On today's episode of Blue Tiger/Jade Dragon, our hero practices his martial arts. Will he defeat his aunt the Jade Dragon in training today? Will he be discovered by a firefighting captain? Is he able to take Dramamine to settle his stomach? Will he be able to save someone trapped on the seventh floor and not pass out from smoke inhalation?

Being a hero means saving lives
by Kent Lee

The training ground was quiet. Too quiet. He knew his quarry was around here somewhere. He couldn't use his powers, because he wasn't actually on a mission, and anyway, he was supposed to test them out of the range of anywhere near the family. His aunt was training him in martial arts. So far, he was started on tae kwon do. Of course, his aunt knew legendary techniques of martial arts and was able to best him, but his caliber of opponent allowed him to improve. When he asked why not kung fu, his aunt said he needed to learn where to place his feet. Today, he was actually practicing his stealth and disguise skill. His aunt suggested that was the best technique to actually use. He looked for any stone out of place. Birds in a forest make the best sentries. He was standing by a tree, stock-still. Frozen in place.

This made it all the more surprising when someone tapped his shoulder, and he turned to look at his aunt. A blur of action ensued. His hand strike met empty air, and then a slim hand seized his arm. He tried a flying kick in the middle of the air, and the hand let go. He twisted in midair, and landed on his feet. He attempted another kick, and his aunt grabbed his foot. The counter was to hop up and kick. He hopped up and kicked, breaking loose. It was really, really good, that his aunt was sticking to only the martial art he was practicing, even though she knew eighteen, maybe more. His aunt claimed it was for his training as a spiritual warrior.

His aunt looked rather young for her age, which was pretty old. Family rumor claimed she was four thousand years old. It also claimed she carried a Book of Magic, which sustained her, and kept her sane. Derek didn't really believe this, but she had the proof to back it up when she had passed the powers of the twelve Chinese animals to him. According to her, he was the inheritor of her powers when the amulets had sparked in a blue ghostly aura. He was to be the next spiritual warrior of his lineage, sworn to protect humanity against supernatural evil. Apparently, all those cartoons based on magical girls who protected humanity had some kernel of truth. Except for the glaring fact that he obviously wasn't a girl. There are other lineages of spiritual warriors, but he hadn't met any of them yet.

"You need to wear the costume when you fight." His aunt commented, not even out of breath. Derek was breathing rather hard. Derek launched a flying kick, landing rather hard on the ground, as his aunt dodged.

"Not ...wearing...costume." He wheezed.

"That's enough practice for today. You are getting better, you know. Sparring with a highly skilled partner usually improves your performance." Derek simply collapsed on the ground.

"Come on, you need to hit the showers. Besides, dinner is at six-thirty. It's only five now." Derek was as usual, about as wet as a fish. His aunt was cool and dry.

"So how was today's practice session with your aunt?" Dad asked.

"It went as usual. My aunt beat me up." Derek said, exhausted. He mowed down the food with his usual gusto. Peas, rice, chicken, Salisbury steak, sweet and sour pork and such all went into his mouth.

"He's improving. As his sifu, I'm rather proud of his progress. He's gotten to green belt level." Auntie replied. Derek almost choked on his chopsticks.

"You're very lucky. Auntie's very selective about her pupils. To think you've progressed so far in three months. "Mom smiled.

"It's not quite that difficult, but it's extremely good. "Auntie said.

"So how was work today? Mom? Dad?"

Well, we got a shipment of these little things, which look like handles with keychains. The suppliers paid for it in advance, but I honestly don't see what use anyone has for it. It's billed as a safety device to avoid losing young children." Dad rolled his eyes. He was an import/exports businessman. No, he was not a criminal. "As long as they pay on time, I don't care."

"Today, there was a meeting about conditions in Europe. Our consumer market in Europe is increasing due to the Ireland War. People want to call over and make sure their loved ones are all right, and telephones are being used by e-mail and real-time voice to exchange news. "Mom reported happily. She was a high-level executive in a major global telecommunications company.

The rest of the conversation continued, a happy family. Derek knew he was lucky to be in such a family. Families have their little arguments and blowups, but family was family. Every family has a few quirks.


I woke up sleepily on Sunday morning. The radio was on, and I was about to hit it when the news came on.

"Just ten minutes ago, a devastating fire broke out in a Bronx apartment building. The address is 40-16 Kingsbridge, right across from the subway. Engine Company 311 is already at the scene of the conflagration.

I immediately went into standard concealment protocol. After all, I am targeted by evil supernatural forces, when I access my powers. My aunt explained it to me once. As long as I remain a normal human, my aura remains indistinguishable from those around me. I don't have enhanced musculature if I use the power of strength. I don't have any visible signs of being a metahuman, because it draws upon aspects of their power. The only thing would a genetic scan, revealing extra energy. A further analysis would decipher that I would only be able to access some of the energy. To an extent, this is quite true. I'm limited to four powers per day, and only two can be active at the same time.

I ran down the flight of stairs, taking each flight at a time. A fire meant lives could be at risk. If there weren't, so much the better. I helped because I could. Besides, knowing you could help, and you didn't, and something happened because of your choice, it would come back to haunt you.

I went to the diner next block, and shifted, temporarily out of anyone's sight. My appearance was actually rather handsome. I based it off a cartoon, and fit it to my needs. The shapeshifting power was released. I needed to get there as fast as possible, so I chose speed and levitation. I overflew the fire from Manhattan to the Bronx. I moved too fast for the normal human eye to register.

I looked down at the firefighting team, and at the fire. I did that trick where you blend in with the crowd. Of course, the fact that my shifting powers worked on my clothes, and I was now wearing a NYFD firesuit helped.

"Sir, are there any civilians left inside?" I ask one of the guys who looks like he's issuing orders.

"Yes, there's one woman inside, who didn't get out in time. She's stuck on the top seventh floor. It'll take us thirty minutes to beat out the blaze. Smoke inhalation is quite bad on that floor. Are you volunteering for this?" The guy asks me.

"Yes, sir." I respond.

"You're a rookie, aren't you. "It's more of a statement than a question.

"Yes, sir. I'll go right now." I activate my fourth and final power of the day. While the Dog protects me against small-arms fire, it also has two other properties. I'm quite resistant to energy. So fire is no problem. The smoke however is. My facemask isn't really a mask; it's part of my clothes. I pretty much hold my breath, and check every room on the seventh floor at superspeed. At least I can use a mask to keep my eyes from tearing. Like all things, challenges arise. The flames are in front of the only door I haven't checked. I knock on the door.

"Miss, are you in there? Could you let me in? I'm with the NYFD." I haven't lied yet.

"Don't you have an axe?" My powers are currently the Dog, Rabbit, Rooster, and Monkey. I switch my active powers to Dog, and Rabbit. I throw in rapid-fire punches on the knobs. After all, my aunt said you always aim for the weakest point. Then I reach through the hole, while using my other hand to create a vortex to keep smoke away from the hole.

"Good evening. We're going to jump out of a window. The smoke inhalation's getting thicker, and it'd take us thirty minutes to put out the blaze entirely. We're not sure if you'll die of smoke inhalation, so I was sent up to rescue you. We're going to jump out of the building." The stream of smoke punctuates my story, by starting to seep through the edges of the door. I already put back the knob on our side, so it was still being blocked there.

I looked down at the window, and sure enough the trampoline was there.

"You go first. I'll go after you. Aim for the exact center of the trampoline." She jumps out first, and I jump out after her. The power of the Rooster is levitation. This allows me to slow her down, so she doesn't break any bones on landing. I have a lot of practice with this. I love flying, even though it means using two powers at once. I apply the practice to slowing us both down, so we bounce on trampoline. I'm starting to wish I could still take Dramamine by the sixth bounce. My immune system recognizes foreign entities as diseases, so they usually get converted to energy before any effect can be taken. Fortunately, we stop after the ninth bounce.

The focus is on the woman as I slowly slip away, and change into a Dalmatian. I trot off, turn the corner, and turn on the speed, and fly. If anyone who had the proper power, they would've seen a flying dog with a red cape behind him.

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