THE CODE OF DIMACK
A Highlander/Kung Fu The Legend Continues Crossover
By Henry Wyckoff and Scott Vodvarka
January 22, 1996



Chapter 7

Duncan realized that he was going nowhere pretty fast, so he used the one trick that he had learned from Amanda -- when you want to lie, tell nothing but the truth. "There's not much to say, really," he answered Caine's question. "Once we learn that we can't die, those us who are lucky enough to learn the rules learn about the Prize. Legend says that all of us will be drawn to a faraway land, where must battle to the last. The last one to live wins the Prize. What is it? We don't know. And I don't know what the faraway land is either. It could be anywhere."

Caine looked at Duncan appraisingly, but Peter started pacing back and forth, grumbling aloud, "This is just wonderful -- a lunatic who HAPPENS to be an immortal, and now claims that he just HAS to kill other immortals to win some prize!"

Duncan looked like was going to go after Peter, but Caine held him back with an upraised arm. "Peter -- he has given you not only an answer, but the best possible answer. If you cannot behave yourself, I must ask you to leave!" His voice was stern, as if he was addressing a child.

A sudden thought occurred to Duncan -- one that had never occurred to him before. //Just let him go on disbelieving, and he'll soon forget...//

Peter looked stunned, as if he'd been slapped in the face. "You can't tell me you believe this cra--"

"That is enough!" Caine was very irritated now.

"OK.... if you believe all this nonsense, it's your choice. But don't expect me to believe it!"

"I expect you to do nothing but behave yourself."

Richie stepped in, "Hey, folks -- I think we're missing the main point here; Jin Ming. We don't have much time left at all."

Duncan managed to look a little embarrassed. Caine nodded, "As I have already said, I have an idea. Let us go."

The Ancient spoke, "I will stay here and guard over Amanda."

Kenny spoke from the door, "So will I."

"Wait a minute!" snapped Duncan. "We're not moving an inch till I'm told why HE'S here!"

Kenny looked scared and started to back off, "If it wasn't for me, Amanda would be dead!"

"You'd better start talking, boy!"

Kenny got angry, but held it back, "I had arranged to meet Amanda at a church. I wanted to talk with her."

"About WHAT?!"

"I wanted to make amends!" he snapped, his tone not only that of an adult, but that of a worn old man. "I didn't intend for this to happen to her -- and I'm sorry she got involved. Age a little more, and MAYBE you'll understand! And to think you call ME a boy!"

Duncan held himself back with an impressive amount of restraint. "Go on."

Kenny fought to maintain his composure, "I waited inside, and heard a scream. When I got out there, Amanda was poisoned and almost dead. You know the rest."

"You DID call me?"

"Of course I did -- it wasn't Caine! If I'd told you who I was, you wouldn't have come out here, AND AMANDA WOULD BE DEAD!!!" The muscles of his neck were stretched like tight cords."

Caine intervened, moving between the two. He looked at Duncan, "You are treating Kenny harshly, and it achieves nothing. If he chooses to guard Amanda, I would have it no other way." He looked at Peter, "Are you coming?"

Peter made a face, "All right!! I'll go!" He looked as if he'd rather cuff Duncan, however.

Within a moment, Kenny and the Ancient were left alone with Amanda.

Kenny blew out a heavy sigh.

"What is the matter, young one?" asked the Ancient, sitting down.

"Young one!" snapped Kenny indignantly, having reached the breaking point. "I'm a hell of a lot older than you are!"

"Ahh -- but age does not always mean the number of years you have accumulated," the Ancient was unfazed by the outburst. "Why are you so disturbed at being called young? You do have the form of a young boy. Could it be that you feel insecure? Are you angry that you were frozen at your age, and could not sample the pleasures of an adult body?"

Kenny didn't say a word, but slammed his hand into the wall.

"I see that I am correct! Could it be that even though you have gathered many years, you are still a child inside? A mature human being does not care about such trifles as words like 'young', 'old', or 'ancient'. Also he is not obsessed with the pleasures of the human body. How many centuries have you felt angry about what you do not have? Have you ever meditated on what you could obtain -- happiness, peace, and the love and acceptance of mankind? Have you not realized that many will open up to a child, when they will not open up to an adult? You could have gained so much happiness, and spread it through the world -- but instead you have refused both."

The words sank home. Kenny could remember the immortals who'd vowed to kill him after he betrayed them, &lt&lt...We would have cared for you!...&gt&gt

"I see you *do* understand. Perhaps it is not too late. Immortals, because they do not age or die, sometimes are slow to learn lessons."

Kenny's guts felt like they were about to tie themselves into knots. Endless faces assaulted him through the vaults of his memory -- betrayals, tears, cries of loss, rage, madness.

"Kenneth..." whispered Amanda, opening up her eyes. The Ancient seemed shocked by this development.

"Amanda!" Kenny ran to her side. "Hang on! We're going to get help!"

"Please..." she begged as it she hadn't heard him. "Make it stop..." She repeated it a few times before drifting back into unconsciousness.

Kenny howled his soul out. He howled when it returned.

The door suddenly burst open, and revealed several men wearing ninja-LIKE outfits. Jin Ming was at the head. "Well, well, well..." he held his hands on his hips. "If it's not Kenny and the Ancient. Do you honestly believe that you can protect the woman, let alone yourselves?"

Kenny was assaulted by a memory -- he thought it was a memory -- that wasn't even his. It was a man who was speaking passionately to Duncan, "Don't you see? It's about REDEMPTION! We can all change, all of us!"

//Where did that come from?// he wondered. He KNEW that he'd never witnessed this event, but it felt like a real memory. Then it hit him -- for as long as he could remember, every immortal who took him in had tried to teach him the ways, and they usually mentioned that when a head is taken, all the knowledge and memories of that immortal are taken into the victor. //Are these the memories of a man I killed?//

He saw Duncan in the memory, but not the man talking to him -- he remembered through that man's eyes. That was the only thing that came through -- he couldn't dredge up any other memories from that other source.

The lesson wasn't lost on Kenny, however -- it shook every nerve fiber of Kenny's being. //I can't change the past or the present, but I can redeem myself!//

The flashback and realization only took the space of a heartbeat, but it still gave the enemy time to act. The Ancient made short work of the ninjas, but was quickly and effortlessly knocked out by Jin Ming, who was now approaching Amanda with a predatory look in his eyes.

Kenny between Amanda and Jin Ming. "If you want her head you'll have to go through ME first!"

Jin Ming laughed with genuine amusement. "And what will you do, little boy? Destroy me? It would almost be amusing to watch."

"Care to step outside?"

"My pleasure."

They both left the room. When the Ancient woke up a few moments later, he looked around in confusion -- something was missing. Then he heard the clash of swords. He ran to the window and saw that Jin Ming had chopped off both of Kenny's arms, and was about to take off his head.

Kenny screamed aloud, "You might take my head, but you won't kill me!"

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