Part 39: Kung Fu - Update # 10 - The Master Concludes His JourneyKung Fu Chapter, Part 10: The Master Concludes His Journey
The Master and his student approach the gates of Yi Po Men Kung Fu's school. A pair of guards stand at the doors. They obstruct the entrance and bar the Shaq Fu practitioners from entering.
: Well, I do have an appointment...
The Master turns to the guard on his left. He snatches his target's palm and wrenches, tearing the arm out of its socket. His foot smashes the other guard's leg, shattering the knee. Li blinks, and both guards are disabled.
: You didn't leave any for me, you old coot!
: I believe you will have plenty of time to get your fill...
The pair enter the school's courtyard. A Yi Po Men instructor is teaching an entire class of students. The teacher's sharp eyes do not miss the Master's intrusion. The Master and Li are swarmed by the disciples.
The Master unleashes the Old Fox's Dance, twisting the joints of his assailants. Li attacks with the Squirrel's Kick, her speed too quick against the Yi Po Men defenses. In moments, the students are dispatched and the pair turn their sights on the teacher. Li is quicker of the two, and her crane kick fells the teacher in one blow.
: So hasty...
: Hmph, that was for hogging all the fun from before!
The Master's heart feels pity. He knows that the school has captured these tigers from a young age and taught them nothing but anger, to become these twisted beasts. Though fighting them is routine, the Master slays each one out of mercy.
The Master and Li weave through the school. The building is ornate, decorated by a wealthy man. Yi Po Men students crowd every room, and the Shaq Fu fighters waste no time in defeating the opponents. The strength and technique are so poor that Li begins to question the strength of this school. After countless rooms, the Master charges headfirst into a room full of Yi Po Men's most senior teachers.
Though they prove stronger than the ordinary Yi Po Men student, they are no match for the Master's experience honed over his long life. Li too fight with unmatched fury, and the teachers are defeated. When the Master and Li reach the next room, they are stopped by a booming voice.
: I'm impressed that your little sidekick is still alive. My congratulations. Now, these people here, in contrast, are all extremely skilled. I could have them all attack you at once, but that would not be fair, would it? And I do so dislike unfair situations.
: As if! You had no problem sending a gang of these blockheads to our home!
: Ah, you refer to my small army of grunts. They are far too weak, alone, to handle any meaningful task. These here, on the other hand, are my favorites! Allow me to introduce you... The Four Brothers Xi! Of the East and West, the South and North, the Brothers Jia! Chan, Lin, and Shan, the Sisters! And the assassin, Yi Bei Kou. You'll face them, one by one! And if you can't beat them, you obviously won't be able to handle me... Now! Let's get this party started!
The Xi Brothers are the first to attack. They are little more able than the instructors the Master had previously fought, and are defeated quickly with the Old Fox's Dance. The Jia Brothers attack next. They are massive and powerful men, but slow to act. Li's speed and the Master's guile overcome them with little effort.
: Hmm... Indeed, Master. How about my favorite pretty sisters?
The sisters' skill is on another level. The Master quickly attacks with the Old Fox's Dance, but all three retaliate. The Master is overwhelmed, an a stray blow catches him. He is knocked down.
Li wastes no time in finishing the last fighter.
: Master, are you..?
: Worry not, Li. It is but a setback.
: You've waited enough, Yi Bei Kou... It's your turn!
Yi Bei Kou is a master of the assassination arts. His age is comparable to the Master himself. He unleashes a deadly technique which paralyzes Li, leaving the Master alone to fight him. The two trade blows back and forth, each combatant insightful enough to foresee the attacks of the other. Through persistence, the Master connects with the Old Fox's Dance, using a deadly version that snaps the assassin's neck.
: Meet Sou Xiu and Man Xiu! They have mastered the An Sha Quan, a type of assassination kung fu. They could even kill me! As such, I am always focused, and can never relax. This is the only way... The only way to get REAL power!!!
: Lee is all yours!
: ...B-by myself?
: He's trying to tire us out... I'm not as young as I once was. I've lost my endurance. Just remember... that technique I showed you!!
: Alrighty then!
: You...? YOU...!? Hah.. even the great Master can't beat old age, hmm? Hmhmhm... hahahahah! Bwahahahahaha!
: Who knows what's gonna happen!
: Hah... Foolish child... You asked for it!
: Sammo, Yuan! Watch me!! Shaq Fu's final technique...
: Hehehe... A pointless gesture!
: The Whirlwind Fang!
With Li's focus and rage, the table beneath her feet quakes. She summons the fury of the Shaq, drawing its speed and strength. Odi Wang Lee does not have a chance to blink before she is upon him in a torrent of blows. The final strike, a modification of her Crane Kick, shatters Odi Wang Lee's chest. He flies across the room, through his own throne, and into one of the ornate gongs before he falls to the ground. He is dead.
Li sees the Master's body on the floor, next to the bodies of Sou Xiu and Man Xiu. She hurries to his side and holds him in her arms.
: Are... you okay?!
: Well done, Li... You became... even stronger
: Not as strong as you are, not yet!
: I believe you could properly pass my skills down through future generations...
: Wha!? Y-yeah, as if!
: No. I've lived long. Maybe too long. Your growth has helped me keep going this far... Li... your passion burns as hot as the sun... Never ever lose that... Now... I'll go deliver the message... About how you have grown...
The Master draws his last breath. His vengeance realized and his student cultivated, he has no reason to live. As the Master dreams of joining Yuan and Sammo, Li fights to keep the tears from her eyes.
: Gramps... Finally I managed to bust this rock. Could I be like you some day, gramps? Someday... I'll be stronger than you, if not as kind as you, I guess! Watch me, Sammo, Yuan... And you, you old bastard! Because I'm the Shaq Fu Master now!!
And that concludes the Kung Fu chapter. I'll do some odds and ends stuff later, but for now we have a minor conundrum:
Li now inherits the title of "The Master". While this is fine in the Japanese version, because she just ends up named "Xin Shan Quan Lao Tzi" (i.e. XSQ Master), the translation will end up just having Li named "ShaqFu", which is a little goofy. Would the audience like her to retain this faux-title, or should I replay the chapter with the kung fu being named "Li", so Li gets to keep her name in the end?