," joked Viper. Soon the group found their way down the statue. The canine quickly sniffed around the area before coming across Viper's scent. He grabbed the talisman from between the toes of the statue with his teeth, the monument returning to normal. He deposited the stone in Jade's hand, the girl quickly petting the top of his head.

"Good boy… big guy. Sorry I don't know what to call this one." Ben harrumphed in disappointment before a familiar jingle rang through the air. Realizing what that meant, Gwen quickly used a spell to make the two of them invisible, giving off the illusion that they teleported away from the area. Jackie and Viper quickly ran over as the duo vanished.

"Stop you…" cried Jackie. He groaned as he saw Jade standing by herself. "They got away. We need to know what these aliens want." Viper tilted her head a bit in confusion.

"I don't know about aliens, but I'm actually glad those two had our back," disagreed the woman. "Regardless, our deal is complete. You better make sure that gets locked up tight." The sound of a helicopter approaching caught the group's attention. It landed immediately in front of them, Max taking a step out.

"Good work team," greeted the old man. "The talisman is in our custody and the museum has agreed to hand it over to us. I'm hoping you've got the diamond too." Jackie quickly pulled the diamond out of his pocket, immediately handing it to Max. The kung fu master smiled at a good job done.

"I'm just glad we didn't have to use this to bargain with…" began Jackie. He quickly looked around with a shocked expression. "Black Cat!? She's gone!" Viper groaned as she rubbed her temples.

"She must have slipped away during the fight," moaned the older thief. "When I get a hold of her I'll…" Max chuckled as he shook his head.

"I think someone else will give her a more fitting punishment," interrupted the elder Tennyson. "Let's just say I made a call to one person we could all agree on." The trio looked at him in confusion, only to quickly smile as they realized what he meant.

Felicia snuck into her room, doing her best not to make a sound. She was mad that she couldn't get the Pink Puma or keep the Talisman, but she knew when to bow out. She also knew that she did not want to face her mother after a bad day. She slowly closed her window, only to freeze when it automatically locked. She slowly turned around to see her mother sitting at her desk, a remote in her hand and a scowl on her face.

"You broke into a museum, got an innocent man arrested, and put your life in danger." Growled Mrs. Hardy. She stood up as she crossed her arms. "You are so busted, young lady! You won't be going anywhere but here and school for the rest of the semester!" Felicia groaned as she slumped in defeat.

"Aw man!"

"Once we return the Pink Puma to the museum you'll be a free woman, Mrs. Viper," reassured Max. "If you'll please join us in the helicopter, we should have time to finish the parade." The trio nodded as they boarded the helicopter. Jade smiled as she saw Ben and Gwen sitting in the seats, the redhead looking exhausted as she leaned back in hers.

"So, I guess Gwen worked herself tired," began the young Chan. "Is she not a fan of heights or something?" Ben couldn't help but chuckle at the joke that went over the adults' heads.

"Something like that." Answered the boy. Jade quickly took a seat beside him, buckling up. "By the way, the form's name is Wildmutt. He can't talk, unlike the others." The young Chan chuckled as she rubbed the back of her head.

"Sorry." Jackie and Viper couldn't help but smile as they saw the way the duo were interacting. Unable to hear them due to their whispering, they could only assume they were being adorably awkward. Jackie felt especially at peace as he watched Jade laugh at a joke Ben made. The helicopter quickly took off towards the city as the sun began to set in the background.

There's chapter 4 for your viewing pleasure. Sorry it took so long to get it out. Life got crazy for me and I found myself having a difficult time finding a good way to handle this event. I also figured it would be best to skip over the episode with the snake temple. Plus it gave us a cute scene of Ben letting Jade unload about her frustrations with the event.

I also figured it would be best to throw in an early example that the Marvel Universe is indeed present in this universe. I wanted a way to have Ben and Gwen in the chapter without them instantly resolving the issue. I also decided to have Max cover Jackie's reputation by saying he was a Plumber in disguise. It felt better than permanently ruining Jackie's life. Plus a reveal of Wildmutt to sniff out the Snake Talisman.

Anyway, what did you think of the chapter? Did you like the way the fighting was handled this time around? How about the introduction of Black Cat? Let me know what you think down below. This is Inkaliber, signing out.

Chapter 5: Base to Base

Chapter Text

Inkaliber: Welcome back everyone! This month is dedicated to Chan in Bellwood, and I think it's time to get another chapter out there. This one is going to be an original chapter, so there isn't an episode structure to try and follow this time.

Jessie: Which means he has a lot more freedom as to what goes on in the chapter. Having read what he's got, it's going to be a fun one. Of course we do have something to cover first.

Inkaliber: Right. So, I made a bit of a mistake in the prior actual chapter. I had originally set up for everyone that was stationed in San Francisco, including the Dark Hand, to be based in Bellwood. In The Viper and the Cat, I accidentally said the villains' tower was in San Francisco instead. I made the modification recently, but I thought I'd let you guys know instead of causing potential confusion.

Jessie: I'm sure it's alright sir. Now, we have one more thing to cover before we begin. It's time to have a look at the reviews.

Inkaliber: Right you are Jessie! Let's pull up the list and see what we've got. Here we go.

Mazamba- It really does fit, doesn't it? You would be correct in assuming that this is between the OG Ben 10 and Alien Force.

Reader- I'm glad you liked it. Here's the next chapter. Also, you'd have to pick either this story or Jade 10. I counted your vote for Chan in Bellwood because that's where the review was, so sorry if you would have voted for Jade 10 over this.

ArguableReader- Welcome back to the story! This is indeed the rewrite. You bring up some interesting ideas, which I will definitely think about. You've also made me laugh a good bit, including the extension of the Jackie or El Toro argument. Also, it's good to see I'm not the only one having to make this kind of update schedule.

Matt- As another reviewer mentioned, I currently have that story on indefinite hiatus, pending continuation or scrapping for a similar story. I'd hate to update that one about the poll, only to hurt people who were hoping for a new chapter by baiting them. Might not be the intention, but it'd feel that way to me.

Mert the Turt- Let's not get too rowdy there Mert. Not everyone has read all my stories.

Jessie: That's all sir! At least at the time of publishing. Looks like it's party time!

Inkaliber: You got that right! Before that though, the usual disclaimer. I don't own Jackie Chan Adventures, Ben 10, or any other series that may appear here. I do own OC characters, species, objects, and concepts unless stated otherwise. And Action!

Voices

“Talking.”

‘Thinking.’

“YELLING!”

“Author/Guest/High or demonic entity talking. Also, surprise at the end of a section.”

“AUTHOR/GUEST/HIGH OR DEMONIC ENTITY YELLING!”

“Whispering.”

“Author/Guest/High or demonic entity whispering.”

[Language Indicator]

“Machine or alt communication talking/Talking in flashback.”

“MACHINE OR ALT COMMUNICATION YELLING/YELLING IN FLASHBACK!”

“Machine or alt communication whispering/Whispering in flashback.”

Bellwood, Pennsylvania

The People's Bank of Bellwood was a rather well known establishment in town. It was regarded as one of the most secure banks in the state, its vaults known to withstand a lot of pressure. Many patrons used this facility to ensure the safety of their money. A familiar car pulled up outside the building, looking a little beaten up. The four goons that Ben defeated many nights ago stepped out of the vehicle, serious looks on their faces.

"Do we have to do this?" groaned Mick. "I don't wanna have to deal with those aliens again. Still can't believe the boss let us off the hook for that one. Anyway, I don't wanna get my butt handed to me." Lee growled as he prepared a firearm.

"Well it ain't like we're gonna be punished for failing this time," replied the leader. "He says if we give him info about any alien that attacks us, he'll take it out of our debt. I for one would like to be debt free." Don readied a long pole-arm as he chuckled.

"If it's a new one then we get double the reward," added the supposed genius. "Imagine if we get some cash and bring him the alien info, we'd be sitting real pretty with that kind of reward. I’m talking payin’ off our debt and having some to spend." Red prepared a set of gauntlets that appeared to have tubes sticking out of them. He smirked darkly as he tightened the glove part.

"Like I care about that," revealed the brute. "I just want one of their heads on a wall. Valmont can have the rest of it if he wants. Maybe we'll see a Predator." Lee groaned as he shook his head.

"That's just a stupid movie, Red," corrected the leader. He held a gun in one hand and a blade in the other as his frown turned serious. "Eyes up. Let's get this job done." The four quickly ran up to the door, causing some guards to scramble.

Mick pulled out a riot shield as he blocked some gunshots. The villains pushed through the guards, breaking the front door of the bank. "Everyone on the ground, now!" The pedestrians quickly did as told under threat of gunshot, a few sobbing at the situation. A guard tried to get a sneak attack on Don, only to receive a whack from the genius's pole-arm.

"These guys are chumps!" chuckled Don. "We'll make big bucks in no-time." Red growled as he punched a guard through one of the nearby windows, still itching for one of the alien heroes to show up. They approached the counter, the receptionist looking scared out of his mind. Lee quickly pointed his gun at the man's head, a grin on his face.

"Everything you've got, now." The receptionist began to fulfill the order as he typed into the system. Unknown to the group, vines began to enter through the broken window. Red growled as he looked around, only to have his mouth and arms restrained by the vines. He was pulled out of the room, dropping one of his gauntlets along the way.

"Red?" asked Mick. "What are you…?" His eyes widened as he saw the weapon lying on the ground. "RED'S GONE!" Lee and Don turned to him just in time to watch as he was also pulled out of the building.

"It's one of the alien freaks!" cried Lee. "After him!" People took the chance to flee as the two men jumped out the window. They were surprised to see their two teammates disarmed and hanging from plants stuck in the wall. What surprised them more was the creature that stood before them.

Before them was a humanoid plant with one blue eye in the middle of his face, secondary eyes on its shoulders with the same color, green skin, green teeth, five vine-like legs, four long fingers on its hands, flytrap-shaped flaps with teeth covering its head, and pods on its back. It was like one of those monsters you'd see in a movie. It had the Omnitrix symbol on its chest, revealing its affiliation with the Heroes of Bellwood. Their allies sounded their concern and frustration as they tried to break free of the vines. The creature growled as it looked down at the duo.

"You guys again?" questioned the creature in a masculine voice. "You just don't know when to give up! I mean, Heatblast and Upgrade kicked your butts a few weeks ago. You really should throw in the towel." Lee growled in defiance as he pointed his gun at the plant creature.

"We're more prepared for you alien freaks now! We'll cut you down to size!" He tried firing at the alien, but it quickly weaved out of the way before pulling off one of its pods. The creature threw the object at the ground, causing it to explode into a smokescreen. The two men coughed as they tried to make their way through the haze.

Lee ended up kicking a pod that was on the ground, prompting him to look at it. The object exploded into vines, wrapping him up and forcing him to drop his weapons. Don nearly met the same fate, only to smash the pod with his pole-arm. He abandoned the weapon as it became tangled in vines. He growled as he pulled out a lighter.

"He's just a stupid plant!" growled the genius. "Let's see if he likes a little fire." He looked around in order to find his opponent. He noticed a shadow in the smoke as it began to clear. He grinned as he ignited the lighter in his hand.

He threw it at the unknown entity, causing it to ignite in flames. "Ha! How d'ya like that, freak!?" He recognized his error, however, as the smoke cleared to reveal that he had lit a small tree on fire. He heard a shuffling behind him as a massive Venus flytrap maw inched closer to him.

"Wrong target," corrected the creature. The alien quickly enclosed the man in its maw, thrashing him about. This caused him to ram head first into the creature's head, knocking him out. The hero released the unconscious goon onto the ground, the man groaning in pain. "That's how Wildvine handles his problems."

He looked to the burning tree, quickly realizing that the fire would spread. "Oh dang!" Wildvine ran behind an alleyway, a green flash barely visible. Heatblast soon popped up, quickly absorbing the flames before they could spread. He sighed as he shook his head.

"Wildvine better start watching his work," groaned the Pyronite. He looked at the goons with a grin. "You guys again? This has got to be embarrassing." The three conscious men growled in anger as they tried to find a way out of the vines.

Heatblast quickly made a run for it before the sound of police sirens filled the air. He quickly hid behind a shed before tapping the Omnitrix again, transforming into Stinkfly. He rose up into the air as he flew away from the scene. He had to make it to Section 13 and fast. He smirked as he saw the desired alleyway.

He stopped just short of it as he turned back to normal. He was about to use the hidden elevator, only to realize that there was an out-of-order sign on the door. He shrugged as he moved behind a tree. After knocking on the wall a few times, a hidden door opened to reveal a flight of stairs. He shut the door behind him before making his descent, practically flying down them as he ran at his top speed.

He practically burst through the door with a grin on his face, spooking one of the agents. He ran through the base, excited for yet another day of hanging out with Jade. He couldn't explain it, but something about the young Chan always seemed to brighten his day. It was even better when they would find time to hang out after school, though most of the time Gwen was there too. Today, however, the redhead was working on a personal project.

That meant it would be just him, Jade, and no one else. It somehow felt different than the times Gwen would be there, like it was special. He skidded to a stop as he approached the door to Jackie and Jade's quarters. He rapidly knocked a few times, feeling an odd need to make sure his hair was straightened. He grinned as he saw the door open, Jade's sleeve coming into view.

"Hey Jade!" greeted Ben. "I was able to take care of those guys in no time flat. Are you ready to play some Sumo Slamm…?" He stopped in his tracks as he noticed the upset look on her face. He also noticed that she wasn’t wearing her usual outfit.

She was currently wearing a pink long sleeved shirt with Super Moose on the front, a black pair of sweatpants that had pockets with zippers on the sides, and a pair of brown slippers. It was very clear that she had no plans to go anywhere that day. She sighed as she stepped back a bit.

"Hey Ben," greeted the normally cheerful girl. "Come on in." She walked away from the door, leaving the boy to stand there. Ben slowly entered the room, noticing how Jade seemed to be there by herself. He shut the door behind him as he approached the couch.

Jade could be seen watching tv, eating popcorn with a bored look on her face. Ben didn't know why, but something about this scene left him rather upset. He frowned as he placed his hands on his hips.

"Okay. What's wrong?" Jade didn't respond as she took another bite of popcorn. She changed the channel, coming upon a documentary. Ben finally had enough as he took the remote from her, turning off the tv.

"Hey! I was watching that!" The boy crossed his arms as he looked the girl in the eye.

"Tell me what's wrong. You're obviously upset about something or with someone." Jade growled as she clenched her fists.

"It's none of your business. Besides, why would 'Mr. Great-and-Powerful Hero' care?" Ben growled as he got up in her face.

"Because you're one of my closest friends, Jade! When something bothers you, it bothers me." Jade was taken aback by this as she leaned back a bit. She wasn't used to someone showing concern for when something bothered her. In fact, it kinda made her feel like a jerk for yelling at Ben like she did.

Realizing his friend wasn't going to say anything, the boy decided to continue. "I'm just trying to help you, Jade. I can tell something is wrong, but you and Gwen are kinda the only girls I hang around. Please tell me what's up." Jade sighed in defeat as she sat back down on the couch.

"I'm just… frustrated with everything. Jackie won't teach me anything, I keep being left behind in all the world saving stuff, and I can't fight to save my life. It's my world too. I just want to be helpful somehow." Ben sighed, realizing where the trouble now lay.

He understood where Jade was coming from, he really did. He felt the same way about the call to heroism before he got the Omnitrix. Still, he hated seeing her mope around like this. There had to be something to take this off the girl's mind. Ben grinned as he suddenly got an idea.

"Hey, where's Jackie? I didn't see him when I was running around the base." Jade sighed once again as she took another bite of popcorn.

"He had an archeological dig and couldn't take me along. Something about boobytraps or something. I wanted to go on another temple adventure, but he was all 'It is too dangerous for a little girl to be roaming around a trap filled temple.'" Ben chuckled at the mock voice his friend made. He stood between her and the tv, a grin on his face.

"Well, since he's not here, why don't I show you something cool?" This seemed to perk up Jade's spirits as she sent him a raised brow. "I know a place with secret alien stuff, and I think it might just be up your alley. Of course, we could always stay here and..." Jade's grin suddenly burst to life as she hopped up from her seat.

"Then what are we waiting for!? Let's go!" She practically raced out the door, laughing all the way. Ben chuckled to himself as he shook his head. He quickly ran after his friend, shutting the door behind him.

"Wait up Jade! I haven't said where it is yet!"

Later

It took the duo a bit to move across town, mostly because the Omnitrix was still on recharge. They grew further and further from Section 13, making sure to not be too out in the open. Soon the watch was up to power, allowing Ben to transform into XLR8. He carried Jade bridal style as they raced towards their destination, only stopping at certain points so he could show her landmarks to follow. Jade couldn't help but cheer as she saw the world pass her by.

'This is amazing!' thought Jade in her head. She had never felt such a rush in all her life. She looked up at XLR8 as he seemed to be focused on ensuring they actually reached their destination. She couldn't help but tuck into his embrace, a slight blush forming on her cheeks. Soon she felt the wind come to a stop, her friend skidding to a halt.

"We're here Jade," informed the alien. "You can let go now." Jade's blush grew stronger as she released the creature's neck. XLR8 put her down on the ground before reverting to normal. His friend got her blush under control by the time the light dimmed down, hiding her embarrassment.

"Follow me," instructed Ben. Jade nodded as she followed him through the street. They approached what looked to be a plumbing business, which was rather confusing to the young Chan. Ben opened the front door, holding it open for her. She fought her reddening cheeks once more as she nodded her head.

“Thanks,” whispered the young Chan. She slowly walked inside, taking note of the plumbing equipment and office supplies scattered about. She heard someone hum in interest, causing her to stiff up a bit.

"I see you brought a friend today, Benjamin," Stated a voice. Jade looked to the origin of the voice, seeing an old man with an apron that held the name of the business. He appeared to be reading a newspaper, seemingly ignoring the duo. "I hope you know what you're doing." Ben chuckled as he nodded his head.

"She's involved in Grandpa's Talisman case, Mr. Slip,” introduced the boy. “Plus she's a good friend of mine. Also, this gives her a place to go if anything goes wrong." Jade sent a smile in the boy's direction, happy to know he was looking out for her. Mr. Slip sent a quick glance at the duo, only Ben seeing his snake-like eyes before he looked back at his paper.

"I'll let it be Max's problem. Third tile on the right, same as usual." Ben nodded as he took Jade by the hand, pulling her along. Mr. Slip chuckled as he licked his lips, a rather large tongue being revealed. "Ah! Young love."

Ben quickly brought Jade into a broom closet, brick walls towering around them. He pushed in the brick described by Mr. Slip, causing another to open and reveal a lens. Jade watched in amazement as her friend placed his thumb on the device, earning an accepting jingle. Soon the wall opened, revealing an elevator. Ben once again took her hand as he pulled her into the compartment.

"What is all this?" asked Jade. "Some kind of alien clubhouse?" Ben chuckled as he shook his head, leading her into the device.

"You'll see," answered the hero. He pressed the first button on the bottom, causing the doors to close. A rather catchy jingle began to play, causing the duo to bob their heads. "Huh… I heard this same music back at the Chinese Tower that day we met." Jade hummed, surprised by the observation.

Soon the device came to a stop, the doors opening. Jade's eyes widened at the sight before her. Ben chuckled as he walked forward with her. "Go ahead and let it out." The girl nodded as she drank in the scene.

"Whoa." Before her was a room much larger than the main area of Section 13. Several creatures of all kinds and shapes roamed the area, most wearing the same style of uniform. There were also pieces of vehicles and gadgets that she would think only existed in sci-fi movies. Ben grinned as he gestured to it with his left arm.

"Welcome, Jade, to Bellwood's Plumber Base." Jade looked at him, confused by the name. "The Plumbers are basically space cops. I'm pretty sure they're called Plumbers because they 'clean up the waste of the galaxy' or something. You'd have to ask Grandpa for the details."

Jade nodded in understanding as she continued to look over the main area. She watched in amazement as part of the roof opened, allowing one of the spacecraft to take off. "Come on. There's lots of cool stuff to see." Hearing these words from Ben, she couldn't help but send a grin his way.

"Lead the way, Hero." Ben blushed a bit at the nickname before pulling Jade along. They ran past several agents, a few sounding their greetings to the young Tennyson. They soon came upon the lab, a few scientists currently working on projects. "Here's where they make all the cool gadgets and weapons."

Ben quickly grabbed a tiny gun shaped object from a vacant work bench, aiming it at a nearby target. He pulled the trigger, sliding back slightly as the weapon fired a precise laser. It hit the center of the target, creating a black scorch mark. "Bet ya Section 13 has nothing on this." Jade grinned as she watched her friend put the object back where it was, the sound of footsteps soon following the action.

"Well what do we have here?" asked a new voice. The duo turned around as a skinny member of Ripjaws' species approached them. He was wearing the same gear as the other agents, only he had a form of breathing apparatus over his gills. "Who're you, little lady?" Ben smiled as he gestured to Jade.

"Majister Patalide, meet Jade Chan. She's a friend of mine who knows about the Omnitrix. Plus she's involved in the current Talisman case. I figured it would be good to show her around the base in case something goes wrong and she needs help." Jade waved, slightly nervous of what the official would do.

"Hi," greeted the young Chan. Majister Patalide looked her in the eye a bit, seeming to gauge her. He suddenly let out a hearty chuckle as he rubbed her head.

"Is that right? Well welcome, Jade. Let me know if you need anything, ya hear?" Jade nodded her head, letting loose an unnoticed sigh of relief. "Well, I best be startin' ma rounds."

The humanoid fish quickly left the duo alone in the lab. The kids grinned at each other as they once again went running through the base. Ben quickly slid down the rail of a set of stairs, stumbling a bit as he reached the bottom. He chuckled as he finally found his footing.

"Look out below!" Ben turned around, watching as Jade chose to sit down while she slid. He quickly held up his arms, catching her torso as she reached him. With the help she was able to find her footing so she didn't fall over. The two chuckled at the incident as Ben looked at Jade.

"I got ya," reassured the Omnitrix hero. Something in him clicked as he saw her move a bit of her hair out of her face. The smile she sent his way made butterflies grow in his stomach.

"My hero." Ben gulped as he tried to regain his cool. Realizing their situation, he let go of Jade's torso with an embarrassed chuckle. Soon he was back to pulling her along, passing by more aliens along the way. They skidded to a stop as the guide's face grew serious.

"This is where we keep all the alien criminals before transporting them to somewhere else. Most of these guys will either be transported back to their home planets or to an intergalactic court, where they'll face a trial. Some guys who get put in here are going straight to the Null Void." Jade looked between Ben and the cells, some of the prisoners giving her the creeps. A question began to eat at her as she returned her attention fully to her friend.

"And… What's the Null Void?" Ben looked her way, noting the uncomfortable look on her face. He pulled her along again, leaving the area behind. What no one noticed was that a particular inmate, a crustacean of some kind, was chuckling in his cell.

"Soon," remarked the creature. He appeared to be working on something, the subject of his statement. Back with the kids, they soon approached an area that seemed to be heavily watched. Ben flashed the Omnitrix at them, mostly diverting their suspicions. Soon the duo came upon a room with what looked to be a form of projector.

"This is a Null Void projector," began Ben. "The Null Void is an inter-dimensional prison where some of the worst of the worst are sent. It's also used for those unfortunate to have special requirements to be able to live out their days. The good guys get badges to tell the wardens that they're not meant to be prisoners." Jade nodded as she noticed a crate being placed in the path of the projector.

"What's in the box?" questioned the young Chan. "Please tell me that isn't some kind of Jack-in-the-Box alien criminal." Ben chuckled as he shook his head.

"No. It's supplies for the guard and for the unfortunate guys I mentioned. Water is scarce there, same with any food that grows. Any natural sources of food and water are guarded by greedy inmates, so we try to supply the guards inside. The dimension affects the people inside so much that they can’t do a lot of things that aren’t necessary to live." Jade nodded her head, a small frown on her face.

“Uhuh. So they can’t even have kids there?” Ben nodded his head, also having a small frown. The duo soon watched as the device sent out a ray of energy, creating a portal that pulled the crate inside. The portal closed as soon as the crate was secured, the device powering down.

“So no families in there. Got it.” She looked at the boy again as she tilted her head. “Wait, does that mean they don’t separate boys and girls in there?” Ben once again nodded his head in response.

“Boy or girl, they’re all sent to the same place. The closest thing they have to family there are either family members that were also sent there or friendships they forge along the way.” Jade began to feel a bit uncomfortable by all this news.

“What… What happens if they die there? You make it sound like nothing can change there.” Her friend sighed as he shook his head in denial.

“People can still age there. If they die they still die. The guards do their best to keep it from happening, but old age isn’t the only way people die there. I haven’t been there long myself on an accidental visit so I don’t know everything about how the place works.” Jade was about to question him on his experience with the void, only for footsteps to catch her attention.

"If you wanted to give Jade a tour of the base, Ben, I would have preferred for you to ask me first," interrupted a familiar voice. Both kids jerked as they slowly turned around. Grandpa Max stood before them, his arms crossed and a small smirk on his face. "It's nice to see you, Jade." The girl in question waved with a nervous chuckle as Ben rubbed his arm.

"Well, she was feeling down and I figured it would be good for her to know. If something happens to Section 13 and Jade’s Uncle’s shop, she'll need somewhere to go in that kind of emergency. What better place than here?" Ben gestured to the area around them, hoping that he would get his point across. Max couldn't help but chuckle as he shook his head.

"The prisoner cells aren’t the best place to show her if you want her to feel safe, Ben. You’d be giving off the wrong impression.” The boy chuckled nervously as he looked away.

“I might have got off track when she asked about the Null Void. My bad.” Jade sent him a deadpan expression, only for Max to chuckle.

“You're not in trouble, Ben, but remember to ask me before you do something like this next time." The boy let out a sigh of relief as he slouched forward a bit. Max then looked towards Jade, recognizing the sad look on her face. "Mind telling me what the problem is, Jade? I'm told I'm a good listener."

Jade looked to the old man, contemplating his offer. Before she could respond, an explosion rattled the base. Sirens began to go off, causing the nearby agents to scramble into action. "That came from the holding cells." Ben growled as he looked at Jade, a serious frown on his face.

"Come on. We need to see what's going on." Jade nodded in response, mirroring her friend's expression.

"Right," agreed the young Chan. "Let's go." Max tried to stop the duo, but they quickly ran ahead of him.

“Kids! Wait!” They were soon out of his sight, causing him to sigh. “This better not be anything serious.” He quickly ran after them, huffing as tried to keep up.

Back in the holding cell area, several agents were seen filling the room. Another explosion went off, a corresponding cell deactivating. The crustacean from before chuckled as he walked out of the smoke, a strange device in his pincers. He was soon joined by what appeared to be a massive gray alien of some kind, its appearance similar to that of a cyclops. The being's chuckle stopped as he looked over the men.

"How amusing of you to think your primitive holding cells could keep a Cerebrocrustacean such as myself locked away," began the crab. "All I had to do was use the faults in the walls to gather the components I needed for a proper weapon. Of course, I doubt your feeble minds could match the intellect of I: Professor Exoskull." His insults were ignored as the men readied their weapons. A blue skinned alien growled as he stared down the two men.

"I'm only gonna say this once," growled the agent. "Drop your weapon and surrender. We have you outnumbered and outgunned." Professor Exoskull chuckled once again, as if he heard a pleasant joke. He turned to his companion, his expression unreadable.

"Ichabod, crush them." The huge creature began to take deep breaths, its one eye intensifying on the men in front of it. The now identified Ichabod let out a roar before running at its victims.

"Fire!" The Plumbers began to fire their lasers at the rampaging monster. The blasts seemed to do nothing to its skin as it drew closer to them. “The weapons worked perfectly before, even for stun weaponry!” The crustacean chuckled as he clanked his claws together.

“You’ll find that what does not kill Ichabod, only makes him more resilient. I knew that you would have your more lethal weapons squared away, making this the opportune time to escape.” The monster swatted at the agents upon finally reaching them, sending them flying across the room. The trio came upon the scene, Max growling at the circ*mstances.

"Exoskull," growled the old man. "He's a Cerebrocrustacean with an advanced intellect to match his overinflated ego. He specializes in genetics, specifically illegal body enhancements and monster development. We barely managed to catch him and his newest creation the first time." Jade grinned as she rolled up her sleeves.

"Well let's see if he's studied the ancient art of Butt-whoop," began the young Chan. She was about to run over to the fight, only to stop as someone grabbed her wrist. She turned to find Ben shaking his head.

"You'll be crushed in minutes by the big guy," corrected the Omnitrix hero. Jade's eyes widened, slightly hurt by the refusal. He was supposed to be on her side, but now he was stopping her. Ben placed his hands on her shoulders as he looked her in the eye. "You remember where I showed you the lab?"

Jade nodded, confused by the question. "There's a communicator on the main table. I need you to call for backup just in case these guys pull a nasty trick. Once you've done that, grab anything you think could help and bring it back here." The young Chan's eyes widened in response, soon joined by a grin.

Max looked like he had an objection, but Ben ignored his grandfather as he sent his friend a smile. "Can I count on you for this?" Jade smirked as she sent the boy a mock salute.

"Aye-aye, Captain 10." Ben couldn't help but chuckle at the nickname as Jade ran for the lab. Professor Exoskull growled as he watched Jade run to the other side of the room.

"I don't think so," growled the crustacean. He raised his device as it began to charge, only to have a book hit him in the head. He growled as he turned to Ben and Max, only to hum in interest. "Ah, Majister Tennyson. This must be your grandson, with the infamous Omnitrix." Ben smirked as he activated said alien watch.

"You're darn right it is," barked the Omnitrix hero. "Let me show you what I'm made of!" He quickly made a selection before slamming the core of the watch. In a flash he was replaced by Diamondhead. The crystal creature looked himself over before sighing.

"I was going for Fourarms, but Diamondhead will do," grumbled the Petrosapien. "You're going back to your cell, Shrimpy." This insult seemed to rile up Exoskull as he turned towards Ichabod. His shell opened at the head to reveal his brain, energy beginning to form in the gap. He zapped the beast in the back of the head, causing it to look his way.

"Ichabod, destroy the Petrosapien and bring me the Omnitrix!" Ichabod roared in anger as he rushed the duo, Max having to leap out of the way as Diamondhead formed a wall of crystals. The wall didn't do much good as the monster rammed through it, bashing the hero away. Exoskull looked to where Jade was, watching as she was already up the stairs. "I cannot allow any interruptions."

The crustacean quickly made off after the girl, keeping his weapon at the ready. Max growled as he propped himself up, watching as the villain scaled the stairs. He looked back to see Diamondhead punch Ichabod in the face before returning his attention to the master of the beast.

"Not on my watch you don't," growled the elder Tennyson. "Jackie's gonna kill me if he finds out about this." He quickly rushed off after the duo. Diamondhead quickly tried firing multiple shards of crystals at Ichabod, but the fractals shattered upon its skin. The beast actually let loose a chuckle before slapping the crystalline creature away.

"Shiny man tickle Ichy!" laughed the creature. "Ichy break shiny man, then put him back together again!" Diamondhead groaned as he shook his head.

"Man I wish I was Fourarms," grumbled the crystal creature. "I hope Jade can get something good or else…" His words were cut off as Ichabod grabbed him by the ankle. The beast proceeded to slam him around on the ground, laughing all the way. Diamondhead groaned in pain, realizing that this could take a while.

Jade ran through the halls as she tried to reach the lab. She had to call for backup, and quickly. She was about to turn the corner when a laser blast passed right by her head. She screamed in shock as she ran faster, not wanting to chance being hit. Professor Exoskull quickly followed behind, his weapon still ready.

"You can run, child, but you can't hide," informed the Cerebrocrustacean. "My advanced intellect is far beyond your comprehension. For example…" He suddenly stopped to turn around, firing his weapon at Max. The old man was forced to lean back, narrowly avoiding the attack.

The professor fired a few more times before resuming the chase. "I knew Maxwell would chase me, and I will not allow myself to be surprised a second time." He rounded the corner, only to run into a fallen chair. He grumbled as he stumbled back a bit. Jade laughed up ahead.

"Surprise!" cried the girl. Professor Exoskull growled in rage as he ran faster. Jade soon reached the lab, spotting the communicator Ben had mentioned. She was about to run for it when she had the sudden urge to leap to the side. She made the right call as a laser blast hit the desk and the communicator, causing them to explode.

"No luck now, child." Jade quickly crawled across the ground, trying to stay out of the open area. Professor Exoskull walked around, doing his best to find the young Chan. "Where are you, young one? If my calculations are correct, then you should be…"

Jade gasped as she heard him nearby, quickly hiding behind a case full of chemicals. This caused a sound that alerted the villain of the girl's presence. "There!" He fired at the cabinet, causing it to explode. To his annoyance, however, there was no sign of her. He blasted the rest of the debris out of his way, revealing a hole in the floor.

"Going somewhere?" asked Max. Exoskull looked up just in time to see the chair he bumped into earlier as its back slammed into his face. He was sent flying backwards a bit as he dropped his device. The old man quickly stomped on it, smashing it to shatter into pieces. The villain growled as he quickly rose to his feet.

"I HATE SURPRISES!" His head opened once again as he fired electricity at Max. The human quickly had to dodge out of the way as the electricity scorched the wall. He quickly grabbed a large laser gun from one of the tables, firing at the Cerebrocrustacean. Exoskull quickly moved out of the way, using the table as a blockade.

"Well Earth is full of them. If you hate them so much, you should have waited until you left to break out." Max slowly walked forward in an attempt to corner the villain. The alien quickly popped up with the tiny laser Ben had displayed earlier, forcing Max to duck as a powerful shot nearly hit him. The two found themselves in a stalemate as they each took shots at each other.

With Jade, she screamed in shock as she found herself sliding down a long tube. She was lucky to even fit in it as her arms and back rubbed against the surface. She landed on a small platform, her weight nearly breaking it. She quickly dismounted it as she didn't want to break it. She snuck around as she heard nearby voices.

"It's almost ready!" cried a flamboyant voice. She peaked around a corner, only to hum at what she saw. Two Galvans were seen at a workbench, looking over a set of blueprints. It was obvious that the papers were for the rather large object hidden by a tarp. The skinny one of the two scratched his chin in thought.

"All we need to do is screw in the last bolt, and it'll be ready for testing," added the second Galvan in a southern accent. "When it's done, even a human child could operate it." Jade smirked at the claim, an idea forming in her head. She quickly waited for the duo to look towards their project before attempting to sneak past them. She was nearly noticed at one point, but she hid behind a tool shelf.

The skinny Galvan flared at where she was, only to him as he thought of something. He turned back towards his colleague, allowing Jade to continue sneaking. "Think we should've made it a bit more complex?" The more rotund one of the two scoffed as he placed a wrench into place. He began to jump up and down on it, attempting to tighten the bolt they were talking about.

"Are you kidding? If we want this to be a hit, it needs to be capable of being used by any agent. With the exception of those who lack the mental capacity for it, of course." He finally finished his work as he hopped off. "Now, where are the keys?" The skinny one put his hands on his hips, not noticing as Jade snuck by them.

"You lost them? I shoulda expected this." The fat Galvan growled, missing the bump that had now formed under the tarp.

"I didn't lose it! It has to be around here somewhere!" The skinny member of the duo sounded his understanding as he nodded his head.

"Now I remember. You left them in the machine." The first Galvan growled in anger as the bump disappeared.

"No! You left them in the machine!" The skinny one growled as he let his arms fall to his sides.

"Did not."

"Did too!"

"Did not."

"Did too!" Their argument was cut short as the machine they were arguing over suddenly started making sounds. The object began to rise, the tarp slowly falling off of it. It began to move away as the tarp fell off, stomping on its way. "I knew we shouldn't have used an Earth gaming controller for steering." The fat one growled as he placed his hands on his hips.

"No you didn't!" The duo’s argument began anew, their attention off the missing machine. Back with Max, he took a break from firing his weapon as he tried to sneak around the other side of the table. He and Exoskull had both ceased their firing, neither of them appearing to make a move. Max held his breath as he heard a scuttle nearby, causing him to tighten his grip on the laser gun.

He suddenly stood tall as he aimed for the origin of the noise, only for a laser to break his own weapon. He turned just in time to see that his opponent had him cornered. Exoskull chuckled as he inched closer towards the old man.

"You are a rather intellectual man, for your species that is," began the crustacean. "Let's see if you are capable of understanding my terms. Move even an inch out of line, and I shall get a close look at the insides of the human race. Now, you are going to pilot me out of here." Max looked like he had a witty remark, only for the sound of a whirring door to catch the duo's attention.

"Not a chance, crab cakes!" cried Jade. The duo watched as a wall opened up, seemingly Jade's doing. The professor turned as he readied his stolen weapon.

"You foolish child. You've doomed yourself. Now prepare to face the power that is… my… intel…lect." Exoskull's eyes widened in shock as something much larger than a little girl walked out of the opening. Even Max had to blink at the sight of the machine.

It was an unpainted metal mech, humanoid in shape. It had a few open compartments that revealed some of its weaponry, as well as a massive glass dome that made up where a head would be. Jade could be seen sitting inside the dome, a game controller in her hand. Exoskull tried to shoot the glass, but the laser only scuffed the material. The villain was forced to drop his weapon as Jade made the machine walk closer.

"What's wrong? Surprised?" The Cerebrocrustacean growled at the word, only to be tackled to the ground by Max. He placed a pair of cuffs on the villain's arms, as well as attaching a device to the back of his head. He huffed as he picked the creature up.

"That should stop your light show," huffed the old man. "Nice distraction Jade. Now, get down from there and tell me where…" Diamondhead's cry rang through the area, cutting off the conversation. Jade's eyes widened as she made the mech turn.

"Ben!" She tuned out Max as she made the mech run back the way she came, destroying the doorframe. "Sorry!" The old man sighed as he watched a few agents run into the room. These kids were going to drive him crazy.

Meanwhile, Diamondhead found himself being flung across the room by Ichabod. He narrowly avoided landing on some poor agents as he crashed into a column. He groaned as he stood up, trying to think of a way out of this situation. He tried to make a path of crystal to hit Ichabod in the foot but he just stepped on it, crushing it under his foot. He chuckled as he raised his fist, ready to pound the crystal man.

"Ichy had fun playing with shiny man!" cheered the monster. "Now to break shiny man into itty bitty pieces!" Diamondhead raised his arms in defense, only for Jade to run in and punch Ichabod in the face. The mech was strong enough to send the creature flying backwards, crashing into its old cell. Jade growled as she rolled her shoulders.

"Hands off, Ugly! That's my friend you're trying to break!" Diamondhead blinked multiple times, surprised by the appearance of the machine. Ichabod growled as he walked out of the cell, a whelp on his face. It was clear by his expression that he wasn't happy.

"You hurt Ichy! Ichy crush stupid girl!" Ichabod rushed forward like a battering ram, intent on crashing into the girl. Jade readied the mech just in time to catch the monster, being pushed back a few inches. She had the mech hold his head back in one hand while the other reared back.

She punched Ichabod once again, causing him to stumble backwards. Jade smirked as she made the mech walk backwards. She hummed as she noticed a button with a pill-shaped icon.

"What's this one do?" Jade quickly pressed the button, causing the mech to raise its right arm. It fired small rockets at Ichabod, causing him to cry out in pain as they exploded. The monster roared in pain as it rubbed its singed arms. The beast suddenly punched the mech, causing it to stumble back as well.

"Jade!" cried Diamondhead. He watched as Ichabod grabbed at the dome of the mech, attempting to shatter the glass. Jade tried to get the monster to stop, but he had a tight grip that even dented the metal. Diamondhead growled as anger built up inside him. Ichabod was trying to kill his friend, and he was not having that.

He got an idea as he looked at the watch. "Time for another team up!" He slammed the Omnitrix symbol on his chest, unleashing a green flash. In his place stood a humanoid blob with a black exterior, green stripes that resemble circuitry all over him, a white front torso, and the Omnitrix symbol upon his chest. A circle acted as his eye as it squinted in anger.

"In fact, let’s call it an Upgrade!" cried Ben, his voice sounding metallic. The blob squished down before zooming towards the mech. It crawled onto the machine's leg, quickly spreading across it. Soon the mech shared the alien's color scheme, the circle eye and the Omnitrix on its chest. The eye glowed as it shot a laser at Ichabod's face, causing him to let go.

"Ichy's eye!” roared the monster. “It burns!" Jade looked over the new range of controls that lay before her.

"Whoa," gasped the young Chan. "You weren't kidding when you said it'd be an upgrade." Ben's chuckle was the head of the blob popped up to look at her.

"That's why I named him Upgrade," revealed the boy. "You focus on all the cool gadgets while I deal with moving and punching. Let's show this dum-dum what we've got." Jade grinned as she leaned forward, ready to enjoy the show. Ichabod finally regained sight as he let loose a roar.

The monster tried to punch the duo but Upgrade quickly caught the attack. He brought up the mech's foot before slamming it down on their opponent's feet. Ichabod cried in pain as he tried to remove his foot, only to get nowhere. Upgrade threw a few punches at the beast before finally rearing the machine's arm back. "Rocket fist!"

"We have a rocket fist!?" Jade watched as rocket engines formed at the elbow of the arm. One of the buttons blinked as a connection was made.

"We do now!" Jade grinned from ear to ear as she slammed the button. Upgrade finally released Ichabod's foot as the rockets ignited. The mech swung forward as the punch collided with the monster, sending it flying once again into its original cell. The dust settled as the enemy moaned in pain.

"Ichy… take… nap," groaned Ichabod. The creature flopped face first onto the floor, completely unconscious. Jade and Ben cheered in excitement as they both raised a fist.

"Knockout!" cried Jade. "We are the best! Jade Chan and Ben Tennyson: Heroes Extraordinaire! They didn't stand a chance!" Upgrade chuckled in agreement.

"Heck yeah they didn't!" cheered the alien. "We are the greatest team ever!" Their celebration soon ended as a familiar beeping caught the duo's attention. "Aw man!" In a flash upgrade peeled off the mech, turning back into Ben as he fell face first onto the ground.

"Ben!" Jade quickly deactivated the machine, causing it to squat down. A large door opened in the front as the dome popped up, allowing the girl to exit. She was quickly by Ben's side as he began to get up. She took one of his arms as she helped him to his feet.

"I'm fine," groaned Ben. "Just… give me a moment." Jade continued to hold his arm as he rubbed his head. Soon the sound of running footsteps caught the duo's attention. Jade quickly let go of Ben's arm as Grandpa Max ran to them.

"Ben!" cried the old man. Jade moved out of the way so he could kneel down to check on his grandson. "Are you alright?! I had to make sure Exoskull couldn't surprise us and…" Ben waved his hand as he finally got his bearings.

"I'm good. I timed out before I could detach from the robot and fell." Ben's eyes widened as he suddenly looked towards Max. "Oh yeah… WHEN DID WE GET A FREAKING MECH SUIT!?" Max jerked a bit at the yelling, only to look towards Jade.

"Jade? Why don't you tell both of us where you got it?" Jade shrugged as she shook her head.

"Some guys who look like Graymatter were building it in a secret lab," answered the young Chan. "They started arguing about who lost the keys, but I found them inside the robot while they weren't looking." Max groaned as he rubbed his temples.

"Blukic. Driba." Max sighed as he shook his head. "I wondered why we were losing a lot of units to R And D." The two Galvans in question ran up, looking over their mech in excitement.

"It worked!" cried the fat one. "I knew it would!" The skinny one crossed his arms in dismissal.

"No you didn't," argued the skinny one. The two Galvans went back and forth again, unaware that the blue skinned agent from before was walking up to them. He picked them up in his hands, causing them to yelp.

"So you're the ones who built this!" roared the man. "That means you get to clean the latrines and fix everything it broke today." The two Galvans gulped as they were carried off by the man. Jade couldn't help but chuckle as she practically got away with it scotch free. She sighed as she rubbed her arm.

"I'm just glad I could help, for once." Stated Jade. Ben looked at her with a sad frown while Max looked hummed in confusion. "It was really cool while it lasted. I'm probably not welcome back here after tearing the place up." Ben looked like he wanted to say something but Max held up his hand.

"I wouldn't say that," denied the old man. "You were a big help in stopping an alien criminal and his experiment." Jade sighed as she shook her head.

"Yeah, but it's not like I can tell Jackie that. It's back to just being the little girl who can't do a thing to help. I'm not asking for a lot. Just the chance to actually be part of the team." Max hummed as he rubbed his chin, finally understanding the issue.

It now made more sense why Ben was trying to show her the base. If he had to guess, his grandson was going to sneak her into the training room and help her gain experience. It was a smart plan, though there were problems with just randomly using the equipment. He suddenly got an idea as he noticed his grandson’s pleading look. He smiled as he ruffled the boy’s hair before looking towards Jade.

"Well, given how you showed real maturity and were a big help today, I think it's safe to give you a few pointers. Maybe even start some formal training. You'll have to keep that maturity up and tell no one, not even Jackie, about any of this." Jade grinned as a fire lit in her eyes. This was only the start of the craziest days in Jade Chan's life.

Xiaoling Industries Tower

Valmont poured over the evidence gathered for the not-so-supposed Heroes of Bellwood. Fights that were only rumored to be covered up by the US government now laid before him. This endeavor also brought up many potential Allie's and threats to his radar. Still, none of them have ever exploited a weakness of his. He soon read over another incident, taking a drink of his coffee.

He stopped mid-sip as he read over the event again. He couldn't help but grin as he lowered the cup from his face. This could work out perfectly in his favor. Looking through the data of the criminal underworld, he soon found the location of the party of interest. He soon made a phone call, leaning back in his seat.

"Gentlemen.” began the man. “I believe I found the answer to our alien problem. Chow, deploy to these coordinates immediately."

Jessie: Behold, another chapter done and through! The kid's little friend was feeling down in the dumps, so he took her to a place he really wasn't supposed to. So scandalous of him. Still, in the end she got to actually help and now has the building blocks to become someone great. Things are coming along rather beautifully.

Inkaliber:… I wanted to do the post-summary. Now I can't.

Jessie: S…sorry. I was just so excited. Those two will make such a cute couple!

Inkaliber: Indeed they will. Let's also not forget that Valmont has found someone whose skills have interested him. Things are definitely going to become more interesting from here on out.

Anyway, what did you think of the chapter? Did you like Jade's first interaction with the Plumbers? Who has Valmont decided to calm in? Let me know what you think down below. This is Inkaliber, signing out.

Chapter 6: The Rabbit and the Tortoise

Chapter Text

You guys know I couldn't end the first dedicated month without a new chapter. Projects and finals in college may have taken up a lot of my time, but I'm going to publish this before the month is out. Just a fair warning, this one might be shorter than expected depending on how the chapter flow works. Regardless, I hope you'll be able to enjoy this new entry into the story all the same. First though, review time.

ArguableReader- Yeah I threw those two in as the reason the mech exists in the first place. I think they were put in the series so that their incompetence could set off certain events or, as you said, create comedy. I kinda have them in that kind of space myself. Where they are either an answer for a random problem I have (not the only answer) or pure comedy in another moment. They really don't have any other important role in the story.

Yeah I figured it would be good to go ahead and start Jade's real training under the Plumbers, or at least Max. Jackie will slowly get around to his own training of her, but it will take time. I plan to have her able to competently defend herself by the time this story reaches the point of the original one. (That story you mentioned sounds cool… and familiar. Are you referring to Ten vs Twelve on FFN or is this another story somewhere else?)

Reader- I'm glad that you liked the chapter! I had fun writing about the moment where the duo teamed up to defeat Ichabod. I figured it would be good to have someone give Jade some advanced training. Jackie will definitely be furious when he realizes that Max went behind his back. I understand your reasoning for voting both for this story and Jade 10, goodness knows I love writing about this relationship of Ben and Jade's, but I was trying to be specific with the voting. Either way, seeing as that's all behind us, let's just relax and enjoy the new chapter.

That should be all of them for now. Let's get this party started! I don't own Jackie Chan Adventures, Ben 10, or any other series that may appears here. I do own OC characters, species, objects, and concepts unless stated otherwise.

Voices

“Talking.”

‘Thinking.’

“YELLING!”

“Author/Guest/High or demonic entity talking. Also, surprise at the end of a section.”

“AUTHOR/GUEST/HIGH OR DEMONIC ENTITY YELLING!”

“Whispering.”

“Author/Guest/High or demonic entity whispering.”

[Language Indicator]

“Machine or alt communication talking/Talking in flashback.”

“MACHINE OR ALT COMMUNICATION YELLING/YELLING IN FLASHBACK!”

“Machine or alt communication whispering/Whispering in flashback.”

Bellwood, Pennsylvania

Jade maintained complete focus as she mimicked Jackie's movements. The man had finally allowed her to learn some martial arts from him, though he was taking it at a slow pace by starting with Tai Chi instead of Kung Fu. Still, she couldn't complain too much since Mr. Tennyson was giving her Plumber training as well. Plus this was all part of showing that she could be mature, which was one of the requirements for her continued training. She watched Jackie's movements as he took a deep breath.

"Breathe deeply," instructed the kung fu master. Both Chans took a deep breath as they took a step forward, stretching out their respective left arms. "Let the breath flow to the fingertips, down to the toes, and eventually, finds its way back to where it started. It is important to remember proper breathing techniques when you are forced into combat." Jade smiled at her uncle as she maintained her position.

"So when are we gonna get to the actual moves?" asked the young Chan. "Not that this isn't important but I think it'll be good if I can properly defend myself." Jackie chuckled as he shook his head.

"Slow and steady wins the race, Jade. Sometimes it's about knowing when to strike, rather than how to. Plus, how can you defend yourself if you run out of breath?" Jade harrumphed at the dismissal, only to pause as she gave it some thought. That was honestly a good point.

"And just like that the audience is snoring in boredom," commented a new person. The duo looked to their left, met with Ben standing in the doorway. "It'll be top news! Jackie Chan, master of Kung Fu and all other forms of martial arts, teaching normal kids how to breathe." Jade couldn't help but giggle as Jackie let loose a sigh.

"Perhaps you would benefit from learning patience, Ben. There's a reason the Greeks developed that proverb. Not to mention the Tortoise and the Hare is still a good example of what impatience can bring." Ben smiled as he rolled his eyes playfully. He really wasn't in the mood to be reminded of the old story, but he wasn't going to complain.

"Maybe one day. Anyway, wanna grab breakfast with me Jade? I heard someone made corn cakes this morning." Jade sounded her interest as she nodded her head. She grinned as she looked back at Jackie.

"Race ya there!" cheered the young Chan. Both kids suddenly ran off, leaving Jackie to sigh as he walked after them. He draped a towel over his shoulders as a blonde agent walked by.

"Good morning Jackie," greeted the man. He handed Jackie a newspaper with a grin. The kung fu master smiled as he nodded in response.

"Good morning Kevin," replied the archeologist. (1) The man nodded as he began to walk away. He suddenly thought of something as he glanced back.

"It's gonna be a sunny day today." Jackie smiled as Kevin passed him by. He sighed as he let loose a small frown.

"I'll have to take your word for it." Jackie quickly made his way to the main kitchen, hoping the kids didn't grab too much food. Speaking of, both Ben and Jade grabbed decent sized breakfasts as they sat at the table. They were enjoying some of the corn cakes when a man wearing a strange helmet entered the room. He grabbed some milk from the fridge before turning to the duo.

"Morning kids," greeted the agent. He sent them a nod to accompany the greeting. The duo responded in kind as they sent him a smile.

"Morning Carlos," replied both kids. The man left the two alone with their meal. Ben and Jade smiled at each other as they continued breakfast. Ben suddenly thought of something as he almost choked on some eggs. Jade looked his way as he cleared his throat.

"Don't forget to pack for tonight." Instructed the boy. "We have that field trip to San Francisco and the plane leaves at 10 pm." Jade gulped down her own food, a look of surprise on her face.

"Right!" cried the young Chan. "Thanks for reminding me. I was so caught up in Jackie actually training me for once that I almost forgot." Ben nodded, happy to be of assistance. They both looked to the tv as they heard a transition.

"Now for a special announcement from the scientific community," informed the announcer. The tv was currently set to one of the science channels, displaying an old scientist looking at a large tortoise. "This big guy's name is Aesop. He's the star of the new Galapagos Island exhibit at the San Francisco Bay Aquarium." Jade hummed as she leaned forward a bit.

"Now that's a coinky-dink. Jackie just mentioned a story about a Tortoise." Ben nodded as he narrowed his eyes.

"Not to mention that's where we're taking a field trip to," added the Omnitrix hero. "With our luck, and I am famously unlucky, something big will happen there." His prediction was confirmed as the camera zoomed in on the turtle's shell. The kids' eyes widened at the sight, having to blink a few times to make sure they weren't seeing anything. Their eyes weren't lying as they saw what looked to be a stone talisman with a rabbit engraved on it lodged in the creature's shell.

"The strangest thing is that the researchers found an unknown object embedded in Aesop's shell." Reported the news woman. "For all we know, it could have been there since his younger years." Ben quickly snapped a picture of the scene as Jade took a deep breath.

"Jackie!" cried the young Chan. Like lightning they heard the sound of running feet. Jackie slid to a stop as he entered the room, getting between the kids and the tv.

"What!?" cried the man in concern. "What's wrong!?" Jade quickly pointed behind Jackie, trying to get his attention.

"That!" Jackie turned around, only to see a commercial about dog food. The man frowned as he looked back towards Jade.

"No Jade. We are not getting a dog." The young Chan growled as she stood up in her seat.

"No! I saw a talisman. It was in the back of a tortoise's shell at the Bay Aquarium in San Francisco. It had big floppy ears, like a rabbit!" Ben quickly scrolled through his phone, trying to find the picture again. Jackie hummed in confusion as he tilted his head.

"The tortoise?" Jade groaned as she pulled at her hair. Ben held up his hand to stop her, turning his phone to Jackie.

"No, the talisman!" cried the alien hero. "Look!" Jackie leaned in to take a closer look, only to jerk back in shock.

"You're right. Good find you two. I will investigate immediately…" The duo high fived at their success, only for Jackie to clear his throat. "While I'm doing that, you'll stay here and in school." Both kids sighed in defeat, only to remember one small detail. They looked at each other, mischievous grins on their faces.

"Okay Jackie. Have a nice flight."

Xiaoling Industries Tower

Finn sighed as he channel surfed the tv. It was honestly rather boring waiting on those cronies to bring in Valmont's newest hire. Something about a high security prison or something. In all honesty it made him rather nervous. He flipped past a science channel, sounding his interest as he found a wrestling match.

"Stop!" roared a familiar voice. Finn quickly sat up, turning to see Valmont glaring at him. He gulped as he sent his employer a shaky smile.

"Um… hey Big V!" greeted the redheaded goon. "New suit? Looking sharp! Is that Bourgeois brand?" Valmont didn't respond physically as he continued to glare at his enforcer.

"Go back one!" Finn quickly did as told, both scared and curious as to what his boss saw. His eyes widened as he saw a talisman with a rabbit engraved on it. The camera zoomed out to reveal that it was embedded in the back of a tortoise. Finn whistled as he looked over the scene.

"That's the Bay Aquarium in San Francisco. Hey, weren't we gonna set up shop there at one point?" Valmont ignored the redhead's comment as he quickly made a phone call.

"Tohru. I need you to take a plane to San Francisco. The others will meet you there."

San Francisco, California

San Francisco glistened under the sunlight, its many skyscrapers and towers standing tall amongst the other establishments. People walked the streets as they chatted about the beautiful weather they were having today. A few men ran across the sidewalk, seemingly late for a meeting judging by their business suits. They ran past a rather large building with multiple sections and aquatic advertisem*nts. This was the Bay Aquarium.

Inside, tourists and locals alike could be seen admiring the wildlife. One child could even be seen making faces at a seal, the animal clapping in response. The area of interest on this day was the Galapagos Islands exhibit, home to creatures from the namesake island chain. The star of this attraction was Aesop, the giant tortoise. Jackie hummed as he crouched down, his eyes fixated on the talisman embedded in the creature's shell.

"The rabbit talisman," examined the kung fu master. "The question is, how do we remove it?" One of two scientists standing nearby raised his finger matter-of-factly.

"Don't worry about harming Aesop," reassured the man. "His shell is very durable." His partner looked to the side, squinting his eyes at something.

"Children, this area is off limits," informed the second researcher. Jackie looked to the man in confusion, only to sigh as he had an idea who they were. He turned around to see Jade and the Tennyson kids sitting on a nearby rock structure.

"Hi Jackie!" greeted Jade. "Learned anything cool about Aesop?" Jackie groaned as he rubbed his temples.

"What are you three doing here!?" questioned the archeologist. "You should be back in Bellwood and in school!" Ben chuckled as he shook his head.

"We're following that logic on the latter," replied the alien hero. "Science class field trip. We're doing a report on the Galapagos exhibit. So, any luck with that talisman?" Jackie sighed as he shook his head.

"You need to take this seriously! If you two saw the talisman on tv, there's a likely chance the Dark Hand saw it too." Gwen shook her head as she sighed.

"They've got it covered," reassured the redhead girl. "You know who has got the place on watch, so there's no way those guys can…" The girl's attempt at reassuring the kung fu master was interrupted by an explosion at one of the walls. Ratso, Finn, Tohru, and three buff goons walked into the room.

"You had to say, 'no way' didn't you?" groaned Ben. Gwen chuckled as she shrugged, only for Jackie to quickly pull the kids along. Finn immediately noticed them at that point.

"Chan!" growled the redheaded goon. "Get him!" Jackie quickly brought the trio over to the two scientists, sending them a glare.

"Take them and get out of here!" ordered the kung fu master. "Go!" The kids tried to object, but the two men quickly took off with them. Jackie quickly moved to Aesop, trying to remove the talisman from his back. Tohru soon grabbed him, however, throwing him to the side as a result.

The scientists tried to lead the kids through the crowded area, but it was hectic to even move. They soon reached a back way, opening it and slamming it behind them. They continued to run as they looked back.

"Don't worry kids," reassured the larger scientist. "Everything will be okay… now…" The duo skidded to a halt as they noticed that the children had been replaced with stuffed monkeys. "I didn't know that we ran by the gift shop… Why do we have stuffed monkeys in the gift shop?"

His companion shrugged in response, not quite sure himself. Back in the area of chaos, the trio quickly hid behind one of the rock structures in the building. Gwen quickly pulled her spell book out of her backpack, silently chanting an incantation to send the bag and its contents to a pocket dimension. With some more words, her outfit morphed into her Lucky Girl costume. Jade hummed as she looked at her companion.

"Can you do that for me?" asked the young Chan. "I'd rather not get scolded by Jackie this time?" Gwen shook her head in response.

"Sorry," denied the redhead girl. "I can only do it to myself right now. If I tried with you, you'd either be wearing my normal clothes or not wearing anything at all." Jade groaned in annoyance, crossing her arms under her chest. Ben smirked as he rubbed her on top of her head.

"Don't worry Jade," reassured the boy. "You'll get your own awesome costume someday. Now, time to go Fourarms!" The boy slammed down on the Omnitrix, transforming in a flash of light. Instead of Fourarms, however, Upchuck stood in his place.

"Upchuck!?" cried the gerbil-like creature. "Awe man!" They soon watched as Jackie was surrounded by most of the enemies.

"No time to swap, Doofus," growled Gwen. "Just eat and shoot." She quickly ran out from cover, readying a spell in her hands. Jade nodded in agreement as she ran towards Aesop. Upchuck sighed as he shook his head.

"Well, no time like the present." He quickly ate one of the rocks on the structure before running after his friends. "Gosh why is this guy so slow?" Back with Jackie, he flipped onto his back in order to kick Finn away. He then flipped back onto his feet in order to dodge a stomp from Tohru.

In the process he kicked Finn into the water of the exhibit. He then grabbed a bucket full of fish and tossed its contents at Tohru. The giant stopped in place as a fish flopped in his mouth while more flopped on his now soaked shoulders. The kung fu master then covered a buff goon's head with a bucket before swiftly kicking him into the water. The goon ended up crashing into Finn, who helped him remove the bucket.

He heard a growling behind him as Tohru stood tall over him. He turned to face the big guy, only to be slapped into the water. He popped up to breathe, only to dive back down as the two grunts followed him. Jackie tried to punch the buff goon away from him, only to be kicked by Finn. A father and son watched as the two men kicked Jackie back and forth, looking bored in spite of the scene in front of them.

Up on the manmade island, Ratso tried to use pliers on Aesop's shell. He attempted to rip the rabbit talisman from its resting place, but it wouldn't budge. He was about to try and pull harder, only to suddenly feel a kick to the back of his head. He cried out in shock as the attack sent him tumbling forward, straight into an octopus pool. She pumped her fist in excitement.

"Booyah!" cried the young Chan. "That's how you kick a baddie!" She barely registered the large footsteps behind her. She was suddenly grabbed by her hood, Tohru holding her at head level. "Um… hi."

"Hey!" cried Lucky Girl. She shot a blast of mana at the big guy, causing him to tumble forwards a bit. "Let her go!" The big man looked at the redhead, slightly surprised by the sight of her. He looked between the duo with a frown.

"Two children?" asked the giant. "I was already uncomfortable with the idea of hurting one." As he finished that sentence, the two extra goons ran away in terror. He turned to watch as Upchuck ate some of the larger rocks in the enclosure. The little gerbil finally ate his fill as his stomach began to glow.

"Chew on this, tubby!" cried the alien. He burped a glob of energy, ramming it straight into the villain's gut. Tohru was forced to drop Jade onto the ground as he was sent flying backwards by the blast. Gwen had to dodge out of the way as the big guy crashed into the other side of the pool. "Excuse me." Jade sounded her disgust as she shook her head.

"Well, at least I'm not wondering why he's called Upchuck anymore,” joked the young Chan. Down in the water, the two villains continued to kick Jackie around. Finn suddenly looked spooked, gesturing for the other goon to bail with him. Jackie looked around, confused as the two men swam away.

'What was that about?' questioned the kung fu master. He looked to the father and son, the older man quickly pointing behind him. Jackie turned around, only to gasp in horror as a Great White shark came swimming towards him. He swam up as fast as he could, soon using the nose of the approaching shark as a springboard. Both broke the water's surface, Jackie using his ride to land on the makeshift island. He huffed as he held tightly to a tree.

"What kind of aquarium keeps a Great White!?" cried the archaeologist. “That is extremely dangerous!” A nearby keeper looked insulted by this, glaring at Jackie as he continued to usher people to safety.

“Hey!” cried the man in an Australian accent. “Shielah wouldn’t hurt ya! That was a trick we taught her to do with toys! Bloody tourists.” Once there were no more people to escort, the keeper followed them out.

Jackie huffed as he looked away, not fond of being yelled at. He soon heard more screaming as he looked to the land. Finn, the goon that was with him, and Ratso were running from a full Upchuck. Ratso could not see what they were running from as an octopus was stuck to his head.

"FEAR THE SMALL!" cried the little alien. He burped up another bolt of energy, sending it flying at them. Tohru got back up, looking for another fight, only to stop as the goons and energy were coming for him.

"I hate this job," grumbled the big man to himself. The goons had to duck out of the way as the energy soared over them, once again hitting Tohru. The big guy went flying out the hole they made in the wall, rolling across the ground. The other villains soon ran out after them, the sound of police sirens filling the air. Finn growled as he saw Upchuck picking up some debris from their explosion with his many tongues.

"Forget this Talisman!" cried the redhead. "I'm not getting eaten by that thing! Let's get out of here!" Tohru looked like he wanted to object, only for the sirens to grow louder. He growled as he followed the men down the docks, leaving Ratso on his own as he finally pulled the octopus off his head.

"Why are we running?" asked the olive skinned man. "I…" He looked back, soon seeing Upchuck just like the others did. He threw the octopus into the ocean as he ran off after the others. "Wait for me!"

Ben chuckled to himself as he watched the villains get into their plane. He tried to use one of his projectiles to destroy one of the wings, but it was too far into the air. The little alien soon realized what the villains noticed as he ran over to his partner.

"Lucky Girl!" cried the little alien. "We gotta vanish!" Gwen nodded as she prepared a spell. Jade looked like she wanted to join too, only to realize that Jackie was coming. She remained in place as the duo disappeared.

"Stop!" cried the kung fu master. "Who are you… working… for? Gah! Why didn't you stop them, Jade!?" The young Chan tried to find a good excuse, only to get an idea as she held her hands up.

"Um… hello?" questioned the young Chan. "Teleportation spell! Do you want me trapped in some unknown place with a bunch of random strangers?" Jackie groaned as he turned away, realizing that she was right. "You have to be patient, Jackie, like the Tortoise and the Hare."

"Good thing to know you're at least listening to me. I'll have to explain all of this to the police if… and Maxwell is already talking to them. I better call Captain Black." He walked away a bit, completely oblivious as a now reverted Jade and Ben became visible again.

"Nice work." whispered Ben. The boy suddenly had an idea in his head as he looked at his cousin. "We should totally have a teleportation spell. That would save us so much time." Gwen gave him a raised brow, not amused by the smug look on her cousin's face.

"I don't see you trying to learn from a magic spell book without a proper teacher!" whispered the redheaded Tennyson. She looked at her phone, only for her eyes to widen in shock. "We better get back to the rest of the class. No doubt the teacher is going to do a head count in a few minutes." Jade gasped as she realized the validity of the statement.

"Oh man!" cried the young Chan. "Good thing we took a lot of notes on the way here. Let's book it!" She suddenly grabbed Ben by the hand, causing him to blush. Oblivious of this, the girl quickly pulled him along, causing Gwen to shake her head.

"Those two are getting together at some point. Even if I have to make it happen myself." Gwen quickly ran after the duo, not wanting to be left behind. Jackie and Max would get the talisman from Aesop after talking with the police. Today was actually easier than they ever thought it'd be.

Xiaoling Industries Tower

"YOU FAILED!" roared Valmont. Those involved in the attack on the aquarium winced at the scolding they were receiving. "DEFEATED BY AN OVERSIZED GERBIL NO LESS! THIS IS AN EMBARRASSMENT TO THE DARK HAND!" One of the random goons raised his hands in defense.

"But boss, he could have eaten us alive!" cried the buff man. The three other unnamed goons nodded in agreement. "Plus he was burpin' up plasma or somethin'! If you saw him, you'd…" Valmont threw a stapler at him, thankfully missing.

"SILENCE! If you three are so incompetent, you can find yourself another job! Get them out of my sight and make them feel pain." The three men gasped as the Shadowkhan suddenly appeared around them. They cried out in fear as the ninjas took them away into the shadows, causing the two Enforcers and Tohru to jerk in remorse.

Valmont calmed down as he looked to the remaining goons, ignoring Shendu's pleased chuckling. "You three would do well to count yourselves lucky that you have actually had a good record up to this point. This failure will be coming out of your paychecks. I have to make up the costs for these expeditions somewhere." The three men said nothing, hoping to avoid the man's rage.

Valmont sighed as he sat at his desk, pulling up a laptop. "I have to add an energy regurgitating rodent to the list of aliens we have to deal with. Things were much simpler back when we were pulling off bank heists and taking protectorate money. The simple life." Shendu's eyes glowed red as Valmont turned his way.

"I assure you, Valmont, that you will be rewarded accordingly," reassured the demonic dragon. "Once your men have retrieved all twelve talismans, the lost treasure of Chin Chi Wong shall cover your expenses ten times over." Valmont frowned as he leaned back in his chair.

"The reputed lost treasure. The one that no one has ever found." The evil dragon sighed in realization.

"So, we have a sceptic. Perhaps this will be proof enough." A Shadowkhan soon walked out of the shadows, carrying what looked to be a solid gold pot. Valmont stood up from his seat as the ninja opened the lid, revealing a collection of priceless jewels. The humans in the room gawked in shock at the haul.

"It's… beautiful," commented Ratso. Valmont began to reach for the treasure, only for the Shadowkhan to close the lid and return to the shadows. The businessman growled in annoyance as he looked towards Shendu.

"Patience, Valmont. 'Slow and steady wins the race.' Today your men have failed tomorrow, could be a new opportunity." Valmont grumbled under his breath, deciding to play Shendu's game. The door to the room opened, causing everyone to look in that direction.

"We got the asset, Valmont," notified Chow. He and a few goons entered the room, holding the door open for the guest of honor. Valmont smirked as he looked upon the new arrival.

"Welcome," greeted the wealthy villain. "I assume you know why you are here." The new arrival shook her head in denial.

"All I know is that you have a pest problem," replied the woman. "The kind that requires a more direct approach." Valmont nodded in response.

"Yes. This is because our pests are something that most would find us crazy for speaking of seriously. I understand that you have a history with our pests, however." Valmont turned on a few screens, revealing various images and videos of the Heroes of Bellwood in action. The new arrival looked over the images, a scowl appearing on her face.

Knowing he grabbed the right person, Valmont stood firm. "I can provide you with anything you need and will pay you handsomely. All I ask is that you destroy or even the playing field against these alien freaks. Do that, and I'll pay double." The woman looked over the videos some more, apparently studying the beings.

Suddenly, she began to chuckle to herself. "Is something humorous to you?" The new arrival finally stopped laughing as she looked to the head of the Dark Hand.

"What if I told you that all your alien problems are actually one snot nosed brat?"

Bam! New chapter done and done! I know I was only able to get two chapters done during this story's first dedicated month, but college can be pretty crazy at times. I'm just glad that I was able to get so far with this new system, as short as this chapter ended up being. Hopefully next time I'll be able to get more out there.

Anyway, what did you think of the chapter? Did you like how Ben and Gwen totally changed this one encounter? Who is this mysterious villain Valmont has hired, and how does she know Ben's identity? Let me know what you think down below and I'll try to get back with you ASAP. This is Inkaliber, signing out.

(1) A total coincidence. This is actually one of the random agents that work at section 13. I knew I'd have to make things clear after hearing the guy's name.

Omake: Special Trip

San Francisco, California

Ben took a deep breath as he stood on the white sand, taking in the beach air. He was currently wearing a pair of green and black swim trunks and brown sandals, the Omnitrix secured to his wrist as usual. It had been three days since the incident at the San Francisco Bay Aquarium, the teachers thankfully not canceling the trip due to the attack. They returned to the Aquarium and the area around it a few times while there, taking in as much info as possible. The boy smiled as he thought back to what brought about this beach trip.

Before they had left, the Principal imparted on them that a beach trip could be possible if certain conditions were met. This was mostly the man’s way of telling them to behave, using such an excursion as the prize. Cash had caused the most issues, though he was actually more tame than usual and Jade secretly took care of a lot of his bigger pranks. As such, the coveted beach day was upon them and Cash was relegated to being by the teacher’s side. This meant that everyone could enjoy the day without anyone mucking it up.

“You just gonna stand there, Dweeb?” questioned a familiar voice. Ben looked in the direction of the voice, still smiling as he saw Gwen with her hands on her hips. She was currently wearing a light blue one piece swimsuit, her back on full display. “We’re supposed to be enjoying today, not standing like a statue.” The boy rolled his eyes as he chuckled.

“It’s called taking the time to breathe in some clean, Cash free air,” corrected Ben. “I’m hitting the water as soon as the feeling wears off.” He looked around, a confused look on his face. “Have… you seen Jade anywhere?” His cousin flashed him a knowing smile as she poked his chest.

“Why do you ask? Wanting to see if she’s wearing something you’d like to look at?” The boy blushed as he looked away, pursing his lip a bit.

“N…No! I just… want her to enjoy this beach trip too. Why do you keep coming up with stuff like this?” Gwen could only giggle in response, knowing full well that her cousin was terrible at lying about his interests. The sound of running feet sliding across sand quickly stole the duo’s attention.

“Wait for me!” cried another familiar voice. “Don’t start without me guys!” Gwen looked behind her cousin, smirking evilly at the sight of Jade running up. Ben quickly turned fully in the same direction, welcoming his friend and a distraction from the conversation he was just in. Unfortunately, the distraction worked a little too well for him as his jaw dropped like that of a cartoon character.

The world moved in slow motion as Ben drank in what his eyes were locked on. Jade was wearing a gray two piece swimsuit, the top being a tankini while the bottom was the usual bikini. The boy’s eyes slowly followed his friend’s chest as it slightly shifted up and down with each step. She skidded to a stop as the world went back to normal, a huge smile on her face. “Sorry I’m late!”

She adjusted the back of her bikini bottom a bit, unaware of how it was affecting Ben. “I really need a new swimsuit. This bottom is starting to get too tight. What do you think, Ben?” She looked towards the boy, noticing how he was staring at her. “Ben?”

She snapped her fingers a few times in his face, the boy’s expression unwavering. Jade quickly grabbed the sides of his head as she shook him around a bit. “EARTH TO BEN TENNYSON!” The Omnitrix hero suddenly jerked as he was released, shaking his head a bit. He looked around as he tried to regain his bearings.

“I’m here! Just… you’re gorgeous… I mean I got distracted.” He looked towards Jade again, noticing the blush she now had on her face. She looked away as she tried to find the words to say, only for Gwen to grab her by the arm.

“Let’s give Mr. Hero time to get his head screwed on right,” offered the redhead. “He can join us in the water when he does. Let’s go!” Jade could only cry out in shock as her friend pulled her along, dragging her feet in the sand. Ben blinked multiple times as he rubbed his eyes.

“Awe man! It’s not my fault things keep being put in my head! Darn it Gwen! Wait for me guys!” He quickly ran after the girls, his face still blushing crimson red.

Chapter 7: Astral Project

Chapter Text

Inkaliber: Welcome back guys! It’s the month of September, meaning that the story dedication wheel is looping back around. That means it’s time to give Chan in Bellwood some more love!

Sudden and dramatic fanfare from a jazz band.

Meowth: I learned to play the saxophone just for this moment!

James: The story that started the boss’s whole fanfiction career is back once again!

Jessie: Dashing forward at a breakneck pace!

Inkaliber: Guys! I love the jazz number there but you’re embarrassing me! Can I please focus on the chapter?

Ex-Team Rocket: SORRY!

Inkaliber: Thank you. Anyway, time to explore the appearance of the Sheep Talisman. First things first, however, let’s answer some reviews.

Reader: I’m glad that you like the chapter. Tohru is still good at heart and I wanted to show it here. Hopefully the wait for this chapter hasn’t been too much torture, lol!

ArguableReader: Never apologize for using Lilo & Stitch to further your vocabulary. I’m glad that the chapter was good, and they definitely had enough time with Aessop and the Rabbit Talisman secured. I guess we’ve reached “eventually” as the chapter is here.

Inkaliber: That looks like everyone, so let’s start the chapter. I don’t own Jackie Chan Adventures, Ben 10, or any other series that may appear here. I do own OC characters, species, objects, and concepts unless stated otherwise.

Voices

“Talking.”

‘Thinking.’

“YELLING!”

“Author/Guest/High or demonic entity talking. Also, surprise at the end of a section.”

“AUTHOR/GUEST/HIGH OR DEMONIC ENTITY YELLING!”

“Whispering.”

“Author/Guest/High or demonic entity whispering.”

[Language Indicator]

“Machine or alt communication talking/Talking in flashback.”

“MACHINE OR ALT COMMUNICATION YELLING/YELLING IN FLASHBACK!”

“Machine or alt communication whispering/Whispering in flashback.”

Bellwood, Pennsylvania

Jade groaned as she tapped her foot in impatience, her arms crossed under her chest in annoyance. She had been waiting all morning for Jackie to get back from his trip to find the next talisman. The reason, one might ask? He had promised her over a phone call that he would take her to the new Melvin Moose amusem*nt park that just opened in Bellwood. She had told Ben and Gwen about it and how excited she was over the phone, the duo sounding their interest.

She had hope that Ben would go with her so that they could enjoy the rides together. Of course, she wanted Gwen to be there too. The thought of Ben being the only one to join her sounded like a date in Jade’s mind. The very idea of her and the Omnitrix wielder going on a date made Jade blush and hold her cheeks softly. She began to imagine her and Ben riding into a tunnel of love with moose ears when the door to the shop suddenly opened.

“Jackie!” cheered Jade. She ran down the stairs of the upper floor as her uncle walked in with two bags. She suddenly leapt at him as she did her best to wrap her arms around his chest, Jackie chuckling as he returned the embrace. “How was it? Did you get the talisman?” Her uncle put her down as he dropped his bags, grabbing a small stone with a sheep engraved on it from one of them.

“Yes,” sighed the kung fu master. “You will not believe what I had to go through to get it. I was actually in the middle of fighting Shadowkhan when you called.” Jade frowned at her uncle’s words, feeling a bit hurt. She crossed her arms under her chest as she looked away.

“Oh. Sorry for calling, then. I guess we aren’t going to Melvin Moose World.” These words caused Jackie to hum in confusion, only to bop his forehead in realization. He quickly knelt down as he grabbed Jade’s shoulders, turning her to where she was looking him in the eye.

“Oh Jade. We can still go to Melvin Moose World, but I am so very tired. I promise that we will go tomorrow, or as soon as we find out what the talisman does if Uncle pulls me into an all-nighter. Okay?” He watched as Jade mulled it over before sending him a reluctant smile.

“Alright, but you better make good on that promise!” Jackie chuckled weakly as he nodded his head. Soon the door to the study opened, Uncle walking out.

“Jackie!” greeted the old man. He approached the duo with his arms out, as if offering a hug. Jackie smiled as he spread his arms in preparation to reciprocate the embrace.

“Uncle!” greeted the archeologist. “It’s so good to see you so happy and…” His hopes for a heartfelt reunion were dashed as the old man immediately swiped the sheep talisman from his hands.

“Good! You grabbed Sheep Talisman. Now we can do research! Uncle has several manuscripts ready for examination.” The shop owner was about to continue when Jackie let loose a moan.

“But I am so tired, Uncle. Couldn’t I rest for just a…” The kung fu master was cut off as Uncle turned towards him, his hand raised while the other held the sheep Talisman to his ear.

“Sorry. Hold on.” Jackie and Jade’s eyes widened as they quickly walked closer to the chi wizard.

“What is it? What do you hear?” Jackie was quickly answered by one of Uncle’s famous slaps to the forehead.

“I hear the sound of the Sheep not telling me the secrets it holds.” Uncle then grabbed Jackie by the hand, pulling him along back towards the study while Jade ran to keep up with them. “I hear the sounds of our footsteps walking to the back room to translate ancient inscriptions.” The old man finally stopped as they reached the door to the back room, Jackie groaning in exhaustion.

“Please, Uncle. I have been traveling for 18 hours. I jumped from a helicopter and ran along a falling train.” Jade actually winced at this description, not realizing how bad Jackie had it this time. Uncle smiled as he placed his hand on the door knob to the nearby room.

“That is why you should relax, with some good books.” The chi wizard opened the door, revealing that the desk was already piled up with various scrolls and dusty old books. “You better prepare yourself. This could take a long time.” Jackie moaned at the sight of the workload before looking back at Jade.

“Hold out for when we are done, Jade.” Jackie was pulled into the room by Uncle, the door practically slamming in Jade’s face. The girl grumbled at the rudeness of the old man, crossing her arms under her chest as she looked down in frustration.

Xiaoling Industries

Shendu was seething as Valmont and his minions stood before him. Valmont reassured him that this time they would be able to secure the talisman, even setting up a helicopter and Shadowkhan to watch over the train. He should not have been surprised when the trio of goons returned empty handed. What made him furious was that they had the upper hand in this battle. He growled as his statue eyes glowed red in fury.

“CHAN POSSESSES YET ANOTHER TALISMAN WHILE I HAVE NONE!?” roared the demon. “YOU ARE WEAK, VALMONT, AND YOUR MEN ARE FOOLS!” Shendu watched as Finn clenched his fists, his growl growing in volume.

“That’s it!” roared the villainous redhead. He pointed at Shendu while reaching inside his shirt with his other hand. “We had to blow up a train and have Jackie Chan swoop in while we were flying a helicopter! I ain’t taking lip from some statue!” Finn was about to pull a gun from his shirt when Shendu hissed at him.

“I AM NO STATUE! YOU STAND IN THE PRESENCE OF A DEMON SORCERER! I once held dominion over a vast empire, but my subjects betrayed me. They cast a chi spell which imprisoned me in this pitiful icon, where I have remained for 900 years. Were it not for the First Thinker giving them hope and leading them to the ingredients they required, I would have remained in power.”

Shendu took a moment to reminisce on his reign of terror before returning his attention to the group in front of him. “The twelve magic talismans from which I drew my power were scattered to the winds, sparking the creation of several civilizations that are now lost to the sands of time.” The demon stopped in his tracks as Ratso let loose a whistle.

“Whoa,” gasped the olive skinned man. “Talk about a lost history.” Finn grinned as he nodded his head in agreement.

“You got jacked!” cried the redhead. Shendu was confused by this terminology, though his current form could not show it. He huffed in annoyance as he decided to continue.

“Acquisition of all twelve talismans will allow me to be free from my confinement and walk the Earth once again,” stated the demonic dragon. The Enforcers seemed to not be inspired fully by the being’s story. Valmont rolled his eyes as he turned towards his men.

“At which time we will be rewarded the Lost Treasure of Shin Shi-Wa,” revealed the head of the Dark Hand. “A treasure that is well worth taking a little lip, don’t you think?” The trio of men looked towards each other, smiling as the promise of the treasure was very tantalizing. The sound of scraping metal caught the group’s attention, causing the ones capable of movement to turn towards the origin. The woman Chow busted out of prison grinned as she was seen scraping a name into the side of an advanced rifle she was holding.

“So, there’s an ancient treasure involved in this little stone hunt,” observed the woman. “Knowing this brat, he’ll probably be involved whether we beat him or not.” Valmont frowned as he turned his computer around, revealing a file on Ben.

“Clearly you’ve never gone to the root of the problem, Madame. Benjamin Kirby Tennyson, a young Bellwood local who decided he could play superhero in a world like ours. For a young man with a powerful weapon, he sure doesn’t take good enough care of his secret to allow his enemies to know his face. All we’d have to do is capture his relatives and he becomes nothing but an afterthought, and his device is ours for the taking.” His guest chuckled as she stood up from her seat.

“You try that and see how it goes. If you need me, I’ll be in the cafeteria waiting for the aftermath of this little plan of yours.” The woman walked away from the room, a sway in her step. She knew these men would fail, given the track record they displayed to her knowledge. If a team of exceptional individuals couldn’t stop the Tennysons, no way would the Dark Hand be able to with their current roster.

Uncle’s Rare Finds

Uncle hummed as he looked over the talisman, specifically the back of it. The stone displayed four Chinese characters on the back, a message about its extraordinary power. He took a hard look at the back of the stone, trying to decipher the characters on his own. He frowned as he leaned back a bit. His attention still on the talisman, he turned towards Jackie.

“Jackie!” cried Uncle. “These symbols explain the talisman’s power. We must find a translation.” The old man only heard the sound of his nephew snoring in response, looking beyond the talisman to see Jackie’s sleeping face. The elderly chi wizard hit Jackie in the head with the talisman, causing him to cry out in pain as he woke up.

“Counting Sheep makes me sleepy!” cried the kung fu master. “I cannot help it!” The tired man watched Uncle roll his eyes as he turned around.

“One more thing. We must keep the talisman in this magic box, where it will be concealed from the dark forces.” The chi wizard walked over to a nearby box, placing the stone inside it. He walked away from the container, left unawares as the door cracked open slightly. Jade looked inside, trying to get a good look at Jackie and Uncle.

The old man of the duo raised his finger as he stood to his nephew’s side. “One more thing! Stay awake! You break many antiques when you sleepwalk!” He watched as Jackie groaned as he removed his hand from his head.

“Oh cut that out. I don’t sleepwalk.” The kung fu master rested his forehead in his palm as Uncle put his hands on his hips.

“So you break my antiques for fun!?” The old man’s outcry had Jade wincing. She watched him furiously pick up a scroll as he began to look over it. She quickly sneaked into the room, retrieving the talisman from the box before disappearing like a ghost. She quickly ran up to the guest bedroom as she looked over the stone.

“I’m fine with waiting on Melvin World for a bit, but Jackie deserves some sleep,” stated the young Chan. “I don’t care if he makes me wait longer for doing this. I’m finding out what this thing does. Of course… I’ll need someone to watch out for me.” She hummed as she tried to think of a solution to this mess.

She grinned as she got an idea, quickly pulling out a small communicator that took the shape of a phone. She quickly dialed a number as she tapped her foot. She smiled as someone picked up on the other side, the screen displaying Ben.

“Hey Jade!” cheered the young man. “What’s up?” Jade smiled as she put the talisman down, playing with her hair a bit.

“Hey Ben. Are you and Gwen free?” She watches as the boy let loose hiss, a sign that she had caught Ben in a tight spot.

“Actually my folks want to spend the day with me today. Gwen hasn’t been answering my messages so I think she’s busy too. Sorry Jade.” Jade frowned at this news, upset by the set back. The sound of an interested woman caught her attention.

“Jade?” questioned the voice of Sandra Tennyson. “Who’s this Jade girl, Ben~?” The screen shook as Ben fumbled the communicator.

“Gotta go! Bye!” Jade did her best to flag for the boy to stop, but he cut the connection quickly. She groaned as she shook her head. She quickly began to press some more buttons on the device before crossing her arms. Thankfully the response was just as fast, Max’s face displaying on the screen as his attention was focused on something off screen.

“Majister Tennyson here,” stated the old man. He turned his attention to the view, only to smile as he saw Jade. “Oh. Hello Jade.” The girl smiled as she nodded her head.

“Hey Max!” cheered Jade. “Are you free to stop by Uncle’s shop?” She watched him quickly frown as he looked back to what was in front of him.

“I’m actually driving there as we speak. I heard Jackie found another talisman and thought that I’d take over researching for him.” This news had Jade smiling as she nodded her head.

“That’s cool, but how about we save all of us a headache?” She watched as the old man looked her way again, seeming to read her intentions. The way he slowly smiled was encouraging at least.

Tennyson Residence

The Dark Hand Enforcers read over the street numbers as they slowly approached their target destination. They had weapons on hand, insurance in case something goes awry with their plan. It wasn’t anything they hadn’t done before when it comes to silencing people, but there was an air of discomfort amongst them. They stopped in front of the Tennyson house, keeping their eyes on the building. Ratso decided to speak up as he put the car in park.

“I don’t know about this, fellas,” moaned the olive skinned man. “This was a lot easier when the alien guys were people we could hit without feeling bad. Plus, I have a bad feeling.” Silence reigned throughout the vehicle as the trio looked between each other. Chow sighed as he shook his head.

“I don’t like this either,” revealed the Asian villain. “I have a feeling that we’re walking into the Lion’s Den here.” Finn decided to get his colleagues back on track as he clapped his hands together.

“Let’s focus, guys!” cried the redheaded goon. “Valmont dishes out orders and we follow them. Guys who chicken out wind up dead. Besides, once Valmont has the watch we can convince him to let the kids’ folks go… I hope.” With this idea in their heads, the trio quickly unbuckled their seatbelts.

Inside the house, Ben was sitting on a kitchen chair with his hands held together in his lap. His parents were standing in front of them, waiting with smiles on their faces. As soon as his mother caught him talking with Jade, she was determined to learn everything she could. Hence, she now had him in this position with his father present. For once the boy wished that he had homework to do to get out of it as his mother cleared her throat.

“Well, Ben?” questioned Sandra Tennyson. “When were you going to tell us about your little friend?” The boy shifted in his seat a bit as he kept his eyes on his hands.

“Someday, maybe,” answered the young boy. “I was just… waiting things out before introducing her.” The boy glanced up to notice that his father was now leaning back with his hands on the countertop.

“And just what exactly were you waiting out, son?” questioned Carl Tennyson. “It’s usually not like you to actively keep something like this from us. Do you, perhaps, feel something other than friendship for this friend of yours?” Ben blushed as he tried to think of a response that would save him from embarrassment. He began to poke two fingers together as he looked up at them.

“M…maybe I wanted to figure something out for myself, after seeing how a lot of relationships in school don’t last long because of others forcing it to happen. No offense but you guys tend to get a little jumpy when something big happens. I want to make sure that I have the right feelings before going into anything, seeing as she’s only staying until the Chinese New Year.” He couldn’t help but frown at the reminder of how little time he has to figure things out. His parents frowned at each other before sending their son small smiles.

“Oh, Ben,” sighed Sandra Tennyson. “We’re just so excited for you. It’s not every day that a young man finds a girl that he really likes. We’re not trying to rush anything.” Her husband nodded as he put his hand on their son’s shoulder.

“We’re sorry if we make this whole thing complicated, Son,” apologized the man. “We’d still like to meet Jade at some point, but we understand if you want to figure this out on your own. If you ever need advice or want to talk with us, we’ll be here for you. I hope that, with everything we’ve done in life, you know that.” Ben smiled at his parents as he slowly nodded his head.

“I know,” answered the young man. The atmosphere was suddenly ruined as there was a huge bang on the front door. It was followed by another, the entrance bucking from the pressure.

“Panic room. Now!” Ben felt the need to argue for his ability to deal with the situation, only to be dragged along by his parents. As soon as the family passed through the living room the door burst open. Ratso walked into the building with a battering ram on his arm. He hummed as he looked around the entry hall.

“Wow,” gasped Ratso. “They actually have a nice place here.” He heard a door closing, causing him to rush in with Finn and Chow right behind him. The Tennysons quickly made their way down into a basem*nt-like area, the door they entered being battered just like the front door. The villains barged through the door as they rushed down the stairs.

The family entered and locked a sturdier looking door, the Enforcers quickly bashing it as well. Ratso roared as he swung the battering ram again, only this time the door pushed him back a bit. Finn decided to try something as he leaned against the doorway.

“We can do this the easy way or the hard way, Benny-boy!” cried the redheaded goon. Ben jerked back a bit, surprised that they knew his name. “A new friend of ours told us all about you and your little watch. You’ve been giving the Dark Hand quite a problem lately.” Chow smirked as he joined on the other side of the object.

“Oh yeah,” added the Asian goon. “If we can’t get your folks today, Mr. Valmont could always try sending someone after that little cousin of yours. The Dark Hand has a habit of making its problems disappear. You’re lucky we came after ya, however, as we’re gonna be nice today.” Ratso looked between his companions in confusion, only to nod in understanding as he smirked.

“Yeah!” cried the olive skinned man. “We’re nice when it comes ta kids. Either hand over the watch or grab the Talismans from Section 13 for us! Do that and we can just forget this all ever happened.” Finn stood up from his perched position, gesturing for Chow to do the same.

“What do ya say kid?” questioned the slick man. “Wanna be a hero and save your family?” The trio waited for a response, Ratso getting his battering ram ready once more.

“You promise?” questioned the voice of Ben. The villain trio grinned evilly at each other, Chow and Ratso fist bumping each other. Finn nodded his head in response.

“Sure kid. Now just open the door and we’ll sort this whole mess out.” They heard the sound of the door unlocking, only for Ratso to put his free hand on his chin.

“Ya know, I can’t help but feel like that was a little too easy,” bemused the olive skinned man. His colleagues’ eyes widened as they watched the door open. Mr. Tennyson was on the other side, what looked like a rather large energy rifle in his hands. The trio suddenly backed away from the door as the weapon sounded like it was charging up, the man of the house stepping forward. Chow groaned as he held his hands up.

“You had to say it, didn’t you?” questioned the short goon. Ratso chuckled nervously as he shrugged at his companion. Mr. Tennyson growled as the end of the weapon glowed brighter.

“Get off my property and leave my family alone!” cried the man. He fired the weapon in between Ratso’s legs, leaving a smoking hole in the stairs. Hearing the weapon charge up rapidly and seeing more tech within, the villains decided to book it. Diligent fighters or not, none of them were walking away from a laser wound. They ran back through the building as they made their way outside, dodging out of the way of yet another laser blast that hit a red car.

Upon impact, the car exploded into pieces. This was partially due to the fact that the beam cut through to the engine, but the terror was still there. Finn held his head in his hands as he began to freak out.

“That’s it!” cried the redheaded goon. “This street is far too crazy for me! Valmont can yell at us later!” The trio quickly got in their own car before driving out, running over a neighbor’s mailbox along the way. Ben stepped out from the panic room stairwell as he whistled.

“So that’s why you always said I could never play in the panic room,” bemused the boy. “Glad I listened.” He heard the sound of a call on his communicator, the ring being familiar. “Gwen!” The boy quickly pulled out the device, being met with Gwen’s face on the screen.

“Ben, the Dark Hand found out about the Omnitrix,” began the redhead. “I had to step away from lunch to take care of some goons and…” Ben quickly nodded his head to get his cousin to stop talking.

“And the Three Stooges showed up to try and take my folks. How could they even find out about it?” He watched as Gwen quickly held up her smartphone, displaying a news website.

“That’s what I was wondering, until I found this. A prison in Washington just had a break in and only now did they finish their headcount. Only one inmate was missing, a member of the Negative 10.” Ben’s eyes widened as he nearly dropped the communicator. He shook his head in order to regain his composure before glaring at the device.

“I’m heading straight for the antique shop. Call Grandpa and meet me there! I have a bad feeling.” He hung up as he prepared to use the Omnitrix. He felt someone put a hand on his shoulder, looking up to see his mother frowning at him.

“Please be careful, Ben,” requested the woman. Ben smiled as he had his hand on his mother’s for a few seconds, nodding his head. She finally let him go as he transformed into XLR8, allowing him to rush off quickly. Sandra frowned as she hugged her husband, the man allowing her to rest her head in the crook of his neck. The moment was ruined by the sound of a door opening.

“MY CAR!” cried a man. The family looked at the car they just destroyed, a man nearly ripping out his hair as he saw the damage. The neighbor turned their way, growling as he saw the weapon in Carl’s hand. “TENNYSON!” Carl quickly hid the weapon behind his back as he smiled nervously.

“Sorry, Mr. Baumann!” cried Mr. Tennyson. “Can I write you a check?” This question caused the neighbor to sigh, making him wonder why he moved closer to the Tennysons instead of further away.

Uncle’s Rare Finds

Jade smirked as she had several layers of protective outfits over her, including a motorcycle helmet and an armored vest. She wanted to make sure that she had all of her bases covered when it came to testing this talisman. It was the same thing she did when testing out the rabbit talisman to find out about its speed magic, though she got in trouble for doing so without adult supervision. This time she rectified the one thing that she felt like got her in trouble that day. Hence why Max was standing nearby with a first aid kit on a nearby table and a fire extinguisher in hand, a concerned look on his face.

“Be careful, Jade,” requested the elder Tennyson. “I don’t want you to get hurt by testing out this talisman. We don’t know what it even does yet. Who knows if all that protective gear will actually help?” Jade smirked at his concern, gesturing to the mattress propped against the wall behind her.

“Hopefully the mat will catch me if it ends up throwing me back or something,” stated the girl. “I’m taking everything I can think of into account. Besides, it’d let Jackie get the rest he needs. Even if I’m grounded for this and can’t go to Melvin World, that’ll be worth it.” She watched as the old man sent her a small smile, nodding his head in approval.

She picked up the sheep talisman from the stool she put it on, beginning to concentrate on it. She moved it around as she tried to make it do something, only to groan as she held it up to her face. “Work, darn it!” As if hearing her command, the face of the talisman began to glow. She didn’t have time to voice her concern as she suddenly fell backwards, hitting the floor as Max dropped the fire extinguisher.

“JADE!” The elder Tennyson quickly ran over to her as he lifted her up off the ground. “Wake up! Please wake up!” Jade suddenly rose from her own body, intangible as she looked around. She hummed as she put her hands on her hips.

“Well, what did that do?” She turned around to see what was going on, only to gasp as she saw Max holding her body in her arms. “Am I DEAD!?” She quickly flew back to her body as if to try and interact with it, only to be sucked back in as soon as she made contact. She gasped awake, causing Max to let loose a sigh in relief.

“You’re okay. I thought the talisman hurt you for a moment there.” Jade patted herself with her hands as if trying to feel for something.

“That was freaky! It was like I was dead but not. It looked like that astral something-or-other that you see in ghost movies. What’s that called?” She watched as Mr. Tennyson raised his eyebrow in confusion.

“Astral? You mean Astral Projection?” Jade grinned as she nodded her head, quickly jumping out of the old man’s arms.

“Yeah that!” She quickly picked up the sheep talisman before leading the man to a nearby chair. “Sit down and watch!” The man quickly sat down so that she’d stop pulling him, watching as she placed the talisman in his other hand. “Now concentrate on it.”

Max raised his eyebrow once again in confusion, only to look down at the stone. It glowed as soon as he focused his mind on it, causing his body to go limp as he closed his eyes. He flew out of his body to where Jade couldn’t see him looking down at his transparent form. He hummed as he waved his hand in front of Jade’s face, only to get no reaction whatsoever. He floated in front of her as he narrowed his eyes.

“Jade?” He earned no response as she didn’t even hear him, waiting for him to return to his body. He tried to touch her a few times, only for his hand to phase straight through her. The action did cause Jade to groan in discomfort as she shivered, so the old man stopped his efforts to get her attention.

He quickly returned to his body, gasping as he sat straight up in the chair. “That was freaky.” He watched Jade shiver again as she rubbed her arms.

“Did you do something? It felt like I was being pushed out of my own skin.” Max frowned as he nodded his head.

“I was trying to get your attention to see if we could communicate, but my hand was phasing through you. The only thing I can think of is that my astral form was trying to possess your body. I wouldn’t recommend doing that to anyone as we don’t know if we can get out without the talisman. In fact, this should be locked up as quickly as possible to avoid any mishaps.”

Jade nodded her head quickly, understanding the man’s reasoning. They heard the sound of rushing footsteps moving up the stairs, turning towards the entrance to the room. Uncle and a rather tired looking Jackie quickly made their way upstairs.

“We heard a shout!” cried Jackie. “What’s wrong!? Why is everything set up like…?” He quickly spotted the smile on Jade’s face and the talisman in Max’s hand. Uncle beat him to it as he gasped.

“YOU TOOK TALISMAN FROM MAGIC BOX!” cried the old man. “Now dark forces can track it!” Jade quickly held her hands up in defense as she stood between the duo and Max.

“I just wanted to help, so I called Max over to supervise me trying it out!” cried the young Chan. “And we actually figured out what the talisman does!” The adult Chan duo looked at her in shock.

“You did?” asked Jackie and Uncle. Max stood up from his seat as he sent a smile the duo’s way. He nodded his head to show that Jade was being serious.

“I experienced it for myself,” added the Plumber. “Astral Projection. The out of body experience was unsettling, though I was happy that I could just fly back into my body.” Jackie smiled at this news, his tired body practically thanking the duo. Max suddenly received one of Uncle’s famous slaps as the chi wizard took the talisman from him.

“You left yourself vulnerable to possession by other spirits!” cried Uncle. “If another had taken the talisman and used its power, you could have found yourself trapped outside your body as they puppetted it around. Imagine being forced to watch as someone used your body to do terrible things, unable to stop it!” Max gulped, nodding his head slowly. He didn’t get a chance to respond as Uncle turned away from him with a huff, earning a pleading look from Jackie.

“Uncle, please,” begged the kung fu master. “It was dangerous, and I will have a talk with Jade later, but everything turned out okay. Let’s get the talisman back in the box and I’ll take it to Section 13 tomorrow.” He waited as Uncle gave him the stink eye, as if trying to intimidate him. The elder Chan grumbled as he walked down the stairs, his hands behind his back.

He was quickly followed behind by Jackie and Jade, the former of the two yawning as he desired a good nap. Max was about to follow them when he heard his communicator go off. He opened up his device, smiling as he saw Gwen’s face.

“Hey Pumpkin,” greeted the old man. “What’s going…” He was interrupted as his granddaughter brought the camera closer to her face.

“Ben and I were just attacked at home by the Dark Hand!” cried Gwen. Max’s eyes widened in shock, not expecting such news. “We already took care of them, but they knew about the Omnitrix. We think they broke one of the Negative 10 out of prison! Ben’s on his way to the shop but I can’t help feeling like this is the perfect opportunity for…” Max’s eyes hardened as he moved the camera further from his face.

“A trap.” He quickly shut off the device before running downstairs. Uncle reached the bottom of the steps as he began to walk to the back room, only to notice a red dot on his shirt.

“Aiyah!” cried the chi wizard. “Who hit Uncle with paintball!?” He tried to wipe it off, only to notice that the dot transferred to his hand. He then watched as it moved up his arm and transferred onto his forehead. Jackie suddenly gained a boost of adrenaline as he rushed for Uncle.

“GET DOWN!” cried the kung fu master. He tackled the old man to the ground, a gunshot being heard as the display glass of the store shattered. The bullet hit the door to the back room, the sound itself causing Jade to hunker behind the counter. The sound of screaming and running people outside made her feel even more panicked about the situation. A pair of boots hit the shop floor as someone jumped into the building.

“Hola,” greeted a woman. “I heard there were rare magical talismans on sale here. Something that’s to die for.” Jackie growled as he rose up, making sure to keep himself between the attacker and Uncle at all times. The first thing he saw was a high tech gun with the word “Rojo” scratched onto the side.

The armed woman had maroon hair, pale skin, black lipstick, and brown eyes. She had four earrings on her ears, three on the right and one on the left. She wore brown jeans, a gothic black jacket with skull logos on both shoulders, a black leather belt, a choker necklace, a gray shirt and black gloves. She smirked as she looked at the only two visible men. “If you value your lives, you’ll give me those talismans.”

She then pointed her gun at where Jade was hiding, causing the girl’s eyes to widen. “Or I could make an example of your little friend.” Jackie growled as he stood up, the woman changing the aim of her weapon at him. “No funny business, hombre.” Rojo was not fully prepared, however, as he suddenly kicked her gun to the side.

He then went for a strike at her face, forcing her to dodge. He threw a few more attacks at her, actually landing a kick that sent her scooting backwards. She quickly reached behind her, pulling out a hunting knife. She went on the offensive as she tried to stab the knife into the former action star, only for the man to continuously bob and weave out of the way. He then grabbed a nearby vase lid to block the knife blade, earning an outcry from Uncle.

“Careful, Jackie!” cried the old man. “That vase is very expensive!” Jackie grunted as he did his best to block a few more stabs.

“Who are you?” questioned the man. “How did you find out about the Talismans?” He watched Rojo smile as she chuckled.

“The Dark Hand decided to spring me to help with their little alien problem,” answered the woman. “After I told them the truth about it, I decided I wanted in on their little hunt. With them distracting the Tennysons, I figured that now would be a good time to grab it all.” Jade covered her mouth in response to the woman’s words, realizing that was one of Ben’s supervillains. Jackie’s eyes narrowed in confusion at this news.

“Tennysons? What would they have to do with the aliens?” He watched as Rojo’s smirk grew into an evil grin.

“So, they never told you. Do you ever wonder how the aliens always seem to know when something is going on? How they show up even when you’re in another country? Have you ever tried looking for their little symbol anywhere?” Jackie looked down in thought as he tried to think of an answer, only to look up as the woman tried to get a sneaky stab at him.

“JACKIE!” cried Jade. Before Rojo could get in her attack, she was forced to jump back from a laser blast. She looked up to see Max with a small tablet in his hand and a drone floating in front of him.

“I’m giving you one chance to either surrender or leave,” growled the elder Tennyson. “I suggest you take it.” He watched as Rojo grinned, holding her hands behind her head.

“You’re lucky that I don’t have my gun, old timer,” chuckled the woman. “I’d put you in the hospital again, LIKE THIS!” She launched her knife at the man, forcing him to shoot it away with the laser of the drone. The woman then aimed a gun with a machine claw at the end, firing it towards Uncle. The chi wizard jerked back in an attempt to avoid the claw, only to have the Sheep Talisman yanked from his hand.

“JACKIE!” cried Uncle. “The Talisman!” Jackie tried to grab the cord that was pulling the claw back towards the woman, only for it to escape his grasp. Rojo quickly grabbed the stone from the claw and shoved it into her pocket. She then ran for the window and saluted the group.

“[Spanish] Have a nice life, losers!” She then leapt out of the hole and ran as fast as she could, police sirens beginning to sound off. Jackie looked back at Max and Uncle, frowning at the Tennyson man a bit longer than he meant to before nodding his head.

“Stay with Jade,” ordered the archeologist. He didn’t wait for their response as he also leapt out the window, giving chase after the thief. Jade peeked out from her hiding spot, shaking with fear for the first time in a while.

“Don’t worry!” cried the young Chan. “I’m not going anywhere!” She watched as a blue and black blur passed by the shop, following after the duo. Her shaking stopped as her frown turned to a hopeful smile, releasing a relaxed sigh. “Ben.”

Down the road, Jackie continued to chase after Rojo. The woman was pretty spry, but he was definitely faster than her. She tried to dodge him by running past traffic that was meant to slow him down, only for the man to leap onto the roof of one car and jump off of it to the sidewalk on the other side, resuming the chase. Rojo couldn’t help but whistle as she looked back.

“He really does do his own stunts,” observed the criminal. She looked ahead as she saw a motorcycle parked on the side of the road, a logo for the Dark Hand’s cover business on the side. She smirked as she recognized the vehicle that she “borrowed” to pull this gig off. She was nearly there when XLR8 sped into her way, stopping between her and the bike.

“Hold it right there, Rojo!” cried the alien. The woman skidded to a stop, Jackie stopping very closely behind her. “You’re not going anywhere but back to prison, and you’re leaving that stone behind. We can do this the easy way, or we can find out how fast a human can go before they harmlessly pass out.” Rojo growled at the appearance of the alien hero, only to smirk as she placed a hand on her hip.

“Nice to see you too, Tennyson. Did you like the little surprise my new amigos sent your way?” XLR8 growled as he saw Jackie’s eyes widen.

“Tennyson?” questioned the kung fu master. He looked towards the alien hero, noticing the symbol on his chest. The speedy creature decided to move things along as he hunkered forwards.

“Already dealt with,” growled the alien. “If you don’t hand that over and come quietly, I’ll deal with you too.” He watched Rojo mock a hurt expression.

“So the niño who couldn’t hit girls decided he’s bad enough to do so?” questioned the criminal. “We could fight all day long if you want, but you don’t really have that time.” XLR8 allowed his visor to lower over his face as he readied his arms.

“Why’s that? What did you do!?” The tone in his voice caused Jackie to step back, being reminded of the dinosaurs in movies. XLR8 clearly had enough of this woman, and they only just reunited. Rojo grinned as she pointed back the way they came.

“Let’s just say I left a present back at the shop. In t-minus one minute and 30 seconds, Uncle’s Rare Finds will be all over the street.” She then held up a small rod with a button on top, watching as XLR8’s stance raised a bit. “And a push of this button will cause it to happen a lot sooner.” The alien shook in place as lightning began to form over its body.

“JADE!” The dinosaur quickly sped off towards the shop, leaving Jackie and Rojo behind. The woman kept the detonator in view as she walked over towards the bike. She sat down on the vehicle as she grabbed a helmet resting on the handlebars. She turned to Jackie, an evil grin on her face.

“See you around, Chan.” She pressed the button on the rod and threw it at the kung fu master. Jackie’s eyes widened in absolute terror, only to watch as the side opened and released a large amount of smoke in his face. He coughed as he waved the particles out of his face, only to watch as the villainess drove off. He sighed in defeat as he slumped over, several thoughts racing through his mind.

Back at Uncle’s shop, the police were obtaining a report of the incident from Uncle and Max. Jade stood to the side, having already been asked what happened. She looked down, feeling like this whole thing was her fault. Her ear suddenly perked up as she heard a beeping noise. She looked around as she tried to find the origin, her eyes landing upon Rojo’s gun.

She took a few steps closer, watching as a light on the side blinked yellow. As the beeps increased in frequency, the light flashed faster and faster. She soon realized what was going on, her face morphing in terror as she took a few steps back.

“Guys!” cried the girl. The adults looked her way as she ran towards them. “The gun’s beeping and it’s getting faster!” Everyone looked frightened as they could now hear the dreaded sound she was talking about. Max quickly grabbed her and slung her over his shoulder.

“Run for cover!” cried the old man. Uncle had to be dragged away from the building as the police and onlookers began to clear the building. The light was now glowing brightly at a constant pace as the weapon began to shake. Jade watched in fear as Max took her to hide behind a dumpster. Everyone waited for the big boom, only for the sound of rushing wind to silence the beeping.

Jade was the first to look, fear still gripping her. Her eyes widened as the weapon was gone, nowhere to be found. She quickly realized what happened as she ran out onto the road, watching as a blur sped around a corner.

“BEN!” Max suddenly looked up from the dumpster, the same frightened look on his face. XLR8 quickly rushed through the city, moving faster than he ever had before. He had to get to the bay, and fast. Time seemed to slow down for him as he began to leave scorch marks on the road below him, his feet feeling the heat.

“GOTTA-HURRY-GOTTA-HURRY-GOTTA-HURRY!” cried the alien. He soon spotted his destination, thankfully finding a space where no people or boats were in the water. He made a turn so fast that he created a small sonic boom, shattering anything glass around him. He skidded to a stop as he threw the gun high over the water, lightning trailing off of it. He watched as it soared higher and higher until it exploded in a massive wave of pressure.

The dinosaur-like being quickly rushed backwards in an effort to avoid any falling debris or remnants of the pressure wave. When he looked back, a small crater was left in the ocean before the water returned to fill it. He suddenly felt a burning sensation as he popped his feet up and down a bit. “HOT FEET! HOT FEET!” He zipped away from the area, only to cry out more in discomfort.

He got halfway between his desired destination and his prior location before he felt a need to cool his toes down. He soon spotted a nearby water fountain, planting his feet firmly inside. The water began to bubble as the heat given off affected the temperature. XLR8 finally sighed in relief as he patted his chest, quickly calming his heart to a more natural level. Once his toes no longer felt like they were on fire, he quickly yet carefully continued on his way. He stopped in an empty alleyway, a familiar jingle playing not long after.

He turned back into his normal self, taking a moment to make sure no one was around to see him. His feet still felt uncomfortable, though it was much better than when he was XLR8 earlier. He stuck his head out to view the area, watching as Jackie finally returned.

“Uncle, Jade!” cried the kung fu master. He came to a stop as he watched Jade run up to him. He spread out his arms as she jumped at him, tackling him in a hug as she began to cry.

“Jackie!” cried the young Chan. He quickly reciprocated the embrace, relieved that she was okay. She pulled back as she sent him a smile. “[Mandarin] Did you defeat the crazy woman and get the talisman back?” Jackie sighed as he shook his head in denial.

“No. She told me and one of those aliens about the explosive and threatened to set it off early. She showed that the activation rod was actually a smoke device when the alien was gone, riding off on a Xiaoling Industries motorcycle.” An officer stood nearby, taking notes on the situation. He nodded as he sounded his understanding.

“Xiaoling Industries did report one of their vehicles was stolen,” stated the man. He turned to Jackie as he pointed his pen at him. “I’ll need your statement on what happened here, Mr. Chan. I’ll give you a moment to check on the rest of your family, given the explosive armament that was involved.” Jackie nodded his head in response as the officer turned away, setting Jade down on the ground.

“Aiyah!” cried Uncle. The duo looked towards the chi wizard, watching as he nearly ripped his hair out of his head. “It will take months to get new window in! My shop will be ruined by burglars!” Max put his hand on Uncle’s shoulder, giving him a reassuring smile.

“A window can always be replaced, Jing, but the lives of you and your family can’t,” stated the Plumber. “I can have a friend bring out a new window before the end of the day. He owes me one so he won’t charge much if anything at all. Your shop will be fine.” Uncle allowed his arms to fall to his sides, sighing as he looked down. Ben decided to run up, the concerned frown on his face being real.

“Jade!” cried the boy. He watched as she turned towards him an unreadable expression on her face, skidding to a stop in front of her. “Is everything alright? I heard police sirens coming this way and…” He stopped mid-sentence as the girl hugged him, bringing a blush to his face.

“[Mandarin] Please don’t scare me like that again,” requested the young Chan in her native tongue. Finally realizing that she had reverted to her first language, she shifted a bit with the boy in her arms. “Please.” Ben allowed his blush to die down as he returned the gesture, letting the girl lay her head against his chest. Jackie smiled as he watched the duo, only to frown as he noticed something.

He finally took the time to realize that the logo on the face of Ben’s “watch” matched the symbol that XLR8 had on his chest. Rojo’s words quickly filtered back into his mind, causing him to question what the Tennysons weren’t telling them. Realizing that now wasn’t the time, however, he decided to hold off on mentioning his suspicions. He smiled as he watched the duo separate from their embrace, Jade still looking at her feet. He decided to approach as he nodded his head.

“We’re all fine, Ben,” answered the kung fu master. “A thief came in and took the talisman we just retrieved. I couldn’t stop her this time. The Dark Hand has the talisman.” Ben smirked as he shook his head.

“So what if they do?” questioned the alien hero. “All that matters is that you guys are alright. We can always get the talisman back from them. As long as we have more than them, we’re on the winning end.” The boy watched Jade smile sadly as she nodded her head.

“Yeah, it still stinks though,” added the girl. She looked up at Jackie with her smile still intact. “I guess we won’t be going to Melvin World for a while. Given I caused this mess and all.” Jackie frowned as he knelt down, putting both hands on Jade’s shoulders.

“Jade, you did not cause any of this,” reassured the kung fu master. “That horrible woman was going to attack whether you removed the talisman from the box or not. I can tell that you genuinely wanted to help this time, but I want you to be more careful from here on. I have a horrible feeling that this ‘Rojo’ will be a more common appearance amongst the Dark Hand. Promise me that you’ll try to exercise caution.”

Jade nodded her head as she gave Jackie a grim smile, said smile becoming more genuine as the man raised one of his forearms to point upwards. “Now, we will indeed have to put off that trip to Melvin World for a while. I promise that, when we do go, you can bring your friends from school with you. Okay?” He received another hug from his niece, the girl grinning ear to ear.

“Deal.” Jackie quickly returned the embrace once more, receiving a smile from Ben. Things had certainly become more hectic, but at least no one was seriously hurt.

Xiaoling Industries

Valmont growled, his fists clenched as he looked towards his enforcers. He was angry, furious even. Never in the history of the Dark Hand had anyone earned his ire this much. His men couldn’t even look him in the eye. He stomped his cane angrily, readying it as if he were going to beat them with it.

“THIS IS AN OUTRAGE!” roared the man. “My top enforcers, running like cowards from a man with a gun!? ONE MAN!? Please tell me this is some elaborate joke because it is not funny!” Ratso held up his hands in defense, fear clearly visible in his eyes.

“It was some freaky alien laser gun!” cried the olive skinned goon. “He almost burnt a hole in us or made us explode like that car!” He earned an elbow to the gut from Finn. The fancily dressed goon knew better than to speak in this scenario. He proved himself right as Valmont drew a gun from under his suit jacket, pointing it at Ratso.

“NO MORE EXCUSES! It’s bad enough that the other men I sent were beaten BY A LITTLE GIRL! I’ve had it up to here with my men returning as failures! Can no one do their job anymore!?” The door to the room was kicked open, the humans turning to see Rojo waltz into the room.

“From the sounds of it, I was right to assume you failed to defeat the Tennysons,” guessed the woman. “Doesn’t surprise me, given the state of your men.” She watched Chow growl as he pointed at her.

“Oh yeah?” questioned the Asian villain. “And what did you do that has you feeling oh so high and mighty, Mrs. Bike Thief?” Rojo smirked at this question, enjoying the look on the trio of goons’ faces. She pulled out her catch from her pocket, displaying it to the group. Shendu’s eyes glowed red as smoke erupted from his mouth.

“THE TALISMAN!” roared the dragon. The Shadowkhan suddenly appeared from the shadows, pointing swords at the woman. She suddenly held the stone high in the air, her grin never leaving her face.

“Careful,” warned the woman. “One wrong move and I smash this against the ground.” Shendu growled at the woman, only for Valmont to clap at the display.

“Bravo, Mrs. Rojo,” congratulated the man. “This is what a successful mission looks like, gentlemen. I assume you wish to bargain for the talisman, madam.” He ignored the grumbles of the enforcers as he gestured for the shinobi to lower their blades. Rojo stepped past the shadow ninjas as she nodded her head.

“I want in. I want a cut of the treasure, and a high tech arsenal to deal with the Tennysons. Do that, and I’ll bring you as many talismans as you want. Oh and I want their paychecks.” She pointed at the Enforcers, causing them to growl in annoyance.

The sound of the offer caused Shendu to chuckle, his eyes glowing red in excitement. He could use greedy humans that were resourceful. Valmont nodded his head, slowly stretching out his hand.

“You have a deal.” Rojo immediately handed him the Talisman, shaking his hand at the same time. “Welcome, Madame Rojo, to the Dark Hand.”

Inkaliber: That’s the end of the chapter. Things go pretty standard from the start as Jackie returns with the Talisman and Jade decides to try it out to save time. Then it’s revealed that Rojo was the Dark Hand’s new ally, telling them about the Tennysons and seeding doubt in Jackie’s mind. Things end with Shendu receiving one of the talismans, and a small moment between Ben and Jade. What do you think, guys?

Meowth: A good return, Boss! Dis story is gonna rock!

James: I enjoyed seeing the nice moment between the boy and his family. Goodness knows I couldn’t have anything like that with mine.

Jessie: The way he was embarrassed was so adorable! A wonderful chapter!

Inkaliber: Okay! Enough buttering me up. I gotta end the chapter and start on the next one soon. I don’t wanna move to updating on Mondays so I’ll need to try and get back on track. Can I have a moment to end things off.

Ex-Team Rocket: SIR YES SIR!

Inkaliber: Heh. Always so dramatic. It never gets old though.

Anyway, what did you guys think about the chapter? Did you like the changes to the original episode? How about Ben’s parents wanting to meet Jade? Let me know what you think down below and I’ll try to get back with you ASAP. This is Inkaliber, signing out.

Chapter 8: Bullies

Chapter Text

Hello everyone! Welcome back to another exciting chapter of Chan in Bellwood! Today things are really firing up as we enter the dragon… the dragon talisman that is! Things will surely be wild this time around! Before we do anything with that, however, let’s answer some reviews.

The_Literary_Lord: Indeed she is. I’m happy you like my idea for how to buff up the villains. Here’s the next chapter so hopefully it’s great.

Reader: I’m glad that you like it. What parent wouldn’t want to meet their child’s crush? He kind of scared her so it’s understandable that she’d embrace him. Jackie is starting to put the pieces together, but he doesn’t have the full idea yet. Jade will definitely defend Ben if it comes to it, seeing as they’ve become so close. Rojo felt like a logical choice for a villain from the Ben 10 side of things to liven up the villains a bit. Here’s the next chapter so don’t die, lol!

Lincolnronnie94: Yup. Valmont tried to target the Tennyson family, but it didn’t turn out so well. He does know though, and Jackie is now beginning to suspect some things.

ArguableReader: I’m glad that you liked it so much! Rojo really did make Ben think about the whole hero thing. I figured she’d be a good counter to what Ben brings to the table. Yeah I couldn’t resist the Mr. Baumann joke. Lucy indeed exists in the universe so we’ll see if she makes any appearances.

With all of that out of the way, let’s get this chapter started. I don’t own Jackie Chan Adventures, Ben 10, or any other series that may appear here. I do own OC characters, species, objects, and concepts unless stated otherwise.

Voices

“Talking.”

‘Thinking.’

“YELLING!”

“Author/Guest/High or demonic entity talking. Also, surprise at the end of a section.”

“AUTHOR/GUEST/HIGH OR DEMONIC ENTITY YELLING!”

“Whispering.”

“Author/Guest/High or demonic entity whispering.”

[Language Indicator]

“Machine or alt communication talking/Talking in flashback.”

“MACHINE OR ALT COMMUNICATION YELLING/YELLING IN FLASHBACK!”

“Machine or alt communication whispering/Whispering in flashback.”

Bellwood, Pennsylvania

The sun shined brightly on this day in Bellwood, the clouds parting perfectly over Bellwood Academy. The students were having fun out on the sports field, getting in much needed exercise from the stuffiness of their classrooms. Two children sat together at the basketball court, watching over the game their friends were playing. A shadow soon covered them, however, causing them to turn towards the caster. The children’s faces twisted in fear at the sight of the individual, one of them running away.

The kid was the tallest of their grade, being a bit on the chubby side. He had messy black hair, buckteeth, and dark brown eyes. He wore a green t-shirt, brown shorts, and yellow sneakers. This was Maynard Munson, the biggest kid and biggest bully in school. He pounded his palm as he glared down at the nerdy kid.

“Cough up some cash, twerp,” demanded the big kid. The way he kept his eyes on his victim made the other kids in the yard very uncomfortable. The poor smaller kid put his finger to his finger to his chin as he had to find a way out of it.

“B-but there’s fish sticks in the cafeteria today,” pleaded the nerd. “My mom says I need the protein.” He suddenly found himself lifted into the air by his shirt as Maynard’s glare looked like that of a raging bull.

“Can’t eat if you don’t have a face!” The big kid then spun the smaller boy until he was holding him by his ankles. The nerd was shook violently as his money began to fall out of his pocket, along with other odds and ends. The other kids could only watch on in terror, even Cash and JT steering clear of the mess. Drew winced as he tried not to look at the scene.

“Be afraid,” stated the boy. “Megabully strikes again.” The sound of two feet stepping forward at the same time changed the tension in the atmosphere.

“Hey Maynard!” cried a familiar voice. Drew and the other kids near him suddenly moved to the side, turning to see that Ben and Jade were standing together. The duo nearly walked in sync as they glared at the big kid. “Let go of him.” Maynard paused his shaking of his victim to look back at the duo, sending them an intimidating growl.

“Beat it, Shrimp!” roared the bully. He then proceeded to shake his target harder, earning a yelp from the poor redhead boy. Jade growled as she clenched her fists, a vein nearly threatening to burst from her head.

“Shrimp!? Why I oughta…!” Ben quickly put a hand on her shoulder, causing her to look his way. He gestured to his chest while shaking his head “no”, earning a deep breath from her in response. He smiled as he nodded his head before turning his attention to the big bully.

“Maynard, do as she says or else,” threatened the Omnitrix hero. Maynard looked back at him, looking him over before laughing. He turned his head forward again.

“Or else what, loser?” questioned the bully. “What’re you gonna do?” He couldn’t see how Ben crossed his arms, his smirk still present on his face.

“Or else we’ll tell a teacher.” The other kids in the area let loose gasps as no one ever dared to bring an adult into the equation when it comes to this particular bully. The victim was dropped on the ground, allowing him to run to another group of kids that were nearby. Maynard suddenly turned on his heels, leveling a glare at the duo as he stomped towards him. The kids behind them quickly moved a good few feet back as the big bully got up in Ben’s face.

“You ain’t got the nerve, twerp! You better stay quiet, or else I’ll clobber ya!” The big kid pounded his palm as a display of said clobbering, only for Ben to glare back at him.

“You’re nothing but a big bully, Maynard. If you don’t shape up, you’ll always be one just like Cash and JT. You can’t keep picking on others just because you feel like it. Do this again and I’m telling.” He thought he was prepared for anything, only for Maynard to rear back a fist.

“SHUT UP!” Ben tried to dodge out of the way, but the bully proved to be a surprisingly fast puncher. With a hit to the face, the watch boy was sent sprawling onto the ground.

“BEN!” cried both Jade and Gwen. Having been ready to call a teacher over at a nearby door, the redhead Tennyson quickly rushed over to check on her cousin. She helped him to sit up, revealing that his nose was bleeding and his eye was beginning to swell. He moaned as he put his hand over the offended side of his face, earning a short laugh from Cash who was sitting on one of the nearby bleachers. Maynard stood over the duo as he pointed at Ben.

“Next time I’ll hit you more, Tenny-sucker! You’re nothing!” Behind him, Jade was shaking as her bangs covered her face. The attack on Ben replayed several times in her head, along with insults and teases in Chinese. She lifted her head, a furious snarl on her face.

“THAT DOES IT!” roared the young Chan. She suddenly leapt at Maynard, her foot outstretched in a flying kick. The bully turned around to face her, only for his face to turn into a horrified look of shock as her foot connected with his head. She used his head as a springboard to jump off of, spinning in the air before landing feet first on the ground. The bully fell backwards onto the ground, moaning from the attack.

Jade looked back at him, the fire of vengeance still burning in her eyes. “Next time you hurt my friends, I’m unleashing the Ancient Art of Buttwhoop on you.” She ignored the cheers of other kids as she ran over to the Tennyson cousins, getting down on one knee as she held Ben’s good cheek in the palm of her hand. “You alright, Mr. Omnitrix.” Ben chuckled as he leaned into her hand a bit.

“Pretty girl hand feel nice,” mumbled the boy, a little out of it. Jade blushed a bit at the comment of her appearance, mentally whooping and cheering in excitement. The excitement died off when her teacher ran out onto the yard.

“What is happening out here!?” cried the woman. “Well!?” Drew decided to tell her as he pointed to Jade.

“Maynard Munson laid Ben Tennyson out, so Jade smacked him down,” tattled the boy. The teacher gasped at the news, especially the scene before her. She turned to the trio in question, watching as Gwen helped Ben up while Jade waved her hands in defense.

“Mrs. Hardman, please let me explain!” cried the young Chan. “Ben and I were trying to tell Maynard to leave Nelson alone when Ben brought up telling a teacher and…” The woman quickly moved past Jade to get a better look at Ben.

“I’ll deal with you in a moment, Jade.” The young Chan looked flabbergasted by the woman’s words, only to watch as she looked over Ben’s face. “That is a pretty bad hit. Gwen, please take him straight to the school nurse.” Gwen hesitantly nodded her head as she helped Ben along, unsure what was going to happen with Jade.

Mrs. Hardman turned towards Jade with a disappointed frown. “Now, young lady, hitting people is not how we solve our problems.” Jade gestured to Maynard, the boy still reeling from the attack she unleashed upon him.

“He hurt Ben first! We tried to settle things with words but…” Mrs. Hardman snapped her fingers, interrupting the girl’s words.

“Don’t raise your voice at me, Jade. Maybe it’s time that I had a talk with your guardian.” She suddenly grabbed Jade by the arm, pulling her towards the school building. “Immediately.” Jade’s eyes widened as she tried to gather her words together.

“Uncle Jackie is not reachable right now. He’s on a business trip.” The teacher looked back at her, visibly unhappy about this news.

Volcano, Location Unknown

Jackie screamed as he ran through a cave, map in hand as he avoided a swarm of bats. Section 13 had heard that there was a talisman somewhere on the Island, the cave beneath the volcano being the last location he had yet to search. He looked down at the map in his hands as he tried to look over the information on it. He looked ahead to see a large number of separate tunnels in the cave, furling it up in his other hand before leaping into the one right in front of him. He cried out in fear once again as he slid down the equivalent of the bumpiest slide he had ever been on.

He soon entered a rather hot part of the cave, having to grab onto a stalactite to keep from falling too hard on the ground below. He sighed in relief, only for the part of the stone he was holding to break within a second. He fell to the cave floor, groaning as he rubbed his butt. He began to get up, only for small spurts of lava and steam to jut out from some of the nearby stones. He dodged the molten rock projectiles, sighing as he wiped his brow from the heat.

“Good for the pores,” huffed Jackie. He looked at the map once again before taking a look around. He finally looked up to the area in front of him, noticing a familiar shaped stone sticking out from one of the natural supports of the cave. It was the talisman, the symbol of a dragon etched in red on the face of it. He quickly climbed the structure, reaching the level where the relic rested.

He used a pair of pliers to gently pull the stone out of the cave wall, getting it half way. He then swapped to use his hand, gently wiggling it out from its socket before finally breaking it free. He hugged the stone structure with his legs as he moved the talisman to his other hand, preparing to take the climb down. He was shocked when a claw swiped the talisman out of his hand, rapidly reeling back towards its origin. He looked to the ground, finding the enforcers standing close together.

He groaned as he watched the wire pull the talisman into Finn’s hand, the fancy goon closing it before the claw could open. “I hate grappling claws.” Hearing his displeasure, Finn looked at the device on his wrist.

“Like it, Chan?” questioned the redheaded goon. “Our new associate gave me the idea when she was showing off the gear she took to that junk shop of yours.” He opened his hand, humming as he looked at the talisman. “Enter the dragon…” Ratso suddenly aimed a rocket launcher at Jackie, a scowl on his face.

“Exit Jackie Chan,” added the olive skinned goon. He fired the weapon at Jackie, forcing the kung fu master to leap down to the ground below. Instead of exploding immediately, however, the rocket burrowed into the stone a bit. It began to beep rapidly as a light glowed brighter and brighter. Jackie looked back for a split second, only to start running as the rocket exploded.

Lava began to pour out from the hole made, filling the cave behind the kung fu master. The hole in the wall began to break even more, the lava flow weakening the area. Soon the whole wall broke, a huge glob of lava now flowing towards the group. The Enforcers climbed up a ladder attached to a helicopter. Finn looked back at Jackie with an evil smirk.

“Stay cool, hot stuff!” cried the villain with a laugh. Jackie continued to huff as he tried to escape the glob of lava. It was quickly hot on his heels, however, forcing him to begin running up stalagmites that were conveniently organized in ascending order.

“BAD-DAY-BAD-DAY-BAD-DAY!” cried Jackie as the lava quickly rose below him. He leapt for a stalactite, taking a moment to make sure he had a good grip. He then began to climb quickly as the glob was extremely close, the heat blackening the bottom of his pants a bit as it almost crashed into him. He hopped out of the hole in the cave roof that the Enforcers were extracted from, crouching as he tried to gain his bearings. The heat on his rear caused him to pat at his pants, hoping to stop any flames before they could form.

He heard the sound of helicopter blades as he looked up, watching helplessly as the villains got away with the talisman. “Very bad day.” With nothing left he could do, the man decided to return to his hotel room and prepare for the flight home. This marked the second loss in the hunt for the talismans. He could only hope that the Dragon Talisman was not as harmful as its name would suggest.

Xiaoling Industries

Valmont stood before Shendu, something he had annoyingly grown accustomed to. The dragon was clearly not pleased with their recent performance, only one talisman placed in a slot upon his stone form. It was already hard enough retrieving the talismans before Jackie Chan ended up finding them, not to mention their little alien problem. Sometimes he wished that he would have just sold the demon instead of keeping him in the family. Shendu’s eyes glowed red as he huffed in annoyance, breaking Valmont from his thought process.

“Valmont,” hissed the demon. “Where is the dragon talisman?” The business man leaned on his cane a bit in an attempt to calm his nerves.

“My men are on it, Shendu,” reassured Valmont. “You will have your talisman soon.” The dragon did not seem pleased by this answer as his eyes glowed brighter.

“Your men could not find their own shadows. Not to mention your incompetence stupefies me.” Valmont growled in fury as he tossed his cane up into a bludgeoning hold.

“Oh? I’ll stupefy you!” He prepared to strike the statue with his cane, only for Shadowkhan to appear all around him. One even grabbed his cane, keeping him from using it as a weapon. Shendu seemed to take delight in his rage, white smoke puffing from his nose.

“Temper, Valmont.” The head of the Dark Hand audibly growled at Shendu pulling his cane away from the Shadowkhan before stomping out of the room. He soon found himself in the commons room, his hands behind his back as he paced back and forth.

“The arrogance of that oversized lawn ornament.” He walked back towards the entrance of the room, only to stop as the door opened wide. Rojo entered the room with the Enforcers behind her, Finn having one of his hands closed.

“Hola, Valmont!” greeted the woman. “The niños actually pulled it off for a change.” Finn pushed past her, clearly egotistical as he presented the Dragon Talisman to his boss.

“Check it out!” cheered the redheaded man. “One Dragon Talisman, hot and ready!” Valmont smirked sarcastically as he walked forward.

“You actually did your job!?” questioned the boss. “Imagine that!” He immediately took the talisman from Finn, earning a confused look from his subordinates as he tightly squeezed the talisman.

“You’re not stoked? We swiped it from Chan and everything.” Valmont quickly wound up the arm holding the talisman, preparing to toss it.

“I am absolutely GIDDY!” The man threw the stone at the wall, causing the symbol on the front to light up upon contact. It blasted a huge amount of fire towards the ceiling, blowing a hole in it before powering down and clattering on the floor. The villains, who had all jumped to the ground, looked up to see the damage that was done. Ratso whistled as Chow nodded his head.

“Now that’s what I call power,” stated the Asian man. Valmont knelt down to pick up the talisman as the others began to rise. He looked at the stone in the palm of his left hand, only to watch as it glowed all over. It fused to his palm causing him to hiss for a moment. He smirked as he stood up, the talisman glowing with power.

“Puff the Magic Dragon.” He turned to his underlings, displaying the glowing talisman to them. The Enforcers looked upon the sight in awe. Meanwhile, Rojo grinned evilly at the look in Valmont’s eyes. One thing was assured in her head: this was going to be fun.

Section 13

Jackie walked alongside Captain Black, explaining the results of his recent trip. To say that the head agent shared his displeasure at the Dark Hand’s latest success was an understatement. Max had joined their walk some time along the way, being subject to the same report. The men soon found their way into the main area, a few agents working on various cases around the globe. Jackie looked at the two men as he nodded his head.

“And that’s when Valmont’s men took off with the Talisman,” stated the kung fu master. “I looked all over the island for them just to be sure, but there was no trace of them.” Max nodded as he stopped, causing the others to stop as well.

“So the Dark Hand now has two talismans,” sighed the Plumber. “We can’t let them close the distance like this.” Jackie nodded his head in agreement as he turned to Captain Black.

“It is already dangerous for them to have the Sheep Talisman. If they learn of the Dragon Talisman’s magic, who knows what…” He stopped when he noticed the glare the head of Section 13 was giving him. “I said the ‘M’ word, didn’t I?” Max chuckled at the duo as he shook his head, only for the sound of running footsteps to catch their attention.

“JACKIE!” cried Jade. The kung fu master turned towards his niece, only for her to hug his legs as she buried her face into his knees. “You have to help me! My teacher’s crazy!” He quickly pushed Jade off of his legs as he gave her a concerned, confused look.

“Slow down, Jade. What is this all about?” The girl was about to answer when a loud huff was heard.

“Uncle agrees with Jade on teacher being crazy bat!” cried the old man. “Jade is in trouble for doing good thing at school.” Uncle then turned towards Captain Black, his expression still sour. “One more thing. Your place is too big!”

The old wizard stretched out his arms as he continued with his complaint. “I have to walk very far to find a bathroom!” Jackie looked between Captain Black and Max, earning confused shrugs before turning back towards the chi wizard.

“Uncle, what are you doing here? I thought you’d be at the shop.” He watched as the old man turned towards him with an angry frown.

“Landlord made me leave the shop for three days. Says it must be sprayed for bugs. This is how I spray for bugs!” Uncle then stomped his foot with a battle cry, crossing his arms as his demonstration was complete. Captain Black rolled his eyes in response to all of the drama.

“Yes siree,” groaned the agent. “A real family affair here at Section 13.” Jackie ignored the jab at the situation as he knelt down to Jade’s level.

“Jade, what kind of trouble at school?” questioned the kung fu master. “Tell me what happened.” Jade took a deep breath as she nodded her head.

“A bully at school named Maynard was shaking a kid to make his lunch money fall out of his pockets,” began the young Chan. She ignored Jackie’s questioning face as she looked him in the eye. “Ben and I tried to get him to stop, Ben going as far as to threaten to tell on him. When he wouldn’t back down, Maynard punched his face so hard that he landed on his back with a bleeding nose and a swollen eye.” Max suddenly cut in as he suddenly walked towards the duo.

“I’m sorry WHAT!?” cried the elder Tennyson. “Is Ben okay?” Jade quickly shook her head in denial.

“He was talking nonsense last I saw, but he was taken immediately to the nurse and I didn’t see him for the rest of the day. Anyway, Maynard continued to talk down to Ben and threatened to hurt him more and I kinda saw red. I knocked him out with a kick before going to check on Ben, which I know wasn’t entirely right of me to do!” The girl’s outcry and hand waving stopped Jackie from interrupting her. “I promise you can get onto me but I need to finish, please.”

Seeing the seriousness in her eyes, Jackie decided to grant her request. Jade nodded her head in thanks as she took another breath. “After Mrs. Hardman sent Ben to the nurse, she went straight to lecturing me about hitting people. I tried to explain what happened, but she wouldn’t hear it and got onto me for raising my voice before pulling me away. She wants to see you for a parent-teacher conference immediately.”

She produced a paper with the order for her uncle, the man immediately taking it. “I know it wasn’t right for me to use what you taught me that way, but she wouldn’t listen to anything I had to say after Drew gave her the short version.” Max let loose a sigh as he shook his head.

“It’s always Hardman,” groaned the Plumber. “She’s a great teacher, but she tends to leap before she has the full situation.” Jackie sent a frown back towards Max, finding his grumbling to be unhelpful at the moment. All he received was a shrug in response, his eyes narrowing in displeasure. An agent suddenly ran over, a serious scowl on his face.

“Sir!” cried the man. “The US Mint is under siege!” Captain Black turned towards the agent, sharing his scowl.

“Patch me into their surveillance,” ordered the head of Section 13. The group ran over to a bank of monitors, each one assigned to a different camera at the Mint. One showed a small group walking towards the actual building, another showing the inside of the vault. The wall of the vault exploded, the armed guards moving for cover as the Dark Hand waltzed in. Valmont was amongst them while wearing a dragon mask, black gloves also on his hands.

This did not stop Captain Black from identifying him, however, as his eyes narrowed. “Valmont. Mobilize!” Every agent around scrambled to get to the scene, Max pulling out his communicator as he made a call. Jade looked up at Jackie with a small frown.

“So I’m guessing you aren’t going with the whole parent-teacher conference thing going on,” stated the young Chan. She watched as her uncle turned towards her, looking down at her feet to avoid his eyes. “I’m grounded, aren’t I?” She felt a hand on her chin, her head being tilted upwards. She watched as Jackie sent her a soft frown.

“From now on, make sure that there is an actual threat of bodily harm before you ever think of doing something like this again,” scolded the archeologist. “Martial arts are about finding the strength within in order to discipline oneself, not for picking fights. Sometimes the greatest victory is the one achieved without fighting. If someone is being bullied again and there is no continued violence, please seek out an adult. Promise me this, Jade.”

Jackie released his niece’s chin, earning a small nod. “I will let you off with a warning this time since it is only the first time, but next time I will have to punish you. Now, we’re going to talk with Mrs. Hardman. Unless some serious damage was done, I do not think she’d call me in for just one situation.” Jade looked away as she sighed, pleased that her uncle was at least listening to her.

U.S. Mint

Valmont smiled as the Dark Hand went to work, bagging anything valuable they could find. This was the kind of work the Dark Hand excelled at. Rojo was left behind for the fitting into a bodysuit for her new arsenal, though with the talisman he didn’t feel the need for her assistance this time. He grabbed a small stack of cash from one of the pallets, holding it close to his face. He took a deep breath through the mask before sighing.

“Hot off the press,” stated the criminal mastermind in delight. Behind him, Ratso was shoving a bunch of coins into his shirt pockets. The olive skinned man turned towards Chow, feeling like he was being judged.

“What?” questioned Ratso. “It’s laundry money. Laundromats ain’t getting cheaper.” Chow rolled his eyes as he prepared to move along, only for a rapid beeping to pause the gang’s progress. Finn quickly pulled out a device, looking at it before displaying a screen with multiple moving triangles on it.

“Company,” warned the redhead. Valmont looked towards the hole they made, growling in annoyance. Outside, Captain Black and his men were approaching the damaged wall, guns at the ready. The head agent waved for his men to wait before going inside. He ran into the surprisingly empty room, only to trust his sixth sense as he pointed his gun to the left towards Valmont.

“Valmont,” growled Captain Black. “This ends now.” He only just then noticed how the head of the Dark Hand was glowing rather ominously. He could only watch as Valmont pointed the Dragon Talisman at him with a growl, a ball of burning energy quickly forming. The villain fired the blast at him, leaving him severely burned and separating him from his agents with a huge pile of rubble.

“The Dark Hand waves bye-bye, Captain Black,” quipped the villain as he waved his hand. He blew magic smoke off of the empowered hand, an evil smirk hidden under his mask. He turned to his men, walking past Ratso as he looked his way. “Make sure he stays dead.” He earned a nod in response as the olive skinned goon prepared to fire his gun.

Before any more damage could be done to the burnt agent, a hole was busted through the ceiling. The Plumber mech landed in front of the villains, a black glass hiding the identity of the pilot. Valmont tried to blast the machine, only for a laser shield to block the attack. Valmont’s surprise was hidden rather well by the mask as he took a few steps back. Finn gulped as he also took a few steps back.

“Force field?” questioned the redhead. “How come we don’t get force fields?” Realizing that the situation was no longer in his favor, Valmont turned back towards his minions.

“We have the money! Let’s go!” The Dark Hand quickly scrambled to some trucks with their stolen goods, starting up the engines. The mech fired stun rounds at two of the goons, shocking them as they fell to the ground. The rest of the Dark Hand escaped with the money, the sound of police sirens forcing the mech to withdraw.

Bellwood Academy

Jade sat in a chair with her hands in her lap, looking down to avoid eye contact with her teacher. She and Jackie had just sat down for the parent-teacher conference, Uncle deciding to tag along due to being unable to be at his shop. This whole situation was already causing bad memories to pop up in her mind, having experienced this kind of thing before back home. She just hoped that things would be better than what happened there. Her hopes were about to be put to the test as Mrs. Hardman cleared her throat.

“This is not the first time that we’ve had a problem with Jade, Mr. Chan,” informed the woman. She looked at a small folder in her hand as she began to read over Jade’s record. “Being involved in a food fight in the cafeteria, getting into shouting matches with other students, being too rough in gym activities, triggering the fire alarm without an actual fire…” Jade immediately raised her hand, earning Mrs. Hardman’s attention. “Yes, Jade?” The girl quickly lowered her hand as she returned to looking at the floor.

“In my defense, Cash started most of those,” informed Jade. “I don’t really have an excuse for being rough in gym class, at least when Cash isn’t being a jerk, but the fire alarm was a genuine concern. Someone yelled ‘fire’ and I reacted on instinct.” She actually looked Mrs. Hardman in the eye in order to get the point across that she was telling the truth, the woman showing no reaction. Uncle suddenly harrumphed as he crossed his arms, grabbing the group’s attention.

“Sounds to me like money boy is major issue, not Jade,” grumbled the old man. “She is just like Jackie, always looking out for others and reacting first when something good needs to be done.” Jade smiled at the chi wizard, blushing from embarrassment at being likened to her guardian. In spite of her griping about him, she tended to place Jackie as a high standard in some aspects of her life. Mrs. Hardman adjusted her glasses as she shook her head.

“The comment about the fire alarm incident will be taken into consideration,” informed the woman. “Regardless, her attitude has been a problem as of late. I am afraid that she is picking up bad habits due to a lack of proper discipline. I do not know where Jade learned to fight but…” The woman was cut off as Uncle looked towards Jackie.

“Jackie has disciplined her plenty. Otherwise, he would not be teaching her to fight at all.” The old man would have continued, only for Jackie to hold up his hand to silence him.

“Mrs. Hardman, I assure you that Jade is only taught self-defense,” reassured the archeologist. “The martial arts are meant to teach her humility and…” The woman’s eyes widened in response to the man’s prepared speech.

“Martial arts?” questioned the teacher. “Like karate?” Jackie was about to answer her when Uncle raised his pointer finger.

“Kung Fu and Tai Chi,” corrected the antique dealer. “Tai Chi teaches proper breathing and peaceful thoughts. Kung Fu is the best self-defense as whole body becomes a secret weapon.” Jackie and Jade both facepalmed in response to the old man’s words. The glare they received from Mrs. Hardman as she closed the file told them that she would hear none of what they had to say.

“It seems obvious to me that you do not teach Jade enough discipline, Mr. Chan,” stated the teacher. “So I will have to. If she attacks a student again, I will directly contact her parents.” Jackie paled at the thought, only to watch Jade look away with a huff.

“A lot of good that’ll do,” grumbled the girl under her breath. Jackie was the only one to catch this, a small frown forming on his face. A few minutes later Jade violently pushed the front of the school open, stomping as the adults followed behind her. “Thanks a lot, Uncle!” Sensing her hostility, the old man put his hands on his hips.

“What?” questioned the chi wizard. “What did I do?” Jade turned towards him, a glare on her face.

“Are you serious!? You made the whole situation worse! Now Maynard will get nothing more than a scolding while I have a whole week’s detention! He basically gets away with hurting Ben!” Jackie stood between the duo as he held up his hands.

“That’s ridiculous, Jade,” reassured the archeologist. “I’m sure he has detention as well for his actions. Just take this as time to work on your homework and think about watching your temper. Regardless of whether Ben was hurt or not, you could have told a teacher.” He watched as the girl harrumphed while looking away. He was about to inquire about her earlier comment about her parents when his phone rang.

He pulled it out, noticing that it was a number he did not recognize. He answered it as he cleared his throat. “Jackie speaking. How can I help you?” He heard a rough sigh on the other end of the line, something that would not make his day any better.

“It’s Max,” informed the elder Tennyson. “There’s been an incident. Augustus is down.”

Bellwood Hospital, Intensive Care Unit

Heart monitors beeped in the midst of the hospital room, Captain Black hooked up to a fair amount of machinery. Max stood to one side of him while Jackie and the agent who pointed out the Mint attack stood on the other. His left arm and the left side of his face were badly burnt, the hair on those parts of his body now nothing more than ash. A tense atmosphere hung in the room as the heart monitor began to beep. The Section 13 agent in the room looked between the other conscious men as he sighed.

“The doctors say that he’s lucky to be alive,” revealed the man. “If whatever broke through the ceiling didn’t intervene, they could have shot him to death. Valmont apparently used some form of explosive device. From the damage it did, I say it was pretty powerful.” Jackie’s eyes narrowed as he clenched his fists.

“The dragon talisman,” growled the kung fu master. Max quickly noticed the change in the archeologist’s mood. He was about to say something about it when the door to the room opened. A nurse pushed a vase full of flowers into the room, surprising the group as she left. The unnamed agent walked over to the apparent gift as he raised one of his brows.

“Who sent these?” He found a card in the midst of the petals, gently pulling it out. He flipped it over, his frown returning to its prior state due to the name signed on it. “Valmont.” Veins threatened to burst from Jackie’s head as he began to see red.

He let loose a battle cry as he threw a punch. He stopped himself as he missed the vase holding the flowers, taking deep breaths as he tried to calm himself. Max was quickly on the other side of the cart with a concerned look on his face.

“Simmer down, Jackie,” requested the old man. “Just breathe.” The kung fu master finally caught his breath as he looked away from the others with his eyes closed.

“I’m sorry. I just… saw red. I need fresh air.” He walked out of the room, leaving both Max and the agent concerned for him. Their looks of concern turned to shock as the vase cracked down the middle, quickly breaking into pieces as flowers went everywhere.

Warehouse, Undisclosed Location

Valmont leaned against the side of one of the trucks, looking at the dragon talisman fused to his hand. He had so much power in the palm of his hands, yet it did nothing against the machine that interrupted their heist. It angered him that some unknown third party had gotten involved, beginning to wonder if this had anything to do with the Tennysons. Perhaps there was more to the little family than he thought. He broke from his musings as Finn and Ratso stopped in front of him, Finn carrying a box full of stolen cash.

“Valmont, my main man!” cheered Finn. “You were da bomb, pun totally intended!” Ratso tilted his head a bit as he suddenly thought of something.

“Hey?” questioned the olive skinned goon. “Ain’t Old Dragon Breath gonna start wondering where his rock is?” Valmont clenched his fist as he looked towards his goons.

“Pity,” sighed the villain. “It’s doing wonders for our cash flow.” Valmont suddenly smiled as he got an idea, Finn catching on as he leaned towards the man.

“What’s on your mind? One more heist, Big V?” The question caused Ratso to smile as Valmont nodded his head.

“One for the history books.”

Two Days Later

Bellwood Academy

Jade tapped her pencil to the beat of the clock, nervous about just getting the day over with. There were only a few kids in the classroom during this detention period, yet it felt like she had many eyes on her. This would probably be because Maynard and Cash were in detention as well, each one seeming to have different reasons for staring at her. The whole situation left her tense, tapping her pencil to the beat of the clock. As soon as the bell rang she packed up her stuff and practically ran out of the room.

She had to get out of there and to the safety of Section 13 before either bully could try anything with her. It wasn’t clear to her what Cash wanted, but she figured that Maynard probably wanted revenge for the knockout. She quickly got what she needed out of her locker as she speed walked down the halls. Jade looked back in order to make sure she wasn’t being followed, only to bump into someone. She slowly turned towards the individual, being met with a smirking Cash.

“Think you could leave without saying hi, Jade Chump?” questioned the bully. “Let’s talk for a moment.” He watched Jade glare at him as she tried to walk around him.

“I’m busy Cash,” groaned the young Chan. “Just leave me alone and go bother someone else.” She would not get her wish as the boy quickly moved to block her yet again.

“Look at you acting like you’re better than me. You act like you’re some goodie two shoes, but you're really just as much of a delinquent as you like to poke fun at me for being. That attack on Maynard was the proof I needed.” He watched Jade growl as she grinded her teeth, hoping that she would blow up on him. To his annoyance she took a deep breath in order to avoid such an outcome as she pushed past him.

“I don’t have time to be stupid with you. Buzz off.” Jade began to walk away from the bully, only for her to feel his hand on her shoulder.

“Don’t walk away from me, Shrimp!” A vein threatened to burst from Jade’s head as she tried to keep her cool, but Cash apparently wasn’t finished yet. “I’m not gonna take crap from some tomboy loser who hangs around Tennyson! I bet you stick with him because you can’t make any friends on your own. You’re just a stupid shut-in who'd look stupid in a dress!”

The very utterance of the word “shut-in” caused Jade’s eyes to widen. Once again the voices of Chinese kids insulting her and bullying her entered her mind. Her anger continued to mount as she tried her best to keep it in. Cash was about to say more when the sound of a stomped foot caught his attention. He looked away from his target to see a very ticked off Ben standing in the doorway of the school, the boy sporting a black eye.

“Let her go, Cash,” ordered the watch hero. “Now. I won’t ask again.” Gwen stood behind him, her arms crossed as she shared the glare that he had. Cash chuckled as he shook his head.

“Looks like your loser ‘friends’ are here to save you. I bet once they realize that you’re no better than me they’ll…” Jade suddenly jerked her way out of Cash’s grip as she turned towards him.

“YOU DON’T KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT ME!” cried the young Chan. Cash braced himself as it looked like Jade was about to kick him, only for the girl to run out of the building. Ben’s eyes widened as he quickly turned to follow her.

“JADE!” cried both Ben and Gwen. The duo rushed after their friend, leaving Cash alone in the hall. He laughed as he crossed his arms.

“That’s right!” cheered the delinquent. “You better run, losers! I don’t need J.T. to rule this school! I’m the best!” His bravado disappeared as he saw a shadow cast over him. He turned around to face whoever was there, only to scream as he was picked up by Maynard.

Meanwhile, Ben and Gwen continued to look around for Jade. She had disappeared from view, making it harder to find her. They feared that they would have to look all over town for her, only to hear a sound from the court.

“Jade!” cried Ben. He was the first to run back to that area, Gwen quickly following him. They searched everywhere they could see, hoping that they would find her. The duo was about to move on when they heard sniffling nearby. They looked behind the stands, finally finding Jade as she had sat down while curling into her legs in an attempt to hide herself.

“Jade,” Gwen gasped. “Are you…” Jade waved them off with one of her arms, giving Ben a good view of the tears running down her face.

“Go away!” cried the young Chan. She returned to her position as she tried to constrict herself tighter. “I just wanna be alone. I don’t know why I thought anything would be different here. I hate this school.”

Jade continued to cry as she tried to deal with all of the emotions that Cash forced to the surface with his targeted attacks. She was surprised when she felt an embrace around her instead of getting a verbal response from the others. She lifted her head to peek a bit as she saw that surprisingly Ben was the one distributing this show of affection.

“Jade, please look at me,” requested the Omnitrix hero. “We’re your friends and that will never change. Even if our connections develop into more, we will always be here for you whenever we can be. Please don’t shut me out.”

Jade blushed slightly behind the cover of her arms while Gwen sent her cousin a knowing smile. Quickly realizing what he just said, Ben loosened his hold as he looked down at his crush. “Us! I meant…” He didn’t get to finish his self-correction as Jade returned his embrace, crying into his shoulder as her left over tears began to wet it. Gwen waited until the duo parted before crouching down to be at eye level with the sitting Jade.

“Jade, what’s this really about?” questioned the redhead. “You know that you can tell us anything, right?” Jade looked down at her lap for a bit, as if contemplating whether she could say anything or not. It was clear to both Tennysons that whatever this was bothered their friend greatly. The foreign girl took a deep breath before she nodded her head.

“Growing up in Hong Kong is nothing like living here in America, especially for girls,” began Jade. “Most girls are lucky if they get to choose what they wear. My parents are a bit of an odd couple there as, when no one is visiting, they let me do what I want to an extent. Still, for as good as they are, there are times where they aren’t around enough or don’t listen when I have something to say. That includes my troubles at my normal school.”

Ben and Gwen looked at each other a moment, sharing a frown before returning their attention to Jade. “A lot of girls would pick on me. ‘Your hair is too long. You look hideous in your uniform. Someone as plain as you should not wear a dress that nice. You dishonor your family with every breath, foolish Chan Yu.’”

At some point she swapped to muttering in Mandarin, a sign that there was more that she’d rather not say out loud. Ben placed a hand on her shoulder as a way to comfort her, causing her to stop and take a breath. “Sorry. Anyway, the kids in Hong Kong made me hate things that I liked about myself. I couldn’t wear any dresses, put on anything blue on school outings, or have my hair long without someone bullying me for it.” Gwen stood up so as to not tire out her legs from crouching so much.

“Haven’t you tried telling your parents?” questioned the redhead. “Maybe you just haven’t found the right time.” Instead of getting the answer that she wanted, Gwen watched as Jade prepared her fingers for counting.

“‘Tell us about it later, Yu. We are very busy, Yu. I'm sorry, Dear, but I really can’t talk right now.’ All things I heard before I could even get to the third sentence when saying it directly. I understand that they’re busy, but I can’t see what’s so important that they can’t hear me out.”

Ben began to fume a bit as he took some deep breaths, allowing Jade time to shake her head. “I couldn’t take the pressure of it all anymore and cut my own hair. That’s not a big deal over here but in Hong Kong, you could say my parents were frightened and angry. That was a big reason for me being sent over here to America and you know what?”

She raised her torso up a bit as she looked to the sky. “I’m really starting to love it here. Things are honestly much nicer over here in America, at least to me. You guys can go wherever you want, dress however you like, and be whoever you want to be and don’t have to worry about dishonoring your family in the process. I don’t get those options where I live unless my parents make something one of their lax subjects. In America I get to be Jade Chan, the fun loving girl with a passion for action.”

Jade looked down at her lap as she curled up, though this time it was more relaxed than last time. “In Hong Kong I’m just plain old Chan Yu, the rich girl who was forced to do things other girls said she couldn’t or shouldn’t do. That’s the real me, the stupid girl I didn’t want anyone to see.” She felt a hand on her chin, turning her head to view Ben’s serious frown.

“That’s not you,” argued the Omnitrix hero. “That’s what those losers wanted you to think you are. Jade, you are the cutest girl I’ve ever met and, dare I say it, the most beautiful. You might not have noticed, but a lot of guys in school tend to look your way from time to time. I… honestly find myself staring sometimes when you’re in the room.”

This bit of info caused Jade to blush, the girl not expecting this news. “Those other girls, they were just jealous of you. You make anything you wear look better. Plain, hideous, and dishonorable? Those three words don’t belong anywhere near describing you.”

Ben ignored the cheeky look Gwen was giving him as he helped Jade stand to her feet. “The real you is who you choose to be, whether you go by Jade or Yu. Wear dresses, put on something blue, style your hair however you want. Find whatever you want to look like and make it your own. Just never forget that if anything bothers you, you can always come to us or reach out to the adults like Jackie and Max.” Gwen held up a pointer finger as she scrunched her face to look more like Uncle’s.

“‘We will deal with problems like Uncle deals with bugs,’” mocked the redhead. She stomped on the ground before crossing her arms with a huff. A few seconds passed before the trio laughed amongst themselves. “Anyway, we should go before everyone worries about us.” She turned around as she began to leave the cover of the bleachers, missing how Jade’s smile had a bit of a loving look.

“Good idea,” agreed the young Chan. “And Ben?” The boy looked her way in response to the question, blushing as he noticed the way she was smiling at him.

“Yeah, Jade?” questioned Ben. “What’s…?” He didn’t get to finish as his crush kissed him on the cheek, causing his brain to stop functioning for a moment. His blush began to rise as she kept her lips in the same spot for a few seconds. She finally pulled back to breathe for air, her smile turning into a grin.

“Thanks for being such a great guy.” Ben tried to find a response, only for gibberish to come out of his mouth. Jade quickly turned away while giggling into her hand, waiting for Ben to regain his composure by shaking his head. “Wait for me, Gwen!” She ran to follow the redhead, Ben taking a few seconds to follow behind.

The Chinese girl laughed as it felt like her crush was chasing her, only to stop as she practically bumped into Gwen. The redhead was standing stiff, a glare on her face. “What’s wrong, Gwen? Is there something…” She followed her friend’s gaze, only to pale as Maynard was standing a foot in front of them.

“Hey Jade!” greeted the bully in a gruff voice. “I wanna talk with you!” Ben arrived just as the other boy began to talk, a frown on his face.

“You better not have come for a fight, Maynard,” growled the alien hero. He placed a protective arm in front of Jade, Gwen getting one of her karate stances ready. The big guy’s face turned to one of fear as he held up his hands in defense.

“Please, don’t hurt me!” A gust of wind passed by the group as they processed the bully’s request. Jade pushed Ben’s arm down a bit as she took a few steps forward.

“So, you’re not looking for revenge?” questioned the young Chan. The group watched in surprise as Maynard slouched a bit, his head down in shame. He poked his pointer fingers together in a meek fashion as he tried to gather his words.

“I’m sorry for causing you guys trouble. I talked with my mom and she didn’t like what I was doing. I also heard your story, Jade, while standing on the bleachers looking for you. I feel bad for hurting your friend and getting you in detention. I always make a mess wherever I go because I’m nervous about being picked on for my weight, which I know isn’t an excuse to be a bully.”

The trio was honestly gob smacked by the words of Maynard, not expecting how practiced this apology was. He looked up as he tried to look Jade in the eye. “I know you don’t have a reason to do anything for me, but I was hoping you could teach me the Ancient Art of Buttwhoop. I’m hoping that by knowing that, I can be less stressed about being picked on and actually make some friends.” Ben frowned as he prepared to retort the big kid’s reasoning, only for Jade to push past him as she crossed her arms in front of her chest.

“First off, the ‘Ancient Art of Buttwhoop’ is kind of just a dumb way I mention it,” honestly answered the young Chan. “It’s Kung Fu, a form of Chinese martial arts. Second, it’s not meant to be used as a weapon outside of defense. Martial arts are about finding the strength within in order to discipline oneself.” Maynard held his hands together in a pleading manner as he lowered his head again.

“Discipline is exactly what I need! Please show me how to be better!” Jade was once again shocked by the outburst of the big guy, though she smiled softly as she nodded her head. Soon the group could be seen walking away from the school together, Ben sticking closer to Jade. What they didn’t know was that Cash was hanging from a tree by his underwear, groaning in discomfort.

“Hello!” cried the bully. “Anyone! HELP!”

The Next Day

Section 13

Jackie took a deep breath as he slowly performed kung fu techniques, Jade watching closely as she tried to mimic him. He was surprised the previous day when she told him what happened, as well as the explanation for her behavior. He felt his blood boil a bit at the news of how her parents were ignoring her troubles, though he was proud of her for telling him and for making peace with a school bully. Now she was soaking up all that she could from his teaching so that she could help said boy learn discipline, something that made him feel a bit of pride. Getting back to the matter at hand, the duo took a deep breath as they made a slow arm motion.

“Free your mind of all thoughts,” instructed Jackie. They pulled their respective arms back to cross over their chests, taking another deep breath. They opened their eyes as they heard footsteps approaching them.

“Aiyah!” cried Uncle. “There is no privacy here! I put my bao in the refrigerator and somebody ate it!” The old man walked past them as he grumbled about the lack of privacy, allowing them to close their eyes as they resumed the lesson.

“Focus only on breathing. Your breathing is slow… deep.” The duo performed a slow motion as Uncle turned to face them.

“One more thing.” The old man watched as the master and student looked his way, Jade having a bit of an annoyed look. “How is your friend Captain Black doing, Jackie?” The question brought up the image of said agent in his hospital bed back to Jackie’s mind. Seeing red, he let loose a roar of rage as he kicked towards a nearby bookshelf. It remained still for a few seconds before it fell to pieces, scattering books everywhere as Jackie took a few deep breaths.

“I… I need some air.” The kung fu master walked out into the main area, leaving his family concerned for him. He stood at the railing as he took a deep breath, unaware as someone approached him.

“Everything alright, Jackie?” questioned a familiar voice. Jackie turned to see Max standing before him, Ben and Gwen at his sides. The archeologist regained his composure as he nodded his head.

“Yes. Just… needed some air.” He looked at Ben, noticing the slightly improved state of his eye. “How are you feeling, Benjamin?” The boy waved him off with a smirk.

“It doesn’t hurt as much anymore,” answered Ben. “Just need some time to recover.” He earned a small smile and a nod from Jackie. Suddenly alarms began to blare throughout the facility. The quartet joined some agents at a nearby monitor as the substitute head agent typed into the computer terminal.

“A big rig was just blown up by a well-dressed gentleman in a dragon mask,” informed the man. Jackie growled at this news, realizing that it had to be Valmont. Max leaned closer as he got a good look at the screen.

“Where did it happen?” questioned the Plumber. “It could give us a lead on where they’re heading next.” The agent quickly began to type as he homed in on the location.

“Route 64. Outside Corydon, Indiana.” Jackie quickly realized something as he also leaned a bit closer.

“Speeding distance from Fort Knox, Kentucky…” stated the kung fu master. The agent at the monitor quickly typed as he applied an algorithm to the location variable. Yellow dots lined the road down towards the stated location, several screens displaying the one thing that Valmont would want from the location.

“And the US gold repository! Mobilize, now!” Max looked amongst the running people as he shook his head.

“I’ll catch up,” revealed the old man. “I need to grab something from my personal gear.” The man began to walk away as Jackie began to follow after the agents.

“I am going with you,” informed the kung fu master. “With any luck we…” Jackie stopped as he felt a tug on the back of his shirt, looking back to see the concerned look on Jade’s face.

“Uh, Jackie,” began the girl. “You’re not a secret agent. You’re an archeologist, right?” Jade watched as the man turned towards her, his smile telling her she had nothing to worry about while his eyes hid the fury he felt. He knelt down to eye level with her, doing his best not to falter.

“I know that, Jade. I’m just going to retrieve a talisman.” Jackie didn’t give her time to respond as he stood up. He rushed towards the departing agents, leaving the girl behind. Uncle walked up beside her, a frown on his face.

“His anger clouds his judgment,” stated the chi wizard. “He cannot do this alone.” Jade crossed her arms under her chest, remembering the words Ben said yesterday.

“Then it’s up to us as his family to get him back on track.”

Fort Knox, Kentucky

Fort Knox was regarded as the most secure gold reserve in the United States, armed guards patrolling the entire building. They prided themselves on this security, even having armed tanks to intimidate anyone from breaking in with a machine. As far as they were concerned, nothing could get into their facility. Little did they know that this mentality would be shattered that night. Two military personnel officers were watching over the gold when they felt the ground rumble.

“What’s that!?” cried one of the men. His question was answered as a massive explosion broke part of the floor, sending debris everywhere and the MPs to the ground. Blazing energy caused the smoke to disperse as Valmont rose from the hole, using fire at his feet to float a bit before landing on the ground. He got a good look at the gold around him, taking a deep breath. This was going to be the biggest haul of his life, his eyes glowing red in delight.

Several armed vehicles approached the entrance to the fort, the guards seemingly unaware of the dangerous situation inside. The vans were stopped at the gate by an MP, causing Jackie to growl in the back. An MP approached the leading vehicle, being met with the temporary leader of the agents.

“This is a restricted area,” stated the guard. “I need to see a badge before you can enter.” The agent leaned towards the man with a serious look.

“We’re here on official business,” informed the temporary head of Section 13. “I need to speak with your commanding officer.” Realizing that this would take too long, Jackie secretly opened the side door just to where he could squeeze out. He shut it back as soon as he exited the vehicle, rushing as quietly as he could to find an alternative entrance to the fort. Unaware of this, the MP remained in place as he kept his eye on the agent in the driver’s seat.

“Really? Who are you with?” The agent narrowed his eyes a bit in an attempt to display the seriousness of the matter.

“Section 13.” He waited to see if the men would let them in based on their department name. He was sorely disappointed as the MP sent him a raised brow.

“Who?” The agent looked around, making sure that no one was eavesdropping. He then leaned into whispering distance.

“The grass is always greener on the sunny side of the gopher hole.” He once again waited, hoping that the MP would get it. He would once again be disappointed as the MP appeared to be even more confused than before.

As this was going on, Jackie easily used the trees to jump the wall. He snuck through the yard, hiding behind a tree to stay out of sight. He looked for some way to get in without being noticed, quickly spotting a rope used for a climbing drill. He smirked as he ran over to the obstacle course. Upon breaking the rope and a large enough piece of wood off, he tied the two objects together before flinging the wood up to the roof.

Thankfully, it caught perfectly against an object at the top. Jackie climbed as quickly as he could, pulling himself up onto the roof. He reeled the rope up just in time as some guards were rounding the corner.

Inside the building, several MPs were tied up and gagged in order to keep them from hitting the alarm. Several forklifts were seen transporting pallets piled with gold bars into the now curved hole, sending them to an unknown location. Valmont smiled at the work his men were putting in, savoring this victory. His smile disappeared as he noticed that Tohru was moving too slow for his liking. He growled as he turned to face the big man, watching as he grabbed one of the pallets by its base.

“Faster, Tohru,” ordered the head villain. “Lift with your legs.” The big villain growled as he lifted the pallet in a strong man’s carry, his muscles tensing from the pressure. Tohru grunted as he walked with the gold, the weight uncomfortable to him. None of them noticed the faint movement up above.

Jackie crawled across the catwalk, making sure not to be seen. He looked over the railing just as Valmont looked to his palm, spotting the dragon talisman. Jackie stood up in preparation for a surprise attack, only for Valmont to look towards his men. “A shame that Captain Black won’t be visiting today. I understand that he had a doctor’s appointment.”

The head villain suddenly began to laugh, his men joining him. Jackie growled up above, enraged by the fact they were making humor out of what they did to his friend. Unable to contain his anger, he let loose a roar as he hit his hand against the railing of the catwalk. This caused everyone to look his way as he held his hand while hissing from the pain. “CHAN!”

Jackie quickly realized that he messed up, though it was too late as Valmont charged up a fire shot. The kung fu master tried to run, but the attack was launched at him as it destroyed the catwalk. Jackie fell to the ground with a thud, groaning in pain before he was grabbed by Tohru and Ratso. He was lifted up by his arms, his feet unable to touch the ground.

Valmont got a good look at his enemy, the scowl on his face showing that he was not impressed. “So this is the famous Jackie Chan. Finally, we meet. I loved watching your live action movies, though your animated appearances always annoyed me.” He pointed the dragon talisman at Jackie, charging up the energy within.

Valmont grinned as his veins pulsated on his head. “It was nice knowing you.” Jackie growled as he tried to find a way out of the hold, sweating as he looked around the room. He suddenly noticed a dummy moving in the background, one of the villains looking towards it before Uncle knocked him out with a pressure point squeeze. Jackie looked around frantically before finally figuring out what to say.

“You… uh…want the other talismans. Don’t you, Valmont?” The head villain remained still, his expression hidden behind his mask as he lowered his still charged hand.

“Continue.” The mob boss failed to notice as a blue energy hit an overhead light, causing it to fall onto one of his goons’ heads and knock them out. Jackie smiled as he nodded his head.

“I’ll make you a deal. Show you where Section 13 is.” Valmont hummed in interest, seriously thinking over the offer. He was about to respond when he noticed the confused look on Ratso’s face. The olive skinned man pointed to the training dummy that Jackie noticed moving earlier.

“Was that always there?” questioned Ratso. Valmont and his goons looked towards the dummy, Jade shaking as she hid behind it. One of the men was about to check it out when Lucky Girl jumped on top of one of the gold stacks.

“Cryonis!” cried the magical girl. The villains looked towards her as she froze the man who almost discovered Jade with an icy blast. Finn’s eyes widened as he pointed at the girl.

“It’s Lucky Girl!” cried the well-dressed goon. “Those Tennyson freaks are here!” Seizing the opportunity, Jackie ducked down as he forced Tohru and Ratso to butt heads. The two men groaned as they slid to the ground, Jackie ignoring their pain as he entered a kung fu stance. This caused Valmont to growl in anger as his men ran to grab Lucky Girl.

One of the men ran by the training dummy, only for Jade to pick it up and hit him over the head with it. She ran to try and attack another one, but he grabbed the dummy and began to wrestle her for it. She smirked as she let go, sneaking between the man’s spread legs to get behind him. The goon suddenly grunted as the weight of the dummy dragged him down a bit, confusing him with how sudden the change was. He dropped the dummy on the ground as he looked around for the girl, his target moving perfectly in step behind him.

“Where’d that shrimp go!?” roared the man. He suddenly let out a pain filled cry as Jade kicked him where the sun doesn’t shine. His knees buckled as he fell forward, passing out from the pain. Jade harrumphed as she wiped her shoe on the ground. She looked up as Uncle stood over her, his arms crossed.

“What?” questioned the young Chan. “He called me Shrimp. I’m working on the anger thing.” Uncle continued to look at her in a scolding manner as a goon ran up to punch him. The old man simply raised his fist as fast as he could, hitting the goon in the face and causing him to slump to the floor.

“Jade,” began Uncle. “The talisman.” The girl sent him an innocent look as she rubbed the back of her head, the Rooster Talisman firmly shoved in her bra as it poked through the stretched material.

“I’ll put it back when we get home. I promise.” The sound of more goons yelling caused them to look away from each other. Uncle could only sigh in disapproval as he readied himself. All he could do was hope this wouldn’t become a habit.

As this was going on, Valmont aimed the charged talisman at Jackie. The kung fu master quickly grabbed the villain’s hand, squeezing it to where he’d lose concentration from the pain. They walked around in circles for a bit before Valmont shoved Jackie away with a kick to the gut. Jackie rubbed the offended area, only to stop when he noticed Valmont letting loose a silent scream of rage. The villain held his left hand forward, this time unleashing multiple blasts of fire.

Jackie screamed out of fear as he began to run from the blasts. The other minions nearby were forced to run as well, Finn nearly being hit by some of the flames. The villain continued to run as he looked back, only to run into a fist before falling over. The fist was attached to Uncle’s arm, the chi wizard lowering it as he heard another goon run towards him. The man tried to punch the geezer, only for Uncle to block the attack with a gold bar.

The villain screamed as he held his appendage, not given a chance to fully react as someone jumped off his head. He looked up as Lucky Girl jumped on top of the gold stack behind Uncle. The grunt was in too much pain to react as the girl charged up her ice spell again.

“Cryonis!” cried the magical girl. The attack hit the man dead center, trapping him in magical ice. Uncle looked towards Lucky Girl, narrowing his eyes as he recognized her.

“Gwendolyn?” questioned the chi wizard. Gwen gasped, surprised that the old man picked her out through her disguise. “You know magi…” Uncle was suddenly cut off as a buff grunt locked him in an arm pin from behind. Jade got an idea as she waved to the old man.

“Uncle!” cried the young Chan. “How do you spray for bugs!?” She watched as the old chi wizard widened his eyes in understanding.

“Like this!” He suddenly stomped on the buff man’s foot as hard as possible, forcing the enemy to release him. The grunt hopped on one foot as he turned around in one place. He completed a full circle before stopping where Uncle was facing him. “One more thing.” Instead of saying something, the old man hit the man’s chest in just the right way to make him pass out and fall to the ground. He then took a fighting stance while letting out a huff.

Back with Jackie, he leapt over Valmont in order to dodge another fire blast. He landed perfectly on his feet, his mind running on autopilot. He then turned on a dime as he tried to kick at the head villain, said man blocking each strike. With every attack, the thought of Captain Black in the hospital bed flashed in his mind. Valmont then used an opening to grab Jackie by the shirt and throw him over his shoulder.

“Looks like someone’s sloppy today,” gloated the dragon masked villain. “Mayhaps my parting gift to Captain Black left you with some pent up aggression. Let me relieve you of it, by sending you where he’s going.” He quickly fired a huge blast of flames at Jackie, seemingly hitting dead center as the kung fu master disappeared in the huge torrent. Jade’s eyes widened in horror at the sight before her.

“JACKIE!” cried the young Chan. Valmont laughed at the cry of despair, letting the power go to his head. To everyone’s shock, however, the blast seemed to bend in towards its target. Valmont stopped his attack in confusion, only for his eyes to widen as the flames were slurped up by Heatblast. The flaming alien took a few steps forward, the talisman magic seemingly increasing the intensity of his flame.

“This ends today, Valmont,” growled the hero. “Drop the talisman and surrender, or we’ll see if that suit looks better green or charcoal black.” Valmont growled as he clenched his fists.

“I WILL NOT BE STOPPED BY A BRAT!” He tried to blast the boy again, only for him to eat the fire once more. Heatblast powered up the increased energy in his right hand as a contrast to Valmont, growling in annoyance.

“Don’t say that I didn’t warn you.” He fired an attack right back at Valmont, this one actually being bigger than anything the villain had produced prior. Valmont had to jump into the entry hole he made to avoid the attack, everyone else running out of the huge area it affected. In the hole, Chow was waiting for the others in a huge flatbed truck as he felt the heat in the area begin to rise. He suddenly saw Valmont land on the ground, sending him the symbol to drive before leaping up onto the gold. Knowing better than to question his boss, the Asian man quickly put the pedal to the metal as they made their grand escape.

Heatblast was about to jump in when he felt a gunshot hit his shoulder. One of the random goons had gotten up and thought he could just shoot the alien in the shoulder, only the shot chipped some stone off the surface as he missed. Tohru roared as he ran to restrain Ben with a metal beam, only for a big metal fist to send him flying into the goon that shot the boy. The Plumber mech stood tall as Finn started to get up, the machine aiming its weapons at him. Instead of fighting, the well-dressed Enforcer returned to laying on the ground, cradling himself as a sign of his defeat. Heatblast was about to go back down the hole when Jackie stood up.

“You can’t stop them alone!” cried the kung fu master. “Let me…” Heatblast looked back at the man with a serious frown.

“You could have taken Valmont if your head was in the game, talisman or not. You have a family that needs you, Jackie. Let me handle this.” He didn’t wait for the kung fu master’s reply as he jumped into the hole. If he had stuck around, he would have watched the Shadowkhan collect the Dark Hand members and vanish.

The tunnel led to an abandoned dock, a massive transport ship on the other side. The flatbed quickly zoomed over the wooden structure, the boards snapping beneath its weight but not breaking apart. Valmont gestured for the captain to get the boat moving as soon as the land vehicle was onboard, the man doing so as he pushed a lever forward. A bright light shined from the tunnel as Heatblast grew closer to the group. Valmont growled as he raised his left hand towards the hole.

“I HAVE HAD IT TO HERE WITH ALIEN FREAKS!” roared the rich villain. This time he fired a blast so powerful that he fell back onto his rear, his dragon mask falling off. The attack caused the cave to be covered by a huge pile of rubble. The blonde villain huffed as he began to smile, only for an even bigger blast to send the rocks in the way flying into the water.

Heatblast came rocketing out of the tunnel while riding a burning stone, controlling it like a surfboard as he chased after the boat. Chow readied a gun as he aimed at the alien, only for his mind to make him imagine the kid underneath the flaming stone exterior. For the first time in his career he was unable to pull the trigger as Heatblast jumped off the stone, causing it to crash mere feet in front of the Asian villain. The impact sent Chow flying, crashing into the captain as they both fell into the water. Heatblast landed in front of Valmont, his frown still present.

“Nowhere to run now, Valmont. It’s over.” The villain growled for a bit, only to grin as he shook his head.

“I couldn’t agree more, Benjamin. You see, our fellow acquaintance Mrs. Rojo told me more than just your identity. I know about your little time limit. Judging by the fact that your little transformation was probably recent, your time is almost up.” He expected the boy to run, only to frown as he watched him smirk.

“Then let’s finish this quickly.” Heatblast suddenly began grabbing some gold bars, melting them slightly in his grasp as he threw them into the water. “Oops~.” He repeated this action multiple times, sending melted gold into the water. Valmont became more and more annoyed as his veins pulsed more and more.

“Stop it! I said stop! TENNYSON!” The villain raised his hand into the air as he called upon the full power of the Dragon Talisman. Heatblast quickly leapt back as he picked up the rock shard.

“And that’s my cue to leave.” He surfed away on the rock as it ignited, dodging the huge fiery blast that Valmont shot at him. The attack burnt the boat to where it cut in half, each side slowly sinking into the water. Valmont huffed and puffed as his eyes widened in terror. He fell into the water below before he could say anything.

Valmont eventually washed up on the shore, coughing up water as he pulled himself up on a rock. He looked up to see Chow standing before him, a concerned look on his face. The head villain growled as he held his hand out to the man.

“What are you waiting for!? Help me!” Chow gulped as he shook his head in denial.

“Um… we got company,” revealed the Asian villain. Several Shadowkhan suddenly made their presence known, one grabbing Chow while another approached Valmont. The head of the Dark Hand tried to hold onto the talisman, but the shinobi retrieved it from him. He felt the fiery power leave him as two khan grabbed him by his arms. The shinobi disappeared into the shadows with their catch, leaving no trace that anyone was there.

Two Days Later

Bellwood Hospital, Bellwood, Pennsylvania

The sound of beeping finally awoke Captain Black, the man groaning in pain. His burn was already beginning to agitate him, his skin also itching for reasons he couldn’t understand. He couldn’t remember what happened, other than he saw Valmont and felt a burning pain. Whatever happened, he needed to get back into action. He hissed once again as he tried to get up, only for Jackie to run to his side and stop him by placing a hand on an unburnt portion of him.

“Take it easy, Augustus,” stated Jackie in a soothing manner. He gently pushed the secret agent back down onto the bed before removing his hand. “The doctor says you can leave in a week’s time IF you rest. You’ve been burnt badly.” Captain Black was about to make a remark about how he noticed, only for the agent who temporarily took up his position to walk over.

“Sir, good to see you up and at ’em,” greeted the man. Jackie turned to face him while Captain Black looked his way. “Salvage operations recovered the bullion from the river, though some gold bars seemed to have been melted by some unknown means. This made retrieval slightly more difficult.” Captain Black did not break eye contact with the man, only having one thing on his mind.

“Valmont?” questioned the captain. The agent closed his eyes as he lowered his head, shaking it in denial. Jackie sighed as he turned back towards his friend.

“That means that the Dark Hand still has the talisman,” stated the kung fu master. “They will be free to use its magic the next time they…” He was cut off as Captain Black sent a glare his way.

“Jackie. The ‘M’ word.” Augustus watched as the archaeologist sent him a flabbergasted look.

“But you saw its power for yourself! It even injured you!” Captain Black tried to think back on the incident as he looked forward, only to grab his head in pain.

“I remember having Valmont in my sight. The rest is a blur.” This news had Jackie slump forward, feeling like this was karma for worrying the others.

Xiaoling Industries

Valmont stood before Shendu once again, his head down in reverence. The dragon was not pleased that the Dragon Talisman was not immediately returned to him, smoke pouring from his stone maw as if prepared to burn the mob boss. He had to think of his next words carefully, knowing that they could end up being his last. This was not the time to make excuses. He bowed deeply to Shendu, the dragon’s smoke ceasing for only a moment.

“Shendu, I beg your forgiveness,” requested the head of the Dark Hand. Shendu remained silent, Valmont waiting for a fire blast. The dragon finally hummed, causing him to look up at its tone head.

“You may earn it, Valmont,” offered Shendu. “Rumor has it that a talisman has surfaced at the North Pole. Dress warmly.” The dragon chuckled smugly under its breath, causing Valmont to growl. Knowing that the alternative was death, he had no choice but to deal with this punishment.

Bellwood Academy

Jade walked through the halls, feeling the stares of kids looking her way in surprise. It took her a while to decide on this, though she had encouragement from Gwen to go for it. What surprised her was how right Ben was when he mentioned boys looking her way. Now that she was paying attention due to her new look, the boys around were definitely giving her second glances upon seeing her. It actually put a pep in her step, though she honestly thought there was only one guy she wanted an opinion from.

Hence why she was quick to get to the lunch room where her friend group usually sat. Her skipping actually saved her as she practically jumped over a foot from Cash that was meant to trip her, the boy looking gob smacked as she wasn’t even looking. Jade smiled as she saw Maynard sitting on the opposite side of the table from Ben and Gwen. She came to a stop when she noticed another person among the group, sitting beside the big guy. To her surprise it was one of her other friends, Simone Magus.

Simone was a tan skinned girl with brown eyes and long black hair that flowed below her waist. She was wearing a cream t-shirt with a white and black play mask displayed on the front, silver stud earrings, a long red skirt, white short socks, and black flats. Jade wasn’t expecting the girl to be there, only to shrug it off as she continued on her way. She soon noticed that her usual spot next to Ben was left nice and open for her, causing her to grin as she transitioned to a run. She skidded to a halt as she stood at the end of the table, putting her lunchbox down.

“Hey guys!” greeted the young Chan. “What do you think?” Everyone but Ben looked her way, the boy seemingly preoccupied by his game. Simone gave her a surprised smile, Maynard sent her a nod with his own small smile, and Gwen smirked as if she knew something. Gwen quickly bopped Ben lightly, the boy being annoyed at being interrupted from his game until he noticed Jade’s lunch box beside him.

“Oh hey Jade!” greeted the boy. “What’s goi…?” He finally looked to where she was standing, his words dying in his throat. His mouth remained open from where he stopped in his sentence. Sparkles filled his eyes as he looked her up and down, creating an outline around the girl.

Jade’s hair had finally grown to where it ran just below her shoulders, the girl pulling it back into a small pony tail while letting her bangs frame her face. She had swapped her pink lipstick for a light blue one, the way it shined giving him goosebumps. She was wearing a light blue qipao with a white lotus pattern at the hem, some petals detailed along her chest area and back. This time it was a full length one, reaching down to her ankles as it looked like a fancy dress. The qipao split at the thigh on both sides, revealing black leggings underneath. The look was completed by black shoes that also carried a white lotus design and a small white handbag that she had draped over her shoulder.

Ben blushed as the outfit was not as loose as her usual outfits, revealing her growing bosom and the slight curve to her rear. He hadn’t felt so many butterflies in his stomach since that day at the beach in San Francisco. Liking the way he was staring at her, Jade did a quick turnaround that gave him a full view of her attire. “Well? What’s the verdict, Ben?” Having finally heard Jade speak, Ben quickly forced his mouth shut as he nodded his head enthusiastically.

“Um… is this how you dressed in Hong Kong?” questioned the boy. He waved his hands in a defensive manner as he caught himself. “It looks great! Really great. I knew you’d make anything look good!” Jade blushed as she held her hands behind her back, allowing her chest to be pushed out a bit more.

“Thanks. It’s not uncommon to see people dressed like this back home, though it also depends on your status. I’d normally have a school uniform back there, but I figured it’d be fine in America for me to wear this to school. Then again, wearing such flashy things isn’t exactly normal here. I figured I’d save my longer qipaos for special occasions, but today felt like one to me.” Gwen nodded her head as she grinned.

“Ben actually said something right for once,” joked the redhead. “You look beautiful, Jade.” The Chinese girl’s smile grew before she immediately took a seat beside Ben, causing him to blush as she leaned on him a bit. Ben felt his heart beat fast with how close the girl was, making his emotions run wild. Jade looked around the table, soon remembering that Simone was among them.

“You don’t usually sit with us, Simone. Not that I don’t like having you with us but is there a reason you decided to sit here?” The girl nodded as she held her hands in her lap.

“Yes,” revealed the theater girl. “Gwen told me that you were looking to try and work on your style a bit, so I wanted to show my support. I have to say the new you looks wonderful by the way. Gwen also mentioned how the both of you were going to teach the boys martial arts like Kung Fu so…” Simone was cut off as Jade shook her head with a chuckle.

“Simone, you don’t have to butter me up to be part of our group. Being our friend and promising to only use martial arts in defense of yourself and others is all we ask. We’ll be practicing after school so make sure you have some gym clothes or something loose so that you don’t rip a good outfit. We don’t need to be giving anyone a surprise show.” Simone blushed at the implications, nodding her head as she chuckled in embarrassment. Cash walked over to the group, clapping his hands with a mock smirk.

“Well look at my fellow delinquent, all dressed up like the girl she is,” began the boy. “You can look as fancy as you want, but you’re still no better than the rest of us?” Ben growled as he clenched his fists, only for Jade to hug his arm close to her chest.

“For your information, Cash, this particular qipao is only twenty bucks in American dollars. It’s not much more expensive than an average t-shirt. Heck, I’ve seen pants that cost way more than this.” The bully growled as his eyebrow twitched. He grinned as he pointed at her.

“You might be dressing more like a girl now, but I know what you are. Remember that you’re one bad day away from being just like me.” Ben was about ready to tell Cash off, only for Maynard to stand up. Cash was immediately intimidated as he took a few steps back. Jade actually began to snort a laugh, the sound causing the guys to look her way.

"Nice job, Cash. Quoting a homicidal maniac from a comic book, in the middle of a school at that. With your behavior recently, it kinda says something about who you're becoming as a person." Whispers soon went off around the cafeteria, some gasps of concern following. The bully suddenly jerked as he shook his head.

“No! I… I was just…” The boy roared in fury as he stomped away, a few kids sending teasing looks at him. Jade smirked as she dusted her hands off.

“And that, my friends, is how you win a fight without actually fighting.” The others chuckled at her witty solution, Simone nearly falling out of her seat before Maynard caught her. Ben suddenly boppped his forehead with his palm before standing up.

“I think I left something at home!” cried the boy. “I gotta call Mom and see if she can find it. ‘Scuze me for a moment.” He earned the normal replies as he grabbed up his stuff and left. Instead of going for his locker, he immediately ducked into the boys’ bathroom.

He entered one of the stalls before immediately pulling out his phone to make a call, putting the device to his ear. “Mom, I need help! I’m in love and I don’t know what to do!” He suddenly heard a loud squeal on the other side, his mother obviously excited by the news. He was thankful that no one else was in the room, otherwise they would have definitely heard the cry that almost made him go deaf in one ear.

Fort Knox, Kentucky

Max found himself in a private room as he stood watch over a platoon of MPs, the men waiting for a briefing of the events two days prior. Normally the events would have seen just one department handling the situations, though Ben always tended to make things an alien situation. Still, he didn’t mind as long as good work was being done. It also helped that he was only there to oversee the briefing, not deliver it. That job belonged to the woman who stood in front of the men.

She had short, dark brown hair, green eyes, and fair skin. She wore a dark blue latex catsuit with a zipper that ran from the hole for her head to her lower chest region, black boots that extended to just below her knees, and a black belt with a clip buckle on the front and a gun holster on the side. An earpiece was firmly placed in her right ear, some radio static being heard from it. The symbol for her division was emblazoned into the shoulders of her suit, a circular badge depicting an eagle surrounded by the words “Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division.” She walked alongside the row of men before stopping at the man in the middle, the individual standing in front of the rest of the men.

“Command Sergeant Major Hall,” greeted the woman. “What do you know about the events that took place here 48 hours ago?” The commander adjusted his stance to stand a bit taller, being over a head taller than the woman in front of him, signifying that he heard her.

“Members of the persons of interest group known as the Dark Hand attacked the fort from underground,” detailed the Command Sergeant Major. “They assaulted my men with an unknown weapon, causing major damage to the structure. Assistance from an unknown group and a machine bearing the insignia of the Plumber Division arrived before the criminals could steal the bullion within. Much of the gold needed to be retrieved from the river.” The agent nodded her head as she turned towards him.

“Do you know what magic is, Hall?” The man nodded in response. “There have been several documented cases of it being used within the past few years. Files confirming the existence of magic were detailed to every major division and base under US control. You never thought to confirm the existence of magic to your troops?” The man shook his head in denial.

The agent’s expression was unreadable as she remained in place. “After recent events, do you believe your choice to remain silent was warranted?” The Commander sweated a bit as he shook his head.

“With all due respect, ma’am, my men would have thought I had lost my mind. In spite of it being known, magic is still a scrutinized phenomenon.” The woman did not show a physical response to his words as she continued to look him in the eye.

“This will be detailed in the report. A detail of note you neglected to mention was that personnel from the division known as Section 13 attempted to enter the premises with prior knowledge of the attack. The guard showed no recognition towards the division or its security code. You have access to such intel, do you not?” The commander nodded his head in response.

“Yes Ma’am. In defense of my men, Section 13 was only founded 10 years ago. Many divisions have had trouble committing them to memory ever since. I can guarantee that I will personally see to it that my men do not make the same mistake again.” The woman shook her head in denial.

“That won’t be necessary, Commander Sergeant Major. You’ve been reassigned to a different facility, effective immediately. Magister Tennyson of the Plumber Division will be overseeing the training of troops and maintaining the integrity of this base until a suitable replacement can be authorized. You are dismissed.” The man nodded his head before making his way out of the room, a low growl leaving his throat.

The agent then looked to the remaining troops as she nodded her head. “The rest of you will return to your quarters and await further instructions. You let an unknown party enter the base by unknown means. Had they been an enemy faction, it is not guaranteed the bullion would have been recovered and lives could have been lost. Reflect on your performance. Dismissed.”

The soldiers filtered out, their expressions unreadable. The agent remained in place, gathering her thoughts. Max walked over to her as he nodded his head.

“Hall is a good soldier, Agent Hill,” stated the old man. “He was overly cautious, but he did good work. Given some time he could grow to be even better. What are SHIELD’s plans for him, because we both know Fury doesn’t let good soldiers go to waste.” The woman looked towards him, her expression still unreadable.

“That’s classified information. Magister Tennyson, Director Fury has a message for you. Your grandson is causing issues for SHIELD, issues your division should be handling. If you cannot get him under control, the Director will deliver an ultimatum himself. Either he keeps the ‘heroics’ out of the public eye or SHIELD will have the watch removed.” Max remained stoic as he stood still, though the tip of his lip flicked a bit.

“He’s a young boy, but he’s growing to become more mature. He will learn to control his impulses in time, time Fury has in spades. It is important to remind you that if SHIELD does attempt to remove the Omnitrix, there would be complications with the Galvan people. The trust of Azimuth was difficult to obtain, and we both know what will happen if Earth becomes involved in an intergalactic incident at our current technological level.” The woman shook her head in denial.

“It’s not my decision to make, Magister. The council will have the watch removed and a suitable replacement determined if the boy can’t control himself. If he continues to cause incidents within the next year, Director Fury will have no choice but to act for the safety of everyone. This includes Ben, as we both know what happens when the council makes up their mind. This is the last warning SHIELD can officially give you, Magister.”

Max was about to respond, only for Agent Hill to bring her hand to her communicator. She nodded her head before looking at the old man. “I’m needed back at HQ. Another thing to note, Maxwell, is that SHIELD will need to get involved with this artifact case if it continues to endanger the public. Either contain them or destroy them, or we will.”

The woman walked out of the room, leaving Max alone. He sighed, wiping sweat from his brow. SHIELD was always an obstacle when it came to doing his job in the past, but now they were jeopardizing his grandson’s future. Still, he had to work with them as required by the rules of the Plumbers. He resigned himself to become more proactive in Ben’s training as he walked out of the room, leaving it vacant.

That’s all for this one! It ended up being a lot bigger than I thought it would be, but there was so much that I felt would be perfect to have here. The details about things Jade likes is actual information about her character that I’ve found through research and heard from friends. I also decided to show for definite that the characters are on the cusp of becoming teenagers. Overall, I’m proud of the emotions and character development I was able to display here.

Anyway, what did you think about the chapter? Did you like how Jade handled things here more than the original episode? How about her new look and the fact that Maynard is taking a more prominent role in her friend group? Let me know what you think down below and I’ll try to get back with you ASAP. This is Inkaliber, signing out.

Chapter 9: Hearts and Stone

Chapter Text

Hey guys! It’s time once again for Chan in Bellwood! I know that the rat talisman is next, but this is one of those where I’ll ask you to not expect everything to go the same. There will be huge changes inside as the original one just doesn’t feel like it fits how the story’s been going so far. I’m hoping that the change will be interesting and that you’ll enjoy it just the same as the other chapters.

Another thing to note is that I have gone back and overhauled the quality of the previous chapters. Some received simple error checking while others underwent small changes. There have even been new sections of content added to some chapters, the biggest one taking the form of an Omake. I’ll ask you to please read through the prior chapters again before continuing with this one. There are references to said new sections that will be confusing without rereading the content beforehand. If you’ve done that or you started reading the story after this chapter was published, there’s just one more announcement I have.

It is with a heavy heart that I inform you that I will be removing Kim Possible and the DC series as part of the universe this story takes place in. I realized that I could not find a way to include them in the story and in the universe that would make sense with how things are changing. While many series are leaving this fan series, another will be joining it. It will be a while before I show this series off, so please be patient. With that out of the way, it’s time to answer some reviewers.

The_Literary_Lord: It’s more that he finally realizes what he’s feeling. We’ll just have to see if he even keeps it secret, lol!

P96822: I’m glad that you liked it! I wanted to show Jade growing as a character, so giving her some things to work through seemed like a good idea. I will admit that it would have been great to have in the show. Ben is indeed being smooth, whether he means to be or not. Hope this one will be interesting for ya!

ArguableReader: I agree that it’s sad we never saw Maynard again. I do agree that it took Cash’s life being put on the line for him to mellow out. I wish that we could have gotten more from or of the JCA series so that we could see some of the things that they couldn’t use originally. The last bit was both genuine and for the laughs.

Reader: Thanks! It honestly felt good to flesh out Jade as a character here. Ben definitely appreciated her character development himself. Jackie was angry in the original episode, so it was easy to show the anger here as I really didn’t need to change much. I am saving Alien Force events for the next story, but I do have some things planned for a few aliens and Rook.

kitsunefan: Thanks!

That looks like everyone. Let’s start this thing right. I don’t own Jackie Chan Adventures, Ben 10, or any other series that may appear here. I do own OC characters, species, objects, and concepts unless stated otherwise. Action!

Voices

“Talking.”

‘Thinking.’

“YELLING!”

“Author/Guest/High or demonic entity talking. Also, surprise at the end of a section.”

“AUTHOR/GUEST/HIGH OR DEMONIC ENTITY YELLING!”

“Whispering.”

“Author/Guest/High or demonic entity whispering.”

[Language Indicator]

“Machine or alt communication talking/Talking in flashback.”

“MACHINE OR ALT COMMUNICATION YELLING/YELLING IN FLASHBACK!”

“Machine or alt communication whispering/Whispering in flashback.”

Bellwood, Pennsylvania

Ben tried to pay attention to the class he currently found himself in, History being a subject he was averaging a C in. It wasn’t that he was bad at the subject, but he wasn’t always the best when it comes to these kinds of courses. Of course, he was currently having issues with his attention span as it was drawn somewhere else. His eyes wandered over to said interest, doing his best to make sure that he wasn’t noticed. No matter how hard he tried, he still couldn’t get over Jade’s new appearance.

Her hair was able to grow out more over the past couple of weeks, making her ponytail go from short to medium. He couldn’t help but feel hot under the collar as he thought about her beauty, which he didn’t expect would grow as much as it did when she started showing off more of her interests through her appearance. She was currently wearing a pink tank top, a blue bra (if the strap peeking out from the strap of the shirt was anything to go by), a blue plaid skirt, another pair of black leggings, and simple white tennis shoes. Even with this outfit being more casual than the qipao that she showed off that day, the boy still felt exactly the same way.

Whenever she’d look his way, he’d look back towards the teacher and act like he was paying close attention. If there was something important, he’d ask someone for their notes and later use Graymatter to read over the chapters so that he could get a better understanding of what he missed. It was already challenging enough to make sure she didn’t notice he was looking at her, the snickering of Gwen nearby not helping anything. The boy sighed as he rested his head in his palms, not sure what to do. He couldn’t stop himself as his mind went back to the talk he had with his parents about the whole situation.

Flashback

It was the day he called his mother to cry out about his panic over his discovery. Sure he had crushes here and there, but he had never been in love before. Any thoughts of Kai Green, that Julie girl who Jade sometimes hangs out with, or any other girl he met on his grandfather’s Summer Road Trips left his mind to make room for his new feelings. He needed help, and there were only two people he could rely on for it. Hence why he was sitting on the couch as his mother was gushing in front of him while his father sat in his recliner.

“My baby boy’s in love!” cried Sandra Tennyson. She walked back and forth as she took in the surrealness of the situation. “I was worried that you were never going to find a girl until you reached your late teens. I can’t wait to meet this girl and plan your wedding!” Ben leaned forward as he shot his mother an annoyed blush.

“Mom!” cried the young Tennyson. “Stay focused, please! We aren’t even dating yet and I don’t know if she likes me back! It’s too early to be putting wedding ideas in my head!” He was grateful when his father joined him in leaning forward.

“Honey, he has a point,” informed Mr. Tennyson. “Let’s handle things one step at a time.” Sandra looked towards her husband at this notion, sighing as she put her hands on her hips.

“Sorry, but you can’t blame me!” cried the woman. “It’s not every day a mother has her son come to her wanting advice on how to handle his relationships.” Ben quickly cleared his throat to get his mother’s attention, causing her to turn back his way. “Right! So, before we begin, what made you realize that you fell for little Miss Jade?” Ben poked his fingers together as he tried to think of a good response.

“Well, I had a lot of time to think about it while at school today,” revealed the boy. “It started when we went on that trip to Mexico. There I began to grow jealous because a boy named Paco kept getting close to her, either arguing or just talking with her in general. Then there was a moment that she leaned on me while complaining about a bad day she had. We later saw her on TV, and I couldn’t help saying that she made her explorer get-up look nice.”

He allowed his hands to fall into his lap as a small smile appeared on his face. “After that there were times where she’d hug me tight and even this one time where I caught her from sliding down a rail and she called me ‘her hero’. Don’t even get me started on that time I saw her in a bathing suit that week we went to San Francisco. Anyway, just a few weeks ago Gwen and I helped her feel better after all that drama at school made her upset. She unloaded a lot on us and I tried to help her as best as I could. After that, when Gwen ran ahead of us, Jade decided to thank me by… kissing me on the cheek.”

He winced as his mother cooed in surprise and his father sent him a knowing look. Ben decided to finish his explanation as he leaned back against the couch. “Then she showed up today in that new outfit of hers and, let me just tell you, the things that change when a girl actually dresses like a girl. Everything just piled up and I just… couldn’t deny what I was feeling anymore and panicked.” His mother nodded her head eagerly, a grin on her face.

“Well what was she wearing? For an outfit to sway you it must have been something interesting.” Ben rubbed the back of his head as he tried to think.

“I think she called it a qipao. It was this long blue dress thing that covered down to her ankles but split in half at her thighs. She was wearing these black leggings with it, which I didn’t realize could draw that much attention. Then she had these nice black shoes and a small white bag that rested on her shoulder. I have to say, the way that qipao thing hugged her chest and her butt kinda did it for me when I…”

He blushed as he realized what he was about to say, looking away from his parents as he chuckled. “I mean… I don’t see why that’s important information. She just looked really beautiful and a lot of stuff led up to that. You’re making things awkward.” His father rolled his eyes with a chuckle.

“You really are becoming a little man,” chuckled Carl. “Son, there’s nothing wrong with enjoying a woman’s figure. It’s part of being a man. You should have seen the look on my face when I first saw your mother at the beach.” Sandra quickly bopped her husband on the chest as she chuckled, realizing the look of horror and disgust on her son’s face.

“Let’s not get off track, Carl,” requested the woman. “Need I remind you how embarrassing it was whenever Max tried to tell stories like that?” Carl Tennyson suddenly shivered, the embarrassing stories returning to his mind.

“Thanks for that. I DEFINITELY needed to be reminded of those.” The woman could only roll her eyes as she returned her attention to her son, the boy waving his hands pleadingly.

“Can we please not talk about y’all’s weird love life?” cried Ben. “I definitely don’t wanna hear what Grandpa’s been up to.” He faked a gag in order to show his disgust, earning a chuckle from his parents.

“You’re right. This is about you after all. Do you know what Jade likes? It’s important to know what a girl is into.” Ben was suddenly back in his smiling state as he rubbed his arms.

“Well we both like good games and comic books. She also loves gymnastics, even joining the Gymnastics club for meetings while she’s here. She really likes fast paced music, especially K-Pop. Her favorite color is blue, she likes animals a lot, she does this cute thing with her hair sometimes…” His mother giggled at him as she shook her head.

“Ben, that last one was something you like about her. It sounds like you don’t really know a lot about what she likes, if I’m being honest. Foods, clothes, festivals and other activities. Do you know if she likes dancing or a sport?”

Ben’s eyes slowly widened in terror as his mother continued. “You said she was here for the Summer. Do you know anything about where she comes from, like her culture? How about…” Her husband stopped her with a shake of his head, slowly counting down each of his fingers before his their son began to shake his legs in anxiousness.

“She’s from Hong Kong, which is in China. I know her real name is Chan Yu but she goes by Jade to not be confused when talking in English. I know she likes dresses and qipaos. I… I think she likes spicy foods… I…”

He suddenly grabbed the sides of his head as he went into full on panic mode. “AIYAH! I don’t know enough about her! She’s supposed to be one of my best friends and I don’t even know much about her home country! I don’t know all the foods she likes!”

He suddenly stood up as he began to pace back and forth. “I don’t know any specific songs she likes from there because it’s all in Mandarin. I don’t know if she likes certain kinds of flowers or not! How am I supposed to do anything when I don’t know much about her!?” His father chuckled as he waved his right hand in a dismissive manner.

“Ben, calm down,” ordered the man. “You have plenty of time to learn more about the things she likes. If I were you, I’d start by trying to talk with her about her likes and interests. Maybe take some time to understand her culture. You wouldn’t want to accidentally offend her by doing something wrong.”

Ben slowly nodded his head, soaking in this information. “A person’s culture can be a big part of who they are, especially in Far Eastern countries.” The boy tilted his head as he began to dig through his memories.

“She seemed to talk about honor a lot when she was in distress the other day. I heard it a lot when some girls would be watching that Mulan movie, but I didn’t think it’d actually be important like that. Maybe I should start there so that I can understand her troubles. What do you think?” His father nodded his head with a small grin.

“Some things that seem small to you can be pretty big to other people. I think that would be a very good place to start.” His mother nodded her head as she placed a hand on his cheek.

“Just remember to be respectful of her and be yourself,” added the woman. “No lying about who you are. If she thinks you're hiding your real self, she’ll eventually notice. I think she might like you for who you are anyway, if she actually shows that much affection to you.” Ben rubbed the back of his head as he chuckled, the memory making him blush. His father quickly shook his head in denial.

“Take your mother’s words seriously, Son. People who put on a front to get a relationship usually lose that relationship immediately. If you’re serious about this, the only person you should try to be is you.” Ben hummed at this, tilting his head a bit. His reminiscing was cut off when his parents’ next words sounded like the ringing of a bell.

Present

The boy jerked out of his daydreaming state as the class bell went off. He noticed kids around him beginning to pack up their bags, Jade included. He quickly followed the flow as his teacher tapped her desk a few times.

“Remember, read chapters ten through eleven to make sure you understand the material,” reminded the woman. “Have a nice lunch.” The boy quickly scribbled down the chapters in his notebook before putting it away. He stood up at the same time as Jade, walking out the door after her. His mind went back to prior times as he looked at the floor.

He had started his research, something he thought he’d never do outside of class projects, by looking into why honor is so important to Chinese culture. He was shocked to see that honor was basically everything when it came to Chinese social life. An entire family can be dishonored by the actions of one person, everyone facing the same punishment. Said punishment was being ostracized by the entirety of the community, leading to lost jobs and other horrible situations. It honestly made his blood boil when he thought about how the girls in Jade’s school used such an important thing as a weapon against her.

From there he began to focus on social things he’d need to know if he ever ended up visiting her when she went back to Hong Kong. There were so many rules that it honestly made his head spin trying to understand them. He knew that bowing took the place of handshakes when it came to higher up people, entering someone’s home requires you to take off your shoes, never give someone white flowers unless it’s a funeral, they don’t do tipping unless something is really good, first names are a no unless told it’s fine, apparently soup is supposed to be slurped to show enjoyment… It all hurt his head to try and remember. He nearly missed his locker trying to remember if it was okay to even point at someone or not. He opened his locker to swap his books for his lunchbox, quickly interrupted by someone leaning against the locker beside him.

“Hey Ben,” greeted Gwen. “Something, or should I say someone, on your mind?” The boy clicked his teeth in response as he slammed his locker door shut.

“No,” answered Ben. “Just lost in thought.” Gwen merely looked at her nails as if she were in the middle of a manicure.

“Oh. So you weren’t looking at Jade the whole time during class. Good to know. I’m sure she’d love to hear all about it.” Instead of writing her off or shooing her away, he sighed as he leaned his back against the locker.

“Who told you? Was it Mom?” His cousin grinned as she looked away, clearly planning to milk the situation for all it was worth.

“I have no idea what you’re talking about. Although, I just ‘happened’ to overhear my mom talking with yours over the phone recently. I heard some pretty interesting things, like how Jade apparently has a nice figure. Oh the fun things I could say.” Ben rolled his eyes as he groaned.

“You want me to say it? Fine. You were right. Happy?” His cousin looked at him with a snarky grin.

“What? What am I right about?” Ben gestured away from her with his eyes a few times.

“Cash is coming through. I am not saying it out loud around him of all people.” Gwen immediately backed off, nodding her head with a frown. They allowed the bully to walk past them, the boy being led by a member of staff. Ben sent a glare his way as he was sending one at them.

Ever since he was found quoting a maniac from a comic book, the Joker no less, the principal quickly caught wind of it. With his behavior as of late, as well as the rumor mill that was going around, the boy was now under close watch. He was also made to undergo mandatory therapeutic visits in order to determine his psychological health. It was clear that he blamed the group for his situation, given that he glares every time they see each other. As soon as Cash was out of the area, Ben released a sigh of relief. Realizing how close they were to a bad situation, Gwen slowly nodded her head.

“I won’t make you say it THIS time.” A smile grew on her face as she motioned for her cousin to walk with her, the boy doing just that. “You know, I could give you a helping hand. I happen to know certain things Jade likes that you might not know, given we talk a lot outside of class. You’d be surprised what girls talk about when we’re alone together.” Ben narrowed his eyes, a knowing frown on his face.

“I know you better than that. What’s the catch?” Gwen held up her hands defensively as an innocent smile formed on her face.

“You worry too much. I just want to be your wing-girl… and I want three favors.” Her smile was now serious as she looked him in the eye. “When I ask for them, no backing out and no excuses. If you can’t do it when I ask, I'll hold you to it when you are fully able to do it.”

They were soon approaching the lunch room door, the redhead noticing that Jade was talking to Simone by the entrance. She pointed towards the duo, Ben’s eyes widening as Jade began to look their way. “Your window of opportunity is closing. My offer is about to expire.” Ben leaned closer to her as the Chinese girl smiled at them.

“Alright! I’ll do it!” Gwen smirked in success as she playfully pushed the boy away, giggling as she shook her head. This gave off the impression that he said something funny to her, causing Jade to roll her eyes with a smile of her own. The foreign girl played with her hair a bit as she looked towards Ben.

“Hey there, Mr. Hero,” greeted Jade. “What took you two so long?” Ben was about to answer, only for Gwen to take over for him.

“We decided to step out of the way when Cash was walking by,” lied the magical girl. “The principal did say to give him some space after all.” This caused Jade to roll her eyes with a groan.

“Please don’t bring him up.” Her smile returned as she looked towards Ben. “Anyway, Maynard’s saving our table. Simone and I were talking about her technique with the mantis style. Ready to eat?” Ben smirked as he nodded his head.

“Heck yeah!” cried the boy. Jade grabbed his hand as she pulled him along, causing the boy to blush as he stepped to her rhythm. Simone and Gwen were left alone, the tan skinned girl leaning towards the redhead.

“They have a crush on each other,” said Simone in a matter-of-fact tone. “There’s no way I’m seeing it wrong.” Gwen smirked as she nodded her head.

“They’ll both figure it out eventually,” added the magical girl. She looked around before leaning towards the theater girl. “You didn’t hear this from me, but Ben figured out his own feelings himself.” Simone quickly looked her way in surprise, only to receive a shushing symbol and a giggle. “If he hears that I told you, I’ll lose my favors and we won’t have a pack mule for the mall later.” Both girls giggled mischievously as they made their way into the room, taking their usual seats at the table.

It didn’t take long for the group to dig into their meals, some small conversations being passed around. Maynard apparently had some family coming over that night, meaning he had to go straight home after school. Simone took time to mention a play she was looking to join, one depicting a moment from Greek Mythology. Gwen almost made a reference to Ben’s feelings, only to change it to something else that the boy didn’t pay attention to. Ben eventually lost interest in the others as he looked towards Jade, surprised when she looked his way at the same time.

“Hey Ben?” questioned the young Chan. “The gymnastics club canceled the meeting today due to the gym being reserved for a big game, but I’d still like to practice some gymnastics myself. I can’t really do it without someone to watch me. I know Gwen’s got something to do around that time so… wanna stick around and watch?” The boy jerked a bit in excitement as he immediately nodded his head.

“Yeah!” cheered the boy. He suddenly realized his overexcitement as he cleared his throat. “I mean… sure. Sounds cool.” Jade smiled with a giggle as she looked away, hiding a blush with her hands.

She was mostly planning to just exercise to keep in shape, though she remembered the wisdom Viper passed down to her when they met in New York. The last time she wore her gymnastics uniform around Ben she had to mix it with some other clothes to be stealthy. He hadn’t noticed it before but, if Viper was right, the outfit by itself would draw his attention like a moth to a flame. Gwen suddenly furrowed her brow as she looked up from her food. She was thankful that Maynard and Simone had gone to get some drinks as she looked towards Jade.

“Hey Jade?” questioned the redhead. “I thought you’d be out with Jackie today, on the trip to China.” Jade quickly shrugged in response.

“It’s just a trip to some old temple. It didn’t sound that interesting and I was kinda busy when he told me. Why would I wanna go there?” Ben shared his cousin’s expression as he looked between the two girls. He looked at Jade one more time as he held her shoulders.

“Jade, they think they found another talisman there,” revealed the boy. “Grandpa asked us to stay here until he gets back so we couldn’t go ourselves.” The girl blinked multiple times at this. Now that she thought back, her uncle had mentioned that it was a business trip. Realizing that she was tricked, the girl took a deep breath.

“JACKIE!” roared Jade.

Temple of the Moving Stones

[Language: Mandarin]

Jackie sat in the back of a moving jeep, looking over the area. Section 13 had gotten a call about a temple in China having rocks that move, a clear sign to Uncle that something magical was afoot. Knowing that Jade would undoubtedly come along if she found out, the archeologist decided to just say he was going on a work trip, not making a big deal about it. She surprisingly didn’t ask further, though she did look rather distracted when he told her he was leaving. The car suddenly began to jostle, causing him to gasp as he was brought out of his thoughts.

“My apologies, Mr. Chan,” apologized the driver. “The slope is very bumpy. We are almost at the temple. I must admit, I never expected to see moving stones the first time I brought a customer here.” Jackie nodded his head, allowing the man to return his focus to the road.

They soon reached a smoother area of the road, the bumping of the vehicle ceasing immediately. “The monks call it the Talus, named such because of how it creates a slope with its body when it rests. It is normally peaceful, though recently it has become agitated. The monks would not explain why, instead ushering people away from the temple.” Jackie raised his brow, confused by this news.

“Do they not have a way to calm it?” questioned the archeologist. “I doubt it is a machine that can be turned off. It sounds like some form of magical creature. Do they even know how it came to be?” The driver shook his head in denial.

“The monks keep the origins of the Talus closely guarded. All that is known to outsiders is that the Talus first learned to walk 900 years ago. Since then, it has guarded the temple grounds from many attacks. Until it began stirring recently, I thought it was a myth.” Jackie hummed at the term ‘recently’, filing it away for later.

They finally arrived at their destination, though it looked more like a collection of walls than an actual temple. If it weren’t for the wooden sign, Jackie would have mistaken it for a monastery with no building. The taxi driver looked at Jackie as he nodded his head. “I was told the drive here was covered by a third party. I cannot remain here, as the Talus could mistake me for an intruder.”

The car began to pull off as the man slowly rolled up his window. “I will drive for a few miles then return. Good luck, Mr. Chan.” Jackie immediately held out his hands to try and stop the driver, but the man was gone. He then sighed as he shook his head.

“I never asked where they congregate here.” Taking a moment to steel himself, the archeologist entered the temple grounds. He looked around the area, hoping to find someone he could talk to. He was surprised by how hard it was to locate a monk in a temple with only a few walls and no roof. He turned a corner as a robed figure was suddenly behind him, placing a scraggly hand on his shoulder.

“What are you doing here?” questioned the man. Jackie suddenly turned around as he gasped, taking a moment to pat his chest and breathe as the figure did not attack him. “Visiting hours have been canceled until the Talus has calmed. Leave at once.” The former movie star quickly pulled out a small parchment, bowing to the man.

“I was given permission to visit from the head of the temple,” revealed Jackie. “His word and signature as proof.” The figure immediately grabbed up the cloth, looking it over. The individual hummed as he looked it over again. He sighed as he removed his hood, revealing the face of a kind old man.

“I could not be sure if you were the one I sent the message to. Tourists tend to have no respect for the temple’s rules. Come, Mr. Chan. We do not have much time.” Jackie nodded his head as he followed the monk, being led away from the walled area.

They made their way down a long set of stone stairs, the pathway carved into a cliffside. Jackie gulped as the path seemed rather narrow at some points, though they were easily able to get through said areas. They finally reached their destination as they passed through a stone gate, the entrance attached to no walls. This confused the guest, though he favored following the head monk instead of asking questions. “Welcome, Mr. Chan, to the Temple of Moving Stones.”

Jackie looked over the area, impressed by the structure in front of him. The real temple was carved into another cliff, the entrance being a rather large cave. Monks of all ages walked through the area, some children running while being scolded by adults. A few young men were seen meditating on a set of stones, each of them deep in concentration. The duo were about to walk through the center of the common area, only for the monk to hold up his hand.

“Why are we stopping?” He did not receive a verbal answer, instead feeling the ground shake below him. The shaking became stronger and stronger as crashing sounds were heard inside the temple, only for them to stop as soon as they began. The head monk nodded his head, seemingly grateful for it. He turned towards his guest with a serious frown.

“Before you can be allowed to take the talisman, you must learn its history. There is much that needs to be understood, including the threat that will come to pass if the Rat falls into the wrong hands.” Jackie nodded his head in understanding, only to jerk as he let out a surprised gasp.

“Wait. How did you…” The head monk suddenly chuckled in response, gesturing to the meditating monks.

“The Talismans of the Zodiac are not the only form of magic in this world, as your Uncle could tell you. Our seers foresaw this day months in advance, as well as the saddening truth that two have fallen into the clutches of the Accursed One.” Jackie frowned, leaning forwards a bit.

“‘The Accursed One’? Who are you talking about?” The head monk shook his head in understanding before gesturing to the temple.

“Come. All will be explained over tea.” Jackie bowed respectfully as he followed the man inside, making sure to remove his shoes at the entrance. They soon found themselves in a secluded room, a young monk pouring tea for them. The boy bowed to the duo respectively before leaving the room.

The head of the temple took a sip of his tea, Jackie doing the same. “One thousand years ago, our ancestors lived in a time where magic was everywhere. It was as common as nature, the plants themselves carrying magical properties. There were twelve noble animals that watched over our world, the Zodiac. Chosen by the Jade Emperor himself to hold balance over this world.”

He drew depictions of each animal head on the ground, lining them up in a circle. “They fought many battles together, acting as vassals of the emperor’s will. They were the most powerful creatures in the land, but with great power comes those who covet that power. The most desired of them all, was the power of the Dragon.” He pointed towards the dragon head, making sure Jackie had his focus on it.

He took a deep breath before continuing. “A member of an evil force known as the Heylin poisoned water from which the dragon drank with dark magic. The dragon had never tasted such power before, the divine creature slowly becoming corrupt as he longed for more. This sorcerer, hailing from beyond the southern borders of our land, offered to help the dragon gain more power, in return for him joining his other generals. Driven by greed, the dragon abandoned its grand purpose in pursuit of absolute power.”

He struck a line through the dragon head, creating a very different face. He then slowly did the same for the other animal faces, only each one was erased completely. “The eight generals formed a dark brotherhood as they slaughtered the remaining noble animals, feeding the dragon their power. His corruption knew no bounds as he forcefully absorbed the souls of his former comrades into himself, twisting and shifting with each form he took until he himself took on a new form. In the end, the benevolent dragon that the emperor saw great promise in was gone.”

He then created a new image with scattered stones, creating a symbol that honestly sent chills down Jackie’s spine. “He became Shendu: The Accursed One. The sorcerer believed his own dark goals would finally be achieved, only for his generals to devour him piece by piece. His soul went to the eldest sister of the brotherhood, giving her a terrifying power over all forms of water. Over time, the remaining six each gained their own power in much the same way.”

Jackie scooted back as the man held his arms out, the room seeming larger in the process. “They conquered the entire world, eight lands for eight generals. Eight Demon Sorcerers that plunged the Earth into a Dark Age of magic. Only a few years later, it seemed magic had left the world.” The archeologist gulped as he pulled at his shirt, wishing it was Uncle who came instead of him.

“Where are these demons now? What happened to them?” The head monk moved the stones that made up the dragon’s face out of the way, grabbing some white ones from nearby.

“The demons held a rule of one hundred years over the world, humanity losing all hope of freedom. Many who were born knew nothing of life before, forced to accept their fate. Then, only a year before the century long reign’s end, the Chosen One appeared. He was a powerful sorcerer, a great light shining from within him. He was appointed by the emperor as the man who would slay the demons once and for all.”

He began to line up the white stones in a specific pattern as Jackie leaned forwards, intrigued by the shape. “The Chosen One took on seven apprentices, each one gathered together under the goal of freeing our world from darkness. However, it was soon discovered that the demons could not be destroyed. Doing so would only bring imbalance, for a sudden influx of light would only cause the darkness to multiply. The Chosen One nearly returned to the Emperor in defeat and dishonor, until the heavens sent him a guide.”

He finished forming the shape with his gathered stones, gesturing to it with a small smile. “This guide’s name has been lost to the ages, though his title as the First Thinker and his symbol have remained for generations. It is this symbol that the seers saw at the end of their vision, the reason I knew it was a sign when your letter arrived at the temple. If you see someone with this symbol, defend him with your life.” Jackie gave the symbol one more look, his eyes widening as he recognized it.

It was very reminiscent of the insignia the aliens had been wearing, the same symbol found on Ben’s watch. This only added more questions to his concerns, the head monk clapping once to get his attention. “With the help of the First Thinker, Chosen One Lo Pei created a spell that would remove the power of the noble animals from Shendu. They also developed an elixir that, when applied to an object, would banish the Demon Sorcerers to a realm of emptiness. With the spell in play and the elixir applied to a sword, the Chosen One finally struck Shendu down.”

He then scattered all but 12 of the stones. “His body was turned to stone, his original form coiled around his head. His original light, along with the souls of the remaining noble animals, fell from his body as stone talismans. It was by the Emperor’s orders, and the First Thinker’s guidance, that the Talismans were scattered to the four corners of the world. Only a handful, such as the Rat, remained within the borders of our land. Before his death, the Emperor gave his last command.”

He shifted the twelve stones together, creating the form of a man. “Should the threat of Shendu ever return, Lo Pei would be reborn anew to face him. Within the remaining year, the apprentices battled and sealed away the remaining Demon Sorcerers. The First Thinker worked with them to create a special key, meant to keep the portals sealed. He then left our world, moving on to others that needed his guidance.”

The man then put the stones away as he sat in a meditative stance. “The key has the power to open each portal individually but its destruction would see every demon become unbound. As such, the apprentices locked it away in a temple. The temple’s location was erased from all maps, only a few books detailing it surviving. These were passed down to the descendants of the apprentices, some shifting hands to disciples when an apprentice’s bloodline came to an end.”

He took another sip of his tea, Jackie doing the same. “It took centuries for magic to return to our world, though it has yet to regain its former glory. It may eventually reach the same prominence it held before, as long as the demons remain sealed. Should the talismans be returned to Shendu, he would free his siblings and begin their rule again. This would undoubtedly destroy all forms of magic in our world, leaving them with no one to challenge their rule.”

He then put his cup away, popping his back as he stretched. “That, Mr. Chan, is why it is important that the talismans be handled with utmost care.” Jackie finally noticed his cup was empty, putting it to the side as he scooted forwards a bit.

“You said that the magic has balanced out and slowly has returned. If the demons were to be free, what would happen should they be destroyed.” The old monk chuckled as he shook his head.

“If such a feat were possible in our modern age, their power would cycle through the world once more. It would become untainted magic, its destination determining whether it is power of light or darkness. Do not mistake either for good and evil, as any power can be corrupted save for that which is most holy. It is true that evil resides in darkness and that destroying all evil would leave our world imbalanced, but there is still good hidden within the dark. After all, there is a Yo within both Yin and Yang.”

The monk clapped once again before slowly standing up. “Neither can exist without the other. Until a day where evil can be vanquished without destroying the darkness, a balance must be maintained. As such, someone or something would have to rise to replace the Demon Sorcerers. It is ultimately the universe that controls this balance. Our job is to ensure that the universe’s will is upheld. Now that you understand this, I will take you to retrieve the talisman.”

Jackie rose to his feet as well, immediately bowing to the monk in gratitude. “Come. The Talus awaits.” The archeologist gulped, surprised by these words. The monk walked along the path, forcing the kung fu master to follow behind with a cry of confusion.

“I thought the Talus was too angry for visitors. Why are we going to it?” The old monk chuckled at this, shaking his head.

“The Talus guards the Rat Talisman, its power bringing him to life. His anger is wrought by the fact that Shendu has already reclaimed two of the talismans. As long as you are by my side, the Talus will bring no harm to you for it knows me well. I will retrieve the talisman with the ancient rite before delivering it unto you.” Jackie nodded his head, only for the sound of crashing to catch the duo’s attention.

The head monk frowned as he clenched his fists. “The Talus is enraged. Something is wrong.” The duo ran through the tunnel, the sound of cracking stones soon ringing through the area. They soon entered a massive chamber, monks moaning on the ground.

“Daoshi,” moaned one of the men. The head monk ran to the man’s side, holding his head gently. “We were deceived by intruders who wore our robes. Talus is in danger.” An explosion soon rocked the cave, the standing duo almost falling to the ground. Jackie growled as he clenched his fists.

“The Dark Hand,” growled the man. “They must have intercepted your return message.” The two men ran into the main chamber, heat rising within. They heard the deep cry of a man as they looked around the room, watching as Ratso flew through the air before crashing into the wall.

[Language Change: English]

“I hate my job,” growled the olive skinned grunt. “I don’t get paid enough for this.” He then fell on his back, being down for the count. The rest of the Enforcers were then seen running around the room, a massive stone nearly squashing them. Another entrance suddenly broke to pieces as a massive figure walked through.

A massive conglomerate of pebbles and large stones walked forwards, its form almost being humanoid. The being had two indent areas on its head area, acting as its eyes in a sense. The center of its chest held a large diamond the size of Jackie’s own body, a familiar hexagonal object inside. The object was the Rat Talisman, a white rat etched into the face of it.

“[Mandarin] The Talus has been enraged,” stated the head Monk. “[Mandarin] Even I won’t be able to calm him at this moment. If we do not remove the intruders, he will destroy the entire temple. Above all else, do not let its core merge with the mountain.” Jackie gulped as he took a step back.

“[Mandarin] What does that mean?” questioned the archeologist. “[Mandarin] You don’t mean it can get bigger, do you?” The old man nodded his head in confirmation.

“[Mandarin] If it merges with the mountain, the entire land will be threatened by its power. The diamond was chosen due to its ability to resist erosion over time. The Talus’s fury and destruction would be eternal and swift.” Chow and Finn were quickly cornered by the Talus, the golem raising its arms to strike at them. A rocket crashed into its back before it could complete its attack, the Talus stumbling forwards as stones were sent flying.

“Even after I break it apart, that diamond will be double the payday!” cheered a voice through a mechanical filter. A woman in metallic armor floated into the room, a jetpack on her back providing her propulsion. Her armor was blood red in color, the word “Rojo” etched into the helmet revealing her identity. The stomach region and legs of the armor were black in color, red detailing and white lining accentuating the feminine frame. In her hands was a rather bulky gun resembling a sniper rifle, a round magazine with several rockets inside attached to the bottom.

A shell popped out of the side of the gun as the Talus turned towards its assailant. “You’re walking money, and I’m here to make a withdrawal.” Jackie huffed as he gestured to the woman.

“WHERE DOES SHE KEEP GETTING THESE THINGS!” cried the martial artist. “FIRST AN EXPLODING ENERGY GUN AND A SMOKE GRENADE, AND NOW THIS!” Finn and Chow suddenly looked his way, smirking both in relief and in deviousness.

“Chan!” cried Finn. “We’re actually glad to see you! Now you can distract this big rock guy!” The duo quickly ran over to Ratso, picking him up from both sides. Chow nodded his head as they pushed past the duo.

“Yeah!” cried the Asian villain. “Good luck!” The two grunts then cried out in fear as they ran away, Ratso moaning in their grasp. Rojo growled at the trio’s exit. The face of her helmet raised up as she cupped one of her hands by her mouth.

“Pollos!” insulted the woman. “Are you wimps seriously running!? Valmont’s best, he said!? Looks like that’s my title now!” She dodged out of the way of a massive stone that was thrown her way, causing her to growl as the faceplate of her helmet dropped. Jackie frowned as he rolled his shoulders.

“[Mandarin] Get the other monks out of here,” requested the archeologist. “[Mandarin] I will do my best to get her out of here.” The head monk looked at him in shock, only to shake his head in denial.

“[Mandarin] We have magic for foul people like her,” informed the man. “[Mandarin] Get the talisman. The rite is tapping the three corners of the diamond. Doing so clockwise will release the talisman.” Jackie nodded his head as the man ran back the way they came. He shook his head as he jumped up and down again.

“Got it. Tap on each corner of the diamond.” Rojo dodged another rock as she snickered evilly, causing Jackie’s face to turn pale.

“Thanks for the information, Chan!” cheered the woman. “When I get the talisman and cash in my diamond, I’ll repay ya with a bullet!” She flew at the Talus in an attempt to perform the rite, only for Jackie to suddenly jump on her back. “Hey! Get off! No free riders!”

Jackie kept his foot away from the flames of the jetpack as he tilted his body, causing the woman to turn away from the Talus. They sailed right past it as it tried to swat at them, nicking the bottom of her armored boot. “You’re really getting annoying, Chan! You treat all women like surfboards!? No wonder you’re single!” Jackie aimed her at a nearby wall as he leaned forwards.

“You are not a nice lady,” stated the man. “I don’t feel a need to be nice to you.” He leapt off her back, landing feet first on the ground. He expected her to crash head first into the wall, only for her to turn on a dime as her jetpack saved her from crashing. She aimed her weapon at him, a chuckle under her throat.

“Flattery gets you a lot of things, including a rocket to the head.” She was about to fire at him, only for a large stone to hit her weapon out of her hand. The rock crushed the cartridge upon the two objects landing, causing the weapon to explode. Jackie quickly jumped away before the blast wave could reach him, Rojo being sent flying through the air. She lost control of her jetpack as she flew out of the cave, crying out an explicit word in Spanish along the way.

Jackie groaned as he slowly got up, the cave rumbling around him. Rocks began to fall from the ceiling, the walls cracking a bit. He looked around for the Talus, only to finally notice the big shadow over him. He slowly turned around, his eyes widening as the stone golem towered over him. The being tilted its head stone to the right, Jackie doing the same in confusion.

Unbeknownst to the kung fu master, the golem was seeing him as a blue figure with a glowing green outline. It held out its arm to him, waiting patiently for his response. Thinking that the Talus was helping him up, he used the limb to push himself up. As soon as he touched it, the image of a very different man became visible to the being. Two white stones rolled into the eye slots, depicting a change in mood.

The cracking of the wall soon became unmissable, Jackie looking around in fear. The Talus immediately grabbed him up in its arms, squeezing him a bit as it did so. It started walking forwards before that walking slowly turned into a run. It shifted the diamond to its back, making a large place to put the martial artist in. It then made a huge “X” with its arms as it shielded him, breaking through rocks that fell from the ceiling.

Jackie couldn’t help but cry out in fear as he curled into himself, small rocks sometimes getting through the cracks and lightly hitting him. On the outside, the people began to panic from the large amount of shaking that was going on. Rojo came flying out of the cave, screaming as she rammed into one of the stone walls. Her jetpack finally deactivated at that point, causing her to fall to the ground with a roll to not break any bones. One last big crash sounded from the cave as the entrance caved in.

The monks began to gather around, some having devastated looks on their faces. Their moods slowly began to raise again as the ground shook slightly. The Talus walked out of the dust and debris, many of its stones missing. It uncrossed its arms, Jackie panting as he looked around. He rolled out of the creature’s cavity, allowing the diamond to return to its rightful spot.

“You… you saved me.” He stood up as the Talus looked down at him, the white stones turning a bit as they became half white and half black. It was clearly a sign similar to that of squinting eyes as it wavered around a bit. The golem then began to deconstruct as it lowered down, the diamond with the talisman inside sitting on top of the pile like a pedestal. Jackie slowly picked the gemstone up, only to hear a gasp from the crowd.

“Hand over the diamond and the Talisman, Chan!” Jackie turned to face Rojo, only for his eyes to widen as she had one of the monks in her grasp. She made a blade extend from the wrist of her suit, keeping it close to the man’s neck. “I’m done playing games for the day and I ain’t leaving this place empty handed! If you don’t give them to me on the count of tres, his blood is on your hands!”

She brought the blade to where it was touching the man’s neck, causing him to whine a bit. “Uno… Dos… Tre…!” Jackie was about to move to save the man, only for the vile woman’s blade arm to suddenly be unbent and at her side mid count.

She tried to move it, only for green magical energy to become visible. “What the…!?” She suddenly found herself lifted into the air by the green magic jerking as she tried to move. The monks that were meditating earlier held their palms up at her, chanting under their breaths. The Daoshi glared at the woman with clenched fists.

“[Mandarin] You came into this sacred place, attacked the sacred guardian, and threatened an innocent life,” listed the head monk. “[Mandarin] You have brought dishonor upon your family. You are hereby banished from the temple grounds. Now, begone!” With a flick of his hand, her armor broke into pieces.

This left her in a black catsuit with gray patches, some black gloves, and a gray pair of boots. She then began flying away from the temple at high speeds. She growled while she was still within shouting range.

“I DON’T KNOW WHAT HE SAID, BUT THIS IS YOUR FAULT CHAN!” She continued to fly off into the distance, a green twinkle symbolizing her departure. The head monk groaned as he rubbed his temples.

[Language Change: Mandarin]

“She is lucky I spared her dignity. It is the least she deserves.” Jackie looked towards the man, a concerned look on his face.

“Um… I do not believe she would survive from a fall that high,” stated the former actor. “Are you sure that…” The Daoshi nodded his head in understanding.

“You have a good heart, Mr. Chan, but she will be fine. Good chi cannot be used to bring harm. It can only be used to destroy and repel evil. She will survive. If she is incapable of any good then she will die, so it would be good to hold out hope if she does indeed live.” Jackie shook his head with a sigh.

“I’ll have to take your word for it, Daoshi.” He looked towards the diamond, tapping the corners in exactly the way required. The top of the gem glowed in green magic, the Rat Talisman slowly rising to the top before the glow stopped. Jackie quickly grabbed the talisman before putting it in his pocket. The other monks bowed to him respectfully before returning to their duties, including an attempt to remove the debris from the temple entrance.

Jackie narrowed his brows as he looked towards the head monk. “Earlier you said not even you could calm the Talus’s fury. When Rojo was expelled from the temple, it did not attack me. Why is that?” The Daoshi smiled slyly at this question.

“Perhaps you proved yourself. Perhaps you reminded the Talus of an old friend. Who can say for certain? A western proverb I once heard: ‘Do not look the gift yak in the mouth.’” Jackie chuckled a bit as he looked away, not having the heart to correct the old man. He shook his head as he returned his gaze forward.

“What about the diamond? Its existence would attract many thieves.” The Daoshi took said gemstone from the man, revealing that he had a surprising amount of strength as he had an easier time holding it.

“Should the need arise, we will retrieve the talisman and place it inside once again. Until then, the diamond will be well cared for. The seers said you worry too much. Now go, for the world needs you much more than we do.” Jackie nodded his head, making his way towards the exit.

As he walked, he failed to notice the small pebble that was bouncing after him. The stone bounced higher with each arc, soon reaching his pockets in height. It landed in the pocket without the talisman, going unnoticed. It snuggled into his wallet, leaving small dents in the leather.

Bellwood, Pennsylvania

Ben and Jade walked down the sidewalk, the girl practically skipping as it was just the two of them. Jade was clearly enjoying this moment alone while Ben was feeling nervous. The boy of the duo felt this way due to their chosen destination. The school gym acted as the meeting place for the gymnastics club due to having padded matts they could safely spread out on the basketball court to perform their techniques on. The next best thing to use would be carpet, but the Chans’ quarters in Section 13 had no such flooring.

As such, Ben thought up an idea he thought would be too crazy to work. After all, what girl would want to do gymnastics in the middle of a boy’s house right? It was to his complete shock that she actually said yes to the idea when she learned his house had nice carpeting. So here he was, leading Jade skipping her way back to his house. He fumbled his phone a bit in his hands as he sent a message to his parents, pleading with them to not embarrass him when they arrived.

“So what’s your home life like, Ben?” questioned Jade. The boy almost dropped his phone at the question, controlling his blush as he put the device away. “I know I heard your mom talk when I called on the day Jackie brought back the Sheep Talisman, but we haven’t really talked about it… Hey, are you ok?” Ben took deep breaths as he nodded his head, making a big smile pop up on his face.

“Yep!” huffed the boy. “Never better!” She looked him over as she slowly nodded her head, her face telling him she didn’t buy his lie for a second.

“Right. So sweating so much that the pits of your shirt are wet isn’t a sign that something’s up.” Ben gasped as he looked to the areas, only to frown as they were actually dry. He looked up with a deadpan look as she giggled. He let loose a fake laugh as he shook his head, a more genuine smirk on his face.

Jade formed a considerate smile as she shook her head. “If something’s wrong or it’s not a good day I can just go home.” Remembering what his parents said to him, Ben took a deep breath before shaking his head.

“It’s just… I’ve never brought a girl home that’s not Gwen. I’m worried about Mom and Dad embarrassing us by coming to conclusions. I love them but Mom is especially jumpy.” He looked towards his friend, only to quickly notice her frown. She stopped skipping as she looked down, her movement turning into a walk.

“I wish I had parents like that.” The boy felt a pain of guilt in his gut as he tried to find something to say, only for Jade to immediately smile at him again. “Guess I have something to look forward to when we get there then. I’ll get to see what real parenting looks like for once. I for one can’t wait.”

She went back to skipping as Ben slowed down a bit, confused by what just happened. He wasn’t expecting Jade to suddenly jump between emotions like that. Shaking his head to regain his focus, he sped up to stay by her side. They were almost to his place when Jade came to a stop. “Whoa.”

Ben followed her gaze, noticing a red house that was well detailed. He remembered passing it every now and again, though he never really paid much attention to the design before. “That’s a nice house. It’s on sale too.” The boy looked towards his friend as he smirked.

“It’s just a house. I’ll give you that it’s got a nice paint job but it’s the exact same shape as mine.” Jade quickly shook her head in denial.

“I like it. You don’t see a lot of nice houses these days. I wouldn’t mind living in one just like this.” Ben blushed, immediately regretting and feeling thankful for his comment about the similarities between the building and his house. He cleared his throat as he shook his head.

“I’ve seen it a thousand times when I have to walk home from school. Still, if you like it then I’m alright with it.” Jade rolled her eyes as she turned away from the boy, her smile still on her face.

“Gwen’s right. You are such a boy.” She began skipping away, her smile widening as Ben ran to catch up.

“I still don’t see how that’s an insult.” He earned a giggle in return for his comment, causing him to sigh. He soon grabbed Jade’s arm lightly before they could walk far beyond the next mailbox. “We’re here.” Jade grinned as she turned towards the building, adjusting her backpack and duffle bag.

“Sweet! Let’s go say hi!” She immediately grabbed the boy by his wrist as she pulled him along, causing him to blush. He tried to open the door as soon as they reached it, only for the lock to still be deadbolted. He knocked on the door, his blush being replaced by a concerned frown.

“Mom!? Dad!? We’re here!” He heard a bit of shuffling inside, along with a clatter that could have only come from the kitchen. He saw a shadow in the kitchen window, the figure in the curtains resembling his mother.

“Your father will be right there!” cried Sandra. “He’s preparing a space while I make snacks!” He gestured to the front door in spite knowing that his mother couldn’t see him move.

“Why did you lock the front door?! I texted you to let you know we were almost here!” The shadow of his mother shifted in response to his outcry.

“Well, we can’t have our guest walk into a messy house! Just give us a moment!” Ben grumbled a bit at the scene, already embarrassed. He felt a bit worse when he heard Jade giggle, his blush growing. He looked her way, noticing that her smile was still present.

“It’s fine, Ben,” reassured the young Chan. “They just want to make your home look nicer. That feels like a universal thing between cultures because my folks would be horrified if guests walked in to find a mess. I’m honestly happy being here right now.” Ben let a small smile form on his face as he slowly nodded his head.

“I’m coming!” cried the voice of his father. Carl Tennyson opened the front door, Ben standing straight as a board. “Hey! You must be Jade. Ben’s been saying good things about you so it’s nice to see you in person.” Ben blushed madly as he silently begged his father to stop, Jade having a smaller blush of her own as she politely bowed to the man.

“Thank you for allowing me into your home, Mr. Tennyson. I do not wish to intrude.” His father nodded his head slightly as he chuckled.

“Not at all. Come in and make yourself at home.” Jade quickly kicked off her shoes before walking inside, Ben finally releasing a groan as quietly as possible as he gestured to his father. Knowing exactly what his son was going through, Carl could only roll his eyes with a chuckle as he followed behind Jade. The boy finally stopped his grumbling as he walked inside, his hands in his pockets as his blush remained.

As soon as he entered, he noticed something incredibly off. Two rather large pieces of furniture were missing from the living room, the couch and the coffee table to be precise. He knitted his brows together as he tried to come up with an answer in his head, only to turn to his father in confusion.

“Where the heck are the couch and the coffee table?” questioned Ben. “Why’d you throw them out?” His mother quickly popped her head into view from the kitchen, smiling knowingly at her son.

“I had your father put them away,” answered the woman. “There’s no way I’m letting you have a girl alone in your room, young man. Jade needs a place to practice her gymnastics, and I was thinking of rearranging things anyway. Win-win in my book.” Ben could not blush any further at the moment, though his attempt to not scream clearly showed his frustration at his parents continuing to embarrass him in spite of him asking them not to.

Sandra suddenly stepped fully into view as she noticed Jade, a bowl in her hands and a grin on her face. “Welcome, Jade! You look so adorable! I love your skirt.” Jade looked towards her feet as she smiled, playing with the hem of her skirt a bit.

“Thank you, Mrs. Tennyson.” She looked at the woman with a big smile. “You have a very nice home.” Sandra bowed her head slightly in response.

“Thank you. I hope Ben didn’t give you too much trouble on the way here. He’s a sweet boy but he can be a bit of a rascal when he wants to be.” Ben held his hands together pleadingly out of Jade’s line of sight, earning a silent snicker from his mother. Jade grinned as she shook her head.

“He’s been very nice, Mrs. Tennyson. He can be a total boy sometimes, like when he keeps thinking too forward. We passed by a really nice house on our way here and he just saw it as another building he walks by every day. Even after all that, he’s still one of my best friends.” Ben smiled at that last comment, crossing his arms as he rolled his eyes.

“One of these days you’ll have to tell me how being a boy is an insult,” stated the boy. Both Jade and his mother giggled at him, causing his smile to disappear. His friend turned towards him as she placed a hand on her hip, one of her brows quirked.

“Maybe I’ll keep it a secret if you can’t understand what it means. It’s pretty obvious when you think about it.” Ben looked away with a little huff, his mother rolling her eyes as she knew what was coming next.

“Would you like to help me in the kitchen, Jade?” questioned the woman. “I’m trying to make some latiao but I’m still learning.” The young Chan’s eyes suddenly lit up as she tensed up a bit.

“Latiao!? That’s my favorite!” Realizing the impression she was giving off, she quickly stood straight before clearing her throat. “I would love to help, Mrs. Tennyson.” The girls walked into the kitchen, Jade doing so with a skip in her step. Carl nodded at his son with a small sigh.

“Ben, a word?” requested the man. The boy rolled his eyes as he let out a sad sigh, though he did file away Jade’s excitement for latiao away for later. He walked over to his father, his arms still crossed.

“I asked you guys to not embarrass me,” moaned the boy as quietly as possible. “I even begged for it, Dad.” Carl could only smile as he shook his head.

“Seems like Jade’s having a good time. We’re just putting our real selves out there, the same advice I gave you a while ago. You need to relax before you get to where both you AND Jade can’t enjoy this visit. A man has to know when to step back and be in the moment when the girl he likes is enjoying something. Trust me, it’ll save you a lot of fights in the future.” Ben jerked a bit, honestly scared by what his father said.

“Fights? What are you talking about?” His father looked towards the kitchen for a moment before pulling his son closer.

“Everyone fights from time to time, Ben, especially in a relationship. No matter whether it’s a friendship or even marriage, there could be something so small that you disagree on that eventually grows to the point you and the other person might stop talking to each other. It could be anything from you missing a shower to… a salt shaker incident.” He shook a bit as he looked off into space. “Your mother wouldn’t talk to me for a week after that one.”

Ben shifted in discomfort a bit, not liking the sound of that. Carl regained his composure as he looked towards his son. “The point is, sometimes you have to learn to put on a face when you don’t enjoy something as much as the girl you like. Showing that you’re trying to be supportive can go a long way. Take the house incident for example.”

He gestured to where he figured the building was, feeling like he didn’t have time to ask which direction. “Even if you didn’t think it was that nice, you could have just agreed with her and let her enjoy it.” Ben sent his father an incredulous look as he gestured towards the kitchen.

“That’d be lying! You said to be honest with her!” His father shook his head as his smile slowly disappeared.

“Being honest is one thing, but being blunt is rather rude and can be a turn off as well. No girl wants a boy that is always rude and uncaring, bluntness being a big factor in showing those bad traits. You have to find a balance that doesn’t hurt your relationship with her. When you can do that, maybe she’ll drop the ‘such a boy’ comments.”

Ben honestly began to feel bad as he returned his eyes to the floor, not realizing that he was being rude to the girl. He never wanted that to happen. Carl sighed as he put his hand on his son’s shoulder. “Don’t feel bad. You’ll make yourself go crazy if you keep this up.”

He gestured to the two of them with a small smile. “Besides, there isn’t a man alive that can understand a girl one hundred percent. It gets harder when they grow up and become women. Your mother will tell you that it’s because girls are biologically more emotional and nurturing than men, but if you ask me they basically live in a different world than us guys.” Ben was about to comment, only to freeze as he felt a familiar presence in the room.

“Oh really?” questioned the voice of his mother. Carl suddenly stood up straight, showing that freezing when caught was a masculine trait of the Tennysons. “We live in two different worlds, huh? Please do tell me more, Carl.” His father hummed as he looked around, only to mimic Ben’s earlier pleading position.

“It’s just boys messing around, Honey. You know I love you very much.” Sandra nodded her head with a knowing look.

“Mhm. We’ll be talking about this tomorrow. Tonight you can sleep on the couch, after pulling it out of the closet.” Carl lowered his head with a sigh, grumbling under his breath when his wife turned around. Ben was about to question the closet comment when Jade walked out of the kitchen with a small tray in hand.

“Ben, you have got to try one of these!” cheered the young Chan. “They’re a little spicy but I promise they’re good! It’s one of my favorite snacks in the whole world!” Ben looked it over, letting a smile grow on his face. They looked like spicy snack chips, only long and straw-like.

There was even a bit of a shine to them, something that gave them an almost candy-like appeal. Ben shrugged as he popped one in his mouth, taking the time to chew it. At first he tasted sweetness, something that he wasn’t expecting from Jade’s description. The promised spice soon came as he looked the girl in the eye. He felt his smile grow a bit more as he nodded his head.

“Not bad,” complimented the boy. “I’d definitely need some drink after a few of these, but I honestly wasn’t expecting the transition from sweet to spicy.” Jade raised up on her toes a bit in joy before setting the tray on the armchair. She walked back into the kitchen, Ben picking up another as soon as she was out of earshot. “I’d prefer chilly fries but I can definitely eat these.”

He popped the second one into his mouth, hooting a bit as he leaned back. “That one was extra spicy. On second thought, I could get used to these.” He hummed as he looked at the floor. ‘Maybe I should start looking at things from different angles more often.’

He let this thought stew in his head as the evening drew near, the day being filled with interesting events. Soon different snacks of all kinds were on plates around the room, some being completely new to Ben. The kids went back and forth trying new snacks, Jade getting a kick out of catching cheese puffcorn in her mouth. Ben was thankful that his parents dialed back a bit on the behavior he found embarrassing, though they still had their moments. The duo was in the midst of taking a drink when Sandra walked into the room.

“Why don’t you go ahead and get dressed to practice, Jade?” suggested the woman. “That was the reason you came over, after all.” Jade suddenly jumped up to her feet as she gasped.

“I forgot!” cried the young Chan. She picked up her duffel bag before nodding at Ben. “Hold down the snack fort, Private Tennyson! I’ll be right back.” She quickly ran for the bathroom, Ben sending her a salute with a goofy grin.

“Yes ma’am, Major Chan!” cheered the boy. He waited for her to be in said room before he stuffed a few latiao into his mouth. “How are these so addicting!? I could eat these all day!” His mother giggled at him as she shook her head.

“Sometimes the best things don’t have extravagant flavors, Ben,” answered Sandra. “It’s important to understand things like that when you want to understand someone’s culture, especially the food. Like that nice burgundy house down the street. Sometimes you need to appreciate a house as a home rather than the paint that’s on it.” Ben tilted his head a bit, confused by the statement.

“I prefer green anyway. I thought it was red though. Burgundy is a deeper brown than what I remember seeing. Are we talking about the same place?” His mother could only smirk at him as she shook her head in denial.

“Well maybe you should get a better look next time. Some things can only be appreciated with a second look.” Ben rolled his eyes with a smirk.

“Alright. I get the message.” He took another bite of the foreign snack, quickly pushing some aside for Jade. “I need to stop before there’s not enough left for Jade. I know I’d be furious if someone ate most of my favorite food.” His mother smirked knowingly as she tilted her head a bit.

“Well that’s thoughtful of you. Looks like you’re growing up. Were there any in particular you liked more? You wolfed them down so quickly at times.” Ben frowned at the question, only to tilt his head a bit.

“Well… the shinier ones had the best heat to them. They even had more crunch.” He only just now noticed the mischievous smirk on his mother’s face. “What?” She quickly shrugged in response to his question.

“Oh nothing. I’m just happy that you like Jade’s baking. You definitely want a partner who can cook good food, seeing as you almost religiously eat nothing but chilly fries.” Ben raised his pointer finger as he closed his eyes, attempting to look like a wise monk.

“No slander to the chili fries. They’re still the best American food ever…” His eyes widened as his finger suddenly dropped. “Jade made the shiny ones?” His mother nodded her head, knowing full well how her son was reacting to the news.

The sound of the bathroom door opening caught the duo’s attention. Ben quickly looked towards Jade before returning his view to his mother, only to double back as his eyes widened and his jaw dropped a bit. It felt like the beach all over again, only it was happening in his own house. While he had seen Jade’s gymnastics uniform before, he had no idea it was a leotard. While it did have long sleeves to it, there were no leggings to the uniform. Her legs were on full display, the boy unable to get his mind off how smooth they looked. The outfit wasn’t showing off as much as the bathing suit she wore that one time, though it still left him feeling incredibly warm.

Ben’s mind cried out in pure shock and excitement as he felt a stiffness in his lower regions, doing his best to make it slow down. The boy gulped as he pulled at his shirt collar a bit, trying not to show his excitement outwardly. His mother leaned closer to him with another knowing grin.

“Now you get the message.” She immediately pushed his jaw up, bringing him back to reality as he kept it in place. “Also, don’t leave your mouth open. It’s rude and you’ll catch flies.” Jade, unable to hear what they were saying, stopped walking when she was only a few feet away from them.

“I usually have an instructor telling me where to start so that I don’t repeat the same exercise,” revealed the gymnast. “I’m kinda going in blind here. Also, my uncle just got back from his trip so I’ll need to head back to the family antique shop in a few hours. If I could get a ride back…” Sandra nodded her head with a smile.

“I’ll drive you back. It would be no trouble at all.” Jade smiled as she nodded her head. The idea of being around an older woman by herself made her excited to get some actual advice. Ben hummed in confusion as he crossed his arms.

“Why would it matter if you do the same things as last time?” questioned the boy. “Isn’t that part of working out?” His father decided to re-enter the room as he shook his head.

“That’s not how exercising works, Son,” revealed the man. “Everyone has to mix up their workout routine between days, even guys at the gym. It’s all about giving the muscles you worked out time to rest.” Ben slowly nodded his head in understanding, only to stiffen as he watched Jade place a hand on her hip. The way she tilted made for an even more alluring sight, the boy unsure how she could look more beautiful by merely changing her stance.

“Sounds like you need to pay more attention in gym class,” joked the young Chan. “I’d move the snack plates that are on the floor to different spots. I need a lot of room.” Ben suddenly went to work, surprising his folks by how fast he was picking things up. This earned him a giggle from Jade as he tried to carry as many plates as his arms could hold.

“Slow down son! Let me give you a hand.” Carl immediately took some of the plates so that they wouldn’t fall, Ben silently thanking the man. Ben led the charge as he and his father transferred everything to the kitchen. Sandra placed her hands on her hips as she shook her head.

‘Goodness,’ thought the woman. ‘Ben really has fallen head over heels for this girl. Maybe if I let them go to his room he would have cleaned it for once.’ She giggled to herself as she suddenly thought of something. ‘Then again, knowing boys, he wouldn’t have cared until she said something.’

Jade stood in the middle of the area, confused by her friend’s sudden tidiness yet also thankful for it. She decided to start with some stretches, wanting to limber up before the actual exercises. She started with her arms, preparing them just in case she needed to catch herself. Once her arm stretches were done, she decided to go for toe touches. Ben came back into the room as she bent over, freezing as her back was turned to him. The fact that her butt was the first thing he saw did not help the inferno that hit his cheeks.

She then slowly did the splits, giving him even more of a show as she did so. He did not know someone could be so flexible, nor how interesting it was to watch a girl do so. She twisted to touch her toes a few times, grunting as she did so. Ben stepped back a bit when she began to turn enough to where she could see him, walking like he was mid stride as soon as she noticed him. She actually grinned through gritted teeth as she hugged her torso underneath her chest.

“See something you like~?” questioned the girl. Ben fought the urge to immediately confirm her suspicions as he cleared his throat, though this only made her grin widen. The boy patted his cheeks a few times before looking at her again.

“Doesn’t that hurt?” questioned Ben. “Stretching your legs like that can’t be comfortable.” Jade rolled her eyes as she looked forwards again.

“It kinda hurts, but it’s only because I’ve not been doing my stretches at home. It’s not really a bad pain once you get used to it. I might need help getting up when I’m done though.” Ben gulped as he nodded his head, trying his best not to return his gaze to her butt. He took deep breaths as he tried to control the butterflies in his stomach, wishing that they’d stop fluttering so much.

Jade moaned a bit as she shifted uncomfortably. “Okay. Help.” Ben immediately ran to her side as he let her brace herself against his arms. It took all of his might to not move his arms when she pushed, though she was eventually able to shift to a normal sitting position. She took a moment to breathe as she rubbed between her legs near her thighs.

She huffed as she rolled her shoulders. “I really need Jackie to get that room set up for me quickly. I can’t keep going through that.” Ben frowned as he clenched his fists, only to smile again when Jade looked up at him. “Thanks.” The boy rubbed the back of his head as he chuckled.

“Anytime. I’m always happy to help. Whether it’s cheering you on or being there to catch you. I won’t even need the Omnitrix to do it.” Jade grinned mischievously as she looked him in the eye.

“Oh? Does that mean you’ll be watching me do gymnastics more often? Not afraid of guys making fun of you for wanting to watch a bunch of girls?” Ben blushed, completely forgetting his comment from their first meeting. He cleared his throat again as a form of regaining his composure.

“I mean… if you want. I like supporting you, so it’s a win-win in my book.” Jade’s smile became more genuine as he moved his hand away from his mouth, a small blush forming on her cheeks.

“You’re sweet, Ben, and I’ll be holding you to that.” The boy allowed his blush to settle, his mind made up. The Tennyson parents looked towards each other, smirks of pride on their faces.

“He’s growing up before our eyes,” whispered Sandra. “I was worried he never would. Now I get to watch and take pictures of him trying to get the girl, while making sure everything’s on the clean side of course.” Her husband rolled his eyes, though his smile and nod made it clear he agreed with her. The woman popped up her phone real quick as she snuck a picture of Jade doing some light pushups, Ben doing his best to keep his eyes where they should be. The visitor eventually stood up, clapping her hands together.

“Alright! For this first one I need some help. Ben take five for a moment as this one is girls only.” The boy shrugged as he took a seat in the armchair, patiently waiting for whatever exercise she was about to perform. His mother quickly walked over with an intrigued smile on her face.

“Sounds like a rather personal exercise. What’s the plan?” The Chinese girl blushed as she shook her head.

“Well if I did this exercise with a boy as my partner, my father would never let me see them again. I quite like hanging out with Ben.” The boy in question felt the intense heat return to his cheeks, the question of just what kind of exercise this was plaguing his mind. “I need you to be behind me, ready to catch me when I cry out. That would mean I’m falling backwards, which would not end well.”

The older woman nodded her head as she prepared herself, Jade getting down on the floor. It looked like she was about to perform pushups again, only for her to transition into a handstand. Her legs were curled up against her torso, huffing as she kept herself balanced. “I have to stay like this, periodically splitting my legs.” She huffed again as Sandra shifted to be in a better spot.

She found breath to speak again as she prepared herself. “I’ll be going back and forth for five minutes.” Ben tilted his head as he leaned a bit closer.

‘Wait.’ thought the boy. ‘Wouldn’t that mean…?’ His question was answered when Jade split her legs, leaving nothing to the imagination of a close observer. Though Ben was not in such a position, he still felt like his heart was going to jump out of his chest as he held his hand over his mouth. He did not move his eyes for the next five minutes, mentally screaming as testosterone flowed like a river through his body.

Due to this, he began to notice how sweat was quickly covering her body. Her face was beginning to turn red from all of the blood rushing to it. The girl finally couldn’t take anymore as she began to fall, curling up as she rolled across the ground. “JADE!” The girl eventually splayed out, huffing as her head tilted back and forth.

“I’m okay! I just… need five minutes. Can I get some water?” Ben immediately hopped up from his seat, pushing past his father as he ran for the kitchen. Carl actually looked between the seat and the kitchen a few times, surprised by his son’s reaction time.

The boy immediately returned with one of the large cups, the glass filled with water. Jade immediately took it from him, downing it half way before handing the cup back to him. “Thanks. If I could do this more often it wouldn’t be as big of an issue.” Ben nodded his head, once again noting how her situation isn’t helping her gymnastics training.

Five more minutes passed before Jade stood up, stretching her back a bit, Ben quickly noticing how nice her chest was popping out. “Okay. Now I need you to stand ready while I hold one of my legs up, Mrs. Tennyson. I’ll need to do this twice with each leg.” The woman in question quickly stood behind her again, ready to help. Ben actually narrowed his eyes in confusion.

“Lift your leg up? How’s that…?” His question was answered before it could finish as Jade held one of her legs above her head, hugging it close as she balanced on her remaining one. “HOLY COW! I didn’t know a leg could bend that far!” Jade let loose a dry laugh as she tried to focus.

“You think this is impressive? Some people can hold both of their legs behind their heads at the same time. Those human pretzel people you see on tv are very real.” Ben blinked multiple times, still shocked by all the news. As time went on, Jade continued to defy his understanding of how flexible the human body could be.

His former bashfulness and arousal was overshadowed by intrigue with each and every exercise. It was one thing to hear about these kinds of things but viewing them was a whole other experience. Ben then took notice of how much sweat Jade had built up, covering her from head to toe. It went to show just how taxing all of this was. He looked down at the ground as he frowned.

‘And she could be having an easier time or doing more if she could practice at home. I kinda wanna see that, and not for the reasons other guys talk about. I see that benefit too, but now I’m just curious how far she can go. Maybe…’ He heard Jade giggle, causing him to look up as she was in the middle of resting again.

“If you’re thinking of trying this out, you’re a few years too late for the big stuff. The human body begins to stop being as flexible when you turn 8 to 10. It’s why my parents started me early. I’m glad I kept up with it too, as it makes learning Kung Fu a heck of a lot easier.” Ben smirked as he moved his hands away from his face. He waited for his friend to shift a bit before speaking.

“Ah well. At least I get to see what the human body can do. You make it look easy, but I can tell it takes a lot. I’ve had to run for water ten times now.” Jade’s smile turned mischievous once again, a look that was beginning to worry him.

“Admit it. You just like getting to see a girl do a bunch of poses that would be improper in most public places. There’s a reason the other boys tease like that, because it’s something they’d probably want to see too. You’re lucky enough to get a one on one show, even if it is supervised.” Ben blushed as he looked away, harrumphing as he heard his crush giggle.

“I know I’m lucky. My best friend is a cute girl who’s messing with my head while wearing a leotard.” He looked back towards Jade, noticing that her blush was crimson like his own. “...I didn’t say that out loud did I?” Jade huffed a lot, worrying Ben.

She began to fall forward, Ben immediately moving from his seat. “JADE!” He quickly caught her before she could collapse, getting a hold of her chest. He blushed madly due to where exactly he was touching, the softness surprising him, only for him to ignore his nerves as he quickly swapped to having his hands under her arms. He found a surprising amount of strength within him as he moved Jade to his prior seat, carefully setting her down. The girl sighed as she sunk into the chair.

“Sorry. I’m… ruining… the chair.” Ben gave her a moment to regain more composure as he folded his arms, tapping his foot rapidly.

“The chair!? I’m worried about you! Why didn’t you stop sooner!? You could have hurt yourself!” Jade shook her head with a sigh.

“That’s what instructors are for, Ben. I can’t always notice or feel my own limits. I need someone with experience to watch over me. My adorkable best friend doesn’t exactly count.” Ben scoffed at the name, only to smile at her trying to be cute.

Jade continued to take up his seat in the armchair as her body cooled down, using towels so as to not get the furniture wet with sweat. Ben surprisingly took well to caring for her, bringing her waters and latiao upon request. Eventually the time for them to part came near. Jade had found the energy and the time to go to the bathroom, take a shower, and change back into her clothes from school. She used a wet gym towel to cool down her neck. She stood at the entrance to the home with Mrs. Tennyson as the woman fiddled with her keys a bit.

“And with that we’re all set,” stated the woman. She looked towards her son with a knowing smile. “I know you’d want to come with us, Ben, but if I recall you have a report due tomorrow. You’ll want to finish that up so that you can keep your grades up.” Ben sighed at the reminder as he slumped forwards.

“I know, Mom,” stated the boy. “I’m almost done with it. I’ll get it done before you get back.” His mother gave him a raised brow in order to gauge his seriousness, only to lower it when he didn’t show signs of nervousness. The fact that his eyebrow didn’t twitch, a big tell of his, was enough reassurance for her to fully back off.

Ben looked towards Jade as he let his smile return. “Today was fun. I’m honestly really glad you came. I was worried things would get too awkward and you wouldn’t enjoy it.” He earned another mischievous look from his friend, growing used to it at this point.

“Fun?” questioned the young Chan, putting her hand on her hip once more. “I guess you really did enjoy the view~.” Ben tried to laugh her tease off, though his blush betrayed him as that hip thing distracted him even more. “I had fun too. It was nice to have a fresh audience and to enjoy those tasty snacks.”

Jade then bowed to Mr. Tennyson. “Thank you for having me. If it’s no trouble, I wouldn’t mind visiting again, to practice or just to visit Ben.” Ben’s blush grew at the mention of visiting him specifically, a dopey grin on his face. His father returned the gesture, showing respect for her culture.

“We’d love to have you again,” informed Carl. “Anytime you want to stop by, just give us a call.” Jade smirked as she stood straight up.

“I’ll definitely do that, especially when I finally get my own phone.” The way she huffed afterwards showed off her annoyance with the detail, though Ben couldn’t help chalking it up as another thing he thought was cute about her. “I have a phone back home but Father wouldn’t let me bring it. He probably doesn’t want me calling in the middle of the night for them or something.” Ben frowned as he noticed the slight hitch in Jade’s breath, reminded of her familial troubles. Either unaware of this cue or feeling a need to cut things off, Sandra pressed the unlock button on her car keys.

“Well we better get going. Rush hour should be setting in soon and it sounds like you need to get home quickly. I’ll be back in time to make supper, boys!” She gently led Jade along, the girl not having the energy to do any fancy footwork. As soon as they were situated in the vehicle, Mrs. Tennyson took off down the road. She waited a while before glancing at the rear view mirror.

Jade was watching the Tennyson household disappear into the distance, a sad look on her face. The woman returned her attention to the road as she slowly made a turn. “So Jade, how’s life at home? Do your parents treat you well?” The young Chan didn’t look away from her target as she sighed.

“Everything’s fine. Mother and Father are just… busy all the time. I guess that’s just how life is sometimes. My father only put me in gymnastics so I would stop bugging him. He’s never even been to any of my recitals or competitions.”

She rubbed the bridge of her nose as she tried to fight off any tears that would have started to form. “Why should I expect anything different? They’ve been pushing me away all my life unless they need to impress guests. I’m only here because I cut my stupid hair from waist length to above my shoulders and…”

Jade soon realized what she was doing, stopping herself as she looked at her feet with her arms crossed under her chest while biting her lip. “And now I’m rambling to someone I just met, the mom of my best friend too. Great job, Chan Yu.” Sandra remained quiet for a moment as she kept her eyes on the road, some heavy traffic going on. Once she was in a better position, she looked back towards Jade again.

“Jade, you are a beautiful young lady. I’m sure that whatever distance is between you and your parents is either a wrong approach or just something you aren’t seeing yet. I bet you that, if you found a good way to communicate with them, they’d listen to everything you need to tell them. A good parent will hear their child out when they’re needed most.” Jade huffed at this as she looked to the other side of the car.

“The only reason I was born was to be married off in some big deal. Father started looking for future husbands when I was ten. I know the law and our culture and I love my home, but sometimes I just want to get away from it all for good. It’s not like my parents care about how I feel.” Sandra glared softly before returning her view to the road ahead.

“Jade, running away from your problems is never the answer. You are assuming things without knowing or understanding why they happen. I’m sure that your parents love you deeply, but everyone has their faults. You can always try smoothing things out with them, and I’m sure the rest of your family will be ready to help if you ask when you need them. I know a certain member of my family is already willing to fight tooth and nail if you need him.”

This caused Jade to give a shy chuckle as she smiled, the expression changing to one longing as she rested her head in her palm. “It’s just the two of us and a mother has to be curious. I’ve seen the way you look at him. And you were definitely showing off today.” The Chinese girl sighed as she kept her eyes on the passing buildings.

“Yeah. Guess it’s not hard to see when a girl comes to your house to show off a leotard. I mean I did need to practice but yeah, you're not wrong.” This caused Sandra to giggle as she shook her head. She stopped at a red light as she watched an old lady cross the street.

“I was your age once, Jade. I know all about trying to woo a boy. You’re lucky Ben’s been growing up as of late. His father was fifteen when I tried to get his attention; it didn't work until he was seventeen. You have a real effect on Ben, something I’m actually thankful for. Think you could get him to clean his room?” Jade smirked at her with a tilt of her head.

“Only if you let us go in his room. Can’t get him to do something if I’m not gonna be there.” This caused Mrs. Tennyson to laugh heartily.

“Not for a few years, young lady. I wasn’t born yesterday. I know what could happen when two kids are left alone without supervision.” Jade felt a blush form on her face as she looked away. She shifted in the seat in a bit of discomfort.

“I would never do that before marriage. It would be dishonorable.” Sandra smirked as she shook her head, pushing down the gas to make the car move once more.

“The fact that you know what I’m talking about tells me it could happen. You can never be too careful when it comes to relationships between kids, especially aroused teenagers. I would know; I had three friends growing up that did it when they swore they wouldn’t. When two teens feel a ‘need’ it’s hard not to do the deed.” Jade gagged in disgust as she shook her head, earning a chuckle from the driver.

She pulled up to the designated area of the city, keeping her eyes peeled for the antique shop. “You do that now but wait until it happens. You’ll find that no matter how old you get, desire is a powerful emotion. Just a bit of advice from one woman to another.” Jade smiled as she nodded her head, happy to have it.

She began to wonder if this was what a motherly relationship was like when Sandra brought the car to a stop. “We’re here. I need to run some quick errands so you’ll have to go in alone but one more thing. Think about what I said about you trying to talk with your parents. They might surprise you if you give them the chance.”

Jade simply nodded her head as she undid her seatbelt, getting out of the car. She hoisted her bookbag and her duffel bag onto her shoulders before shutting the door, Sandra rolling down the window on the driver side quickly. “Let us know the next time you have a recital or competition going on. I always loved performances, and we both know why Ben would want to be there.” Both woman and girl chuckled, Jade shaking her head.

“I will. Hopefully when I do, Uncle won’t hog the phone all day.” The young Chan quickly bowed to Mrs. Tennyson before running into the shop. She didn’t even bother to see if Uncle was out and about as she rushed for her former guest room. She leaned against the door as she slammed it shut, sliding down as she released a sigh.

Ben was sitting at his desk, nearly finished with his report, when he felt his left hand twitch all of a sudden. It was the same hand that the Omnitrix was attached to at the wrist, so he took great care to look over it. For some reason he felt like he needed to hold something, like he was needed somewhere. It was beginning to interfere with his schoolwork, so he stood up and walked towards his window. He took deep breaths as he tried to calm himself down.

He decided to distract himself by looking out the window, soon seeing the same house he and Jade passed on the way to his home. Remembering what his mother said about some things needing a second look, as well as a need to not focus on his hand, he looked over the building again. It was exactly like his house in structure, only it was green in color. He continued to look it over, humming as his expression softened. He began to notice how the trimming actually complemented the overall paint job of the building.

“...I guess it is a nice house. If I wanted to live close to home I could see being there.” He tilted his head as confusion began to set in. “I thought it was red earlier… and Mom thought it was burgundy. What’s up with…?”

Ben suddenly felt his entire arm go numb, the rest of his body beginning to twitch like his hand was earlier. He could only silently scream as he fell to the floor, clutching the Omnitrix with his right hand. Carl, having heard the fall, nearly rammed down the door to the room as he rushed in.

“Ben!?” cried the man. He soon noticed his son on the floor, the boy’s jittering form disturbing him. “Son, speak to me!” He got down on his knees as he leaned the boy’s body against him. The Omnitrix began to blare alarms as the faceplate spun, the hourglass symbol turning blue.

“Warning!” cried the device in a monotone version of Ben’s voice. “Alpha level threat detected. Protocol Warden engaged. Omnitrix Mandatory Update in process. Please standby.”

Carl growled at the device, moving his son’s hand as he messed with the band. The core suddenly popped up, an energy pulse sending the man sliding back a bit before the device did an outer scan of its wielder. “Host Amalgamation: Twenty Five percent. Protocol Warden: Fully Authorized. Increase update speed tenfold.” The core popped up and down multiple times, continuing to spin as green energy began to spin around the band of the device.

The Omnitrix core finally stopped spinning as one more alarm rang out. “Update complete. Threat level Alpha: Verified. Notifying Administrator. Emergency Hardware Update: Engaged.” The core slammed down harder than Ben had ever smacked it before, causing his arm to pop up a bit before the device erupted in a lime green glow.

Carl could only cover his eyes as the light actually covered the entire room. It was so bright that beams of light were visible from the window, spooking Mr. Baumann as he was about to enter his car. The man put away his keys as he groaned.

“Nope!” cried the man. “I am not dealing with the Tennysons today! I’m calling in sick.” He walked back into his house, locking the door behind him. As he did this, the light began to die down.

Carl removed his arm from his face, happy that the light was finally dissipating. The room was undamaged by the light, some broken objects in the area either repaired or improved while the furniture actually looked refurbished. The thought of his son caused him to quickly shake his head.

“Ben! Are you alright!?” He heard his son groan as he turned to where the boy was, his eyes narrowing in confusion. “Ben?” The boy sat up, groaning as he rolled his shoulders.

“I’m alright,” groaned Ben. “In fact… I feel great.” He quickly stood up, a ripping sound catching his attention. He gulped as he stood straight. “...Please tell me that wasn’t my underwear.”

The boy quickly looked over himself, trying to understand what was going on. He sighed in relief as he saw the tear was in the front of his shirt. “Oh thank gosh it’s just the shirt! I still need to do laundry so if I lost this pair I’d be in trouble. I…” His father sighed as he stood up, rubbing his temples.

“Son,” groaned the man. “I think laundry is the least of our concerns right now?” Ben turned to face his father, a confused frown on his face.

“What? What’s the big… Did you get a bit shorter?” He then looked towards his bed, his eyes narrowing further in concern. “Why is my bed smaller?” The boy suddenly began to piece things together as he looked around.

Everything in his room seemed to be a bit smaller, the ceiling also looking a bit lower. He scratched at his head with his right arm, only to stop as he looked towards it. “Is my arm longer or…? Oh no.” He pushed past his father as he ran for the bathroom, his eyes widening in realization.

He burst into the room, immediately looking over himself. He had gained a literally sudden growth spurt, standing a few good inches taller than before. His frame also looked a bit wider, though it was hard to notice at first. He pulled his shirt off his torso, finding that a lot of the baby fat he had before was now gone. He rubbed over the area with his right arm, surprised when his stomach didn’t squish like it used to.

He tilted his head as he thought of something, slowly grabbing his underwear and pants as he pulled them forward. He yelped as he looked up, letting go of the fabric as it snapped back into place. “What the heck happened to me? I have so much energy and grew more after the Omnitrix…” His eyes grew wider than they had before, another physical change he took note of.

He slowly brought his left arm into view, looking over the device that did this to him. It now resembled a streamlined gauntlet, green tubes carrying an energy of some kind running from one spot to another. The gauntlet was mainly green, some silver on the underside. A large faceplate rested near his elbow, alongside some kind of lime green scanner encased in a silver colored casing. A charcoal gray glove wrapped around his hand, the material surprisingly comfortable.

The actual core of the Omnitrix was now moved up to the back of his hand, seeming much smaller than before. A small green button for activating the Omnitrix sat to the side of the core. A surprising change the boy noticed was a golden ring of ancient Chinese characters that encircled the core, shining with power. The overall design looked like a futuristic version of an ancient Chinese soldier gauntlet, taking on a heavily Galvan design. The energy flowed through the tubes as the core glowed green.

Ben blinked multiple times before waving his arm around. “HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO GO TO SCHOOL WITH MY ARM DRESSED FOR WAR!?” Carl walked to the room with a sigh.

“You just noticed the literal gauntlet on your… HOLY COW!” Ben looked towards his father, watching as the man pulled at his own hair. “Your mother’s gonna kill me! Forget sleeping on the couch! I’ll be sleeping outside for this!” The boy growled as if prepared to start an argument, only for the Omnitrix to release a very different jingle from before.

“Host promoted to Guardian Inquisitor,” informed the device. “Voice Recognition: Authorized. DNA Scanner: Enabled. Warden Mode: Enabled. Camouflage Mode: Enabled. Queuing ten new DNA entries to Omnitrix active roster. Administrator defined voice codes authorized for species acquisition.” Ben tilted his head, confused by the number of features.

“Voice command?” questioned the boy. “Warden Mode? I thought I had this thing figured out! At least I can make the Omnitrix Camouflage so that I can be stealthy at school.” The device beeped in response to his words, making him jerk a bit.

“Voice key authorized. Initiating camouflage.” The faceplate turned again as the materials of the gauntlet suddenly changed to have a similar pattern to Upgrade. The device then began to merge into Ben’s skin, shocking him as it created green line patterns along the surface. Eventually the Omnitrix disappeared, the only clue it was there being a faded tattoo on the back of its user’s hand. Ben looked between his father and the area where the device used to be, his father counting on his fingers until the boy screamed.

“One. Can’t there just be one normal day in my own house?” The continued screaming of Carl’s son told him that the answer was no. He sighed in disappointment as he shook his head. “I guess not.”

And that’s all for this chapter! Ben and Jade have some time to bond as they navigate their growing feelings for each other, Gwen taking a moment to obtain some favors. Jackie was able to obtain the Rat Talisman by himself, defeating the Dark Hand and obtaining a little tag along. Ben then learns to appreciate the little things in life, as well as gaining a love for Jade’s passion towards gymnastics. The girl herself gets some helpful familial advice, unaware that her crush has undergone the biggest physical change of his life.

What has happened to Ben? Will he ever be the same? How long will his father be sleeping on the couch? Let me know what you think down below and I’ll try to get back with you ASAP. This is Inkaliber, signing out.

Chapter 10: Evolutions and Awakenings

Chapter Text

Inkaliber: Welcome back! It's time for another chapter of Chan in Bellwood! This is a bit of a continuation of the chapter so there's some fun to be had. I…

Prof. Paradox: Sorry to pop in unannounced, Indisputable my good sir.

Inkaliber: GAH! Paradox!? Would it kill you to knock!? And for the last time, It's Inkaliber in the story space and the Author's notes.

Prof. Paradox: So terribly sorry. You see, I am in need of your indefinite assistance. A certain party of interest underwent dimensional mitosis and they are in need of homing. I can have The Doctor increase your home space with similar technology to the Tardis in exchange. I do believe I still have five favors.

Inkaliber:... Is this involved with the story today?

Prof. Paradox: Quite ironically, even for time.

Inkaliber: Fine. I better get those upgrades pronto or else we're gonna have issues.

Prof. Paradox: Not to worry. I will be acquiring the young ones soon. Tata!

Inkaliber: Of course he just leaves. I better start the chapter before he gets here. Emergency review reading time!

The_Literary_Lord- That is a secret that I will happily reveal later. Thanks for the compliment!

P96822- Ben has indeed gone into a magical growth spurt. In the chapter the man was called Daoshi because he was a high member of the monks of the temple. He is not Grand Master Dashi from Xiaolin Showdown. I figured it would be fun to let Ben and Jade have a moment to be young teens. Giving exposition to those kinds of things is fun and adds some story unique lore.

Lincolnronnie94- Yeah. Jade is going to have an interesting time with Ben now.

Reader (Guest)- I'm sorry that your expectation couldn't be met, but I'm glad that you enjoyed it regardless. I wanted to have that good dynamic be built up and the foreshadowing just felt so well placed. Trust me when I say I surprised myself with the ideas. We are about to see the effects, as well as some other fun things. It is indeed Ben's turn.

That's all of them, so let's begin. I don't own Jackie Chan Adventures, Ben 10, or any other series that may appear here. I do own OC characters, species, objects, and concepts unless stated otherwise.

Voices

"Talking."

'Thinking.'

"YELLING!"

"Author/Guest/High or demonic entity talking. Also, surprise at the end of a section."

"AUTHOR/GUEST/HIGH OR DEMONIC ENTITY YELLING!"

"Whispering."

"Author/Guest/High or demonic entity whispering."

[Language Indicator]

"Machine or alt communication talking/Talking in flashback."

"MACHINE OR ALT COMMUNICATION YELLING/YELLING IN FLASHBACK!"

"Machine or alt communication whispering/Whispering in flashback."

Bellwood, Pennsylvania

Jade finally came out of her former guest room, preparing to head for Section 13. She was still reeling from everything that happened nearly an hour ago, trying to figure out her own feelings. Every moment from Ben doing things for her, the boy paying extra attention to her in her leotard, and even when he grabbed her chest to catch when she was falling. The very memory caused her to feel at her chest a bit, the very place he caught. She felt the phantom feeling of his touch, closing her eyes as she thought of it.

"Aiyah!" cried the voice of Uncle. She took her hands off her chest as she turned around, sighing in relief as the man was only just now walking into the room. "Who left door unlocked!? Shop closed for inventory!" Jade giggled in embarrassment as she rubbed the back of her head, catching the old man's attention.

"Sorry, Uncle," apologized the young Chan. "I had… an urgent girl thing and forgot to lock it back on my way in." The old man sighed in understanding, not wanting to get into such discussions.

"Remember to lock door more often! You let robbers in shop if not careful." Jade nodded her head in understanding.

"I'll remember Uncle. By the way… have you heard from…" She stopped mid-sentence as the man held up his pointer finger.

"One more thing. Why you not in Section 13?" The girl shrugged, feeling no need to lie.

"I was at a friend's house to get my training in because Jackie still hasn't made me a room to train my gymnastics in. I couldn't exactly tell their mom to drop me off at some 'random place.'" Uncle hummed, nodding his head in understanding.

"Will talk with Jackie later. Now you go to section 13." Jade was about to walk away when she felt a sudden urge to stop. "One more thing!" Jade did her best not to show her response, muttering "of course" under her breath.

Uncle put his hands on his hips as he looked at the girl. "Jackie is heading directly to Section 13. Said Rat Talisman brought object to life. Tell him Uncle still needs to translate inscriptions!" Jade looked back at the man, doing her best to make her smile genuine as her eyelid twitched.

"Of course, Uncle. Anything else?" She had apparently made the right decision asking as the old man nodded his head.

"Yes." He sent her a soft smile as he tilted his head a bit. "Did you have fun?" The question actually made Jade pause as a blush appeared on her face. Her smile became more genuine as she nodded her head.

"Actually, I did. It was cool getting to see their home. Not really many surprises." She was finally able to leave as she ran out the door, though Uncle was quick to notice her blush before she turned her head. He narrowed his eyes as he hummed, feeling a need to talk with Jackie soon. He hoped that there truly weren't any surprises, whether they be past, present, or future.

Ben could be found screaming every now and then about something different than when he was in the bathroom earlier. He was still shocked about his transformation, of that there was no doubt. His father was covering his face with his hand, wondering how the boy could scream for the past five minutes, take a drink, fiddle with the Omnitrix for twenty minutes, then find a new thing to scream about only thirty minutes later. Carl didn't even know what was causing this new bout of screaming until he heard what sounded like a mini rant about breasts. He decided to get an answer as he grabbed his son by the shoulders, the boy sitting on the newly returned couch.

"BEN!" cried the man. "Stop screaming! Just breathe!" The boy took deep breaths, trying to focus his thoughts. The boy eventually calmed down, though it was clear that his mind was still in turmoil.

His father sat in the arm chair as he gestured to him. "If you keep screaming, the neighbors will call emergency services. And what's this I hear you screaming about breasts? Did something happen that I need to know?" Ben tapped his fingers together, the boy blushing as he looked down.

"Well… you know how I caught Jade when she fell over from exhaustion?" questioned the boy. Carl nodded his head, realizing quickly what his son was about to say but deciding to let him explain himself. "I kinda accidentally grabbed her boobs without thinking. I was more worried about catching her than where my hands went. I was scared how she would react so I said nothing as I changed my hold to her armpits and moved her." The man mentally sighed in relief before sending his son a soft frown.

"Ben, it was an accident. I know you better than to take advantage of a girl like that, I hope." Ben then held his hands clasped together in front of his face as he took a deep breath.

"I know it was an accident, but what if Jade gets upset and hates me for it? You guys raised me well, I think, so I know that touching a girl anywhere private like that is a big no. It's like one of the universal social rules for guys being around girls. She might hate me forever and go back to China with the request to never come back here again to try and avoid me and…" Carl shook his head as he began to smile.

"Ben, settle down. One, it's not a rule but a social ideal. Two, you're crying like a girl. If Jade hates you it's her decision and we can't blame her." He watched his son send him a glare, telling him he might have wanted to make a different point.

"I don't want her to hate me! I want to ask her out, go on dates with her, and spend as much time around her as possible! If she hates me I lose everything I have with her! I can't lose that.." Ben watched his father send him a sincere smirk.

"You want to make it up to her? Then talk with her about it and explain yourself. It's not the end of the world if she says no. There's plenty of fish in the sea, Son." Ben looked at the floor with a sad look on his face.

His father sighed as he shook his head again. "Look Ben I understand you like her, but you can't expect things to go right immediately. Give it some time. You have the weekend anyway." Ben narrowed his eyes as he clenched his fists.

"A weekend is too long after what happened. She could decide to hate me now and it would set in by Monday."Not sure exactly what Ben was saying, Carl gestured to the boy.

"Oh come on, Ben! What could happen over a weekend?" Ben sent his father a glare, the man gaining a deadpan look of his own. "Just wait. You'll see things can turn around just…" The front door opened, Sandra walking in with a bag of groceries.

"I bought burrito makings~," informed the woman. Carl tensed up as his wife looked towards them. "What would you boys think about…?" She noticed Ben's new form, her eye twitching as her face slowly morphed in shock and terror. Carl sighed as he slumped over.

"I just jinxed it, didn't I? Me and my big…" Sandra suddenly gave her husband a look of anger, one that made Ben wince as he knew it well.

"WHAT HAPPENED TO MY BABY!?" She practically threw the bag of groceries onto the coffee table as she began to squish Ben's face. "You were just a little thing when I left two hours ago. Now you look like you're fifteen years old." Ben grumbled at the woman's touch.

"Mom!" cried Ben. "I'm pretty sure I'm still twelve! The Omnitrix changed or something! I don't know what caused it!" His mother let go of his cheeks, the boy moaning in pain as she growled.

"I swear whoever built that watch is hearing it from me! When Max gets back I'm making him take me wherever I need to go to fix this! I'll…" Ben suddenly stood up, hugging her tightly yet gently. This only made her mood worse at first as it reminded her how much taller he had grown, but she gave a gentle but sad smile as she returned the embrace.

"Mom, it's okay. I'm still me, even if I got a sudden growth spurt. I doubt we can fix it, but I don't think it would have happened unless something serious was going on. The only thing I think can be fixed is the fact that this is the third shirt I put on these past two hours, and it's already kinda stretched." Sandra could only sigh as her son let her go, allowing her to see the frays at the hem of the shirt in question.

"We'll go shopping tomorrow. You'll have to get a new look as I don't think they make the old clothes in your new size." Ben smiled as he nodded his head.

"You see? All this means right now is that you get to take me clothes shopping and I can't really complain about it. Weren't you one of the people telling me I should have a new wardrobe?" Sandra chuckled as she shook her head, Ben smiling at his plan being a success. Carl also smiled, subtly doing an arm pump.

"Nice save,"sighed the man to himself."No sleeping outside for me."He looked at the duo again, only to gulp as his wife was now glaring at him. "...I love you." Sandra crossed her arms under her chest as she growled.

"Oh I love you too dear, but this happened on your watch and you didn't call me when it happened. You can forget the couch because you're sleeping in the garage! If anything else crazy happens, you're finding a motel tonight! This alien stuff needs to stop taking over my life." Carl sighed as he leaned forward, grumbling to himself as Ben shook his head.

"Let's hope Jade's having it better than I am. I'm already worried about her hating me after I accidentally caught her by her boobs earlier." He immediately regretted his words as his mother turned towards him, her hands on her hips.

"YOU DID WHAT!? YOU BETTER EXPLAIN YOURSELF RIGHT NOW YOUNG MAN!" Ben groaned as he leaned forwards.

"Me and my big mouth,"

Xiaoling Industries Tower

Valmont stood before some of his extra henchmen, the group looking frightened by their placement here. They had heard that people on their level who were called into his office were usually fired, disappeared, or both in that order. It didn't help that smoke coming from the "dragon statue" behind him was giving him a more frightening appearance. Valmont lightly tapped his cane, spooking the grunts. He smirked, giving off an inviting yet uncertain vibe.

"Gentlemen," greeted Valmont. "I believe you've been informed about our newest hunt for artifacts. Well we have been running into a few interruptions, so you will be helping us target one of these interruptions." He turned his computer screen around, displaying a picture of Jade. "Find this girl's whereabouts and keep her in your sights at all times until my personal enforcers go in to capture her."

He walked away from the screen as he looked each man in the eye. "Of course you will be rewarded for this, high above your paygrade. Any questions? None?" The men looked around at each other, showing no signs of uncertainty or complaints.

Valmont smiled, happy to have thugs that didn't complain for once. "Good. You may leave." The men walked out of the room, small smirks on their faces. Valmont then looked at his screen again, hearing Shendu hiss in the background.

"Be reminded that this may be your only chance to retrieve my Talismans for a long time, Valmont,"growled the dragon."You best hope this works, or your treasure will be out of reach for far longer."Valmont changed the screen to show an operation room of sorts, several machines lined up along the walls and some imaging blurred.

"I assure you, Shendu, that everything has been prepared. It's up to you, my dear friend, to do your part." The dragon hissed a bit, only there was a hint of entertainment at the mention of what he would do.

The Next Day

Section 13

Jade looked over her homework, tapping her chin as she laid on her stomach. She was trying to focus, though a lot was on her mind at the moment. The words of Mrs. Tennyson stuck in her head, especially about how her parents might listen to her. The very idea excited her, even if most of her put it down as impossible. It was like a dream of hers was being dangled in front of her face, another longing of hers just beyond her reach.

She tried to write the math equation down completely, only to quickly erase it with a huff of frustration. She stood up as she walked away from her bed, putting her left hand on her waist as she tried to think of something. The girl rubbed her temples as she leaned against the wall of her room.

"Why can't I think right now?" moaned the girl. "I thought I was over these ideas years ago." She suddenly waved her hand in exasperation as she stood up. "I need to get my mind off of this." She walked into the main area of her and Jackie's quarters, happy that the man was nowhere in sight.

She picked the phone up as she quickly dialed a number, crossing one arm under her chest and grabbing hold of her other arm while it held the device to her ear. She grinned as she heard a voice on the other end. "Hey Gwen! Listen, I can't think straight right now. You wanna head to the mall or something?" She heard a hum on the other end, something she learned was never a good sign from her friend.

"Hmm Oh really?"questioned the redhead."What's bothering you? Is it about Ben? Did he do something stupid while you were showing off for him?"Jade blushed as she looked away, knowing very well that wouldn't actually mean anything over the phone.

"No it's not about Ben. Well… maybe part of it is but that's for later. Why is that the first thing you ask nowadays anyway? Look, could we just hang out somewhere, please? I don't exactly want to talk about this where others could be listening." She heard another sound over the line, only this one sounded like Jackie.

"JACKIE!"cried the voice of Uncle over the line."We need to talk!"Jade growled as she heard a line hang up, though she was still on call with Gwen.

"See what I mean!? NO PRIVACY!" The Chinese girl took a few short breaths in order to calm down, taking one long one soon after. "Anyways, we meet up in the mall in maybe an hour, ok?" She heard a soft sigh, this time sure that it was Gwen.

"Alright. I'll see you there."Jade immediately hung up, walking back to her room to change into a more appropriate outfit. She still felt anger over finding that Jackie was listening in on her phone call AGAIN. This was the eighth time he had done such a thing to her knowledge, this being part of the reason she wanted her own phone.

Meanwhile, Jackie was gasping as he patted his chest. He was in an office on base, where he had seen the light for his room flashing on the phone. He had tried to listen in, hearing something about Ben and Jade not wanting to talk around others. This was interrupted by Uncle, the man standing in the doorway with his usual scowl on his face. The archeologist frowned as he turned fully to the old man.

"Uncle," sighed Jackie. "I was in the middle of something." Uncle huffed as he crossed his arms.

"Can call back later!" cried the old man. "We have important things to discuss. Why Jade need to go to friend's house to practice because you can't finish a room? She came to shop instead of coming back here!" Jackie tilted his head, slightly confused.

"Uncle, what are you talking about? What room?" The old man gave his nephew his signature slap in response.

"Room for gymnastics training! You not know Jade was in gymnastics?" Jackie searched his thoughts for a moment, straightening his head again.

"She's taking that at school. She can't be taking it that seriously." The old man waved his hand away from the former movie star, releasing another huff.

"You clearly not pay attention. She have many trophies from Hong Kong that she has not open yet. Delivery men bring new ones yesterday, many trophies." Jackie's eyes widened as he grabbed the side of his face.

"What!? They only just got here!?" He groaned as he rubbed his temples, trying to gather his thoughts.

"Eh! They get lost on way here. One more thing! We need to have conversation with Shin! Jade and Ben are becoming very close! He needs to be more involved." Jackie sighed as he rubbed the back of his head.

"I know, Uncle, but he doesn't return my calls. He's been so busy as of late." Uncle cried out in annoyance as he rubbed his own temples.

"That is because you call in middle of night or work for him! I call him all the time and he answers." Jackie gestured to the phone, as if trying to get his point across.

"I've been trying in the off hours, but he's always on his phone with other calls. With how many calls he must be getting, my voicemails get lost in the madness." Uncle frowned as he returned to the crossed arm position.

"Ba! You just need right time and many calls." His frown softened as he removed his glasses to clean them. "However, that is other thing. Shin must be called over his own relationship with Jade, same for her mother."

Jackie's expression turned to a serious yet confused one as he crossed his arms, letting Uncle explain himself. "He describe Jade as very different girl from one we know, even at beginning. Said he was worried she would become delinquent from trouble at school. Picking fights, wasting good qipaos by never wearing them, coming home covered in food, causing scenes in locker room with other girls… Jade has been handful, yet has shown no signs of such troubles." Jackie looked down as he contemplated everything himself.

"I had heard from Jade that her parents were always busy, but I did not think it was like this. She is a respectable young lady, though brash and in need of wisdom. She did become more violent and concerned when she was worried about… the bully situation." The man rubbed the bridge of his nose, finally beginning to piece things together. Uncle nodded his head, having such an understanding himself.

"Some trophies come with pictures. Jade had beautiful long hair at waist length before coming here. Wore blue qipao when younger, then switch to other colors and different clothes. Looks more sorrowful." Jackie nodded his head as he removed his hand from his face.

"We need to talk with him as soon as possible, after discussing this with Jade. If this is true, she has been needing her parents for longer than we thought." Uncle shook his head in denial.

"Talk with her later. Fight us, she will. Know children very well. She is too much like you in situations such as this. Now, Uncle must research Talisman." Jackie looked away with a small groan, having guessed earlier what the old man was originally after. His frown turned serious as he turned towards Uncle.

"Research later, Uncle. There are some things I learned about the Talismans, things we must prepare for." Uncle's frown turned serious, the old man nodding his head.

Bellwood City Mall

Ben had an annoyed look on his face as he followed his mother through the mall. It was not due to his placement in said mall, but the fact that he had to walk through the area in his father's old clothes. He was wearing a blue and green plaid long-sleeve button up shirt that looked rather baggy on him, some worn blue-jeans, and his father's garage shoes. The boy scratched at his back with a groan, not liking the feel of the material on his skin. His mother looked back at him with an understanding smile.

"Oh don't worry Ben," reassured the woman. "I brought my big bag so that you can put your fathers' clothes in it after you're finished trying on outfits. The store is right up this escalator, so just hold on a bit longer." Ben followed his mother onto the escalator, only to freeze as he saw a sight he actually did not want to see. Jade was here with Gwen, going down the other escalator as they talked to each other.

Feeling like he wasn't ready to talk yet, he looked back in hopes that he could hop back a bit. Those hopes were dashed when an elderly couple came on right after then. The boy could tell that the girls were getting closer as he heard one of them laughing at something, trying to think of a plan. He suddenly pulled out his phone, holding it to his ear as he tried to cover up his face. He looked away a bit as he began to sweat, Jade looking his way as his device actually did most of the job.

She narrowed her eyes as she looked him over, the boy turning his head away a bit more. Thankfully she and Gwen had not noticed his mother, or it would have been game over in an instant. The duo passed by him as Gwen teased Jade, saying something about the young Chan and him that he couldn't quite make out. He was thankful that he and his mother reached the top but he really wanted to know what they were saying about him. He decided to stow it away for later as he followed behind his mother, unaware that Jade was looking back up the escalator.

"Did that guy look… familiar to you?" questioned Jade. "I swear I saw him somewhere before." Gwen gestured around the building, a deadpan look on her face.

"There are hundreds of guys here, Jade," corrected the magical girl. "You have to be more specific." The redhead followed her gaze, only to gasp as she palmed her forehead. "I forgot they put one of those in here! It's one of the hottest new stores, with makeup brands and high quality clothes to die for." Jade grinned as she took Gwen playfully by the arm.

"What are we waiting for? I could use a new lipstick. I wonder if they have blue." Gwen smirked as they walked onto the up escalator. She crossed her arms under her chest as she looked towards her friend.

"I'm sure you'd love to use it too. Maybe Ben would like it too." Jade smiled as she nodded only to realize what Gwen said.

"I… I don't know what he has to do with it. You know he's not into makeup." Gwen didn't let up as she giggled at Jade, leaning a bit closer to her ear.

"I don't know. You seemed a little too relaxed about how he accidentally got a feel of your chest. You even defended him when I was trying to plot with you on getting him back. You wanna get something off your chest with me?"Jade blushed as she looked back at the redhead, glaring all the while.

"Please don't talk about that in public. Someone could hear you." Gwen only shook her head as they got off the machine.

"Still, you seem awfully close with my doofus cousin. You hang out with him almost as much as you do me. Admit it already. I know you like him." Jade turned crimson as she walked towards the store, having to stop as she almost walked into a well-dressed man.

"S…Sorry. Excuse me." She walked around the man, Gwen quickly following along. The man looked back, his face being one belonging to one of the Dark Hand henchmen. He smirked as he put a finger to his ear, pressing on an earpiece.

"I've found her. West side, second level. I'm staying nearby." He walked into the store, making sure to not look suspicious. He was unaware that two more people were following close behind him, turning in a different direction in the shop.

Ben found himself carrying a large amount of clothes in his arms, annoyed by how his arms were beginning to chafe. His mother was helping him pick out outfits, only she was doing most of the picking. Thankfully next was the shoe department, a place where he knew she would be more lax… he hoped. He sat down at one of the small chairs as his foot was measured, showing that he had indeed gained almost an inch in shoe size. This opened up a wide range of options for him, allowing him to look for things in his style.

He grabbed different pairs, trying to go for something with at least a bit of green in it. It had become his signature color in a sense, hence why he wanted to wear it more. It had nothing to do with the fact that he wanted to look as nice as possible when he talked with Jade about the incident from yesterday. He placed some of the boxes down as he went to try something on, only for his mother to immediately move some of them away.

"Ben, you're going to look like a hooligan with these," admitted Sandra. "I can agree with some of the tennis shoes for exercise, but you need something nicer for going out." Ben groaned as he rolled his eyes.

"Mom, can't I have some say in what I wear?" questioned the boy. "I understand that I look older now but…" His mother turned towards him with her hands on her hips with a particular smile, the look telling him the answer was no before she even said a word.

"Ben, Jade will likely want someone that looks like he's not a kid. Some of the things you picked out are okay, but you need to start showing your best side if you want to make this relationship happen. I don't know much about cultural differences or laws in Hong Kong, but you'll also want to impress her parents by showing them how mature you can be. Your father had to do the same for my parents, and my mother wasn't exactly the easiest to please." Ben frowned as he looked down, actually thinking things over.

"...I guess you're right. I just want to look good and still look like me, you know?" He looked up to see that his mother was sending him a small grin.

"Trust me, Ben. I know you more than you think I do. Still, you can pick a second pair as this was an unexpected trip. Just try not to choose something childish and please, no pictures on the shoes." Ben nodded his head, quickly grabbing the first box.

It took him a while to find exactly what he wanted, as well as a pair that his mother would approve of. He finally settled on some black Vans from his mother's picks and a gray pair of sneakers with green detailing for his own appeal. He was then pulled to the changing room, having both pairs of shoes to try with the outfits they had collected. "Don't take too long in there. I'm wanting to try my hand at some Mandarin cuisines tonight. Got to practice making foods Jade likes for when we have her over again."

Ben nodded his head, sighing as he finally removed his father's clothes. Among the outfits was a pack of boxer briefs, plain black and white shirts, and some larger socks. He slipped a pair of the underwear and one of the black shirts on, pulling up a pair of gray sweat pants afterwards. This was more meant for relaxing at home, though he also planned to use it in workouts. For some reason he felt an insatiable need to get stronger, as if he had a lot of pent up energy.

He regained his focus as he slipped on some socks and the shoes he picked out, bouncing up and down a bit for the feel. He opened the stall door, his mother smiling at him. "It's adorable for at home and workouts, but definitely not for in public or at school. Try something more exciting." Ben rolled his eyes with a smirk, closing the stall door behind him.

He then changed into one of the white shirts, putting on a pair of black jeans and a gray hoodie. He put on the pair of shoes his mother fully approved of, getting a feel for them just like the others. He walked out, earning a small smile from his mother. "Now that's much nicer, and adorable too. I see a casual evening stroll with Jade in your future." The boy blushed as he looked away.

"Mom! One thing at a time please." He quickly shut the door again, earning a giggle from the woman. He sighed as he shook his head, feeling his heart beat faster. He quickly looked through the outfits, trying to find something that worked.

As this was happening, Jade was trying on some pale blue lipstick. She looked in the mirror, humming as she tilted around, making sure it looked good from all angles. Gwen appeared in the reflection, the same knowing smirk on her face.

"I'm still waiting," reminded the redhead. "You can be silent all you want but you can't deny it. You like Ben, and you even put on a show for him yesterday. Why is it so hard for you to just admit it?" Jade rolled her eyes as she tried not to blush.

"Maybe because there's nothing to admit," stated the young Chan. "I can think he's cute and adorable without having to have a crush on him. I can hang out with him without it needing to be a date. Can you just drop it?" All she received was an eye roll and a grin.

"Jade, you're adorable when you want to play dumb. If there really is nothing, then say it to my face. Tell me that Ben is just a friend. Do that and I'll leave you alone." Jade stood straight, a smirk of her own on her face.

"Fine. He's just…" Jade frowned, her nerves fighting her. "Ben's just… He's not… I…"

Gwen's growing smile wasn't helping her as she began to blush darker with each attempt. Jade eventually reached an even darker shade of red than when she had almost passed out, becoming frustrated with herself. She brought her hands to her face, trying and failing to control herself before screaming in her hands. She finally gave up as she leaned over on the makeup table. "Stop smiling like that!"

The Chinese girl saw her friend in the reflection of the mirror, the girl's smile remaining. "Fine! I admit it, okay!? Are you happy!?" Gwen grinned like a cat as she crossed her arms, holding them against her stomach.

"Admit what, Jade? I can't be right if I can't hear what it is." Jade felt her blush slowly die down to a regular level, growling at Gwen as she completely gave in. She looked her reflection in the eye, finally realizing how much it was hurting herself to deny it. She sighed as her expression softened.

"I might… possibly sorta… like your cousin. Ben's just… got a lot against him." Gwen held her victory in the back of her head, deciding to play ally rather than instigator.

"My doofus cousin, who sometimes burps unapologetically in public, is too good for you? I'll need some context on that one with how you're acting. How is the super cool kung fu chick who's apparently a gymnastics rising star too good for him? That sounds like a lot but…" Jade frowned as she looked back at her friend.

"You don't get it. If I had my way I'd have already asked him out myself. The problem is that my father would never accept me being with him. I'm supposed to marry into some big business partner to make him more money and get him more social standing, like all the other girls in Hong Kong. It doesn't help that I already have dishonored him enough that he sent me away. My chances of getting with Ben would have been slim to none even before that hair cutting incident."

Gwen began to frown sadly, not particularly liking that Jade was tearing herself down. The look on the girl's face was one that she knew no one would like, especially not Ben. The redhead decided to try and recover the moment as she shook her head.

"You haven't dishonored anyone, Jade. You probably just scared them as you haven't been talking with them about your problems. How would you view, say, your daughter if she suddenly cut her hair without any warning? You'd be worried about her and want to find out what the reason is, right? Maybe they sent you here so that Jackie can help you where they really couldn't."

Gwen rubbed Jade's back slowly as she thought over her words carefully. "Not everyone is the best at parenting. I noticed this on my summer vacation when I was ten. We met a few kids with parent problems. There was an especially rough case with a boy we met named Kevin."

Gwen frowned as many memories of said boy flowed into her head. "At the time I didn't think anything of it but after our vacation I felt bad for him as I researched him and his family situation. His parents didn't communicate with him about his problems at all and his stepfather saw his differences as a problem. His problems aren't the same as yours but they have similarities. The big difference is that they did nothing to help him while your parents sent you here.

Gwen stopped her rubbing as she crossed her arms under her chest. "Your parents might not have known what to do or how to move around the subject and their schedules. A new environment and new faces might have been the only thing they could think of to try and help you at the time. People can only do so much in areas they don't entirely understand. It goes to show that they might care about you more than you think they do."

She noticed that the Chinese girl was beginning to contemplate her words, deciding to continue. "I bet you that things could be a lot worse if your parents were more like Kevin's or more strict like others in Hong Kong. You wouldn't be the same person or probably have been sent here otherwise. Just… try to think about it." Gwen was about to continue, only to hear a familiar voice chuckle.

She turned around to find the origin of the voice, only to notice Ben's mother was pushing someone into the changing booth. "Aunt Sandra?" She walked away, unaware of two shadows walking to take her place. Jade was in the middle of thinking as she couldn't see the change in her audience. She felt something press against the back of her head, causing her eyes to widen in shock.

"Oh how cute," chuckled a voice. "The kids have drama. So do we," Jade slowly looked at who was behind her in the mirror, being met with the faces of two buff men. Finn stood behind them, looking a little nervous as he looked around. One of the buff goons pushed a gun closer to her head, growling in annoyance.

"Scream you'll regret it, brat," growled the man. "Come nice and easy. No one has to get hurt if you listen." Jade had no choice but to stand up, the weapon still held at her head. She then noticed that Ratso was also there, keeping a lookout. The group was about to walk away when someone looked their way.

"Security!" cried a woman. The other buff grunt shot into the air, scaring people as they began to run away. Gwen and Sandra looked towards the scene, Gwen's eyes widening as she saw some buff guy grabbing Jade into a choke hold and picking her up as he ran towards the entrance of the mall.

"JADE!" cried the redhead. She ran as fast as she could, working her way through the crowd. Sandra's eyes widened as she held her hand out to the magical girl.

"GWEN!" cried the woman. "WAIT!" Ben's stall door suddenly burst open, his mother turning around. She expected to see her little boy, nearly forgetting about his recent change. Instead she saw a very different person, one she could still recognize as her son.

Ben had been in the middle of putting on a green t-shirt, a black sleeveless jacket with a large number 10 on the back, a pair of blue jeans, and the pair of shoes she picked out. The fury in his eyes reminded her of his father, the boy gritting his teeth. He looked around frantically as he assessed the situation, quickly spotting Gwen on the run.

"Omnitrix: uncloak," ordered the boy. The device rose out of his arm, the metal clanging lightly as it morphed back into place. "Sorry Mom. Looks like we'll be paying for this one later." He immediately cycled through the list of aliens as he slammed the changing room door shut, a much more subtle green light than usual escaping it.

Sandra felt a cold breeze pass her by, opening the door to find that Ben was gone. If she had turned around in time, she would have seen two well-dressed men running out of the store. Instead she saw the cold breeze as she breathed out fog.

"Please. Be careful." Back with Gwen, she ran through the people as she kept an eye on the Dark Hand. She ran into a darker area, waiting until no one was around before switching into her Lucky Girl attire with magic. She then decided to try out something new she was working on, creating a pink platform beneath her feet as she shakily rode it above the crowd.

"Nice and easy," moaned the redhead. "Now… forward!" She leaned forwards, floating above the people as she tried to catch up with the villains. As she drew closer, eyes began to appear in the shadows. She readied one of her usual spells, unaware that a Shadowkhan was about to leap at her.

It would have succeeded in its attack too, if not for the fact that ice froze over it. The shinobi fell to the ground, shattering before turning to black smoke. More of the enemies leapt into action, only for a figure to pop up and breathe freezing air onto them. The figure disappeared once again, a cold air soon following beside Gwen.

"Gwen!" breathed a raspy, chilled voice. The girl looked around, confused as the cold feeling drew closer to her. "Where's Jade!? I heard you yell her name!" The girl looked straight ahead, shocked by the occurrence.

"Ben!? You're here!?" She shook her head, quickly regaining her composure before she could fall off her platform. "The Dark Hand has her. They're right up ahead!"

The cold wind blitzed forwards, freezing more ambushing Shadowkhan in its path. Jade wriggled in the strong man's grasp as she was loaded into the back of a van, two goons gagging her before getting to work binding her limbs. Gwen floated out of the building, the second buff goon noticing her as he aimed a pistol at her. He would have fired if not for the fact that his hand was frozen over. He was then sent flying backwards, crashing into another grunt as the rest of the group looked towards the assailant.

The being was a humanoid, moth-like alien, with four wings and two antennae-like wing folds. He had a black body with blue patching on his slender chest and running along his legs and arms, the latter reaching up to the back of his neck. Cyan patches that resemble ice chunks appeared on his legs and arms while thick black lines bordered the back end of each wing, containing three cyan patches of their own. It had a blue face with harsh black lines surrounding his eyes and mouth, all meeting at the center of his face. He also had a black marking on his head that extended over his scalp, forcing the remaining blue parts of his forehead into a Y-shape. His eyes were bright green, with small darker spots inside. His mouth was shaped into a frown showing four bluish-white teeth. The insectoid had three pointed fingers and a thumb on each hand, along with three toes on each foot: two in front and one behind.

The creature flapped in the air, hissing a bit as he looked over the group. It didn't take long for them to notice the Omnitrix on his chest, the symbol having the golden ring of incantations on a silver slope leading to it. Jade moaned through her gag as a wave of relief washed over her. The way she was being handled brought about an angry hiss from the insect. Ben began to breathe out frost subtly as he growled.

"Release the girl. I WON'T ask again." He froze the ground in front of the goons with an icy breath, the men gasping as he hit their guns as well. The look in his eyes actually frightened them, the thought that he was just a kid being lost on them. The grunt with the frozen hand hopped into the back of the van, Finn and Ratso quickly joining them.

"Drive!" cried Finn. "Just go! We've got the objective!" Ratso slammed the back of the vehicle shut behind him, the van taking off almost instantly. Ben was about to take off after them when more Shadowkhan stepped out of the shadows, some popping up from Ben's own shadow and above them on the roof of the mall.

"WHY CAN'T YOU STUPID NINJAS TAKE A HINT!?" He flew in a spiral as he breathed his freezing breath, hitting any enemies that could not get out of the way in time. Gwen was forced to land as the Shadowkhan on the rooftop leapt down at her, two of them crashing into each other. She slung spells around the area as the icy alien continued to freeze anything in his path. A sword almost hit him from behind, only for him to turn intangible as he saw the enemy coming.

Soon the boy had enough as he flew around while remaining intangible, flying through every enemy turning them all into icicles. He looked around, huffing as he tried to see where the van left. He was about to continue on when a dart was shot into his neck. He pulled it out, immediately beginning to feel dizzy as he floated around a bit. The boy fell to the ground, Gwen looking on in shock.

"Ben!" She was about to run over, only for several black vans to pull up to the mall. The girl only had a moment to think before a hard hit to the back of the neck caused her to black out. Two well-dressed men stood over the duo, watching as Ben reverted to normal. A few men walked out of the vehicles with guns at the ready as one of the duo put his hand to his ear.

"Tell Director Fury that Tennyson is in custody, along with his accomplice," informed the man. "We're bringing them back to HQ. Prep the equipment." The men quickly grabbed up the two kids, unaware that a very angry yet frightened woman was hiding with a phone to her ear.

"MAX!" roared Sandra as quietly as she could."GET YOUR KEISTER BACK HERE! NOW! JADE'S BEEN KIDNAPPED AND GOVERNMENT AGENTS HAVE ARRESTED BEN AND GWEN!"She heard the line go dead on the other side, hoping and praying that the situation would be resolved soon.

Location: Unknown

Jade found herself strapped to a chair, huffing as she was in a hospital gown. All of her clothes were taken from her including her underwear for unknown reasons. She wriggled around, trying to find a way to break free. She stopped her movement when a large screen came to life, a camera over top of it. Valmont was in the picture, wearing his dragon mask while standing in front of Shendu's statue.

"Greetings, Chan Yu,"greeted the man."Or would you prefer Jade? I would hate to be rude. After all, you are our guest."Jade looked away, growling as she felt no need to speak.

Valmont had expected it as he shook his head."Of course I must apologize for taking your clothes but after that last incident we can't have you escaping again. It would be so rude for you to leave when you only just arrived. Then again, you are a brat."The girl still made no conversation, keeping her eyes off the man.

Valmont smirked as he had an idea."Nothing? Well I suppose dishonor runs in your family. Doesn't it, Chan Yu?"Jade growled as she felt her fury begin to build up. She eventually took a deep breath, remembering what the others taught her.

"The only dishonorable one is you, whoever you are," growled the girl. "Kidnapping girls, hiring men that are willing to kill anyone, and not to mention they damaged my clothes. You will get nothing from me, not my rage or any information." Jade was about to say more, only for a dark chuckle to cause her nerves to skyrocket. Valmont moved out of the way, revealing the face of Shendu's statue.

"Strong willed, for a child,"stated the dragon."Such an interesting trait for a female. Most of your kind are more inclined to obey than speak out of term."Jade felt an unknown fury rise within her, along with the most terrible feeling of deja vu she had ever felt in her life."You hold recognition in your eyes. Interesting."Jade growled as she jostled in her seat, the fury within her still burning strong.

"I've never seen you before! What are you talking about!?" Shendu only chuckled, his laughter fueling the fire within her.

"It matters not, Miss Chan Yu. Soon we will become very familiar with each other."Valmont's mask hid a small smile as he nodded to two men in the room.

"Speaking of, I do believe we need one final check,"stated the man."After all, there's one place that young girls can hide something to escape. Gentlemen, try not to break her virtue."The screen went dark as the lights turned on, revealing a table with straps on it. Jade's eyes widened as fear replaced her fury.

Elsewhere

Ben groaned, his body feeling stiff as he was stuck in an uncomfortable position. He tried to move, only for his arm to remain firmly in place. He finally opened his eyes, finding himself in what appeared to be an acrylic containment cell. His left arm was clasped tightly by a vice of some kind, the Omnitrix being his only line of defense against the limb being squished. The boy growled as he looked around frantically, seeing a few people around the room.

"What's going on!?" roared Ben. "Let me out! You can't keep me here! My friend…" Maria Hill stood up from a table in front of the boy, revealing her presence to him.

"Will be handled by Section 13," stated the woman. Ben looked her way, his eyes narrowing in anger. "Your flippant use of an alien device in the midst of the public is precisely why you are here. You can't expect to use such a weapon and not become a security risk." The boy growled as he leaned forward, only for a door to the side of the room to open.

An African-American man walked into the room, a single brown eye on display as the other was hidden behind a black eyepatch. He wore a black trench coat, a dark gray long-sleeve shirt, black dress pants, and black loafers. Ben frowned as the man looked his way, seeing a scrutinous and disapproving look in his eye. The boy was about to say something when another figure entered the room. His eyes widened as he recognized this man rather well.

The individual had blonde hair, blue eyes, and fair skin. He was wearing a military uniform consisting of the red, white, and blue colors of the American flag. A large star shape was plastered on his chest and a shield with the same motif as his uniform hung from his back. This was Steve Rogers: AKA Captain America, a member of the Avengers and a war hero. The two men stood at the table with Agent Hill, the one-eyed man looking Ben directly in the eye.

"Ben Tennyson," greeted the man. He held up a folder, several documents inside it. "Fury, Director of SHIELD. You've been causing quite the mess playing hero. Chasing criminals through populated areas, resisting arrest from government officials, property damage, and my personal favorite: receiving bans from a five star hotel for entering a restricted area and an entire mall. All of this at the ripe old age of ten, with two years' worth of incidents following suit."

He placed the folder on the table, his eye still on Ben. "You've built up quite the reputation, young man." Ben let a serious frown form on his face as he sat up a bit, as much as the clamp on his arm would allow at least.

"I've had some moments I'm not proud of," admitted the boy. "I was a kid and still am, but I've been working hard to be better than I was." Fury tilted his head a bit, the action appearing to be more of a mockery than out of confusion.

"So you actually do know you're a kid. Then maybe, as a kid, you should have left certain incidents to grown-ups. Every time you turn on that weapon, you expose the civilian populace to danger. You…" The boy lowered his head a bit, still keeping his eye on the man.

"The Omnitrix isn't a weapon. It may come across as one, maybe, but Azmuth said that what he built was a way for other races to learn from each other: to bridge the gap and end wars through understanding each other. People who want to use it for their own selfish goals made it out to be a weapon, and I'll admit I swung my fists with it without considering the purpose of the watch at first. I grew up after that summer vacation was over, spending the past two years helping others while trying to understand the many aliens I've unlocked." Captain America decided to speak as he nodded his head.

"Son, no one's denying the good you've done," began the hero. "The fact of the matter is that you're too young to be fighting the good fight. I was where you once were myself: wanting to make a difference in the world. I didn't get the chance to help others until I was at the right age to join a war. I had to make the world a better place in smaller ways in all that time."

He looked the boy in the eye, almost seeing a reflection of himself in them. "Wars aren't meant to be fought by children, same with any criminal. The good fight is fought by soldiers and people qualified to handle the big threats. You need to step back and let others take up the fight." Ben frowned a bit as he rolled his shoulders, Fury understanding the situation.

"The captain has been called in to use the Omnitrix in your stead," revealed the head agent. "We've given you and your family multiple warnings, Benjamin. You've consistently ignored them and shown no respect or regard for national security. There's no more chances: the watch comes off. Effective immediately."

The clamp began to whir a bit as energy began flowing into it. "Had Stark rig this up himself, tested on some of the most powerful alien DNA altering technologies in the galaxy. It'll work here. The time for playing is over." The device began to pull at the Omnitrix as a man pressed a button, only for said man to release that button as the door to the room suddenly opened.

"If you think you have any right to make decisions over MY Omnitrix, then you are a fool,"stated a gravelly voice."I could overload your machine before you could even physically remove it."Ben's eyes widened, recognizing the voice.

"Azmuth?" questioned the hero. He and everyone else in the room looked towards the door, watching as a floating device entered the room with Max following in behind. A hologram of a creature similar to Graymatter formed on top of the device, the Galvan looking much older. Ben grinned as he saw Gwen walking alongside Max. "Gwen! Grandpa!" The duo looked his way, both of them shocked by his new appearance.

"BEN!?" cried Gwen. "What happened to you!? You look like you went from Zero to Hero like Hercules! It's only been two days!" Ben gestured to the Omnitrix with an embarrassed chuckle.

"Blame the Omnitrix. I can't tell if I'm still twelve or if I lost a few years." Director Fury leveled his glare towards the new arrivals, ignoring the shock they felt.

"Magister Tennyson," growled the director. "You are overstepping your boundaries here." Max shook his head in denial.

"Technically, as the head of the Plumber's on Earth, I'm in charge of all alien matters. It's unfortunate that things have to come to this. The moment you decided to mess with the most powerful device in the galaxy, you put my entire division on red alert. All matters involving the Omnitrix or alien technology go through me…" The hologram device floated forward as Azmuth squinted his eyes.

"And the Omnitrix is my property,"added the old amphibian."I gave young Tennyson my approval to keep the Omnitrix, advancing his status to Guardian Inquisitor when I received the warning signal that an Alpha Level Threat became active."Captain America actually gained a serious look of concern at this.

"Alpha level?" questioned the soldier. "What are you…?" The Galvan remotely rotated the device to face the man.

"An alpha level threat, Captain, is a threat to an entire planet. The energy pulse that triggered your sensors was a warning message for travelers to avoid the planet lest they risk their lives. Your planet is under threat from a power no weapon you possess can stop, and you choose now of all times to mess with something you could never hope to understand. I would rather let the Omnitrix be lost forever than see another of my works be abused by warmongering fools!"Fury was about to say something as he pointed towards the exit, only for an excruciatingly loud alarm to sound off. Ben's left arm twitched as the Omnitrix's tubes glowed and the liquid inside became extremely active while the core began spinning.

"Warning!"cried the device."Alpha threat detected within scanner range! Threat Code: Zodiac. Warden Protocol: Engaged. Emergency unlock of DNA sample 'Highbreed': Approved. Beginning transformation."Azmuth looked towards Ben in shock, something that was not common for the elderly Galvan to display.

"Code Zodiac?"gasped the Omnitrix's creator."Shendu has returned?"His question went unanswered as an emerald-green light flashed from the acrylic container. The new being inside broke through the restraint of the clamp with ease, as well as shattering the acrylic walls. The creature stepped outside of the frame, towering over the people in the room.

It was a white humanoid plant-like species with black hands and feet, a forest green face with four lime green eyes, along with eyes on his chest. Above his black hands and feet were grayish splotches that tempered off before his elbows and knees. He had multiple wings upon his torso, the largest ones being on his back. The underside of said wings were yellow with huge electric green splotches upon the surface. The alien ignored the weapons pointed at him as he looked towards the hologram of Azmuth.

"We will speak later, Azmuth," stated the creature in a deep voice. The old Galvan nodded, expecting as such. "Gwen, hop on. We are saving Jade, whether they like it or not." He didn't give the girl time to reply as he picked her up, bashing through the wall outside as he avoided gun fire. Captain America brought a hand to his ear as Fury looked towards Max.

"I hope you realize the Council won't take no for an answer," stated the director. "This was the best scenario I could work out for your family." Max immediately shook his head in acceptance.

"I'll have to talk to the head director of the Plumbers soon if your council keeps targeting the Omnitrix and trust me: I'm far more reasonable than she is," informed the old man. "By her word, the Earth Plumbers could be disbanded. When my division goes, all protection we offer Earth goes away. If you think things are hard now, your council will see what happens to a planet with no protection from outside sources."

Azmuth's device deactivated as it teleported away from the building, returning to the Plumber base for his talk with Ben later. Max nodded his head as he looked at his watch. "Now if you'll excuse me, I have an angry mother to try and appease. Some days I miss the paperwork." The old man walked towards the exit, Fury stopping his men from trying to detain him. They had bigger things to worry about now.

Meanwhile

Jade breathed heavily, blushing as she had a mortified look on her face. The doctors had been more thorough than she would have liked, keeping well within Valmont's one request. She had never felt so exposed and defiled in her life, beginning to wish that she had just left her hair alone back in Hong Kong. If she had known it would lead to a situation like this, she would have made a scene when it was just her and her parents. She suddenly felt a chill roll down her spine, feeling like the room had gained an unwelcome new arrival.

What she could feel yet not see was the arrival of Shendu's astral form, the serpentine body slowly slinking around her body. The dragon relished in the girl's reaction, chuckling by her ear and causing goosebumps to dot her entire body. It was fear and anxiety from his subjects and captives that the dragon lived for, even in his stone state. It was the same fear most of the noble animals felt before he and his new brotherhood stole away their souls, and it was this girl's entire capture and treatment that he loved. He could almost taste her sheer terror as he drew closer to her chest to possess her.

"Come now, Child,"chuckled the demon."Time to open up."He was about to dive in, only for the sound of stone being torn asunder to fill the base."What is happening!?"Someone else clearly wished to know as, in another room, Valmont appeared on a screen before a technician.

"What on Earth is happening!?"roared the man."Multiple alarms have been triggered in the facility!"The technician gulped as different cameras showed a consecutive line of something breaking through wall after wall.

"S…some kind of monster has broken through the walls!" cried the rotund man. "In fact, it's breaking through my wall!" He ducked under the counter with a girlish squeal as two large hands broke the wall apart. Ben's new alien form walked in, seeing Jade a few windows over. Valmont scrambled to put on his dragon mask before the alien could even see his face.

"What do you think you're doing, Shendu! Possess her already!"The alien looked towards the screen, crushing it in his clawed grasp.

"That shuts him up," growled the alien. Shendu suddenly flew into Jade's body, the girl arching her back with a silent scream as her eyes rolled toward the back of her head. "JADE!" A few grunts tried to get in his way, only for him to swat them away. One tried to shoot him from behind, only to be trapped in a block of ice by Gwen's freezing spell.

The redhead dodged out of the way of a goon's fist before using his motion to throw her over her shoulder. The large alien made his way through more walls, firing his claws off to his right in order to pin a skinny grunt to the wall with his clothes. The big guy tore the restraints off of Jade, holding her close as he looked her in the eye. "JADE! SNAP OUT OF IT!"

Jade felt the world shift as she was pulled into her mind, finding herself in a location that looked like a mix between Bellwood and a castle one would expect to find in China. She slowly walked around the area, dressed in a blue qipao with a silver phoenix design hewn upon it. She was confused by her current location, especially with what she's wearing. She peeked around a corner, looking over the area. She began to moan in concern as she looked around.

"Hello?" questioned the young Chan. "Anyone?" She was answered by a large thump behind her, causing her to turn around. Shendu stood before her, his form now humanoid as he stood at 20 feet tall. Jade felt the rage build up in her as she took two steps back, the dragon chuckling at her display of rage and fear.

"A land on the cusp of where you wish to be and where your people are,"began the dragon. He looked down at her, making the distance between them even more apparent."Or is it a lingering memory from before your life that causes this appearance? In the end… it will all be destroyed as I take over your entire being. Oh but please, do run as I LOVE to play with my meal."

Jade had no choice but to run as the massive dragon stomped his foot upon where she once was, shattering the tiles of the ground, his tail breaking pieces off buildings as he moved. He continued to try and attack her, making the girl feel a headache with each thing he destroyed. Jade soon found herself hiding in a building, holding her head as Shendu cleared a massive part of the city."And now, to truly break you. With your form, I will destroy the ones you cherish so deeply."

Jade looked outside in terror, watching as Shendu was about to destroy a statue of Ben that towered above a few of the smaller buildings. She began to see flashes of their time together begin to burn as the dragon attempted to smash it with a fist. Jade felt her rage actually burn as well as the feeling of terror, good chi beginning to swirl around her.

"DON'T TOUCH THAT!"Shendu looked towards her, surprised by the voice that echoed her own. The girl leapt far higher than even she was expecting, rising to meet the dragon face to face. She attempted one of the flying kicks she was well known for, Shendu raising a hand to block it. What he did not expect was for green flames to ignite upon her foot as she burned a footprint into his palm, causing him to roar in pain as he took two steps back. Jade landed on top of one of the buildings as the villain looked at the singed part of his hand.

"...Hmm. That voice. That vile magic."He glared at Jade, the girl still growling as the fire on her foot built up around her. The silhouette and eyes of an old man appeared behind her, one Shendu was very familiar with.

The dragon growled as he clenched his fists before grinning."I should have known. Only you would be foolish enough to follow me from the grave. I actually rejoice at your return, for it means I can gain my rightful revenge upon you. After I take this mortal form from you, I will make you watch as everything you have built in both of your lifetimes is destroyed, Lo Pei."

Jade growled as she was about to go for a random attack, only for the shadow behind her to temper her. It then did a motion, the girl following along. She looked to Shendu as he tried to get a sneak attack on her, only to send the punch forward with more force. This caused an outline of her fist to fly off in the form of good chi as it struck the monster in the gut, sending him skidding backwards. She then created from thin air a scroll with the words banish written upon it in ancient Mandarin, only for Shendu to breathe fire her way.

She held the object up firmly, repeating the word upon it. The energy from the scroll flew forwards, hitting the flames and causing them to disappear into thin air. Shendu however quickly moved away from the incoming chi. Jade saw the quick look of concern on the dragon's face before he could fix it, smirking as she could feel the spirit attached to her chuckle quietly. She took a step forward as several closed scrolls formed around her, each and every one of them written in the same language as the last.

"I don't know what's going on, but you're getting out of my head right now."She was about to fire another spell at Shendu, only for her enemy to send multiple buildings toppling over like dominoes. The girl held onto her head screaming in absolute pain, her scrolls vanishing as she tried to keep everything together. She looked up just in time to see the dragon attempt to squash her, the girl resummoning one of the scrolls with the word repel just in time as he clapped her between his hands. The dragon laughed like the villain he was until he felt a large amount of chi burning his hands.

His arms were bounced back as a shield of swirling chi protected his target. The shield dissipated as Jade had another scroll in hand, the words "reduce" floating above her head as she fired the spell at the dragon. Shendu was unable to dodge as the spell hit him, shrinking him down to her size of 5 feet. He growled as he looked over the size forced upon him, looking up as Jade landed before him with a small ring of fire. The duo growled at each other before they clashed, a massive ring of green fire surrounding them as each one had an eye glowing.

On the outside, Jade's body screamed in a double voice as she pushed herself out of Ben's grasp. She held her head as her eyes glowed green and red respectively.

"JADE!" cried both Ben and Gwen. The girl laid her back against the side of the operating table as the two sides fought for dominance. The true owner of the vessel waved her hand around in an attempt to make the others stop.

"Stayback!" cried Jade. "There's someevildragon guyin here, andHE'Strying tokill everyone!"She threw her head back in another silent scream as Shendu pushed her to her knees mentally. He then assumed more control as both eyes turned red. He made the body roll its shoulders as he chuckled.

"Oh how right you are, Lo Pei: oh great Chosen One,"agreed the dragon. He snapped the body's fingers as he said something in a language that sounded rather demonic, a dress appearing in front of her as he ripped off the hospital gown to replace it. Ben immediately tried to cover his eyes in order to not see anything he shouldn't, only to forget his chest eyes. The boy couldn't help but be enamored by what he saw, even as Shendu slipped the dress on in an unintentionally provocative way."It will do for the time being."

He looked towards Ben and Gwen as he made fire form in the body's mouth."Now, foolish children, BURN FOR ME!"He breathed the flames towards them, Ben immediately shielding Gwen from the attack. His base instincts proved to be correct as light chi formed over his body like a barrier and blocked the fire, only natural heat passing through. Gwen's eyes widened in shock as she felt magic in both the barrier and the fire. Shendu suddenly stopped his torrent of flames as Jade punched his mental form in the jaw, sending him reeling backwards.

She then engulfed both of her fists in burning chi before striking at the villainous dragon a few times. She sent him hurtling backwards towards the ring of fire, the flames burning his back as he roared in pain. Jade used the distraction to quickly regain control of her body, both eyes now glowing green as she coughed up smoke while her throat felt like it was burning.

"BEN! Are you alright!?" The alien took a few deep breaths as he sent her a thumbs up.

"It's like Ghostfreak all over again! This must be one strong ghost guy, but you're showing him what for!" Jade smiled at this, only to scream as she felt a hard punch to her gut. Shendu sent her flying backwards, the flaming spirit catching her before she could touch the ring. The dragon growled as he tore out a chunk of the ground.

"THIS ENDS NOW!"roared the villain. He threw the piece at a life-size statue of Gwen, causing it to crumble and shatter. Jade screamed both mentally and physically to her knees as she felt memories of Gwen fading, the reduction scroll being caught in the ring of fire. It burnt to a crisp as the ashes flew off, Shendu immediately returning to his monstrous size as he grabbed her."SAY GOODBYE TO YOUR EXISTENCE, LO PEI!"

He began to crush the form of Jade, the girl screaming more as the buildings began to change shape into the form of dark spires. On the outside, Ben and Gwen began to see Jade's robe open, showing that her skin was burning as something began to take its place. Ben looked towards Gwen, all of his eyes displaying his rage.

"Gwen, do something!" roared the alien. "Magic is your thing!" The redhead shook her head in denial as she gestured to their burning friend.

"I've never dealt with possession magic before!" cried the magical girl. "You have how many aliens and you're telling me to do something!? Don't you have a new guy that can fix this!?" Ben racked his brain as he tried to think of something, anything, that could save Jade. His multiple eyes widened as he stood tall, his expression shifting to show his determination.

"...I have to use him. There's no other way." Gwen looked towards the huge alien as he twisted the dial of the Omnitrix, reaching a certain entry he always avoided like the plague. "I just hope I can control him." He pressed the Omnitrix almost hesitantly, a green light overtaking him.

Gwen lowered her arm, only to look terrified by the form her cousin had taken. The being was a phantom-like alien with a gaseous appearance and claw-like hands. It had white skin with black lines running all over him, the lines leading to a single green eye. The Omnitrix peeked out from the skin on its chest, the device looking like it was partly obscured. He looked over himself, as if trying to discern if something was wrong or not. Gwen was about to yell something, only for the eye to move along the lining and look at her.

"No time to yell at me," hissed the creature. "Make sure the body does not leave until I give the all clear." He turned intangible as he flew into Jade's body in the same spot Shendu did, causing it to collapse to the ground. Gwen rushed over to her, making sure to cover her private areas.

Inside the mind, Jade's mental form was beginning to fade as the black towers now darkened the sky. Shendu relished in the feeling, taking his time in crushing her spirit. He looked down as her form began to jitter, looking into her half closed eyes.

"Say goodbye to your loved ones, 'Chan Yu.'"He began to laugh as he prepared to kick Ben's statue over. He stopped in his tracks, however, as the dark spires stopped growing. In fact, massive black tentacles with green stripes suddenly wrapped around them to keep them in place."WHAT NOW!?"He suddenly felt a slice at the back of his neck, causing him to roar in pain as he dropped Jade, a white figure zooming by as it caught her still faded form.

"I've got you!" Jade felt her form begin to stabilize a bit as she looked up, a little concerned by the ghostly creature that was carrying her. He dropped her off on the ground, allowing her to see the Omnitrix symbol on his chest as she rested on one knee. "Stay here. This creep'sMINE!"

He flew so fast that it left a streak through the air, Jade watching on in amazement as the line darted straight for Shendu. The dragon roared as he tried to punch the specter, only for Ben to shift out of the way and score a long line across the villain's chest. This caused a dark light to bleed from the area, Shendu actually howling in torturous pain as he fell on one knee.

"IMPOSSIBLE! NO MORTAL SCARS SHENDU, AND LIVES TO TELL THE TALE!"He looked towards Ben, growling as the specter brandished his claws.

"At the moment I am no mortal. I amGHOSTFREAK.Now get your filthy, yellow bellied, decrepit spirit out of myFRIEND!"The boy cut Shendu across the cheek, causing another display of dark light to pour out. Shendu's spiritual form began to naturally reduce in size as dark chi started bleeding out of him. The dragon was soon at his opponent's size as they began a push battle in the air.

Jade watched on as she tried her best to collect herself, feeling the fire spark in her again. Shendu slapped Ben away, the hit making Jade's eyes stabilize as she put her faded hand forward creating a new scroll. The parchment was blank, though pure light chi still radiated from it. Ghostfreak clashed with Shendu again, this time having his spectral tail grabbed. Shendu smirked as he tried to stretch the alien apart.

"YOU ARE A FOOL, CHILD! I WILL TEAR THE SKIN FROM THIS FORM AND DEVOUR YOUR SOUL PIECE BY PIECE!"He was not expecting the boy to chuckle as his green eye shined brighter.

"Let me give you aHANDwith the skin." Tentacles similar to the ones holding the spires suddenly sprouted from Ben's torso, striking Shendu and holding him in place. The dragon felt an unknown fear take over him as the alien literally peeled its skin off, revealing a gray body and a white upside down skull were hiding beneath. "JADE! NOW!" Shendu was only able to turn his head towards the girl as she smirked.

"Get your scaly, ugly butt out of my body," huffed the young Chan as the fire spirit formed behind her."BANISH!"The word appeared in faded ancient Mandarin writing before growing large, the energy firing at Shendu. Ghostfreak released the villain just in time as the chi hit Shendu, his form destabilizing slightly as the claw marks left on him began to scar. The evil dragon was sent flying out of the body, the chi actually surrounding his spirit as Gwen watched him fly through the roof and away from the area. Shendu crashed into his statue, Valmont's office shaking as the dragon roared.

"This isn't over, Chan Yu!"roared the dragon."We will meet again! And next time I'll keep you nice and close to watch your loved ones die!"Valmont looked towards the statue with an annoyed yet smug look.

"Not so easy is it, Shendu?" questioned the villain. "How does it feel to lose to a little girl?" The man had to run out of the room before a torrent of flames could disintegrate him. He closed the door behind him, wincing as the flames burnt the other side. He knew that he would be losing a lot of money this day.

Back with the kids, Ghostfreak flew out of Jade's body. The girl moaned as the burnt skin slowly returned to normal, good chi ensuring there would be no scarring. The girl slowly looked up, Gwen being the first thing she saw. The redhead was looking at her in relief, almost ready to hug her. The mood in the room dropped as Jade tilted her head.

"[Mandarin] Who are you?" questioned Jade.

Section 13

Jackie paced near the phone, his nerves beginning to eat at him. Jade had not returned from her trip to the mall, the hours having gone by substantially. Thousands of scenarios began to play in his head over what could have happened, too few of them being good. No matter what he thought of, however, he wouldn't be prepared for what came next. Captain Black stepped into the office, the kung fu master looking towards him.

"Jade?" questioned Jackie. He had been bugging the captain to keep looking everywhere for his niece, hoping that everything would turn out alright. The way Augustus sighed brought a look of terror to Jackie's face.

"She's in the hospital, the Tennyson kids refusing to leave her side," revealed the captain. "I have a jeep ready to go whenever…" The kung fu master pushed past his old friend, the feelings of guilt and terror hitting him harder than anything he had ever felt. The car ride took too long for his liking, his nerves eating at him more and more. Upon reaching the hospital, Jackie slowed down as he allowed Captain Black to lead the way.

They reached Jade's emergency room, only to see Uncle standing in front of it. He turned to them as they approached, his expression unreadable. He shook his head in denial as he gestured down the hall.

"Maxwell arranged a private room," informed the old man. "Follow." Augustus looked confused by this change as Jackie pushed past him, a parental mode having taken hold of him. "Jade's spirit has been badly damaged by attack. Sheep Talisman I feel was involved." Jackie clenched his fists, his eyes narrowing in fury.

"Shendu," growled the archeologist. He looked towards the chi wizard as they stopped in front of a room. "Is there anything that can be done? How bad is the damage?" Uncle shook his head as he placed his hand on the doorknob.

"Maxwell has already gone to gather the ingredients needed. As for Jade… it is best you see." He opened the door, revealing that said girl was waiting patiently with an unsure expression as Ben held her hand. The way she looked around was skittish and frightened, the look in her eyes breaking something within Jackie. The girl looked their way, shrinking back a bit.

"It's okay," soothed Ben. He knew at this point that she couldn't understand his words, but the way he gently rubbed her hand was enough to calm her down. "They're the good guys. Trust me." The boy's smile made Jade relax as she returned to her resting position. Gwen, looking upset, decided to clarify the instance as she looked at the new arrivals.

"She doesn't remember a lot right now," revealed the redhead. "She thought she was back in Hong Kong until she got here. The only new thing she can remember is Ben. If it weren't for him she'd be panicking and fighting the doctors more. Grandpa said she's been crying for her father and mother." Jade finally seemed to have a look of recognition as she pointed at Jackie.

"[Mandarin] Chan Kong-sang!"cheered the girl. Jackie looked towards her with a hopeful smile."[Mandarin] I have watched all of your films. Very funny."The man's smile quickly faded as he held his mouth in terror, only for the door to open again.

"I've got everything," said the voice of Max. The group looked his way, the man having various strange and obscure items in his possession. "It's time to start believing in magic, Augustus. You're about to see it in action." Captain Black narrowed his eyes in annoyance, only for Uncle to shake his head.

"It will take four days to complete the spell," revealed the chi wizard. The believers in the group looked at him in shock as he took the ingredients from Max. "Soul magic very difficult to handle. It must be crafted with utmost care. Will have to pull all-nighters to complete. Jackie, bring Uncle lots of coffee. Will need it."

He held up his pointer finger as if to make the importance of his next words known. "One mistake and I have to start over and each day that spell not made the more damage becomes permanent. Jade only has two weeks." Ben growled as he shook his head.

"Then I'm not leaving either, unless she needs sponge baths or something," revealed the boy. "After those, I'm coming right back in." Max nodded his head, knowing that there was no stopping Ben at this point. The look in the boy's eyes could tell an experienced adult everything that was going through his head, and only Jade held a place in his mind at the moment. Jackie looked towards Ben with a frown.

"What exactly happened?" questioned the kung fu master. "How did she lose her memories?" Ben nodded his head, thinking of a way to tell the truth without revealing the alien madness.

"Jade was kidnapped by the Dark Hand," revealed the boy. "Gwen and I were there when it happened and we tried to keep up, but some jerks decided to get in the way so we lost them. We then broke into a hidden bunker and found her strapped to a table in a hospital gown. I don't think either of us could handle the thought of what they might have done to her to make her look as broken as she was when we found her."

He was proven correct as the thought caused Jackie to clench his fist. "When we got to her and undid the restraints, she was being taken over by some 'Shendu' guy. He was probably using the Sheep Talisman if he works with the Dark Hand. He was attacking her from inside her mind so…" Uncle quickly shook his head, interrupting the story.

"Not her mind," informed the man. "Evil demon was attacking her soul. Sheep Talisman detach soul and enter another soul. Spell would be much simpler if only her mind was damaged." Ben nodded his head, understanding the difference. Captain Black looked between the young Tennysons as he sent them a soft glare.

"You people need to stop talking magical nonsense and focus on the important part of the story," growled the man. "How did two kids break into a secure base that even we couldn't find, get her out, and bring her back here without getting caught or killed? There's not a scratch on either of you. Maybe your grandfather and the three of us should step outside and…" Gwen rolled her eyes as she growled.

"Oh for the love of…" Growled the redhead. She powered a spell in her hand, shocking everyone as she pointed it at the captain. "Sorry Ben, but I'm tired of this charade. CHAMELEO!" She hit the captain with the spell, causing him to gasp as his skin tingled.

The light dimmed as the man looked down, surprised that his outfit had changed colors to look like a rainbow regurgitated on him. He watched it change even more colors as Gwen twisted her hand. She then deactivated the spell keeping the rainbow colors on his uniform. "If that doesn't look like it's real, I could show you so much more until you believe it." Jade was once again scooting back into the headboard of the bed as she curled her head into Ben's arm.

"[Mandarin] WITCH!"cried the girl."[Mandarin] WITCH! Daddy, help!"Ben soothed her once again, rubbing the back of her head as he whispered promises to her that she didn't understand. Jackie suddenly put two and two together as he pointed towards the redhead.

"You're the girl who runs around with the aliens!" cried the man. "The one who kept trapping people in ice and teleporting away!" Gwen rubbed the back of her head as she chuckled.

"Invisibility spell, actually," corrected the girl. "I'm nowhere near figuring out how to teleport people safely yet." Uncle rubbed the bridge of his nose as he sighed.

"Aiyah!" cried the old man softly. "How slow are you!? Same hair color, eyes, body size… You not notice how very simple costume was!? Uncle noticed first time he saw her in costume! Said nothing after talk with Maxwell!" Jackie looked towards the man, shocked that he knew.

Uncle pulled out the first ingredient as he blocked out all other noises. "Now shush! Uncle must concentrate. If not needed, leave." The others reluctantly left the room, only Ben remaining as per his word. The old man saw no harm in it as he focused his mind.

He began by tearing a strange smelling plant in half, dropping the seeds into a large metal bowl. He then chopped up what looked like part of a dried up eel, making sure that the cut was fine before adding it to the mix. Upon finishing any cutting that needed to be done, he poured a large amount of yak's milk into the mix. He stirred it slowly for two days, taking short breaks every now and again. Ben could be seen in the passing time continuously bringing Jade things to try and jog her memory, as well as using a translation book to communicate back and forth with Jade only making her laugh because of bad translations.

Uncle then began mumbling his chant as he sprinkled garlic into the mix, a small puff of fragrance lifting into the air as the mixture boiled. The rest of the third day was spent slowly adding special ingredients. Ben apparently began to improve in his simplified Mandarin as he continued to work with Jade, said girl correcting him by pointing to objects he mentioned and saying the correct word. On the fourth day, the boy got Jade to giggle several times as he was telling a story.

"[Mandarin] My father then try painting house Mother's favorite color make up for mistakes,"continued Ben."[Mandarin] He realize when dry that paint was no for outdoor walls. House look worse when Mother return. He sleep on couch for week before they fix paint together."Jade giggled once again as she almost fell backwards.

"[Mandarin] I wish I could meet your parents,"sighed the girl."[Mandarin] They sound funny."Ben winced as he tried not to correct her, knowing full well that it would not help anything. Jade looked down as she sighed."[Mandarin] My parents are always on business calls so I do not know if they have funny moments or not."

She curled up into herself as she looked to her feet."[Mandarin] The last time I got to do anything fun with them was when we went to the beach when I was ten. My father was given a weekend to rest after a work related incident and so he decided some time away would be good. It was one of the best times in my life: the only day they smiled at me and I knew it was because they were happy to be with me and I didn't dishonor them for once. I miss it the most out of all of my time with them."

The girl sniffled as her eyes began to water."[Mandarin] Mean girls at school continue to tell me how much I dishonor my family, some finding time to throw things at me. I would be the one to get in trouble for my clothes being messed up, from both teachers and my parents. I was told what colors weren't right for me to wear. Every day I feel like I dishonor everyone just by being alive. It hurts more than I could ever describe, yet Mother and Father are always too busy or upset at me to hear my words."

Tears began rolling down her face as she broke at the reminder of these memories, Ben doing his best to brace her."[Mandarin] The worst girls found more than one way to insult me. My clothes being too tight, making me scared to wear my Qipaos over fear of them being ruined, pulling my hair while saying it looks ugly, implying that my gymnastics make me look like a floozy… When my breasts began to grow in, they even teased me in the locker rooms about how much uglier I was becoming. I love my family, even with Mother and Father never giving me time, but I am beginning to hate Hong Kong. I've even been contemplating cutting my hair to get them to stop pulling it."

Uncle perfectly avoided reacting to these words as he added another ingredient to the mixture, hearing Ben whisper calming words to Jade as she continued to bawl. The old man kept everything he heard in mind for later, knowing full well that each and every one of them would be important for when he and Jackie spoke with Cousin Shin. Ben carefully rubbed the tears from the girl's face, doing his best to smile at her. She returned the smile as she cuddled his hand close. Uncle stirred the mixture one last time, watching as it turned green with a slight glow.

"Hacha!" cried the chi wizard. "Uncle is done!" The door suddenly burst open, Jackie having been listening on the other side.

"It's done!?" cheered the man. He was suddenly pushed to the side a bit as Gwen ran into the room. He moved out of the way so that Max and Captain Black could join them, the two men looking exasperated at his eagerness yet understanding it. Uncle slowly turned the mixture some more, the magic beginning to flow out as it became a mist inside the room. He looked towards Jade as he took a deep breath.

"[Ancient Mandarin] Great healing power of the Spirit Realm. Heal the soul of Chan Yu. Undo the damage that the demon Shendu has done."He began to chant in the language he had chosen, the mist beginning to form around Jade. Ben hugged her to keep her from freaking out, still giving her the same smile.

The girl slowly slipped into unconsciousness as she leaned onto his shoulder. She quickly found herself waking up within her mind again, the damage from Shendu still being visible as black spires were laid in pieces all around the ground. She walked through the area, once again wearing the qipao of her dreams. She heard a bird chirping as she continued onwards, entranced by the melody. She suddenly stepped on something metallic, looking down to see what it was.

It was the remains of Gwen's statue, the right side of her face to be specific. She picked up the shard, feeling like something was missing when looking at it. She watched the metal shift a bit as it floated away from her hands, more metal pieces rising into the air. The statue put itself back together, though there were still cracks in the surface. Jade winced as she felt memories flow back into her. She gasped as she hugged her stomach, tears forming in her eyes.

"GWEN!" cried the girl, her English having returned to her as it echoed her Mandarin. She looked at the statue as she began to think harder. "Why did I forget you? What's happening to me?" She heard the tweeting again, following the noise to a different area.

As Jade walked through the mindscape she touched pieces of buildings, the structures beginning to put themselves back together. With these buildings came new memories, though there were still bits missing from each one. She followed the bird song as it grew louder and louder, at some point running as she heard the sound of small flitters. She soon found an area she definitely did not recall: an ancient Chinese temple defiled by black spike structures. She walked around the area in order to give it a closer look, only for a hand to wave her over.

"I was wondering when you would find your way here,"stated a masculine voice. She turned towards the man, gaining a sense of deja vu at the sight of him. He had light skin, a long light black beard with a mustache, and dark blue eyes that were uncommon for an East Asian person. He wore long green robes and a unique shoulder-belt she recognized but also didn't."Shendu shattered and twisted this sacred place upon entering your soul, yet with time it has begun to heal again and is about to be complete. Come and sit while we still have time."

Jade felt obligated to bow and sit before this man, his garb and presence feeling holy in some nature. A small orange bird landed before the duo, a fiery red pattern to the tips of its feathers."Thanks to your Uncle's hard work, you will recover before any lasting damage can settle. You still need to recover small pieces, but time will restore that which is lost."Jade felt a need to say something, a question in her mind answering itself.

"You're the fiery guy that was floating behind me. You're Lo Pei." The man slightly bowed his head in confirmation.

"Yes, and no. I am but an echo of who you once were, a man Shendu knew well. We share the same past, present, and future. You have been born into a powerful destiny and must hold a horrifying burden that comes with it. By the final decree of the Emperor, you have been called to balance the world and defeat evil within both the darkness and the light. Do not be fooled, for there is evil within the light."

Jade began to feel a bit frightened, only for her past self to rub her cheek."Fear not, Chan Yu. The allies you have gathered are as powerful as they are reliable. In your darkest hour, they will be there by your side. As will I, in spirit at least."

He produced a scroll, taking a feather from the bird. The tip of said object glowed as he wrote upon the parchment."There is much you need to know, yet my time in consciousness is nearing its end. As such, I pass the knowledge you require upon you in the form of my last spell. There is much that you must prepare for, but this will be your guide to my old memories and a powerful weapon in combating Shendu."

He nodded his head as the scroll began to glow with light chi, green flames rising from it."You will need to master meditation to return here, where the phoenix will help you tame the power you are about to receive. Be strong, Chan Yu. Face your destiny."He pushed the flames towards the girl's chest, the dark spikes around the temple shattering as she let loose a scream of power.

Jade suddenly gasped as she woke up, her eyes carrying the same color as Lo Pei's before returning to her natural brown hue. She pushed herself up off of Ben's shoulder, patting at her body in order to get a feeling of herself. She looked around the room, her eyes immediately landing on Gwen as the redhead sent her a hopeful look. Jade felt pain in her chest as tears began to fall from her cheeks.

"Gwen." The redhead was immediately by her side, allowing herself to be hugged close as tears wetted her shoulder. "I'm sorry! I forgot all about you and everyone! I…" Gwen cooed, rubbing at Jade's back as her friend fully transferred to leaning on her.

"It was that 'Shendu' guy's fault, not yours," reminded the girl. "You didn't mean to forget anyone. Just let it all out." Ben also hugged the girl close, feeling the way she was shivering. The trio parted, only for Jade to gasp as she realized she was in a hospital gown.

"Please tell me you did not call Mother and Father! I will never be allowed to return if they find out I was hospitalized! Wait… That stupid Dragon made me strip naked in front of Ben! MY LIFE IS OVER!"

She plopped back against the back of the bed, grabbing a pillow to cover her face so that she could muffle her scream. The adults in the room were shocked by this outcry, looking between the three kids for some form of explanation. Ben blushed brightly as he rubbed the back of his head.

"I mean… I might have left that out…" admitted the boy. "Eh! I covered my eyes as best as I could but I kinda had more than usual at the time. I…" Jackie held the sides of his head as he began to freak out.

"MORE THAN USUAL!?" cried the man. "HOW CAN YOU HAVE MORE THAN TWO EYES!?" Ben gulped, having forgotten secrecy in the heat of the moment. He would have to explain that one later. Jade shifted a bit as she uncovered her right eye, trying to hide her face from Ben as she looked towards Gwen.

"He saw everything, didn't he?"questioned the young Chan."Please tell me the truth."Gwen nodded her head, causing Jade to cover her face again.

"If it makes you feel any better he actually tried to cover his eyes… until Shendu started attacking," admitted the redhead."For what it's worth I think you look beautiful. I think Ben agrees. By the way, just give him a look. You'll thank me later."

Jade hummed in confusion as she slowly lowered her pillow, facing her head a bit towards Ben. At first she only saw his face, noticing how his cheeks were not as full as they were a few days ago. She let the pillow drop entirely when she realized he was sitting higher than her. Her cheeks blushed madly at his new appearance, looking at his form multiple times. She backed up a bit as she looked his way.

"Please tell me you're not taller than me now. I mean you were always going to eventually be taller but that was years away and…" Ben chuckled as he shook his head, showing off the new Omnitrix.

"Blame the watch, or gauntlet now,"revealed the boy."I have so got to talk with Azmuth after you check out."Jade looked Ben up and down a bit once more, nodding her head slowly.

"[Mandarin] I believe I'm checking out already. Maybe tall guys aren't so bad."The girl soon noticed Ben was blushing a bit as his eyes widened, terror beginning to set in her. Max cleared his throat, getting the group's attention before any more drama could happen. The elder Tennyson nodded to Ben specifically.

"Ben, you have an appointment that's long overdue," stated Max. "You'll have more time with Jade later. Time to say goodbye for now." Ben nodded his head, feeling a need for fresh air as he followed the old man out. Jade leaned towards Gwen, her expression still showing her terror.

"I said that out loud, didn't I? Please tell me he didn't understand me."Gwen shrugged with a mischievous smile on her face.

"Oh he's been teaching himself Mandarin ever since you were put in here. You even helped him learn. What he understood of that is out of my understanding."Jade moaned as she flopped back into her pillow again, only this time she didn't stuff her face in it. Jackie nodded his head as he let loose a sigh.

"We will talk later, Jade," stated the kung fu master with a soft smile. "For now, just rest and let the doctors take care of you." Jade muttered something under her breath at this, the words "shut up" barely being audible. "Excuse me for a moment." Jackie walked out of the room, going a bit down the hall.

He sat down in one of the waiting chairs, a lot of thoughts beginning to flow through his mind. The events of the past week all began to fit together a puzzle in his head, one that increasingly worried him. Echoes of Ben's explanation and the fact that he mentioned having "more eyes than normal" added fuel to the fire. He would have brought attention to the fact that moment, but something stopped him. That very thing entered his mind as he imagined the stone arrangement of the Omnitrix's symbol.

"If you see someone with this symbol, defend him with your life,"echoed the voice of the Daoshi he met in China. He couldn't understand why, but the very thought of bringing it up in that moment put his nerves on edge. He knew Captain Black well, but he had the strangest feeling that unwanted ears were listening. He rubbed his temples as he looked up at the roof. He removed his hand from his face, revealing that a serious frown had formed.

"What manner of mess have I brought you into, Jade?" questioned the man. He heard the door open, looking towards it as Uncle stepped out. The chi wizard winced as he let a hiss escape from his teeth.

"Jade is going to be VERY moody after this," stated Uncle. "Best hope period does not hit before her mood is over." Jackie groaned at this, having completely forgotten that such times had yet to hit.

Inkaliber: And that's all I wrote! Ben deals with his newfound changes while also trying to find a way to talk with Jade again. This plan is put on hold when Jade is kidnapped and he and Gwen find themselves under arrest by SHIELD. After receiving encouraging words from Azmuth, as well as Shendu's presence activating the Omnitrix, Ben helps Jade to fight off the evil dragon inside her. After recovering from her soul being damaged, Jade now has to deal with her new capabilities as well as the fact that Ben's changes excite her.

Prof. Paradox: Hello again!

Inkaliber: PARADOX! KNOCKING! You nearly gave me a heart attack!

Prof. Paradox: So dreadfully sorry. The Doctor just finished and I have brought your newest housemates. As we agreed…

Inkaliber: I know the drill. Who are they, anyways? You made it sound like there were a lot of them.

Prof. Paradox: Oh it's only four. Versions of them have importance in the mirroring worlds you've been viewing.

Inkaliber:... You brought the two couples, didn't you? They either all came from the same branch or separate ones. I'll know when I go in there and see if Ben and Jade are making out or not.

Prof. Paradox: As perceptive as always, Indisputable.

Inkaliber: It's Inkali… Just forget it. I'll get them settled in later. I've got to end the chapter. Go bother some Ben that needs a lesson in time or something.

Prof. Paradox: Brilliant idea. I'll just be on my way. To-do-loo!

Inkaliber: That guy gets on my nerves sometimes. Now where was I?EHEM!

How will things go for the heroes from here on? What has happened to Ben? Will Jade be able to look her crush in the eye again? Let me know what you think down below and I'll try to get back with you ASAP. This is Inkaliber, signing out.

Chapter 11: Healing and Horsing Around

Chapter Text

Hey guys! Time for another exciting chapter of Chan in Bellwood! We’re back in action with the Horse Talisman as the next target! There were also some interesting things not answered in the previous chapter, so expect a few of them to be dealt with. That being said, let’s answer some reviews.

W8W: Ben indeed is growing to appreciate more and more about Jade, from gymnastics to her cooking. I wanted to do some important world building here and set up the Season 2 events, as well as explain some things. It also gave Jackie a bit of a hint towards the Tennyson family’s involvement. I figured something different could be used for the Rat Talisman in this story, and it was fun. The Talus will indeed be making a return if the end of its section has anything to say about it.

I understand a displeasure for the age thing, but I will request you read the chapter for a full explanation to what happened to Ben and the Omnitrix. Besides, the chapter said that he only grew a bit taller, so he’s not exactly at Alien Force appearance. The battle with Shendu was one of my favorite things to write this chapter. Her Chosen One status will be an interesting development. Jackie knows about Gwen, but only has a strong idea towards Ben’s involvement.

P96822: I’m glad that you enjoyed it. We’ll see just what’s in store when it comes to the changes. Big Chill was definitely fun to bring in. There will be some very fun aliens in use.

Reader (Guest): I’m glad that you’re enjoying the story. The Marvel part of the universe will continue to get interesting as things continue. Things between Ben and Jade are also about to become very interesting.

AshipperWithsense: It may take a while for Danny himself to show up, but some fun plans are in the works.

With all that out of the way, let’s start this chapter. I don’t own Jackie Chan Adventures, Ben 10, or any other series that may appear here. I do own OC characters, species, objects, and concepts unless stated otherwise.

Voices

“Talking.”

‘Thinking.’

“YELLING!”

“Author/Guest/High or demonic entity talking. Also, surprise at the end of a section.”

“AUTHOR/GUEST/HIGH OR DEMONIC ENTITY YELLING!”

“Whispering.”

“Author/Guest/High or demonic entity whispering.”

[Language Indicator]

“Machine or alt communication talking/Talking in flashback.”

“MACHINE OR ALT COMMUNICATION YELLING/YELLING IN FLASHBACK!”

“Machine or alt communication whispering/Whispering in flashback.”

Bellwood, Pennsylvania

The sound of grunting rang throughout the gym at the Plumber Base. A young individual was curling his arms while holding dumbbells, each weight set to a load he could handle without messing up his body or hurting himself. The boy was wearing a pair of black exercise shorts and a familiar set of gray and green sneakers, a green tank-top with black lightning bolts on it draped on the back of a chair. He put the weight down, taking a moment to breathe as he wiped sweat from his face. The boy was revealed to be Ben as he took a gulp of water from a bottle.

He was finally putting his need to work off his energy into action, working his body to where he was satisfied. He stayed within the healthy limits of a boy his age, though that still included improving himself. He stood up from the bench he was on as he grabbed a towel from a hanger, drying the sweat off of his face with it. He thought back to why he started this routine five days ago, a small smile on his face. Max had brought him here to the Plumber base for a meeting that was long overdue.

Flashback: Five Days Prior

Ben walked alongside his grandfather through the base, noticing how some people he knew looked at him differently. Those who understood human biology found it odd while others thought he was finally reaching his mature stage. Whatever their reason for looking, they nodded upon being noticed before returning to their duties. The boy did blush when a female cadet not much older than him winked at him before continuing along, though he felt no need to pursue that little detail. He was brought to a private conference room, Azmuth’s hologram machine floating above a table as it projected the Galvan onto the surface.

“Took you long enough,” complained the old amphibian. “I give you more power with the Omnitrix and you still manage to run late when I actually need to speak with you.” Ben rolled his eyes before nodding to the Galvan.

“Well some important matters came up,” mocked the boy, using an excuse Azmuth used on him before. “I’m sure you can understand.” Azmuth looked away as he gritted his teeth.

“Cheeky child… Well played. I assume you have questions of personal importance before we handle what is important beyond such matters. Speak them quickly.” Ben sat down in front of the table, still getting used to his new size.

“Azmuth, why did the Omnitrix change? Why did I have to grow older?” The Galvan took a turn at rolling his eyes as he groaned.

“You are not older. The Omnitrix transfigured your DNA, removing all unnecessary genes and reworking the entire structure to construct what you would consider a perfectly healthy body. As for the Omnitrix’s transformation, it has several forms and appearances. This is simply the form it takes when an Alpha Level threat of certain importance is detected and requires swift removal. This, as I told Director Fury, is a planet level threat that can bring an end to all civilization on a planet wide scale.”

The Galvan sighed as he began to pace back and forth. “It is unfortunate that your first active duty as Guardian Inquisitor is to deal with HIM of all cretins.” Ben frowned, having an idea of who Azmuth was talking about.

“I met Shendu when he used the Sheep Talisman to try and possess Jade. He nearly destroyed her, her memories being gone until her uncle used a chi spell to heal her.” He watched the amphibian send him a serious frown.

“If he did such damage, it was not possession he prepared for the girl. He would have taken over her body in its entirety, using it as his own vessel until he retrieved the Zodiac Talismans. He would not bother with turning some simple child into his vessel, especially a female. Did he give any indications as to why he was attacking her in such a way?” Ben growled a bit as he clenched his fists, only to control himself as he took a slow breath.

“When he first had control of her body, he called her Low Pay or something. I have no idea what that means, but I have a feeling it’s a name I’m mispronouncing.” Azmuth sighed heavily as he shook his head.

“So… the Emperor’s command has come to pass.” Ben tilted his head a bit in confusion, earning another sigh from Azmuth. “I had not fully considered magic as a natural phenomenon in the universe when I was younger, Earth being my first real experience with it. I saw it as nothing more than an anomaly, an unknown science that had yet to be understood and recorded properly. That is until I met the Emperor that was meant to rule humanity during the reign of Shendu and those he calls his brethren.”

He looked Ben in the eye as he did his best to recall the memory. “I offered my assistance in defeating the demons, seeing their rule as a potential threat to the universe should they find a way to leave the Earth. In return they would help me understand magic, both in its structure and its lack thereof. I won’t bore you with the details. It’s something you’d better learn from a chi wizard, but I will say that there’s a balance to it that makes it function.”

He returned to pacing as he remembered the monstrous stone dragons that Shendu had brought to life with the power of the Rat. “The war with the Demon Sorcerers was long and brutal, setting me off my planned research of life in the universe by years. I do not believe that it was a distraction I regret. In the end the demons were sealed away, within the Pen’Ku Box: a creation of mine and Lo Pei’s. Shendu was turned to stone by the spell that freed the Zodiac power, the dragon kept in the mortal world to help ensure balance between light and dark so that magic would return. This was done because ,with magic, one half must always balance the other.”

Realizing that he was getting lost on memory lane, Azmuth replaced his own hologram with that of the Omnitrix’s new model. “The Omnitrix has entered its Guardian Inquisitor state, enabling the Warden protocol. Do not assume this is a weaponization of the Omnitrix. While some Alpha Level threats can only be handled with violence, many require nothing more than a simple command and the threat will be erased into the Omnitrix DNA scanner. You will see it on the back of the device. It looks similar to a button.”

Ben looked towards the spot, keeping an eye on it. “The Warden Protocol itself is fairly simple. It breaks down the DNA of a threat that you point the scanner at. However Shendu is not one such being you can use it on sadly. The only time you would be able to use a minor form of the functions is when he is using the Talismans, such as the case with the Sheep Talisman or if he were to attain his true form, at which point we would likely have already lost unless Lo Pei’s new incarnation can seal him again.” Ben suddenly held up his hands, pausing Azmuth’s side of the conversation.

“Hold up! You mean to tell me that Jade is the reincarnation of some ancient guy that beat Shendu, and now she’s forced to do the same!? She already has enough on her plate, and don’t try to tell me or her that her emotional problems aren’t important. Humans are very emotion driven.” Azmuth rolled his eyes once again as he allowed his hologram to return.

“I understand that humans are emotional. Your species is hardly the only ones that can be emotional. The threat of Shendu and his siblings is not a problem the Omnitrix was fully designed to handle, their threat being magical instead of biological. I had anticipated magical threats, however, and thus created the Warden Protocol. If I would be allowed to finish…”

Ben held his hands up in defense, saying no more as Azmuth gestured to the golden ring of inscriptions around the core of the Omnitrix. “In your true form, the Warden protocol selects a transformation that has been calculated as the best possible answer in a biological sense. Another function of the Warden protocol is magical protection. The ring of inscriptions surrounding the core holds all of the good chi defenses the device needs. In the event that you can’t transform or in an instance where the predetermined form will be damaged by a magical attack, a magical shielding will protect you from as much harm as possible.”

He lowered his hand as the boy brought the device to his face, looking towards the metallic markings. “The golden ring will also prevent anyone with evil chi from touching you or the Omnitrix. Should you require it, the inscriptions will allow you to punch your enemy’s with the good chi stored within the watch. If all else fails and you find yourself in a pinch, the Omnitrix employs an enhancement function. Should it be needed, it will select a form that has been designated as the last resort for a situation and enhance them to deal with the threat.”

The panel on the back lit up, revealing an empty playlist. “The enhanced forms are saved within a separate playlist in order to avoid data corruption, but overuse of the function will result in mutations to your DNA. You mentioned a young man named Kevin in our last call. I researched him and his form that he acquired from absorbing genetic energy from the Omnitrix. Imagine such a transformation, but permanent and far more severe. You may not survive the first three days after undergoing such a transformation.”

Ben gulped at this, not liking the idea. “While past enhanced forms can be accessed with little to no drawbacks, the enhancement function can only create new entries three times within seventy two hours. Any more attempts will result in risking the consequences previously mentioned. It is important to exercise caution and only use the enhancement function if absolutely necessary.” Ben looked down at his hands, holding them together.

“What if I’m not strong enough as I am? I can’t be ready for every situation right now as I’m still a kid.” Azmuth hummed a bit, surprised that the boy had a healthy dose of realism towards the possibility of failure.

“Then do what humans have done for millennia, train your body and your mind. Your new body has been made to be what you would have looked like had you been placed on a perfect diet and exercised every day of your life. If you wish to continue growing in strength and mental capability, you must begin such a regiment as if it was your entire life. Just don’t forget to live your life as you’ll regret it as I did when I was young. That is all I have time for when it comes to additional chatter.”

The hologram began to dissipate as Azmuth bowed his head slightly. “Good luck, Benjamin.” The hologram device teleported away, presumably off-world. It took Ben a while to process the information before he left the room. He went to the gym to put Azmuth’s words to work, having returned regularly ever since.

Flashback: End

Ben had asked his father for weights to use at home, doing his lighter workouts in the living room area. When he wanted to push himself, however, he would always head for the gym in the Plumber base. They had machines that could help the body work out in ways that human technology could not achieve, though the boy was still too young to be using many of them. He still made an effort to watch how each one operated, knowing that he would one day take to them as well. Until then, he was fine with pushing himself with Grandpa Max’s workout schedule.

He was brought out of memory lane as he heard a feminine groan, immediately turning towards the entrance of the gym. Jade walked into the room, being dressed in a white tank-top and pink shorts. She had arrived earlier to continue running light simulations with Grandpa Max, only right now she did not look so well. She was holding her lower stomach, stumbling before she leaned against a treadmill. Ben immediately ran over to her, skidding to a stop as she closed her eyes from the pain.

“Jade!?” cried the boy. “Are you hurt?” The girl opened her eyes, the anger in them spooking him a bit.

“Define hurt,” huffed the Chinese girl. “I’m having the worst time of my life these past two days. Jackie called Viper after freaking out, probably because he didn’t know who else to call, and she said this happens from five to seven days a month every three weeks. I’m not sure I’m gonna be too happy dealing with this every month.” Ben sighed at this, having known that Jade was on her period the moment she arrived on base. He had no idea, however, that it would hit her harder than he was used to seeing when Gwen started her period. He quickly composed himself as he nodded his head.

“I see. Would you like me to take you home? I could get you something to help if I can. I could see if Mom made any Latiao or grab you something else.” Jade giggled under her breath before she grunted from another cramp.

“You’re sweet, Ben. Max did say I should head back to Section 13. I can’t really walk there without the cramps bugging me, at least not alone. If only I had a gentle knight in shining…” Ben smirked as he nodded his head.

“Say no more. I’ll pick a good alien and get you back to Section 13 as quickly as you want me to.” Jade’s face somehow became more pale than it already was as she shook her head.

“Um… how about we just walk together instead? Even with you being gentle, the jostling might make it worse.” Ben nodded his head again, remembering how much Gwen changed her mind when going through this.

“Alright. Just let me pack up my gym bag and I’ll be ready to go.” The boy began putting things away in said bag, unaware that Jade took a moment to sneak a picture of him with her new phone Jackie bought her after the incident with the Dark Hand. She giggled to herself as she looked the image over, feeling less embarrassed by such an action at the moment. She secretly set the image as her phone background, putting the device away as she watched Ben put on his tank-top before slinging his bag over his shoulder.

“Take me home, Benji. Jade needs some good rest.” Ben did his best to not react to the nickname as he nodded his head, walking alongside the girl. There were times that she had to stop due to the cramps she was feeling, but the boy was willing to stop and wait for her to be ready again. He did his best not to make a big deal out of it when people walked by, not wanting to have her fury focused on him like last time.

Soon they found their way onto the streets, Ben holding Jade close as he looked around. After what happened recently, he was not letting her out of his sights or avoiding her again. The thought of the memory made him frown a bit as he looked towards his crush.

“So… how are you handling things after that mess with Shendu? We haven’t really talked since everything went down considering you’ve not been to school for two weeks. Is therapy going okay? I know magic induced trauma isn’t usually their specialty but…” Jade sighed as she slowly nodded her head.

“I…I’m okay, I think. I feel like there’s still things I’m forgetting but for the most part it’s fine. I’m slowly getting things back so hopefully nothing important pops up later and bites me in the butt. Then again, a bite to the butt would feel better than these cramps.” She let loose a dry laugh at the idea, Ben letting her go through the motions.

She then sent him narrowed eyes as she tried to keep her smile up. “When it comes to you and Gwen seeing me naked after Shendu did his little show, however, all I can say is that I’m dealing with it. Not like I have much choice either way.” She watched the boy blush as he looked away, having tried to not go there in the discussion. He looked back towards her as he tried his best to control his cheeks.

“If I said you look beautiful would you not hate me? I’m already worried that you do after you nearly passed out showing me your gymnastic training. You know… when I accidentally… And it was an accident.” He began to panic when she sent him a look of anger fearing she might hit him or yell at him, only for her to do a one eighty and, smiling all the while, peck him on the cheek. The girl couldn’t help but giggle as she pulled back, seeing the redness growing in her crush’s cheeks.

“Thanks. You’re not too bad yourself, though I haven’t seen you in the same position. I’ll be keeping this picture of you with your shirt off, by the way.” She showed the picture she took off to him, causing him to blush at the fact she had it. “Someone’s gotta catalog your rise to beef-cake status and since you saw mine I get to see yours. Just don’t drop your pants around me anytime soon. I’m not ready for that.”

Ben’s blush almost went past his head as he looked away, earning another giggle from Jade. Ever since she had been released from the hospital, she had become more bold with her actions. While he didn’t know what caused it, he could take a wild guess it was him seeing her naked but he was not going to ask for confirmation. In the end he couldn’t complain, having missed Jade’s confidence ever since she lost her memories for that short period of time. He’d take her sneaking pictures of him and being playful than her being timid and frightened. Such a state was not who Jade was, a state that she was forced into by her situation.

He shook off these thoughts as they began approaching the usual alleyway, only for Jade to stop him with a grab at his arm. “I’d rather take the stairs. The elevator is broken again last I heard and I already feel like my body is stabbing me with a knife.” Ben looked her way, confused by this. He then realized her desire was to not take anything that moves fast and the elevator was definitely a fast moving object.

So he took her down the stairs, using his arm as extra support in case she missed a step in pain. He was thankful that such a thing didn’t happen as they made their way to the right level of the base. They walked along the area on their way to the Chan’s quarters, Ben once again making sure he didn’t draw attention to them. As soon as they reached the room, the door opened. Jackie stepped out of the room, looking towards them as he noticed the pale look on Jade’s face.

“Jade, please tell me you weren’t out on your own,” pleaded the archeologist. “A young lady should rest when she is on her period.” Ben immediately did ceasing throat slides near his neck, though it was already too late as Jade’s eyes ignited in fury.

“JACKIE! DON’T SAY IT OUT LOUD!” She stomped into the quarters, blushing as she dragged Ben with her before slamming the door behind her. Jackie blinked, imagining that his hair was standing on end from the yell he just received. He brought himself back to reality as he quickly opened the door.

“Jade! You cannot have a boy alone with you when you are in this state!” Ben threw a pillow at Jackie, the man not dodging it in time as it hit him in the face.

“Could you stop before you shove your foot deeper in your mouth!?” cried the boy. “Just stand there if you’re worried about it!” The sound of crying immediately cut off the argument that was bound to happen between the two guys, both of them looking towards Jade. She curled up on the couch, hugging a pillow tightly as she began to cry. This struck both of them in the chest as neither of them had ever seen her cry in this way, even when she reverted back to Chan Yu after losing her memories.

“It’s not fair!” cried Jade. “You guys get to hang out with people all the time while I have to suffer alone! It’s bad enough that every girl back in Hong Kong hates my guts! Heck, even my guts hate me right now! I just want to be happy like everyone else without being such a problem!”

She reached her hand out as she sobbed, tears and snot staining the pillow. “IS THAT TOO MUCH TO ASK!?” Uncle and Captain Black were walking by as this outcry was unleashed. The old man of the duo sighed, shaking his head. He looked the head agent in the eye as his frown deepened.

“And I explain more on magic later,” stated the chi wizard. “Have appointment call with nephew.” He opened the door to the quarters, grabbing Jackie by his ear. “JACKIE! TALK NOW!” The archeologist let out cries of pain as he was pulled along, the door being slammed behind them.

“But Uncle! We can’t leave the two of them alone!” He cried out in pain as the old man twisted his ear a bit. “OUCH! That hurts!” They soon found themselves in a nearby hallway as Uncle finally released Jackie.

“Uncle manage to make schedule call for Shin. Help Uncle instead of making niece cry!” Jackie gestured back towards the room, an exasperated look on his face.

“She can’t have a boy with her in these times! You know what they could get up to!” Uncle let loose a cry of denial as he looked his nephew in the eye.

“Young Ben responsible! Jade will be fine. Now, phone call in ten minutes. We prepare notes before we speak with Shin.” Jackie immediately switched gears as he grabbed the sides of his head.

“TEN MINUTES! We need to move now!” He ran for the office, causing Uncle to sigh.

“Why you think I bring you here? Uncle thought Jade was one on period.” He let loose a huff as he followed after Jackie, making sure the man did not randomly throw notes together. He just hoped that they could build up the case properly without setting the man off. Shin was not an easy man to reason with when angered.

Back with the kids, Ben sat perfectly still on the couch. He had tried to soothe Jade as best as he could, the girl swapping from the pillow to him for her crying brace. His shirt would need a desperate wash after this, but he felt a need to help her in the only ways he could. She swapped from tears of anger to tears of anguish on a dime multiple times, the boy doing his best to brave through it all. Jade looked up at him as she sniffled, currently being in a sad mood.

“I HATE THIS!” cried the young Chan. “How do women do this all the time!? It’s like I can’t stick to one emotion! This is happening all too fast, and it’s already on top of the crap the Dark Hand put me through! They saw everything and touched everything too!”

Ben did his best not to let his own anger flare up as the girl swapped over to her anger mode. “I was saving myself for the right guy, and they DEFILE ME!” Ben sent her a small smile as he tried to help her feel better.

"They didn't break your virginity or anything, right? You can still have that special moment with someone you love." Jade growled as she dug her head further into his side.

“It’s still not fair! I have this horrible feeling inside, and that’s on top of this stupid period! I hate them! I hate that stupid dragon! I hate my life!”

Ben lightly rubbed the top of her head as he sighed, knowing full well that she was being over-emotional. “Why does this stuff always happen to me? What did I do to deserve this: to be dishonored? All I did was cut my stupid hair!” Ben immediately began to shush her while continuing to rub her head.

“Jade, you are the most honorable girl I’ve ever met,” admitted the boy. “It’s an honor to even be your friend.” She sniffled as she looked him in the eye.

“You really think so? What if I actually did dishonor my family?” Ben smiled lightly as he moved some of her hair out of her face.

“You didn’t, Jade. Trust me. Anyone who says otherwise is an idiot. Also, I happen to think your hair is beautiful. It’s growing back nice and long, where I can rub my fingers through it and everything.” The girl sniffled again as she ran her hand through her own locks.

“It… SNIFF!... it used to reach my waist. I miss having it there. I put it in so many styles and even put flowers in it every now and then. I loved letting my mother braid it and all the fun things she’d do before… before…” She looked like she was about to bawl again when Ben rubbed her cheek.

“Jade, you can have your hair however you want it to be. It looks pretty long right now so maybe Gwen can do some braids.” Jade looked away as she heaved a bit.

“It’s not the same! I want it to grow back so I can play with it again!” Ben hummed, wondering if Gwen had any spells that could help. They were interrupted as the door to the room was knocked on. A blonde agent with glasses walked into the room, something in his hand.

“Mr. Chan,” greeted the man. “I brought the Horse Talisman thing you retrieved as requested. I still can’t believe we actually beat the Dark Hand to it. They didn’t even show up. It needs to be returned to the vault by the end of the day so please…”

He stopped in his tracks, sweating as he saw Jade’s tear stained face and Ben’s glare leveled at him. “...I’ll just leave this here. Please make sure it gets to Mr. Chan.” He placed the talisman on the table before quickly shuffling out of the room, slamming the door behind him. Ben looked over the talisman, a violet engraving of a horse head on the face. He grinned as he got an idea, looking towards Jade.

“Well that sounds like a rather enticing opportunity,” hummed the boy. “Wanna get your mind off of everything and help me figure out what it does? If it’s got some wind power or something I might lose my shirt or something.” Jade bopped her head back and forth, her mood slowly changing from sad to intrigued. She then smiled as she sent him a slow nod.

Jackie hummed as he looked over every note, he and Uncle having put everything together within the short time they had left. While many could have put their points together with less stress and much more ease within the same time, they literally only had one chance to get this call before they had to schedule again. That would take weeks to maybe months at best, especially with how much the man was apparently on his phone. They had not expected a scientist like him to be on call for so long at home, though the only answer they could think of was that he was a busy man. The very thought of how busy he was made them look at their notes again, Jackie frowning as he read through each one.

“This looks like everything we need,” stated the man. “And of course no mention of magic, monsters, or aliens. And of course, her recent kidnapping is framed in a way that he will hopefully not pull her away from here… Maybe we should hold off on that until…” He received one of Uncle’s famous slaps, along with an eye roll, yelping in pain as the old man took the notes from him.

“We will have to tell them before they find out themselves,” revealed the old man. “Jade never return if we keep it out of this call. Risk without is greater than risk with. Man up!” Jackie sighed as he nodded his head.

“You’re right. I’ve already failed her many times, Uncle. I don’t want to fail her again by messing up in what could be the most important call of her life. I can’t help but feel my nerves go haywire.” Uncle sighed as he nodded his head.

“Jackie, we have no choice. We keep this secret now we lose Jade forever. We fail her by hiding truth, not by telling it. Must be prepared to stand ground like in combat, ready to defend Jade. She needs us, Jackie, or she lose all honor.” Jackie nodded at this, frowning as his head was in the game.

“It’s almost time. Remember, we only get one shot.” He pulled out his phone, looking over it as he waited for the seconds to tick by. He began to sweat, never feeling this nervous from a phone call before. He narrowed his eyes, waiting for any change in the screen.

[Language Change: Mandarin]

The phone suddenly rang, Shin’s name on the top of the screen. Jackie wasted no time hitting the answer button, putting the device on speaker. “Hello. Chan Kong-sang speaking.” He heard a small chuckle on the other side, already a good sign.

“Kong-sang, no need for formalities,” stated the voice of Shin. “It is Shin. I was surprised to see you scheduled a call. How is Yu?” Jackie nodded his head, his expression being straight and professional.

“She is currently in the midst of her first period, so her mood rises and falls like a tidal wave. She is doing well… Okay kind of. We had a few incidents but I feel that should be discussed later, if it’s okay with you.” He heard a knowing hum, beginning to panic a bit.

“Kong-sang. What incidents? Has Yu been causing trouble?” Jackie tried to find the words to say, doing his best to avoid moaning. Uncle rolled his eyes as he took the phone.

“Aiyah!” cried the chi wizard. “Rip off the Band-Aid, Kong-sang! Shin, this is Jing. Chan Yu was kidnapped last week.” Jackie waved his hands around frantically, though the hitch on the end of the line told him the damage was done.

“WHAT!? MY CHAN YU WAS KIDNAPPED UNDER YOUR WATCH!? WHAT HAPPENED!? WHY…!?” Uncle waved his hand off as he growled.

“Let Uncle speak! Chan Yu was at the mall with a friend when it happened. We were not there at the time. She was found by special police and brought to the hospital.” Another growl was heard on the other end.

“THE HOSPITAL!? WHY WAS I NOT INFORMED THE MOMENT THIS HAPPENED!?” Uncle huffed in annoyance, Jackie grabbing his head as he felt like things were going downhill as Uncle continued.

“You are always on call! We tried to contact you, but you never picked up! From what I heard from Chan Yu during our visits, that is not uncommon in your own household! It sounds like you do not know your own daughter!” Jackie heard another growl, feeling like things were over as he lowered his head into his arms.

“Jing, you have exactly five minutes to explain yourself. What exactly did you hear?” Jackie looked up from his spot, staring at the phone in shock. They actually had a chance. He gestured for Uncle to continue as quickly as possible, the old man nodding his head with an annoyed look.

“Chan Yu spoke of how the last time she had real family time was when she was 10, the day you all went to the beach. She said it was the happiest she’d ever been in her life. At school she was bullied for everything, including her development into a young woman. I do not know when it started but it likely started when she stopped wearing the color blue.”

Shin’s growl had not returned, but the call was still going on. “She mentioned how other girls at school would throw food at her, pull on her hair, and get her in trouble for trying to stand up for herself. They even said her gymnastics training made her look like a floozy. Worse of all, they said she dishonored her family at any chance they got.” The sound of something snapping and clattering across stone tiles caught their attention, the duo expecting a yell but receiving a groan instead.

“No. Not my Chan Yu. She would never dishonor me. She never has.” Uncle frowned as he crossed his arms.

“Girls at school say otherwise, making her believe it is so. Shin, when was the last time you actually sat down and talked with her? You told me so many things in our initial call about her, none of them belonging to the girl that walked into my shop. The only reason she cut her hair was because her bullies told it made her look ugly.”

Uncle leaned closer to the phone, making sure his voice would be clearer. “She needed you, and you sent her away. She thinks you sent her here because she dishonored you. The way she actually cried about her pain broke me, and I do not break easily. She even wishes she had never cut her hair as she misses it dearly.” Jackie decided to take back over, feeling that a gentler touch was needed now.

“Shin, she needs you to talk with her,” began the kung fu master. “She needs her parents to listen to her. If it were not for the friends she made here, I believe her pain and fears would have worsened. I am especially thankful that she met Ben as…” Uncle made a shushing symbol as he gestured to where they had planned to mention Ben a bit further down the line, though they had already lost their plan at this point.

“Ben? That is a boy’s name, if my American English is even slightly correct. Who is this ‘Ben’.” Jackie winced, trying to find something to say. He watched Uncle make a ripping motion with his hands, frowning seriously as he nodded his head.

“Ben is someone that Chan Yu is growing close with. He is a very honorable young man, one who has helped her through tough moments she has had during her stay. I honestly never see her as happy as when they are together. It was he who brought her to her new friends, and…” A loud ripping noise was suddenly heard on the other end, along with the sound of the hold tone.

The adults looked towards each other, unsure what to do. Shin had never put anyone on hold before, and their call time was about to go over the appointed time. The man returned as the hold tone ended.

“Apologies for my abrupt departure. My schedule is cleared for the rest of the day. I would like to speak with this boy and perhaps meet him. I also wish to hear exactly what happened, why Chan Yu was kidnapped, and what has been happening to my daughter before that. Leave absolutely nothing out.”

[Language Change: English]

Ben returned with hot tea for Jade as she looked over the Talisman. She had requested it so that she could deal with her period, the boy making it as close to her request as he possibly could. He honestly felt like he was in his father’s position, seeing as the man was always this on edge when his mother went through her period. He began to wonder if she was going through it this week as she was even more emotional than usual. He put this thought away as he set the cup of tea where Jade could painlessly reach it.

“Hot and ready just as ordered,” stated the boy. “I even did the right kind instead of heating up sweet tea, though I had to crawl on the counter and look in the pantry to find it.” Jade smirked as she grabbed the cup, holding it close to her mouth.

“We’ll see,” teased the girl. “You’re an American boy, no offense, so you’re likely to make mistakes.” She took a slow sip, Ben holding his hands in a pleading position. She sighed as she pulled the cup away. “It’s not bad.”

Ben smiled, only to frown as he saw the small frown she was sending him. “It could have been steeped longer. Also, it’s a little too sweet.” The boy sighed as he slumped forward, Jade smirking as she nodded her head. “I’ll get you there eventually, if you listen that is.”

She groaned as she grabbed at her lower stomach, setting the cup of tea down. “I hope this period ends before Gymnastics Club meets this week. I haven’t had any proper training since last week. If it weren’t for those stupid…” She took a deep breath as she stopped herself, taking another sip of the tea.

She sighed as she shook her head. “No more crying. No more complaining. It’s chi master Jade time. Let’s see what this Talisman can do.” She flipped over the stone, looking over the back.

She hummed as she looked between it and the translation book that sat in front of her. “Now Uncle usually takes a long time to look these things up so I need you to be on top of getting me more tea when I…” Her words died in her throat as she tilted her head in confusion, slowly moving the talisman closer to her face. She saw the ancient Mandarin text waver a bit before the symbols began shifting in her mind's eye view. “I… I can read this.”

She traced her lines across the symbols carefully, making sure she didn’t miss a thing. “‘The horse: a cure for all ailments. Restores body, mind, and spirit.’ This… this makes sense.” Ben tilted his head, confused more than ever.

“Um… I don’t get it. So it’s like a cure for cancer or something?... That’d be kinda sick.” Jade felt her eyes moving everywhere as they slowly began to turn dark blue.

“Cancer is natural, a mutation of the body. What is not natural… is a damaged soul.” Her eyes returned to normal as she stood up, looking at the horse talisman as she turned the face her way. She concentrated on it as sparks of good chi fizzled in her hand. The glow of the talisman soon came, Jade feeling herself be pushed back into her mind as the world zoomed out around her. Ben shouted her name as he went to catch her, but she was too far in her mind to process this at the moment.

She floated above her little mind-world as she heard a loud neigh, followed by the sound of clicking hoofs. A violet horse spirit ran through the streets, its power flowing to each and every spire piece that Jade could not repair by her touch alone. They shifted to look like building pieces as they floated back to where they belonged, completing parts of her soul that looked like they would scar over forever. She then saw flashes of things she had forgotten, as well as a reminder of Lo Pei activating magical power within her. The little bird flew into her face before lightly pecking her forehead, making her fly towards another part of her mind.

There she saw the horse zoom through every corridor, images of the scrolls she summoned in her battle with Shendu flashing in her head. She began to understand every word that was written upon them, from the meanings to the way to make use of each parchment. She watched the little bird fly circles around her before hugging itself into her chest. She ignited in flames of good chi as she felt herself flow back to the material world. She heard muffled cries as she zoomed back to her view, Ben immediately being in it.

“JADE! Wake up! Don’t go into the light! Please tell me that wasn’t death magic!” The girl rolled her eyes as she pushed his face back, giggling at the goofball.

“You’re being such a dork, Ben. I was just pulled back into my soul. The talisman fixed everything. I remember everything, and I even remember everything that happened in that fight against Shendu. I…” Ben smiled as he nodded his head.

“I think you’ll want to see something before you start telling me everything. All I can say is that I told you you’re beautiful.” Jade suddenly shot up, worrying that she was somehow naked again, only to feel her head jerk a bit. Her eyes suddenly widened, tears beginning to run down her cheeks as she slowly stood up. Ben led her to the bathroom, waiting outside as she walked in.

What she saw made her heart beat faster. Her hair had grown back to where it was before, even being a bit longer from where she had been growing it out again. She began to heave as she leaned against the kitchen sink, believing it was a dream until she felt each individual hair in her hands. Her eyes became blurry from tears as she moved her hands to cover her mouth. She slowly turned towards Ben, the boy smiling in wait.

“Be honest… How do I look?” The boy nodded his head, his smile remaining.

“Beautiful. I’ll remind you anytime you need to know just how beautiful you are.” Jade felt a rush of emotions as she hugged Ben, almost jumping into his arms. The boy rubbed the back of her head, rubbing down her back as he felt her hair. They were thankfully away from the bathroom when the door to the Chan quarters opened.

“Jade, we need to…” began Jackie. His eyes widened at the scene, more so surprised that Jade’s hair had suddenly grown out than the fact that she and Ben were in an innocent, romantic embrace. The duo separated the hug as Jade looked towards her uncle, tears still rolling down her cheeks.

“Hey HICCUP! Jackie,” greeted the young Chan. “Look what the talisman did. I’m beautiful right?” She asked this with tears in her eyes, a sparkle of hope flashing in them. He smiled, nodding his head with a smile.

“You are indeed. I will ask how this happened later. We need to talk, alone. Please.” Ben was about to object to being left out, only for Jade to hug him close again.

“It’s fine, Ben. I’ll be here.” The boy looked her in the eye before nodding his head, allowing her to let him go. As Ben left the room, Jade slowly began to play with her hair. She hadn’t played with her hair like this in months, so she couldn’t help but giggle as she spun around a bit.

She stopped as her stomach cramped again causing her to moan. “Bad idea. Very bad idea. Maybe the Horse can cure this too if I hold it long enough… No, this is natural so it wouldn’t work.” Jackie could almost swear he saw Jade’s eyes turn blue for a moment, but he missed his chance to confirm the possibility as they were now back to the normal brown color.

Jade chuckled a bit when she noticed how Jackie was looking at her. “Um… I can explain. I’m kinda the reincarnation of this old guy that kicked Shendu’s tail and, now that I’m healing, I’m getting all kinds of magical memory stuff. Don’t tell Uncle yet but I can kinda read the Talisman inscriptions now.” Jackie blinked multiple times, only to sigh as he rubbed the bridge of his nose.

“Jade, explain it to me slowly later. Right now, this discussion has nothing to do with magic or talismans. This is about you. Please have a seat. We will be speaking in Mandarin, so no one can overhear”

He bowed his head a bit with a smile. “[Mandarin] Please feel free to use family names. It makes it easier, Yu.” Yu gulped at the topic but still nodded as she sat on the couch, pulling her hair onto her lap looping her hand through it. She cleared her throat in preparation for the switch.

[Language Change: Mandarin]

Kong-Sang grabbed the pillow she had been crying into as he began to sit, only to wince as he felt how sticky it felt. Yu giggled in a silent apology as she picked up her tea. Kong-Sang dropped the pillow onto the ground, planning to deal with it later, before sitting down himself. “I had a talk with Uncle about your time in the hospital. He mentioned that you said some things about your childhood, things that make me feel concerned FOR you.”

Yu immediately recalled said memories, panic beginning to set in as she softly ran her hands through her hair. “I’m only bringing this up because you are very important to me. While our introduction may not have been the best, you are still my niece and a member of my family. So please let me help you lift the burden you carry.” Yu looked away as she tried to control her emotions.

“I…I can’t. You won’t like me anymore afterwards.” Kong-sang lightly grabbed her chin as he returned her vision towards him, showing her the soft smile on his face.

“I understand that your emotions are not stable, but this is important. Whatever troubles you, whatever pain you feel, I promise that it will not change the way I see you.” Yu looked him in the eye, her frown growing serious.

“You promise? On the family’s honor do you promise?” Kong-sang nodded his head.

“I promise with everything I have. Now please, I implore you, try me.” Yu took deep breaths as she looked down, not expecting such a conversation like this so soon. She didn’t know exactly where to start, her mind running all over the place. She eventually steeled herself as she put her cup back down before looking up at the man.

“It…it started when I was nine. I moved to a new school because Father received a promotion at work. It was an honorable position for someone in the business to receive, so he accepted it without hesitation. I was proud of him, so I tried very hard to be the perfect daughter for him… Then, when I got to the school, it became my worst nightmare.”

She clenched her fists, thankfully not messing up her hair. “The girls told me I was dishonorable for my gymnastics. It was the first time I ever had anyone hate it. They told me my stretching was very revealing but my teachers told me wearing anything else would lead to overheating. Months passed and they told me the color blue was for those who wish to dishonor their family, other things I enjoyed quickly becoming bad.”

Yu felt her body begin to jerk as she tried to continue. “My favorite qipao, my games I would sometimes play, my favorite foods… Super Moose was the only thing they agreed was cute, but they continued to say so many horrible things about my other likes and interests. I tried to get into the things they liked, only for them to either shoo me off or drop the subject entirely. I tried hard to fit in but it never was enough. I tried to talk with Father, but he was always so busy and mother was not always home anymore.”

She rubbed her arm as she tried to ignore the cramp she suddenly felt, taking another deep breath. “I tried to tough it out and deal with the pressure, but then I turned eleven and my breasts grew in.” She couldn’t help the tears that rolled down her face, some dropping onto her hair. “They told me I was beginning to look hideous. I began wearing baggy clothes in order to hide my growing body, going up whole sizes whenever my breasts grew bigger. Father was angry when I never wore the beautiful qipaos and western dresses he bought me, but I was scared and didn’t know what to do. Mother told me to keep trying to make friends, that connections are very important for the future, but I didn’t know how to do so in such a horrible school.”

She shook like a leaf as Kong-sang tried to calm her, the girl beginning to breath heavily and erratically. “I began to believe everything they said, feeling ugly for so long. When that no longer garnered the response they wanted, Ming Hua led them to throw food at me and use me as a scapegoat for their own misbehavior. Ming was always the worst out of all of them, constantly putting me in terrible positions. When I found an adorable little kitten one day, I tried to care for her whenever I’d go to school.”

She smiled as she remembered the snow white kitten. “She became one of my only friends in school, my little Li. Ming found out about her and tried to take Li, but Li scratched her. Li was kicked hard by Ming before being taken away by animal control, perceived as a threat and unable to receive proper care. She… she passed before I could even try to convince my parents to give her a chance.”

Yu’s fists shook as her rage began to set in. “From that day forward I hated the thought of any animal being harmed… and I hated Ming. She always found some way to make me miserable, even faking hits to get me in trouble with the teachers. The worst offense happened on a day that I will never forget. That day she told me my hair was disgusting, saying it was about to drag against the floor like a dirty mop.”

The girl’s breath hitched, showing how hard it was for her to speak at the moment. “I loved my hair so I tried to deny it, but then I was asked if I wished to be a dishonored daughter. I had tried to find some way to reason how she could be wrong, desperate to not lose the one thing I had left that made me happy. That’s when the hair pulling started, Ming even pulling out a few strands. I couldn’t take it anymore and, when I got home, I used the kitchen scissors to cut my hair shorter than it had ever been before.”

She actually brought her hands up to her eyes as she tried to make the tears stop, a task she knew was impossible at this point. “I hated it the moment I started but I didn’t stop. I went to cry to Mother and Father about it, but I had made the mistake of cutting my hair when they had guests over. Father and Mother were furious, yelling at me over what I had done. Two months later, after learning English without being aware why I was learning it, I’m here.”

She sobbed into Kong-Sang’s chest as she tried to keep herself together, but her emotions would not allow her such a thing. “Everyone is so much nicer here. They pay attention to me and I can enjoy school for the first time in years. I do not want to go back to my old school, where I will be subject to the same horrors once again. I just… I just want to be normal and loved. To be happy like everyone else.”

She wriggled into Kong-Sang’s chest, trying not to get snot on him. “Is that so wrong to want to have?” The man smiled as he rubbed the back of her head, trying his best not to show or voice his own feelings towards the tale.

“It’s ok, Yu. Just let it out…” Yu sniffled once again as she hugged the man tighter.

“I hate periods. I can’t keep calm at all anymore.” She finally pulled back, looking the man in the eye.

“Thank you for opening up to me, Yu. Do you feel any better?” The girl pouted as she looked away, holding at her lower stomach once again.

“No. These stupid cramps are messing with my head.” He rubbed the top of her head lightly with a smile.

“Maybe you should go lay down then. We can talk more later.” Yu nodded her head as she walked away, her cramps making her unable to say a proper response. “And Yu? Thank you for being honest with me.”

The girl smiled back at him before entering her room, shutting the door behind her. Kong-sang frowned as he pulled out his phone. He pressed the bar above the home screen, revealing that he was still on call. “Did you hear all of that, Shin? There is your proof: the words that your daughter has been trying to tell you for years.” He heard a sigh on the other end, followed by a shuffling noise.

“I heard everything, Kong-sang,” revealed the man. “I am a terrible father. Chan Yu believes she is a dishonor, yet I have dishonored her. I should have focused more on her present rather than her future. Because of me, she went through torture under those thugs: this ‘Dark Hand’ you speak of.”

Kong-sang nodded his head, waiting to hear more. “They saw the body of my child and defiled her, my only hope being that they have left her purity intact. There is no one to blame for this but me. I do not know how I can make up for the wrongs that I have done.” Kong-sang frowned, returning to Jackie mode.

“You can start by talking with her. Make time to get to know the real her, beginning with actually attending AND watching her gymnastics. She cried when she said you never had been to a single event. Learn what she loves and visit her more. If you start with that, you can move your way up.” He heard another sigh at the end of the line.

“You are right, Kong-sang. I have much work to do in advance, some things needing to be delayed. I will be in America in a few months. I need to speak with her in person, not over a phone. This Ben, however…” Kong-sang shook his head in denial.

“He is still learning our language, but his proficiency is increasing rapidly. His Mandarin was very broken only three weeks ago and he only understood so much, but he is learning faster than any young man I have met. He has also taken time to learn our culture, listens to Yu, and tries to find out everything that she likes. He was even here when she has been suffering from her period, keeping respectful boundaries while trying to ease her pains.” He heard a small shuffle nearby, paling when he realized that Yu’s door was cracked open a bit.

The girl was looking at him with both frustration and shock, having heard everything since the moment her father’s name was spoken. Knowing that he couldn’t pause now, Kong-sang continued. “She has been paying close attention to him in kind, learning everything about him that she can and is allowed to know. The bond they share is real, Shin, and if she were my daughter I would have looked into Ben’s potential.” He watched Yu pale before she covered her face, the look in her eye begging him to stop.

Kong-sang adjusted himself as he tried to find a good finishing sentence. “In any case, he is a wonderful young man.” He heard a hum on the other side as Yu quickly shut the door, her father unaware that she was listening.

“Perhaps he’s the one I have been searching for, in spite of recent discretions.” Jackie tilted his head in response to this, only to hear his cousin clear his throat. “I must go, Kong-sang. Thank you for opening my eyes. I have much to consider, especially when speaking to my wife.”

Jackie then heard a wince, knowing all too well what it meant. “She is going to yell at me all night for this. Wish me luck. Have a good day.” The phone buzzed as the call ended, Jackie sighing as he pulled the device away from his ear.

[Language Change: English]

Jade laid her back against the door as her hands remained glued to her face. The feelings of mortification, hurt, betrayal, and anger all grew rapidly in her like a slurry. Her father knew everything, the biggest fear she had over this whole situation. She just knew that the man would pull her away as soon as he arrived, wanting to deal with her personally. She heard the door to their quarters open rather rapidly.

“Hacha!” cheered the old man. “Uncle knew it would…” Jackie quickly made shushing noises as he gestured to Jade’s room.

“Jade heard everything, Uncle! She probably hates me now!” Uncle huffed as he crossed his arms.

“You are terrible at keeping secrets! Why no leave room!? Teenagers are nosy!” Jackie groaned as he leaned forward, grabbing his head to try and stave off a headache. Ben popped his head into view, only just now returning to their knowledge.

“Can I come in now?” questioned the boy. He was waved in by Jackie, the boy letting a smile be on his face. “So…That didn’t go too well. You guys really did a number on her trust.” The two adults went wide eyed at this, noticing the way he smiled was not so innocent. “After all of that, you’ll definitely need to earn back her trust.”

He gestured to both men before leaning on the couch a bit. “You’ll find out how much a teenager can really blow up when she’s been lied to and betrayed. It’s not just girls either. I’ve seen some guys that become violent when they sniff out a lie by themselves, but girls when someone plays with their emotions? Way worse.”

Jackie groaned as he leaned into his hands, thinking about all the ways that things could go wrong. Ben stood up straight as his smile remained on his face. “WELL, I’m going to see if Jade needs a shoulder to cry on! Maybe make her some soup if she wants it.” Jade was prepared to move away from the door as Ben approached, only for Jackie to hold his hand out to the boy.

“Wait!” cried the archeologist. The alien hero suddenly stopped as he reached the door, his hand on the knob. “I need to discuss some things with you. Stay, please.” The boy rolled his eyes while he had his back turned to the duo, turning around as he shut the door to the room.

“Alright but make it quick. I don’t want Jade to be suffering in there.” Jackie nodded his head as the boy walked towards them. Jade sighed in relief, feeling touched that the boy cared so much in spite of her being defiled. She continued to listen in as she turned her ear to the door.

“Speaking of you and Jade, I have noticed how the two of you have been growing close. Both of you have made your interest in each other no secret.” Ben blushed a bit as he rubbed the back of his head, looking away with a small smile.

“Yeah. She’s amazing. I didn’t know if she actually liked me that way, even with all the affection, so it’s nice to know.” Jackie mentally winced, realizing that the duo had not said anything to each other yet. Jade paled at this reveal, growling a bit as she did her best to just listen in.

“Yes, but recent events have complicated things. You have seen her in a way that no other should have without permission. You know what I speak of. It may not have been her choice, but it is still a very serious matter.” Ben’s blush deepened as he looked down at his feet, having tried not to make a big deal out of it.

Jackie continued as he gestured towards Jade’s room. “It is a very sacred privilege that is either obtained as a husband or given by her father, so your situation cannot be taken lightly. To be able to see her bare without consent is seen as a taboo even in today’s society of China, so I must be clear. You tell absolutely no one you saw her, not until you have gotten the go ahead from her father. Even then, you should not speak of it in Mandarin in case another Chinese woman or man hears you.”

Jackie lowered his arm as he looked Ben directly in the eye, the boy having lifted his head. “It can be very bad for our entire family. I understand you’ve been studying our culture to try and connect with Jade. If so, you should realize we will be shunned should such a thing come to light and she will be forced to return to China disgraced, losing all hopes of honor. Any husband she could get will be low in status.” The serious frown Ben gained did not surprise the two adults.

“Jackie, I understand perfectly how bad it could be. If a girl can be outcasted and made fun of in school for even having an embarrassing moment, then it must be much worse for something as serious as this. Especially with an honor focused culture like your own. I never want to hurt any of you, least of all Jade. She means a lot to me, more than anyone I’ve ever met.” Jade grabbed at her chest, a powerful joy beginning to overtake her.

She knew that Ben was basically her best friend, but to hear him speak of her in such a way was another experience in itself. She felt butterflies try to fly in her stomach, only to be smashed by yet another cramp. She did her best not to make a noise, holding her lower stomach with a low growl. Ben’s ear did twitch a bit, though he had not truly picked up the girl’s voice. Jackie did his best to keep his face straight as he nodded his head.

“Good. You must also realize that, if you wish to pursue a relationship with her, you must obtain the approval and permission of her father. It is only by his word that such a relationship can be possible for her. You cannot start such a relationship like you do here in the states.” Ben looked down again as he crossed his arms.

“...I’ve read about that recently. It’s why I haven’t been talking with her about it. I wanted to be in a better place to earn her. To not be such a kid, you know? Seeing as I saw her naked, I guess that’s not possible anymore.”

He looked towards the two men again, his frown softening a bit. “Am I right?” Uncle decided to speak as he nodded his head.

“Yes,” answered the chi wizard. “Her father wishes to meet with you. He arrive in few months. Not sure when he arrive yet. However, he speak with you on matter of seeing her body.”

The old man fully turned towards the boy, looking down at him. “Should you seek relationship, your only chance now is to make case for marriage.” Both Ben and Jade shook at this, each having their own reason for doing so.

“Marriage? Wouldn’t he be against that if he already wouldn’t let me date her?” Jade pushed her ear as close to the door as she could, her shock continuing to rise. The way he questioned Uncle gave some deep part of her hope. She heard the usual grunt of the old man clearing his throat, almost tempted to open the door for a peek.

“You have seen her naked, no matter whether by accident or design. This is only option, dating being socially unacceptable unless intent is marriage. This decision cannot be made lightly. Will inform father for you should you intend to agree.” Ben looked at the ground as he paced back and forth, trying to think over his answer.

Jade’s breath almost stopped entirely, worried that she would hear the door to the quarters close and with it, all hope to be redeemed gone. She felt her world shatter when she indeed heard a door close. She almost began to cry, only to hear more footsteps.

“...I want this decision to be Jade’s just as much as it is mine. She has always been concerned with having her own choice, so I’m not taking this one away from her. I need your word that you will call me when she wakes up so that we can talk about it together. Promise me.” Jade ran her fingernails across the door lightly on accident, though thankfully she escaped detection once again.

‘Please!’ cried the girl mentally. ‘It’s not about what I want. Just say whether YOU want it or not!’ She felt a strong need to jump in and tell him what was going through her mind, only for fear of him not truly meaning anything if she did to stop him. Jackie and Uncle nodded their heads, letting their silence be their vow as Ben took a deep breath.

“Everything about Jade fascinates me, from the way she smiles to how feisty she can be when she wants to be. I’ve never met a girl like her, and I don’t think I ever will for the rest of my life. I was scared when I thought she would hate me after an incident with her gymnastics training the day before the attack. I…” Jackie narrowed his eyes in confusion.

“Incident?” questioned the archeologist. “What incident?” Jade blushed madly at the mention of it, wishing that Ben would not say a word.

“...She overworked herself in training because she hadn’t been practicing as much prior. She was about to fall over and I tried to catch her on instinct. I was more concerned with catching her than watching where my hands went and I accidentally held her by her chest. I didn’t know what to do or say so I quickly switched to an underarm hold to get her to a chair.”

Uncle slowly turned towards Jackie, giving him the evil eye. The kung fu master looked away at the sight of said glare, knowing full well that he had partial fault in the incident. In her room, Jade was blushing all over her body as she covered her mouth with both hands. She was doing her best not to scream out in embarrassment and fury, knowing that it would do no good. She wanted to curl up into a hole and die, though she felt her ancestors would rag on her if she did.

Ben shook his head as he regained his composure. “Anyway, I voiced my concerns and fears to my folks. They told me that if Jade did hate me and decided not to see me again that there were other fish in the sea, but that I should talk with her if I wanted to clear the air between us. I was scared the next day when I saw her at the mall and tried to avoid her, not feeling like I was in the best place. If I had worked up my nerves then, maybe she wouldn’t have been where the Dark Hand would have kidnapped her.” Uncle waved the boy off as he looked back towards him, Jackie sighing in relief.

“No uses for what if’s,” argued the old man. “What happened has happened. Cannot change the past. Now, continue.” Ben nodded his head as he looked down at his hands.

“When she was kidnapped, I felt like a part of me was being taken. I felt like I failed her. I looked everywhere I could, even going to parts of town I’ve never been to just to find her. Gwen was helping with the search too, but even her magic wasn’t enough. That’s when I finally sensed her when I was a Highbreed, like I had a hidden set of eyes.” Jackie frowned once again, though this time Uncle joined him.

“Highbreed?” questioned Jackie. “What on Earth are you talking about?” Jade repeatedly shook her head, feeling like the boy was going too far. One wrong move and it would be over for both of them. Ben took another deep breath, ignoring his nerves as he looked the men in the eyes.

“When I was ten, my life changed in a big way. A device fell from the sky, one that gave me extraordinary power. With that power came the responsibility of protecting others when they could not protect themselves. It took me an entire summer to figure that out, along with a few years after. I kept the truth hidden from the public to protect my family, the rumors my powers caused creating a group that was like an urban legend made real.”

He rolled his shoulders a bit to make himself look a bit bigger, more so to make himself continue than to appear intimidating. “Other than Gwen, there’s no Heroes of Bellwood. There’s only one, one guy who can turn into any living creature in the galaxy or at least the ones that’s in the Omnitrix. The alien heroes you’ve been trying to talk with… they’re all me.” Jackie’s eyes widened as the memory of the Daoshi’s words played in his mind again, only for Uncle to let loose a cry of annoyance.

“You hit head or something?” questioned the old man. “No such thing as aliens! I no see crop circles or little green men! You sip bad tea or something?” Everyone who had a presence in the discussion jerked at this outcry, Jackie gaining an incredulous look on his face,

“But Uncle, you saw them!” cried the archeologist. “You saw two of them before your very eyes!” The old man shook his head in denial.

“Uncle saw awakened crystal golem and fire elemental. Aliens? Pah! Perhaps you need to lie down as well.” Ben’s frown did not disappear as he drew attention to the mark on his hand.

“Gwen’s right,” growled the boy. “The time for charades is over. You better get ready to believe, Unc. Omnitrix: Uncloak.” The device popped up onto the boy’s arm, the adults jerking back in shock.

Jade once again froze as she felt her fears and emotions fight against her need to stop what was happening. She could not understand why the boy was doing all of this, his secret being something he shouldn’t be throwing out in her mind. The boy carefully selected the right alien, pressing down on the core. Uncle saw the good chi glow in the tubes of the gauntlet, immediately recognizing it as such. The bright green flash blinded the two men, Jackie hissing from the pain. Upon looking back at the boy, they were shocked by what they saw.

Fourarms stood before them, though he was not entirely the same as before. His uniform had been changed out for black spandex leggings, silver bands that rested upon each wrist, and a set of black belts that made an “X” shape on his torso. The Omnitrix rested on the belts, displayed directly to the two men. A ponytail was present on the back of his head, revealing that he indeed had hair. The alien folded each set of arms as he looked over the duo.

“Fourarms: a Tetramand from the planet Khoros. Stronger than any natural man on Earth. He is only one of hundreds of thousands of possible transformations I can take on, though most of them are locked away until I can unlock them. If it weren’t for SHIELD capturing me to try and take the Omnitrix for themselves, I would have been able to save Jade that day. In the end, I have only myself to blame for not paying enough attention and letting them get the drop on me.”

Noticing that the two men were beginning to calm down, the boy returned to normal. He gave them a few more moments to really process everything, knowing that he unloaded a lot on them. Once they looked like they were settled, he continued.

“When we finally found Jade, I tore through the facility they were holding her in. No one escaped justice that day. I ripped the restraints off of Jade myself, holding her close to try and bring her back from whatever chaos she was going through. That was when Shendu took over, the two of them fighting over her body. It was when Shendu gained full control and summoned a dress or robe of some kind that the naked incident occurred.”

The boy looked down as he tried to make it through the explanation. “I tried to cover my eyes when the dragon ripped off her hospital gown, but I had forgotten about the eyes that Highbreed have on their chests. Something beautiful that should have been a privilege to earn was violently displayed in ways that it should not have been, Shendu having no regard for the treasure Jade is.” Jade’s blush deepened to a darker shade of red at these words. Being called beautiful in such circ*mstances made her begin to tear up, her eyes beginning to look bloodshot.

Ben continued as he looked towards the men. “Gwen couldn’t do anything with the magic she knew, so I risked losing myself to enter her soul. I have a form known as an Ectonurite, a living spirit if you could understand how that works. Back in my younger years, the DNA of that alien gained a life of its own and tried to take over me. I fought it when it eventually got free, but I had sworn to never use it again after that.”

He shook a bit as he tried to control himself. “The thought of losing Jade forever was enough for me to break that vow, transforming into Ghostfreak for the first time in years. I had complete control this time and I used it well, to dive into her soul. When I found her, she was half see-through with her form jittering.” Uncle gasped at this, holding his heart as he took a step back.

“Shendu would go so far as to destroy a soul?” questioned the old man. “The demon has no regard for sacred realms if he truly did as you say. There would have been no afterlife for her.” Ben felt fury build up inside him, a sight that now slightly spooked Jackie. The boy took a deep breath as he clenched his fists.

“I couldn’t let that happen, so I stopped pulling my punches. I cut him as many times as I could, trying to break him and show him real pain. In the end I had to hold him in place so that Jade could banish him from her soul herself. I thought I had made it in time, until Jade spoke Mandarin to ask who Gwen was. I… I’m pretty sure my heart actually stopped for a moment, but I might be exaggerating looking back now.”

A rare sight occurred at that moment as tears began to grace the boy’s cheeks. “I couldn’t leave her side after that, right up until I heard about the spell you guys were gonna use in the hospital. Even then, I couldn’t leave until she was better. I only returned home once to grab my translation book, and even then I did that in alien form to be back as quickly as possible. Every moment of fear she showed, every lack of memory that reared its head, every mention of her troubles as if it were the first time she told me… Each and every moment broke me more and more.”

He wiped the liquid from his face as he tried to stay strong. “It was hard to see her not be that clever, strong willed, feisty girl with mischief in her eyes. It was the first time I saw what those horrible girls tried to make her into, and it made me want to yell and scream at them. They tried to tear down such a beautiful girl that anyone would be lucky to call a friend, and they say she’s dishonorable!? If anyone is dishonorable, it’s them for trying to destroy a treasure that this world could never replace if it even tried.”

He had no idea the effect his words were having on Jade, the girl sliding down her door to where she sat on her hair. Her heart was pounding incredibly fast, her period making her emotions conflict and go to war with each other. She looked up at the ceiling, both to not pull at her head and to try and not let tears fall.

‘Stop, please,’ mentally begged the girl. ‘Why?’ It was her question, not her request, that would be answered as Ben continued.

“When the spell worked, it was as if my entire world had come back from being dead. I had to put on a face the entire time to try and be strong for Jade, but I wanted to cry my eyes out like I was five all over again. I spent the rest of the time up to today getting stronger both in my body and my mind, most of my off time being spent around her. I never want to see her hurt in any way ever again, so I have to become better than I am every single day. To be worthy of her and to be ready to fight any battle she needs me to.”

The boy placed his hand on his chest as he tried to still his heart, though such a task was becoming increasingly difficult. “I thought I knew how I felt back before the kidnapping incident but, now that I almost lost her, I know what it really means. To want to be with someone so much that not having them in your life leaves you empty. To feel their pain, even when you can’t really understand it yourself. I can’t fight the way I feel, nor do I ever want to.”

Jade nearly pushed down her door in an attempt to be closer, the anticipation building up inside her. The very words going through Ben’s head made him smile as he looked the two men in the eyes again. “I love her. I love her for all that she is and all the wonderful things I KNOW she’ll grow to become, and I know she’ll grow to be even more beautiful than she is now. Nothing those girls said about her has or ever will be true.” Jade’s entire body pulsed as she released the pressure in her body, a weight she didn’t know she carried being lifted.

“He… he loves me,” breathed the girl. She slid a bit down to the floor, putting her hands on her chest. “He loves me.” She began to cry happy tears, not knowing just how much she wanted to hear such a thing until now. Ben continued as he nodded his head.

“I would do anything to stay by her side, and to protect her from all that would try to abuse and/or harm her. Whatever it takes, whatever challenges I have to overcome, I will fight to keep her safe. Mom is probably already making wedding plans anyway. She’s been looking up Chinese and American wedding traditions to make a combined event type of wedding with how she talked after meeting her, and I will put that to good use when the day comes.” Uncle smiled as he nodded his head, Jackie soon gaining one of his own as well.

“You are a noble young man,” stated the chi wizard. “Will make good husband for Jade, if successful in earning Shin’s approval.” Ben blushed slightly at the mention of being Jade’s husband, only it did not embarrass him like it did when his mother brought it up before. The door to Jade’s room suddenly slammed open, all three guys looking that way in shock. The girl was still crying, her face and parts of her body crimson red in color. She lightly played with her hair as Jackie stood up from the couch.

“Jade!” cried the man. “Are you okay? You’re so…” He obtained Uncle’s famous slap before he could finish his sentence, crying out in pain. Ben did his best to control his shock as he rubbed the back of his head.

“Um… how much did you hear?” questioned the boy. “I was hoping to talk with you later about it but…” She suddenly ran up to him, hugging him tightly in her arms.

“All of it,” whispered the girl. Ben gave her time to hold him as he reciprocated the hug. She remained in his grasp as she looked up at him, tears still rolling down her cheeks. “Please don’t make me choose. I don’t want it to be because I asked you to.”

Ben slowly began to smile as Jade sniffled a bit. “I want you to choose, so that I know it’s real.” She shook like a leaf as she was having trouble standing. “You are breaking tradition. I am to love you and you are to love me.”

She sniffled as she looked him straight in the eye. It was clear that she was looking for any hint of deception, waiting for his answer. She knew every tell he had due to them spending so much time together, as well as Gwen mentioning it at one point. She was prepared for heartbreak but holding out for her miracle. Ben’s smile remained as he rested his forehead against hers.

“[Mandarin] Chan Yu, you are precious beyond all measures. If your father will have it, I wish to be with you. If he agrees, I will keep you by my side until he approves of us being together forever. That I vow on my honor.” Uncle and Jackie’s eyes widened at the near perfect use of their language, shocked that he was able to accomplish such a thing in a short time.

Jade let hundreds of giggles escape her throat as she hugged Ben tightly, feeling his body pressed against hers. She felt as if an invisible weight had completely lifted, only for her cramps to bring her out of her happy mood. The boy immediately helped her brace as she leaned over a bit, the girl groaning in pain.

“I hate these cramps. If the Horse Talisman would work on my period like it did on my soul and my hair I’d…” Uncle gasped as he pointed towards the girl.

“You use talisman when Uncle had not done research!?” cried the old man. “Even more dangerous now of all times, when girl on period.” Jade rolled her eyes as she leaned more into Ben.

“I can read the inscription stuff now anyways. I found out what it does and used it, so no biggie.” Uncle jerked as he had a shocked look on his face.

“Ba! Believe when I see! Test you when no longer on period.” Jade growled, Ben hugging her a bit tighter to help with her mood. Jackie walked to be in the middle of the group, looking towards Ben.

“I had my suspicions when that horrible lady attacked Uncle’s shop, but I need to be sure of something,” informed the man. “Is this device involved with two men, one who carries the title ‘The First Thinker’ and one named Lo Pei?” Both kids jerked a bit at the mention of the titles both for different reasons. Ben narrowed his eyes as he looked up at the archeologist.

“Lo Pei is what Shendu kept calling Jade,” informed the boy. “I was the one who mentioned the name so I know where you got it from, but where did you hear Azmuth’s title?” Jade's breathing became calm, almost normal as her eyes glowed blue.

“I know that name,” gasped the girl. “Azmuth… He helped me seal Shendu!... How old is that guy?” Jackie was confused by his niece’s reveal, only to begin his explanation.

“When I went to retrieve the Rat Talisman, the Daoshi of the temple felt the need to share the importance of the talismans with me. He warned me about Shendu, as well as mentioning the two noteworthy individuals who defeated him before. One was a man named Lo Pei while the other was known only as the First Thinker. This First Thinker had the same symbol that the aliens and your watch bear.” Ben looked down as he hummed.

“Azmuth really was here then. He’ll be so ticked that they forgot his name.” Uncle pushed past Jackie leaning forward grasping Jade’s shoulders.

“Jade, remain very still,” requested the old man. He looked over her eyes, noting how the irises had changed in color and glowed like a glow stone. “This cannot be possession, whether natural or through Sheep Talisman. What is going on?” Jade lightly pushed Uncle’s hands away, causing him to stand up straight.

“When Shendu attacked my soul, the spirit of who I once was in a past life helped me to combat him. When your healing spell took hold, I was able to speak with him. He was the one Shendu called Lo Pei, and he was me. He passed some of his knowledge to me and the Horse Talisman allowed me to remember that knowledge. This knowledge also allows me to read Ancient Mandarin perfectly.”

She gestured to herself as a good chi shadow slightly enveloped her, giving off the appearance of the man before her. “I am Lo Pei AND I am Jade. I assisted Azmuth 900 years ago to seal that demon Shendu. By the Emperor’s command, I return to make sure the demons stay that way. It is a cycle I will repeat until the day evil is erased from the mortal realm for good.”

The avatar disappeared as Jade fell over, Ben quickly catching her in his arms. She groaned as her eyes returned to normal, her lower stomach bothering her again. “Does anyone have anti-pain magic or something? This really stings.” Uncle braced himself against the couch, taking a deep sigh.

“No such magic exists, or Uncle would use it every day. Jade, you do not understand the importance of this. You are the Chosen One, a person of great importance to our world. This is…” Jade growled as she felt a mood swing hit her.

“I don’t care about this stupid Chosen One stuff! I want the period to just go away already!” Uncle was about to say more, only for Jackie to stand up.

“Uncle, we will talk about this later and not when Jade is not well like this,” stated the man. He looked at the way Ben glared at him, sighing as he slumped forward. “I did it again. Didn’t I?” Jade roared in fury as Ben did his best to hold her back.

“WHAT DO YOU MEAN ‘LIKE THIS!?’ AM I SOME ALIEN NOW!?” Ben hugged the girl close as he sighed.

“No, Jade,” answered the boy. “You’re a beautiful girl who’s just having a hard time. Becoming an alien is my job anyway. Just breathe and…” He watched Jade glare at him, her anger still present.

“Let me go! I wanna hit something, probably Jackie if he keeps treating me like some foreign creature! I’m not fragile! I…” The boy only turned her around and hugged her a bit tighter, rubbing the back of her head and combing her hair with his fingers.

“Jade, it’s okay. I didn’t say you were anything other than human.” The girl moaned at the feeling of him playing with her hair, the sensation feeling so good to her. She was glad to have it back, especially since she was garnering attention for it. She leaned her head onto Ben’s shoulder as she sighed.

“I wanna take a shower. Help me get to the bedroom so that I can get some stuff.” Ben nodded his head in response, taking the girl to her room. Uncle had to stop Jackie from moving to stop them as he had a clear visual of the room. The old man sent his nephew a glare as he gestured to the room.

“You only continue to anger Jade,” denied the old man. “Leave it alone before you cause more bad emotions from Jade, not good ones. Uncle can see room just fine. They being good.” He watched as Ben helped Jade get to her dresser, playfully bowing as she leaned against it.

“Would the lovely Jade like anything special for when she’s done with her shower?” questioned Ben. “I am at your service?” Jade couldn’t help but giggle as she shook her head.

“Hot soup would be nice,” admitted the girl. “I’ll be in there for a while anyway. I’m going to enjoy washing my hair for an hour like I used to. Maybe I’ll ask Gwen to go to a hair salon with me. I need to trim it anyway.” Ben smirked as he nodded his head.

“I’ll let her know while I’m working on the soup. I’ll give you your privacy.” He began to walk away, only for Jade to lightly grab his arm.

“Ben… am I really worth all of this? My father is not an easy man to please. The fact that you saw my bare body kinda makes things worse. I…” Ben turned back towards her with a confident smirk.

“Always have been and always will be. I’ll do anything I can to earn his approval. Besides, I don’t mind the idea of marriage. I already got a sneak peek at how the future looks, and she’s pretty beautiful if you ask me?” Jade blushed as she smacked Ben playfully on the arm, making a mock hurt face.

“You should be careful what you say about my body. You’re this close to me kicking your butt mister. Go make the soup already, or no gymnastics shows for you.” Ben bowed his head lightly as he walked out of the room, Jade giggling as she did her best to not move in a way that would cause a cramp. Ben walked away from her room and out of the quarters, Uncle crying out in victory as he looked towards Jackie.

“Uncle told you he was good boy!” cried the chi wizard. “Jackie never listens to Uncle! Uncle always right.” Jackie sighed, understanding that he would not hear the end of this for a week at least. “One More Thing! Must contact boy’s father on marriage proposal.” Jackie nodded his head.

“Yes Uncle,” sighed the man. “I…” He stopped as the chi wizard continued.

“One more thing! Need research Lo Pei. Jackie go find books.” The archeologist nodded his head once again.

“I will Uncle. I…” The old man held up his finger again.

“One more thing! Need to find spells for magical protections. Shendu could attack at any moment with Sheep Talisman.” Jackie’s eye twitched in a similar way to Jade’s twitch she did almost two weeks prior, holding his hands together.

“Anything else Uncle.” He was practically pleading for the man to have nothing else. Uncle shrugged as he shook his head.

“No. That is all. Now go find books while I call parents. You are terrible at calling people.” Jackie sighed as he walked out of the quarters, Jade closing the bathroom door at the same time.

Knowing that much could still go wrong, Uncle decided to head to an office room to make his call. He slowly punched in the numbers he remembered, not wanting to get one of those new-fangled 'Smartphones’ that young people walked around with. He always felt like a spirit would jump out of one and eat his soul. He sighed in uncertainty as he got to the last number, clicking what he thought was the right one. He brought the device to his ear, surprised when the line picked up immediately.

“Colonel Pizza,” greeted a tired teen’s voice. “How can I help you?” Uncle cried out in annoyance as he held the phone away from his face.

“Aiyah! Wrong number!” He immediately hung up, huffing in annoyance. He put the number in again, this time ending with the other number he thought of. This time it took a bit longer for the call to go through, the sound of a phone being lifted soon following.

“Tennyson residence,” greeted a feminine voice. “This is Nathalie speaking.” Uncle smiled as he nodded his head.

“Hello. I am Chan Jing. Wish to speak with the father of Ben Tennyson. Is he in?” The woman on the other end hummed in confusion.

“I’m sorry but you have the wrong house. You’re looking for…” Uncle huffed once again, repairing the same action as before.

“Aiyah! Why so many people have similar number!? Wrong number!” He slammed the phone shut again, grumbling in annoyance. “Third time’s charm.”

He punched in the number again, stopping before he reached the second to last number. He hummed as he moved his thumb a bit, sighing as he realized his mistake. “Uncle click two numbers at same time. Miss telephone back at shop.” He completed the number this time, once again hearing the tone go off as he waited.

“Tennyson residence,” greeted a different woman. “Sandra speaking.” Uncle tensed up as he moved the phone a bit.

“Jade say your name. Your son Ben?” He didn’t hear any sounds of confusion, a good sign to him.

“If the sign on your shop is right you must be her Uncle. It’s nice to speak with you.” Uncle sighed in relief as he nodded his head.

“Grand-uncle, but everyone calls me Uncle. I am calling to speak with you and Ben’s father. Is he home?” He heard the woman moan a bit in exasperation. It was clear that she might have had the wrong impression of the situation.

“No. He’s at work. Please tell me Ben didn’t have an accident or something. I don’t think I can take any more surprises this month.” Uncle shook his head in denial.

“Apologies, but this is good and bad surprise. Many mothers I meet like good surprise. Must ask, what you know of Jade’s kidnapping? Part of bad news.” This time he earned a hum of confusion.

“I was there with Ben when it happened. I also heard about her being in the hospital. She was rescued by those alien heroes, right? Can I ask what that has to do with Ben?” Uncle nodded his head in understanding.

“Boy saw Jade naked in middle of rescue. Villains strip her before arrival. Ben was one to call hospital. In tight spot with her father.” He heard a moment of silence from the other side.

“...That is a lot to process. I’ll… talk with him about breaking into dangerous places at a later date. May I ask how he is in trouble with her father? I understand the need to keep a girl’s decency but he did find her.” Uncle sighed as he shook his head with a frown.

“In our culture, it is taboo for boys to see girl’s bare body without being husband or having father’s permission. Doctors not allowed without fathers approval. Jade’s father not pleased with Ben seeing Jade in nude. Complicates potential relationship.” He heard a disappointed moan, having expected it beforehand.

“Oh no. He and Jade are so cute together. She’s such a sweet girl. Is there nothing we can do to change his mind?” Uncle nodded his head, his frown remaining.

“Marriage only way.” He heard another bout of silence, this time expecting it. He heard Sandra clear her throat to try and gather herself.

“I beg your pardon. Could you explain why?” Uncle smiled a bit as he nodded head.

“Only way family and daughter not dishonored and shunned. Daughter must marry boy that sees her body. Ben’s only hope that Jade not sent back to Hong Kong dishonored and disrespected by community.” He sat down in a chair to give the woman time to process his words. He waited a bit longer as he remained as still as a statue.

“...I see. I wasn’t expecting that. I’ll have to tell Ben to see how he reacts. I don’t know how he’ll take it.” Uncle’s smile grew bigger as he nodded his head.

“That good news: you don’t have to. Boy already knows. Talk with Jade and agreed already. Still need approval of her father.” He was met by a longer bout of silence, waiting patiently for a response.

He looked to the phone as he frowned. “Not worry. Marriage happen when boy twenty two if he succeed… Hello?” He heard the sound of the phone cut back on, followed by a bit of light panting.

“I’m sorry. I heard the twenty two part, but just needed a moment to… collect my thoughts. That’s big news indeed. I’ll need to have a long conversation with him when he gets home, as well as for the next few days. Goodbye.” She immediately hung up, Uncle pulling the phone away from his ear.

“Hmm… Take news better than Uncle hoped. Now see if Shin have better reaction. Maybe tell him how talk went.” He suddenly facepalmed as he growled. “Aiyah! Forgot to tell Jackie to make Jade’s gymnastics room!”

He stood up as he popped his back. “Uncle give nephew a piece of his mind. He start tonight. No more stalling!” He speedily walked away from the office, a mission on his mind.

With Ben, he was carefully working with a pot of soup, bringing it to near completion as the time was almost up. He was following the recipe in the book step by step, not wanting to mess up like he did with the tea. He would have done canned soup, but that didn’t exactly feel right to him. Plus he was beginning to understand why his mother liked cooking: seeing the smiling face of the one the food was prepared for. He stopped the heat immediately as the timer went off, sighing in relief as he stirred it a bit more.

He grabbed a separate spoon to take a taste test, slurping the spicy concoction himself. He licked his lips as he tried to get all of the flavor. He smiled nervously as he moved it away from the still hot stove-eye.

“I hope Jade likes it, and hopefully it’s not too spicy.” sighed the boy. “Maybe I could call Mom and…” He immediately face palmed as he groaned. “I forgot to call Gwen.” He immediately pulled up his phone, putting it on video call as he started pouring a bowl of the soup.

“Hey Doofus, what did you do?” questioned Gwen immediately. “Uncle called my mom asking for your dad and… Are you cooking? You know what happened the last time you tried to make breakfast for your mom. I had to fix your mistake, fixing the same meal and you still didn’t understand what I was doing.” Ben rolled his eyes as he put the lid back on the pot.

“I followed a recipe exactly this time, Dweeb. It’s for Jade. She requested soup so I’m delivering. She’s on her period right now and…” He heard a gasp from Gwen, looking to see the shocked look on her face.

“She is!? Why is this the first I’m hearing of this!? You should have let me know sooner! I have a heating pad she can borrow and made her some special tea that I’m sure she would love. Plus you know that girls are supposed to comfort each other in times like this.” Ben hummed as he nodded his head.

“I might want that tea recipe later and buy her that heating pad. I need to know what I’m looking for though.” He put a spoon in the bowl before picking it and his phone up, marching back to the Chan quarters. “So anyway…” He soon noticed that Gwen was giving him a glare, pausing his sentence.

“You… asking me… for a tea recipe? Not to mention actually buying something I mentioned? What did you do? You’re slaving away, something Ben Tennyson does not do on a whim.” Ben shrugged as he walked into the room, finding it empty.

“What can I say? I love her. Dad does stuff like that for Mom all the time right?” He set the bowl down at the table, kicking the snotty pillow away while questioning why Jackie hadn’t removed it yet. He looked to the screen again, Gwen still carrying the same expression.

“Yes, when she’s sick or he made her upset. What did you… Did you just say you love Jade out loud? I’m not hearing things am I?” Ben grinned as he nodded his head, holding the phone up to his head.

He watched Gwen’s expression change to one of absolute shock. “Holy cow. You actually admit it. I never thought I’d see the day.” Ben felt a bit of a snarky grin pop up on his face.

As this was going on, Jade walked out of the bathroom. She was wearing a pair of blue fuzzy pajamas, a pair she bought the day before her period began. She also had a towel on her head, most of her hair hidden within. She soon noticed Ben as he was distracted, seeing that he was on video call with Gwen. While before she would have shied away, she decided to do something fun as a grin popped up on her face. She snuck closer to the boy, making sure Gwen didn’t notice her.

The redhead indeed missed her arrival to the room as she growled at Ben. “Don’t start getting a big head just because I’m shocked, Doofus.” Gwen smiled as she held her hands together pleadingly. “So, did you tell her yet? Please tell me you did it before her period started.”

She began to frown as she noticed the look on her cousin’s face. “Now’s not really a stable time for her to hear it. I would know. I’ve had a number of them myself and I don’t normally take that stuff well when my hormones are raging.” Ben moaned as he tried to find the words to say, only to jump in shock/fear as he felt a familiar sensation on his cheek.

Gwen held her hands to her mouth as Jade pecked the boy on the cheek for much longer than she had before, building up a blush on his face. Jade pulled back, a small smile on her face. That smile turned playful as she looked at the screen.

“Oh, hey Gwen,” greeted the Chinese girl. “How’ve you been?” The redhead smirked back playfully as she rested her head in her left palm.

“I should be asking you how you’re feeling. ‘Someone’ decided now to tell me you were on your period. I could have helped you deal with it better than a doofus who doesn’t have a clue about what you might need. Also… am I seeing things or is your hair a bit longer?” Jade grinned in excitement as she looked towards Ben.

“Camera guy, show her what the Horse Talisman did. Please.” Ben immediately began backing away with the camera facing Jade, the girl having her hands on her towel. She quickly unwrapped it, allowing her hair to flop into its natural position. Gwen squealed in excitement at the sight, Ben wishing he could cover his ears.

“OH MY GOSH! Does it make hair grow faster or something? If so sign me up. I’ve been working on growing mine out for the last year.” Jade giggled as she shook her head.

“Nah! It heals what is broken or ailed. It fixed my missing hair because spiritually it’s what broke me. It also healed the rest of the damage Shendu did to me.” Gwen grinned as she nodded her head.

“Maybe the stone can fix Ben. Then again he’s not really something magic can fix.” Ben was about to groan, only for Jade to roll her eyes as she stepped closer to the camera.

“He might have a few things he’s working on but he doesn’t need to be fixed. He’s just a special guy.” Ben blushed at this while Gwen rolled her eyes.

“You’re just saying that because you like him. The doofus is pretty messed up, especially his cleaning problems. Have you seen his room? He doesn’t even clean it?” Ben turned the camera towards him as he growled.

“Hey!” cried the boy. “For your information I cleaned it two days ago and there’s not a thing on the floor.” Gwen smirked as she shook her head.

“You mean your mother or father helped you clean it. You’re such a boy.” Jade grinned mischievously, nodding her head.

“Oh you’re right about that,” agreed the Chinese girl. Ben looked to her with a bit of a hurt frown, only to see how her smile softened. “But he’s my boy if everything goes according to plan with him and Father. Now, I’m gonna have some soup.” She walked away, mischief returning to her smile as Ben began to blush madly.

“...Did she just say…” The way she was blinking would have made Ben chuckle if he wasn’t processing it himself. Jade took a sip of the soup before grinning.

“Score one for the queen. This is really good by the way. Not a lot of spice but it works.” Ben groaned as he looked down, only to jerk when he saw a familiar look on Gwen’s face. He covered his ears with his arms as Gwen let out a massive squeal of joy.

“FINALLY! I’ve been waiting months for you two to even admit you like each other! I can’t believe you’re finally dating! I have to call Simone and tell her!” Ben blinked multiple times as he sat beside Jade, allowing her to be seen in the screen again.

“Ow… My ears. Why do girls all scream so loud? I swear you girls could set off car alarms sometimes.” Jade rolled her eyes at this, her smile still present.

“Technically I can’t date without my dad’s permission so it’s not really official,” corrected the reincarnate. “Not to mention, because Ben saw me naked, he has to basically say yes to marrying me to date me at this point. Otherwise I go home dishonored and all that.” Ben immediately began to freak out as he tried to get Jade to wait a bit. Gwen took this the wrong way as she groaned.

“Oh come on! Your parents are starting to get a bit too far. I understand the honor stuff but he’s not gonna shout it to the rooftops. Besides, no way the Doofus would actually agree this early in life.” Jade sent Ben a teasing smirk before clutching her lower stomach, causing him to sigh as he scratched his chin.

“Um…” began the boy. “Yeah… About that…” He watched Gwen blink several times as her eyes widened slowly. Jade knew what was about to happen as she sighed.

“Get it out of your system,” groaned the girl. “I’m in a good mood so I won’t be too mad.” Gwen’s face was instantly the only thing on the screen.

“Girl, we need to talk,” growled Gwen. “NOW! I’m coming over right now and Ben you’re leaving!”

That’s all for this one! Ben is seen working on his strength before helping Jade through her first period. Then Jackie and Uncle talk with Jade’s father, getting him to see what he’s done wrong. Jade gains more closure she needs and Ben reveals the truth of both his feelings and his powers to Jackie and Uncle. The shock of the now growing relationship is hitting everyone in their own ways and the fun has only just begun.

Will the heroes be able to succeed in their battle with the Dark Hand? Will Ben be able to win over Jade’s father? Will Gwen go easy on Jade? Let me know what you think down below and I’ll try to get back with you ASAP. This is Inkaliber, signing out.

Omake: Collecting Thoughts

One hour earlier

Mr. Baumann quickly picked up his keys, wanting to beat the time. He had planned out his new schedule as best as he could, knowing how quickly things could change. After he determined when Ben would leave to meet with his friends, he got a part time employee for his shop to handle the morning shift while he took time to prepare for the day. It worked out well because Carl Tennyson was also at work. He stepped out of the door, taking a breath of fresh air as he walked towards his new car.

“No Ben messing up my car with his madness, no Mr. Tennyson with his confounded weapon…” listed the man. “The only person I could see at this hour is Mrs. Tennyson, and she’s the sane one of the bunch. Yes sir. Nothing could possibly go wrong.” He was about to open his car door, only to see the window shake a bit.

He covered his ears as a squeal rang through the air, one of joy and excitement. He watched his car windows shake like they were plastic, quickly shattering as the alarm went off. His eyebrow twitched as he looked towards the Tennyson home, the kitchen window open as Sandra Tennyson childishly pumped her fists up and down.

“YES-YES-YES!” cheered the woman. “FINALLY! I THOUGHT IT WOULDN’T HAPPEN FOR YEARS!” She turned towards the window, only to pale as she saw the angry neighbor. She quickly composed herself as she walked towards the opening.

She nervously waved at the man with a small giggle. “Sorry Mr. Baumann. I’ll have Carl write another check. Have a good day!” She closed the window and the curtains before returning to her call. “I’m sorry. I heard the twenty two part but just needed a moment to… collect my thoughts.” Mr. Baumann could only groan in response as he leaned forwards.

“That’s it. I’m moving again. This time far away from the Tennysons… I could have sworn I moved to another neighborhood last time though." He could only sigh in despair before he made a call to the repair shop… again.

Chapter 12: Ammends

Chapter Text

Ben: Wow! So this is where he looks at worlds for his story stuff! So cool! I wonder what kind of stuff he has on the backburner!... Is that recording device turned on?

Jade: Yup.

Ben: GAH! Don’t scare me like that. I could have had a heart attack or something.

Jade: Oh don’t be so dramatic!... So, Ben, right?

Ben: Yeah. Coolest super guy out there. You’re pretty cool yourself though, Jade.

Jade: Eyeroll. Thanks, but I still haven’t seen enough of the current you to agree on you being the coolest. Anyway, I see that you’re curious about all this stuff too.

Ben: I just wanna look and see how it all works. Imagine all of the cool things I could have in the Omnitrix just by interacting with one of these guys! The possibilities are endless.

Inkaliber: And so is the possibility of you destroying everything by messing with reality.

Ben: WILL YOU PEOPLE STOP POPPING UP SUDDENLY!

Jade: For the record, sir, I only turned on the recording device by accident.

Inkaliber: Oh I know, but the three of us will be having a talk about breaking into my recording room. Now go wait outside. I just so happen to have a chapter ready.

Ben & Jade: UGH! Fine!

Inkaliber: Thank you. Hey readers. Those two took up enough time playing around in here. All I’ll say is that this is another direct continuation, but we’ll be back to the regularly scheduled Talisman hunt soon. In any case, time to answer reviews.

ArguableReader- Thanks!

P96822- I’m glad that you enjoyed it! Things are about to get very interesting.

Reader (Guest)- Things will definitely interesting, especially when her father does arrive.

Inkaliber: That’s everything as of the start of this recording, so let’s begin. I don’t own Jackie Chan Adventures, Ben 10, or any other series that may appear here. I do own OC characters, species, objects, and concepts unless stated otherwise.

Voices

“Talking.”

‘Thinking.’

“YELLING!”

“Author/Guest/High or demonic entity talking. Also, surprise at the end of a section.”

“AUTHOR/GUEST/HIGH OR DEMONIC ENTITY YELLING!”

“Whispering.”

“Author/Guest/High or demonic entity whispering.”

[Language Indicator]

“Machine or alt communication talking/Talking in flashback.”

“MACHINE OR ALT COMMUNICATION YELLING/YELLING IN FLASHBACK!”

“Machine or alt communication whispering/Whispering in flashback.”

Bellwood, Pennsylvania

The door to the Chan quarters opened widely, Gwen holding a tray in her hands. In the tray was a heating pad, a hot kettle of tea, and some feminine products. She saw Jade curled up under a blanket, a sad frown on her face ever since Ben left. The young Chan had wanted to talk with the boy more, but she understood that the red head would not have it be so. Gwen could only sigh in exasperation as she walked towards her friend.

“You should have called me day one, Jade,” huffed the magical girl. She placed the tray on the table before taking the kettle off of it and setting it to the side. “You have my cell phone number AND my house phone number. I’ve been through periods in recent months so I could have helped you ease the pain.” Jade rolled her eyes as she growled, looking away.

“I was fine on my own until Jackie kept saying things to get me mad,” groaned the reincarnate. “Ben honestly did a lot of good helping me with the mood swings.” She smiled longingly as she sighed, leaning to where her head was in her palms. “He’s such a wonderful guy, even if he’s still a total boy.” Gwen sent her a deadpan look as she plugged up the heating pad.

“Now I know that’s the emotions talking. We’ll get to the Doofus in a bit. For now, get a feel of this.” She lowered the pad into the blanket, reaching Jade’s lower back. The foreign girl actually moaned in delight as she leaned back into the soothing heat.

“That feels like a warm cloud from Heaven. I love it.” Gwen smirked as she poured the tea from the kettle, the scent wafting through the air.

“I have ginger, green, chamomile, fennel, cinnamon, and French maritime pine bark extract Tea. All of them are good for helping the uterine muscles to relax. I figured you’d enjoy some chamomile for now. Take a sip.” Jade eagerly did so as soon as she received the cup, only to jerk as she immediately moved the container away from her face.

“It’s like you didn’t let the tea steep at all!” Her nose wrinkled as she looked over the concoction that just passed her lips. “What did you do to it? It doesn’t even taste like chamomile. No offense but Ben did better, and he still got it wrong.” Gwen’s eye twitched, the words of Ben doing something replaying in her head.

“Really? You’re going to get upset over just tea? It’s not that bad! I tried some myself for the same time.” Jade’s eyes widened in shock as she slowly looked towards Gwen, causing the redhead to actually reel back a bit.

“JUST TEA!? Hello! There’s an art to this and you just made it sound like it’s just a drink! Soda is just a drink!”

She put the cup down violently as she crossed her arms under her chest. “It clearly has flavor but I’d choose tea any day over that stuff!” Gwen rolled her eyes as she groaned.

“Now you’re really being over dramatic! I was trying to help!” She looked away as she grumbled under her breath. “See if I ever make tea for you again with that attitude. I guess it could be the emotions talking but I somehow doubt that’s it.” Jade sighed as she looked down.

“Gwen, tea is a big part of my culture. We even hold the art of the Tea Ceremony sacredly. It has been a craft we have developed for centuries. You are literally slamming on thousands of years of tradition, and I spent my entire childhood learning to properly make tea from my mother.” It was the first time Jade had mentioned the woman without looking sad afterwards. She even looked proud, causing Gwen to sigh as she lowered her head.

“Sorry. I didn’t know it meant that much to you. I just make it how the box says. I don’t usually experiment beyond the box unless I’m fixing one of Ben’s messes or working with an adult. I’m surprised that he even made good soup for you.” Jade huffed as her frown softened, deciding to lay back into the heating pad instead of speaking.

Gwen smiled softly as she sat across from the pained girl, rubbing lightly at the hair that was in her lap. “So, the Talisman did this and you said cutting your hair broke you? Could you explain that to me? If it’s not a comfortable subject I…” Jade opened her eyes as she looked down at the locks she had.

“You can already guess that I didn’t exactly have the happiest upbringing. I mean, it wasn’t terrible all the time. It was just lonely a lot of the time, but the worst really only started when I moved to a new school. I can’t go into too much detail because it hurts, even when I was trying to tell Jackie earlier. Long story short: A girl named Ming Hua had it out for me for years, causing the most emotional pain that I’ve ever felt.”

She gritted her teeth as she clenched her fists. “I only cut my hair because she called it disgusting and kept pulling at it, saying that having it that long was dishonorable.” Gwen blinked multiple times, a confused look on her face.

“Okay, I think I’m missing something. Dishonorable? I’ve heard you mention that word a time or two but I’m not very familiar with this Chinese stuff. I might need help here to understand what you’re referring to.” Jade did her best not to become overly angry as she groaned.

“Why do I have to keep explaining this? Honor where I come from means the difference between living like everyone else and being an outcast. Basically she said I was starting to look like one of those floozies that run around with men giving themselves away like free meal tickets. She said it about my gymnastics training and I’m darn sure she meant the same thing when my breasts grew in. It’s also why this marriage thing with Ben is so important.”

She already had Gwen looking mortified as she looked down again. “Him seeing me like he did is not only a good way for me to lose all honor, but any job I could have hoped to ever have is gone. If word gets out he saw me… well, let’s just say I’m not the only one that will suffer for it. My father will lose everything he’s ever worked for, his name struck from anything he had a hand in doing: erased. We would have to work our way back up from nothing for generations, hoping to get back our family’s status as part of the community.”

She looked Gwen in the eye, watching as the redhead’s expression turned from horror to sympathy. “The only way to avoid losing everything if it’s ever discovered is through Ben and me getting married. Otherwise we’d all have to be extremely careful with our words. It’s not the best situation, nor how I would have wanted a relationship to start, but I don’t really regret the idea of being with Ben. There’s worse that could come from this scenario, and I think I like this one more than marrying some low quality sleazeball.” Gwen tried to understand everything as best as she could as she looked down.

“...You’re telling me that Shendu literally destroyed your reputation and life if this doesn’t happen?” Jade nodded her head, only for a lightbulb in the bathroom to shatter suddenly. Gwen didn’t seem to notice as she clenched her fists. “If we meet that cretin now it’ll be too soon. I might start looking into the more ‘forbidden’ spells to test out on that guy.” Jade’s eye immediately turned blue as she shook her head.

“Spells like that are forbidden for a reason, Gwen. Many go against the natural order, even costing you your life. They are only to be used in the most dire of times. Do NOT touch them!” Gwen jerked back, shivering as the girl’s eyes remained blue in color.

“...What was that just now? Your eyes are blue and you sound like you’ve been doing magic for years, but you have never shown any knowledge of the arts before. You’re not possessed again, are you?” Jade’s eyes returned to normal, feeling dizzy as a cramp hit her in her lower gut. She compared it to when she once fell on top of the balance beam. She leaned back again as she tried to adjust in her seat.

“Basically I’m the reincarnation of the old guy that kicked Shendu’s butt with Azmuth’s help. He gave me his knowledge, which is how I knew what the horse talisman does. I can read the inscriptions on the back.” Gwen groaned as she also leaned back, rubbing her eyes in frustration.

“Why does everyone I know have some strange things happening around them? What next: my Grandma’s an alien?” Jade quickly tried to think of something before shrugging her shoulders.

“I mean, Simone and Maynard don’t seem to have anything like that. That’s two people you know. I’d count Miss Sandra as normal but she does have to put up with Ben having the Omnitrix all the time. There’s also that Julie girl in the tennis club.” Gwen sat up as she sighed, removing her hands from her face.

“Thanks for trying, Jade, but at this rate I’m going to be an alien and related to some deity or something. Anything can happen.” She smiled a bit as she looked up towards the ceiling. “Speaking of, I bet Ben’s hearing it from Aunt Sandra. Uncle was calling for her and his dad, after all.” Jade groaned from another cramp as she rolled her eyes.

“Gwen, why do you keep trying to mess with me? I already said I like Ben! I even like the idea of marrying him. Are you ever going to leave me alone about it?” The redhead grinned mischievously as she rested her head in her left palm.

“Nope~. Not on your life. I’m going to lord this over you forever.”

Tennyson Residence

Ben walked up to his house, having taken a while to think over everything he could say. He was ticked off that Gwen made him leave when he could have kept helping Jade, but he was pushed out of the door when he said so. In the end, it was probably for the best. He had another problem to deal with: telling his parents how he basically proposed to a girl. It was something he really couldn’t hide from them without making them mad, so he had to think carefully.

“Okay, so I start by talking with them about what happened with the kidnapping incident,” planned the boy. “Then I talk about all of the cultural stuff, explaining everything I can. Then I drop the big bombshell that I have to marry Jade for her to not end up a bum… That’s worse than just walking up and saying ‘hey guys! I’m going to be marrying Jade in a few years!’ Ya that won’t go over well.”

He sighed as he walked up to his yard. “It’s the only plan I’ve got. No surprises, no lies.” He glanced over to the neighboring houses, only to take a second look as he saw Mr. Baumann packing up a moving truck. “...Isn’t this like the third time he’s moved and said he’s staying gone? If he comes back again I’m gonna start thinking he has a problem.”

He shook his head as he continued walking. He stopped on his front porch, taking a deep breath as he prepared himself for anything. “No more distractions. Let’s do this…” He went to open the door, only for it to open before he reached the knob.

“Well if it isn’t my little groom-to-be?” questioned Sandra in a knowing tone. “How’s my future daughter-in-law doing?” Ben’s mouth fell agape, only for him to pick it up as he tried to find his words.

“How… When… Say wha? Where did you hear that from?” Sandra rolled her eyes with a smirk as she crossed her arms under her breasts and led her son into the house, kicking the door closed behind them.

“Her granduncle called me. I had to look over a lot of books and online materials to make sure my chain wasn’t being yanked. So, Honey, when exactly did you plan to tell your father and I that you saw a young lady naked? I expected better from you than to just not tell us something that important.” Ben blinked multiple times as he tried to think of something to say, only to sigh as he slumped forwards.

“I was going to wait for after Jade’s period so that she wouldn’t be bombarded with questions during it. Then everything happened so fast that I knew I had to try and say something today.” His mother frowned as she shook her head.

“Honey, I would not have discussed it with her until I had a talk with her family. They’re the ones that would have to talk with her about it, but you not telling us yourself? You do realize we have to ground you for not saying anything. That means no visiting Jade until we say your grounding is over. I will have to talk with your father when he gets home on the terms and how long it will take.”

Ben slumped forward further, almost reaching halfway down where his chest was. “I wish you would have at least attempted to talk with us. We would have been understanding. I thought, with everything we’ve done, you would have known that.” Ben looked up again as he sighed.

“I’m sorry, but things were so crazy I didn’t know what to do. I know it’s not an excuse.” His mother sighed as she looked him in the eye.

“We’ll discuss this when your father gets home. Now, we have other things to talk about. I have to make sure you’ve heard about the Birds and the Bees. Then we can talk about the marriage details as I won’t have Jade be made a disgrace. We’ll make sure it happens but there’s going to be strict rules so that nothing unnecessary pops up, like an early baby.” She led Ben to the kitchen, the boy having a confused look on his face.

“What do birds and bees have to do with any of this?”

Uncle’s Rare Finds

Jackie groaned as he continued to bring more and more books to Uncle’s desk, being made to work like a pack mule. He needed to get this done fast so that he could get back to Jade. He couldn’t let her be alone by herself, especially with Ben. He liked the boy very much, but he could not risk them doing anything reckless while Jade is in such a vulnerable spot. They already had a lot to worry about with…

“JACKIE!” cried the voice of Uncle. The man almost dropped the books he was carrying like the thoughts he had in his head. “We talk. Need to clear out room.” The old man gestured to a room on the other side of the small kitchen, earning a confused look from Jackie.

“But Uncle, what about the books?” questioned the archeologist. “You said that…” He received a huff before he could finish the new sentence.

“I get rest later. You clean out room. We set up gymnastics room now. Called Captain Black. Had him buy equipment to use for room.”

He let his arm fall to his side as he nodded his head. “His men be here soon with equipment. Cannot install in cluttered room! Need everything out for new floor material and padding for walls and floor.” Jackie sighed as he set the books he was carrying on Uncle’s desk.

“Yes, Uncle. But what about Jade and Ben?” The old man waved him off.

“Getting to that! Gwen make Ben leave when she arrive. Jade in girl’s hands, so no complaining! Get to lifting!” The younger man sighed as he walked towards the room, pushing a large bookshelf out.

Uncle crossed his arms as he growled. “Careful with shelves! Is antique. Break anything you buy it from Uncle!” The archeologist grunted as he did his best to meet every expectation of him.

The thought of such things took him back to earlier in the day, specifically the look on Jade’s face when she found out what he and Uncle did. They had intended to settle the matter of her parents’ absence behind closed doors, hence why he kept her father on call during their heart to heart. The face of horror she gained from knowing that her father knew everything made Jackie’s heart moan. Uncle was right, he should have moved to a different room whether he had been on speaker or not. Now he was worried that Jade would never trust him again.

His only hope was that something good came from his actions. Perhaps her father and mother would actually spend more time with her and maybe this room could help him with spending time with her as well. He just had to… “JACKIE! THE POT!”

The kung fu master suddenly caught the object in question, stopping it from hitting the ground where it had been on one of the shelves. “What you doing daydreaming!? You want to break Uncle’s shop!? We got work to do! Keep cleaning out room!”

Jackie sighed as he put the pot back in its spot, making sure that it would hopefully not fall again. He really should have started by removing the objects from it first. He continued to work as he removed everything he could from the room. Some things were bolted to the wall, meaning he had to acquire tools to remove them. It took him hours to get everything out.

He was on the last big vase as Uncle clapped his hands expectantly. “CHOP CHOP! ROOM NOT CLEAN ITSELF!” Jackie grunted as he continued to move the object. He set it down before suddenly hearing a honking noise out back.

Uncle looked towards the back door’s window, sighing as he saw a large truck. “Truck with equipment here. Sweep floor! I go speak with driver.” Jackie nodded his head as he took a moment to breathe.

He tried his best to sweep as thoroughly as he could, but he couldn’t get his mind off of Jade. He needed to find some way to truly make it up to her, the room they were working on being long overdue as it was. There had to be something she really wanted that was beyond the usual work. He hummed as he stopped sweeping, almost done with the floor. He gathered his thoughts as he looked down.

He then heard the sound of something bumping against a wall. “AIYAH! BE VERY CAREFUL IN SHOP! NO DAMAGE ANTIQUES! YOU BREAK IT YOU BUY IT!”

Jackie quickly got to work finishing the floor as Uncle walked over. “Good! ‘Someone’ know how not to treat Uncle’s things like fair game! Uncle does not run amusem*nt park!” Jackie’s eyes widened as he grinned,

“Uncle! You’re a genius!” He hugged the old man tightly before running for his computer. He had to take care of something, and quickly. Uncle huffed as he placed his hands on his hips.

“Uncle know! Why you think he making room for Jade?... What did I do?”

One Week Later

Bellwood Academy

One week. That was the duration of Ben’s grounding, both he and Jade feeling like they were suffering because of it. Ben had to suffer through nothing but school and the embarrassment of the “Birds and Bees” all that time. Jade herself had her period end before their time apart was over, yet she still had plenty of fears to worry over. One such fear was slowly beginning to alleviate itself as she walked through the school halls.

It was the first time in a while that she had actually been in school, her friends sending her notes and homework material in the meantime. Even then, it was not normal for anyone’s hair to grow as long as hers had. She had gotten some comments about it, though she could really only say that it was “like magic.” It honestly felt even better now to have her hair back than it did during her period, the girl enjoying the feeling of running her hands through it and brushing it. Of course, her hair was not the only thing that floated around the school.

News of her kidnapping had quickly spread, so she had to hear all about it from everyone who cared. It was nice when the people actually cared about her wellbeing, though she didn’t want to hear about it all the time. She heard whispers of the event all around, the rumor mill making its rounds as well. She finally reached her locker, opening it to swap out her books and grab her gym bag. She sighed sadly as she saw a picture of her and the others she taped to the inside, specifically placing her fingers on the part where she and Ben were standing together.

“And the rumor mill rolls again,” huffed the foreign girl. “I swear, some of them are worse than the others. I can’t believe someone actually tried to get everyone thinking I grew out my hair like a goddess and used it like whips… Actually that one’s kinda funny.” She actually giggled to herself, shutting the door as Gwen was on the other side.

“Yeah, and so is the one where you somehow snuck out of a criminal base and bombed it,” giggled the redhead. “Some people are ridiculous. They do remember that the ‘Heroes of Bellwood’ could have saved you, right? I guess it’s just bored people wanting to start up conversations.” Jade rolled her eyes as she groaned a bit.

“At this point everyone in school is going to talk about me more than the heroes. I think I prefer to not be in the spotlight because I can’t handle it. I enjoy it in Gymnastics, like in recitals and tournaments, but I wouldn’t mind this rumor mill dying out soon. I see why Lucky Girl wears a costume.” Gwen sighed as she shook her head.

“I hear you. Oh, and I hope you brought your gym clothes. We got a new Gym teacher and she’s kinda strict. She can be sweet but you never know when she’s being nice or when the wrestling captain is gonna find himself in a pin for being co*cky.” Jade blinked multiple times before adjusting her gym bag a bit.

“I brought them. What’s her name anyway?” Gwen hummed as she tried to remember.

“I think she called herself Miss Laura Rushman. Kinda funny when you think about what she teaches.” Jade shrugged once again as they entered the locker room.

“I just hope she doesn’t work us too hard. I wanna do gymnastics at Ben’s place now that he’s ungrounded, so I don’t wanna get too worked up.” Gwen looked at her with a sly grin.

“Oh? You’re going back for more? Not afraid his mother won’t be asking you questions? Would she even let Ben watch this time?” Jade rolled her eyes with a huff as she took off her skirt and shirt in order to put on her gym shorts and shirt.

“You really have to play this game right now? It feels like a daily routine at this point.” Gwen swapped from her regular jeans and shirt to her gym shorts and shirt before crossing her arms under her chest.

“Hey! You’re the one that didn’t want to admit it for the longest time. I, therefore, am obligated to hold it over your head as your best girl friend. We both know who your best friend is, if a little something has anything to say about it.” Jade lightly smacked Gwen in the arm with her skirt, the redhead only chuckling in response.

“Don’t say it! I already have the rumor mill on my back for the kidnapping thing! Give me this one thing! Please!” Gwen sighed as she let her arms drop.

“Okay. I can keep quiet.” She smiled lightly as she watched Jade close her locker. “So, when are we going to that salon you talked about the other day? I could use a good skin care treatment and see if they have anything on growing out my hair as fast as you did.” She giggled as Jade began to stomp off for the gym, Gwen quickly following behind.

Upon reaching the area, Jade came to a complete stop. Her eyes were glued on Ben, the boy wearing his own gym clothes. What had her attention was the fact that some of the other girls kept staring at him, looking him over like eye candy. She huffed in annoyance, wishing she could shut them down. She saw Ben growl as his brow began to twitch.

“WOULD EVERYONE QUIT STARING AT ME!?” cried the boy. “I grew a bit but I’m not some Picasso painting!” A woman with fair skin, brown hair, and blue eyes turned towards him. She was wearing a blue tracksuit, a white undershirt, a whistle that hung from her neck, and blue gym shoes. She looked him in the eye as he groaned.

“Mister Tennyson,” began the woman. “No yelling at classmates. Give me five running laps around the court.” The boy said nothing as he began his run, the girls continuing to look him over. Gwen walked to be beside Jade as the foreign girl nodded her head.

“She really is strict,” stated the Chinese girl. “Remind me not to get on her bad side.” The woman walked towards the duo, nodding her head.

“You must be Miss Chan Yu. I’m Miss Rushman, your new gym teacher.” Jade hummed a bit as she tried to think of her words.

“I go by Jade here for personal reasons. Plus, it makes listening to people in English a bit easier.” She heard whispers around the room, many not knowing her real name. Jade couldn’t help but moan internally, knowing that this would make the rumors worse. Miss Rushman nodded her head as she gestured to the gym.

“Understood. You two join the other girls and start your stretches. You’ll need to keep your body limber for all activities.” Jade nodded her head, trying to smile through her concerns.

“I run gymnastics so I know how important it is. Thanks for the reminder though.” The new teacher smiled as she nodded her head.

“Well at least someone here knows what she’s doing. I can’t say the same for your classmates, who should be stretching instead of watching someone walk.” The other girls immediately gasped as they quickly got to work on their stretches. “Speaking of: Mister Tennyson, I told you to run laps!” Ben looked towards her as he began picking up the pace.

“Just had to breathe Ma’am!” cried the boy. “I’ll make up for it!” The woman nodded her head.

“See that you do.” Jade smiled a bit, happy to have the eyes of the other girls off her boy. She blushed a bit at the thought as she walked with Gwen to begin their own stretches. In spite of how strict the woman was made out to be, the foreign girl honestly liked her. She reminded her of her old Gymnastics teacher: someone who seemed rough but she was keeping them active as she should.

Soon other classes finished up, leading to time in the lunchroom. The whispering continued to go on around them, Jade having showered after Gym and putting her hair up into a ponytail. She hated hearing all of them talk behind her back, so she rather welcomed it when Ben let loose a groan as he sat down.

“I understand being healthy, but Miss Rushman is hard to please. I feel like she’s a slave driver.” Jade giggled at this as she shook her head.

“She just wants to make sure everyone’s watching their health,” stated the young Chan. “She reminds me of my old gymnastics teacher. I’m sure you’ll get used to her eventually. You work out all the time anyway so you really shouldn’t complain.” Ben sighed as he shook his head.

“I’ll give you that, but I know my limits and how far I can go beyond them. Grandpa pretty much drilled it into me when I started doing weights. Miss Rushman makes me run more than I think I can handle half the time. Don’t even get me started on how she’ll make you start over if she doesn’t like the way you do certain exercises, like pushups or sit-ups.” Simone decided to enter the conversation as she took her usual seat beside Maynard.

“Perhaps she’s from a military family,” suggested the theater girl. “She stands like one, arms folded behind her back and standing straight. All that means is that some of the more inactive students have to start pulling their weight.” Ben hummed in thought, rubbing his chin. He would have to remember that.

Simone then looked towards Jade, an unsure look on her face. “So, Yu huh? I did not know that was your real name? Why did you change it?” Jade sighed sadly as she looked down, nearly hitting her head on the table.

“Not you too!” groaned the reincarnate. She looked up as she made hand puppets. “‘Hey you! You this or you that!’ I hear that and I only hear my name a dozen times.”

She lowered her hands as she leaned forwards a bit. “Sorry if I wanted a name that I’m not hearing every five seconds. Besides, Jade is still my actual name. Yu means Jade in some translations so it’s not some huge name change.” Ben placed a hand on her shoulder to help her calm down, only for Maynard to point upwards.

“So is it a bad time to mention I heard the rumors?” questioned the boy. Jade groaned, throwing her head and body back into her chair. “I’m just worried about my friends, okay? I mean you were gone for nearly two weeks. I was hoping you could maybe tell us what happened.” Jade leaned forwards again as she sighed,

“Look, some guys wanted something Uncle Jackie picked up while doing archeological stuff. They figured the best way to get it was to nab me. Nothing fancy. That’s all. Then The Heroes of Bellwood saved my butt.”

She crossed her arms in an “X” to mark the end of the story. “The end. I’m not going to turn this into some pity party, so can we drop it? I’m hearing it enough from everyone making some new rumor every hour.” The bell suddenly rang, cutting off the conversation.

Jade groaned as she put away her lunch. “See you guys in class.” She left to return to her locker, Ben watching her as she did so. He soon watched Cash stand up to follow her, growling as he suddenly shot up himself. He did his best to follow behind them, weaving through the other kids surprisingly well.

Jade had her mind on everything as she kept her eyes closed, only to jerk as she felt a pull at the back of her head. Cash had a hold of her hair, having lightly jerked it. He hummed as the girl’s eyes widened.

“Well what do ya know?” questioned the boy. “It’s real. What’s the secret, ‘Yu’? Did your little Uncle buy you some new shampoo or something? Talk, loser!”

Jade wasn’t hearing him as her mind flashed back to Hong Kong, specifically that terrible day with Ming Hua. She shivered as Cash pulled her hair a bit more, not caring that other kids were starting to look. Jade shook like a leaf as she looked back at him.

“[Mandarin] Ming, no. Let me go. My hair is not dishonorable. Stop pulling.” Cash growled as he pulled harder.

“I don’t speak Korean! Talk, you stupid…” Cash suddenly found himself pushed to the side, releasing Jade’s hair. The girl ran away even as the image was shattered, tears in her eyes as her sobs could be heard. Ben stood where Cash once was, his head down and his back slouched as the bully growled at him.

“Look who’s deciding to play hero again! Maybe this time when you’re hanging by your underwear…” The bully stopped in his tracks as Ben stood tall, actually being a bit taller than him. “Did… did you get taller?” Ben growled as he looked up, the look on his face scaring even those who knew him.

“Let me tell you something, you toothpick baseball wannabe,” growled the boy. “You ever touch Jade again, I’ll show you exactly how much I can lift as I hang YOU from the nearest tree by your underwear. YOU HEAR ME!?” Cash nodded his head, curling up into his arms. Ben immediately ran the way Jade took off, shocking everyone with his speed.

He looked everywhere, trying to find where she went. “JADE!” One of the students immediately pointed to the girls’ bathroom, his eyes widening in shock. “No!” He suddenly burst open the door, watching as the girl nearly brought a pair of scissors to her hair.

Gwen beat him to the punch as she grabbed Jade’s arm, taking the scissors away from her. The young Chan gasped at the event, quickly falling to the ground curling into a ball as she landed on her butt. She muttered in Mandarin as she grabbed her head, the words that Ben could make out not being good. Gwen immediately pulled her into a hug, holding her head close to her chest. Ben joined them as he rubbed the girl’s back.

“It’s okay Jade,” hushed Gwen. “We’re here. Everything’s going to be fine. Whatever you need, we won’t leave you.” Jade sobbed as she dug her head deeper Gwen’s chest

“I wanna go home,” sniffled Jade. “It’s just like Hong Kong. The rumors, the hair pulling… Everything reminds me of Ming, that dishonorable…” Ben frowned as he pulled Jade closer to him.

“I’ll deal with Cash,” declared the boy. “You won’t be reminded of that school anymore, not if I have anything to say about it.” The school speaker sounded, causing the Tennyson duo to look up.

“Ben Tennyson and Jade Chan to the principal’s office,” ordered the voice of the Vice Principal. “Repeat, Ben Tennyson and Jade Chan to the principal’s office.” Ben frowned at this, having a bad feeling about the call.

“I’m sure you know why I called you in,” began the principal. Ben and Jade sat in chairs close to each other while Cash sat a good distance away. “If not, Cash has claimed that you, Ben, attacked him while he was talking to Jade. She then led you away to the girls bathroom I hear. I just want to hear your side of the story.” Ben took a deep breath as he did his best to not violently react to the situation.

“Cash was pulling at Jade’s hair and throwing insults at her,” began the alien hero. “I’ve been studying Mandarin for a while so I heard her asking him to stop.” Jade looked towards Ben, hoping he wouldn’t tell anyone about her past. “I only pushed him to get him to let go, Jade running off on her own. Gwen and I found her crying in the bathroom, doing our best to help her when the call went off.” The principal nodded, only for Cash to stand up with a growl.

“THAT’S A LIE!” cried the bully. “HIM AND HIS LITTLE… GIRLFRIEND BEAT THE TAR OUT OF ME!” Jade did her best to calm down as she looked towards Cash.

“Why would I want to hurt you?” questioned the girl in a meek voice. “I’m not even strong enough to leave a mark on Ben, let alone you. Also, in my culture I can’t have a boyfriend without my father’s permission. I have not received such permission, so Ben and I are not dating.” Cash growled, only for the Principle to slam his hands on the desk.

“Cash, sit down,” ordered the man. The bully did as told, huffing as he looked away. “Seeing as I can’t be biased and I can’t confirm who did or did not do what, all three of you will have a week’s detention. If you complain, I’ll make it a suspension.” Jade’s eyes widened in fear as Cash hid a smirk, only for a knock to be heard at the door.

The principal looked towards the door, confused. “Come in.” The kids looked back as Miss Rushman walked into the room, a serious frown on her face. “Yes, Miss Rushman?” The woman nodded her head in response.

“Principal Johnson sir,” greeted the woman. “Considering it’s my first week, I understand that my word currently means little. However, I do have eye witnesses who can shed light on things that are third parties in the situation. There’s no chance of bias coming from my sources.” The principal hummed, sitting back in his chair.

“Good. Let’s hear it.” Cash began to panic a bit as the woman looked back towards the door.

“Come in.” Jade and Ben watched as six kids the group hardly knew entered the room, four girls and two boys. One of the boys stepped up as he stood in attention.

“Mr. Principal,” greeted the boy. “I’m Yong Cheng from the Math Club.” The man nodded his head with a sigh.

“I know who you are, Cheng,” confirmed the man. “I also know for certain that neither you nor everyone here has sided with the three in front of me. What changed? Well?” The boy felt Cash’s glare on him, but he stood his ground.

“Cash made her cry, sir. Being Chinese myself I know that a Chinese girl rarely cries in public. I can also confirm what she said if need be.” One of the girls walked up, growling as she glared at Cash.

“And he said she was speaking Korean when it was clearly Chinese!” added the girl. “As a Korean girl I am offended he’d confuse my language for Miss Chan’s.” The principal sighed as he shook his head.

“That’s enough,” stated the man. The girl backed up, Jamie doing the same. “All of you saw this?” The six kids nodded their heads, Jade doing her best not to get emotional. Miss Rushman looked towards Cash as she decided to continue.

“If it’s alright with you, sir, I believe I can straighten out Mister Murray’s behavior. I believe a week with me will make him learn quickly how to behave.” Jade slowly smiled as Cash looked pleadingly towards the principal.

“Principal Johnson, this is a set up!” cried the boy. “They’re trying to get me in trouble for nothing!” The principal growled as he stood up from his desk, height seeming to be a thing that intimidated Cash.

“Boy, don’t make me increase it to two weeks,” growled the man. “I have eye witnesses, including two people you called in. If I am to ask Mister Yong what Miss Chan said, then it’ll be three weeks. The rest of you may leave. I and Miss Rushman need to speak with Mr. Murray alone.”

Jade breathed a sigh of relief as she and Ben walked out of the room. The other kids split off to do their own things, leaving the duo alone. She smiled at Ben as the boy looked around the area.

“[Mandarin] Thank you,” began the girl. “[Mandarin] Standing up for me, stopping me from cutting my hair, and not sharing my problems. My mind was not in the right place. I nearly broke myself again, and I don’t think the Talisman will fix it again.” Ben held her close as he smiled.

“[Mandarin] Anything for you,” replied the boy. “[Mandarin] I’m always here for you, Gwen too. All you have to do is call.” Jade smiled as she leaned into the embrace, sighing in glee. They parted as the girl looked towards the ceiling.

“Maybe the rest of the day can finally end so I can actually do something to get my mind off this. I’ve been needing to do some Gymnastics.” She grinned as she looked towards the boy. “Maybe even put on a show for you guys. I hope your mother’s made some new snacks.”

She began to walk backwards as Ben smiled back at her. “I want to see what other stuff she can learn from China?” Ben nodded his head, only for a ringtone to fill the air. Jade groaned as she pulled out her phone. “Or Uncle could call.”

She put the phone to her ear, answering it. “Hello,” She heard Uncle’s famous cry, having to pull the phone away from her ear.

“Jackie get call from school!” cried the man. “Money boy bother you again!? Why you in trouble?” Ben winced as he heard the cry, feeling pity for Jade. The girl giggled at the old man’s nickname for Cash, lightly playing with her hair.

“I’m not, actually. The new gym teacher came in with some eyewitnesses, so now Cash is having to spend as little as a week with the most strict teacher in school.” Uncle actually huffed a laugh at the news.

“New teacher actually help? Good! School needs better educators! Would give them one too, but Uncle too busy! You come home after school. Got big surprise!” Jade hummed as she looked between her crush and the phone.

“I was actually about to go to Ben’s house after the final class. Can it wait?” She heard a light chuckle from the other side.

“May bring Tennyson family then. Come to shop after school. Good surprise, I promise.” The phone hung up before Jade could get in another word. She giggled nervously as she looked towards Ben.

“...I guess your family’s coming over. Uncle said he has a surprise at the shop for me.” Ben hummed at this, only to shrug in response.

“Mom’s been meaning to see Jackie and Uncle anyway. Besides, my Dad’s a bigger Jackie Chan nut than me. That reaction is gonna be priceless. I’ll need to get a picture.” Jade rolled her eyes, annoyance clear in her frown.

“He’s not as great as he thinks, seeing as he told my dad everything. Literally. It’s bad enough THAT happened and then he goes and tells the world. I was going to take that to my grave and he dashed that plan.” Ben frowned a bit, sighing as he shook his head.

“I don’t like that he broke your trust either, but he was trying to help. I’ll be ragging on him too for it, but he had some good intentions.” Jade returned to walking to class, the boy following after her.

“He could help by not spilling the biggest secret that could ruin my entire life. I thought I could count on him and he had my father on call AT that moment.” Ben nodded his head in response.

“I suppose we’ll find out later. We’ve got two more classes. After that, we go to my house and get my folks. We’ll all head to the shop and force Jackie to play Hundred Questions with the biggest fan I know.” Jade smirked, a knowing look on her face.

“You’re not at all interested in seeing me do Gymnastics? I can’t exactly practice at the shop.” Ben shook his head in denial.

“I’m always interested in seeing you do the things you love. I just have a weird feeling that we’re both getting what we want.” Jade giggled before she playfully booped Ben on the nose, the boy jolting a bit in surprise.

“Well, aren't you Mr. Optimistic? Let’s get today over with.” The duo walked side by side, slowly blushing as they thought similar things.

‘I can’t believe I/She actually booped me/him!’ thought the duo.

Uncle’s Rare Finds

The door to the shop opened, Jade leading the Tennysons inside. She gulped, worried that Uncle would embarrass her. She loved the old man just like the rest of her family, but he wasn’t the best when it came to tact. She was also concerned about Jackie talking with the Tennysons about what happened. She heard Sandra sigh behind her, marveling at some of the antiques around them.

“Everything looks so authentic!” cheered the woman. “You don’t see many places like this. Isn’t this great Carl?” The man nodded his head, looking a little creeped out by a mask. The sound of Uncle crying out in shock caught the group’s attention, the man walking into view.

“WHO LEAVE DOOR UNLOCKED AGAIN!?” cried the old man. “SHOP CLOSED FOR…” He smiled softly as he laid eyes on the group. “Jade! You here earlier than expected.” Jade frowned as she looked away.

“Not like I’m new to the unexpected,” grumbled the girl. Uncle frowned at this, a silent sigh escaping him. Sandra placed her hands on Jade’s shoulders, massaging them as she leaned closer to her ear.

“It’s fine,” whispered the woman. “You’ll be okay. Just relax and forget about everything those vile cretins in that Dark Hand gang did to you.” Jade did as told, only for her eyes to widen as she looked towards Ben. The boy held his hands up, his head-shaking acting as a sign that he said nothing.

Sandra stood straight as she smiled. “It’s nice to finally meet you, Mr. Chan. This is my husband, Carl. We’re grateful for the invitation to come over.” She bowed slightly to the man, Ben feeling a need to do the same as Uncle let out a friendly huff.

“Please, everyone just calls me Uncle,” stated the man. He looked towards Jade with a head nod. “We are almost finished. Jackie being lazy. Sleep in. Didn’t finish.”

He gestured towards the living area, his smile still present. “Entertain guests while Uncle gives Jackie piece of mind.” He walked away from the group, causing Jade to growl.

PSH! Fine.” She led them to the small area, the group sitting down as Jade bowed slightly. “I guess I’ll go make tea. I’ll be right back.”

She walked to the kitchen, humming as she saw a vase that looked a bit out of place. She shrugged as she walked into the room. She began to work on the drink, specifically oolong tea, doing everything as her mother had instructed her to for all her life. She set aside some sugar cubes for Ben, knowing how he liked sweet drinks. She carefully worked with the liquid as she brought it to completion, smiling at a job well done.

She returned to the others, Ben putting his phone away from where he had been playing on it. She slowly poured the tea into each cup, working perfectly so as to not spill. She gave each person their cup before standing in front of Ben. “Before you add sugar, Ben, this is how you really make tea. Try and drink it slowly so that you can find out how real tea actually tastes.”

Ben frowned a bit at the jab at his brewing skills, only to take a slow sip. He hummed as he tasted a familiar sweet, woody taste he was used to. He hummed a bit deeper, however, as he began to taste a melon flavor followed by a nutty one. It wasn’t like any tea he had ever experienced, not even the watery flavor he was used to being present. He brought the cup away from his mouth as he slowly nodded his head.

“...I think it’s good. Obviously the watery taste was part of the problem last time. It actually has a lot more texture than I’m used to.” He took another sip, as if he were taking in a new smoothie flavor. This earned him a fist pump from Jade, a sight that had him trying not to laugh as it was accompanied by a grin.

“Yes! Thank you! Now if only I can get Gwen to understand. Her tea didn’t even taste like chamomile.” Ben grinned as he nodded his head.

“And thank you for giving me something to Lord over Gwen. If we give her a taste of her own medicine she might leave us alone.” He took another sip, his taste buds quickly getting used to it. “How do these things get better each time I try them?” He noticed that his mother was looking at him, swearing he almost saw something off about her eyes for a moment, before Uncle entered the room.

“Surprise is ready,” informed the man. “This way. Let Uncle show you.” The sitting group stood up, Ben pouring himself more of the tea before he followed along. Jade tilted her head, rubbing her eyes as she had seen what Ben saw.

“Did Mrs. Sandra’s eyes just…?” began the young Chan. The thought suddenly left her head as she shrugged. “Eh! Probably just my imagination. I’m just happy Ben poured himself some more tea.” She quickly followed along, not wanting to miss HER surprise.

She walked next to Ben, smiling as he continued to sip the drink. It honestly made all of her hard work feel validated, something she hadn’t felt in a while. They heard gasps of surprise from the Tennyson parents, causing them to speed up their pace. “What’s going on? Let me… see…”

Jade had pushed her way past the duo, only for her eyes to widen as she stepped onto blue matting. Said matting covered the floor and the walls, creating a safe space for exaggerated movements. Several pieces of equipment were found within the room, including a balancing bar. Jade brought her hands up to her mouth as Ben was allowed through, the boy nearly spitting the tea he was sipping as it tried to go down his windpipe. The boy had to clear his throat multiple times before he was finally able to speak.

“Whoa,” gasped the boy. “Talk about a surprise.” Jade looked around as she took everything in.

“The vaulting table, the balance beam, the pommel horse… Everything’s all here.” Uncle smiled as he bowed his head.

“Uncle put Jackie to work all week,” informed the old man. “You need place to practice. Uncle have ‘friends’ buy and deliver everything. Always welcome in Uncle’s shop. Uncle’s home is Jade’s home, always will be.” Jade immediately cleared her throat, trying to put up a cold facade that no one was buying.

“Okay. MAYBE I can give you a small pass for telling basically everyone I know about THAT incident. I’m tired of everyone knowing, but I’ll let it slide since I can actually practice…” Carl Tennyson suddenly started gasping and making funny noises as Jackie approached, moving out of the man’s walkway while drinking from a water bottle. Jade rolled her eyes as her uncle innocently walked by the parents.

“I hope you like your new gymnastics room, Jade,” gasped the man. “I know it may not entirely make up for everything but…” The girl folded her arms under her chest, tilting her head down with a glare. “...I’m sorry.” Ben was about to say something, only for Sandra to massage his shoulders lightly.

Jackie shook his head as he looked down. “I know I hurt you by telling your father, but it needed to be done. You know that he would have eventually found out, one way or another. This was the best option.” Jade didn’t let up her glare as she remained in place.

“And what about me, spilling my entire life while I was emotionally vulnerable? You baited me and I told my dad everything.” Sandra frowned at this, lightly popping her husband on the arm to stop his gasping and muttering. Ben could have sworn he once again saw something in the woman’s eyes, only to determine he was seeing things. Jackie sighed as he shook his head.

“Jade, he would not have believed me otherwise,” stated the man. “We tried to explain it to him but, while he was hearing it, he didn’t want to believe that he caused you to experience such a harsh childhood. Believe me when I say he was working hard for years to raise his status, to find you a husband you would love and would love you back. While it might not sound redeemable, he wanted you to have the best life he could possibly give you. I know none of it is excusable for the breach in trust, and if it could have been done any other way I would have taken such a route over hurting you.”

Jackie crossed his arms, though it was clear that him doing so was more in a need to get his point across. “I want to earn back your trust, however I need to. All I ask is for that chance. Please.” Jade remained silent, only for a mischievous grin to form on her face.

“Okay. You want to earn it back, then you can start by doing gymnastics with me. I mean from now until I return to Hong Kong. After all, a Kung Fu Master like you can do a lot of stunts, so I think you’d be able to get into this like I did easily.” Jackie chuckled nervously as he rubbed the back of his head.

“I will do my best. My back may need to be stretched a bit first.” Ben sighed as he tilted his head a bit.

“Wish I could do that.” grumbled the boy. “Then I could help Jade more.” Sandra giggled at her son’s pouting face, enjoying it.

“It’s far too late for that, Honey,” reminded his mother. “You always have video games and other fun activities.” The boy hummed as he looked at the mark on his hand.

“Maybe I can help her with SpiderMonkey. He’s pretty limber.” He suddenly winced as he saw his father frown at him from the corner of his eye. “Never mind.” Jade suddenly rushed past the group, heading for her bedroom.

“She wants to start now?” questioned Jackie. “I do not even have a uniform.” He received a slap to the head from Uncle.

“No complaining! You ask for her forgiveness. Start when she start.” Jackie groaned as he removed his blue sweater, revealing the white shirt underneath. Carl still felt the need to fanboy, though Sandra’s deadpan look was acting as his impulse control.

“Really, Carl?” questioned the woman. “Can you not control yourself? At least for an hour or two. Let Jade have her time.” The man held his hands together pleadingly.

“HONEY!” cried the man as quietly as possible. “It’s THE Jackie Chan!” The woman sighed as Ben pleadingly shook his head no.

“You can geek out for now, but don’t bother him and act normal when Jade gets back. PLEASE. I sometimes wonder if I married a child. You are such a boy.” Ben gaped at his mother, quickly working things out in his mind.

“Mom! Why would you use that line like Gwen does?” The woman smiled mischievously down at her son.

“Honey, where do you think Gwen heard it from? You’re too much like your father, as you can see…” Ben looked forward in horror as his father was rapidly bombarding Jackie with questions and pictures. The boy tried to hide his head in his shirt, trying not to squeal as his mother apologetically rubbed the back of his head. Jade soon returned, actually snorting as she saw the uncomfortable look on the man’s face.

Sandra smiled as she looked towards her husband. “I said no bothering him, Carl. Besides, Jade’s back now. Be a total boy later.” Her husband actually huffed in sadness as he walked away, Jackie cleaning out his ears as he winced. Jade rolled her eyes as she walked into the room, though she did seem a bit uncomfortable.

“I might need a new uniform before the year’s over,” informed the young Chan. Ben looked up from his shirt, blushing slightly at the sight of the uniform mixed with her hair that was tied up in a ponytail. Jackie tilted his head in confusion.

“Why?” questioned the man. “Is something wrong with the one you have on?” Jade winced as she tried to stretch a bit.

“Um… yeah! I’m growing larger breasts. They actually do grow, you know, and because of that the suit gets tighter. Besides, the latex is stretching and I do NOT want a wardrobe malfunction. Ben’s already got to see my bare body but I don’t want the world to see me if it snaps in front of a crowd.”

Ben blushed, a mental image forming in his head. His mother’s touch once again made him calm down, the image going away. The woman closed his mouth, which he had not realized he had left open, as she shook her head.

“I could take you for measurements, Jade,” offered the woman. “I doubt a man can understand how important sizings are.” Jackie tried to say something in defense of himself, only for Uncle to sigh as it went on a bit long.

“Aiyah!” cried the chi wizard. “You embarrass yourself more than other man! Close mouth! SHUSH!” Jackie sighed as he slumped forwards, Jade giggling at the scene.

“Alright, here’s what I need you to do, Jackie,” began the girl. She began stretching, Ben watching just like last time. “I need you to be ready to catch me in case I fall off the balance beam. Padding’s nice but it’s really a last resort. You need to have it in the first place to even attempt this one.”

Ben tuned out the rest of the conversation as his crush continued to stretch. She remained in front of him as she did so, every move she made having his undivided attention. Ever since he had seen her in… a vulnerable state, he couldn’t help but pay more attention to how her body moved. Her uniform clung to specific areas that he had an easier time imagining thanks in part to the incident. He gulped as she eventually did the splits, his eyes glued to her lower area as he gulped.

“So that’s why that one move was girls only,” mumbled the boy. “Any guy would go crazy over a view like that.” He finally looked back up her form to see her blushing, her eyes looking his way. He immediately blushed, realizing that she was doing it on purpose as she grinned at him. While she was needing to do it for the flexibility of her body, it was more apparent to Ben now that she was putting on a show for him.

He gulped as he pulled at his shirt collar, feeling incredibly hot. “I’m screwed.” He felt his mother’s hands on him again, freezing as he had forgotten that she was right behind him.

“Language, Ben,” whispered the woman. “But yeah.” The boy began freaking out as he looked down at the mat.

‘Did I actually say that out loud!? I was sure I was in my head!’ His mother giggled at his freak out as she returned her attention to the show in front of her. Jade also seemed to be ready to move on, the smile from the observant woman not helping her nerves. What followed for all of them was a display of skill and humor.

Jade would run, jump, spin, cartwheel, and even backflip as she performed her arts. Jackie was able to keep up for the most part, his routines being very similar to this. There was one time she got him to do the splits, though it was clear he was not entirely ready for them. This had Ben both wincing and chuckling, having never seen the kung fu master walk funny before. Jade giggled at how her uncle was resting while sitting on the floor.

“Well I guess you’ll have to practice more there, Jackie,” teased the girl. “Then you MIGHT be able to do the splits. I think you’re too old to do them, but we’ll just have to find out. Just relax and watch me…” She began to run, only to hear a ripping noise. Ben immediately covered his eyes, even though it was just the upper back of the suit.

“I’M NOT LOOKING!” cried the boy. “I AM NOT GOING ANOTHER WEEK WITHOUT SEEING JADE!” His parents had a good laugh at his outcry, the boy blushing all the while. Jade could only sigh in disappointment, both that her training was cut so short and that she would be inactive for a while. She quickly ran off in embarrassment, Jackie frowning with a sigh.

It took her a while to be able to come back down, having taken her time in the shower. When she came back down in an orange shirt, blue jeans, and blue sneakers, Jackie was trying to entertain the Tennyson parents. Ben waited for her at the bottom of the stairs, a small smile on his face. She could only sigh as she walked down, walking past her crush as she entered the room.

“I told you it was too tight, Jackie.” The adults looked at her, noticing the sad frown she had. “It was going to snap at any minute, and it had to do it at the worst time possible. I’m just lucky it was the back and not the front. I almost flashed Ben too…” Her uncle tried to say something, only for Sandra to nod her head.

“What happened happened, Jade,” reassured the woman. “I’ll take you shopping as soon as possible to get a new uniform. Maybe we can bring Gwen too, making it a girls’ day out. No boys to say something embarrassing, like my husband.” Carl cried out indignantly at this, making the girls giggle as Jade grinned.

“Or my Ben…” Jade froze at her own words, noticing the shocked look on Jackie’s face, as well as the knowing grin on the Tennyson parents’ faces. She blushed as she slowly walked backwards out of the room. “I… I’m going to study with Uncle. Girls’ day so sounds great… I mean sounds great… ya um… bye.”

She didn’t even look at Ben as she ran out of the room, the boy’s blush brighter than hers. He blinked multiple times, trying to process everything. He leaned on the railing of the stairs as he sighed.

“‘Her Ben,’” repeated the boy. “...I’m doomed. Every time I think I’m getting used to this it keeps getting better and worse. I gotta make this work or I won’t be able to live with myself without blushing or being embarrassed.” He followed after her, barely hearing the laughter of his parents towards his reaction.

When he reached Uncle’s study, he watched Jade pull out a parchment. She used an ink brush to write upon the paper, trying to neatly recreate the words for the spells floating in her head. For some reason, she felt like she was doing it wrong. For the life of her she couldn’t figure out what the deal was. Ben tried to stay out of her light as he looked over the writing, trying to make heads or tails of it. Jade groaned as she put the pen in a bottle of ink, growling as she grabbed at her head.

“What am I doing wrong? How come the one time I need this knowledge I can’t get it? Where’s the Lo Pei up in my head? Think!” Ben shook his head as he tried to say something, only to watch her eyes turn blue again.

She sighed as she slumped forwards. “There is no two. There is only me.” Her eyes turned back to normal as she crossed her arms on the table. “Well me isn’t doing good enough.” Ben tried to think of something, only to hum as he tilted his head.

“Well… if you asked me, Gwen always has to say any spell she uses,” began the boy. “Perhaps you’re missing something personal like that. You can write all you want but without that special stuff it does nothing.” Jade tapped her finger on the table, humming in interest. Her eyes turned blue again as she looked at the paper.

“You… you’re right. I need my chi to be part of the ink and parchment!... I have to make it though.” She pushed her chair back before standing up. “I need to speak with Uncle.”

She was about to walk away, only to start falling over. Ben carefully caught her under her shoulders, holding her by her armpits as her eyes returned to normal. “Connecting with old memories is tiring. I have got to start meditating like Old Man Lo Pei said, especially if I want the knowledge to come to me as naturally as breathing without getting tired.” Ben helped her to stand as he held her arms.

“You gonna be alright? You’ve got me worried with all of the collapsing.” Jade frowned as she nodded her head.

“I’ll be fine, but this isn’t like science. If it was, I’d have a much easier time. Good magic is about inner balance and peace, a direct opposite to dark magic as it’s about turmoil and rage… My eyes are blue again aren’t they?” Ben shook his head no.

“Actually, they’re still their beautiful brown. That’s a good sign in my eyes.” Jade smirked as she looked towards the boy. “So… ‘your Ben’?” She blushed as she raised her arms away from his grasp.

“Moment ruined. I’m going to talk to Uncle.” Ben stood still as he grinned as he crossed his arms.

“I so need to get better at this. Still, nice to see her flustered for a change. Maybe I’m not too far off. Just need to get some real skills.” He watched Jade walk away, his aim turning downward as her hips swayed.

His head swayed a bit to her beat, his blush growing as he realized he was staring at her butt. It only got worse when he realized she was glancing back with a grin. “...She wins, again. I don’t think I mind too much though. I would be so dead if she was wearing the blue qipao from before.” He began to imagine such a scene, only for his father to walk over and clear his throat.

“Son,” stated Carl. “As a fellow man, I advise you to take care of that?” Ben looked towards his father, watching as the man repeatedly looked down. Looking down, he realized a large bump in his pants. Now feeling it, Ben blushed as he held his hands in front of the area.

His father shook his head with a roll of his eyes. “Might I suggest the bathroom instead of trying to hide it in public. You’ve got quite the keeper. She knows what she’s doing to you and I fear this battle is one you’ll lose. Your grandfather has a few tricks he taught me, so I suggest talking to him later.”

Ben shoved this info to the back of his mind as he ran for the restroom, Jade stuck on his mind. Carl chuckled as he shook his head. “The man both loses and wins at the same time. He’ll find out some day.” He froze as he felt his wife lean against him.

“Really?” questioned the woman. “Wins and loses?” He looked back as he saw the look on her face, gulping in response. “I can definitely turn that to a lose-lose when I go out with the girls.” Carl looked forward again as he sighed, knowing that things wouldn’t get easier for either of the Tennyson men.

‘If she keeps this up the Tennyson tree’s gonna get another branch. Still, I don’t think I’d be against it.’ The way he smiled with his eyes closed caused Sandra to giggle, her point of him being a total boy proved once again as her eyes sparkled like the night sky.

Xiaoling Industries Tower

Valmont sighed in exasperation, looking over the image on his screen. He had heard from his men that they failed to get to the temple in time, the Horse Talisman being gone. Chan had beaten them there by possibly days in advance. A single archeologist, a little girl, and those pesky Tennysons were making a fool out of his organization: the most powerful and most wealthy crime syndicate on Earth. His men were even delayed in sending him the news of their failure, by over a week at that. He heard a growl behind him, yet another annoyance that irked him.

“Yet another Talisman in Chan’s possession,” growled Shendu. “Not only have your men proven themselves as fools, but you have proven yourself incapable of managing them. I feel that Lo Pei’s power has returned, his spark of good chi flowing like a strong current. If his new vessel continues to grow, she may become more powerful than he was. I must have my talismans before she gains such power so that I may drain said power, otherwise…” Valmont growled as he slammed his fist against his desk.

“OH I’m SO sorry!” barked the man. “My men couldn’t reach the temple because my company, the most powerful crime syndicate on the face of the planet, is actually being brought close to the financial black by this talisman hunt. If I lose this cover business there may be no money for such ludicrous expeditions. That is on top of our little Hail Mary pass that is driving me insane! That little kidnapping cost me millions of dollars and good men, all lost to Section 13, and now I potentially have SHIELD on my back!”

Valmont bent over to where his head was in his hands, feeling a headache hit him. He had to regain his composure for fear of being incinerated. Instead of anger, however, he heard a hum from the dragon.

“Such a task does prove to be detrimental for my return without the means to achieve it. I will provide aid just this once.” A Shadowkhan walked into the room, a large black diamond in its hands. Valmont’s eyes nearly popped out of his head as the warrior placed the gem on his desk. “A diamond from the Jade Emperor’s private vault should do nicely.”

Valmont picked up the gemstone, twisting it in his hands as he looked it over. “It would have been purchased by a man of greed for one hundred gold coins with gems embedded inside the coins. Humans are strange creatures to do such things. Still, imagine its worth in your modern age.” Valmont glanced back, the statue of Shendu currently shadowed.

“It will more than suffice when sold on the Black Market. I will begin the auction immediately. I must ask, why so generous? This is rather new coming from you.” Shendu had a bit of smoke puff from his nose at this.

“You realize not the danger of Lo Pei’s incarnation, should she gain her full power. Look to this as a bonus to ensure our alliance remains strong and that you may continue your efforts.” Valmont looked towards his screen again, watching as a metal skeleton was being surgically attached to a cadaver. He narrowed his eyes as he sighed once again.

“Our little side project is nowhere near complete, or my men could have possibly reached the Talisman before Chan. I do not see how our little friend has much to give after her demise, nor do I understand your interest in her return.” Shendu chuckled a bit at this, finding it amusing.

“With my power, death is but a simple thing to reverse. She will be more than ready to return to the field, driven by anger and hatred. Those who she feels wronged her will feel the sting of her vengeance, and her loyalty to me will be unbreakable. It is this thirst for vengeance that leads me to bring her back from the brink. After all…”

Fire poured forth from his mouth, lighting up the form of his statue. A huge gash could be seen on one of the coils of his body, three straight lines. His face also bore such a scar, the very same place Ghostfreak had struck him. “Revenge is a goal that drives us both. I will see Lo Pei’s incarnation bound to my flesh as she watches her mate suffer, and our warrior will sever Chan’s head from his shoulders.”

Inkaliber: That’s the chapter! Jade and Ben deal with the situation they found themselves in while the world keeps pushing things on them. Jackie and Uncle begin their attempt at redemption with a complete Gymnastics room, Jackie having to become involved more personally in the practice thereof. Ben also gets a show, alongside lessons in tea and in love. At the end of the day, none of them are prepared for Shendu’s master plan.

Ben:... Do you have a crush on my mom or something?

Inkaliber: GAHK! NO! She’s not even in my age range!

Ben: What’s with all the sparkly eye stuff then?

Inkaliber: Story stuff and mother knowing best things. Don’t go digging your nose up my business young man… And I sound like a parent.

I told you to wait outside! Now go before I decide to ground you! I may not be your parents but this is still my house!

Ben: Fine! Just stop doing weird stuff like that! It’s gross.

Inkaliber: That little… I have too many kids in this house. Jessie and James are stretched thin as it is, and Deadpool… is Deadpool. If I let the MK characters help the kids would become assassins or something. I’ll figure something out.

Anyway, what did you guys think about the chapter? Did you like Ben and Jade having a bit of emotional warfare? Will Ben ever get a win, or is he doomed? Let me know what you think down below and I’ll try to get back with you ASAP. This is Inkaliber, signing out.

Chapter 13: Compromised

Chapter Text

Hey guys! It’s officially the month of May, meaning that this story is back in full swing! I know you guys are eager to get back into the swing of the talisman hunt but there’s a lot that needs to be covered and it will change the outline of the story. For starters, this part of the story is being extended from the six months plan back to a year, Jade going back to Hong Kong on her thirteenth Chinese New Year. This means that we need to ensure the timeline matches up correctly.

As such, there will be more in-between chapters to help flesh things out. Each chapter will also be edited to mention which month it takes place in. This is so both you and I can keep track of the time that’s passing. Sadly some Holidays that could have had chapters will be missed because we already passed them, but that does lead to some fun ideas for bits in the future. I can promise that this is for the best and that there will be some rather fun events occurring to make up for this postponing of Season 2 chapters.

This chapter in particular will be a fun one. That’s all I can say without giving too much away. It’s time to look at comments and reviews before jumping straight into the action!

ArguableReader: The moment with the future in-laws was both fun to write and plan. It was also funny to embarrass both Ben and Jade there. We’ll see how Jade and Sandra connect in the future.

Ultimisprime: Sadly, I do not know if I have access to all of the chapters from the original story. I can see if I have all of it, however.

P69822: I’m glad that you enjoyed the chapter! I figured showing the phrase starting early would be a good idea. It is indeed sad that Jade had to deal with her trauma but Ben and Gwen were able to help her.

Reader: Thanks! It is fun to show Jade being sassy. She’ll definitely keep having fun and helpful moments.

Lincolnronnie94: LOL! He is indeed.

That looks like everyone, so let’s begin. I don’t own Jackie Chan Adventures, Ben 10, or any other series that may appear here. I do own OC characters, species, objects, and concepts unless stated otherwise.

Voices

“Talking.”

‘Thinking.’

“YELLING!”

“Author/Guest/High or demonic entity talking. Also, surprise at the end of a section.”

“AUTHOR/GUEST/HIGH OR DEMONIC ENTITY YELLING!”

“Whispering.”

“Author/Guest/High or demonic entity whispering.”

[Language Indicator]

“Machine or alt communication talking/Talking in flashback.”

“MACHINE OR ALT COMMUNICATION YELLING/YELLING IN FLASHBACK!”

“Machine or alt communication whispering/Whispering in flashback.”

Bellwood, Pennsylvania

Ben moaned as he leaned up, grabbing his head as he shook it. He had gone to bed at a good time the night prior, though now it felt like something had been hammered into his head all night. He sat on the edge of his bed, stretching as he yawned. He stood up as he walked towards the calendar, grabbing a marker as he marked off the previous day. The boy rubbed his eyes as he turned around, thinking about what he would do with Jade on this Friday. He had many plans running through his head, only to pause as he was mid eye rub.

He slowly took his hands away from his eyes as he turned around, opening his eyes as he looked at the calendar again. He counted the coming days, actually whispering the numbers to himself. His finger landed on April 7th, specifically marked with words that caused a switch in his brain to flip.

“...JADE’S BIRTHDAY IS IN FIVE DAYS!?” cried the boy. “How could I have forgotten when it was right there!? I have to find something to give her before then or I’ll be the worst boyfriend in history… even if we aren’t exactly dating yet. Why didn’t I start looking two weeks ago when Gwen told me about it!?” The boy zoomed around his room, putting together his usual outfit as he hopped on one foot to get his shoes on.

He burst out the door of his room, bumping into a door on the other side of the hall by accident. “SORRY, EL! I…” He suddenly stopped, looking towards the door that had ghost decals and painted stars on it. “Wait…”

The boy scratched his head, huffing a bit. “Was my room always in the hall? I don’t remember having a sister… but I do… She’s my twin sister… Ellie.” He grabbed his head, seeing flashes of memories for a moment.

He suddenly huffed, shaking his head. “No time for my brain to drive me crazy. I’ve got a birthday gift to find before I can solve any mysteries.” The boy ran down the hall, quickly grabbing a breakfast bar before opening the front door. “I’LL BE OUT FOR A WHILE!”

Ben ran out the door, huffing as he made his way down the road. As he ran, the door he had been standing in front of cracked open slightly. A brown eye looked out, suddenly turning purple.

Uncle’s Rare Finds

Jade rested her head in her palm, humming as she read over a manuscript in Uncle’s shop. Ever since Ben had given her the idea of putting her own chi into the ink and parchment of the scrolls, she had asked the chi wizard to help her learn to do so. He helped more than she had hoped he would, actually understanding the process of making both materials that she needed. She was made to perform the act until she had gotten it perfect at least five times in a row without making any mistakes. Where she would have bemoaned such harsh teaching before, the girl found herself more determined the more she made progress with the art.

By the time she had completed the task, she had a total of ten scrolls created with another soon to be on the way. She finished reading over the inscriptions required for a shrinking spell that normally required material components, soon finding a loophole that would allow the spell to be performed but at a weaker level without the required ingredients. The only problem was that a growth spell would be required to change the target back, something that she quickly realized would be a problem if it were used on an ally or herself. She was also uncertain if clothes would be shrunken with the target, meaning she had to study the spell very carefully to basically remake it if necessary. She huffed as she now held her head with both hands, her eyes still on the page.

“Why does magic have to be so complicated?” questioned the young Chan. “They always make it look easy in movies and cartoons. I’m basically having to recreate the spell from the ground up here. The more I do, the more I have to account for every detail so that it can actually work. Is this what it’s normally like to learn magic or is that just the cost of trying to create a spell?”

No past memories reacted to her self-questioning, causing her to sigh as she shook her head. “None of you ever asked that question, huh? Guess that means I’ll have to become the expert on it if I’m going to contribute to the next Jade or whatever he or she is called. Reincarnation is so weird. I need to do some stretches.”

She closed the book as she stood up, popping her back a bit. “I’m cramping up from sitting around all day. Isn’t Miss Sandra supposed to be here soon? I could definitely use some girl time right about now. Although, I wouldn’t mind giving Ben a little modeling show to see if he’ll faint or not~.”

The Chinese girl giggled to herself as she did more stretches, huffing as she used the desk to help her. “...I can’t believe I actually called him ‘My Ben’ out loud. We’re not even dating or engaged… yet.” She stopped talking as she felt a nice pop, sighing as she held her side. Uncle walked into the room, a blank frown on his face.

“Aiyaah,” moaned the old man. “Jade, why are you stretching in office? You have Gymnastics room for that?” Jade went to answer, standing up from a stretch. “One more thing, why are there scrolls out?”

The girl went to answer again, only for Uncle to place his hands on his hips. “Clean up mess before you leave. Uncle is not a maid. Why does Uncle have to do everything?” Jade held her hands together, a smile on her face.

“Uncle, could I please answer your questions one at a time? It would help clear things up and-” She winced as she received a finger slap, causing her to huff.

“Do not talk back to your elders. Now, clean up!” The man walked out with a huff, Jade taking a deep breath as she looked down.

“It’s no wonder why no girl ever married him. Can’t even answer a question.” Uncle looked back, a glare in his eyes. The girl moved a book back to where she had grabbed it, only for a chain reaction of books falling over to start and cause an amethyst gemstone in the shape of a lotus to fall off the shelf. Uncle gasped, his eyes widening in terror. Jade immediately moved to action, catching the object before it could hit the ground.

She sighed in relief, putting the object in a more secure location as she nodded her head. “That was close.” She looked towards the gemstone, humming as she tilted her head. “Is that… magic I feel?” Uncle began ushering the girl, causing her to gasp due to the strength he pushed her with.

“No investigating! Uncle will finish cleaning up.” Jade looked back, her eyes widening in shock.

“What’s up with you? That was clearly magic, good chi at that.” She found herself in the main part of the shop, hearing the old man sigh as she turned around.

“Uncle’s wife… Her soul rests within, unable to pass on. It was sad day for Uncle. Now you know. Please, go have fun.” The man slammed the door shut, locking it as Jade slumped a bit.

“Great. I just had to say something about his married life and his wife was right there. Guess I deserved that. Can I just have one day where I don’t do something dishonorable?” The girl stomped through the shop, making her way upstairs.

She flopped down in the guest bedroom, the place still set up for appearances. She looked towards the calendar on the wall, getting up as she decided to mark it to the correct date. “Two more weeks until my next period, AKA Hell on Earth. Thanks for telling me that, Gwen. Why do girls’ bodies hate us?”

She struck through a few more days, only to slow down as she was on the current day. “April 2nd… m-my birthday’s in five days. How did I forget about it? At least it’s not on my period week. That would have been a terrible birthday, as if it won’t be bad e-”

The girl suddenly paused, looking down. “It’ll be my first birthday in America… with Ben. Unless I can get Daddy to let me stay another year or get him to let me and Ben court, it’ll probably be my last. If I can’t have my birthday in the states, I guess I could convince Ben to come to Hong Kong on my birthday. It’d need to be planned but I like the idea of being able to show him around the city and show him how our culture looks in person. Maybe I’ll be wearing a special hairpin if things go well.”

The girl went from panicking to daydreaming, resting her cheek in her palm. She could almost imagine HER Ben giving her a pin to have in her hair, to wear as a badge that proudly said she was his. She gave herself a deadpan frown in a hand mirror. “...I SO have it bad. Besides, I’d need to teach him about ornamental hairpins and the tradition behind them before I could ever expect one from him.”

She put the mirror down as she helped her hair into a stylized bun, an annoyed frown forming on her face. “I can’t come on too strong about it as it’s his job. Why do these cross culture traditions have to be so annoying? I don’t want to seem like I’m desperate.” A rhythm of honking sounded off outside, the noise causing Jade to panic again.

She grabbed up a purse as she slapped her forehead. “MISS SANDRA! I can’t believe I almost forgot!” The girl quickly put on some makeup before sliding a black jacket over a blue qipao shirt, changing out of her sweatpants as she put on a pink skirt that reached below her knees. She hopped on one foot as she slid on black shoes, quickly finding her footing again before running down the stairs.

She had to run back up real quickly to grab her wallet before bursting out the shop door. “I’M HERE!” She popped the closest back door open before sliding in, closing it quickly as she sighed. “Sorry. I lost track of time.” Sandra looked in the rear view mirror, a small smirk on her face.

“Do you have everything you need?” questioned the woman. “Don’t want to forget something.” Jade narrowed her eyes, tilting her head.

“I think so. You think I forgot… something…?” She suddenly paused, taking note of the people in the car. She was looking right at Sandra, the woman smiling at her. Then there was Gwen, sitting in the nearby seat with her usual smirk. The girl sitting in front of her… that was what she wasn’t entirely sure of.

The new yet familiar girl had pale skin, black hair that reached her upper back and curled, and brown eyes. She wore a red beanie that looked like it had recently been scuffed up, a blue hoodie that looked nicked in some places, black exercise shorts, and used red sneakers. Sandra saw nothing off about the moment, shaking her head.

“Just making sure. I figured you’d want to put stockings on but you can go without. I’ve done it plenty of times.” Jade hummed, trying to think over everything. The name Ellie was popping into her head when it came to the nervously grinning girl in the front seat but it felt just as foreign. She narrowed her eyes, only to almost see a flash in Sandra's eyes as her own widened.

“I’ll be fine without the stockings but I should grab some extra security. I promise I won’t run us too late.” The girl ran out of the vehicle, Gwen rolling her eyes as she shook her head.

“She and Ben can be so much alike sometimes,” huffed the redhead. “Always forgetting something. I don’t see how you live with his bad habits, Ellie. I feel bad for Jade in a sense.” Sandra chuckled in dismissal as she shook her head.

“There’s nothing wrong with them being alike,” argued the woman. “The important thing is that they’re making the best of their situation.” Ellie leaned forward, her smile becoming more genuine.

“So… are we going to a mall in town?” began the nervous girl. “I know these clothes are a bit… beat up but-” Her mother giggled, rubbing her on the head.

“Yup, where you and Jade will be getting new wardrobes. With Summer coming up, Gwen will want some new clothes too. Don’t worry about what almost happened last night and think about the here and now. I know these changes are strange, sweetheart, but you’ll grow to love yourself more and more in no time so don’t think too much about your worries as this is a girls’ day out.” Ellie grinned from ear to ear as Jade slid back into her seat, a bigger bag draped over her shoulder.

“Right!” cried the young Chan. “Now I’m ready.” Sandra then smirked, grabbing some sunglasses from the compartment of the car as she slid them on.

“Right. Ready to roll, girls?” Gwen quickly gestured for Jade to buckle her seatbelt in a panicked manner, causing the foreign girl to do so as Ellie pumped her fist.

“Heck yeah!” cried the girl. “First car ride… that doesn’t involve crashing!” Jade narrowed her eyes at the eager girl’s nervous giggle, only to shake her head before looking towards Sandra with a smirk.

“Yup! Hey, Ms. Tennyson, do you wear some kind of special makeup or something? Your eyes always seem to have this glint to them and I was wondering how it worked. Maybe I could make Ben see some real stars in mine.” Sandra grinned as she looked forward again, lowering her sunglasses a bit.

“I have something you could use. You’d certainly look divine in Ben’s eyes if we used the right color, like a gold or olive green to match the brown of your eyes. I’ll tell you all about it later. Hold on tight as this baby can go pretty fast when I’m behind the wheel.” Jade felt her back be pressed into the seat as the car took off, a policeman actually ignoring them as if he didn’t even see them pass.

The doors to the mall flung open safely, Sandra leading the charge while holding Ellie’s shoulders in front of her. “The girls are in town, and this time there won’t be any hooligans messing up girl time.” Jade groaned, looking down.

“Right. Like the last time. Who knows WHAT could happen today.” Gwen looked away, a sympathetic wince on her face. Ellie looked up, confused as Sandra chuckled dangerously.

“I don’t think they’ll be ready for the military grade taser. I got it off Max and I have plenty of pepper spray. That’s only naming a few of the toys. If I have to I’ll think up something or call Ben in. This time, a certain group won’t get in the way either… if they know what’s good for them.” Jade leaned back a bit, a look of concern on her face.

“W-why would Max have a military taser!? You don’t just buy those. I didn’t even know the military used tasers. How did-” The host woman laughed as she held a hand in front of her mouth.

“Police and Military have them. They’re a lot more heavy duty than the ones you can buy from a normal store. Speaking of stores, it’s time to get shopping! First off, the gymnastics store!” The Chinese girl followed behind the woman, looking around in confusion.

“W-why would a mall have a store for gymnastics? That’s not at all what I’d expect.” Sandra rubbed Ellie’s shoulder, the girl leaning into it with a slight tear in her right eye.

“Oh, you know. There could be girls who enjoy it and it does have other sporty things in there. I think the store’s more popular because SOME girls like to show off for boys while doing what the uniforms are made for. Still, very convenient.” Jade blushed at the implications, rubbing her arm as Gwen looked confused.

“I… I don’t know what you’re talking about. I-” Ellie snickered at this, earning a soft glare from the foreign girl.

“I’ve never been in a Gymnastics store before so let’s hurry up!” cried the strange girl. “There are so many things I haven’t seen in here!” Gwen tilted her head, her brow raised.

“Ellie, we were just in here two weeks ago,” argued the redhead. “Don’t you remember?” Jade went to ask what was going on, only for her eyes to glow blue as she grabbed her head.

‘This… this isn’t right,’ thought the reincarnate. ‘Ellie… whoever she is… she’s not supposed to be here. She didn’t exist yesterday but it’s like memories are being shoved into my head like she’s always been here. It doesn’t feel normal but it’s like these memories are just… right. This hurts.’

She gasped as she saw what looked like glowing eyes surrounded by an entire universe, only for the world to go back to normal. ‘...WHAT THE FU-’ She gasped as Gwen suddenly began pulling her along, an eager grin on her face.

“Come on! We have stores to visit and you owe me an explanation on what Aunt Sandra was implying, Miss Gymnastics.” The Chinese girl turned entirely red as she was dragged along, not looking forward to that conversation. The eyes Jade had seen appeared in the sky, everything coming to a stop as Ellie looked around. She looked up at the eyes, gulping with a nervous frown.

“Looks like Little Miss Chosen One is going to be impossible to alter at this point,” stated an ethereal, feminine voice. “At least, not without breaking the rules.” The strange girl gulped, holding her hands together.

“A-Am I in trouble, Ma’am?” questioned Ellie. “I-I didn’t say something wrong, right?” The eyes sent her an eye-smile, the girl’s hair being ruffled a bit.

“Don’t worry about a thing, Elanor. The children will understand why this happened. Just try to make friends and live this new chance at life. You might have been Daniel Fenton’s former clone thanks to that vile man, but now it never happened even if Daniel remembers you. Ghost memories are so annoying to deal with, seeing as their dimension is not entirely part of me.”

Ellie closed her eyes, feeling a warm spring breeze flow over her. “You’re a Tennyson now, I made sure of that down to your very DNA and what I could change in your soul. Just listen to your elders and live a little, maybe even bond with the girls. You only get one life, after all, even if I did cheat a bit. Now, hurry up before someone notices that time isn’t moving.”

The girl grinned as she ran forward, the world suddenly moving again as Sandra followed after her. As this happened, on the other side of town, Ben walked around shops while looking around for anything that would work for Jade’s present. He had a notepad full of gift ideas as he walked, scratching out each one as he went. The world went still from the unknown entity’s discussion, only for the boy to keep walking as he was engrossed in his actions. He huffed as he scratched another item off the list.

“Earrings are definitely out because she hasn’t gotten her ears pierced yet,” muttered the boy to himself. “Chocolates don’t last long, any good necklace is too expensive, and there’s no way I can get away with buying her a dog. Everything I can think of is either too expensive, she already has something similar to it, or is something I just can’t get. It’s the first time we’ve been able to spend her birthday together and-” He suddenly bumped into a man, causing him to drop his notepad.

The boy turned around, growling in anger. “Watch where you’re… going…” He noticed that the man seemed to be in mid-step, only he stood perfectly still as his foot hung in the air. “Um… is this some kind of new human statue gimmick because I really can’t pay money right now… Hello?”

He looked around, noticing that other people were in similar positions of mid-action. He looked towards where his notepad and pen had been dropped, his eyes widening as they still hung in the air. “...This is trippy. What the heck’s going on?” He looked around the area more, soon spotting someone he knew as he grabbed his stuff again.

The individual was a Japanese girl with short black hair, slightly tan skin, and black eyes. She wore a pink tennis polo, a white skirt that reached just above her knees, and white tennis shoes. This was Julie Yamamoto, the tennis club ace and one of Jade and Ellie’s personal friends. Ben was about to try waving in her face, only to hear a voice in the distance. He walked away a bit as he held a hand to his ear, only to gasp as he saw the world light up as a bird began to move.

“I wonder wha- Ah!” cried the voice of Julie in shock. “Hey Ben. It’s almost like you popped out of nowhere. What’s up?” Ben sighed, rubbing his temples as he turned around.

“N-nothing much. Just gift shopping.” The girl hummed, a curious smirk on her face.

“Really? And what’s the occasion?” The boy grunted at the thought of regret, only to shake his head.

“I-I’m trying to think of a gift for my girlfriend that I can actually afford. I mean, we’re not exactly dating fully yet until we get her dad’s permission and there’s kinda a personal thing that we have to resolve with him BUT that’s not for me to say.” Julie stood up, her smile looking slightly disappointed before it became genuine again.

“Oh! So you and Yu are trying to date! Wait ‘til all of the girls hear about this. That’s so adorable! Lucky for you, I happen to know a bit about Chinese tradition and culture.”

Ben nodded his head, wincing at the thought of all the girls that would be either glaring at him or trying to ‘take’ him. “You could try chocolates as it’s actually what most starting couples give each other in Japan and I think it’s something similar in China. In Japan we’re really not allowed to gift anything outside of chocolates on our first date to test our social skills and so we don’t go overspending on expensive gifts. It’s probably the easiest thing you can get her as long as it’s not a chocolate she doesn’t like.” The boy looked down, sighing.

“Chocolates don’t last long though. I want this to be something more memorable because… she means so much to me.” Julie’s smile grew, holding her hands behind her back.

“Well there’s always chopsticks. They’re a cultural thing but that might get too personal so I’d be careful there. You could also get her an album of music she likes, get her makeup, maybe a necklace if it’s within your budget. You don’t have to go too crazy.” The boy looked down, huffing to himself.

“All the necklaces I’d want to get her are expensive to where Mom and Dad wouldn’t help me, she has an album for every song she likes though they're mostly all in Mandarin, and makeup runs out too. It needs to be something that lasts… like how much I like her.” The Japanese girl grinned at this, squealing as quietly as she could before cooing.

“And here I thought you were just a boy. At least, that’s what Gwen likes to say.” Ben huffed at this, wondering why every girl seemed to use the word ‘boy’ as an insult or a bad thing. “Well, if she means that much to you, there’s also hairpins. That’d be the way to say it and she’d immediately get the meaning behind it.” Ben looked towards her, his right brow raising.

“Really? How come?” Julie leaned back a bit, looking away with a smirk.

“Well in Chinese tradition hairpins have a romantic symbolism alongside being a symbol of maturity when gifted by the father. On the romantic side, a boy can give a girl an ornamental hairpin to tell her he plans to marry her. The girl can do the same so that her father knows who she wishes to marry. Actually, I HAVE heard that hairpins from a guy can be seen like an engagement ring so I don’t know if that’s-” The boy suddenly grinned, his eyes seeming to sparkle like stars in excitement.

“That actually sounds perfect! I gotta find the best looking set or even get someone to make one. It can’t just be any set either. It has to be perfect.” The girl leaned back a bit, a slightly concerned look on her face.

“Um… are you sure? I just said it can be seen like an engagement ring. You might be giving her the wrong idea too soon. That’d be a bit extreme.” Ben blinked with a straight face.

“No, I think it’s the right message. I mean, technically we’re kinda already engaged so it would make it official and-” The boy suddenly covered his mouth, kicking himself as the girl’s eyes went from wide with shock to squinted. ‘Oh boy.’ He covered his ears, knowing what would be coming next.

“YOU WHAT!? WHAT HAPPENED!? NO, HOW DID IT HAPPEN!? I NEED DETAILS! YOU CAN’T JUST DROP THAT LIKE IT’S NOTHING!” The boy looked away, poking his fingers together.

“WEEEELL it’s kinda hard to explain without going into personal stuff. It wasn’t exactly how we’d want to start a relationship but I kinda saw her without clothes when we found her during her… period of absence from school. It wasn’t by choice and it led me to either agree with marrying her or having her father bring her back to Hong Kong forever. I will never regret choosing her.” Julie crossed her arms, her eyes narrowing at the memory of the incident.

“So that’s why she didn’t want to talk about it. That’s horrible. I’ll keep it to myself, as long as YOU be more careful in the future. If I had been Chinese or if someone very loyal to the traditions of her home heard that… well it likely won’t go well. You can buy my silence to Yu with ramen from the store.” The boy sighed, nodding his head.

“Fine, but we need to make it quick. I have to find a place or a website that makes these pins, stat.” The girl pointed up, a grin on her face.

“Oh, don’t worry about that. I know where to get one custom made. I’m not sure if you could get one by her birthday unless you special order it to be next in line. That can be pretty pricey and I’m not settling for cheap ramen. We’re going for the good stuff.”

Ben gulped, already feeling his wallet cry in his pocket. As this went on, Section 13 was abuzz with activity. With so many of the Zodiac Talismans already found, locating the others was becoming harder and harder to accomplish. Captain Black looked over reports on suspected Talisman sightings, many of them coming from China.

“You would think Chinese Talismans would be in China,” huffed the man. “Why are so many of these things in the New World? First Mexico, then South America… What’s next, Connecticut?” He noticed someone’s approach, his eyes narrowing at the arrival.

“Maybe you’ll have luck with the Ocean,” stated the voice of Nick Fury. “You’d be surprised what people can fish up from there.” Augustus looked towards the Director of Shield, putting the documents down.

“What are you doing here, Director Fury? After the Omnitrix scandal the President has been giving Shield a lot of flak.” Fury hid his annoyance at the reminder expertly as he leaned against a chair.

“The Council wants to borrow one of your Talismans, Captain. They have a little project in mind.” Augustus crossed his arms, his chin lowering a bit.

“Really? And what does the Council want with them?” Fury slid a folder across the table, the Captain walking over and opening it.

“Let’s just say the reports of these things popping up left and right has a few of them feeling twitchy. They think we’re about to be at war.” Augustus looked towards the Director, narrowing his eyes.

“And how many times has trying to win a war before it started helped them, if the Chittauri incident is anything to go by? Besides, what exactly are they expecting to fight? If the Dark Hand gets its hands on them, it could be worse. I have to be extremely careful with this scenario.” Director Fury nodded his head, his hands held together.

“The threats in this world are growing more and more dangerous by the day, especially the magic kind. We exist to prepare for the threats before they appear to stomp us like ants beneath their boots. This is the future of humanity we’re talking about and I can agree the council has made some dodgy decisions in the past. That’s why I want one of yours on the ground to report back to you in case my hands become tied.” The captain hummed, nodding his head.

“I would normally choose Agent Tag but he’s on an important mission. My next best choice isn’t exactly an agent, but I trust Jackie with my life. Every Talisman we’ve retrieved has been by his hands. If anyone can do the job, it’s him.” Fury looked uncertain for a moment, only to stand up straight.

“As long as he doesn’t get in the way of the research team, I can get him clearance. I can also give him the authority to retrieve the Talisman should it be necessary.” Augustus nodded his head, his face remaining serious.

“Which Talisman are they looking for? There’s quite a variety.” The director gestured for him to flip a page, the man doing so.

“I’ve read up on one in particular. They want the Rat Talisman. It seems to be the most versatile. If it works as it’s believed to, they want to test it on a few statues and maybe even machines that are missing a power source.” The captain looked down, humming to himself.

‘I have a bad feeling about this. Something tells me Jackie shouldn’t be the only one involved. It’s never good when the back of my scalp tingles.’

Jade hid her face from Gwen, blushing greatly from the embarrassment she felt. The redhead had pressed her for information on her performing gymnastics around Ben, and she pressed hard. She was just glad she wasn’t made to sing it out loud for the world to hear at this point. Still, the embarrassment she felt was beyond anything she could easily recover from. Gwen had her arms crossed, giggling before letting out a huff of a laugh.

“You really did put on a show for him, huh?” questioned the magical girl. “You know, if I didn’t know you I’d have some choice words to say about how you’ve been acting. Seeing as you’re both half-engaged, this is just perfect. Just how often do you plan to put on a show for him this time?” Jade slumped over, huffing in annoyance.

“Just say it, Gwen,” moaned the Chinese girl. “I’m a floozy.” Ellie poked her head out from between some hung uniforms, a smile on her face.

“I mean, at least you’re not stripping in front of him,” interrupted the strange girl. Jade jerked back, her eyes widening in shock. “You’re just showing off for your guy in a fun way. Wish I had a guy to show off for.” Gwen rolled her eyes, rubbing Jade’s shoulders as Ellie walked out from between the outfits.

“Besides, it’s cute and perfect material to tell the other girls,” reassured the redhead with a teasing grin. “I’ll make sure they won’t say anything to anyone in school. Also, Ellie, I thought you’d be against this. I mean, we haven’t exactly talked much about Ben and Jade’s relationship.” The brown eyed girl walked backwards, earning narrowed eyes from Jade as she held her hands behind her head.

“What can I say? The bigger my family gets the happier I am.” Jade looked around before subtly activating a scroll in her bag.

“Speaking of family, I’m curious how she found a way to sneak into yours,” stated the Chinese girl. “She wasn’t here yesterday, even if I ‘feel’ like I’ve known her since I arrived here in the US. Old Lo Pei might not have a physical presence in my mind anymore but he’s helpful for picking out when my mind’s being messed with. So, mind telling me about that?” Ellie sweated a bit, looking around with a nervous smile.

“I-is here really the best place to be paranoid? Maybe we could… do this in the girls’ bathroom? I- I can help you work things out.” Gwen looked between the duo, her eyes looking uncertain. She waved her hand in front of Jade, a concerned frown on her face.

“Jade, are you feeling okay?” questioned the redhead. “We just hung out, the three of us, yesterday. She was at your gymnastics recital last week. You-” Jade narrowed her eyes.

“Last week? My recital was three weeks ago, Gwen. Also, yesterday I holed myself up in the shop making spell scrolls. You were busy because you had a dentist appointment so I had to cram in spells by myself, though I do think some of them weren’t my best work. Need to make sure I don’t end up naked again or worse after that last scroll.” Gwen shook her head, groaning as she rubbed her temples.

“But we… You… She… Why does my head hurt? I feel like it’s going to explode at this point.” Sandra placed her hands on the magical girl’s shoulders, trying to calm her.

“Now girls, let’s not cause a scene,” stated the woman. “Do we need to find somewhere more private to sort this out? It isn’t the best idea to have a mental breakdown in the middle of a store. Trust me, they tend to up security when incidents happen and we don’t want to be thrown out.” Jade smirked, raising some gymnastic suits in her arm up and down.

“Actually, I have all the suits I want to try on. We can talk ALL about it in the changing booth, the four of us.” Ellie suddenly blushed at the