Actions

Work Header

Tales of the Champions

Chapter Text

Magic.

An element that ran rampant within the world of Runeterra; it was mystic but at the same time, frightful, for those who witnessed it— at the hands of those who wished to harm the innocent. A manifestation of such was the Rune Wars, that left little to no imagination to what could be possible if people could get their hands on the full power of such cosmic, yet common energy.

Truly, in the end, such events left the world in a different shape; with people re-organizing themselves in communities. Some of them had been left scarred from the power of the runes and sought to banish it, such as those who would later turn out to create the Kingdom of Demacia.

But yet.

The runes were not the only source of magic, in the world of mortals.

Ionia.

A country that had always been populated by people that lived together with magic, yet, they only looked after their personal enlightenment and preferred practical and physical experience with the power of the mystic. But, of course, children did not lack their story tales before bedtime; one of them was the incredible Jade Dragon.

It was not a character of a book but an ancient legend narrated by the population of Ionia for generations: the existence of a Divine Being that allowed himself to transcend reality and time itself and that it mutated the Vastayan, for they had been changed through its power, for them to control magic better than any other creature could ever aspire to— but then, one day, the Jade Dragon had seen that the knowledge of the Vastayan was increasing exponentially, up to the point where he ought to take away the gift they had once received.

The 'wizards', so to say, of Ionia that had only begun to explore the entirety of their gift had seen through this and denied the chance of downgrading back to simple creatures that could only barely see and feel the magic that Ionia hid. Therefore, the former decided to set a trap on the Dragon and seal him away into a stone that was later locked into custody, far away, where no one would ever find it.

For their sake.

At times, though, legends would find their way in the future. Maybe one that was too near the current era, or perhaps, it was the present itself that aimed to be cursed, forever, by the return of a dead and forgotten legend.

One after another, their footsteps were slow but paced. They had a little military-like rhythm behind their footing, as armored men made their way into Ionian forests. Each one of them wielded different and unique faces, hairstyles and scars. Not one single of them, though, looked like a 'champion', a 'winner', they were only but pawns in a game that was bigger than what they could have imagined. But, little did they know, they had no time left to learn the truth.

For it was time to die.

A kunai came flying in the soldier's field of view and soon went for his throat, as the man's eyes almost bulged out of pain and his breath soon became unstable— and as chaotic as the voices of his fellow troops rose and went after their comrade's back, but yet, before any of them could attempt to look after him or defend themselves, a rush of shuriken and kunai rushed in against the winds and each brought damage to the men's armors, but with little physical damage as they whipped out their swords.

Weapons that were futile, against the shadows.

One more of the men suddenly dropped down, killed in an unrecognizable flash and the last standing man could only see the silhouette of an armed woman standing in the distance before the guy pretty much let out whatever energy, fear and emotion he hid within his soul and unleashed all of it in a fighting roar, until, he saw the silhouette seriously float at high speed towards him, back for her, to reach her shuriken and cut off his head with her kunai, leaving little but a head that slowly made its way down the hill.

The woman breathed out, a few times, she was not tired but perhaps… the adrenaline in her veins had taken a little bit of a toll. Emotionally. She was more than just a silhouette; her forms— a built, yet, agile and attractive form of a woman emerged from the darkness and revealed her dark, green fabric that hid her chin— her mouth, about anything but her eyes with several, tall hair locks that donned on top of the woman's skull like a sea's waves.

Her clothing was distinct, but even more unique were her tattoos that followed the insignia of a dragon that climbed her shoulder.

"Not even a sweat," - she stated before her careful, silent steps brought her to their bodies and that was when the woman began to slowly look over anything they might have carried with them.

They had very little, of course, they were only an 'expedition team', but, she also found a piece of paper. One that she was too common with and that she wished that would have not been there, to begin with— the drawing of a gem with the stem of a dragon onto it. She had seen this thrice already this week, and there were plenty of these camps and little squadrons looking out for something in Ionia, usually with a map and several landmarks pointed out on the former.

That was, what brought her, later that afternoon, to talk to someone she could still relate, somewhat.

Her former brother, Kennen.

The little furball dressed in purple, was quite energetic, as usual, of course. He came off the ground and climbed up the tree to reach Akali on top of a branch, similarly to the way a spark would— as in, he seriously transitioned from his form to lightning itself until he finally returned to his former shape and addressed her friend.

"Hiya! Okay okay, what'cha callin' me after? I told you can count on me, but, you should ask for me later… you know I am busy with the Kinkou around this time."

Akali narrowed her eyes and nodded her head. As much as she hated to admit it, he was right, she knew of this, but yet, she could not care less.

"I know, but, this is pretty urgent," - she mentioned again as she gently paced on top of the branch, yet weightless, not allowing it to break and for her to meet the ground. "I have been taking out Noxians."

"What's new?" - commented the little ninja, almost with a suppressed giggle.

"Right. But, there's something they all have in common— and it's this," - added the woman as he handed out the piece of paper she had earlier found on one of the corpses. He gripped it with his little paws and put it quite right into his face, but as much as his orbs squinted, he could not make anything out of it.

"What about it, Akali? It's just… you know, a drawing. Maybe they were bored and had a drawing contest."

The former Fist of Shadow folded her arms over her abundant chest and gave him a sassy look, almost as if questioning his seriousness before Kennen just rolled his eyes and nodded. "Sorry, sorry! Just, you know, what's up with that?"

Akali scoffed and looked away once more, down, at where she left their bodies.

"They have been at this for weeks; Noxus is obviously looking for something! And if it's in our land, we can't let them take it!"

Kennen sat down on the tree, at this point, staring at the fellow Assassin with little but a perk of his tiny eyebrows.

"And what do you want me to do about it?"

The woman stood in silence for a moment, as her pupils slowly narrowed down the area of view to her feet— she hated this. She didn't want to say this at all, the girl was obviously on a tight spot, at the moment, truly, perhaps the woman was going too far for just a few pieces of paper, but, yet, that was why she left the Kinkou Order in the first place.

Because she couldn't take it anymore with their 'ignoring problems policy'. She did not care what they'd call it— balance or whatever, she was all about assisting Ionia and claiming what was theirs, to begin with— things such as equilibrium were only crazy concepts that were born to keep their order in place as if it were a religion.

"Tell Shen. See if he knows anything about this thing."

Kennen almost dropped his jaw; somehow he was happy that she still considered anything in regards to Shen, and so, the Order. But, he did not stare at her at all, actually, he just nodded his head, but his words did not confirm approval, but rather, he preferred to shoot right back at her and zap her with questions.

"Why— Can't you tell Shen? I am sure he wouldn't mind."

"No."

"Why?"

"Because no."

Kennen narrowed his eyes, obviously unhappy with her resoluteness. She decided to cut herself off the Order as if the two had sworn war to each other, yet, it wasn't anything like that!

"Ya' two look like a divorced couple, you know that?"

Akali puffed his cheeks out and pressed her lips together in a frown that aimed sharp knives towards the yordle that pretty much just gave up at that point and sighed before he pushed himself up to his little feet once more.

"Nevermind. I'll be on my way now. Let's stay in touch, 'kali!— Miss ya'."

The purple-clothed ninja quite literally blasted out of the area with his high-speed electricity and now, only left Akali alone with her blank expression before she shut his eyes and her hand blindly reached for the piece of cloth that rested onto the top of her chest and lifted it up to finally mask her face, again, and leave.

Still in Ionia, hours later, at night, but somewhat far away, was where resided the Kinkou Order.

One of the ancient clans of these lands that taught their students for generations the art of self-defense, offense and balance. For it was no martial art or teachings of war, but rather, a style— a way for an individual to live with its codes and morals.

Among them, in one of the halls, stood a man dressed in gray and shades of dark purple, with armor platelets that were colored in blue— last but not least was his mask that completely veiled his skull, except for his eyes that possessed a bright, transcendental glow to them.

"Refer to your client that I hold no Lunari in this building, nor do I have contacts with them. I wish her good luck with her efforts, though."

Shen greeted away a messenger that soon left the wing and had the Eye of Twilight escort himself away from the corridors, but it was when he walked the corner that lightning itself followed him and soon showed its real form under the familiar image of Kennen.

The man did not seem to be impressed or anything; it was almost as if he had seen him coming from miles away, nor did he halt in his steps, but so didn't the smaller ninja that began to walk beside him.

"You're late. What were you up to, Heart of the Tempest?"

Kennen hummed softly, unsure as to how he'd go to introduce the 'topic'.

"Just, scouting out, you know."

"Scouting out."

"Mmhm…"

"At night."

Kennen chuckled and immediately shook his head, realizing that this approach wouldn't have gotten him anywhere with Shen.

"No, no, no— I wasn't."

The taller man squinted off to the side and pictured the smaller ninja as if he were his next target, to which, the latter almost had his sweat.

"I am sorry… I just don't know how to say it, but," - the yordle paused briefly as Shen inquired once more with a neutral tone of voice. "But?"

"I… was talking with Akali."

The Eye of Twilight looked at Kennen with newfound interest but did not quite show it through his expression or anything alike, but he did feel as if he'd suddenly be far more involved in more ways than just the professional one.

"So, that is why you suddenly left the structure."

Kennen nodded in approval. "Yes, but there's more— she's worried there might be something going on."

"As usual."

The smallest of the two beckoned Shen to continue the talk in the latter's private room— The man did not quite believe this to be necessary, at all, after all, all that Akali did was usually speculate on the Noxians. So, it wouldn't be a crime for them to talk openly about it in the halls, but he decided to play along and follow him in the room, as they made sure the door shut properly before Shen folded his arms over his chest and stared at him.

It was a dark room, honestly, because of the time, but the abundant use of wood was quite visible, still, it looked like a normal room; if it weren't for the multiple glasses that served as barriers for several weapons and books. There was also a little sack to work as a bed and a wooden table off to the side, and then, a square entrance that led to the balcony outside and served as the only source of light in the room.

"What is this all about?"

Again, the lightning warrior did not quite know how to openly speak to the mentor of the Kinkou Order in regards to what Akali had earlier informed him. Therefore, his next action was simply to take the drawing that the woman had handed him earlier and passed it to Shen.

The Eye of Twilight silently brushed his fingers against the paper, as his spiritual sight did indeed recognize the woman's touch and leftovers of her Chi. "I see," - he stated before he began to push the several layers of paper apart until the full picture of the drawing was clear to him.

A picture that was familiar with him and had him deadpanned for more than just a moment.

It was… revealing, to say the least.

"Where did she get this?"

Kennen gulped at his reaction but replied regardless. "A Noxian explorer— apparently it's not the first time she's found one of those…"

Shen shut his eyes and walked away, off towards the starred sky's light. He knew about that drawing— or rather, the gem that was pictured on the paper. Although it was minimal information, the man believed he could never be mistaken on something like this and such was concerning.

"That is the Jade Dragon's Gem. It possesses great magical power that some believe used to hold Ionia together— or others believe it was actually the soul of a dragon sealed within a stone. Either way, though, if the Noxians are looking for it, they mean to use it against Ionia."

Kennen was unsure what to think about this, but, he listened and faithfully believed in his Master's words. But still, this arose a question in his mind.

"What will we do, then, Shen?"

Shen inhaled and silently took a moment to think it through.

"Where's Akali?"

"I… don't know. I don't think she really wants to even look at you."

The Eye of Twilight sighed and looked off into the distance of nature's beauty as his eyes were no longer glowing, for just a slight moment. "Figures," - he said before his orbs once more sparked out an immense light.

"Then, we will set out to find the gem and secure it.— Kennen."

The brown-haired yordle stood to attention as he heard his 'real' name, and not his title for once called out by Shen.

"Y-yes?"

"Make sure to sort out a meeting with the Blade Dancer. Tonight. I must speak with her."

Chapter Text

It was late.

Extraordinarily, to say the least. But yet, it did not make it any worse, for the sight at the Placidium of Navori was beautiful, as always. But were they, in times of war? Among the dead, the ones who fought not for their lives but Ionia's peace: such as Irelia, a veteran of the conflict— she led the Ionians in the darkest moments of the war, going as far as winning the battle and besting her desires of vengeance.

But, could revenge satisfy a person's thirst when they had lost everything, already? Just at the beginning of those cycles, she could still remember her gracious home, that was once house to her siblings and the most cunning dancer of them all, that was her mother; the one who taught her how to spin on toes of silk, for all of her arts came from such elderly and loved person.

No longer was she among them, though. The Noxians had stolen her family from her, and yet, even after taking the lives of those who dared to invade her home… after winning their land back, she could still feel the sadness of her lost ones, prying upon her soul. It was not for an undead desire of vengeance, but rather, sadness; for she was no longer the pure and bright child she once used to be— no longer could she keep her blades clean, without a trace of blood, nowadays, even Ionian blood, to taint them.

The Brotherhood and plenty of other kinsmen were now at haste.

This was no longer the Ionia she once lived in, for all had changed.

Atop of the chain of mountains that was the majestic Placidium, Irelia rested on the highest edge that the terrain could provide and sat on a bench made out of what looked like to be fine and old wood, that no matter the age, could still sustain a certain weight. She sat and absently observed until he showed up.

The ninja in blue that walked the last steps until he finally arrived on top of the Placidium and was welcomed by those two, ancient structures that used to hold wide classes and performances of dances and several other arts of Ionia— both for entertainment and self-discipline. Now, it was only about the latter.

However, the man did not seem to quite grasp such nostalgic memories but rather simply walked in the middle of such images as a stranger. He was an entity out of any kind of personal affair— he had nothing to do with any of this, but rather, he was simply doing his duty.

Irelia breathed out, heavily, almost as if she was suppressing her anger, but soon she pushed herself up to her feet and turned around to face the individual with a glare.

"Do you have any idea of how late it is?!"

Shen blinked with no haste and simply looked down, almost as if he tried to tell the difference between the light of the moon and the shadows— and their respective locations.

"Two in the morning, approximately."

Irelia's angry expression didn't seem to be giving the man a break, otherwise, she only puffed her cheeks a little bit at his attitude; he was always so cold and distant, it was honestly annoying to even try and initiate a conversation with him.

"You're as characteristically non-verbal as usual— good job."

Likewise, Shen didn't seem anywhere close to a human reaction as his bright eyes simply fixated at the woman before he nodded his head.

"That means I am doing my duty. Thank you."

Once more, the other part, the former resistance leader was honestly baffled to see just how non-caring the ninja could be at others' comments— people did not just call him 'true neutral' for no reason. He really was like that; but unfortunately, as much, as maybe he would have been a great asset to Ionia, she couldn't help but feel like he was wasted.

He was wasting his powers.

She did not hate him, but did not agree with all on his philosophy: she was plenty sure that if only he had participated in the war in a 'seriously active' role instead of doing his own thing, plenty of Ionian blood would have not been shed. They did have a little bit of story together; she could still remember the day she went to his 'camps', as he was busy re-creating the Kinkou Order— she requested his entire alliance's help.

The images of him standing still, with his arms tied to his back— he inspected her briefly, but with little care in his eyes before he sentenced her to solitude in her cause: 'No.'. That was the only answer she would have gotten if she hadn't only inquired. She was shocked and stared at him in awe, nor was she lonely in this, though, as a young apprentice also glared at her Master, clearly enticing them to join the battle.

Yet, little did the two girls get from insisting other than the ninja's answer: 'When a stream clashes against another, without prevailing in the great sea we swim in— as long as neither side overpowers the other, then all is perfectly balanced. As all things should be. The Kinkou has no reason to fight.'

And with that, ended any kind of hope and regard Irelia could have had for the Ninja Order.

She did hear he had made a pact with a renowned name in the lands, 'Zed', not to make things worse by fighting during the war— yet, this meant little to her, as the ninja who stood in the light, decided not to assist his people.

"Do you even know what happened here?"

Irelia decided to question Shen before he could even explain his case. The man held very little interest in what happened on the Placidium, honestly, but to be earnest with her, he decided to cope with her and… slowly took gentle steps as his eyes wandered in the whereabouts.

"Physical harm, cries, pain, death. The spirits here still suffer."

The Eye of Twilight was heavily connected to the ethereal realm— one that was not allowed to step into by just every single mortal; in the end, he was a ghost to all mankind. A trait, a power that he had decided to take the moment his father, Kusho, had been killed by the hands of his former brother and left him with no choice but to continue his legacy.

But he did it proudly.

His eyes could see things that not just any human could— there was indeed something beyond the connection to magic that Vastayan had which couldn't even get close to the spiritual focus that Shen possessed.

Although, with great power comes great responsibility… and the latter stripped the man of his humanity.

The woman boasted in anger at this remark, "Then why didn't you help us?!" — with one final sigh, Shen shut his eyes and slowly made his way to stand by Irelia's side, but for her to only face his shoulders. It was indeed painful for one to hear and see the things he could, but, when the Kinkou counted on him, he had very little options but to continue. It was a pain that most men couldn't deal with if they had been entrusted with the responsibility to lead the Order— at times, he did meditate on his leadership and wondered if he was indeed worthy.

But, every time, his greatest solution was to enclose himself in a shell.

Little to say, he was great at doing that.

Irelia had plenty of reasons to be angry at Shen, for it was like to speak at someone who simply ignored the most obvious problems— the very same issues that tormented her every night. She couldn't sleep well, for she remembered all the people she had seen dying… and her family's disappointment. Their thoughts, their concerns, all of them narrowed the woman's focus at times but yet, she had to keep fighting against her will, for her people.

Even if, at times, she wished she could dance one more time for her own enjoyment.

"What? Not throwing out your poetic stuff at me now? Do you think… believe that you're the only person in this world that has ever suffered— that has seen things, that could not act when needed? I 'have seen' the people of my home die," - she commented briefly as a strange beat in her chest began to take place; it was not the rhythm of his dances, but rather, the rumbles of a crying heart. "I… miss my family, every day. I could not even talk— no, let my eyes say goodbye once more because," - her voice began to waver, as if her emotions that she had suppressed so long were finally about to break her, but she resisted, although her orbs were now shiny in the night— they were watering, yet, she continued to fight, even something as minor as this, she didn't want to cry.

"I am sorry, Blade Dancer."

The masked man cut her from speaking any further, in his calmness, he decided to be a stepping stone, at least for the moment. Certainly, though, these were her problems and Shen had no saying in this. All of himself was dedicated to the order and the preservation of balance, and even now, allowing her to quiet down her inner storm would have allowed him to restore balance, even something as minor as this.

"We do not get to choose our time. Future flies by and changes in all shades; light and dark. For either or prevailed, it would be the end. Peace is not possible. Ionia could preserve such strength for so long because of its magic and the Vastayan could keep it together with their diversity. It all began to crumble decades ago when humans settled here. Ever so slightly, connection to magic had begun to weaken until equilibrium restored itself in the great scheme of things. It was inevitable. It is destiny. That is my duty— to ensure our story, already written, is not shattered."

In the middle of his speech, Irelia believed it to be better for her to sit down and mourn, silently, the losses and… for someone else not to see her. She had always kept her sharpness and all, and now, that nobody could see her but the ninja, even there, she wanted not him to see the great Xan Irelia like this.

"But, you do understand me Shen... don't you?"

"I do," - was the only answer he gave, but behind two words, images of his father hid. He was long not a youngling back then, but a young adult who was serving his duty, until he felt a sensation that was no simply goosebump; it crept on him slowly until it began to tighten the grip on his shoulders. It was slowly killing him, but at the same time, it hurried him to run back to his monastery— only to find it destroyed.

Many of his comrades were dead.

But among all of them, was his father. A sight he would never forget for years to come.

The hatred Irelia felt for Noxus, he did for Zed. But, again, Shen let not his emotions take the best of him and instead, accomplished what his father desired and continued his duty. Similarly to how Irelia fought for Ionia, Shen did for the Kinkou; both were more similar than they thought.

"If you could feel what I did, how could you shut me down that time… We are both humans, Shen… and your gifted powers could have made a difference."

Shen let his eyes see once more and looked up at the sky, in wonder, or perhaps, he tried to phrase it as best as he could and observed the stars for inspiration.

"You are. I am not. I gave up on my humanity the day I became the Eye of Twilight. It is not just an honorary title— nor is it a gift. It's a curse, an oath you give to preserve your duty. If I were not to respect it, I would lose myself."

With these last words, Shen exclaimed a reality that was greater than both of them, but not one that was easily realizable, not from Irelia's part at least.

"That's not fair."

"It is not up to us."

Silence followed between the two. Kind of. Irelia proceeded to wipe the tears off her lids with her wrist, grinding her hand against her delicate skin until nothing was left of the tears but a soft redness in her eyes. She breathed, with a quick inhale of her nostrils, before she finally pulled her back up and eyed Shen.

"...What did you call me here for?"

In the meanwhile, the man in armor had initially almost forgotten his intentions behind the meeting; taken by the lines he had just exchanged with the Blade Dancer, his concerns had moved into the background until he was snapped out of the world Irelia had pulled him into and finally moved his gaze off the skies and glanced at her, anew with his mind and with the intent to introduce her to the situation.

"The gem of the Jade Dragon."

Irelia's interest had her perk up once more, her vibrant eyes making their way to face Shen's bright orbs. She blinked, in confusion, not out of amusement. For she would have never expected someone like him not to know about the gem, but rather, a loud and strong 'why' resonated in her mind.

"...What about it?"

"Noxus is looking for it."

The dark-haired woman's hand that had laid to rest on the bench as a lever closed its grip and she finally forced herself up again. "Are you sure?"

Shen nodded his head, "Several scouts have been looking for it— from each cycle passing, it seems they're narrowing down locations and whatnot given how different their maps are as time passes."

The news was worrisome, for this could spark a little more than just another conflict, and in case they would even lay their hands on the gem, who knew what they could have done with its magic. But Irelia looked… confident, almost as if there was about nothing to worry, although it did make her sweat a little.

"I… see. I will deal wi—"

"No."

Irelia widened her eyes and stared at the man in contemplation.

"We will deal with it, together," - said Shen with a quick nod of his head before he turned around and began walking off the top of the Placidium, but of course, he was nowhere about to leave but was simply preparing himself to take off. "It is a matter that interests the Kinkou, therefore, we'll also guard it."

The Blade Dancer was speechless, at first, but a faint smile quickly found its way to what earlier were sobbing lips.

"O-okay then... What is your plan?"

Shen paused for a moment before he glanced at her once more; his shoulders perhaps relieved to see her somewhat in a brighter shade than he was doing a few moments prior to his comment.

"Where is it?"

"It is," - she gulped briefly, almost as if she was sucking all of the emotions she let out at once back in her chest before she sighed. "It's… in a location that is nowhere close to any corner of this island or obvious place. It's located in a cave, behind walls made out of some of our strongest metals. It used to rest here, at the Placidium, but the elders decided to hide it as the war began. They put fire to the knowledge of any magic artifact and in the end, it had apparently gone forgotten, but if what you say it's true… then apparently not."

The man dipped his head, almost as if he was relieved to hear the news, and after that, he decided that this would be it.

"Very well then. I will come to visit you, Blade Dancer. We have plenty to talk about. Please, do make sure you bring along your forces. We will need them."

The woman did not know what to say but one quick… "Yes," - before the man cut short any sort of eye contact and faced only the way ahead of the steps that were the path down the several mountains. He could have teleported away, but Shen felt like taking a moment… meditating on what he heard from the woman.

"Good night."

Those were the ninja's departing words as he left on top of the Placidium of Navori, a tired and concerned Irelia but… somehow, talking with Shen allowed her to see him in higher regard than she did previously and hoped she could continue to do so.

Unfortunately, though, she was clueless as to which 'forces' to bring along, for she had exiled herself from the resistance itself once the war came to an end. And now, those former defenders and the Brotherhood contested the rule of the First Lands.

Yet, would anyone still follow her after her 'betrayal', as some of the Brotherhood described it?

That was to be seen.

On the other end, though, the Kinkou's leader walked down the many steps of the mountain chain; silently, without a sound, but yet, he suddenly halted mid-way, as he was greeted by a wide 'entrance' gate of silvery material. He did not seem tense, yet, there was something in the air that was disturbing… his very spirit could feel it.

"From the shadows..."

Right behind him, as Shen's eyes slowly diverted and his head followed the movement— there, he found the man that donned a shiny, yet, armor that had seen better days, with a bright red shade that flew with the wind that brushed past them… and crimson, glowing eyes.

Chapter Text

"What are you doing here?…"

In the silence of those faraway lands in the heart of Ionia, only two figures… two men could tell each other apart from the darkness that was only shyly lit by the beauty of that moon that watched the entirety of the world beneath its very own eyes. Not only would this bring misfortune, but perhaps, conflict— an ancient saying said within the Kinkou: 'rid of the shadows, find what's beyond,' — and that was what Shen strongly believed into… or rather, he made himself the figure of said statement; he was the Eye of Twilight.

However, within the years, there was only one man to rival such a title. Not in strength, power or wisdom, but rather in belief. The inversion of the Kinkou was necessary to maintain light and shadows some say, although, Shen only saw them as renegades.

Years ago, when he was still a ninja in training when he could not even reach out for his Order for he had been sent out to accomplish a task that had been rumored to be 'reserved'; an investigation in regards to the Khada. His father, at the time, believed Jhin had a plan to escape his prison. The young man was sent to assess the situation, although, with little results: nothing but hypothesis over concepts and ideas of the terror the monster had accomplished to pull in the hearts of the innocent.

But, another man… about the age of Shen had instead brought the catastrophe he had instead expected from the Khada.

When he returned… all was destroyed. The Order had fallen— the ancient praxeum was no more. All his memory, the times he trained, those small moments with his father and maybe… even with his fellow ninja— they had all turned into dust.

His frustration materialized under the form of suppressed screams; he could not hold back all the pent up emotions that he had so far managed that well and now… they were unleashing against him… almost overwhelming him in the wish of vengeance against the man who did all of this; because above all, all he could see was one stemma— bestowed with pride and superiority.

Prior to this, an old friend once showed him his plans for his tunic once his ninja training would have come to an end. It was intimidating, to say the least; a three-bladed shuriken— triangular shapes were sculptured in the bodies of each three razors… and a dirty gold pyramid built within the center of the weapon. At the corners of the shuriken laid a circular idiom, with a tail that slowly bent into the shuriken's sharp threads and faded into a void opacity as it touched the metal.

The features of Shen's expression tightened— they had become stone rigid as he pressed his teeth fiercely against each other until his frustration topped off and released in the form of an acute cry as his form fell to his knees, his fists engraving the ground beneath him with their form. His throat struggled, although he attempted with all of his strength to curse the name of his former brother… his voice was frail, his sobs were loud and disturbed the deadly silence of the now destroyed temple.

"S-shen?"

The vengeance in his eyes that had overwhelmed him suddenly came to a halt, its flowing stopped by the tiny voice that called his name. Soon, the man rose his gaze only to meet the scared eyes of a child with a ponytail that gave birth to several spiky hair locks.

"Akali… you're alive."

The scared child stuttered at first, but she was also quick to latch onto Shen as the latter rose with his chest as he simply sat up with his knees on the ground— Akali tossed herself into Shen's embrace and burst into tears as the mouth-masked man simply stared in awe at first, then… his eyes that were earlier filled with hatred began to clear— slowly he came to the realization; he needed to become a pillar.

For Akali. For everyone.

That night. The moment Shen spoke once more, his eyes could only narrow in silence as the only audible noise would be the crickets, but the tiny creatures themselves suddenly shut within themselves in fear of the odd vibrations they were picking off the two individuals.

"How loving you are to your good old brother, Shen."

The ninja that adorned blue and violet; he could not stand this talk, honestly. Not even his voice. It had been so long and yet, he could not forgive him for what he had done— he had crushed the living greatness of the Order and killed his father.

"I do not have a brother. Not anymore."

Shades of red that adorned his chest could turn visible by the moonlight as Zed stepped forth and lowered his skull. "And you have not changed, I see," - he mentioned briefly before the crimson orbs behind his mask glowed with a certain intensity. "Yet, you're keeping secrets from me, Shen, aren't you now? I thought we had made a deal."

Shen turned on his heels to face him; the Eye of Twilight was not one for smiles and friendliness most of the time, but this time, one could tell he was not simply being stoic; he was disgusted. The man could not stand the figure of that armored bastard for one full minute.

"We made a truce. I have never mentioned an alliance. Nor would I agree. And after all, you did listen— didn't you? So you already know what's at stake."

The other ninja snarled and folded his arms over his chest. "I do," - he responded with aggression in his tone. "Which is why I am going to take matters in my hands. Unlike you and that girl, I will accomplish what it takes."

Shen put his foot forth and glared from beneath his mask. "Don't dare get your filthy hands on the gem, Zed!" - exclaimed the man with just as much aggressivity in his voice; the thought alone of the ninja dwindling with the chance of coming in possession of the artifact was twisted.

The crimson ninja's steel mask remained still before it followed his body motions, slowly lowering as shadows began to cover the surface that was once lit by the moonlight.

"Else what will you do, Shen?"

Emptiness filled the air for moments that felt like hours— neither spoke nor moved. Until Shen's sight became no more; he faded out of reality's fabric itself. Zed suddenly braced himself for what was to come, until he realized the ninja stood behind him… with his physical blade peeled out of its sheet and that aimed for his throat.

"Nothing personal, Zed," - mentioned Shen. "Then again, though," - silently he continued before the blade ran through the fellow ninja's throat but with little results, as the dark afterimage of Zed layered itself in the fabric of his forbidden shadows. "Of course."

The ninja's senses began to pick off as he perceived a movement in the air that began to rise under the form of small, but quick winds— three dark figures aimed to clash against the ninja, each covering the apex of a triangle. The Eye of Twilight slid his foot against the ground as debris and dust had arisen from said strength having confronted the grass beneath and soon, lit in a mystical light that surrounded Shen as all three shadows quickly withered in its presence.

"The real you… is over there!"

Shen brought his fist close to his chest, with his blade aiming the direction he had been facing since he had parried the Master of Shadows' assault and quickly launched his arm forth as he tossed the blade the moment Zed's physical form emerged from a cloud of darkness— the latter's eyes widened beneath his mask as he watched the blade dangerously come to strike him, but to no avail, as Zed pulled out a shuriken and simply hung it in the air… and with only the aid of his index finger that he swiftly clashed downwards with the blades of the shuriken; he made it spin and unleashed a circular motion as the Eye of Twilight's flying blade flew in his adversary's opponent; right in the hole located in the middle, as the blade was caught by its motion and spun together with the shuriken in mid-air.

Shen frowned and remained paralyzed for a few moments as he watched the spectacle of how elegantly and effortless Zed blocked his attack.

"You have improved. You bastard."

The crimson warrior ended the ever so slowing motion as he took hold of the blade, as the shuriken now hung by its blade.

"I have had my chances to train against a pair of intruders in my works recently. At first, I thought you had sent them… but they were acting on their own."

The fellow ninja, but from a different Order, narrowed his eyelids but his pupils did not lose the concentration he had been building during the course of his conversation with his archenemy. He did not know a thing about what he was talking about, but the fact alone made him somewhat relieved to know there was at least somebody else to take action against Zed's actions given their truce established when the war between Noxus and Ionia reached its peak.

Admittedly, though, he was also concerned whoever this 'pair' was, could even intrude in his own affairs.

But, now, he had a greater foe and right in front of him.

Shen leaped off the ground, rising several feet off the ground as he found himself flying in Zed's way who responded with an attack of his own as he simply lowered the blade and pulled back his grasp with his arm before he launched the shuriken that used to be hanging from the tip of the blade, right at Shen, the latter did not find difficulty to simply grab the weapon in mid-air, before he twisted his dorsals, his body following the motion as he spun in mid-air, quickly making his descend on the enemy as he unleashed the momentum he had just built with a frontal attack that was still, though quickly parried by Zed.

But the man that bestowed the powers of Twilight was nowhere done, as suddenly his form lit with the same mystical light as it did previously, quickly his image disappeared and left behind a trail of particles, dashing through Zed as he shifted within reality and spirit— and now, the short-hilted blade was once more in his possession.

The Shadow Master snarled as his fist closed and eagerly turned to face his enemy once more, but not until he dropped his arms to his sides and soon to follow was a metallic noise; two shurikens bound by chains attached to his arms quickly appeared from down his wrist. His opponent, likewise, turned and faced his old brother with a glare in his flaming, azure eyes that looked within Zed's with an overwhelming, the confidence of an old friend but the sadness of somebody who could not turn back.

The weapons clashed— bright and sore sparks lit from their conflict as they quickly pulled back and once more attempted to strike at each other, but with baffling resulting that were more scenographic than anything as neither left an opening for the other.

Shen parried one shuriken and moved away to dodge the other, with his blade attempting to strike between their battle dance and instead only met the resolution of the antagonizing ninja— however, the neutrality of the battle came to an end the moment Zed intertwined both his arms and wrapped the chains of the shurikens around the blade that Shen held onto, locking him for a brief moment.

The assassin chuckled softly beneath his mask at the sight of said success. "And now!" - the exclamation was followed by a series of dark movements that flew from the figure of Zed himself as shadows began to circle Shen.

The 'blue ninja' to Zed's crimson scoffed loudly under his mask as he did not cease his brute attempts to pull the weapon out of the hold, but quickly acknowledged the danger he had just put himself into— there was no time to run away.

Each of the shadows adorned themselves with shuriken— and every single one of them struck in perfect synchronization as they launched their sharp weapons at Shen. The latter quickly lifted his index and middle finger, while his thumb touched the ring finger. An entire mat of glowing hope in the form of a stunning light circled Shen all of a sudden, as all of the deadly weapons were blown and deflected away. His eyes had never been as bright as he wasted a good amount of energy to create a barrier powerful enough to resist his spiritually enhanced weapons.

Zed growled audibly and instead let go of the grasp he had caught onto his foe and recalled each of the shadows within himself as he leaped far away from Shen, who instead, straightened his posture and took a deep breath as the light from his eyes burned softer than earlier— picturing the effort he had just put, but at the same time, the fire in his pupils quickly began increasing once more— he was regenerating energy at a monstrous rate.

"You have always been like this, Shen. You'd never show off your might… because that is how you play with your foes. You let them think you are the prey— until it is too late for them to run away. I respect it. But that is also why we are so different… I'd rather kill them in a heartbeat."

The man that respected balance silently breathed out at such statements; neither did he acknowledge nor deny them. But yet, in the intensity of the battle, his heart had also begun to beat faster— his mind was unclear yet precise in his intentions… this was a battle between rivals. Because simply put, Zed felt that same rush and excitement as him, but yet, without losing his goals.

An acute noise suddenly exhilarated from the Master of Shadows' braces, revealing two hidden blades as the owner put his foot and chest forth, ready once more to strike as streams of narrow darkness began to engulf him.

"Prepare to join Kusho...Shen!"

The aforesaid frowned from behind his mask, provoked but yet untouched by such mention as he reached out for his back and unholstered another blade— a lucent azure and flaming sword. He put his right foot back, while he flexed the other and raised his index and middle finger to aim at Zed, while he rested the sword horizontally above his head, with his arm pulled back.

"May my father forgive me for what I am about to do. But, this will be your end, Zed."

Shen knew exactly that if his spirit blade were to penetrate through his essence, Zed would have been no more… and his physical body void of any life. No matter what was about to unfold; if he didn't lose sight of his actions back then… he was firm on this decision now— and regardless of any truce signed. If Zed were to get anywhere close to the Jade Dragon's stone, it would have been the end for the Kinkou. He was sure of it.

And so, they roared… and ran against one another.

"SHEN!"

"ZED!"

In that instant, where seconds turned into mere days or even longer— the two were only guided by their hearts. Their souls screamed for the other to perish and themselves to survive and finally be free of their rival. Finally, they were going to break that bond that had formed when they were kids… and only strengthened with hatred after Zed's massacre of his former family.

The two carried on their assaults and when they were close enough for one to finish the other— that was when all turned not white, but rather grey, as scoffs were forced out of both's throats; it was smoke.

"What the…"

Zed mumbled under his breath until his vision became clear and the fume cleared, only to reveal a third individual who had just joined them; she was dressed in green and only her lips were masked by a piece of cloth while the anger in both eyes was quite palpable and the sight of her hair only relieved but also tormented Shen.

"Akali…!"

The latter stated at her sight, as the woman's stance was wide and both her arms blocked either of their assaults, as she grasped their fists with hers and locked them from coming any closer to each other. The two trembled at first, in the attempt to overcome said strength, but both quickly surrendered and pulled away. Truly, they could have just ignored her and continued if it came to Zed, but Shen was now distracted… as his eyes turned pale and no light could even be found deep in his orbs.

Zed clicked his tongue as he turned away but not without one final warning: "I will be back."

And then, he disappeared in the night like a shadow that followed the motion of the moon that would ever so gently move far away and no longer offer its illumination as the area became dark.

Only Shen and Akali were left as both gazed into each other briefly. Shen was… confused. Not only did the fight put him off track, but now his old apprentice also showed off once more and… well, he realized just to what lengths his hatred for the assassin had pushed him and felt shameful to even stare at Akali, at the moment.

"You are different, Shen. With me, right now. Your connection to the spirit realm is weak," - she passed her nervousness and instead conversed with the man briefly, as her eyelids narrowed and her mask hid a tremor in her lips. "Why are you only now showing care for me? After I have left you?"

The man widened his eyes in awe as he finally realized just how quickly he had fallen for the woman's sight, even walking away from his alignment for just a few seconds— and it was unacceptable. Shen shut his eyes once more and slowly, the corners of his eyelids began glowing once more… as his focus was now restored as he looked at Akali again, who was now frustrated and evidently angered to see Shen hiding behind what she always defined as 'bullshit'.

"What are you doing here?"

"What were YOU doing here? You were actually picking a fight with Zed when Ionia needs you two to work together?"

Her remarks hurt Shen because she was right, his eyes only gently snapped and the lids trembled briefly beneath his mask. The thought of how truthful that statement was… it was crushing, to say the least.

"You know better than anyone that I can not work alongside him. We both try and pick a fight with each other… it's helpless."

Akali rolled her eyes and folded her arms beneath her chest, showing off whatever bit of womanhood she had aside from her intimidating and deadly figure. "No wonder I can not stand you two," - mentioned the girl before she finally decided to spill the beans. "I was looking for Irelia. They told me she had come here to meet you. Looks like I arrived just in time before you two killed each other," - once more her statement proved herself to be the most righteous between the two, yet, not always such sentiments were highly rewarded— she narrowed her eyes further, her posture rigid at the sensation of a stinging pain; she closed her fists, but not out of anger or pain, but rather, to hide the blood that was painting both her palms.

Shen, regardless of such an attempt, noticed and grew worried, as any teacher and caring person would— "Akali, you…"

"Don't."

The man held his breath as he was interrupted and his mind screamed to lend aid and express himself and what he felt at the moment, but he knew better than that, as instead he softly exhaled from his mouth and nodded.

"So? What did you and Irelia talk about?"

The other remained silent for a brief moment until he inhaled and filled his lungs with enough air… and himself with patience to ignore any and all, and instead, simply respond to her question.

"It's an artifact. One we can not let Noxus take, otherwise, we might truly be in for annihilation— or something close to that, at least. We have decided to meet at a later date for the details."

Akali limited herself to a nod until she looked up at the sky— she just needed to look away from her master, for a few last moments before she would leave. "Okay. Tell Kennen about it. He will hit me up."

"I will."

The woman once more glanced at him with a small and doubtful nod.

"Take care, Shen."

Smoke once more arose from nothing, but this time, it had little impact on Shen rather than simply pushing his tunic farther behind him because of the strong winds— he stared… silently. Both regret and frustration were brewing inside the furnace of his heart, but yet, he needed to stay strong.

He once decided to become the Eye of Twilight for both Akali and any other survivor of the Order.

That was why he could not turn back anymore. The Order needed him.

The man softly pronounced a chant, as his hands performed a specific amount of seals as his aura was no longer azure but rather purple… and then, he was gone.

The wilderness of the Placidium was once more silent— and so was Ionia, in its beautiful night. But, the trio of ninja had not been the only individuals to wander its forests at such a time.

A chase was on— and the duo fought, to see who would prevail over the other.

Chapter Text

As blades and conflict struck together, rivaling each other’s feelings and sentiments nearby the complexity of the Placidium itself— the Ionian forest lived on. What a beauty, to believe that, regardless of the conflict that had been taking place between two powerful Masters, the majority of its forests could still peacefully rest in the tranquil call of its magic serenity. However, it was also true that just by afar, a few animals had also picked up on the chaotic sensations, which, nevertheless eventually ceased as the battle came to an end.

But, by no means did the wilderness halt its neverending motion. Somewhere, far away yet, still residing on the same land of Ionia were a pair of figures— at first, they were difficult to tell apart because of their extraordinary velocity and ferocious manner, as each chased the other in what looked more like a hunt.

Leaves were spread, debris arose from the feet that stomped the feet and soon, the race continued on top of trees as the two clung and leaped from one tree to the other in the hope to escape from their hunter. The victim, seemingly a curvy feminine figure giggled underneath her breath as she gently let her feet brush against the air itself, moving from one branch to the other— a feline touch to her motions in mid-air while she attempted to escape the strongest looking figure between the two.

“Damn it— she’s fast!

However, his expression brightened at the solution that seemingly hit him shortly, as he reached out for a holstered weapon that hung behind his back— a staff as he pulled it out of its cover and smacked it simply against the surface of the tree itself, before the staff began extending and dragged the man along, as he simply caught back at an impressive speed with the nine-tailed feline who suddenly found herself, as she soon glanced over her shoulder, facing the incoming danger.

The former simply smacked his way through and glomped her down as he got rid of his grip of the weapon and fell over, together with the woman, down to the ground as their forms rolled again and again— both of them gasped and emitted faint noises as they felt their skin scratch the dirt but soon, they finally came to a stop as they hit a tree— or to be precise, the man did as he met the trunk with his back while the woman landed against his torso, as he found himself temporarily out of air and crushed like a sandwich.

He wasn’t just any man, though.

The woman finally backed away a few moments later with an amused smirk but wide eyes that suggested a certain concern for what had just unfolded.

“O—oh! Hahaha… My, are you okay, Wu?”

He snorted. His head had initially just rested to hang forward before he finally decided to gather himself together once more. He was a Vastayan, to be precise, a Shimon; one dressed in full war attire— a crimson armor with golden and silver palettes that shined brightly against the moon’s brightness, and yet again, he wasn’t the only colorful one of the pair.

The other was a mature-looking, yet energetic woman whose face was adorned by whiskers and her bright orbs were simply too captivating not to stare at— yet, though, her dress; of a bloody, lit red and white that simply astonished at the sight of the moonlight.

“What? Of course I am okay! Don’t forget who you’re addressing, fox!” - exclaimed the man jokingly with a smirk and the receiver of such attention rolled her eyes with a sharp smile, all the way to the side before she finally looked at him once more.

“Huh-uh, right. The Monkey King~ how come his majesty took so long to catch me? You even had to use your staff.”

Ahri chuckled and gladly teased him as the last of her statement was spoken with a soft murmur of her vocal cords, producing a quiet yet what some would believe almost to be taunting whisper as she eyed him intensely which earned the man’s embarrassment as he folded his arms over his chest and broke eye contact, looking away with a grumpy expression. His brows were furrowed and his teeth showing as he left his lips spread enough to see he was clueless as to what to say next.

“S—shut up… I’ll catch you with my bare speed next time!”

Ahri winked at him subtly and brushed her fingers over her chin. “Sure you are, hehe~

The monkey snarked softly and planted his staff into the ground, as the weapon extended and made its way against a pair of ovals— to be precise, fruit as he tossed one over to Ahri, whom, unexpectantly but not amused immediately came to catch it with her hands and smiled.

The two sat, finally, and simply reminisced together in their friendly chatter.

“It’s weird,” - mentioned the vixen which earned a confused gaze from her friend. “Huh? What’s weird?” - and obviously received a questioning response, as Ahri had suddenly cut off on their conversation to mention something out of the context while they enjoyed their fresh fruit.

“Just months ago, at this hour of the night, I’d be hunting souls in the inns of any town. No matter what kind; taverns, cantinas or worse. We might be the odd ones enjoying ourselves at this time, but even men tend to let go and lay waste in the worst kind. Instead… I am here, playing with you— talking with you even. It’s so…

Wukong blinked during the entirety of the speech without much of a comment on it until he began calmly tapping the surface of his armor with his finger but he made himself vocal shortly enough.

“Why do you keep thinking about that, Ahri? I feel like you tell me that almost every time,” - said the Shimon, perhaps somewhat out of confusion but rather, he meant to aim a speech at her. “Y’know! It’s not like you were the only one who went rampage— before I met my Master… I pretty much beat my way through everyone I’d meet. Sure, I didn’t eat their souls but hey! I pounded it out of them,” - he exclaimed proudly with a wide smirk as he eyed her.

Ahri chuckled softly and proceeded to take a small bite from the fruit while she simply stared at the moon.

It was a time located somewhere between the break of winter and spring that Ahri had been on a particular scent; one of a man that truly felt deep inside, but it wasn’t a matter of whether or not it was love but rather powerful emotions that felt subdued somewhat. And of course, the nine-tailed fox’s interest was to steal and understanding such complicated cases. She had hunted left and right, but regardless, by the moment the trail had only come narrow and was about to finally led her to a sore man… that was when she met Wukong.

He was exercising.

She tried not to mind him too much, honestly.

It wasn’t like she hadn’t ever seen a Shimon before. It just wasn’t common to her knowledge that one would be hanging out of their village. They were an isolated community that possessed very little power, which was why they tried ever not to leave the ‘pack’, for their strength came from unity.

But, regardless, he was the first to approach with not… a rigid expression, but rather, mildly concerned. Almost as if he could tell there was something off from her, but he could not quite tell what, honestly. Not to mention that no one would ever venture so far in the wilderness, not even Vastayans.

“Who… are you?”

Ahri stuttered at first, as she had expected to simply pass by some bushes and instead froze on spot, slowly turning over to face the monkey with the weirdest expression. Her dark blue hair almost covered most of her visage except for her whiskers; he quickly recognized her as a fellow magical individual, but regardless it didn’t seem to make the whole matter any different to him.

The fox at first decided to remain silent until she turned and formed a soft smirk and launched a wink towards the monkey man.

“I am Ahri, sweetheart~

Wukong blinked as he tilted his head somewhat to the side, his eyes were narrow and somewhat unamused of the nickname he had just been giving. “That’s… gross,” - said the ape, in an evident rush of sugar in his blood as he pretty much felt disgusted by that nickname.

Ahri’s confidence soon turned into surprise; how could there be a man, whether human or not, who resisted her charms, after all?

Of course, unless…—he was into other guys!

The woman giggled softly, nodding her head somewhat as she felt somewhat more inclined to entertain herself with the stranger.

And that was about it.

They had met that one time.

Yet, Ahri’s hunt was set to continue in the later days as she had finally tracked down the scent to a man who was currently escorting a caravan on the road ahead. He was armored and had… an odd headset of goggles, which weirded her out somewhat, but she could feel him: those emotions were so grand and simply irresistible for Ahri not to devour.

She lunged from the depth of a bush, with energy spiraling in a circle— almost as if it formed an aura around her, aiming for the man’s life. She had seemingly succeeded if it weren’t, not for the man, who had indeed acknowledged her even if he dared not to react, but rather, her motion came to a halt the moment she felt crushed by the strength of a wall; the latter’s image became clear as moments passed and she finally elaborated: that same Monkey Man had gotten in the way of her hurting the man.

The woman passed away and glared angrily towards the pair.

“Master! Are you okay?”

Yi hummed softly as he turned and finally eyed the hunter herself with certain disbelief at what he had expected from such as assassination attempt.

“Yes. I am fine, Wukong. How odd, though. To think that such a pretty lady would be after us. I suppose we do not get to judge the other, though.”

The monkey didn’t exactly get it all that much, but either way, he pretty much returned the fierce expression towards the fox. “I know her,” - mentioned the man as Yi pretty much eyed the apprentice with newfound interest.

“I met her some days ago. She seemed like a fine person, but now I get it— she’s just a scoundrel or some kind of spy!”

Ahri cleared her throat as she held her closed fist ahead of her lips, her eyes shut briefly before he squinted her eyes at Wukong. “I am right here, you know? And I do not care what you guys are up to… I just want the man.”

Her last statement ended with a fixating gaze over Yi who remained silent and simply tried to measure Ahri with his judgment, but yet he came to step forward, only halted by Wukong who put his hand forth.

“I’ll deal with her, Master.”

“No, you won’t!”

Ahri responded quickly at his own proposal as she came, dashing forward with her transparent aura again, but this time, she quickly tossed her limbs forth to launch blasts made out of energy. Wukong quickly planted the staff onto the ground until he shoved it off the dirt and quickly spun the weapon, deflecting each orb away— he soon elevated above the ground with a cloud and instead, aimed to jump onto the woman, but with little to no avail, for his expression suddenly turned into one of soreness as his form stayed still in mid-air; and he felt the intense flames of inferno all over his back.

The spheres he had earlier deflected also came back towards the user and, so, most specifically passed through Wukong as they roasted his back. He lost his balance and quickly fell over, rolling onto the ground as debris was lifted but nevertheless he forced himself back to his feet, yet only merely kneeling while Ahri was already ready to unleash her powerful blasts once more at him.

However. Doran’s Staff suddenly grew in length by its top and quickly connected with Ahri, with only the faintest of smirks coming from its wielder. Soon again, the transformation ‘cancelled itself’ as the weapon returned to normal and the monkey spun the staff in a wide attack, which once more simply hit Ahri who groaned at her struggle, before being quickly locked in a dead-end combo; the warrior’s staff began growing and lowering in size as it continued to hit, following the monkey’s swings in direction and alike until he stabbed the ground with his staff and began lifting off the ground, while the staff became longer… and longer.

Until he loosened the grip and let himself drop over Ahri; he was aiming to take her down with the full power of his closed fist.

One detail had come missing at this point, though. The woman was only showing one tail, almost making herself look like a cat— but it wasn’t long until, overwhelmed by the incoming assault, she let herself loose as well and caused all her tails to sway and wag uncontrollably.

Wukong deadpanned as he was now in close distance, but soon he instead began to howl in a crude, ape-like manner as he was taken away and grabbed by one of her tails that had latched onto his arm and tossed him aside.

The beauty and grace that was Ahri’s form began spinning, as a series of deadly energy orbs emerged and went straight for Wukong’s way— as they blew up without much of a response from Wukong’s part. Not even pain.

Believed him to have been dealt with, Ahri formed a full-out grin as she finally dashed straight for Master Yi whom, unbeknown to what he had just sighted, looked pretty calm.

That was because, the moment Ahri could even hope to lay her fingers on Yi, was when she was suddenly smacked up in the air, helpless and with a soon to come pain that had not yet been elaborated by her nerves at the time; it felt a tornado was currently spinning her in any possible direction until the force was so strong that she was knocked far out away, creating a path in the dirt until her fall came to an end.

Wukong had appeared all of a sudden to defend his Master.

She looked back to eye the smoke that had cleared from her earlier attack… only to see a second Wukong— that suddenly faded away in a… gas explosion fashion? It felt somewhat comedic, perhaps made on purpose by the user himself.

Either way, there was no denying that he had played her good.

She wanted to stand up and fight, but she soon found Wukong— standing right ahead of her, who was instead laying down, painful and with her sore expression that looked up to him in defeat.

“I… give up. I lose.

Wukong clicked his tongue before he just proudly stood his ground over Ahri and smirked.

“Of course. I am the Monkey King, after all. You were no match, to begin with— Anyway,” - he soon disrupted his arrogant and, to Ahri, annoying and somewhat silly speech to soon turn to his unamused master who still watched with a faint smile on his lips. “So, what do we do with her?”

The man soon brought a hand up to his vise and began stroking his long mustache, evidently pondering on the fate of the helpless girl that looked between them with either anger or frustration.

“Well. She is indeed the nine-tailed fox I had been hearing about lately. How about we take her home? She looks like she could use a refresher.”

Both the Vastayans set their gaze on the human as if he had just lost a few gears in the head, and as much as Wukong was about to argue, he was soon met with the— not noticeable but yet imposing gaze of his Master, against which, he couldn’t do much against.

He rolled his eyes and nodded his head.

“Alright.”

And that was the beginning of it, for her.

Despite the constant risk and danger Yi put himself through, knowing the vixen’s intention, he reached out to her and eventually befriended her and… perhaps, made her realize something— or to be precise, Wukong did.

For he made her feel human.

Happily, the two finally strolled away from that night’s time, back to the present, yeah, now both were on their way to Master Yi’s traditional household made out of two floors and entirely carved of wood, donned in an ancient Chinese style.

The armored man was waiting for them at the door, literally, as the sunshine brightly bestowed its beautiful light upon Ionia. “Ah, it seems I was right,” - he said with a smile on his face.

“Heya, Master!”

Ahri, likewise, nodded her head in greeting with a faint smile as both finally approached and were greeted by a bow of the skull coming from the older man.

“Good. I was looking for you both. It’s quite urgent, too.

Such a statement left both the ‘youngsters’, at least they were if compared to Yi— somewhat puzzled and perhaps concerned. Wukong, as far as he could remember, had never been greeted and faced so suddenly with an emergency.

“What’s the matter, Master? Did they ask for our help or something?”

Yi sighed and proceeded to browse through the contents of a drawer as the trio walked inside the house. “Somewhat,” - he admitted while Ahri tilted her head. “That doesn’t explain much. What happened?”

The man finally ‘hit the jackpot’ as he pulled out a fresh, new letter that he soon handed towards the two.

“Xan Irelia is requesting our presence for a meeting. We are possibly at the brink of another war.”