“If she were in this country she could probably slap a restraining order on you,” Wade warned over the Kimmunicator.
“Be serious Wade.”
“I am serious, Kim. Well, sort of. We don't know that she's committing any crimes in China.”
“But she's still wanted in, like eleven countries around the world. Right?”
“She is. However, you don't usually go looking for trouble. Why are you trying to track her down?”
“I've got a long weekend off at school --”
“And you'd rather spend your free time with her than anyone else you could think of?”
“Is the camera on the Kimmunicator picking up the way I'm glaring at you? Shego is my worst enemy. Most of those guys I go up against are just hopeless. She beats me as often as I beat her. I want to know what she's doing. I don't trust her.”
“So you want to nip any problem in the bud?”
“Make sure she doesn't nip your bud.”
“Wade! Be serious.”
Wade sighed, “Okay, Kim, but remember -- I warned you against this trip.
“Here are the coordinates you requested, Miss Possible.”
“Thank you for the lift, Mr. Peabody.”
“It was the least I could do after you saved Sherman and me from that temporal loop.”
“No big, I think anyone could have reversed the polarity on the flux capacitor and gotten you out. I still think we should have taken you to a medical specialist.”
“That is quite all right, Miss Possible. You need to eject now.” As her seat ejected from the plane Mr. Peabody mused,“Poor child lacks imagination. She can't even consider the possibility I am supposed to look like this.”
Kim watched the GPS as she parachuted down. The area where Shego had last been confirmed was dotted with hundreds of small bodies of water. They were too small to be considered lakes, and in her mind Kim attached the term springs to them.
The parachutist attracted the attention of those on the ground, and one gi-clad figure smiled as she identified the redhead and moved towards the spot where she thought Kim would land.
“Can't live without me, can you Princess?” Shego smirked.
Kim released her harness two feet above the ground -- then tucked and rolled into a fighting stance as she hit.
“You're quite the spoiled brat,” Shego observed as Kim glared at her. “Always expecting someone else to pick up after you.” She sat down on the ground. “I'm just going to watch while you gather up your 'chute.” Kim maintained her defensive posture. “Or, I can just sit here and see how long you're willing to hold that stupid pose.”
After several tense minutes Kim began to feel foolish and started to stuff her parachute back into its bag while Shego rolled on the ground laughing at her.
Her face red with humiliation, but the parachute stowed properly away, Kim turned to face Shego. “Okay, what are you up to?”
Her pale foe stared back in amazement; “You were so hot to come running after me you didn't even check to see where I was? Little Miss Perfect must really want me. It's so nice to feel loved.”
“Damn it, Shego, stop your teasing.”
“Oh, Princess, you don't mean that. If I stopped flirting you wouldn't come and visit me half-way round the world.”
Kim was so mad Shego expected her to attack first. Instead she pulled her Kimmunicator out of a cargo pocket and barked, “Wade, where am I?”
“Just where I told you you would be -- if you had been listening,” the genius snapped. “At the Jhusenkuo, AKA The Training Ground of the Accursed Springs.”
Shego moved beside Kim into the field of the Kimmunicator's camera and waved to Wade. “I prefer to say Jusenkyo.”
“Either one is fine,” Wade explained patiently. “There are several systems for transliterating Asian characters into the Roman alphabet.”
“Great, I'm caught between the smug and the sarcastic,” Kim complained and turned off the Kimmunicator and slipped it back into a cargo pocket. “So you're here to train.”
“Well, Doh! That's usually why you come to a training ground. You've really never heard of this place. Or weren't you paying attention in martial arts class that day?”
“Please, Shego. It was a long flight and my host was a nice guy -- but he smelled like a dog. What is this Jusenkyo?”
“Nastiest training ground in the world. Only the best come here -- or the dumbest.”
Kim stared around her at the springs and watched a small kitten pursue a duck with glasses. “Or maybe the best AND dumbest.”
Shego ignored the dig. “There are horrors here that would freeze a heart of stone,” She intoned in a spooky voice. “Now call your buddy back and ask nicely if he can get you a ride home. I've got a couple more days off and plan to keep on training.”
Kim stretched. “It's a long trip. I could use a workout. Maybe I'll exercise a little before I go. I want to keep my eye on you.”
“If I knew you were going to have your eye on me I'd have worn something sexier. Oh, but I can tell you this -- under my gi I'm not wearing any panties.”
Kim reached back into her pocket; she needed to ask Wade for a ride. Shego seemed to understand the gesture. “Tell you what, Princess. We can declare a Snowman Hank day and go easy on each other if you want.”
“Hey, I could use a partner for some sparring. I'm not breaking any laws here and if you start a serious fight here they may arrest you for disturbing the peace.”
Kim thought about the proposition. She wasn't sure she could trust Shego to keep the terms of the truce, but an immediate flight home would have been an admission she wasted her time in coming…
The weather was cool, but given the intensity of the training it kept them comfortable. “As long as we keep it on a physical level and don't have to talk with each other…” Kim thought. She found her own thoughts troubling and tried to focus on something other than the lithe woman with whom she was working out.
The sun was starting to go down behind the mountains when Shego said, “Take a break, Kim. I'm ready to make my run.”
“Yeah, see those bamboo poles? The run is the most dangerous part of the Jusenkyo. I've done it every day this trip. My first two visits here I didn't even try. You aren't ready for it.”
“If you can do it, I can do it.”
“It's not a game, Kim. Only the dumb try it if they aren't ready.”
“I'm one of the best. I don't care that you chickened out the first times you came. I can handle it.”
“Please, just sit here and wait,” Shego said seriously.
Part way through the run Shego thought she heard someone else running the tops of the poles. She was afraid that Kim's competitive nature had kicked in and the redhead was trying to follow her. But the pale woman understood Jusenkyo's dangers and didn't let the sounds distract her -- until she heard the scream and splash. Shego did a flip an Olympic athlete would have envied as she landed on solid earth.
“Kim, where are you? Are you okay?”
“I'm fine. But the water's cold.” Kim's voice sounded different. And then the screaming started.
Shego ran in the direction of the noise.
A young man in Kim's clothes stood waist deep in the cold water, holding his chest. “Shego,” he sobbed, “What happened?”
“Damn it, I warned you Kim. Get out of there. I'm not going in after you.”
The red haired youth waded towards the shore, “My clothes don't fit.” He had to unbutton and unzip the cargo pants, which were too small for him to move. Loosening the cargo pants, however, led to another discovery “OHMYGAWD! What is that?”
Kim stood at the side of the spring, shivering with cold and in shock at no longer being the woman she once was. “You fell in the Nannichuan,” Shego tried to explain. “It could have been worse.”
“What do I do? What do I do? What do I do?” Kim kept repeating.
“If we can get you some warm water it will provide a temporary fix.”
“Where are you staying? Is there hot water?”
“I'm at the Jusenkyo guesthouse. Where are you staying?”
“I didn't make reservations. Do they take MasterCard?”
“You are really clueless, you know that? The guesthouse is pre-Chinese Revolution. They don't have a water heater, and they don't take plastic. Maybe we can get them to build a fire and heat up a kettle for you.”
“Please, Shego. Can I borrow some cash? I'm freezing.”
“The guest house has four rooms, and the other three are filled with a crazy group from Japan who are searching for the spring you just fell in. Some joker keeps hiding the sign. You can come to my room or you can freeze to death as the temperature goes down. Your choice.” There was a long silence. “Well,” Shego demanded.
Author's Note: I'm assuming almost everyone recognizes the Jhusenkuo from Ranma 1/2, but am pointing to Rumiko Takahashi as the creator in case any aliens from another planet might be reading this.