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The Life and Times of Lord Shen [KFP2 fic 2/?]

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Jun. 16th, 2011 | 07:51 pm

Title: The Life and Times of Lord Shen

Summary: A collection of stories on the albino peacock of Gongmen City. (2. stuck up nail: Shen wonders why the other peacocks are blue, not white.)

Disclaimer: I don’t own anything related to Kung Fu Panda or its sequel(s) and spin-offs, that’s all DreamWorks’ honor.

Spoilers: Both Kung Fu Panda movies.

A/N: Thanks everyone for all the reviews! I always love hearing what people have to say about the fic and knowing they liked it. I’ve seen Kung Fu Panda 4 times now! XD OMG, that opening. :D KFP openings, please continue to blow my mind. Can't wait to get it on DVD and watch it again and again. And I forgot to explain this last time--with this fic I want to mix on-screen canon with off-screen materials found online, i.e. "Although they still cared for him, Shen's parents were ashamed of his albino coloring and poor health, so they left him in the care of their advisor, the Soothsayer who raised him like her own. Traces of this can be seen as Shen is never outright cruel to the Soothsayer, such as how he releases her before the launch of his armada, meaning that he still respects her for for showing him love" from TVTropes.org character page for Kung Fu Panda. So I do want to make this mix of on-screen and off-screen materials as canon-compliant as possible.

stuck up nail
 
Shen had been young, but he couldn’t remember exactly when he realized--really comprehended how different he was from other peacocks. It was definitely before he got past whatever kept him from talking; that was for certain. (The Prince still felt some glow of pride when the Soothsayer said he only wanted to make sure he could say a complete sentence, calling him rather articulate for one his age. Whether it was one of the times she was teasing or not didn’t matter.)

He had noticed variation fairly early on, of course. People in their world often did. Shen had realized how the Soothsayer was bigger, with large heavy horns, hard hooves, layers and layers of cloth; and that he was not the same, with feathers and talons and wings and a beak. And there were the wolf guards, who were furry with bushy tails and long snouts with sharp fangs. Everyone was so different.

But Shen at some point—maybe it was the first time he met them, maybe not—Shen had stared at his parents very hard, and thought they looked funny. They had feathers and talons and wings and a beak like him, and he could sorta see how he could maybe grow like them—the tail threw him, but the Soothsayer said his would grow to be that long too. But the funny thing was—well, they were so blue, with bits of green. It puzzled the boy—until he saw rabbits that were clearly rabbits, with long ears and protruding teeth and button noses and whiskers and cotton tails, but some were spotted, some were black, some were white like him. They were just different colors, different patterns—just like him and his parents were. But then he realized that some rabbits did resemble their parents' coloring.

He was further shaken when he finally comprehended at least one of the things the physician was talking about on another hated appointment. And all the very specific talk among servants and courtiers in the palace tower and on the grounds. Why they all would stare occasionally, though that was growing less as time passed and they remained working under his parents. It was new servants and such that would stare more, by comparison. He'd even once overheard his parents talk about it, something he never told another soul, not even the Soothsayer. Clearly, practically everyone agreed that there was something off about his color. How unbelievable; along with the fact that he was kept to bed too many times for him to bear and his voice issues at the time, his color was stupidly off.

But still it was just his blue-and-green parents and him, all in white and black and red. He had thought he knew, but he hadn't truly understood how different he was until he met other peacocks and peahens. That had happened at some festival hosted at the tower, with other peafowl invited. Shen wasn’t sure why, but he and his parents were the only peafowl who regularly lived in Gongmen City, the rest of their clan in the province outside the capitol. Was it territorial, was it preference?

Either way he saw a sea of blue and green feathers enter the City, and felt even smaller than usual.

Why were they all so different? No, why were they all so much the same?

"Where are the white ones?" Shen had asked the Soothsayer, as his suspicion grew.

"Among your kind, I've only ever seen you in this color," she replied gently, confirming his suspicions. "As far as I know, no one else has either."

Wait…given the numbers…he was the one who was different. The only one who was different.

"How come I don't look like everyone else?"

"You were born that way, my Prince."

"But why?"

"That, I do not know."

"Can't you find out?"

The Soothsayer smiled thinly. "Contrary to what you may have heard, I can only see forward, not backward."

"Did you know I wasn't going to be like everyone else?"

The Soothsayer shook her head. Shen wasn't entirely sure if he believed her. He'd heard from others and seen for himself how the Soothsayer liked to tease and toy with her seer ability. He also knew it was rather impossible to tell, or force her to be clear.

He sighed, slumping forward and resting his head on the banister of the balcony.

The Soothsayer put an arm around the young Prince.

"I know it's not easy being different."

Shen scoffed, quite loud.

"Now don't pout," the Soothsayer said, sharply pulling out a small feather. He yelped and glared at her, trying not to pout. "I didn't like being a soothsayer when I was a young woman."

Shen blinked. "You were born a…soothsayer?" She had said, 'a,' like it wasn't her name…but he had only ever heard her called that, or 'old goat,' 'old woman'...oh, maybe it was like a title, like his was 'Prince?'

The old goat nodded. "Yes. Visions of the future just…" She gestured with her hoof, looking for the word. Shen tilted his head. How odd, his Nana normally knew her every word. "...popped up, like daisies."

The boy laughed at the thought, and when he caught her smirking, he wondered if she was making fun again.

But her voice was solemn as she continued, "I tried to ignore them, but they kept coming all the same. And when I tried to understand, and tell others what I saw…well, they weren't as appreciative as your parents or their kin."

Shen looked at her; the goat looked so old. A sudden fear took him. Though people tried to whisper it, a lot of them said he'd die soon. What if the Soothsayer died first? She was old, he'd heard she'd been with his family forever....

"But that was a long time ago, and all taken care of by now in my old age," the Soothsayer said cheerfully, but her last words made Shen wince.

The old goat glanced at him, giving a reassuring smirk, though some curious concern in her eyes. "What now?"

"I--um, what name w-were you born with?" Shen may've mumbled the last of his question. (He didn't feel like bringing up the possibility of his nanny's imminent demise from old age was the best thing to do at the moment, and truthfully, he never wanted to think about it, and letting it even happen was out of the question.)

But she answered promptly, "Jun." A beat. "But I don't really go by that anymore."

And then the fireworks started, and Shen forgot everything else, entranced by the fiery sky.

###

The festival was a week long. The peafowl guests would be here a while.

Shen just had to get better before they all left. He was nervous about it, but he really wanted to play with some peafowl his own age. Again, given whatever curious arrangements or preferences surrounded his clan, none lived in the palace tower or Gongmen City, not that he'd ever been to the City outside. Any children of the servants, courtiers and guards at the tower were either too young, too old, or simply kept their distance; Shen had seen some shrink under their parents' glance, and got the impression that their parents ordered them to leave their Prince alone for some reason.

The first night of the festival had been too hectic, and after that talk with the Soothsayer he'd woken up the next day feeling horrible. He'd tried to hide it, but the Soothsayer was irritatingly good at being all-knowing, especially when it came to his physical health; being a seer probably gave her an unfair advantage.

She and the physician confined him to the bed again, and he'd thrown a marvelous fit, hissing and shouting and flapping his wings. The Soothsayer was experienced with this too; she gave him The Look, and her hoofed hand was quick and tight, shutting his beak firmly, but not harsh. He settled down after that and laid back on his bed, glaring for a couple of seconds before passing out. When Shen woke up, he didn't feel much better; he was slightly feverish, and everything was spinning.

Jun--no, the old goat, old woman, the Soothsayer--anything but Jun, he could tell by her tone that she meant what she said, she didn't go by it anymore, she didn't like it anymore--she gave him tea and forced him to eat a little bit of soup even though he really wasn't hungry. Then the physician, an antelope he'd known his whole life and detested simply because he was so tied up with his poor health and wasn't like the Soothsayer at all--he gave him foul tasting medicine. (That, too, was reason enough for his four-year-old mind to despise him.) Shen went back to sleep again.

He was mostly dreamless for a while. Just the physician's words wrapping around his head again and again, droning on about something bad about his immune system, whatever that was--Shen was curious, but also simply too terrified to ask the physician what that was, or what exactly was wrong with him; what if it was worse than the snippets he caught, though he tried to block it all out? It had been bad enough to hear him talk about his color.

Speaking of which, the dream shifted, with images and action and sensation beyond echoing words: he was literally drowning in a pond from one of his mother's gardens that was too big and too blue and too green and too hot boiling bubbling burning and oh god oh god he was going to die he was really going to die like everyone said like his parents thought they must think that that's why they don't want to see him 'cause he's gonna die on them anyway oh god oh god Nana Nana Nana

Shen woke up gagging and crying in the Soothsayer's arms. His head was heavy, and felt like it was on fire. The old goat said 'fever' at some point, but the Prince just focused on the hoof making soft circles on his back as he hiccupped into her fur.

She laid a cold wet cloth on his forehead and lit incense, smoke curling around his head, and staring at it made him dizzy.

He tried to stay awake, he was never going to sleep again, no, never ever. The Soothsayer was helping with that too, telling him a story about a brave snow white lady hawk that saved her seven mountain goat friends from a witch that poisoned the fields. He had to know how it ended--but his eyes were drooping…no, she was tricking him, tricksy lying Soothsayer, he was going to tell her so himself, but his tongue felt heavy and his head fuzzy, and his eyes slipped shut and he slept some more.

Shen lost all meaning of time. Lost all sense of what was going on. When he was conscious and feeling better, the Soothsayer told him three days had passed. Since he was feeling better, he'd tried to get up then, but the Soothsayer told him in no uncertain terms he was going nowhere.

"Would you like to play a game?"

The Soothsayer had devised all manner of activities for him whenever he was sick and conscious of boredom at the same time.

"No," he pouted. Then he coughed, souring his mood more.

He folded his wings and turned his back on the Soothsayer, so she wouldn't see his face when he asked a question he'd practiced in his head before. He tried to keep his voice formal and simply curious; "Have my parents come by?"

She'd heard his practiced question before. It typically varied, but there was always that same core of sadness in the Soothsayer's response that always made his blood run hot and shamed; this time she said, "I'm sorry, my Prince, but they are busy attending to all of our guests...."

Their guests, the Prince mentally corrected in his head.

"…they send you their apologies, and hope that you'll be well soon."

Shen curled in on himself, hugging one of his pillows. He poked at it with his beak, threatening to make holes in it.

"Look--a new game for you, child," the Soothsayer said, laying down an intricate box before Shen. His bed was a fine matting of blankets and pillows on the floor, so the wood-carved box lay level with him. The Soothsayer opened it, and took out small rectangles, beginning to prop them up. The young peacock watched, curious.

"These are dominoes," she explained, lining them up. She then pushed on one, and the rest fell down in a rush. "You can make them fall in all sorts of patterns," she said, quickly arranging them in a small spiral, then knocking them down again. Shen shifted, slowly propping himself up on the elbows of his wings, and started setting up his own arrangement of dominoes. He watched the curve and length of one of the Soothsayer's horns, and tried to make the dominoes stand like that. He wasn't as skilled or as precise as the old goat; a third of the way through, they fell down prematurely. He tried again; fell down halfway through. Finally they were set up right.

"See? It's your horn." Shen frowned. "You already knew, didn't you?"

"Don't need to be a seer to see that, my Prince," the Soothsayer replied, and he grinned, happily flicking the first domino and watching it go.

###

The next morning the Soothsayer deemed him well enough to leave the bed. Shen eagerly got up, but before he bolted from the room, the old goat recommended he take a toy to share. The child Prince immediately went for the dominoes, but decided the surfaces outside wouldn't be flat enough for them. He looked through several more toys (sometimes the boy wondered if he had more than what would be normal, since he was sick often and confined to his room). Shen finally settled on a wooden caterpillar whose wheels were sturdy enough to roll over most terrain.

He and the Soothsayer went to a particularly long stretch of interconnecting gardens, and found other young peafowl playing there. The Soothsayer craned her neck, and found other antelope and rabbit servants keeping an eye on the children. There were even some of their mothers taking tea together and chatting, their blue plumage shining in the light.

"Now dear--"

She stopped, looking down when her cloaks rustled, finding Shen in the familiar spot behind her back, though he wasn't clutching at the fabrics (though perhaps that was because he carried his toy). He peeked out at the other children.

"Getting cold feet, are we?"

The white peacock blinked up at his caretaker, then shook his head. "No, they feel better, I told you--"

"Just an expression, my dear," the old goat replied smoothly, biting back her amused chuckle. She gently guided him forward. "Come now, you were begging me to let you out before."

His talons shuffled along. He mumbled, "I forgot they were bigger than me...." Had he really even noticed before?

The Soothsayer laughed. "You just need a little more meat on your bones." She lightly squeezed his shoulders. "Everyone's different--"

Especially me, Shen thought bluntly.

"--and most of them are your age."

She bent forward slightly, explaining, "I've been summoned for a ritual. I'll be back later, so mind the servants and your guests' mothers until then," and the old goat gestured to them bordering the gardens.

She then patted his head and trotted off.

###

"Hey--er, hi--hello, I'm--I am--Shen--um, Prince Shen--"

The white peacock had hidden behind a tree before anyone had seen him, and was busy practicing in whispered words to his wooden caterpillar toy. He wanted to make a good impression, he'd heard his mother before say those were important. The action was not untried for the boy; he'd practiced before when he was nervous, and his toys listened well. But other times he simply talked to them about all sorts of things when he was alone.

"It's nice--very nice to--"

Shen stopped when a padded ball whizzed by his tree and landed softly in the stretch of grass before him. The boy put the caterpillar toy down and picked up the ball.

He turned back, the other young peafowl coming down the hill for their ball. Shen silently offered it to them. He found the silence became deafening when they all froze and didn't say anything, just staring at him. Even if he experienced less staring, he should've been used to it by now.

Shen got his mouth to work, once his brain remembered, "HeyI'mShenit'snicetomeetyoucanIplaywithyou?"

His wings were starting to feel stiff when the silence kept stretching out.

Maybe if he went slower. And more formal. Like, no contractions.

"Hello, I am--"

"We know who you are," snapped the biggest peahen among them, her beak looking severe from her frown. A smaller peacock (but still bigger than Shen) looked up to her, and whispered loudly, "He really is white--"

"Shut up, Fuu--"

"Do you really think he's a ghost, Sis, like Uncle said--?"

"I said--"

"--you said Uncle was lying about the Prince being white, but he is too--"

"I'm telling mother--"

"I'll tell her you were gonna ditch me to make googly eyes at Mr. Xing's son, Ran--"

The other children's eyes were shooting from the arguing siblings to their Prince, who was rapidly shrinking even more before their eyes. Those who noticed that began to whisper to their neighbor, "He's so tiny--"

"I saw Lord Baojia, he's much bigger--"

"--and we have to listen to him when he's all grown up? He's a runt--"

"--nah uh, Baba says he'll--y'know--because he's sick and all--"

"--that why he's so pale--?"

"--he's not pale, he's white--"

"--remember we had to wear white for auntie's funeral--?"

"--yeah, it was horrible--"

"--hey, why are you white?"

Shen's mouth was dry. "What?" His beak opened and closed mechanically.

One of the peacocks repeated the question (he realized that except for the largest peahen, all the other peafowl were about the same size--there was some variation, some smaller than each other, but none as small as he).

"I dunno."

The biggest peahen snapped, "What do you mean?"

A peahen in a brown robe offered, "My big brother said our Lord and Lady must've done something bad, or someone else in the royal family did, and that's why you're white--"

"I. Don't. Know." Shen's wings were tightening around the other kids' stupid ball.

Fuu finally noticed it, and asked. "Can we have our ball back?"

The Prince mumbled something that sort of sounded like "sure," throwing the ball back to any one in the crowd.

He then straightened up, trying to remember how father sounded like when he gave orders. "I want to play with you."

A boy in a red robe said, "We'll, catch is getting boring--"

A girl in a flowery robe rushed toward Shen before he could react, pushing him a little and shouting, "You're it!" before running off, shrieking happily. Shen blinked as the other children ran around screaming too, one of them tossing the ball away. Except for the biggest peahen, who sat down and pulled out a scroll to read, grumbling about stupid brothers and wondering why she had to look after him and be stuck with all the babies.

Shen stayed put, looking at all the running peafowl, baffled.

The girl in the flowery robe stopped, looking back at him. She called out, "What are you waiting for?"

"Told you he's a runt--"

"What am I supposed to do?" He said loudly over one of the young peacock's irritating voices.

All the children paused and stared at him again. Shen felt the urge to scream.

"You never played tag before?"

Feeling an embarrassing warmth in his face, Shen instantly looked down and shook his head. Sometimes he'd watch the other children in the palace tower play, but never too long; he'd usually just go off by himself to find something else to do when they wouldn't play with him. He'd never noticed them play this 'tag' before.

"Well," said the girl, and Shen looked up. "I touched you, so you're 'It,' and you have to touch one of us, but we run away from you, so you'll have to catch us, and then they're 'It' and they chase you and everyone else around until they tag someone else. Okay?"

Shen nodded; "Okay." It sounded simple. Actually, it sounded similar to when he sometimes ran around, pretending that he was chasing bandits like Master Thundering Rhino did.

The girl and everyone else bolted again, and he gave chase.

Talons pounding on the grass, Shen was enjoying himself; it was nice chasing real targets, instead of always imaginary ones.

Admittedly, he wasn't tagging anyone. Not even getting any close. But what stung was when one of the boys noticed and said to a peacock he was chasing, "Slow down, dum-dum. You can't make a prince lose--"

Another chimed in, "And he doesn't feel well--"

Then worst of all, that boy actually slowed down. It just made Shen's stomach clench and boil.

He stopped, skidding in the grass, and shouted, "No!"

Again, everyone stopped and stared at him.

"You don't want to play anymore?"

"Told you we were going too fast, dum-dum--"

"--He's all tired out--"

Shen snapped, "No, that's not--I mean...look, I just don't want you to slow down for me, okay?"

The peacock in the red robe blinked at him. "But you can't keep up." He yelped as the girl in the flowery robe elbowed him.

"I can too," Shen said hotly, glaring. "I'll show you!"

All of them looked warily at each other, but began to run again. The biggest peahen was only pretending to read her scroll by then, watching her province's heir with morbid interest.

They were faster now, and Shen realized with a flash of irritation that they'd already had slowed down before. It was a larger flash of something beyond irritation that he had with himself when he realized that even then he hadn't kept up.

But Shen was determined, he would catch one, he would.

They dashed across the grassy fields and hills, around the pools of water and the trees. The servants and the mothers took turns keeping an eye on them and chatting away.

When Shen quickly switched his path to tag one peahen he thought was closest, he ran straight through a bush instead. He yelped when he caught on its brambles and thorns, but felt worse when he heard some of the other kids laugh. At least they didn't say they should slow down again.

Shen disentangled himself from the bush, yanking his leg out with a hiss. He heard more giggling, and immediately ran straight for that.

Have to catch one, at least tag one other person, he couldn't leave the game without tagging anyone, and he knew the Soothsayer would demand he stop and have lunch and he just had to tag someone before then--

All the other kids waited at the top of a hill. The Prince wasn't even at the bottom of that one.

Bile rising up in his throat, Shen pushed his legs to go faster. He didn't care if they'd run when he got near, he'd be quicker, he just needed to touch one--Shen stumbled, coughing.

No no no, not now--

Shen held in the rest of his coughs with tremendous effort. He started slowly up the hill, his chest and legs shaking. Some coughs stupidly got out, but he wouldn't let them out in a row, not start a fit, not in front of all the other kids. He could already feel their eyes on him.

The Prince got to the top but didn't tag any of them. They didn't run, they just waited. He didn't want to tag anyone when they weren't even running, weren't even trying.

Shen noticed they'd gone in a circle. They were back at the tree were he left his wooden caterpillar toy, and close to the biggest peahen with her scroll.

His legs trembling, Shen stumbled again, and wished everyone wasn't looking at him. He coughed again, this time one after another, no matter how hard he tried to stop.

"Are you all right?"

"You should've let us slow down."

"We said you couldn't keep up."

"Where's the goat?"

"The goat?"

"I heard that's his nanny."

"Sis, is it contagious?"

A second passed before everyone took a step away from the Prince.

"No it's not!" He shouted at them, choking back another cough. In that instant, when he saw how nervous they looked, crowding around each other, still retreating, Shen hated them all.

The Prince gulped once, twice. Counted to ten like the Soothsayer advised whenever he was mad. Then he went to the tree and held out his caterpillar toy to them.

"You can play with him, if you want. He can roll all over." Shen wouldn't admit he ruined their game, though he was beginning to feel that he did.

Fuu looked at him, then to his sister with her scroll. "Sis, do you think it's contagious if he just touched it--?"

The child cried out when Shen threw the caterpillar toy straight into his face.

###

The Soothsayer found the Prince waiting outside for her in the hall, curled over his broken caterpillar toy.

The antelope servant waiting with him explained to her what had happened, how the other children had panicked and wanted nothing more to do with the boy, their mothers taking them away. (Shen curled up into a tighter ball as he remembered one of the mothers hissing that a bad omen like him shouldn't be near children.)

The Soothsayer thanked her, and then the servant left.

Shen hid his face when his caretaker drew close. She gently tugged on his broken toy. He let her pull it out.

She examined it, and said, "Don't worry, dear, it can be fixed."

The Prince sniffled. The Soothsayer lifted his head. Forced to look at her, he whimpered out, terrified, "Are you mad?"

The old goat kissed his forehead. "No, my Prince." When his head began to lower, she made him look up at her again. "You do know what you did was wrong, yes?"

The boy nodded.

The Soothsayer sighed, "Now what happened?"

Shen mumbled, "She told you what happened."

"Yes, but I want to know your side of the story." Shen blinked at her. The Soothsayer put his toy down and took his wings in her hoofed hands. "What you did was wrong, but I know you wouldn't do it without some reason, just like I'd know you'd feel some remorse, as you do now."

The boy looked up at her, opened and closed his beak a couple of times--then shook his head and looked down.

The Soothsayer pursed her lips, but nodded her head. "All right, dear; you don't have to tell me now, but I want to know later."

She then pulled him up and led him down the hall. "Come, what shall we have for lunch? I saw a booth earlier that was serving spring rolls--"

The two passed a couple of peacock noblemen the Soothsayer recognized. She drew her charge closer, but felt the boy stiffen under her hoof as she heard the men speak:

"The Prince? Why is it left to the Soothsayer to discipline him? What will she do, teach him sleight-of-hand tricks?"

"Our Lord and Lady left him in her charge, what else were they to do with him, short of putting him out of his misery--"

"But to let him run wild--my wife told me he hurt another child--"

"--sounds like he has more spine than we give him credit for, then."

"I overheard a servant say he nearly passed out from the effort."

"Well then, perhaps your little hellion will burn himself out and leave you with one less worry over next in line to rule."

The Soothsayer could hear Shen's beak grind. Her control loosened somewhat--the hand around her cane clenched it, tight.

###

After the festival (good riddance to all the normal peafowl), Shen played a game by himself (the best sort, he didn't need any other stupid kids and their dumb mothers), where he was a warrior who'd chased the bandits down and was fighting them off with a makeshift sword he made out of sticks and twine.

He dashed along the edge of a pond's bank, enjoying the mud between his talons and the splashing water around them. Then the boy glanced at the pond.

There was his reflection, and he--well, he just really looked at it.

He didn't look like his parents. He didn't look like any of his people. Didn't look like anyone, really.

Shen threw his sword into the pond, breaking his reflection. He scratched at it, kicking up more mud and water, hissing at his stupid ugly white face. Mud was kicked up into his face, cooling it and his temper down. The boy stopped, staring at his returning reflection. He watched the mud drip down his forehead, down his cheek, with interest.

The boy then wiped himself off and ran for the court artists' studios. He didn't care if he wasn't thinking clearly. The boy broke in there, stealing paint jars.

Shen returned to the pond with his ill-gotten gains. He twisted off the cap of a jar and splashed the paint across his face, eyes closed. His wings wiped it around, spreading along more feathers.

The boy stopped, checking over the blue paint on his face. It was dripping down his neck, to his chest, and pooling on his robe. He poured more and more blue paint, wiping it down on his wings, more on his neck, on what little tail feathers he had at his age. Shen looked back at his reflection periodically--but paused when he saw it perfectly blue, as if it wasn't paint, as if he were born that way....

Shen paused when he saw his eyes weren't red in the reflection. And the beak was too long.

He whirled around, staring up at his mother.

Her face was curiously blank, yet she asked, "Shen, what are you doing?"

"Why am I different?!" The boy snapped instead, stomping away from the pond and turning his back on the older peahen.

His mother's sigh sounded so tired.

"I don't know, Shen." Lady Fen walked toward her son, stretched out a wing to touch his shoulder. But in the space in between, she recalled watching the Soothsayer feed an infant Shen; the Soothsayer read to a child Shen; the Soothsayer take her coughing son to the physician. The way he hid behind the old woman, and looked to her, regarding her with the confusion he had for strangers....

The peahen's wing fell (it didn't belong there, did it?)

"Come inside, you need a bath. I'll have the artists' paint replaced."

Shen dutifully trudged after his mother.

A/N: Popping up like daisies is a total Disney's Mulan reference.

I can imagine that the Soothsayer's backstory is pretty intense and crazy. Maybe one of these days I'll do fic on that too. That, and after seeing the movie twice, her seer ability, the details and mechanics of it and everything still seem ambiguous to me, so now I'm taking artistic license.

I got a kick out of learning that Jun=Truth in Chinese. It may be sort of on the nose with saying that's the Soothsayer's birth name in this, but I'm a big fan of "Avatar: the Last Airbender," and their bounty hunter character Jun is quite cool, and now I get a kick out of thinking of young!Soothsayer being like that Jun. (Maybe even being a bounty hunter, LOL--soothsaying abused by a young woman could maybe work at trapping your targets or figuring out their next move.)

Taking artistic liberty with how sickly Shen is/was. I'd say he was pretty sickly as a child, but when he gets older it is less of an issue, since I do want this to mess with canon, and in the film on-screen he's pretty formidable physically.

I imagine why though there is probably a Peacock clan, Shen's the only peacock we ever see because peacocks are incredibly hard to animate, or KFP's are. Their animation with Shen is so incredible, a lot went into it.

The Soothsayer's "The Look" is pretty much a ref to the awesome "Spectacular Spider-Man" animated series.

Also, any medical treatment and such is under artistic liberty too (somewhat justified by young!Shen's POV).

The Soothsayer's story is a riff on "Snow White."
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Comments {1}

hymy

(no subject)

from: infaru
date: Jul. 4th, 2011 09:35 pm (UTC)
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Huh I'm dumbfounded now. How come no one has commented on this second part yet?

Anyway, I really really liked this chapter. The first one was great too, but this was simply amazing. The story flows smoothly and I adore how you describe the surroundings, characters' actions and especially their thoughts. To put it in short, this fic has been a pleasent reading experience overall so far. \o/ <3

Definitely looking forward to the next chapter~

Edited at 2011-07-04 09:36 pm (UTC)

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