46 Aftermath

[3rd POV]

Master Rhino remained on the ground even after Tai Lung had disappeared from sight. He sighed and shook his head while he digested what Tai Lung had said and done to him.

"The guy does not hold back does he?" He said to himself while chuckling. He slowly pushed himself up from the ground and got back to his feet.

Maybe he needed that humbling. He had indeed gotten prideful of his own achievements and position in the passing years. That'd happen to anyone when you are the leader of the Kung Fu Council where the greatest masters in China worked under you and also have the greatest city under your rule.

All of these had almost made him forget the ultimate truth of this world. That is individual strength reigned supreme.

His influence, his rule and his prestige were nothing in front of overwhelming strength. The fact that Tai Lung had just walked all over his pride and got away scot-free was proof of this.

He went to the other masters one by one and checked on their condition. They were all fine, no one was on death's door although some were beaten pretty badly.

He undid the nerve attacks Tai Lung had left behind but even after they were free, no one moved. They prefer remaining on the ground for a while, sulking in their defeat.

Master Rhino laughed, "You better get used to it now that he's back."

He found it funny that once Tai Lung terrorised his generation and now he is back, after 20 years and still looking not a day old, to terrorize the new generation.

"You almost sound happy to have him back." A voice came from behind Master Rhino and when he looked back, he saw the Monkey King.

He was also battered up pretty badly, but Master Rhino had seen him in worse states before.

"You chose to come back right when it's all over?" Master Rhino asked while raising his brow. His voice held a hidden amusement as if he was continuously holding back from laughing at Monkey King's current state.

"What do you want me to do? Come back to the guy that just sent me flying a mile with just a kick? No thank you, I was waiting for him to leave." Monkey King admitted with a smile.

Master Rhino shook his head, "You should've come back sooner. He was giving me the Tai Lung treatment and you missed it."

Monkey King paused and his eyes opened wide like a saucer, "Are you kidding me?"

"Nope. He told me to make sure there is humility in every step I take from now one."He said and the Monkey King started laughing.

He even started making monkey noises while slapping his knee. He wiped a tear from his eye, "You might be the only master in China who gets the Tai Lung treatment not just once but TWICE!!"

"How can someone be so unlucky?" Monkey King asked with his laughter slowly dying down. "But I guess it was needed, you were getting pretty cocky."

It was true indeed. Master Rhino's ego was hurt when he lost that badly to Tai Lung and he believed that Tai Lung won purely because he somehow attained inner peace.

So when Monkey King, who also attained inner peace finally came to Gongmen City, he thought together they would definitely be able to take Tai Lung down for good.

But there was also his anger at Tai Lung for attacking the land of his citizens. Yet it was true that if Monkey King was not here, he would not have gone after Tai Lung.

"Don't act innocent, you also called him arrogant." Master Rhino rebuked.

Monkey King sheepishly scratched his cheek, "I did, didn't I? I didn't think I would be beaten that badly in the beginning too. In fact, I thought I had a chance after achieving inner peace."

"Guess I was wrong."

"By a mile." Master Rhino added while smiling at the double meaning.

"It was your idea."

"Which you immediately agreed with because you think you can beat him."

"How long has it been since he broke out of prison?" Monkey King asked after thinking about it for a while. To be beaten so thoroughly was something he never thought was possible considering how much he had grown.

"About a year."

"I see." He did not see. "Wait, a year?!"

"A little less." Master Rhino said.

"Then that means he was always that much stronger than us. I have attained inner peace and although it gave you more enhancement and the ability to do the impossible, it is nothing much. Especially if you only had time to get used to it for a year." Monkey King said. "What a monster." He added.

"What do they feed him in prison?" Master Rhino questioned, "Do you think I should go to prison too? Try my luck in attaining inner peace or something?"

"I think its just a Tai Lung thing rather than due to his imprisonment." Monkey King said as his eyes wandered around and observed his fallen comrades.

"The others..."

"They are fine." Master Rhino said, "Strangely enough he left everyone with their life and with no permanent injuries. Of course except Ox, Tai Lung broke his horn."

"That's a minor thing. It won't affect his fighting power much other than the need to get used to his imbalance. He can make a sword or other weapons with his horn." Monkey King said while stroking his beard. He seemed a bit confused and deep in thought.

"Why did he spare us? Showing mercy is not like him, especially to those who so blatantly crossed him."

"He thinks he is good by doing so." Master Rhino said, "I think his desire to be the Dragon Warrior did not fully die down. He still wants to be the hero from what I can tell."

Monkey King scoffed, "That's funny."

"it is. You'd expect someone who attained inner peace to be more aware of their true nature. He is not the type at all, in fact, none of us are." Master Rhino said.

"Well, inner peace is simply about accepting yourself and being at peace with whatever you have happened to you in your life or what you have done. The journey of self-discovery is never-ending. The road continues on until the end of your life." Monkey King said, "Take today for example, I never knew I was this helpless against someone else."

Master Rhino thought about that for a while and in the end, just remained silent. It was good that Tai Lung at least still wanted to be the hero. It was good for everyone who came across him and the world itself.

He had never missed the old tortoise more than he did at the moment. Someone needed to keep Tai Lung in check.

At least he hoped the new Dragon Warrior would get strong enough to equal Tai Lung. If anyone had a chance, it was the warrior selected by Oogway himself.

Finally, his soldiers reached the battlefield and he ordered them to take the fallen masters back to the city while he went towards the farmland of the Wi house to check what exactly happened.

He did not find anything suspicious of course, as the fight provided enough time for Lord Shen and the Wi family to clear out any evidence.

In the end, they said that the explosion was caused by the fireworks they kept at the storage which were meant to be used for celebrating the Lantern Festival.

The Lantern Festival is celebrated in the first moon after Chinese New year and its significant to farmers because it marks the beginning of spring and the start of farming activities like planting seeds and ploughing.

Master Rhino believed that as it seems reasonable. And he had no reason to trust Tai Lung's words more than his own citizens.

In the end, he just chalked it up to a way for Tai Lung to vent his anger like he did in Mielin City. He had heard Tai Lung was not welcomed well into his city and left in a rather foul mood right after Gazelle talked to him.

He needed to do something. At least he needed to spread words about Tai Lung's strength to everyone. The old tales needed to be retold.

He'd rather not have anyone mess with Tai Lung and piss him off at the moment.

And he needed to talk with other kingdoms as well. They need to make a plan on how to neutralize Tai Lung I case he went on a rampage again and the Dragon Warriro was still too green to stop him.

They didn't have Oogway anymore so they have to find a way.

To Master Rhino, it was only a matter of time until Tai Lung turns evil and go on a rampage again. He did not believe for a moment that he was good because even Oogway said so.

Tai Lung wanted to be hero? Like the Dragon Warrior and Oogway?

What a joke.





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