Wang did not want to get into another argument about Chang. He composed himself and belted out an order, “Something is going on. This Wing Kong may know but he’s sick or something and we have to help him…”
At that moment, the Wing Kong warrior jumped to his feet and screamed, “YOU CAN’T HELP ME!”
The Wing Kong warrior came into full view. While his right side was normal, his left side was horribly deformed with his face full of bulbous tumors and his left arm and leg horribly mangled.
He continued to scream, “YOU CAN’T HELP ME. YOU CAN’T HELP ME.”
“What the hell is going on here, Wang.?” asked Tiger-heart.
Wang looked at the deformed Wing Kong who continued to scream. Wang answered, “Hell if I know but we’re…”
The Wing Kong warrior cut-off Wang’s sentence by shoving him with inhuman strength then runnning into darkness in the opposite direction. Wang fell back onto Tiger-heart, nearly knocking both of them off their feet. Wang recovered his balance and began to run after the Wing Kong. But after two steps he suddenly stopped in front of Tech-edge. His stare struck a cold chord of fear within Tech-edge.
“What?” asked Tech-edge, “Do you…”
Before Tech-edge could finish, Wang drew both his swords and lunged for Tech-edge with the speed of the wind. Tech-edge finally took a breath when he realized that he was not Wang’s target but rather something behind him. Wang withdrew his sword with an eerie squish then lunged again; this time towards Destiny. In a blur, Wang’s boot heal made contact with something solid in mid-air. Whatever it was, fell to the floor in a pile of brown fur.
“Brown Chinese Wildmen!” screamed Destiny.
“Heads up!” ordered Tiger-heart.
A lifetime of training awoke in all of the Chang Sing. Without further instructions, they all knew what to do. They unsheathed their weapons and quickly scanned the area finding a dozen or so Brown Chinese Wildmen, memorizing the position of their chosen targets. They then waited for their cue from Longshot, knowing it would come in only fractions of a second. As soon as they heard him draw back his bow, they leaped at their targets.
There were many species of Chinese Wildmen; all of them with varying degrees of strength and viciousness. But the Brown Chinese Wildmen were perhaps the strongest and viscous of them all as well as the most common. Lo Pan and the Wing Kong had bred and trained them like attack dogs. Undoubtedly, these Brown Chinese Wildmen have been masterless for the past 17 years and had returned to acting as a wild pack.
Longshot’s arrow flew straight up bursting into a brilliant ball of light that blinded the Chinese Wildmen. They never saw the Chang Sing’s first strikes which were quick and numerous, sacrificing strength for speed. But the strikes were far from wild. They had a distinct purpose to disorient their foes. Tiger-heart and Destiny used their iron bo staffs to trip and spin their foes. Meanwhile, Wang kicked his targets, forcing them stumble upon each other. The attacks could have been far more lethal but the Chang Sing were severely outnumbered and such a tactic would have meant the death of them all. They knew the best strategy was to confuse them, establish a defensive position, then deal with the enemy as they trickled past their defenses. Moments later, the Chang Sing withdrew from their stunned targets to carry out the rest of their plan which was going perfectly except for one thing: the stranger.
Tech-edge did not have the benefit of a lifetime of training with the Chang Sing. He took a completely offensive strategy, hoping to kill his enemies before they could kill him. He was holding his own against three Brown Chinese Wildmen but the Chang Sing could see that two more were moments away from an attack on Tech-edge’s flanks.
Wang winced and leapt into action. Longshot and Destiny began to follow but Tiger-heart held them back.
“Get back, dumbass!” cried Wang as he grabbed Tech-edge by the shoulder and threw him back to the Chang Sing. Tech-edge was safe but now Wang was the focus of Wildmen attack. Unfortunately, Wang had underestimated their speed in the dim light. Three of them were much too close to attack with swords. He would have to make a more brutish attack. He was able knee one on the chin and elbow another in the stomach but the third sunk a claw into his shoulder. Yet Wang was able to leap off a crate then slice off his head as he spun in the air. Wang then backflipped several times backwards towards the Chang Sing, avoiding the several claw strikes the Wildmen initiated. But before he reached his friends, Wang reversed his movement and attacked the Wildmen head on, leaping directly into the center of the horde. He was able to cut the hand off one and slash the chest of another before the rest scattered. Wang then used this moment of hesitation to rejoin the Chang Sing.
With several of their number down and their prey readied for an attack, the Wildmen began a quick retreat.
“Well that was easier than I expected,” claimed Tech-edge.
Tiger-heart responded, “Not really. They’re going back to get some friends. We need to get out of here now.”
The Chang Sing ran past the stacks of crates towards the exit. But from the bowels of the warehouse ahead the Chang Sing heard, “That way…it came from over there.”
“Damn. Tong Elite,” said Destiny, “And they’ve cut us off.”
“I know a way around them,” claimed Tech-edge.
“I don’t know if I trust this guy, Wang.” Stated Tiger-heart.
Wang looked at Tech-edge and saw the fear in Tech-edge’s eyes. He was afraid of the Tong Elite. Most people think they’re saviors of Chinatown. This guy knew the truth about them.
“No choice,” Wang nodded, “Let’s go.”
Longshot and Destiny were the first out the door sprinting for the fence. Tiger-heart and Wang were several steps behind them grasping Tech-edge securely by both arms. Tiger-heart realized that there was nothing by the fence that Longshot and Destiny could jump off of. He shoved Tech-edge to Wang then ran ahead of the group, turned around, put his hands down palms up interlocking his fingers. Destiny jumped gracefully, her right foot landing squarely in Tiger-heart’s hands. With a mighty heave Tiger-heart boosted Destiny over the fence then did the same with Longshot. From a standing position, Tiger-heart jumped as high as he could. His hand grasped the top razor wire. The metal dug into his hand but did not pierce his skin. Then Tiger-heart threw himself over the fence. As Tiger-heart was making his way over the fence, Wang grabbed Tech-edge and tried to launch both of them over the fence. But Tech-edge was heavier than he thought and he misjudged the jump. To compensate, Wang somersaulted in the air and threw his weight back up giving him the boost he needed to get over. But Wang had forced Tech-edge to somersault with him. The maneuver made Tech-edge visibly nauseous. When he landed, he went directly to his knees unable to support himself. Tiger-heart looked back to see if anyone was following them but found no one. He took a quick glance at the main gate and saw a van near the main gate. Several men pulled out a cage. Another man held a tranquilizer rifle.
“What the hell, Wang?” whispered Tiger-heart.
Wang turned to see what Tiger-heart had spotted. He couldn’t make any more sense of it than Tiger-heart could. He then turned his attention to Tech-edge Lee running ahead of him.
“Maybe our new friend can help us answer some questions,” answered Wang as they both ran to catch up with their companions.
Fireworks that marked the coming of the new year boomed and crackled in the distance.