The lightning flowed into the Staff of Ages and surged with in it. Dragonhand laughed maniacally. “Muah ha ha! When everyone is dead, China shall be mine!”
The clicking of a tongue broke the fiend’s concentration. “Tsk, tsk, tsk. My worst student. Do you not realize that if everyone is dead, there will be nothing left in China that is worth ruling? How very sad the irony is lost on you.”
Dragonhand looked the ghost before him. “Yaozu, you pathetic has-been. You look so much better this way.”
“I admit the look has grown on me,” the Infallible Master replied.
Junjie stepped up next to his master. The fiend laughed and laughed and laughed.
“What?” Dragonhand asked. “You’ve brought your weakling for me to finish him off?”
Junjie laughed. The Infallible Master laughed. Dragonhand laughed. The lightning continued to pour in from the ceiling and down into the Staff of Ages as the trio shared a guffaw.
Fwoosh! Junjie’s fist caught on fire. He formed a fire ball in his hands. He caressed it, packed it as if it were a snowball. It grew larger and larger until finally, he hurled it at his adversary. Dragonhand knocked the ball out of air with a fire ball of his own.
“What the?” was the best response Dragonhand was able to muster.
A powerful stream of fire poured of of Junjie’s right hand. Dragonhand deflected the attack with another fire stream. The opponents pushed their flames toward one another, desperately trying to gain ground until….KABOOM! The flames exploded in the center of the throne room.
“My, my, my,” Dragonhand said. “Whose brain have you been nibbling on, boy?”
“The Staff of Ages did not select you, for obvious reasons,” the Infallible Master said. “I’ll have you return it to its rightful owner, if you please.”
“Oh, who cares what you want, old man,” Dragonhand said. “Why are you still here, anyway? Too much of a coward to face Diyu?”
“Perhaps,” the Infallible Master replied. “Then again, perhaps I’m too honorable to leave this world without rectifying the mistake I left behind.”
Junjie raised his flaming fists.
“Ahh,” Dragonhand said. “You violated your sacred duty as the jailer of Shaoshang, didn’t you, Yaozu? And now, in seeking to destroy me, you have unleashed an even more dangerous monster.”
“There isn’t a monster on this earth more dangerous than you,” the Infallible Master replied.
“With all of the horrors that lurk within Shaoshang’s brain, it would be impossible for any man to consume it without becoming a sadistic creature,” Dragonhand said.
“Junjie is the greatest student I have ever had…”
Dragonhand snarled as he shot a fireball that passed right through the old man’s ghost form. “I was the best student you ever had!”
“Clearly you weren’t or you would not be dishonoring me as you do now,” the Infallible Master said.
“Clearly I was and you were just too much of a senile old fool to recognize it!” Dragonhand said.
“Junjie is the best student I ever had,” the Infallible Master repeated. “And he is the best man I have ever known. Shaoshang’s madness does not importune his senses one iota.”
Dragonhand returned his gaze to the Staff of Ages. The purple ruby grew brighter and brighter. “Fools. I’ll waste no more time on a dead man…or a boy soon to be dead.”
Lightning struck the Staff of Ages over and over again.
“Yes,” the Infallible Master said. “Take the easy way out, as you always do, as you always have done.”
Dragonhand’s interested was piqued. “The easy way?”
“My worst student could never possibly defeat my best student in a fair fight,” the Infallible Master said.
The fiend looked at Junjie, then at the Staff. “Damn you, Yaozu!”
The lightning stopped pouring in from the roof. The fiend pointed the staff at his old master. “I will show you once and for all who your best student was!”
“I’m counting on it,” the Infallible Master said.