kung fu panda

Kissing Conundrum (Part 3)

Part two is here

Or you can read both part 2 and 3 in fanfiction here

At first, Po took Tigress to the classy part of the market place, where it was not as crowded and the ambience was more suiting for a couple to share an intimate conversation and joining paws. Gentle romantic rendition floated in the air, numerous stalls that lined up was also dressed accordingly ― coordinated colour that was very much pleasing to the eyes, cobble floor underneath was brushed until it shone like marble roof of Jade Palace, some shops even hire a band of musician to stir one’s desire to spend. As Po was thinking to get a better looking trousers than what he had - now that he knew, it was Tigress deepest desire to see him in better slack ― so, he purposed to please.

The shop assistant was a glamourous looking rhino, dressed with finest silk trousers, and neatly woven vest, adorned with a complicated looking embroidery pattern running across his chest. Upon seeing both of them entering, he came hither, striding pompously and greeted his customer with an exaggerated bow of courtesy. With her calculative mind, Tigress could straight away tell, the rhino wasn’t from anywhere near here, he must have been a travelling merchant or such. He spoke with a very weird accent, welcoming both of them into his shop, but his friendliness ceased there, right after he swept his imperious gaze, up and down on Po’s slumpy figure and taking mental note on the overall impression of his ‘modest’ attire. His nose visibly flaring, eyes narrowing and snorted overbearingly, indirectly announced that Po had come to the wrong store with such a lowly taste. “Pardon me, Mister, in my humble opinion… the shops you are looking for are on the next road down from here,” he mentioned, and pressed his lips into an unfriendly smile. Tigress knew that was where all the street vendors were.

Felt appalled by the rhino brutish bigotry, she growled and sheathed her claws in retribution, but the rhino didn’t read the clue, neither did he realised his customer were the illustrious Dragon Warrior and the most feared female Kung Fu master in China ― Master Tigress, whose mood of romance just being inverted into murder.

It was Po who quickly intervened. “Tigress, that’s ok, I don’t need awesomely expensive trousers to look awesome anyway…” He laughed humorlessly, and pulled Tigress’ wrist forcefully outside the establishment before she decided to eviscerate the rhino and carved his horn into a chopstick for Shifu’s birthday.

But before they wander any further, a rather exquisite object caught Tigress’ attention. It was a dark coloured cloak made from thick woolen material, married with a contrasting golden dragon embroidery stitched on its centre, cleverly twisted to a yin yang symbol, it was a truly classic resemblance. Capturing Tigress sudden spark of interest, the shop owner, a graceful leopardess with an outfit as sizzling as those in Viper’s magazine, greeted both warriors with her fluency….. and this time, she knew who they were.

“Ah, what’s my luck to have such distinguish heroes coming to my humble boutique.”

At first she coaxed two of them to contemplate the unrivalled craftsmanship, the unique design, the versatility and the usefulness of the spoken garment. Then she started to tell the story behind its legendary beginning (a cloak had a story? seriously?), from the humble sheep’ wool that was woven meticulously with the amount of dedication that could be more than the years Tigress spent to gain inner peace.

“The best are elegant and timeless, such as yourself Master Tigress,” the leopardess fondled the material of the cloak and run it through the digits of her paws, letting the sound of absolute pleasure spewed from her mouth upon touching its luxurious surface, “This… could be the armour of your day, and a shelter of your night.” she continued her eloquent rhetoric. “Whether you are on the way for a mission, or simply going for a date such as now - this will help you hit the right sartorial note.” she said again, as she tried the cloak on herself and gave it a dainty spin, to cajole Tigress even more to see how nice it drape along the curvature on her slender figure, which pretty much similar to her.

By then Po had been completely enraptured, Tigress wasn’t sure was it because the leopardess outstanding storytelling capability, the cloak…. or her cleavage.

Look at the cloak, but don’t look at her. She mentally protested, glaring dagger at the ignorant panda.

But Po quickly lost interest, and told Tigress that he would wait outside until she was done. Satisfied with her choice, Tigress went to pay for the cloak, only to meet the leopardess feminine giggle.

“Your big hearted boyfriend has paid for it,” she smiled widely, “… quick, go out there and give him a kiss!” Her proposition invited a sudden blush under her orange fur.

What? That oaf not even attempt to bargain for the price? But of course deep down her heart swell with pride upon knowing how thoughtful Po could be. Not even bothered to deny the truth of their relationship, Tigress thanked the shop owner and rushed outside to look for Po, only to find him in a furniture shop with a pig, Mr Chung.

Tigress knew this man, he was a rich tycoon with a collection of antiquities from all around the world. But she did wonder, what he could possibly try to sell to a person as simplistic, unsophisticated person like Po.

The valuable relic the pig was offering Dragon Warrior to consider was a chair! Yes, Tigress saw it with her own eyes. In fact, it was a bamboo chair, to be precise, made by adroitly twisting and heating two bamboo stalk and cover its seat with opulent looking cashmere and silk that could fit a maharajah.

He explained how this piece of chair was a unique engineering invention, a piece like no other. He showed Po how the chair could recline, by adjusting the catch in the arm, which slots into notches in the frame. There was a harmonious marriage between clever design, curves and luxury. “This is aesthetically pleasing, comfortable and ergonomic,” that was his words, only if he knew…. The only thing a panda could do to a bamboo furniture was to eat them. (Or to use it as a rocket launcher like what Po did when he found out he was locked outside the palace arena).

Registering her presence, Po excused himself smoothly and politely, and timely enough, Li appeared with Lei Lei on his arm.

“Stripy Baby! Cuddles!” Lei Lei shouted a blustering cheer upon seeing her idols.

“Oh, hi Dad.”

“Hi, Mr Li.”

After three of them (well, four) exchanged a few words, Li decided to leave them.

A few minutes into the stroll, Lei Lei already had her eyes fixated into the pink, sweet and fluffy cloud that hanging innocently from the ceiling of one of the snack vendors.

“Cotton candy! I wan those!”

“And those you will get.” Po smiled, “You two stay here, I’ll get you some,” before Tigress even rebutted any word of protest, the large panda had disappeared into the crowd. Suddenly, she heard Lei Lei squeaky voice.

“Stripey baby, can I stay with you?” Tigress felt a gentle tug on her silk trousers, only to meet Lei Lei large, gleaming, (should she said merciless?) begging eyes. Tigress cursed herself, where all her disciplines had gone in the face of this little panda fervent plea.

“Yes, you can stay in Jade Palace for a few days, I will ask Master Shifu for permission, but I think it should be ok.” She condoned.

“No… I mean, fow-ever….” her nonsensical request caused Tigress to raise her brows in complete bewilderment.

Forever?” Tigress repeated, making sure she understood the panda’s request (which she learnt later on, more like a demand).

“Yes… I want to be wif you fow-ever.” Lei Lei replied plainly as if requesting for an ice cream.

“I…I… no, I don’t know Lei Lei,” the tiger tore her gaze, if anyone would understand how a little girl yearned for a mother’s love, that would be herself. Yes, she had Shifu, although for the most part he hadn’t been outrightly giving her the paternal love she hoped for, but she knew, if it wasn’t because her estranged brother ― things might have been a very different between herself and Shifu. But again, a man would never be quite a replacement for a mother, even when he tried.

“You can be my stripey mommy…. can’t you?” she inquired, her azure eyes inspected into the depth of tiger’s soul. Though it was a simple request, Tigress could feel the intensity of her words. For once… Tigress listened to her heart, putting aside all her worry, concern, and decided - if she really loved Lei Lei, she would find the way to be together with her.

“Yes…yes, of course.”

“Can cuddles…. be my panda daddy?” she inquired again, and of course Tigress already had an inkling where the conversation was heading to. However, there was no false pretension in that little voice, neither was her eyes danced with mischief, either Lei Lei was a very good child actress or she was terribly sincere in saying all these.

No kidding, this girl really KNOWS how to ask for something.

Tigress took Lei Lei by the paw with her amber eyes watching her tenderly.“Well, he can, but you see… mommy and daddy normally lived in the same house, and they…” she paused, attempting to find a clever retort to convey the complexity of husband and wife relationship to a five year old.

“Hug? and Kiss?” Lei Lei offered, completing the sentence causing Tigress’ crimson eyes narrowing alternately.

“Uh… yes, they….ehm….love each other,” Tigress stammered, clearly chastising herself for underestimating Lei Lei level of knowledge.

And as if those weren’t hard enough questions, that little monochromatic creature was just proven how she could make the mighty Master Tigress succumbed into submission, nervous, tongue-tied and flushing a few shades of scarlet on her own confession.

“Stripy baby dow-esn’t wike Cuddles?”

Not only she KNOWS how to ask for something, she is very persistent indeed.

“No, no.. I. I mean yes… No, that’s not what I meant.” Tigress let an explosive sigh, looking at the little hellion with a face of an angel, before admitting her defeat, “Yes, I do like him.”

“Den… why can’t you bwoth hug and kiss and wif in the swame house?”

“…because…” the tiger took a pause to kneel down and look into the little panda cerulean eyes, “…because he doesn’t know that Lei Lei, I haven’t told him….. yet.” Tigress said softly.

“Tell him den…” She quipped, short and biting. If it wasn’t because that chaste little face, Tigress would be convinced there was a demon behind that cute, big, twinkling eyes, that currently laughing victoriously as the little panda just check-mate mighty Master Tigress on her little tactical manoeuvre.

Tigress froze where she stood, why was it so difficult for her to confess? Was it her pride and ego stood in the way? Was this all about her image as the pinnacle of unbreakable, dispassionate and unemotional warrior?

But the truth was, Tigress wanted the world for Po, she wanted him to be the well recognised warrior he deserved to be, she envisioned him to reach all of his dreams, to settle down with the prettiest girl, and bore the most gorgeous cubs, and for that she felt…. she wasn’t that woman that would deserve to win a grandiose title as Dragon Warrior’s wife, especially when she recalled how she treated him with unwarranted, dismal prejudice when he first came. Even when at the back of her mind, she knew very well that the panda requited her sentiment, and he would just want a string of her love and affection in return, and that would be enough to make him the happiest man, but she couldn’t do it. How could she? All her life she was trained to protect, to fight, to sacrifice and eventually to die for those she held dear. Accepting hugs, kisses, and other intimate gesture of affection definitely didn’t sit right with her vocabulary of love.

However, Po’s round, kind and his goofy face snapped her mind back from momentary reverie. Po handed two large cotton candy.

“You can eat one here, and the other one you can take home.” Po said. Lei Lei giggled, but shook her head as she handed the other cotton candy.

“Cuddles and Big Stripey Baby share!”

Both masters were caught in an awkward silence, while Lei Lei grinning triumphantly.

“Right… we’ll share then….” Po took the cotton candy out of the bag, and offering Tigress to take the first bite. “…ladies first,” he smiled.

Watch out you little lady. Tigress smirked at Lei Lei who pretended to ignore them completely. Tigress was well aware the little panda risking to steal a glance every time she or Po took a bite.

“Shall we visit the…-” and his statement was cut mid sentence by a growling demand underneath, this time not just coming from Po, but Lei Lei as well.

Tigress chuckled sinisterly,“I think we need to feed two of you before those noises caused an earthquake.”

… to be continued ….

I completely…. utterly… LOVE this… thank you @peace-on

here the #captionthis, part of the chapter 3 of kissing conundrum that I haven’t upload yet. 

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Po looked at him, and even from a distance, Tigress could see his soul was strangled with morass eruption of emotions - heartache, compassion and pity. How could someone be alone, homeless and hungry in such joyful time? 

The panda prudently depositing himself on the ground next to the old pig. Tigress could see they were conversing but couldn’t exactly decipher the words they had exchanged. She observed as Po smiled indulgently, handed a portion of dumpling and bean buns to the beggar, and as if that wasn’t enough, he reached his paw into the depth of his pockets and placed the entire content of his wallet into the canister. 

The pig began to weep in front of him, in which Po just gently tapped his shoulder, must be saying something like,”it’s my pleasure to help,” before he left. 

A warm feeling bubbling in her chest and her gut felt oddly tight, yes…. this was Po, although a person who kneeling right there was a rotund panda, with poorly patched slack, and a bad body posture, what she could see was China’s most legendary warrior ― wearing his unbridled benevolence and boundless generosity, with no desire to be recognised. And those emerald eyes, were wearing the same tenderness, patience and grace, as when he dissuaded his enemies to find peace and repentance. 

This incited a sincere feeling of admiration in her chest. 

Viper was right, he is handsome and kind, any woman would be lucky to have him. 

As he made it back, it had become obvious that Tigress knew the panda had given his entire dinner to the tramp, only sparing hers and Lei Lei’s. 

Subsequently, under her interrogative eyes, he sheepishly admitted the fact that he was hungry (after his tummy wailed another line of protest that he couldn’t deny), but obstinately insisted that he would be alright.

“You idiot,” Tigress directed her words towards the panda, nonchalantly took her dumpling to split it in two, and stuffed the much larger piece rather forcefully into his mouth,”…swallow that, or I kill you.” Surprisingly, the words were said with much affection, and by the gentle curl of her lips, and the sparkle in her eyes, Po knew Tigress was proud to see what he did right there.

“Thanks Tigress.”

The tiger smiled, genuine and full of respect, just like when Po just defeated Tai Lung, vanquished Shen and returned back from the spirit realm. And for once…. for a brief second, Po saw something in her sunset eyes…, something that he couldn’t fathom possibly even being there…..ever! They were shining with wonderment, adoration and…. love?

But before either one of the two equally enamored warriors decided what to do, with eyes still locked in affectionate gaze, they felt their paws brushing each other. Tigress was the first to notice, the love cupid in panda outfits was the one who had joined them, paw in paw. 

Smiling credulously, Lei Lei smoothly changed the topic to cover her crime, “Cuddles… I want wantern! The yeyow one!” she pointed out towards the direction of the lantern stall.

Po lifted Lei Lei by his shoulder, even Tigress didn’t attempt to break free from his grasp, neither did she bother about being caught red handed by the rest or Shifu. Three of the strode slowly, taking the immense pleasure of the ambience and the moment.

“Let’s go get that lantern!”

2

This is quite possibly the stupidest article I have ever seen. Because kids are just “too young” to understand complex themes. Why are we treating them like human beings with a complex brain structure? Let’s just feed them mindless movies that have no plot because they’re “”“fun”“”.

Give me a break. Besides, the success of both of those movies proves kids LIKE them. Stop treating kids like they’re dumber than they are. (Also they’re actually family entertainment, not “kids films”.)

8

I had the awesome opportunity a while back to Art Direct a Kung Fu Panda half hour special titled “Secrets of the Scroll” for Dreamworks.  It was directed by the incredible talent Rodolphe Guenoden and was a blast to work on.  I was also lucky to have such an inspiring team of artists working with me : Chris Zibach, Jason Brubaker, Erik Tilmans, Rich Ramazinski, Jason Stoval, Griselda Sastrawinata, Natalie Franscioni-Karp and countless other amazing artists who helped contribute to this awesome special.  Above are just a few of the painting I did for the show, but there are tons more in the special from the artists listed above as there is over 18 min of 2D animation in the special.  KFP Secrets of the Scroll is on Netflix so check it out!