Kim Possible Fan Fiction ❯ Homes Away from Home ❯ Homes Away from Home ( Chapter 1 )
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Home(s) Away from Home
The early morning calm of the neighborhood was shattered as Kim's voice pierced the air amid the sounds of clattering objects and breaking glass inside the Possible home. Anyone outside who chanced to hear the commotion could only hazard a guess as to what could possibly be the cause of the current day's chaos.
“Sorry!” Jim and Tim called out in unison as a pair of rockets went firing through the house at top speed, smashing through or knocking over any object unfortunate enough to be in their way. Meanwhile, their mother, Dr. Anne Possible, could only hustle back and forth with Kim, doing their best to minimize the damage.
“It figures! I come home on the one day in the week when my university classes finish early and THIS is what I have to look forward to!” Kim complained.
“Boys!” Anne shouted, “We did not have this house put back together just so you two could tear it apart yourselves!”
“We SAID we were sorry…And we didn't mean to!” the twins spoke in turn, trying to explain, “It was only an experiment…It just got out of control!”
“If you ask me, the only things out of control around here are the two people CONDUCTING the experiments,” Kim muttered, her arms loaded down with a precarious stack of breakables. Meanwhile, the sounds of the uproar inside continued unchecked, which did not go unnoticed by Ron as he walked up to the front door with Maximillion Ambro right behind him.
“Oh boy, I know THAT sound,” he remarked, throwing his back against the wall while pushing Max back as well with his free hand before reaching for the doorknob, “Just…trust me.”
Sure enough, no sooner did Ron throw open the door than Jim and Tim's twin rockets shot out of the house and into the sky, spiraling around each other in a trail of exhaust before slamming together and exploding on impact. Max, meanwhile, simply looked on with a deadpan stare before turning to Ron and flashing an amused grin. Just then, Kim and Anne both rushed to the doorway, noticing the cloud of smoke that was still settling to earth from the rocket explosion.
“Is everyone alright?” Anne asked immediately.
“Touched mostly,” Max replied with a suave, mocking arrogant lilt, “I mean, I KNOW we're phenomenal, but even I never thought our arrival rated fireworks at THIS hour of the morning.”
“And you are…?” Anne inquired with a curious look while Kim could only look on wide-eyed at the fact that Max was actually standing on their doorstep.
“Oh, my apologies. The name's Maximillion Ambro, but everyone just calls me Max,” Max replied, reaching over and delicately shaking Anne's hand before turning his attention to Kim and Ron, “Yeah, I met these two great kids a few weeks back. So sorry I haven't had the chance to make an appearance before now.”
“`Ambro'…That's a rather unique name,” Anne commented, still not entirely sure what to think.
“Well, I'm a rather unique guy, so I like to think of it as a matching set,” Max cheerfully began to reply before stopping dead in his tracks, leaning in the door and thoroughly sniffing the air, “Hm…might that be a stack of bacon I smell?”
“Well, we WERE about to sit down for breakfast,” Anne replied simply, “Would you…like to come in?”
“Oh yes, please,” Max chuckled as he walked in, trying not to sound to eager, despite the fact that he was wringing his hands in anticipation, “I mean, if you don't mind.”
“Ron,” Kim whispered sternly, pulling him aside as Max walked into the kitchen, “What is he doing here?”
“What?” Ron asked back with a simple shrug, “You know he's okay. Come on, KP, what's the worst that can happen?”
… … … …
Three weeks later…
“So anyway,” Dr. James Possible continued with his story, “Our Mars Lander had just touched down and we were about to get our first surface pictures of the planet. But right at that moment we somehow accidentally tapped into the microscopic camera feed to the lab's experimental roach farm. WELL…you can imagine those first few minutes in the viewing room stirred up quite a panic before someone noticed the mistake.”
“Well, THAT'LL get your signals crossed,” Max joked, causing a wave of laughter from both him and Kim's parents, who were all sitting around the kitchen table, visiting and sharing coffee. Max, of course, was drinking his usual tea. But Kim, meanwhile, was not nearly as amused, peering into the kitchen with disbelief before letting out a heavy sigh.
… … … …
Midnight in Osaka, Japan…
The natural history museum was long closed, standing as dark and silent as a buried tomb. With but a few stray lights beaming in from the windows, the inside of the building was almost entirely bathed in shadow. However, strangely enough, one of the shadows in the building appeared to be…moving?
Slinking from room to room, a mysterious figure quickly made his way through the various rooms. Finally, after several minutes of searching, he found the one room he was seeking. Bathed in the glow of a full moon from an overhead skylight, the eerie, pale light illuminated everything within. All but the mysterious intruder, was dressed head to toe in black, including a hood and mask which left only his eyes visible. With nary a sound, he made his way to the center of the room, where a glass case stood. Inside was a heavy gold bracelet, with a brief description written in front of it.
“This golden bracelet, of unknown origin, was discovered in a riverbed beneath the mountains of the Yamanouchi Prefecture. Historians believe it once belonged to a Feudal Lord and was most likely lost in battle.”
“Ah, but I DO know it's origin,” the young man whispered from behind the mask, “It took almost two years of constant searching, but at last, I've found it.”
Without a pause, the stranger lifted the glass and snatched the bracelet, only to be bombarded with noise and flashing lights as the museum's alarm system sounded off. But this was one robber who was not about to be foiled as he pulled out a grappling hook and tossed it towards the skylight. Pulling himself up, he was gone in a flash, leaving the approaching guards to find only an empty room and a missing bracelet. Meanwhile, the thief was quickly making his escape, bounding across the rooftops until he felt safe enough to stop. Only then did he finally stop to greedily stare at his prize, the golden bracelet showing a monkey face with two red rubies for eyes glistening in the moonlight.
“At last,” he gloated softly, “With you in my possession, I will not be stopped. Soon, the Yamanouchi School will fall. Along with its so-called `Master'.”
… … … …
“It's been almost a month, Ron. And he's been coming over nearly every day,” Kim complained the next evening as she sat on the couch with Ron in the Stoppable living room, flipping through TV channels, “I'm not kidding, this is heading towards the border of majorly creepy.”
“So, what's wrong with telling him not to come over so much?” Ron asked with a shrug. Even Rufus had to nod in agreement.
“I can't. My parents love him,” Kim groaned, “They find him `quaint' and `charming'.”
“Okay, we ARE talking about the same Max, right?” Ron commented with a suspicious stare.
“I'd rather not talk about it AT ALL right now, if I can avoid it,” Kim replied, pausing for a second before sidling up a little closer to Ron, taking his face in her hands and looking into his eyes with a warm smile, “Come on, your parents are out, Hana's asleep. I think we can come up with something better for those lips to be doing.”
“MmMMMmm,” Ron murmured with a knowing tone as Kim leaned in and softly pressed her lips to his. Pulling away, they paused for only the briefest moment to look into each other's eyes and smile before wrapping their arms around each other and melting into a second deep, long kiss. Rufus, meanwhile, was only too happy to let them have their moment. More food for him as he hopped off the couch to inhale the snacks Kim and Ron had collected on the coffee table. Unfortunately, both Kim and Ron's kiss and Rufus' feast were interrupted as an eerie blue glow suddenly filled the living room. Still locked in each other's arms, Kim and Ron could only look over to see floating in front of them, the unmistakable spiritual form of…
“Sensei!” Kim exclaimed, completely caught off guard.
“Aw MAN!” Ron complained, “Does the whole world know when we're trying to make out or what?!”
“Stoppable-san,” Sensei announced, “A great darkness is about to descend upon us. The Yamanouchi School has need of your power once again.”
“Sensei, what's the si…?” Kim was about to ask, but was cut off as Sensei's spiritual image suddenly vanished, “Okay, it sounds like your friends at that school spend a little too much time in the `great darkness', if you ask me.”
“But how can we leave for Yamanouchi now?” Ron had to ask, “I can't leave Hana alone. And I SERIOUSLY can't take her WITH us. I just put her down. Do you have any idea how hard it is to get her back to sleep if someone wakes her up…?”
“Relax,” Kim cut Ron off with a pair of fingers to his lips and a sly grin, “I think a perfectly reasonable solution to both our problems is just a phone call away.”
Ron could only look on curiously as Kim dialed the phone with her free hand, unsure of what she was scheming. But it would only be a few moments before he finally got his answer.
“Hi, Mom?” Kim spoke as she turned to Ron with a knowing wink, “Is Max still there?”
… … … …
“So when are you guys going to tell me what's going on?” Max asked as Kim and Ron readied themselves in their mission clothes.
“Look, this is real simple. Hana's asleep upstairs, all you have to do is keep an eye on her,” Kim answered, “This is no big. Ron and I will be back before his parents get home.”
“Yeah, uh huh,” Max replied cynically as he looked around the living room, a pale glow coming from his eyes, “You know, when I can sense spectral energy from mystical auras appearing in the house, that doesn't strike me as something that falls under the category of `no big'. So why don't you just tell me what's going…?”
“We-can-HANDLE-it,” Kim turned to him with a forceful glare, speaking through gritted teeth. Max, meanwhile, found himself more than a little surprised by Kim's reaction as he backed off a step.
“Okay, fine,” he answered with a sigh of concession. But a moment later, he reached into his pocket and flipping a small object across the room into Kim's hand.
“Just do me a favor, okay?” he asked as Kim looked to see what he gave her, “Keep that on you.”
“A rock?” Kim noted dryly, staring down at the unassuming pebble nestled in her hand.
“Just keep it in case of an emergency,” Max stated confidently with a playful wink, “Trust me.”
“There are those words again,” Kim remarked with a groaning sigh, “Alright, fine. Ron, let's go.”
With that, the two were out the door, leaving Max alone in the living room, the flicker of the TV reflecting off his curious expression.
… … … …
Honestly, can you believe that guy?” Kim complained as she and Ron sped through the sky, the rockets of her car firing full blast, “It's not like he has to be a part of every little thing we do.”
“Look, KP, he hangs out with my parents a lot too,” Ron replied, rubbing the back of his head in uncertainty as his voice trailed off, “It's just that…well…you know…he…”
“What?” Kim snapped back, “Oh, do NOT tell me you're taking HIS side in all this.”
“Kim, he hangs out with Bonnie…WITH-BONNIE,” Ron argued with a shrug, “Okay, maybe he IS overdoing it a LITTLE, but…what ELSE is he gonna do? Rattle around in that big empty apartment all by himself? He doesn't have a family, Kim. You, me, those kids in his old group home, Bonnie…even SHEGO…we're just…we're all he's got.”
“Yeah…well…,” Kim trailed off, trying to sound assertive in her position, even though she couldn't hide the twinge of guilt she was now beginning to feel.
… … … …
Despite being almost mid-day in Japan, the dark clouds over the Simian Canyon were so thick that no sunlight could possibly penetrate. Making his way through the cavernous trail, the culprit behind the previous night's museum robbery kept shrouded behind his black garments and mask. But even with his mask on, it was hard to disguise his anticipation as his eyes grew more and more excited, the closer he got to his goal. Eventually, he reached what appeared to be a dead end in the canyon, except for what appeared to be a large metal ring buried in the sand. Grinning in from ear to ear behind his mask, he eagerly reached for it, pulling a metal post out of the ground. Within moments, a giant stone temple appeared, carved in the shape of a monkey head…the Dark Temple of The Yono. The stranger, meanwhile, simply stood basking in the thrill of the moment as he looked up the robed stone figure standing atop the temple, in front of the metal post.
“Hmph! Monkey Fist was a fool to seek you out, unprepared,” he remarked, pulling out the golden bracelet and fastening it to his wrist, “But that will not be MY mistake.”
With a simple droning chant, the stone statue was transported to the temple steps in a flash of light, transforming into flesh and blood before removing its robe to reveal its diminutive monkey form, looking up at the stranger with stern, wicked eyes.
“I AM YONO!” it declared in a deep, gravelly voice.
“I know what you are,” the stranger replied simply, keeping the bracelet hidden behind his back.
“Might you be another who wishes to walk the dark path of the Yono?” Yono asked with a wicked smirk.
“Not exactly,” the stranger answered, flashing out his arm and revealing the bracelet, “I think it is far more likely that YOU will follow MINE.”
“What?!” Yono exclaimed as the ruby eyes of the monkey image on the bracelet met its own. A split second later, a pair of red beams burst forth from the bracelet's eyes…!
… … … …
“Kim Possible, Stoppable-san,” Yori remarked greeted with a grateful bow and a wide smile on the steps of Yamanouchi's main hall, “Once again, you honor Yamanouchi in this, our time of great need.”
“Well, you know us. We love the honoring,” Ron said with a chuckle before he turned to a whimpering Rufus with a quiet mutter, “Just wish it didn't always have to be during a `time of great need'.”
“Yeah, about that,” Kim chimed in, “You think you could MAYBE elaborate just a little. Sensei got as far as some `great darkness' and then he kind of cut out on us.”
“I have witnessed a most mysterious vision,” Sensei himself replied, stepping outside to greet Kim and Ron with the other ninjas of Yamanouchi right behind him, “A most foul chain of events is in motion. A forgotten enemy will soon re-emerge, and bring great evil upon us all.”
“And, this vision didn't happen to tell us WHO this `enemy' is, or WHAT this `great evil' is?” Ron noted dryly, “You know, I have to say, for a vision, it's not very visual, is it?”
“Mm mm, nope,” Rufus chattered, shaking his head.
“Well, did this vision at least happen to mention WHEN this is supposed to go down?” Kim followed up, “Not to sound impatient, but we're kind of running on a timetable here.”
As if in answer to Kim's question, a thick bank of clouds rolled in over the Yamanouchi School, bringing with them waves of flashing lightning and roaring thunder.
“That…would be now,” Yori replied, staring with Kim and the others at the darkening horizon.
“Well…that's ONE thing that would have been nice to mention, oh, I don't know…right when we GOT here?” Kim noted sarcastically.
“I DID say that it was about to descend upon us,” Sensei replied plainly. Just then, the massive gates of the Yamanouchi School were blown of their hinges and sent flying into the courtyard in pieces. Immediately, Kim and the others searched through the haze of dust blanketing the doorway, only to all gasp in wide-eyed shock as the Yono stepped into clear view, an angry scowl plastered across its face.
“`Great evil', huh?” Kim remarked, “You weren't kidding.”
“The Yono!” Yori exclaimed, “But who could have summoned it?”
“And what's that around his neck?” Ron added, noting the ribbon of blazing red energy surrounding the Yono like a collar.
At that moment, the mysterious stranger in black stepped into view. Confident that he now had everyone's undivided attention, he tore his mask and hood away, revealing the smug grin and top knot hairstyle of…
“Fukushima?!” Yori called out, as Ron looked on in surprise and Rufus growled angrily.
“Greetings, Outsider!” Fukushima called to Ron confidently, “I believe that you will find THIS confrontation will end quite differently from our last encounter!”
“Okay, quick update for those of us who aren't current,” Kim asked as Ron scowled in Fukushima's direction, “Just who IS this guy?”
“Fukushima was once a student of Yamanouchi,” Yori explained, her calm voice still unable to disguise her contempt, “But he betrayed us all to Monkey Fist and conspired with him to steal the Lotus Blade. In his first visit to Japan, Stoppable-san retrieved the Lotus Blade and bested Fukushima in battle. He was then banished forever from Yamanouchi for his treachery.”
“Fukushima, explain yourself!” Sensei demanded as he kept back the rest of the Yamanouchi ninjas, preventing them from entering a battled they had no hope of winning, “Have you truly sacrificed what little honor you had left to enter a pact with this evil?!”
“I AM standing right here, you know,” Yono chimed in with an irritated tone.
“Ah, but I have done no such thing, Sensei! See for yourself!” Fukushima replied, ignoring The Yono as he flashed his arm forward and revealed the golden bracelet around his wrist. The sight of the sparkling band instantly brought a reaction out of Sensei, whose eyes immediately went wide.
“Sensei,” Yori remarked, appearing just as shocked as Sensei himself, “Can it be…?”
“Is it possible…?” Sensei thought out loud, “Has he truly found Yamamoto's Bracelet?”
“Okay, now I'M the one who's lost,” Ron commented dryly as Rufus looked over at Yori and Sensei with a curious gaze.
“Two hundred years ago, a cruel sorcerer named Yamamoto designed a golden bracelet that would allow him to control the Destroyer's power and use it as his own without being bound by its contract,” Yori summarized, “He was eventually defeated, but the bracelet was sadly lost in the battle and never found. It was always hoped that the bracelet had been destroyed.”
“So much for wishful thinking,” Kim replied sarcastically.
“As you can see, Sensei, I have given myself over to nothing…unlike all of YOU! Giving your support to this outsider and calling him, `Master'!” Fukushima accused, pointing a finger towards Ron, “Each one of you here, including you, Sensei, is a student of Yamanouchi, a follower of its teachings! HE is nothing but a JOKE! And yet, when I see each and every one of you fawning at his feet, like mewling pets…it sickens me! Have none of you any pride at all!”
“You dare presume to give us lectures?!” Yori argued, no longer able to hold back her anger, “You, who betrayed every principle this school was built on for your own gain! And now, you unleash this horror upon the world for nothing more than a pathetic attempt to heal your own wounded ego?!”
“Okay, `horror' was maybe a little harsh,” The Yono muttered under its breath.
“At least you were correct in one aspect, Fukushima,” Yori continued, “You could never have sacrificed your honor. Because if your pride is truly all that matters to you, then you clearly had no honor to BEGIN with.”
“Let us just see how long that superior tone in your voice lasts when this entire school is lying in rubble at your feet!” Fukushima shouted back, “Yono, use your power in my service! Raze this entire area to the ground!”
“No desire have I to assist you…but your bracelet compels me to obey,” Yono replied, rising into the air before looking over his shoulder at Fukushima with an angry scowl, “Make sure you never take it off.”
With that, The Yono flipped once in mid-air before landing straight down, slamming its feet into the ground with the force of an explosion. The force of the impact tore into the ground, sending a wave of earth in all directions and threatening to bury the entire Yamanouchi School beneath one enormous sinkhole.
“Ron!” Kim shouted, realizing immediately what was happening.
“On it, KP!” Ron answered, handing Rufus off to her as he leapt off the steps. He landed in the courtyard a second later, his body instantly flashing with its Mystical Monkey power glow as he reared back. Then, with a yell, he slammed his palms together, sending a force wave ripping through the air which not only met the Yono's attack head on, but completely canceled it out. Fukushima, meanwhile, could only stand in surprise at Ron's glowing form standing in the middle of the courtyard, with Kim and Yori running up to him. Even the Yono itself seemed momentarily caught off guard.
“As you can see, Fukushima, Stoppable-san has taken his final steps and embraced his destiny,” Sensei announced, “Something I fear you will NEVER learn to do.”
“With The Yono at my command, my destiny is whatever I choose it to be!” Fukushima shouted back defiantly before turning his attention back to Ron, “So Outsider, it would seem your power has indeed fully awakened. This will be all the more satisfying when MY power finally defeats you! Yono, attack!”
“Hmmm…this may yet prove interesting after all,” Yono answered, setting its eyes squarely on Ron with a wicked grin, “So be it…let's rock.”
Floating just millimeters off the ground, The Yono burst forward at a blinding speed, making a beeline straight for Ron. Kim and Yori barely had enough time to react, each flipping away to a safe distance. Ron, meanwhile, was quickly able to protect himself, raising his hand and catching The Yono's crushing fist a split-second before it made contact. Again, The Yono was caught off guard as Ron's Mystical Monkey Power held an iron grip on its fist, refusing to let go. But Ron had still one more surprise left in store as his free hand formed a tight fist, plowing into The Yono's face and sending it flying back, smashing through the far wall and disappearing. Fukushima, meanwhile, could only look on in shock as Ron walked over to peer through the hole in the wall the Yono's flying body had just made.
“Huh,” Ron commented, looking over to Kim and the others, “Now is it just me, or did that seem a little too eas…?”
“RAAAAAAAAAH!” Ron's words were cut off as the Yono came flying back towards him, bellowing in rage. Luckily, Ron had just enough time to reach out, grabbing the Yono by its wrist with one hand and its shirt with the other, using the Yono's momentum to whirl around and drive it into the wall once again. The hard stone gave way like wet cardboard under the force of the impact as Ron seemed able to do little more than keep The Yono pinned down, both appearing virtually equal in terms of raw, physical power. But Ron wasn't about to give up anything for even an instant. Invincible Destroyer or not, Ron had already seen first hand what this thing was capable of and he wasn't going to see it happen again. Not if HE had anything to say about it.
With a yell, Ron twisted around hard, tossing The Yono over his shoulder and sending it tearing through the wall of a building on the other side of the courtyard like a cannonball through paper. The building almost seemed to explode from the force of the impact, sending an avalanche of rubble crashing down onto the Yono's body. And for a brief moment, everything was still and calm.
“Incredible. His power is greater than I ever could have imagined,” Yori remarked under her breath, looking on with the other Yamanouchi students in awe at what Ron had accomplished so far. Kim, admittedly, was impressed as well, but she also found herself turning a watchful eye towards Fukushima, who was beginning to look a little concerned. After all, Kim knew the only way to TRULY end this was to get that bracelet off him. But she also knew this fight wasn't over yet. The Yono wasn't about to get taken down for the count after just a couple of shots, not even from Ron. And it was still too risky to make a move on Fukushima this early if The Yono was still more than capable of protecting him. Kim would have to wait for the right opportunity to present itself. In the meantime, she could only hope that Ron would be able to keep up the pace.
Sure enough, a moment later, The Yono burst from the wreckage in an explosion of magical energies, appearing to not even have been scratched. Fukushima found himself breathing a slight sigh of relief as The Yono dusted itself off. Ron, meanwhile, was more than ready for another round.
“It would be appearing that I have greatly underestimated you,” Yono commented. Suddenly, it rose up into the air, its body and eyes blazing with mystical energy.
“Very well…let's kick it up a notch.”
“Fine by me,” Ron answered under his breath, his own body glowing brighter as well. Without a pause, The Yono fired a giant bolt of mystical energy straight towards Ron, who was quickly able to dodge, causing it to explode harmlessly into the ground. Kim and Yori, meanwhile, were too busy dodging the latent streams of energy generated by The Yono's body while Sensei threw up a wide mystical barrier, hoping to protect himself and the Yamanouchi students gathered behind him. But Ron wasn't slowing down for even an instant as he charged headlong into the fight, running zigzag in between The Yono's devastating bolts.
“Ron, wait! Those blasts…he could…!” Kim tried to call out in between flipping around dodging the streams. But her warning was already too late as The Yono itself surged forward, both it and Ron tearing towards each other. Ron immediately responded by pulling back a waiting fist and with a yell, both combatants lunged forward, colliding with a flash of light and a wave of crushing force.
A split second later, The Yono came flying out of the haze of dust kicked up by the attack, smashing through the rear wall of the school. Yori and the other students looked on, overjoyed by the results. It would seem that Ron had won yet another exchange with The Dark Destroyer. Kim however, was running towards the settling dust, a look of worry on her face. It had been several moments with no sight of Ron and Kim felt a deep pit in her stomach as she thought about what that could mean.
“Come on, Ron. Please, tell me you're okay,” she pleaded under her breath. But as she finally noticed a figure finally appearing in the dust, the sight ground her to a halt.
There was Ron, frozen in the last punch he'd connected, turned to stone by the Yono's magic. Yori and the rest of the students could only look on stunned and even Sensei's expression held a hint of regret. Kim, meanwhile, broke into a mad dash, her face in a complete state of disbelief.
“Ron…no…,” was all she could manage to get out, holding his face in her hands and pressing her forehead to his, hoping desperately to feel anything from him, some sign of softness and warmth. But all she could feel was the cold, hard stone as Rufus jumped onto Ron's shoulder, whimpering before breaking out into full out bawls. Just then, Fukushima's cackling laughter instantly got Kim's attention.
“Yes! I knew it!” he gloated with sadistic glee, “It's true! Even the so-called “Monkey Master” is no match for the powers that I now possess!”
“You…,” Kim hissed under her breath as she glared at Fukushima, her green eyes seeming to burn right through his soul. Fukushima, meanwhile, was cut off from his boasts and even found himself taking several steps back from Kim, who was now making her way towards him, her knuckles crackling as her hands clenched into a pair of hard fists.
“Do you have ANY idea what I'm going to do to you?” Kim menaced through grinding teeth. But before a stunned Fukushima could think to do anything, a purple streak whizzed past Kim and a split-second later, The Yono had reappeared, standing between her and the object of her rage.
“Oh, I think he might have something to say in the matter,” Fukushima replied, feeling a renewed surge of confidence. Kim, meanwhile, found herself alone, forced to stand against an unholy terror whose abilities far exceeded her own. She had to get past The Yono to get to Fukushima, but what chance could possibly have to do it? Just then, a faint glow began to emerge from her pocket…
Suddenly, out of nowhere, an enormous bolt of lightning struck the ground in front of Fukushima and The Yono, sending them both flying back through the front gates. Kim was stunned by the shocking strike as well, but not nearly as surprised as the cloud of smoke and glitter that now blanketed the entire courtyard. She had no idea how he could have found them, but there was no doubt about it. Kim knew only one person in the world with an entrance like THAT.
“Who…?! What…?! Where…?! When…?! Why…?! How…?!” Maximillion exclaimed as his head popped from the nearby haze, looking around in all directions. He was got up in his hero look, wearing his spiked hair with sunglasses and black suit and carrying a giggling Hana in his arms. It took another moment to get his bearings, but eventually, he spotted Kim, still looking up at him in disbelief.
“What? What happened? Are you guys okay?” he asked, hurrying over and putting his hand on Kim's shoulder.
“How…how did you…? I mean…I never told you where…” Kim stammered, still a little shaken by Max's sudden and electric appearance. Max, however, rolled his eyes with a smirk and without a word, simply pointed down at her pocket where Kim finally noticed the faint glow, reaching in and pulling out the insignificant pebble Max had given to her before they left Ron's house, now shining brightly.
“Did I NOT tell you to keep it on you in case of an emergency?” Max replied simply as Kim shook the cobwebs from her head, getting back into the moment and remembering everything that was going on.
“Oh, believe me, this DEFINITELY qualifies,” she responded, grabbing Max by the sleeve of his jacket and dragging him through the smoke back to where Ron remained frozen in stone. Yori, meanwhile, had found her way to Ron through the haze and was keeping a careful watch on him along with Rufus.
“What happened to HIM?!” Max blurted out, clearly surprised at seeing Ron's condition before looking over and spotting Yori, “Who are you?”
“It's a long story, okay?” Kim answered, the panic in her voice becoming very apparent, “Just…TELL me you can help him!”
“Okay, okay, calm down, I can handle this,” Max assured, gentling handing Hana off to Kim before turning his attention over to Ron, “I HAVE dealt with this before. Well…not me PERSONALLY, but you get what I'm sa…”
“Just DO something!” Kim shouted.
“Alright!” Max conceded, looking over Ron closely, giving a few raps on his stone form and muttering thoughtfully, “…okay, what are we dealing with here…? maybe…nah, the texture's all wrong…well it could be…nah, nah, what am I thinking…? those have been extinct for centuries…”
“Do you mind?! This is a delicate procedure!” Max argued before turning back to Ron's statue with a heavy sigh, “Well…here goes.”
Gently touching the tip of his cane to Ron's forehead, Max concentrated hard and within moments, both his cane and Ron's body began to glow brightly. Suddenly, a burst of smoke and glittered exploded around Ron's body, completely hiding him from view. And then…
“Unnh, what happened?” Ron's voice could be heard groaning in a daze as his face suddenly became visible in the settling cloud, turning and looking over at the others, “Kim?”
“Ron…” Kim sighed in relief, overjoyed as she handed Hana off to Yori and ran up to him, throwing her arms around his neck and kissing him deeply. Three more, short, firm kisses followed as Kim clung to him desperately, not wanting to let go. Yori, meanwhile, could only look on with a warm smile as Hana clapped and giggled happily.
“I thought I lost you,” she whispered, hugging him tightly as Rufus scampered up Kim's shoulder and jumped onto Ron's snuggling against his cheek. Ron, meanwhile, had no complaints about this sudden surge of affection. But he was curious about one thing.
“Why can't I move my arms?” he thought out loud, realizing that he had been unable to hug Kim back this entire time. It was then that he and Kim finally looked down at the rest of his body emerging from the settling haze.
“AAAAAAH!” Ron shrieked in horror as he looked down at the rest of his body. His head and neck had returned to normal, but every other part of him was still hard stone and still frozen in his punch.
“THIS was the best you could do?!” Kim shouted in Max's direction.
“Well, maybe NEXT time, someone won't RUSH me then!” Max argued back, “Bringing back people who've been turned to stone may be mid-level magic, but it's still a specialty. You can't just…`de-stone-ify' someone, it has to be done RIGHT. How did you GET like this anyway? I mean…wait, hold that thought.”
Max's expression immediately turned blank as he looked around, finally getting a good look at his surroundings appearing from the settling smoke that he had created from his arrival. After a brief moment, he turned back to the others.
“You guys are in Yamanouchi?” he observed, looking back to at Yori, who was still holding Hana in her arms, “Okay, well, I guess that explains you.”
“Wait a minute. You know about…?” Kim started to say in disbelief before she threw a halting motion with her hand, stopping herself dead in her tracks, “Okay, you know what? I REALLY have to stop being surprised by these things.”
Max, meanwhile, was still looking around and getting his bearings of the grounds. Yori, however, could only look at this newcomer with confusion. How could someone she'd seen or heard of before have knowledge of the Yamanouchi School?
“Well, a little the worse for wear, but I have to say, all things considered, it really hasn't chan…oh, wait a minute. We're in Yamanouchi…he's turned to stone,” Max observed before letting out an amused chuckle, “Oh, you've GOT to be kidding me.”
Just then, the settling smoke was suddenly pushed to the walls of the school and dissipated, as if blown away by an angry wind. Looking over, Kim and the others could see Fukushima and The Yono standing back inside the gateway, both having recovered from Max's shocking arrival.
“Uh, what's going on?” Ron asked, “My neck doesn't turn that far!”
“I will not tolerate ANY more interruptions!” Fukushima shouted, clearly aggravated. But it was the sight of The Yono standing in front of him that suddenly brought a wild grin across Max's face.
“Oh man,” Max uttered to The Yono with an almost twisted glee, “This has GOT to be someone's idea of a sick joke. You and me…at it again.”
“And you are happening to be…?” Yono asked curiously in reply. Even Kim had to admit to wondering exactly what Max was talking about.
In answer to The Yono's question, Max peeled the sunglasses off his face, crushing them in his hand as a wide, twisted smile crossed his lips. A second later, his eyes began to glow white and a shimmering white aura surrounded his body. Kim had seen Max like this before, battling Shego when she had been possessed by the Le Fay spirit, but this time seemed so much more intense. Fukushima, Yori and the rest of the Yamanouchi ninjas could only look on curiously, unsure as to just who or what this mysterious stranger was supposed to be.
The Yono, however, had a much different reaction, its eyes going wide as a memory from the past suddenly flashed into its mind. It could see it so clearly as though it happened only yesterday…an image of a young man with long dark hair standing in the middle of the Yamanouchi courtyard, in front of a young woman The Yono had just turned to stone, his face frozen in horror. Gently sliding his hand down the woman's cold, lifeless cheek, he suddenly turned, glaring at the Yono with glowing white eyes. As a white aura began to grow around the man's body, the sky suddenly erupted, sending streams of lightning smashing into the ground before the memory suddenly faded in a flash of white light. At that moment, The Yono's expression instantly changed from wide-eyed surprise to an angry scowl.
“You,” it uttered under its breath, “Can it be…?”
“That IS the question,” Max replied, his sick grin growing even wider. Suddenly, before anyone else could even think to say or do anything, Max streaked across the courtyard faster than a blink, smashing his fist into The Yono's face and sending it flying back through the gates once again. But Max wasn't finished yet, transporting himself into The Yono's flight path in his usual puff of smoke and brandishing his can tightly.
“Batter up!” he called out, taking one major league swing. The head of Max's cane cracked across the back of The Yono's head, snapping its legs back as it shot past him and sending it flying head over heels as it continued on its way, plowing into the mountainside that led to the Yamanouchi entrance. Max would poof back into the Yamanouchi courtyard a moment later, clapping his hands in satisfaction, only to be greeted by a host of stunned faces. All except for Hana, who remained clapping and giggling in Yori's arms.
“What?” Max said with a shrug.
“Aw, man! I just missed something cool, didn't I?” Ron complained, still frozen in the opposite direction and unable to turn his head far enough. Just then, with a roar, The Yono burst from the mountainside, flying back into the courtyard with blinding speed and leaping at Max to deliver a crushing chop directly onto his head.
“Look ou…!” Kim tried to cry out in warning. But Max was already one step ahead, whipping his cane up over his head to block The Yono's attack. And even though the force of the blow was enough to drive Max's body into a two-foot crater, Max himself didn't even budge an inch, his cane standing firm against the hand of The Yono, who was still floating over head in mid-attack. A second later, Max was looking up, smirking confidently at The Yono's aggravated scowl.
“Forgot who you were dealing with for a minute there, didn't you?” he commented with an amused grin, “That's okay…more fun for me.”
With a flick of his wrist, Max's cane sent the Yono flying through the air in a high arc towards the rear of the school. Before The Yono could recover, however, Max was already teleporting himself back and forth through the sky, smacking The Yono with his cane and sending it bouncing back and forth like in a pinball game before his final strike sent it slamming back down to earth, plowing into the rubble of the building Ron had knocked it into earlier. But still hovering in mid-air, Max once again had something else in store as he held out his hand. At that moment, it was as if the sky itself came to life, sending dozens of lightning bolts streaming down towards Max's hand, collecting into a frenzied ball of electrical energy. Then, with an insane howl of laughter, Max surged back down, driving his hand into where The Yono had landed and erupting the ground in an explosion of nature's raw power.
“Oh, YEAH!” Ron shouted in approval of Max's performance, “I did NOT miss THAT!”
Kim and the others however, were looking through the haze of smoke and dust kicked up from Max's assault, trying to find out where Max had disappeared to. Just then, Kim, Ron and Yori heard a series of enthusiastic claps echoing beside them and turned to see Max sitting beside them in a movie theater-style chair, wearing a pair of 3-D glasses and applauding wildly, a bag of popcorn in his lap and a soda in the cup holder.
“Now THAT'S entertainment!” he cheered happily, laughing and shoveling a handful of popcorn into his mouth before turning to Kim and the others, “I tell ya, you gotta LOVE guys you used to hate in a previous life. No matter WHAT you do to them, you just never feel bad.”
“Riiiiiiight,” Kim replied suspiciously as Max took a large slurp from his soda, “Sooooo…I'm guessing there's a little bit of history here.”
“Oh, about 200 years worth,” Max replied simply, not taking his eyes off the smoldering crater where The Yono had last been seen. But his words brought an instant reaction out of Yori as her eyes widened. Even Sensei, who had heard the conversation, seemed more than a little surprised.
“Two hundred years? Is it possible?” Yori murmured under her breath, “Could he really be…?”
Kim was quick to notice both of their expressions, but before she could think to ask what it meant, Hana pointed over to the rear of the school, cooing gently. It was then that Yori noticed Fukushima slinking around towards a cavern entrance hidden behind the far wall.
“Fukushima, stop!” Yori cried out, causing him to dash inside, “Kim Possible, we must hurry. Fukushima must not be allowed to reach the chamber within the mountain.”
“Why? What's in there?” Kim asked.
“There is only one reason Fukushima would enter that cave,” Yori replied, “He seeks our most treasured possession, the Lotus Blade. He must not be allowed to possess it.”
“I don't get it,” Ron chimed in, “If he's got no monkey mojo, he can't use the sword, right?”
“Yamamoto's Bracelet connects Fukushima to the magic of The Yono,” Yori explained, “Some believe that connection would allow the wearer to wield the Lotus Blade as well. It was another of the reasons we feared the bracelet's return.”
“Yeah, okay, NOW we have a problem,” Ron answered dryly.
Before Kim could think to react, the ground suddenly erupted in front of them. Bursting into the sky in an explosion of dirt and clay, The Yono reappeared on the battlefield, its body blazing and its eyes burning with rage. Its clothes were ripped and scuffed, but The Yono itself appeared itself to be completely unharmed. Max, however, simply smiled as he rose from his seat, both chair and snacks disappearing in a puff of glittering smoke.
“Got lots of stamina, doesn't he?” he noted, “Okay, you guys better go handle the pretty boy. I've got small, dark and hairy up there.”
“But what about Ron?” Kim argued, taking his face in her hands, “I can't just leave him like this while you two have a “Clash of the Titans” smackdown out here.”
As if sensing Kim's worry, Hana wiggled out of Yori's arms and landed on the ground. Toddling over to Ron, she looked up at him, giggling and hugging his stone ankle.
“Uh, Hana, I'm sorry. I know you want to play right now, but I'm kind of a little…AAAAAAH!” Ron cried out as Hana effortlessly lifted his stone body up and over her head.
“Okay, score one for the super ninja baby,” Kim answered, feeling more secure in Ron's safety as she pointed to Sensei who was still trying to keep the other students protected in the main hall, “Okay Hana, you see that big building over there? That's where you're going to take Ron, okay?”
Hana simply giggled and cooed in reply, which Kim took for understanding on her part. With that, she leaned in, giving Ron a soft kiss on the cheek.
“I'll be back soon, okay?” she said warmly, sliding her hand down his cheek before turning to Yori, “Let's go.”
With that, Kim and Yori took off at top speed towards the cave. They had already lost too much time talking and had a lot of ground to make up for if they were going to stop Fukushima. Hana, meanwhile, was toddling off, carrying Ron's stone body. But instead of heading for the main hall, towards Sensei and protection, she was instead following Kim and Yori towards the cavern containing the Lotus Blade.
“Uh, Ha…Hana? Hana! Kim told you to go to the big building remember? That is not the big building!” Ron cried out helplessly, trying to redirect Hana to where she was supposed to be going. Hana, however, simply replied with a giggle as she continued on her way, followed close behind by a confused Rufus. Meanwhile, The Yono had crashed back down to earth, sending a wave of dirt and rock in Max's direction. But Max stood unimpressed, halting the shifting ground with a simple wave of his hand.
“So it would seem that foolish mortal has done me a favor,” Yono declared as Max limbered up, cracking his knuckles, “Finally, a chance to break the one who dared stand against me all those years ago.”
“Uh huh, uh huh, I seem to recall you making the same threats back then too,” Max replied calmly, cracking his neck before twirling his cane and snapping it over his shoulder, “Didn't work out so well, if I remember correctly. So let's just save time, shall we? Don't sing it…”
“…Bring it,” Yono finished Max's thought as the two readied themselves for what was to come. Suddenly, without warning, they both surged ahead, charging towards each other with blinding speed. Sensei, meanwhile, had barely enough time to form another barrier around him and the students as Max and The Yono met head on, each pulling back an eagerly waiting fist…
… … … …
The cavern tunnel leading to the Lotus Blade was a long, winding spiral, leading down to the very center of the mountain from which the Yamanouchi School was carved. But even inside the mountain, the thunderous blows from the battle between The Yono and Maximillion could still be heard…and even felt as dust and rocks shook loose and hailed down from the cavern ceiling. Kim and Yori, however, didn't have time to be distracted by such matters as they continued their mad dash to gain ground on Fukushima. Still, now that she had a moment to think, Kim had to admit to being slightly curious about one thing.
“So Yori,” she finally spoke, “I got the feeling that you know a little more about this Max/Yono thing than you mentioned. Do you think maybe you could fill me in on a few more details about what that sitch was 200 years ago?”
“When I was very small, my great grandmother would tell me stories of Yamanouchi's history,” Yori replied as they continued to run, “Two hundred years ago, when her grandmother was still a young girl, a traveler from the West happened upon Yamanouchi by chance while on a trek to explore the known world. At that time, Yamanouchi remained an isolated area and outsiders were strictly forbidden, so the Masters sent their finest students to drive him away. But the outsider was well trained in mystic arts and easily defeated his attackers. Once the Masters realized the outsider's power, they felt they had little choice but to welcome him into Yamanouchi as a student. During his months of training, the outsider chanced to meet a female student named Midori and the two fell in love.”
“But it was at that time that the sorcerer, Yamamoto, appeared. Using his bracelet to control The Yono's power, Yamamoto planned a dark campaign of world conquest, but was quickly met with opposition from the Yamanouchi School. The Masters and their finest students fought bravely, but all were crushed by The Yono's might. Including Midori, who was one of the last warriors standing, only to be turned to stone by The Yono's magic.”
“Whoa… that's…pretty heavy,” Kim said with a faraway tone, remembering what she had felt just a short time ago after seeing Ron frozen in a stone form, courtesy of The Yono's power.
“Upon seeing his beloved turned to lifeless stone, the outsider flew into a blind rage, tearing open earth and sky and striking The Yono with all the mystical forces at his command,” Yori continued, “The battle was fierce and destructive, but in the end, the outsider managed to finally overpower The Yono. As for Yamamoto himself, he was cast off the edge of a cliff during the battle and never seen again. With The Yono defeated, its magic was undone and the outsider and Midori were happily reunited.”
“To this day, with the exception of The Han, the outsider remains the only mortal who has ever matched The Yono in battle,” Yori concluded, “His name was lost, but my great-grandmother would tell me of that he was rumored to have the ability to live countless lifetimes. I was never certain how much of the stories were true, but after meeting your friend, I cannot believe it is merely a coincidence. It would seem that one of those lifetimes has indeed found its way back to Yamanouchi.”
“Well, if that's true, let's hope he hasn't lost his touch,” Kim remarked, still noting the crumbling debris falling around them as the thunderous blows could still be heard off in the distance. Meanwhile, several yards back up the cavern, Hana was still slowly making her way down with Ron and Rufus over her head, cooing blissfully in spite of what was happening around her.
“Uh, Hana, it's, uh…looking a little low there,” Han tried to warn her, noticing a sudden dip in the cavern ceiling just ahead, “Hana…do you think you could…maybe…just…you know…Ha…Hana…Hana…!”
“HANA, LOOK OUT FOR THE COFFE TABLE!!!”
“…table…,” Hana gurgled as she dropped to her knees, crawling through the narrow pass while still managing to keep Ron's stone body perfectly balanced on one hand. As she continued giggling happily, Ron and Rufus could only look up at how close the ceiling was to his head and breathe a sigh of relief.
… … … …
Making his way through the cavern as fast as his legs could carry him, Fukushima wasn't allowing himself to pause for even an instant. Ignoring the booming sounds from outside and the falling rocks, he continued to run until finally, the tunnel would go no further, opening into a wide chamber. At the end of the room, past a handful of steps, a wooden box with a glass lid sat atop a short pedestal.
“The Lotus Blade,” Fukushima uttered under his breath, savoring the anticipation of his triumph. But just as he took his first eager steps towards the legendary sword…
“Fukushima!” Yori's voice echoed behind him as he whirled around to see both her and Kim just a few feet away, looking for a fight, “Even with Yamamoto's Bracelet, you WILL not sully the memory of our founder, Toshimiru, by placing your hands on the Lotus Blade.”
“Always acting so superior,” Fukushima fired back, “When the Lotus Blade is in my hands, we shall just see who it obeys.”
At that moment, Yori had heard just about enough of Fukushima's boasts. The time had come to let actions do the talking. But just as she was about to lunge forward, Kim's arm suddenly blocked her path.
“Sorry, Yori. This one's all mine,” Kim stated, looking over at Fukishima with an angry scowl, “Okay pal, you and I have some unfinished business we need to discuss.”
“So be it,” Fukushima accepted her challenge, taking his stance, “I will NOT be defeated by an outsider again.”
“Yeah? Well, you just keep talking, but there's something you need to know about me,” Kim replied, her eyes showing the same piercing stare towards Fukushima that they showed before as she readied herself as well, “My boyfriend gets hurt, I get CRANKY…”
… … … …
Above, the courtyard of the Yamanouchi School was looking more like a bombing range, littered wall to wall with holes and rubble as the battle between Maximillion and The Yono raged on. Sensei and the other students had lost sight of the pair for only a moment until Max came flying through one of the walls of a neighboring building. Using his feet and the fingers of his free hand to plow to a stop, he was beginning to look quite worn, his suit showing numerous tears and scuffs. A fact that Max himself was quick to notice as he stood tall once again, staring into the building he had just flown through.
“Hey! Do you mind?!” he shouted as The Yono made its way through the hole in the wall, “This stuff is custom!”
Firmly straightening the lapels of his jacket, Max was instantly engulfed in a burst of glittering smoke. In that instant, all of his clothes were instantly mended and he looked just as he did when the fight began. Not a single thread or hair was out of place anywhere on him. The Yono, however, was far less fortunate, looking much worse for wear, its clothes almost completely in tatters.
“Think you that this is funny?!” Yono bellowed in protest, “Let us just see how much you joke when I make you suffer for the humiliation you handed me!”
“Oh, would you stop? It was 200 years ago. I mean, look at ME. I got over it,” Max argued, suddenly changing his voice to sound like a self-help speaker, “And you can too!”
Growling angrily, The Yono charged forward as fast as ever, but his attack was blocked by Max's cane. From there, it was a toe-to-toe standoff exchange as Max's cane traded strikes with The Yono's hands, neither side giving an inch, neither side getting an advantage. Sensei, meanwhile, was just barely managing to keep his barrier together, as the force from Max and The Yono's strikes continued to pound relentlessly upon it.
Just then, The Yono pulled back before lunging forward with both hands and slamming an crushing force wave into Max's body, sending him flying across the courtyard. But Max wasn't about to let himself be brought down so easily, skidding to a stop on the ball of his foot before bursting ahead with blinding speed, driving his knee into The Yono's stomach and smashing them both through the same building they had just come out of.
Sensei and the others could only look on and wonder what had become of the two combatants as the building toppled in a hail of wreckage. But just then, Maximillion emerged from the crumbling doorway, looking over towards the main hall and tossing Sensei a smile and a playful wink before striding away from the collapsing structure. But Max would only take a few steps before stopping short, twirling his cane and snapping it over his shoulder, as if he was waiting for something to happen once the building had fallen.
“We're waiting!” he called out with an annoyed tone, not even bothering to look over at the rubble behind him. And no sooner did the words escape his lips than The Yono appeared again, bursting up from the rubble and hovering overhead, its body furiously blazing with mystic energy.
Glaring down at Max with burning eyes, The Yono bellowed in rage before unleashing a hail of energy bolts directly towards him. It was only then that Max finally whirled around, twirling his cane before it extended and drove into the ground. Suddenly, all of the Yono's energy streams suddenly became absorbed by the head of Max's cane, as if being attracted by a lightning rod. At first, it appeared is thought The Yono's attack was doing nothing at all…then suddenly, the ground around Max's feet began to turn to stone…then his feet…then his legs…
Sensei and the others could only look on as Max's body was turning to stone before their very eyes. But Max didn't seem to give it the least bit of notice, smirking up at The Yono and focusing on its attack. But within moments it was too late. Max's head had turned to stone moments later and soon, his entire body was completely lifeless. Sensei and the others, meanwhile, were helpless as The Yono wickedly grinned down in triumph at his defeated opponent.
But then, without warning, Max's stone body began to crumble and fall to the ground, a brilliant white light bleeding out through the cracks. Suddenly, the rock exploded away as Max yelled into the sky, a column of white light erupting from his body. For several seconds, night seemed to turn to day as Max's light seemed to illuminate the entire mountain range. But soon, the light dissipated and after taking a deep breath, Max turned his attention back to The Yono, cracking his neck once more before offering up a confident grin.
“Well…I'M all warmed up,” he called up with a shrug, the white aura around his body glowing even brighter, “So…before this starts to get boring, what do you say we knock off this `nickel-&-dime' stuff and just throw all our cards on the table?”
“So it is to be,” Yono agreed, its body and eyes ablaze with mystic energy, “Winner take all.”
“You'd better believe it,” Max replied with a twisted grin, his aura glowing brighter than ever. For the moment, Sensei and the others could only watch with uncertainty as The Yono's energy clashed with Max's aura. Then suddenly, with a yell from The Yono and a wild howl of laughter from Max, both combatants burst toward each other, each putting everything they had into one final head-on collision.
… … … …
Meanwhile, Kim's fight with Fukushima continued, both sides going at it with everything they had. And as much as Kim hated to admit it, Fukushima was giving her a much greater challenge than she thought he would. As the fight went back and forth, neither side seemed able to gain a clear advantage. But Kim wasn't about to let up for even an instant. All she could see in the back of her mind was Ron frozen in stone, still and lifeless. Fukushima was the one responsible for that. And one thing was for sure, Kim was going to make sure he regretted it. Yori, meanwhile, kept her distance. It wasn't hard for her to see the anger in Kim's eyes as the fight went on or to understand where it was coming from. So the least she could do was let Kim have the fight and the victory.
Suddenly, an enormous tremor slammed through the entire cavern, knocking everyone off their feet and grinding the fight to a halt. Somehow, it was as though the entire mountain itself was shaking, making Kim feel like she was in a kiddy moon bounce as she tried desperately to right herself and couldn't. The quake lasted for several more moments, raining dust and rock through the entire cavern. But eventually, it subsided and everything felt stable and solid once again.
Unfortunately, Fukushima was the one to recover first, charging towards Kim and flashing a crushing forward kick. But Kim wasn't about to be taken out so easily as she swerved out of the path of the attack and Fukushima's foot found itself driving a hole into solid rock. Just the opening Kim was looking for. Without a pause, she whirled around, plowing the heel of her foot across Fukushima's face with a roundhouse kick and sending him spiraling through the air. But Kim wasn't even close to being done yet, running up to Fukushima as he landed, grabbing his tunic and twirling him around and around before tossing him across the chamber and sending him smashing into the pedestal holding the Lotus Blade.
As Fukushima crashed into the pedestal, the case containing the Lotus Blade flew down the steps. Hitting the ground, the lid of the case flipped open and the Lotus Blade twirled through the air, past Kim and Yori and clattering to the cavern floor, finally sliding to a stop at the feet of none other than little Hana, who had finally managed to catch up. Squealing with delight, she placed Ron down on the ground before waddling over and actually picking up The Lotus Blade, much to the unified shock of Kim and the others.
“Okay, Ha-Han…Hana!” Ron tried to reason, “Now be a good girl…and just put that down, okay? Good little super ninja babies who don't have all their motor skills yet do not go around playing with swords!”
Hana, however, simply giggled in reply, walking over to Ron with the Lotus Blade still in her hands. But before anyone knew what was happening, Hana gently tapped the side of Ron's ankle with the side of the blade, which suddenly took on a strange, eerie glow. A moment later, Ron's whole body began to glow from the neck down and to everyone's surprise, the Yono's curse suddenly came completely undone, turning Ron from stone back into flesh and blood. Then, just as quickly as it came, the blade's glow faded, leaving Hana to drop the sword and plop down on her rear, clapping and happily giggling.
“Ron?” Kim uttered as she ran over to him. Ron, meanwhile, was still in a state of disbelief, looking himself over again and again.
“KP?” he replied, finally looking up at her, “What…just happened?”
“There's only one way to find out,” Kim answered with a smile, throwing her arms around his neck and hugging him tight. Ron didn't need any more reason to respond as he wrapped his arms around her waist and pulled her close. That was all the answer that either of them needed.
“Oh yeah, this is MUCH better,” Kim sighed as the two of them held each other, savoring the moment and neither one about to let go. Eventually, they pulled away, but neither one could resist reaching up with one hand and gently caressing the other's cheek, pressing their foreheads together and looking into each other's eyes with warm smiles. But it was then that they finally looked down to see Hana looking up at them with cheerful babbling.
“Hana, you crazy little uber-sister, what did you do?!” Ron exclaimed with a wide smile as he lifted up his giggling sister.
“If I may surmise,” Yori answered, “The Han and The Yono are forever linked as mystical opposites. I believe little Han was able to channel her own powers through the Lotus Blade to undo The Yono's spell over you.”
“…Brother…” Han giggled, snuggling against Ron's cheek. Kim and Ron, meanwhile, weren't sure what to think of Yori's explanation. Granted, it did make a certain amount of sense in theory. Still, every time they thought they had Hana figured out, she always seemed to pull another rabbit out of her tiny hat…and she didn't even know what a hat WAS. But Hana still had one more surprise as she reached over, gently patting Kim's cheek.
“…Kim…” she cooed, leaning in and kissing the tip of Kim's nose.
“It would seem that little Han was acting on someone else's behalf as well,” Yori concluded. Kim and Ron, meanwhile, could only turn and look at each other wide-eyed. But a moment later, their expressions turned into a tender smile as they leaned in, sharing a soft and much needed kiss before giving Hana a most well-deserved cuddle in gratitude.
Just then, the warm moment was shattered as a thundering crash echoed through the cavern. Plowing through the cave ceiling in a hail of dust and rock was none other than The Yono, with Max dropping in right after, driving his knees into its back. A moment later, Max was standing with a triumphant pose in the settling dust, with The Yono impossibly, unbelievably, lying unconscious at his feet.
“WOOOOOOOOO! Oh yeah!” he shouted with a crazed laugh, “Who's your higher evolution?!”
“I…I don't believe it,” Kim uttered in wide-eyed disbelief with Ron and Yori as Max whooped and cackled hysterically, “He…actually did it.”
“Wait! Where is Fukushima?” Yori exclaimed, scanning the dust filled room for any trace of him. Suddenly, Fukushima burst from the haze, flipping along the tunnel to safety, with the Lotus Blade in his hands.
“I do not know how you could have possibly defeated the Destroyer, but it is of no consequence! With Yamamoto's bracelet, I am still linked to its power, which means…!” Fukushima gloated as the Lotus Blade began to transform in his hands. After going through about four or five forms, it finally transformed into a bladed ball and chain, exactly what Fukushima wanted.
“Hah, at last! This battle is over, Outsider! YOU LOSE!” Fukushima shouted in victory, twirling the bladed ball and sending it flying straight towards Ron.
At that moment, time seemed to slow to a crawl for Fukushima. No matter what else happened, he knew, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that he would be the one to have the final victory. But just as he could finally taste his revenge, the transformed Lotus Blade began to twinkle. And suddenly, without warning, the bladed ball changed direction, arcing around Kim, Ron and Hana and flying instead towards Max, who was able to deflect it into the cavern ceiling with a flip of his cane.
“Excuse me, could you be a little more careful please?!” Max complained as the Lotus Blade changed back into its original form. Kim and Ron had no idea what had just happened, but no one was more surprised that Fukushima, who could only stand in stunned silence. But before he could even think to ask what was happening, Rufus sprang into action, jumping into Fukushima's tunic and scampering down his sleeve, sinking his teeth into Fukushima's wrist. As Fukushima yelled out in pain and Rufus escaped from his sleeve, Yori pressed the advantage, sending a powerful back kick into Fukushima's jaw, causing the Lotus blade to fly out of his hands and land safely into her own.
“You are a fool, Fukushima!” she declared, using the Lotus Blade to hold him at bay, “Did you truly believe the Lotus Blade could EVER harm its TRUE master?”
“Spare me your posturing!” Fukushima shouted back defiantly, despite nursing his sore jaw, “The Lotus Blade is useless to you, Yori! You haven't the power to wield it!”
“For once, you are correct. I do not,” Yori replied calmly. But before Fukushima could think to do anything, Yori flipped back through the air, landing right in front of Ron and placing the Lotus Blade into his hands.
“But HE DOES.”
Picking up on Yori's hint, Kim immediately backed away with Hana in her arms. Ron's hands, meanwhile, tightened around the hilt of the Lotus Blade, turning to Fukushima with a stern frown. But Fukushima was not about to allow victory to slip from his grasp so easily as he charged towards Ron as fast as he could. If he could reach Ron before the Lotus Blade completed its transformation sequence, there was still a chance he could reclaim it and have his victory.
But what happened next was far different than anything Fukushima could have expected. Acting on instinct, Ron activated his Mystical Monkey Power, glowing brightly as he pointed the Lotus Blade straight towards the charging Fukushima. Suddenly, the sword itself turned black as night, the blade bursting into blue flame. His eyes widening in shock, Fukushima tried to skid to a stop, but it was far too late. With a brilliant flash, a stream of blue flame burst from the Lotus Blade, striking Fukushima head on. The flames curiously had no heat, but the force of the attack slammed into Fukushima like a stampeding bull, sending him flying backwards into the cavern wall.
With that, the fight was finally over. A moment later, Fukushima crumpled to the ground, unconscious. At the same time, Yamamoto's bracelet, which had been the cause of the entire conflict, snapped off at the hinge and fell to the cavern floor in pieces, having taken the brunt of the blast. Without the bracelet, the red band of energy around The Yono's neck vanished. And with the bond between Yono and the bracelet broken, the unconscious Yono vanished in a flash of light, its temple returning to its buried state deep in the Simian Canyon. Ron, meanwhile, was still in his Mystical Monkey Power state, looking at the fiery blade with stunned eyes. Even Kim and Rufus weren't sure what to make of what had just happened.
“…whoa…” was all he managed to say as Kim walked up behind him, but he quickly snapped out of it as he saw giggling little Hana trying to reach for the blade out of the corner of his eye, “Uh, uh, uh, now you stop right there, Han! Flaming swords are NOT ninja baby toys.”
Taking a deep breath, Ron slowly changed back to normal. And sure enough, the flames of the Lotus Blade eventually dissipated as well, changing into its own original form, just as Yori walked up with the case to hold it. Once Ron put the sword back in the case, Yori handed the case over to him, allowing Ron to put it back where it belonged. Kim, meanwhile, handed Hana over to Yori for a moment, walking over to Ron as he placed the Lotus Blade back on its pedestal and not wasting one second to put her arms around him once more.
“Mmmm, hope you don't mind,” she whispered leaning her head on his shoulder and smiling, “I'm probably going to be milking this for a while.”
“Oh, you know…it'll be rough,” Ron replied jokingly, “But…I'll manage somehow.”
Hearing Ron's words, Kim couldn't help but pull away, giving Ron a hollow chuckle and gently nudging his cheek with her fist before the two leaned in, sharing a soft peck on the lips. Yori, meanwhile, simply looked on with a warm smile and Rufus sighed blissfully as Kim and Ron held each other and snuggled close. Max, however, was slowly making his way over to Yori.
“You know, we REALLY have to do this more often. It's been so long since I've come for a visit and look at all the fun I've been missing,” he noted before turning his attention to Hana, tickling her under her chin, “Isn't that right? We've been missing out on the fun, haven't we?”
Hana simply waved her arms and giggled as Yori could only look at Max with a slightly bewildered look. Kim and Ron, meanwhile, had already tuned everything else out and were still in each other's arms, savoring their tender moment.
… … … …
“You're kidding! He's actually been to Yamanouchi in a past life?” Wade exclaimed over the Kimmunicator as Kim and the others looked over to see Max playing with Hana beside Kim's car at the Yamanouchi gates after he'd used his magic to repair all the damage to the school, “Is it just me, or is dealing with this guy getting weirder all the time?”
“Trust me, it's not you,” Kim replied dryly, “I'll fill you in on the rest when we get home.”
“Truly remarkable,” Sensei commented, “To think that one of Yamanouchi's very own legends would return to this school in my own lifetime. This is truly an honor.”
“Agreed, Sensei. I too, feel very privileged to have had this opportunity,” Yori replied, although her voice suddenly became quite somber, “And yet…there is a part of me that cannot help but feel a little sorry for him.”
“Uh, excuse me, but are you kidding?!” Ron exclaimed, “Did you guys see all the stuff this guy can do?”
“True, but consider what he must endure as a result,” Yori answered, “Living one lifetime after another, burdened with the memories of friends and loved ones who have no longer existed for decades, even centuries. To live like that…it must be a very lonely existence.”
“Yeah,” Kim agreed, sighing heavily as she remembered all the harsh things she had said about him just a very short time ago, “It must be.”
With a parting bow, Yori and Sensei said their goodbyes as Kim and Ron walked over to Max and Hana. Max, meanwhile, noticed them walking over and was quick to pick up Hana to leave.
“So,” Kim had to ask as she looked over at him with a smirk, “Is there ANY person OR place we know that you don't already know about too?”
“You just never know,” Max replied smugly with an amused grin. Kim, however, felt the need to say something else as her expression became more serious.
“Look, I…I think I owe you an apology…”
“No you don't,” Max cut her off as he handed Hana off to Ron, the look in his eyes showing he knew exactly what she was talking about, “I was getting needy again, wasn't I? Hanging out at your place all the time like I've been? Yeah, it's a phase I go through sometimes, you know, when I meet someone new. See the family, like the family, want to hang out with the family. I HAVE had a tendency to annoy people by doing that.”
“Maybe,” Kim said with a shrug, “But everyone has the right to get a little needy sometimes. And there ARE worse things to get needy about.”
“Uh oh,” Ron interrupted as he looked down at his beeping watch, “Kim, my parents are going to be home in like, 30 seconds. I hate to rush, but can we move this along?”
“Somehow, I don't think beating your parents home is going to be a problem,” Him turned to Max with a sly grin, who quickly picked up on her hint as a glittering cloud began to swirl around them and the car. Just as they were about to vanish completely, Kim reached over and put her hand on Max's shoulder.
“You know…I might have an interesting idea for a compromise…if you're interested.”
… … … …
“Honey, I'm glad you were chosen as the Head Lecturer for the Science Symposium next week, but I wish they'd given you a little more warning,” Anne Possible remarked as she sat in the Possible kitchen next to James, “That REALLY doesn't give us a lot of time to find someone to watch the boys.”
“What's the problem?” James replied with a simple shrug, “Kim can handle the job.”
“Maybe…but I don't know if I feel right asking Kim anymore,” Anne mentioned, shaking her head, “I mean, she's starting to live her own life now and between university and Ron and missions and her job, she hardly has enough hours in the day as it is.”
“Hi,” Kim piped up as she walked into the kitchen announcing to her parents that she was home, “Sorry, but I couldn't help overhearing your problem and if you'll permit me, I think I might have just the solution for you.”
Motioning her hand towards the kitchen doorway, Kim guided James and Anne's gaze towards Max, who was out of his hero suit. Max immediately offered a wide smile and a wave, but James and Anne couldn't help but give each other an uncertain look.
“Max…are you absolutely sure you want to do this?” Anne asked, clearly concerned, “I mean, if you're not completely prepared, the boys can be a handful.”
As if to prove her point, a heavy metal thud could be heard coming from Jim and Tim's room. Just then, the door was knocked open and a heavy metal box came bouncing back and forth, ramming holes into the walls and thundering down the stairs as Kim and the others ran into the living room.
“Boys!” James shouted, clearly annoyed, “When I gave you that vial of RF-78, we agreed that you weren't allowed to conduct any experiments up in your room!”
“We encased it in titanium…We thought it would be enough,” the twins tried to explain as the box rumbled back and forth like a giant die. Just then, Max raised his hand and the box instantly stopped dead in its tracks.
“Ooooh, I love this family,” he sighed with an amused grin. A moment later, he flicked his hand and the metal sides of the box fell away, as if nothing had been holding them together in the first place. The ball of RF-78, meanwhile, continued bouncing back and forth at a blinding speed as if an invisible container was still holding it inside. Suddenly, Max snapped his hand into a tight fist and without warning, the ball instantly stopped short, hovering frozen above the ground. Kim's parents and the twins could only stare in wide-eyed disbelief as Max walked over and plucked the ball from mid-air. Kim, however, simply watched with a sly grin.
“Let's not try that again, shall we?” Max added with a knowing smile, placing the ball in Jim's hand.
“Whoa,” the boys uttered in unison, their shock instantly giving way to excitement, “That was so COOL…! What else can he do…?! Can he come over tomorrow…?! Please…?!”
“When can he start?” Anne murmured towards Kim with an approving grin.
“Oh yeah,” Kim remarked with a confident nod, “I think this is going to work out just fine.”