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     Tropes A-C 
  • Accidental Kiss: Variation. During kung fu training in Chapter 25, Tai Lung moves to kiss Mei Ling's cheek (as a means of celebrating how well it is going, and to repay her for her compliments to him). At the last second she turns her head so he kisses her lips instead. Engineered by her, of course, as part of Operation: Jealousy to help him and Tigress get together.
  • Action Film, Quiet Drama Scene: In Chapter 31, after the climactic battle at Chorh-Gom, information is shared, forgiveness is offered, and a Mercy Kill is given to Vachir, followed by quite the heart-to-heart between Tai Lung and Tigress.
  • After-Action Healing Drama: Mid-action variation—during the Final Battle, first Monkey, then Crane have to sit out the fighting in order to treat Shifu's injuries and save his life (though the latter is also hurt himself). Played fully straight after Chao is killed when finally Mantis takes over the medical duties.
  • After Action Patchup: Tigress resetting Tai Lung's dislocated shoulder, then bandaging the knife wound in his side while on the ledge in Chorh-Gom. Could be considered a repayment for him treating her wounded head and ankle after her disastrous encounter with Xiu in the birch forest. There's also the even more serious example of Mantis and the local doctor working to save Po's life after his throat is slit.
  • Alas, Poor Villain: Vachir. A character with very little characterization in the film, and shown to be a nasty, vindictive bully to the point the audience could actually root for Tai Lung to defeat him and escape, is here shown to have depth and motivation for the things he's done, and the Demonic Possession he undergoes which forces him to commit heinous acts against his will truly makes his suffering and self-loathing meaningful and sympathetic, including to the other characters. By the time Tigress fatally wounds him so that he is able to die as himself, he's changed to become a lot more likable, brave, and even noble in his own way. Seeing him apologize to Tai Lung for his Cold-Blooded Torture and get forgiven for it, as well as asking for and receiving a Mercy Kill, becomes a painful case of what could have been, once it's clear he and Tai Lung are Not So Different and could have been friends, if matters had turned out differently. In addition, while Tigress and Tai Lung are trapped on the ledge with him in Chorh-Gom and his story is shared, they end up showing Vachir he is not alone, promise to fulfill his Last Request, say they will make him Famed In-Story so people will know he died a hero, and there is a Meaningful Funeral afterward.
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: Lampshaded by Xiu, but averted, as Tigress's desire for Tai Lung has nothing to do with his status as a former villain—it's one of the main points of contention making her resist any relationship with him.
  • All There in the Manual: Rather than kept confined only to the pages of Art of Kung Fu Panda, the KFP Wiki, or other supplemental sources, a great deal of lost places, cut characters, backstory, and other information has been incorporated into the story in many different ways.
    • The translation of Po's name ("Precious Peace"), and the Double Meaning riddle of the Dragon Scroll ("The greatest power in the universe lies within") given by Mark Osborne, which is described in the fic as actually being written on its casing.
    • The symbols of the Five Elements being part of the pattern on the floor of the Hall of Warriors.
    • The name of Ping's noodle shop being the Golden Harvest Restaurant (referencing the famous kung fu movie studio of the 70's).
    • Jennifer Yuh Nelson's comment that Ping has "a little head" with "not much...going on up there except noodles", which is said in-story by Xiulan.
    • Two of Tai Lung's original army members, the humorously nicknamed "Four-Armed Yak Demon God on Fire" and the "Ninja Elephant", who appear in the fic as a famous opponent of the snow leopard's in his heroic days and one of the masters depicted in the Vault of Heroes' statuary, respectively.
    • The mystical weapons originally listed on the KFP website (later Wiki), only a few of which were mentioned in the movie—Flying Rhino's armor, the Sword of Heroes, and the Invisible Trident of Destiny, with the added entries of the Iron Fist of Justice, the Ninja Weapons, the Shield of Fire Monkey Pass, the Ring Blades, and the Golden Spear.
    • The original masters who owned most of the above weapons, now made the first class of the Jade Palace (and Heian Chao's contemporaries)—Master Dog, Master Flying Rhino, Master Iron Ox, Masters Twin Weasels, and the Three Brothers (here depicted as lions).
  • Almost Kiss: Tai Lung and Tigress are just about to kiss, while on the ledge in Chorh-Gom they've fallen onto, when they get interrupted by Crane, who had been searching for them, swooping in to the rescue. Played with in that this would not have been their First Kiss (in fact they've already had sex for the first time by this point), but it would have been a sign of them genuinely being in love based on the conversation which took place just before this.
  • Amazon Chaser: From the very first time he speaks to her in-story, while locked in his cell, Tai Lung states that Tigress's Action Girl nature, her mastery of kung fu (and teamwork leading the Furious Five), and the fact she nearly beat him at the Thread of Hope all result in deep admiration for her on his part...and as soon as the reader gets back into his POV, he makes it clear her challenging, powerful nature actually excites and arouses him. Luckily for him, All Amazons Want Hercules also applies to Tigress, so that the only real issues keeping them apart are her not wishing to get hurt by him and his trustworthiness.
  • Ambition Is Evil: Played with. Tai Lung is just as ambitious as he was in the film, but a key theme of the fic is that what matters is what the ambition is being directed towards. His efforts to redeem himself prove to be a very noble pursuit, and he is just as fiery in his pursuit of Tigress as he was with mastering the thousand scrolls, though he has to approach it much differently in order to succeed. Chao and Xiu form a direct contrast to this, since their goals are downright horrifying.
  • Ancient Evil: Heian Chao, naturally. While not quite as old as most examples of the trope, he reveals himself to be over nine hundred years old when reflecting on how long he has been plotting his ascension to power, thanks to having unnaturally extended his lifespan via chi manipulation.
  • And I Must Scream: Although he was imprisoned by Oogway for over nine hundred years, this does not apply to Heian Chao, since his spirit was still free to wander even when his body wasn't (although he most certainly did scream during his initial imprisonment, and it's implied he didn't learn the soul-detaching technique right away). But it is absolutely played straight with Xiu, who (as a result of My Skull Runneth Over) ends up trapped insane and catatonic but fully aware within her own mind, a condition for which there seems to be no cure; and Vachir, who thanks to Demonic Possession finds himself carried along mentally while Chao puppeteers his body, unable to resist as the villain murders and mutilates countless innocents—as he describes it himself, "he had watched his own hands committing these foul deeds, wished he could weep—and screamed away endlessly behind his own face."
  • And This Is for...: During the fight with the Wu Sisters at Wu Dan, Po invokes the phrase twice against Xiu, first striking a whip of water across her throat "for Tigress" (whom she'd badly injured in an earlier battle), then another across her diaphragm "for Zhuang", whom she'd killed.
  • Animal Stereotypes: Most of Mantis's memorial boats at the Ghost Festival were for male relatives (referencing the well-known behavior of female mantises eating the heads of the males after mating)... However, Tai Lung is not at all afraid of water, unless it is cold water...which is in fact an early indication of what he suffered during Vachir's Cold-Blooded Torture, no pun intended.
  • Anti-Hero: Once he makes the decision to accept Shifu's offer and try to redeem himself, Tai Lung is, for most of the story, an Unscrupulous Hero. By the end of the story he has in most respects shifted to a Pragmatic Anti-Hero.
  • Aren't You Going to Ravish Me?: Tigress, being Genre Savvy, expects a seduction from the Big Bad, who is genuinely confused by the accusation.
  • Astonishingly Appropriate Interruption: During Tai Lung's acupuncture session, when his snide commentary on the strength of the mind and heart versus that of the body is interrupted by Mantis with "Tai Lung, you stink!"—referencing the pair of pants he's been wearing in Chorh-Gom for twenty years. Subverted when, after a brief tangent about making sure the snow leopard gets proper hygiene and clean clothes, Mantis reveals he was also talking about Tai Lung's attitude.
  • The Atoner:
    • It takes a little while, since when he first is offered the deal by Shifu, Tai Lung only considers accepting because he basically has no other options except going back to jail. But once he decides he doesn't want to give up on living, has a great deal of his anger and darkness purged in an acupuncture chi-session, is forced to face the truth of what he did to the people of the village, and is shown by Oogway's ghost the errors in his thinking that led to his rampage, the snow leopard is genuinely overcome with remorse. From then on, the rest of the story consists of him truly realizing more and more just how horrible his actions were, then doing everything he can to make amends and earn his redemption. Although he does become a true hero through his actions by the end, he also comes to understand he will be atoning for the rest of his life.
    • Jia, who falls under the "Assassin Wants to Quit" subtrope due to having been Forced into Evil by her sister. Although she wrongfully blames herself for their father's death, she is also guilty of the various criminal and murderous acts she performed as a Wu Sister. Thus her atonement can only be achieved by first breaking free via fatally injuring Xiu, then aiding the heroes against Chao, and finally earning a pardon. But even after this, she ends the story determined to travel the empire on a Redemption Quest, using her skills for good.
  • Attractiveness Isolation: Poor Mei Ling. Down-to-earth, laid-back, happy to notice anyone who is good-hearted, brave, and noble...and no one (especially Crane) will approach her because she's "too pretty", they're threatened by her overturning of the gender roles, or they think she is too good for them (or they're not good enough for her).
  • Awkward Father-Son Bonding Activity: The rather pathetic attempts Shifu makes to get close to Tigress on the way back from Chorh-Gom, ranging from nature hikes to visiting tea shops to going shopping for feminine frillery.
  • Aw, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other:
    • After going for the first half of the story constantly arguing, lashing out, and snarking nastily at each other, Tai Lung finally has a moment where he shows he truly does love Tigress, and she returns the favor. While the latter is recovering from the injuries dealt her by the Wu Sisters, the snow leopard spends a month and a half taking care of her, and he starts this process by declaring to her (when she openly wonders why he's doing it), "Because, damnit, I care about you. Is that really so hard to believe?" Following this, Tai Lung has her childhood doll repaired, prepares her favorite foods for her with Po's help, reads to her their favorite stories from The Romance of the Three Kingdoms, plays a song for her on his flute, and plays dominoes with her (a pastime already shown in Secrets of the Furious Five to have special meaning for Tigress, as it's how she bonded with Shifu as a cub). As a result, the chapter ends with her genuinely apologizing for accusing him of trying to kill Po in Yunxian, him admitting the truth about his connection with the Wu Sisters, and him being allowed to kiss her forehead.
    • The friendship version of the trope applies to Tai Lung and Po. While the panda shows and states his caring for the snow leopard practically from day one, Tai Lung eventually is able to get over his anger over the Dragon Scroll and cease the insults and mockery enough to show he cares for Po as well. Sometimes this occurs as brief asides in his thoughts and statements, such as how he becomes more and more fond of the panda's cooking as the story progresses, or how he teases and plays around with Po during the "Truth or Dare" game (even going so far as to blow in his belly at one point). When the panda is near-fatally injured by Xiu at Yunxian, Tai Lung clearly panics and almost breaks down in tears, leading to him spending the whole trip back to the Valley carrying Po on his back and then also taking care of him during his recovery. While training Po in kung fu, he not only admits aloud that, even if he can't understand why, he does see the panda as his friend, he responds to Po's excitement over seeing some of his best moves with this thought: "it made Tai Lung all the more determined to prove himself...because he simply wanted to see that smile again, to be the panda's hero." By the time Tai Lung is defending Po from Heian Chao's attacks during the Final Battle, it's no surprise the two of them end up having this exchange:
      Tai Lung: You stay away from him! Nobody gets to beat up on the panda...except me.
      Po: Aww, big guy, I didn't know you cared.
      Tai Lung: Shut up.
  • Ax-Crazy: Xiu, in spades, is the Played for Drama version of this trope, since she is The Dragon to Heian Chao and the prime Psycho for Hire among the Wu Sisters. Her stated goal (both in what she wishes Chao to give her and her overall aim in life) is to become the best assassin in China, but she wishes this not for money but for infamy—she wishes to, in her own words, "become Mistress Death" (something which would well be literal, should Chao grant her his chi powers), with the ability to control whether everyone around her lives or dies. Multiple scenes throughout the story showcase her unhinged nature and sociopathy, ranging from the pleasure she takes in killing and nastily injuring others, to her obsessive need to kill Po and claim Tai Lung as hers, to her crazed laughter and various mental and/or emotional breakdowns. The best examples, however, would be her arguing with the voices in her head as she suffers bodily tremors; her continuing to wildly and furiously fight Tai Lung even when (thanks to handling the Golden Spear) burned flesh is sloughing off her paws; and her pleading for Chao to give her his chi powers even when she's bleeding on the ground from fatal injuries. It gets to the point that even Chun is horrified by her words and actions.
  • Babies Ever After: At the end of the story, and after a time skip of a year, it's revealed that Tai Lung and Tigress have had twin cubs, a tiger-striped boy and a snow leopard girl. (Hardly surprising, considering how much activity the pair got up to earlier...)
  • Backstory:
    • As he is the protagonist of the story, Tai Lung is given more development this time around, ranging from more details of his personality, attitude, relationships, and actions as he grew up at the Jade Palace (and how he changed for the worse) to his history with the Wu Sisters, and eventually who his birth family was and why he was a Doorstop Baby.
    • Po's unknown past regarding his missing parents is explored (a different version than the canon backstory given in Kung Fu Panda 2, naturally), while the little revealed about Mei Ling in Secrets of the Furious Five is fleshed out via her relationship with the Wu Sisters and their shared father. Further details are also given on the Wu Sisters via Jia's sorrowful memories as to how she ended up an outlaw on the run, as well as Chun's memories of just how they knew Po's biological parents.
    • Vachir's history with the Anvil of Heaven and especially his time as a soldier fighting the Mongols is gone into in some depth, particularly as it relates to his loyalty to and friendship with Emperor Chen (which also requires some delving into his past), while new characters Zhuang and Xiulan get to reflect upon how they met and married as well as each of their connections to Tai Lung's rampage.
    • Chapter 38 is almost entirely devoted to revealing the full past history of Heian Chao, and this as well as Tai Lung's conversations with Oogway's ghost reveals a bit more about the turtle's past.
  • Back-to-Back Badasses: Occurs multiple times throughout the story—Tigress and Shifu face off back-to-back with the zombie Anvil of Heaven at Chorh-Gom, to stunning effect; Monkey and Mantis as well as Mei Ling and Jia take up the same positions against the hordes of the yaoguai during the Final Battle; Tai Lung and Po take on Heian Chao himself back-to-back atop one of the great statues in the Vault of Heroes (a very appropriate tactic, considering the battlefield has 360 degrees and he has the capability of flight); and in Backstory, Vachir and Emperor Chen are revealed to have taken on the Mongols completely surrounding them after having driven the Great Khan himself into retreat.
  • Badass Army: Two of these appear during the Final Battle, facing off against each other of course. Heian Chao summons the yaoguai, an army of seemingly-endless demons which appear to have unflagging stamina, supernatural strength, and invulnerability to anything but mystical kung fu weapons in addition to their fire magic. Meanwhile, Mantis uses the Urn of Whispering Warriors to summon the Warriors of Tenshu, an army of mystical shades Famed In-Story (and as described on the KFP Wiki) for defending a village of helpless potters from a different army of ravening demons, at the cost of their own lives.
  • Bad-Guy Bar: The Bandit Inn, a "lost place" location cut from the first movie but depicted in Art of Kung Fu Panda, reappears here as a Wretched Hive of cutthroats, robbers, mercenaries, and other villainous sorts. Housed in a Saharan Shipwreck on an alkali flat, it is where Heian Chao goes to hire the Wu Sisters to begin putting his Evil Plan into action.
  • Bait-and-Switch: A number of chapter openings are misleading, usually in a Double Entendre fashion; in particular Chapter 24 and Chapter 31 mirror each other in both suggesting that Tigress and Tai Lung are involved in rather vigorous sexual activity when in actuality it's one of them not-so-gently treating the other's injuries. Chapter 23's opening turns out to be an Erotic Dream Tai Lung is having, while Chapter 22 misleads the reader into thinking the scene involves the actual characters before eventually revealing it's simply Po playing with the Furious Five's action figures. The way in which Shifu misleads Tai Lung as to what the nature of his new training will be is also an in-story version of this for Tai Lung, since the snow leopard believes he is about to be trained in a new and amazing weapon until it turns out to be...a hammer.
  • Bait-and-Switch Comparison: Variation. When he discovers that Tai Lung has fallen in love with Tigress and thinks he's going insane because he can't stop thinking of her, Mantis (being The Medic) sagely advises him on what is "ailing" him: "I know what you're talking about. It's a terrible affliction that can strike anyone without any warning, it's deadly accurate, it spares no one in the end, and I'm afraid there's no cure. Yeah, you've got it bad, Tai Lung."
  • Batman Gambit: Oogway's plan for getting rid of Chao is to have Po use the Wuxi Finger Hold on Tai Lung to restore him to himself, then joining forces with him. This after Tai Lung was held for twenty years in Chorh-Gom to keep him safe from Chao.
  • Beautiful Dreamer: Tai Lung with Tigress when, while she's recovering from the injuries dealt her by Xiu and Chun, he plays a song for her on his flute and she falls asleep on his chest.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Xiu goes the entire story longing to be granted power over chi by Heian Chao, so as to be able to control life and death herself. But she really should have been more wary of accepting power from a dark chi master, as the end result is insanity due to the dark magic flooding and overwhelming her mind, followed by the draining of her own life force and finally being trapped, insane and catatonic, inside her own mind.
  • Believing Their Own Lies: Considering how unhinged and psychotic Xiu is (not to mention what she becomes by the end of the story), this could well be the explanation for why she mocked Po for being a panda ("the greatest warrior in China, in the history of kung fu, is a panda. I had no idea the standards at the Jade Palace had sunk so low") when it's revealed later that she had years ago known his father as a deadly and extremely effective fighter. Either that or she was using Exact Words (being a thief and highwayman is not the same thing as a warrior or soldier), or she was deliberately withholding the information so she would have ammunition with which to taunt Po.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: To the surprise of no one due to the nature of their personalities (and the fact they start out as enemies), this is the sort of relationship Tai Lung and Tigress have for most of the story. Even when they aren't literally smacking, punching, or physically threatening each other, they're always sniping, snarking, and insulting one another—their very first interaction consists of an entire chapter of nothing but a fairly venomous and sarcastic debate that ends with Tigress literally attacking and pummeling Tai Lung. Tai Lung at least is able to admit his deeper feelings, both directly to her and to others such as Viper and Mantis, but Tigress refuses to admit it to herself until Heian Chao heightening everyone's emotions finally gets her to act on her desires.
  • Beta Couple: Crane and Mei Ling. They don't have as easy a time of it as most examples of the trope, but when they are compared to Tai Lung and Tigress...
  • Beware the Nice Ones: It takes a lot to make Po angry. A lot! When he actually says a single curse word, your ass is about to be handed to you, painfully and humiliatingly.
  • Big Bad: Heian Chao, the Ancient Evil Sorcerer and Kung-Fu Wizard who wishes to possess and control the chi of every person in the empire (and the empire itself), fulfills this role for the story. Xiu, eldest of the Wu Sisters, may be the character who gives the heroes the most personal trouble, but she is actually The Dragon and to some extent The Heavy. It is Chao who is behind all the schemes and plans the heroes must thwart, who personally hires the Sisters to kill Po and help corrupt Tai Lung back to The Dark Side, who possesses Vachir and Monkey in order to murder countless innocents and spread a Hate Plague over the Valley, and who directly taints the Pool of Sacred Tears so that he can control everyone in the Valley. He's also, of course, the Final Boss the heroes must face in the climactic ending battle.
  • Big Damn Heroes:
    • As is to be expected for the kung fu genre, a number of characters get to do this during the Final Battle or the lead-up to it—Mei Ling arrives with her throwing stars Just in Time to save Po from Xiu's dagger, Crane flies up to face Chao and prevent him from attacking Po or a badly-wounded Shifu, Jia stabs Xiu In the Back just as she's about to deal a killing blow to Tai Lung, the snow leopard himself comes to Po's rescue when he's trapped in ice and on the verge of surrendering to Chao's relentless attacks, and the panda gets to return the favor by catching Tai Lung after he's dropped from a great height. The biggest example, though, would be Mantis, who not only shows up to save Crane from Chao's final deathblow, but brings along the Urn of Whispering Warriors to unleash the Warriors of Tenshu and then act as their general in the battle which follows.
    • The arrival of Tigress at the trial is an unsuccessful attempt, since she isn't able to get through to Xiulan or the villagers, but Crane arriving Just in Time to literally cut the rope and save Tai Lung from being hanged more than makes up for it.
  • Big "NO!": A number of them, but the biggest are probably from Tai Lung when, after Monkey stabs her, Tigress is falling into the abyss at Chorh-Gom; Xiulan when "Tai Lung" kills Zhuang; and both Tai Lung and Tigress when Shifu falls after being stabbed by Chao.
  • Big "WHAT?!": While several of these appear in the story as well, the most memorable (and clearest example of the trope) occurs in Chapter 10 as Tai Lung's reaction to the "weapon" Shifu wishes to train him in for his first lesson (a hammer to effect repairs, rather than the glorious kung fu training he was expecting). Another, and far more serious, example occurs when Tigress learns that Mantis has died (or so everyone thinks), and a third from Shifu when Mei Ling reveals at the trial that the snow leopard fur in evidence does in fact belong to Tai Lung.
  • Bilingual Bonus:
    • A number of phrases sprinkled throughout the story, and even whole sentences, appear in Mandarin, which the author dutifully translated in his notes for those who don't speak Chinese. Most of the original characters have a Meaningful Name due to this as well.
    • The diminutive "Tai Tai" that so annoys the snow leopard is also Cantonese for "mother-in-law".
  • Bits of Me Keep Passing Out: Tai Lung's nerve strike, which was already shown to cause temporary paralysis in the first movie, ends up being used in slapstick fashion when he employs it in a bit of revenge while training Po, resulting in the panda staggering about with flopping arms, then hopping on only one leg, before eventually collapsing. It then later gets successfully Played for Drama when Po uses it on Xiu during the fight at Wu Dan (and precipitates her Villainous Breakdown), with the result of the snow leopardess desperately crawling after him so as to keep attacking, sobbing and screaming in fury, until finally she too collapses.
  • Black Cloak: Heian Chao wears one, complete with hood to conceal his face, and in contrast to the red and brown cloak he wore when young and mortal. It's also notable for actually being made from shadows that he gathers with his chi powers, and it's strongly implied he does this not merely to intimidate or to hide his identity, but in order to protect himself from sunlight.
  • Black Comedy: When the possessed Vachir captures Zeng:
  • Black Magic: Chao's usage of chi energy hits every beat of the trope, since it generally makes him a master of Elemental Darkness, but in particular its source is a cross between The Dark Side and The Corruption, its cost is stealing others' Life Energy (though it also seems to be fueled at times by torture and suffering), and among its many effects are Demonic Possession, generating a Hate Plague, turning others into People Puppets, and raising the dead.
  • Body Snatcher: Chao again; although this happens a number of times in the narrative, the only time we see it fully done on-screen is when he possesses Vachir.
  • Break the Badass: Two examples. Wu Xiu, the coldest and most black-hearted of the Wu Sisters, was both shocked and disturbed by what was found in Monkey's Room Full of Crazy, thus showing the reader just how far the Demonic Possession had gone and what the heroes were in for when Chao made him betray them. Similarly, Tai Lung tried to impress on Shifu and the Five how bad it would be to face Vachir by stressing how heartless, horrible, and implacable the rhino was—in other words, implying that he was afraid of him, and wasn't sure even he could win against Vachir. When they actually get to Chorh-Gom, this fear bears fruit during the battle, especially when Tai Lung first sees the resurrected Anvil of Heaven behind him. If Tai Lung is scared, you know something major is about to go down.
  • Break the Cutie:
  • Breaking the Bonds: During the first battle with the Wu Sisters at Yunxian, Tai Lung becomes trapped in the coils of a meteor hammer. His response is to flex his pecs and biceps to burst free of the cord, the show-off. Tigress wonders later if this is also how he broke free during their battle at the Thread of Hope in the first movie, but the snow leopard states the ropes just loosened when he struck the cliff face.
  • Breaking Speech: Being a manipulative and psychological sort of villain, Chao is fairly good at such tactics, and manages to demoralize a few of his opponents long enough to gain an advantage over them. He in fact prefaces the entire Final Battle with a series of these against Viper (the supposed weakness of her compassionate heart), Crane (his intellect and how it failed to stop his schemes or figure out who was behind them), Monkey (his susceptibility to Demonic Posession), and Tigress (her anger and resentment toward Shifu, which he uses to try and lure her into joining him at Tai Lung's side). He also employs Po's Mysterious Past against him, as well as how he was the one to inadvertently free Chao from his can. Sometimes, however, he only leaves himself open to a truly righteous Shut Up, Hannibal!—such as when Po gets his Heroic Second Wind, or earlier when Tai Lung, arrested for Shen Zhuang's murder, throws his We Can Rule Together sales pitch back in his face.
  • Broken Pedestal:
    • Po, regarding his parents, but mostly his father Bao. While he'd never believed himself to come from a glorious, heroic lineage, it nearly crushes him to learn that his father was a deserter from the army and that this, as well as an earthquake destroying their home, led both his parents to become highwaymen, bandits, and even murderers. It's Foreshadowed in Chapter 17, when Po decides to go fetch snacks for the "Truth or Dare":
      Po: Don't worry, I'll leave some money down in the kitchen for the innkeeper. I may be a lotta things, but I ain't no thief.
    • Tai Lung learns more of just why Oogway would not give him the Dragon Scroll, why Shifu did not stand up for him, and why both of them chose to lock him away in Chorh-Gom without ever visiting or considering releasing him. He becomes rather disillusioned, too, and certainly gives them both the sharp edge of his tongue.
  • Bucket Booby-Trap: While reminiscing about his cubhood during a visit to Wu Dan, Tai Lung reveals he placed a bucket of washwater over his dormitory door so that it would fall on a snooty Imperial official doing a Jade Palace inspection. It also, somehow, ended up being used on Shifu.
  • But for Me, It Was Tuesday: Implied when Jia confronts Heian Chao about him apparently planning to have Monkey kill Tai Lung, whom she wanted as her lover. Her You Know What You Did leads to this gem: "Before he could observe, with absolute honesty, that he had done many reprehensible, vile things and could not be expected to recall them all..."
  • Call-Back:
    • Po's "level zero" from the training hall appears again, only this time something he does deliberately so as to show (through his humiliation) that Tai Lung can still be a hero.
    • Shifu's ability to send out a gust of wind (to blow out Oogway's candles) returns as a chi ability Tai Lung and Tigress use to help extend the new span on the Thread of Hope.
    • While visiting the daycare with Tigress, Tai Lung gets to experience the very same thing he did to Shifu when he was a cub—having his mustache yanked out. Even better, it's a red panda cub that does it.
    • In chapter 17 during the "Truth or Dare", one of the dares Tai Lung makes Po do is to touch his toes without bending his knees. Crane, Mantis, and Monkey burst out laughing, since of course they clearly remember the scene from the first movie when, while climbing the stairs to the bunkhouse, they spoke of Po not being able to touch his toes (or even see them).
    • Shifu's flute is revealed to have been a gift from Tai Lung when he was six or seven, and that it has a twin which was the snow leopard's own; he uses it to play a song in honor of Oogway in the branches of the peach tree, as seen in the fic's cover art.
    • We get one to Tai Lung's line of "What are you gonna do, sit on me?" from the first movie in chapter 22, when Tai Lung unexpectedly uses his nerve strike to paralyze Po's limbs (to teach him some lessons as well as a bit of revenge), causing the panda to fall on his back and Tai Lung to sit on his belly.
      Tai Lung: So what now, big guy? Now I'm sitting on you.
    • The journey to Wu Dan to focus on special, intense training at the birthplace of kung fu happens again, only this time it's both Po and Tai Lung going there to learn how to channel their personal elements. Also, the dumpling fight happens again too, involving both of them and Shifu (which is a reference to the directors' commentary where it was revealed the fight was originally envisioned as being between Tai Lung and Shifu).
    • Jia listens in to Tai and Tigress's conversation from the same cliff perch where Tigress listened to Shifu and Po.
    • Po's dream of the 10,000 demons of Demon Mountain was actually a heroic legend of Tai Lung's, which the panda inserted himself into. It also gets to happen for real during the Final Battle, since it turns out he was Dreaming of Things to Come.
  • Calling the Old Man Out:
    • While it already occurred during their confrontation at the end of the first movie, Tai Lung continues (starting in the very first chapter!) to rail against Shifu for how he raised him to believe he would receive the Dragon Scroll, and for not standing up for him against Oogway; later arguments also criticize the overall manner of Shifu's parenting and the fact he never bothered to visit him in Chorh-Gom save for one time early on. The longer this continues, the less enraged and nasty Tai Lung becomes, instead turning more to pleading for understanding and despair at anything changing. To Shifu's credit, he not only manages to provide some good explanations and rationales, he admits to his grave errors, and the result is that he and the snow leopard finally reconcile about a third of the way through the story.
    • Early on in the story Tai Lung has it out with Oogway (who while a mentor was also a grandfather figure for him) over the whole refusal of the Dragon Scroll and everything which followed from it. While the snow leopard has less genuine cause to rail against the turtle, the latter does freely admit to having failed to explain himself well (or at all), and it's quite clear that getting to vent and release all the rage he never got to twenty years ago is cathartic for Tai Lung. The end result is that after another, far more penitent and understanding conversation with Oogway's ghost, the snow leopard is able to forgive and reconcile with him as well.
    • During the journey to Chorh-Gom, Tigress has it out with Shifu—her accusations ranging from how he treated her after adopting her from Bao Gu and for all the years thereafter, to his overall distant and emotionless nature, to how he didn't seem to even care Oogway chose Po over her, to how she was a Replacement Goldfish for Tai Lung (only for the snow leopard and to a lesser degree the giant panda to take her place in Shifu's heart). Unlike with Tai Lung where there were mistakes made on both sides, Shifu does not deny a word Tigress says, in fact coming close to a Heroic BSoD for a while. He begins trying to reach out to her again on their way back to the Valley, although it isn't until the very end of the story (and after Shifu nearly dies in the Final Battle) that they finally begin to reconcile.
  • Cannot Spit It Out: Mei Ling just can't bring herself to tell Crane about her part in Operation: Jealousy to bring Tigress and Tai Lung together for a number of reasons (thinking he wouldn't approve, that he'd try to help and screw things up, that he'd just end up enraging Tigress if he tried). To a lesser degree, she also can't bring herself to tell him about her feelings for him, but Crane himself is far more tongue-tied about his years-long crush on her since their school days together (and thinks she's genuinely interested in the snow leopard). It takes more dire events developing to finally get both of them to open up.
  • Carnivore Confusion: Played with when Monkey suggests Chao is so focused on corrupting Tai Lung because he's afraid the snow leopard will eat him. (Which would also be an example of Just Eat Gilligan, since getting rid of Chao would indeed solve everyone's problems.)
  • Casting a Shadow: Chao's main Elemental Power, through the corruption of his chi, which manifests through the projection of inky waves and tentacles, black mist or fog, and Shadow Walking—which not only allows for Astral Projection and traveling great distances, but also Teleport Spamming during several battles. This also lends him a downplayed Weakened by the Light trait (closer to the literary Dracula's nature), and a far more debilitating case of Holy Burns Evil.
  • Catapult Nightmare: A guilt-ridden Tai Lung throws himself up off of the sleeping pallet in his cell near the beginning of the story, clutching his chest, soaked with sweat, and even running his paws shakily over his face. Having just awoken from a terrifying nightmare of his rampage, one he used to have repeatedly during his early years in Chorh-Gom which has returned to him now that he's truly aware of the magnitude of what he did, this is understandable.
  • Central Theme: The question the fic is truly about, and which runs through every major character and arc (although it's most clearly visible in Tai Lung's story) is this: "Is everyone capable, or worthy, of redemption? And can it be earned?" An obviously related theme is Forgiveness, and the nature and meaning of heroism are also explored.
  • Chekhov's Boomerang: The yaoguai. When they first appear in the story, it's only as a random aside, an old tale of Tai Lung's former heroism which Po mentions to illustrate why he doesn't believe the snow leopard is evil. Later on, it became not only a way of proving his heroism, but a Foreshadowing of the relationship between him and Po, since it is this very event, the facing of the 10,000 demons of Demon Mountain, which Po dreamed about in the movie. But then, much much later, the yaoguai turn up one more time...as a Badass Army summoned by Heian Chao, which the Warriors of Tenshu and the Furious Five must then defeat, just as Po had dreamed.
  • Chekhov's Gun: While there are a number of seemingly insignificant things in the story, both major and minor, which turn out to be important later, the following are particularly notable:
    • The Golden Spear, introduced as part of Tai Lung's self-beration over his inability to ever truly atone ends up being a weapon he can wield after all, and the very one with which he kills Heian Chao.
    • The hammer Shifu gives Tai Lung as part of his first lesson in humility and redemption is used by Tai Lung as a distraction in the Final Battle.
    • The Urn of Whispering Warriors first appears (or rather, doesn't) when Tai Lung notices it gone from its pedestal and thinks he broke it during his battle with Shifu, only to learn Po broke it being a clutz, which leads the panda to recount its legend to try and calm the snow leopard down. It's eventually seen later, repaired by Zeng and the other palace messengers, just as shown in the credits for the first movie...which sets up for when Mantis brings it along so as to release the Warriors of Tenshu to fight Chao's yaoguai.
    • And there are multiple items found in Oogway's room: the mahjong set and accompanying painting which were gifts from Emperor Chen and set up for his appearance near the end of the story; the book of haiku which contains a riddle-poem about Tai Lung and Po (explained by Oogway in the final chapter); The Romance of the Three Kingdoms and the set of dominoes which both figure into Tai Lung drawing closer to Tigress during her convalescence; and the nunchaku which Monkey ends up using during the Final Battle. Even the figure of Tai Lung and Oogway's naughty love letters turn up again, the former as part of Po's "playtime" where he tries to make the Five and Tai Lung get along, the latter as a Brick Joke during the snow leopard's final talk with Oogway.
  • Chekhov's Skill: The first thing that Tai Lung teaches Po when they begin kung fu training together is his paralyzing nerve strike technique; sure enough, the panda ends up using it very effectively against each of the Wu Sisters when he faces them on Wu Dan. Also, Tai Lung brags about his skill with lances and halberds on his first day of lessons with Shifu, as well as identifying such weapons as his favorites to Po; this is very useful when he carries the Golden Spear into battle against the yaoguai, and eventually uses it to kill Heian Chao.
  • The Chessmaster: Although Heian Chao takes an active role in various parts of the story, the majority of his Evil Plan consists of him manipulating characters and events in secret like the shadow he is—hiring the Wu Sisters to kill Po, divide the heroes, and eventually lure Tai Lung into joining them; using Demonic Possession on Vachir and Monkey so as to kill countless innocents and turn everyone (townsfolk and the rest of the Jade Palace crew alike) against Tai Lung, respectively; setting off a Hate Plague as well as influencing everyone into argumentativeness and chaos through his corrupt chi projected through a bit of Tai Lung's fur; luring him to Chorh-Gom for a kill-or-be-killed battle with Vachir that will push Tai Lung toward darkness no matter how it turns out; and eventually orchestrating a Frameup, a Kangaroo Court, and People Puppets used on the whole village via the tainted Pool of Sacred Tears to force the snow leopard into a Sadistic Choice that places his soul in the balance. And as is usually the case, Chao is brought down by certain characters not being as easily manipulated as he believed, and a few unforeseen developments.
  • Chew-Out Fake-Out: Shifu catches Tai Lung and Tigress in their bedroom after they've just had sex, and looks absolutely set to read them the riot act—for the bad timing, for doing it in a relatively public (read: loud) way, for what the people of the Valley would think, and more. But instead it turns out he thinks it's a wonderful, beautiful thing he absolutely approves of, and the anger was all an act to yank their chain. (And, it turns out, also a Secret Test of Character.)
  • Chick Magnet:
    • Tai Lung after his attitude has gotten better, as he ends up having Tigress, Jia, Mei Ling and even Viper all attracted to him to varied extents.
    • Emperor Chen is also an example, since despite his age, he still keeps himself in peak physical condition, and this draws the eyes of most of the women watching during his kung fu exhibition at the end of the story, including Jia and even Tigress.
  • The Chosen One: It's made perfectly clear Tai Lung was not meant to be the Dragon Warrior. Meanwhile, because of Chao's evil, because it had to be done and there was no one else to do it, Tai Lung chose on his own (albeit at Oogway's request) to stop the Big Bad and thus made his own destiny. Of course once he did, it turned out he really was The Chosen One, just not the one he thought, because Oogway had chosen Tai Lung for this task long ago. Since Tai Lung always had the choice whether or not to accept, though, he had destiny and free will at the same time.
  • Circle Of Extinction: Xiu and Tai Lung circle each other during the Final Battle, gradually spiraling inward with weapons drawn as each attempts to sway the other—Xiu taunting and threatening him with what Chao will do to him unless he surrenders and joins them, Tai Lung also seeking her surrender as well as the truth about his missing family. Chun and Tigress also circle one another with swords and fire wheels, but this is only to get into proper position with their weapons and so is without the monologuing. And Chao briefly circles Shifu during their battle, while continually mocking the panda with a "Reason You Suck" Speech he also hopes to break him.
  • Clear Their Name: Thanks to the Frameup which Chao and the Wu Sisters engineer against Tai Lung in the latter third of the story, Crane has to find the proof that he did not kill Zhuang while the snow leopard is on trial and being defended by Shifu and Mei Ling.
  • Cliffhanger: The endings of the following chapters either leave the reader hanging with the characters in great peril, or have dropped a major bomb of drama or plot development.
    • Chapter 13 ends with The Reveal that Heian Chao has hired the Wu Sisters to kill the Dragon Warrior.
    • Chapter 15 ends with Monkey becoming possessed by Heian Chao.
    • Chapter 17 ends with the first grisly murder by possessed Vachir and the announcement he's "coming for" Tai Lung.
    • Chapter 19 ends with Po fatally injured and Tai Lung desperate to save his life, only to be caught literally red-handed by Tigress and Monkey.
    • Chapter 26 ends with the delivery of Vachir's note and the demand that Tai Lung come and face him at Chorh-Gom.
    • Chapter 30 ends the climactic fight with Vachir with a quite literal example, as Tigress and Tai Lung fall off a crumbling pinnacle into the prison abyss.
    • Chapter 31 ends with The Reveal that Monkey (seemingly) killed Mantis.
    • Chapter 32 ends with Shifu catching Tai Lung and Tigress in bed together.
    • Chapter 34 ends with the town magistrate coming to the Jade Palace to report to Shifu that Tai Lung has been arrested and will soon be put on trial for the murder of Shen Zhuang.
    • Chapter 41 ends not only with Crane's life being saved from Chao, but The Reveal that Mantis is still alive.
    • Chapter 43 ends with the very real possibility that Shifu will die from the injuries he sustained from Chao.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: While the treatment the snow leopard received in the movie was already implied to be hardly the most humane, and hints are dropped in the story early on that it was far worse than Dream Works could show, it is eventually revealed that Commander Vachir inflicted this on Tai Lung at Chorh-Gom. The direct results aren't shown for the most part, but the implications are more than clear, with the rhino employing shaming, sleep deprivation, starvation, verbal abuse, pharmacological torture, and whipping on top of the cold and isolation already seen. Vachir claims this is done as punishment, both for the rampage and to make Tai Lung realize the magnitude of his sins and thus work to atone for them, but it's obvious he's also quite the sadist about it. Some of this was encouraged by Chao.
  • Combat Pragmatist:
    • While he is honorable when fighting heroes (which seems applicable to some extent even in the movie), Tai Lung has no compunctions in throwing aside the rules when it comes to facing truly awful opponents like Xiu, Vachir, and Chao. He also tries to instill some of this in Po, with a fair degree of success but not enough to revoke Po's Incorruptible Pure Pureness status.
    • Xiu epitomizes such tactics. Aside from using Trash Talk and being a Manipulative Bitch, she is not above using dirty moves or outright cheating: after fighting Tigress and losing, she proceeds to call in her sister Chun to brain Tigress from behind with her meteor hammer, and during the final battle she manages to nearly incapacitate Tai Lung, despite having just been the victim of a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown, by punching him right in an arrow wound he'd previously received in his side.
  • Come Alone:
    • Vachir admonishes Tai Lung to come to Chorh-Gom to face him alone in the note he has Zeng deliver, or else he will continue to keep brutally murdering innocents. In an interesting variation, he also suggests that choosing to do otherwise will result in one of Tai Lung's companions betraying him (something he knows is true, since it's actually Chao sending the note, and he has possessed both Vachir and Monkey). While Tai Lung tries to convince the others to obey (even though he knows he's being Lured into a Trap), they all end up coming along except for Po and Mei Ling.
    • Chun tells Po under flag of truce that he needs to come to Wu Dan alone, and stay there with the Wu Sisters until Chao has won and Tai Lung is under his control, or else they will kill Ping. From the way she delivers the message, it's clear the sisters expect Po to disobey, although it is Tigress and Viper overhearing his preparations to leave and the threat he's been given, respectively, that leads them to come along. Xiu in fact seems delighted they disobeyed, since it gives her a chance to fight and defeat them all.
  • Come Back to Bed, Honey: Inverted—Tai Lung wishes to stay in bed with Tigress, but she insists that he leave... so as to go and fetch birth control herbs.
  • Comic Role Play: Viper, as part of her attempts to teach Tai Lung how to romance Tigress, takes on the latter's role by portraying her with a ribbon-mask in order to help the snow leopard practice his wooing techniques. The results are entertaining, as much for the location where it occurs (in the bathhouse) and the fact Mei Ling gets to watch and listen in, as for how scarily good Viper is at imitating Tigress and for how pathetic Tai Lung is at it. (One reviewer described it as "this is Tai Lung's level zero.")
  • Connect the Deaths: After possessed Vachir starts killing people all over and around the Valley of Peace to both terrorize its citizens and force Tai Lung to come and face him, Crane starts marking a map with the locations of the murders to see if there's any pattern to them (since nothing about the victims generates one). It isn't until he's given assistance by the letter Zeng brings that he realizes the locations make a more subtle shape, a "lopsided" arrow that points to the northwest (i.e. toward Chorh-Gom—the author establishes the Valley as being in Hubei while the prison is in Mongolia).
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Po breaking the Urn of Whispering Warriors is referenced when Tai Lung notices it gone from its pedestal—and after Mantis reveals what really happened, the panda tells its legend to try and calm the snow leopard down. It's also shown repaired later by Zeng and the other palace messengers, just as appeared in the credits for the first movie.
    • Repairing all the damage done to the palace during Shifu and Tai Lung's battle means numerous references to it appear—the broken doors, the hole in the porch and in the roof, the cracked and cratered walls, the smashed brazier, and even the shield and sword which ended up embedded in a pillar and the floor, respectively.
    • The peach sprout which Shifu inadvertently planted under the tree is used by Oogway to help Tai Lung repair his broken staff.
    • Po's story of the lousy tipper wolf gets told again, this time to Shifu and Tai Lung at Wu Dan.
  • Contrived Coincidence: Zeng happens to run into a possessed Vachir while coming to warn the Weis about the killer terrorizing the Valley, and he later is freed to return to the palace just in time to interrupt Mei Ling as she's about to finally spit it out to Crane. Above all, Zhuang deciding to check on the Weis, thus coming to free them and deprive Chao of a great deal of power right as the Heroes were facing Vachir and the traitor Monkey takes the cake for fortuitous timing.
  • Cool, Clear Water: Played with—as in the movie, the Pool of Sacred Tears is as beautiful, pristine, and pure as can be, but this is not a sign of contamination at all, instead one of holiness and harmony, and the fact it is revealed to be a font of Pure Energy (chi) means that the pool has been magically purified to make it safe to drink. By the same token, when Chao's corruption turns it into Grimy Water, the pool's tainted and poisonous appearance, as well as all the death surrounding it, is caused both by Chao's powers and by the poison the Wu Sisters poured into it beforehand.
  • Cool Old Guy:
    • Emperor Chen—the tiger is in his seventies, but not only retains the muscular bulk of a man half his age, he manages to fight Tai Lung to a draw during the story's extended denouement. Hints are also made earlier in the story as to what a great fighter (and kung fu warrior) he was in the past which made him this trope in the present, and this is shown directly in the sequel vignettes.
    • Ning Guo, although his coolness is based not on fighting skill but being extremely wry and humorous when Tai Lung comes to his shop to buy birth control herbs, as well as acting as a Surprise Witness at Tai Lung's execution—particularly how he calls out the magistrate, Fu Xiao.
  • Cordon Bleugh Chef:
    • When Po is healing after his and Tai Lung's first encounter with the Wu Sisters, Tai Lung takes it upon himself to cook all of Po's meals, and it is revealed that between a mix of Men Can't Keep House and thinking such a thing unnecessary for a kung fu warrior, he only knows the "rudiments" of cooking...so that he has a great deal of trouble reading recipes and figuring out where anything is in the kitchen, and the "inventive" dishes he prepares make Po cough, choke, and speak with a hoarse rasp.
    • At the end of the story, when Po takes it upon himself to teach Tigress how to cook, she proves to be even worse—her dumplings explode, her bau buns "came out more like black volcanic rocks", her congee sticks to the pan and "fossilizes", and she even manages to burn a salad (because she left the bowl on top of the oven by mistake).
  • The Corruption: Heian Chao's dark chi and More Than Mind Control work on this level for anyone he uses Demonic Possession on or even merely influences, but it also seems to be true of himself, since his steeping himself in advanced chi techniques so as to bring down a tyrannical emperor caused him to become more and more twisted, vile, and willing to do anything if he could justify it by the end result, until eventually he turned into an irredeemable monster and (arguably) not even truly himself any more due to losing his soul.
  • Couldn't Find a Pen: Not only does Zhuang leave a Dying Clue written in his own blood on a piece of his shirt, but Vachir/Chao leaves several such messages on the bodies of his murder victims he leaves across China and around the Valley.
  • Crazy-Prepared: Even though the Jade Palace crew only knows for certain that it's Chao they'd be facing, when they go into the Final Battle they bring along the majority of the named and famous mystical weapons originally described on the KFP Wiki—which turns out to be quite prescient considering they also end up having to fight a summoned horde of spectral demons. Played with in the case of Mantis who brings along the Urn of Whispering Warriors, with its Sealed Army in a Can only because Oogway told him to, but he had no idea why or what it would be used for. The Wu Sisters are even better prepared for every scenario, since they not only carry multiple weapons each (the reader is shown Wind and Fire Wheels, daggers, garrotes, blowguns, throwing stars, meteor hammers, and fans, and there are likely even more), they are cross-trained and can thus use any weapon the others are carrying, no matter which ones they might lose or what opponent they'd be facing. And finally Tai Lung himself brings along the hammer Shifu gave him the first day of his new training, which provides a distraction to Chao at a key moment.
  • Cryptic Conversation: While it was already the case in the first movie, Oogway's ghost proves to be just as much a master of never saying what he means or fully revealing all that he knows when counseling Tai Lung. (Less so with Shifu, it seems; while some of this is stated outright to be due to Chao's influence over the Valley having been broken, the turtle generally seems to be more interested in making the snow leopard think and work things out for himself.) He also specifically tells Tai Lung that he must speak cryptically in order to prevent a Self-Fulfilling Prophecy; that he only wished to protect the snow leopard; that even being dead does not give him a clear and perfect understanding of the future; and that naming Chao would give him power (hence "someone is coming"). End result, a great deal of Vagueness Is Coming, Double Meanings, You Will Know What to Do, and what turns out to be Literal Metaphors. The snow leopard even lampshades this tendency by stating Oogway always Delighted in Riddles and wondering why he expected anything different.
    Tai Lung: Master...please, could you try, for once, to use a nice, direct, declarative sentence? Just for novelty's sake?
  • Cue the Sun: Dawn breaks as the heroes emerge from defeating the Big Bad. Since he was composed of/fought with shadow and generally represented ultimate evil, the Symbolism of the trope is even stronger than usual.
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     Tropes D-F 
  • Damsel out of Distress: It's perfectly clear the ladies here can dish it out as good as the men can, even going to the point that while watching Tigress fighting during the final battle, Tai Lung vows he will do his best to never anger her. None of the ladies ever get captured or made helpless, and if so it isn't for long—Mei Ling gets locked in a cell but immediately picks the lock, and the one time Tigress ends up needing a rescue it's only after the Wu Sisters cheated and nearly killed her; even then Zhuang only chases them away to bring her back to the palace and she recovers just fine, fuming all the while. She certainly wasn't helpless at Chorh-Gom—Vachir didn't know what hit him.
  • Darker and Edgier: The fic definitely has a tonal shift from the first movie (and interestingly, one which to some degree ended up reflected in the second and third movies, too). Some of this stems from the simple fact the plot addresses the full details of what Tai Lung did during his rampage and what happened to him in Chorh-Gom, and his subsequent coming-to-terms with his own villainy in order to atone. However, the story also introduces assassins, a murderous Inspector Javert who ends up going Serial Killer (leading to plenty of gruesome bodies and death scenes), and plenty of less-than-pleasant accurate details of ancient Chinese society. And that's all before you get to the Big Bad being a shadow mage capable of Demonic Possession, Hate Plagues, People Puppets, Necromancy, and more. Despite the seriousness and upped stakes, however, the story does end on a genuinely happy note.
  • Darkest Hour: Chapters 33 through 37—Zhuang has been murdered, with Tai Lung arrested and put on trial for it, placed in a horrible Sadistic Choice and on the verge of going mad again, going on a second rampage, and joining the Big Bad due to the trauma of being imprisoned again and, he thinks, abandoned by everyone he cares about; thanks to the corruption of the Sacred Pool and People Puppets, neither Shifu nor Mei Ling can get through to the Kangaroo Court to exonerate him. Meanwhile, Ping has been kidnapped by the Wu Sisters so that Po, Viper, and Tigress have to go to Wu Dan to rescue him, thus keeping all of them away from the Valley (and Po's staying out of the coming battle is in fact the condition for him getting his father back), while Monkey is imprisoned for seemingly killing Mantis at Chorh-Gom. Comes close to being a Near-Villain Victory. Also literal since Chao's dark chi actually overshadows and eclipses the Valley with black mist and stormclouds after he corrupts the Sacred Pool and after finally defeating him, the heroes emerge at dawn.
  • Dark Is Evil: Not Yin, but because Chao's powers are Black Magic and based off of corruption, necromancy, and just about every other negative ability you can think of, he still exemplifies this trope. Or at least, Shadow Is Evil.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Tai Lung still has almost every single flaw he had in the movie, even by the time the story ends. Also, Yin isn't evil despite being the black half of the taijitu; Tai Lung's "darkness" stems from imbalance, pride, and aggression, with many of his more dangerous traits actually stemming from having too strong a Yang and what this made him willing to do.
  • The Dark Side Will Make You Forget: Originally, Chao began studying chi so as to depose a tyrannical emperor and make the empire a better place, but by the time of the story all he cares about is ruling the empire himself, and the lives of everyone in it, because he believes only he has the intellect and insight to do the job. A Motive Decay that is strongly implied, if not explicitly stated, to be caused by Chao using powers and techniques he did not fully comprehend.
  • A Date with Rosie Palms: After the "Truth or Dare" game, where Tai Lung and Tigress share their First Kiss, it's stated in the next chapter that when Tai Lung got back to his room, the experience had been so intense and blissful that he'd had to...take matters in paw.
  • Deader Than Dead: As might be surmised based on him being a nine-hundred-plus-years-old Kung-Fu Wizard who, thanks to his saturation in chi and unlocking various dark powers, has cheated death again and again, Heian Chao has to be disposed of in a manner far more thorough and final than simple death. Not only is he skewered by the Golden Spear, which is itself an artifact that Only the Pure of Heart can safely touch, but it gets "charged" with the holy chi inside Oogway's staff. A surefire way to guarantee all the dark chi he absorbed for centuries will be released and none remains to sustain him, and that his soul will finally go on to the Afterlife, but the physical results...overdone chicken doesn't begin to describe it. Lampshaded by both Po and Oogway.
  • Deadly Hug: Thanks to Xiu's Frameup, Mei Ling, Xu Mei, and the rest of China believe that the cause of Wu Xuan's death was a stabbing In the Back during a loving embrace—courtesy of Jia.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Almost everything that comes out of Tai Lung's mouth is bitter, cynical, sarcastic, and caustic, especially if he's talking to Shifu, Oogway, or Tigress. (One might wonder if the snow leopard thought this was scroll 1,001...) While this does soften somewhat as the story progresses, it's clear that Tai Lung will always retain a certain smartass, Brutal Honesty nature. As just one example among many, one of the first things he says to Shifu, after the red panda visits him in his cell following the Final Battle from the first movie and claims he wants to help, is:
    Tai Lung: Oh, really? Is that why you're here? To come and kiss my wounds and make them all better?
  • Dead Person Conversation: Although several deceased characters come back as ghosts to speak with the living, the most consistent is Oogway, who not only seeks to reconcile with Tai Lung and aid in his redemption but also act as a Spirit Advisor during the conflict with Heian Chao. He also appears to Shifu to pass on Chao's Backstory and offer guidance on how to defeat him, and helps save and heal Mantis as well as provide him with mystical advice.
  • Dead Serious: Zhuang's death was intended to demonstrate just how far Xiu and Chao were willing to go just to subjugate the Valley. The death of Chang's son as well, seeing as it occurred chronologically earlier. But this use of Death of a Child was clearly meant more as a proof of how bad Chao specifically was, while the death of Zhuang, seeing as he had more Character Development and readers had come to like him a great deal, was more of the sucker punch associated with this trope.
  • Death Is Dramatic:
    • Played straight with Zhuang—his death is the centerpiece of one of the darkest chapters in the fic, is treated with intense grief and seriousness by all involved, allows him to have a final railing against his killer, and in fact leads to the story's Darkest Hour thanks to all the ramifications (a trial, a near-execution for Tai Lung, dark chi corruption sweeping across the Valley, and the snow leopard coming this close to falling back into evil). Of note, however, is that this involves a relatively minor character.
    • Subverted with Shifu, who at first seems to receive the spectacle, sorrow, and meaningful final words one would expect for a character as important as he is, only for all of this to be undone when Mantis succeeds in saving his life.
  • Death of a Child: Not only do we learn (and witness!) that Chao murdered children so as to become the greatest chi master in existence, but an innocent child is one of those killed during his rampage while possessing Vachir, and we are later shown in graphic detail just what was done to him.
  • Defeat Means Friendship:
    • Variation. The first time Po appears in the story, it's clear he has already forgiven Tai Lung after their battle from the first movie and, if he doesn't consider him a friend, he'd certainly like him to be—in fact he makes the offer right at the end of the second chapter. For the snow leopard, however, the process is a lot more slowgoing than usual, and while he is in fact surprised and moved by Po's reaching out to him, it requires a great deal of soul-searching, understanding the panda truly does care about him and want to help him redeem himself, and facing off against genuine enemies at his side before he will accept. Once it finally kicks in, though, they're Bash Brothers and Vitriolic Best Buds for life.
    • Played straight with Jia and Po, after he defeats the former at Wu Dan. While she had already been treating him as a Worthy Opponent at worst prior to this, and did have her connection to his past to motivate her, it isn't until he overcomes all the Wu Sisters that the panda comes to trust and believe in her enough to offer hope of redemption and a possible friendship. And while she isn't able to take him up on it at the time thanks to her sisters (and the need to resolve things with Mei Ling), during the Final Battle she is able to change sides and aid in the defeat of Heian Chao, which gets her forgiven by most of the Jade Palace crew.
  • Defector from Decadence: The first time Jia attempts a Heel–Face Turn, it is thanks to Xiu's threatening the life of a pure innocent (Ping) in order to frame and manipulate Tai Lung. It is in fact her horror and disgust with Xiu's overall methods and acts that contributes to her real Heel–Face Turn.
  • Demonic Possession: Yet another dark power of Heian Chao's is the ability to take over the minds and bodies of others. How much he can control the individual seems to vary depending on how much he requires them to do, whether he is attempting to conceal that he has done so, and how much he has to work to overcome the character's willpower to take up residence; having one's senses already compromised appears to make it much easier (Monkey was already drunk from the Ghost Festival), as does if the person in question is in any way willing or believes they can make use of his powers for their own ends. The longer he is in possession, however, the more likely it seems to become that the host's mind/soul will lose all ability to resist and be left trapped as a helpless witness in their own mind. The reader gets a front-row seat for the horror of the experience when it happens to Vachir; it mostly happens off-screen to Monkey, although some detail is filled in when the reader is later able to get his POV after he's freed.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: When Tai Lung is imagining the arguments Shifu will make against him and Tigress becoming a couple after he discovers them in bed together, he supplies "You don't have my permission to court her" twice, and then after listing several other items, adds, "Did I mention you don't have my permission?"
  • Despair Event Horizon: Tai Lung comes very close to crossing the line that would destroy his last remaining sense of hope. Naturally it's at the end of the second act, the fic's Darkest Hour, and it's absolutely understandable: despite how hard Shifu, Mei Ling, and even Tigress have worked to convince the magistrate and the rest of the village of his innocence, he ends up convicted of killing Zhuang and it appears he's about to be hanged, which aside from the obvious also means his soul and chi would fall into Chao's clutches. To make matters worse, his only means of escape, to break free and go on another rampage, would also leave him vulnerable to Chao, and the fact he would have to resort to this (and so prove everyone right about him being irredeemable) is itself another thing to make him fall into despair.
  • Detect Evil: When everyone in town is under the influence of Chao's dark chi, Yi is able to detect the presence of evil as "too-big shadows" or "having black clothes on".
  • Deus ex Machina: On a number of occasions Oogway acts as this, most notably when he spares the life of Mantis. Such a thing is practically necessary when going up against the Diabolus ex Machina that is Heian Chao. At times the plot can resemble these two masters playing Xanatos Speed Chess. It's pretty much a foregone conclusion who wins, but there's plenty of nail-biting suspense, hate-worthy developments, and Oh, Crap! moments to make the reader wonder.
  • Devour the Dragon: When Chao is in danger of losing to Po and Tai Lung, and has nearly drained his reserves of chi, Xiu offers herself to him, wishing to share in his power as he'd promised her so that she can bring down the heroes in his stead. Interestingly, at first it appears Chao's action is a mutually beneficial one, since it not only bolsters him but heals Xiu, but when it turns out her mortal mind can't handle the influx of power, Chao proceeds to drain her to death (while claiming regret at doing so, though how truthful he's being here is debatable). Fortunately, a thrown shield from Po (the Shield of Fire Monkey Pass, no less) severs the connection that is making this possible. As a result, Xiu is rendered comatose while Chao is hurled to the ceiling.
  • Did Not Do the Bloody Research: Thanks to Tai Lung having been voiced by Ian McShane (who is British and quite often plays a mean one), it's a given that British slang would be applied to his dialogue to make it seem saltier and regional without including language that is inappropriate or (too) anachronistic. Not only does the usual "bloody" appear, so do "bollocks", "wanker", "git", and "arse", although Tai Lung also drops a few F-bombs and "shit"s as warranted.
  • Didn't See That Coming: Xiu never saw coming her betrayal by Jia because she believed her sister was too weak, pathetic, and easily manipulated due to being dumb and old-fashioned to be driven to a Mistreatment-Induced Betrayal, and so could never possibly be a danger. She was wrong. Similarly, Heian Chao never expected Po to respond to the I Have Your Father situation which he engineered through the Wu Sisters by gathering The Cavalry and riding to the rescue, rather than meekly accepting the inevitable—or that he would be capable of cleansing the Sacred Pool when he got there.
  • Did You Actually Believe...?: During the Final Battle, Heian Chao mocks Shifu for being overconfident and foolish enough to think he could defeat his kung fu all by himself, let alone his mystical abilities. Shifu naturally isn't even fazed, though it helps that he didn't intend to defeat him alone, simply keep him occupied/wear him down until the others could arrive.
  • Dishing Out Dirt: In the fic's setting, high-level kung fu masters can manipulate chi so as to create and/or control various Elemental Powers (although these are the Chinese elements, of course, not Western) based on the year of their birth. Shifu's elemental power is revealed to be Earth (to explain how he was able to control/shatter the piece of stone porch that Tai Lung hurled at him in the movie), and he is shown capable of levitating, breaking, riding, and otherwise controlling boulders, stalactites, and segments of earth and stone with little trouble. Fitting, for one as stubborn and hard-headed as he.
  • Disney Death: Although it doesn't occur at the end, Mantis is seemingly killed during the climactic battle at Chorh-Gom—punched with crushing force by a possessed Monkey, then thrown into the abyss. He doesn't get a Premature Eulogy, though he does have a cairn raised in his honor...only for him to show up alive during the Final Battle thanks to the intervention and healing of Oogway.
  • Divide and Conquer: Explicitly stated by Chao to the Wu Sisters as part of his plan—specifically, to have them pick off members of the Five one by one so that Tai Lung no longer has any allies or people who believe in him, thus making it easier for Chao to turn him back to evil. While there are other reasons to do so (being his Morality Chain being the main one), this also applies to why Chao wants Po in particular removed, it applies to why the Sisters kidnap Ping (to force Po into staying away from the Final Battle), and it's also the underlying reason for the Hate Plague Chao creates via Monkey and the Pool of Sacred Tears.
  • Don't Do Anything I Wouldn't Do: At the end of the story, Mantis is stated to have given Crane a bit of advice as he goes on the road with Mei Ling and Jia. Unsurprisingly for a Covert Pervert like the insect (and speaking to a Nice Guy and Extreme Doormat like Crane), it consists of the Stock Phrase "Don't do anything I wouldn't do."
  • Don't You Dare Pity Me!:
    • As expected, Tai Lung reacts rather poorly to being shown sympathy, concern, and caring, whether snarling and growling at those who express it, actually lashing out at them physically, or simply denying them verbally. Right from the very start, he actually tells Po to shut up and practically lunges at him when the panda dares to compare their lives and say he understands how he feels and what he's gone through, and it takes him until Yunxian before he can accept Po's friendship for what it is. Even with Viper, the most compassionate and kind-hearted of the Five, Tai Lung responds to her observation as to how hurt he's been by life with the Stock Phrase, "I don't want, or need, your pity."
    • Ironically, Tigress displays the same attitude toward Tai Lung, when he attempts to show sympathy to her for how Shifu treated her growing up after she confronts the red panda about it, though this may also be a result of her partially blaming him for Shifu's distance and harshness.
  • Doorstopper: While not quite War and Peace, the fic certainly makes quite the lengthy novel—at over 600,000 words on Fan Fiction Dot Net, it's been calculated by readers as coming out to over 1000 pages if printed, a thick and heavy volume indeed.
  • Double Subversion: Near the end of the story, it seems like Master Shifu is dying, in a reference to the ending of the movie—except instead of everyone being clueless like Po, he really is dying. But then Mantis succeeds in patching up his injuries so he doesn't die after all—something even Shifu didn't expect, to his chagrin.
  • The Dragon:
    • Xiu, the eldest Wu Sister, acts as Heian Chao's top enforcer and the character he can most rely on to do his dirty work. As both a consummate planner, schemer, and manipulator and a sophisticated, skilled fighter, she is able to challenge not only Tai Lung but also Po, Viper, and even Tigress, and overcoming her is not only a way for each of them to prove various truths (Po's having Took a Level in Badass, Tai Lung becoming a genuine hero, Tigress learning to control her temper and think rather than just act), it's necessary to save other characters placed in danger, to get revenge, and to even learn more about Chao, let alone get close to him. She's also the last named villainous character the heroes have to bring down before Chao.
    • Vachir is another high-ranking servant of the Big Bad, and while as a Pawn he is more of a Fake Boss, it can't be denied he fills the "ferocious fighter who leaves the heavy thinking to his boss" role, and it's only by facing him down and breaking the power Chao employs through him that the heroes are even able to figure out who and what they're truly up against, let alone get close to him. And despite the fact he's not doing it by his own will he's the villain with the highest body count in the story and who presents the greatest physical threat.
  • Dramatic Irony:
    • Happens a great deal, but notable incidents include Chao helping Xiu kill Zhuang without knowing he was the Spanner in the Works, Chang's message about Vachir, Shifu thinking Mei Ling would be able to exonerate Tai Lung through identifying the snow leopard fur, everyone thinking Monkey was just being naturally belligerent to Tai Lung when he was actually suffering from Demonic Possession, and Zeng speaking to Vachir of the grisly slayings around the Valley. There's also Situational Irony, such as the fact the Wuxi Finger Hold that purged Tai Lung of his rage and insanity also freed Heian Chao.
    • Extending what was revealed in the movie, Shifu reveals why he did not stand up for Tai Lung against Oogway: because the Dragon Scroll was meant for a true hero, but the very reasons Tai Lung was seeking it (to make his father proud of him and be accepted despite being an orphan) would make it impossible for him to attain it—because a true hero is selfless and does things because they are right, not because they will get him something. So not only did Shifu instill in Tai Lung the very character flaws that made him unsuitable to receive the scroll, but it was Tai Lung's own desires for acceptance and love, and the fact that he desired and sought the scroll at all (a selfless person would never consciously try to obtain it), that proved he wasn't the Dragon Warrior; in fact Tigress, Shifu, any of the Five could never have been the Dragon Warrior, because they were all actively trying to earn the scroll. Worst of all, it was Tai Lung's own great love for Shifu, which drove him to do absolutely anything to make him proud of him, that led him to seek the scroll...but when denied it (and seemingly betrayed), he then ended up almost killing the one he loved.
    • An example which bit the Big Bad in the ass: the very reason he chose Vachir to be his possessed pawn, the stubbornness and viciousness that would drive him to pursue Tai Lung in vengeance, also made the rhino fight and resist him every step of the way, particularly whenever Chao made him kill innocents. This in turn caused Chao to have to focus on Vachir instead of the Wu Sisters or Monkey. So a good case could be made that Chao would have won, or at least had a much better chance for doing so, if he hadn't chosen Vachir to possess. Or to put it another way, the heroes were saved by the rhino being such a stubborn Jerkass.
  • The Dreaded: Heian Chao. His introductory scene is nothing but an atmospheric moment where his plans, his powers, and his nature are only teased and hinted at, but in such vivid, portentous, and ominous language as to be fraught with peril and disquiet. When he next appears, however, he genuinely causes an entire bandits' tavern to nearly panic and flee, as well as lose all of its belligerence and pugnacious attitude, simply by the emotions his presence conveys, and although she rarely shows it in any visible way, Chun (the Emotionless Girl among the Wu Sisters) is often greatly disturbed by him; even Xiu is uneasy on occasions. The crowning example, however, has to be the fact that Oogway himself shows fear of him and what he can do when first speaking of him to Tai Lung (who by contrast the turtle did not treat with anywhere near as much worry or distress, though he was grave enough). The fact he knows Chao's Backstory and is able to relate it later to Shifu doesn't really alter how much he seems to dread Chao, either.
  • Dreaming of Things to Come: Po's dream from the movie turns out to be a prophecy of the final battle with Chao and his forces.
  • Drop the Hammer: Downplayed example, and even subverted to a certain extent—during the Final Battle, Tai Lung uses a very particular hammer as a weapon but it's just a regular construction hammer, and he only uses it as a distraction at a key moment.
  • Drowning My Sorrows:
  • Duck Season, Rabbit Season: During the scene with Po's action figures, the panda has 'Tai Lung' trick 'Tigress' into declaring her love for him by switching positions in the argument ("Yes" for "No" in whether she would marry him).
  • Duel to the Death: Thanks to him having escaped Chorh-Gom (and killed most members of the rhino's family during his rampage), Vachir declares Tai Lung must give him satisfaction by battling him until one of them is dead. After having been badly defeated and humiliated at Wu Dan, Xiu pursues the heroes underneath the Jade Palace so as to get her revenge on Po, not even caring at that point about the money or what Chao promised her, requiring Tai Lung in turn to put an end to her so as to save his friend. And of course, both he and Po must slay Chao himself if they hope to keep the Valley and the empire safe from his shadowy conquest.
  • Dying as Yourself: After being forced to undergo horrific Demonic Possession and watch as his body is made to kill and mutilate innocent after innocent in order to lure Tai Lung into either death or corruption, Vachir is finally freed from Chao's control by a fatal sword wound from Tigress. Because he doesn't die right away, however, he in fact ends up having to ask for a Mercy Kill to prevent Chao from retaking him, and ensure he will die as himself. And when his request is granted, he gets to have some very meaningful Last Words and Go Out with a Smile.
    He spoke, his voice having lost all the menace, contempt, and hatred it had borne for so long, now a soft whisper which breathed relief, wonder, and an odd gentleness. "Gods...I can't believe it. You did it...you actually did it..."
  • Dying Clue: After he is fatally stabbed by Xiu (inhabited by Chao so as to appear as Tai Lung), Zhuang is able to leave behind a message on a piece of his shirt to identify his killer, in his own blood since he Couldn't Find a Brush. Unlike most examples, it was neither incomplete, cryptic, nor lacking knowledge—simply hidden and misplaced for a while.
  • Dying Moment of Awesome: Zhuang. Not only does he see through Chao's dark chi to see who is really killing him (not Tai Lung), he spits in Xiu's face and stares down Chao inside her...and as he's dying, leaves behind a hidden message in his own blood naming his true killer.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: The whole point of the story; it's really the only way to justify giving a former villain whom many consider irredeemable everything he ever wanted (save the Dragon Scroll) without making him feel like a Karma Houdini at the same time. The characters in fact all get put through the wringer—Tai Lung having to truly face both the depth of his sins and the PTSD of his twenty years of horrific torture, Po learning the truth of his parentage, Tigress coming to terms with Shifu, Crane overcoming his painful insecurities, Monkey getting put through Demonic Possession that leads him to believe he killed his best friend Mantis, Vachir being forced to murder and mutilate scores of innocents before mercifully being put out of his misery, Jia having to overcome her tragic backstory, and all of them facing enemies from the depths of shadow and Hell threatening all of China. But thankfully, despite all of this and several new minor characters suffering and even dying, everything works out just fine in the end for those who make it through, and the setting as a whole.
  • The Easy Way or the Hard Way: Tigress speaks the Stock Phrase of the trope name during the raising of the Thread of Hope—with the easy way being Tai Lung giving in to going out on ropes above a thousand-foot drop to properly separate and extend the bridge planks, and the hard way being...the same thing, only forcibly compelled by her. Amusingly, a similar choice is offered when it comes to Tai Lung's redemption, with it being an open question which way is harder—attempting it while dealing with Tigress's harsh and distrustful treatment of him, or trying to get her to ease up, befriend him, or even fall in love with him at the same time as he atones.
  • Elemental Baggage: Both Tai Lung and Po learn to summon their elements from within and the air itself, respectively. They can also use fire or water that's already nearby (the braziers, the Pool of Sacred Tears). Chao also uses Po's water to form it into ice.
  • Elemental Powers: The story builds off of Tai Lung's fiery rampage near the end of the film, claiming that high level Kung Fu masters can use their chi to manipulate elements. Shifu uses earth, Tai Lung is fire, and Po is water. Heian Chao can manipulate ice.
  • Emotionless Girl: Wu Chun appears to have no emotions most of the time, or when she does have them she expresses them in subdued, calm, no-nonsense fashion. While never clearly stated, it's implied this is because of her mother's rigid and exacting teaching in the ways of the assassin, being of that profession at all, and as a means of coping with the world and its ills. The few times the reader gets in her head, she can be seen to feel just fine for the most part, instead simply being very good at concealing her emotions for the sake of cool manipulation, objectivity, or wry, quiet humor.
  • Empathy Doll Shot: Exploited by Monkey while under Demonic Possession to try and engender hatred against Tai Lung for the children he supposedly murdered on his way from Chorh-Gom to the Valley. Also plays into the poignancy of the story of Tigress's doll and rescue from her ruined house after the earthquake, which Tai Lung has fixed for her. Played with at the village of Qinghe, where the abandoned dolls merely attest to the children who fled along with their parents to escape Vachir's slaughter.
  • The End: The fic ends with "Fin".
  • Engineered Heroics: Early on in the story, Tai Lung considers creating a situaton (with Po's help, no less) where he can demonstrate to Tigress and the citizens of the Valley that he has changed and can redeem himself by performing some feat of heroism. Luckily he realizes the dangers of this and opts out.
  • Erotic Dream: Tai Lung has one about Tigress, which in a Bait-and-Switch is at first implied to be All Just a Dream, or perhaps a Dream Within a Dream...except it turns out That Was Not a Dream, since instead of making out with Tigress it was Jia. And Tigress catches him. For added fun, this same 'dream' turns up again later as the real thing, causing Tai Lung to understandably test Tigress to make sure it's really her with Something Only She Would Say.
  • Establishing Character Moment:
    • Per usual, the very first scene in which Xiulan appears—wherein she sees what seems to be Tai Lung about to play with her daughter, hurriedly pulls her out of reach, and gives the snow leopard the mother of all Death Glares—establishes instantly the cow's hatred and resentment toward him thanks to his actions during the rampage, as well as her Mama Bear tendencies. It also includes a flashback from Tai Lung's POV to explain the source of those motivations and why she will be an emotional and moral antagonist to him for most of the story.
    • Zhuang's introductory scene consists of him dismissing the previous foreman who had mistreated Tai Lung as a blowhard no one likes or will miss, offering the snow leopard his friendship, and opining that people need to move on and eventually learn to forgive him, thus establishing his kindness, open-mindedness, and willingess to put himself on the line for others, even (or especially) when they are rejected by many; his conversation with Tai Lung at the Ghost Festival makes this even more clear.
    • Heian Chao's very first scene, even without revealing his name or species, employs plenty of stylistic flourishes, figurative language, and other narrative tricks to get across what a chilling, disturbing villain he will be, and especially how his presence or influence will always make the story darker and more serious.
  • Eureka Moment: When Tai Lung finally figures out how to defeat Chao (helped along by the obviousness of Po's fur colors), as well as the scene where the heroes find the scroll Shifu left behind identifying who their enemy truly was, and suddenly Tai and Po figure out, if not everything, then a good majority of the plot and the source of Chao's powers, to the point they're Finishing Each Other's Sentences.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: She may have been a sociopath, but the discovery of a Room Full of Crazy and what it revealed about Monkey did startle and shock Xiu. Though this may have been partly due to how Chao's plans seemed to be running counter to what he'd told her, thus depriving her of the chance to gain Tai Lung's allegiance. Also, it seems even the bandits who frequent the Bandit Inn would run away screaming in terror if they realized that they were being visited by Chao.
  • Everyone Can See It: Although Tigress denies it with her dying breath until the latter fourth of the story (and Tai Lung both sees it and strives for it almost from day one), by the end of the story everyone can indeed see that Tai Lung and Tigress belong together, even Jia. Well, everyone except poor Crane. In this case, however, Tigress being unable to see it is not being Oblivious to Love but her refusing to believe he had truly changed so as to be worthy of her, as well as overall resistance to the idea that All Girls Want Bad Boys.
  • Everyone Went to School Together: When Mei Ling (already established as attending the Li Dai Academy with Crane in Secrets of the Furious Five) first appears in the story (and reveals her familial connection with the Wu Sisters), it's also revealed that the assassin trio went to the academy with them as well. While all of their personalities seem to have been the same then as now, simply intensified in the cases of Xiu and Chun, Crane and Mei erroneously believe that Jia has become as villainous as her sisters; her actions, it is eventually revealed, have occurred under duress.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: Played with. Chao knows exactly what gives the Dragon Warrior his power, and is well aware of The Power of Love, but he tends to be so arrogant that he thinks his own power can overcome them. He's wrong. Xiu on the other hand plays it entirely straight. Chao does have one moment where he falls prey to this, however: after killing Chang's son while possessing Vachir and trying to blame Tai Lung by saying it was all part of a trap for him, he believes The Power of Hate and a desire for Revenge will make Chang turn on the snow leopard even more and help lead a lynch mob against him. Again, he's wrong.
  • Evil Feels Good: Chao and Xiu, since it literally gives them feelings of ecstasy. Chao is also able to inspire feelings of sexual desire, it seems, in those whose chi he influences—perhaps to the point of being aroused himself by Vachir.
  • Evil Sounds Deep: Chao's voice, even when not the Voice of the Legion, is indeed made deeper by the incredible mystical power he has absorbed and mastered, but his original voice was deep to begin with.
  • Exact Words: Chao gives Xiu exactly what she asked for, but neglected to mention the price, and when he ages Jia it's a reversal of what she asked for. Comes close to being a Jackass Genie.
  • Expy: The Wu Sisters start out as clear and deliberate homages in attitude and personality to Ozai's Angels, with Xiu standing in for Azula, Chun as Mai, and Jia as Ty Lee, save for the fact they are siblings. After this they develop and go off in their own direction, although they do drop a lot of familiar lines.
  • Eye Scream: When possessed Vachir imprisons and tortures Chang and his wife, the former is eventually discovered by Zhuang to have had his eyes brutally attacked to the point blood is pouring down from apparently empty sockets. It's never made clear what exactly caused the injuries (although Vachir did carry a serrated knife), but as of the end of the story, he's permanently blind.
  • Face Palm: When Po reacts to Tai Lung accepting Shifu's offer by cheering, whooping, and dancing around while chanting Tai's name, both the snow leopard and red panda put their paws to their foreheads in the exact same gesture. Similarly, both Monkey and Mantis slap their foreheads when they realize, too late, that they could have gotten Tai Lung to teach them his nerve strike during the "Truth or Dare" game. Tigress also performs the "pinching the bridge of the nose" version when she learns Po fought the Wu Sisters by throwing apples at them, as does Tai Lung when, while training with him, Po eagerly speaks of being "blinded by awesomeness" and "oozin' bodacity."
  • Fakeout Escape: The Wu Sisters trick Mei Ling near the end of the story with the "hiding out of sight, knocks out/locks in the guard" version of the trope. However, despite the mountain cat falling for it, Xiu in turn underestimates Mei Ling, who happened to have her father's lockpicks with her, which the snow leopardess likely had never known existed.
  • Falling-in-Love Montage: Chapter 25, where Tai Lung is shown following the various romance advice given by Viper in the previous chapter to woo Tigress, particularly everything following the doll scene. A shorter, more understated version occurs in Chapter 32 when they are returning from Chorh-Gom and he is trying to cheer her up after Mantis's death.
  • Falsely Reformed Villain: In an inversion from the usual, a large portion of the Valley's townsfolk (particularly Xiulan and Fu Xiao), as well as Monkey and Tigress for a good part of the story, believe that Tai Lung's attempts to redeem himself and become a hero are simply an elaborate scheme to mislead everyone into a false sense of security while he plots to take the Dragon Scroll again or some other nefarious plan. The snow leopard is genuine in his efforts, but Heian Chao was counting on people believing otherwise.
  • Family-Unfriendly Death: Every single one of the innocents killed by possessed Vachir is mutilated, eviscerated, castrated, or otherwise bloodily savaged in gruesome ways (including Chang's six-year-old son). Vachir himself gets impaled in the abdomen and spews out dark chi in lieu of blood, as does Zhuang (who is specifically noted to be holding his innards in with one hand), and each of the original class of kung fu masters at the Jade Palace are killed in similarly horrific ways, either by Chao or by each other (slicing the jugular, eye impalement, and smashing the nose back into the brain, among others). Finally Chao himself not only gets impaled, but burned to a crisp, and the reader is treated to a fairly detailed description of his skull and brains being exposed in the process.
  • Fastball Special: Inverted when Tai Lung hurls Po at Heian Chao for a two-fisted strike, but played straight when Po later hurls Tai Lung to kick the Golden Spear through Chao.
  • Fatal Flaw: All over the place. Tai Lung and Tigress still have those bad tempers, and Shifu really, really needs parenting classes. Monkey's feelings for Tigress are exploited, as is Vachir's hatred of Tai Lung—exploiting fatal flaws is what Chao does.
  • Fate Worse than Death: Xiu somehow manages to survive everything thrown at her, but she ends up catatonic and yet, very possibly, conscious, jailed with her equally psychotic mother. The Weis also experienced one of these: left suspended from grappling hooks from the ceiling of their basement, slowly and agonizingly bleeding to death, the villain living off of and growing powerful from their fear, horror, and pain, while being forced to look at their dead son, until he finally allowed them to die. Luckily, they get freed from this.
  • Feathered Fiend: Heian Chao is an Amur falcon, and not only is he near human-sized like most of the cast, his raptor's beak and talons (as well as his shriek) are emphasized for their deadliness and predatory nature. And his absorption of dark chi has caused him to swell in size and muscle mass beyond what he normally should possess, making him far more roc-like. This is oddly fitting considering what the protagonist's species is (and the fact he's the Big Bad).
  • Fight Off the Kryptonite: An unusual villainous example—Heian Chao succeeds in resisting the power of Oogway's holy chi, at least long enough to mortally injure Shifu.
  • Final Battle: Covering four enormous chapters, the story's climax pits Chao and all his remaining forces (which includes the surprise appearance of the yaoguai) against all of the heroes (including Mantis and the Warriors of Tenshu). Several subplots are resolved in the process (particularly Mei Ling's desire for vengeance and Jia's allegiance), plenty of Foreshadowing and Chekhov's Guns are addressed, there's a large battle portion while Po and Tai Lung engage the Big Bad directly, and there are several Big Damn Heroes, Diabolus ex Machina, and Leave Him to Me moments as well as other twists before good finally triumphs over evil.
  • The Final Temptation: While Chao doesn't use an actual vision, the moment when he comes to Tai Lung in his cell, offering him freedom from prison and the false charge against him, as well as what he's always dreamed of (heroism, fame, powers which no one else has) if he will only join him very much has the same flavor. And as more proof he has truly changed, Tai Lung, though tempted, kicks him to the curb. Also doubles as a What You Are in the Dark moment.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: Interestingly, not what you'd expect, since by the time Po and Tai Lung fight alongside each other on the same battlefield (let alone the Final Battle), they've already become friends. Instead it is Jia coming in to stab Xiu In the Back (and thus save Tai Lung's life), and the fact she then joins the heroes in facing Chao's forces (complete with Back-to-Back Badasses with Mei), that establishes a friendship between her and her former enemies among the Jade Palace crew.
  • First Kiss: Between Tai Lung and Tigress, and engineered by Viper as part of the "Truth or Dare" game. Despite these circumstances, it's mostly positive and doesn't result in a Reset Button or Status Quo Is God (what keeps them apart is Tigress's continued stubbornness and temper, as well as outside events), as it acts as confirmation of their feelings, particularly hers.
  • First-Name Basis: For a good portion of the story, Tai Lung refuses to call Po by his given name to his face, either referring to him as "panda" or (after accepting the truth) "Dragon Warrior". However, after a critical moment when Po is on the verge of dying in front of him, the snow leopard finally calls him by name for the first time. From then on out, while he still uses his other terms of address, Po's first name is used by Tai Lung much more frequently and willingly. Key moment of Character Development.
  • Flashback: A number of these occur, the majority memories of Tai Lung's from when he was in Chorh-Gom, or other events from his past, though one is to Chun's past relating how the Wu Sisters knew Po's biological parents, another is a flashback to a conversation about that very past which happened offscreen, and another is a How We Got Here after the events in Yunxian start In Medias Res (which also includes another conversation about the past).
  • Flashback Nightmare: Tai Lung has a recurring one about the night he rampaged across the valley after being denied the Dragon Scroll.
  • Florence Nightingale Effect: While Tai Lung had been pursuing and falling in love with Tigress almost from the start, it is while he is taking care of her injuries and helping her recover after her fight with the Wu Sisters that Tigress finally admits she is falling for Tai Lung; seeing a tough (and previously villainous) character show his tender side in this way has quite an effect, it seems. The reverse takes place when Tai Lung is taking care of the injured Po after Yunxian and thus comes to finally admit a friendship with the panda.
  • Foil: Po and Tai Lung. Not only are they opposites already in the panda's amiable, friendly, laid-back demeanor vs. Tai Lung's arrogance, harshness, and fiery temper, and in the ways in which they approach kung fu, but they also represent the opposite sides of the Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism. What makes this more heartwarming and powerful is how, as Tai Lung becomes Po's friend (and admits it), the snow leopard not only becomes protective of the panda but seems to admire his innocence and idealism. A case could even be made that before his Face–Heel Turn, Tai Lung was just as much a heroic idealist and that getting to know Po has reminded him of what he used to believe in, a window into who he used to be...and can be again, now that he has someone to protect and fight for.
    This was the fellow who, despite only having become the Dragon Warrior a little over three months ago, knew every detail of every kung fu legend, battle, and warrior, even things Tai Lung himself had forgotten or never bothered to learn. If anyone exemplified the philosophy Oogway had always insisted lay at the core of kung fu, it was Po, he lived and breathed it every day.
    And he in turn had taught Tai Lung more things than he could ever have expected—about compassion and love, generosity and good will, forgiveness and acceptance, but most of all what was truly important in life. Fine, Po's zany humor, odd slang, and laughably child-like way of looking at the world could truly grate on his nerves...but by the same token, his innocence was something refreshing, something that made the spotted feline wonder—no, demand—why the world couldn't be as simple as the Dragon Warrior saw it.
    It had been Po's mercy and friendship that saved him, in more ways than one, he had learned to release so much baggage and stressful burdens thanks to the panda. And marveling at the determination and perseverance they both had in spades, he understood that Po's words to him in his cell over his father's noodles—words he had refused to accept then—were undeniably true: they did have so much in common. Without him even realizing it, Po had become like a brother to him. At times an annoying, ridiculous little brother, one he sometimes wanted to chuck out the window and whom he felt obligated to tease and belittle as only older brothers could do. But a brother all the same.
  • Forced into Evil: Jia, who is also therefore an Anti-Villain, due to being coerced into her life as an assassin (and believing she has no way out of it) by Xiu.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Aside from the various Chekhov's Guns littered throughout the story, this occurs a number of times, such as the implication of what would have happened if Zhuang had seen the Wu Sisters (and they him) during his rescue of Tigress (it isn't good), Monkey getting possessed right after Po warned him about wandering spirits the night of the Ghost Festival, and Tai Lung losing his dark chi thanks to the acupuncture session pointing ahead to what happens when Vachir gets stabbed. But the two best examples, one obvious and one not, would be:
      Viper, regarding the Five: Still, I think if you give them enough time, and they get to know you better, things might change.
      Tai Lung: Yes, and the Emperor will arrive on his palanquin tomorrow to pardon me in person. And when the New Year arrives, I'll suddenly have more good luck and prosperity than I can shake a stick at. Oh, and all the pigs in the Valley will sprout wings, too. (Guess he'd better start looking for someone to Cue the Flying Pigs, since that's exactly what happens near the end of the story.)

    And this bit from Monkey's thoughts:

    No, the familial love and firm, unshakable trust between them was as dead and buried as Tai Lung's cubhood, or the thousand rhinos he had killed escaping Chorh-Gom. And, Monkey privately believed, as dead as the goodness and loyalty the snow leopard had once possessed. (Night of the Living Mooks from Chapter 30, anyone? Also, none of those things stay dead and buried, since Tai Lung even gets to meet his past self in a sort of reverse Future Me Scares Me situation.
    • A subtle example from Chapter 11: not only is the wind which nearly costs Tai Lung his life when it knocks him from the Thread of Hope an early attempt by Chao to kill him (note the direction it blows from), but its frigid nature is a hint at Chao's ability with ice chi.
    • Another subtle example: in Chapter 5, when Po is teasing Tai Lung about dousing him with cold water to help wash off the stink of twenty years in Chorh-Gom, Tai Lung seems to freak at the idea—not because of the cat stereotype of cats hating water, but because it is freezing. This becomes poignant and even rather upsetting in hindsight, instead of funny, however, when you discover what was done to Tai by Vachir while he was in prison...
    • Chao's offhand and dryly snarky reference in his very first scene to Tai Lung having needed only "a feather's urging" to escape from Chorh-Gom turns out to be foreshadowing of it having been his doing that Zeng's feather reached Tai Lung, since he guided it there with his dark chi.
  • Forgotten First Meeting: It turns out Tai Lung and Tigress had one of these many years ago—he was the one who saved her from her collapsed house after the quake that killed her parents. She was too young to remember (until something in-story jogs her memory) and he understandably forgot after his rampage and twenty years in Chorh-Gom. As Oogway always says, "There are no accidents."
  • For Your Own Good:
  • Four Is Death: In the Wu Sisters' introductory scene, Xiu is idly rolling dice on the table; one of the numbers which comes up is four. It may also be noted that the Sisters plus Vachir gives Chao four followers, and seemingly killing off Mantis may have been an attempt to invoke bad luck in the Final Battle, with there only being the Furious Four. And on Wu Dan, Xiu actually makes the hanzi for four in the air with her knife, when discussing how she loves killing and wants Chao's chi power so she can do even more. In a meta-aversion, however, Chapter 4 in which Tigress goes storming off to Tai Lung's cell does not in fact involve the leader of the Five gutting the snow leopard.
  • Frameup: Chao's last major gambit before the Final Battlepossessing Xiu and influencing Xiulan with his dark chi, so as to make it look to her that it is Tai Lung killing her husband. And it would have worked if not for Zhuang, Crane, Po, and Oogway.
  • Freudian Slip: As the heroes are preparing to go face Chao for the Final Battle (complete with Verbal Backspace):
    Tai Lung: So he's a wizard, so sodding what? He's still mortal, he's still got a body, he can still be killed if we can just get my paws—I mean, our paws, on him!
  • Friendship Moment:
    • Tai Lung has Friendship Moments with Po since fairly early on, and while he ends up finally saying out loud that Po is his friend in chapter 22, it's his coming to save Po from Chao during the final battle, and finally allowing Po to hug him after the battle is over, that proves the friendship is firm and genuine.
    • Jia shows caring and concern to Po despite their being enemies in how she only half-heartedly fights him (once she learns it was his father they made a promise to years ago, to look in on and help take care of his son), eventually stepping in to prevent Xiu from killing Ping, and later offering to tell him the full story about his parents if he will surrender to the sisters. Po later returns the favor by offering her hope of redemption and defending her to the other kung fu warriors.
    • Tai Lung apologizes to Viper for inadvertently dismissing her fighting abilities, once he learns of one of her past legends; he also hugs Crane for saving him from hanging, and Zhuang for helping rescue Tigress from the Wu Sisters.
    • The ultimate in Friendship Moments, though, comes when Zhuang leaves a message as his dying act to prove Tai Lung innocent of his murder, and the snow leopard in turn offers his widow to help take care of and raise their daughter.
  • Furry Denial: A number of times, whether aloud or in his thoughts, Tai Lung refers to himself as human, and a few other characters do as well.
  • Furry Reminder: The fact the characters are animals is actually lampshaded a few times. Aside from the Carnivore Confusion/Just Eat Him moment, Mei Ling's ability to identify others by scent is a plot-critical element twice, once when exonerating Tai Lung of nearly killing Po, and once when trying (but failing) to prove to the Kangaroo Court he didn't kill Zhuang. Viper's cold-bloodedness and the Black Widow tendencies of female mantises are also referenced.

     Tropes G-I 
  • Geeky Turnon: If by 'geeky' you mean In Love with Your Carnage/Interplay of Sex and Violence, then this very much describes how Tai Lung, Amazon Chaser that he is, reacts to Tigress when he discovers she's hidden a sword alongside her leg and is about to use it on Vachir. The only thing that prevents it from turning into an outright Engaging Conversation is their circumstances (mid-battle) and him wanting to wait until she clearly returns his feelings.
    Tai Lung: Gods, I love you.
    Tigress: I know.
  • Generation Xerox: Exaggerated Up to Eleven with Zeng, who is from a long line of Jade Palace messengers all the way back to the time Oogway had it built. A Call-Back to Ping and his long line of noodle chefs.
  • Genre Savvy:
    • Tai Lung gets quite a bit of mileage making fun of Chao's villainy, as does Crane with his black cloak. Tigress expecting the villain to seduce her also counts.
    • At the same time, however, there is Chao's big plan: to kill the Dragon Warrior, but not because he is The Chosen One or because he wants the Dragon Scroll for himself (not only does he not need such a MacGuffin, he actually helped make it and is thus aware of what it can do as no other besides Oogway is). It is to deprive the Valley of its All-Loving Hero and Tai Lung his perceived Morality Chain so that he will revert back to his rampaging, savage self. He also attempts to use Tai Lung's Heroic Resolve against him by pushing him into a Roaring Rampage of Revenge against Vachir, a Jumping Off the Slippery Slope act which will make him susceptible to The Corruption.
      • When that fails, he counts on the fact that everyone will expect the Reformed, but Rejected ex-villain to actually be a Falsely Reformed Villain to get the entire town to turn on Tai Lung for supposedly murdering Zhuang, and guarantees their cooperation by drawing on the fears and hatreds brought on by the rampage to possess the townsfolk—and he shows Xiulan exactly what she believed she'd see by appearing as Tai Lung when he and Xiu kill her husband.
      • Lastly, not only does he ensure Tai Lung will be imprisoned, something which after 20 years of confinement is sure to unhinge him again, but he places the snow leopard in an unwinnable situation: die for a crime he didn't commit, or break free and rampage again to save himself, thus turning everyone against him for real. And it would have worked too, if not for both the Power of Friendship and the Power of Love. And because, in the end, Evil Cannot Comprehend Good.
  • Genre Shift: When Chao finally sets his plan in motion, the story makes a huge turn into this trope. "I thought this was a kung fu movie; when did Bram Stoker start writing it??"
  • Get Ahold Of Yourself Man: Near the end of the story, Po has gone into a Heroic BSoD thanks to Chao revealing that Po's usage of the Wuxi Finger Hold was what freed him. Viper's response (along with assuring him he made the right decision) is to slap him with her tail since "you were getting hysterical."
  • Get a Room!: After falling onto the ledge in Chorh-Gom, Tai Lung and Tigress fall into their usual sexual bantering and flirting while treating their injuries. Vachir, stuck there with them, groans for them to get a room "or at least get married already."
  • "Get out of Jail Free" Card: Mostly averted—aside from being held prisoner until he agrees to try and atone, Tai Lung is also always haunted by what he did and so could be said to never truly be free. Neither he nor anyone influenced by Chao is allowed to be excused of their actions, either, since it was only More Than Mind Control.
  • Give My Regards in the Next World: Heian Chao, in Backstory, uses this when killing his best friend Master Dog: "Say hello to Guan-Yu for me..." He later echoes this in a particularly twisted way when, while possessing Monkey, he (thinks) he kills Mantis: "Say hello to Oogway for me..." (Amusingly, the character in question actually does get to, and this is a big part of how he's able to come back and spoil Chao's plans.) And it occurs once more in a satisfying (yet still disturbing) parallel when Tai Lung stabs Xiu with the Sword of Heroes: "Say hello to the yaoguai for me..." This, like the previous example, also ends up a subversion since she doesn't die either, instead ending up trapped inside her own insane mind.
  • A God Am I: One of Heian Chao's main current motivations, once the reader gets into more of his POV, is revealed to be the achievement of divinity (or at least that level of power)—and thus he is extremely furious when it is thwarted by the events at Chorh-Gom. During the Final Battle, he also makes his delusions of godhood clear through certain choices of words, such as when he calls Mantis a pusillanimous creature (and not only for his size), and a bit later when he calls all of the Jade Palace crew "insignificant mortals." Xiu also expresses the same desire for eternal life and power after Chao possesses her briefly to kill Zhuang.
  • Gondor Calls for Aid: Subverted. When Shifu decides that the Wu Sisters and the siege of Vachir are too much for the Five, Po, and even Tai Lung to handle alone, he sends Zeng with a message to the Imperial City, calling for the Emperor to send his men for aid. This ends up subverted in the end, however—due to Impeded Messenger rather than Cavalry Refusal.
  • Good Feels Good: Tai Lung gets to experience and enjoy doing good things, including normal, everyday things not related to kung fu, particularly carpentry and looking after children. Most if not all of this was engineered by Shifu under the guise of lessons.
  • Good Hurts Evil: The Golden Spear hurts those who aren't pure of heart. Xiu learns this the hard way, as does Chao.
  • Good Is Not Nice: The reason Tai Lung can be a hero, and use the Golden Spear, yet still retain his character flaws, snarkiness, and Jerkass tendencies. Possibly related to Pure Is Not Good.
  • Gray and Grey Morality: It becomes very difficult for the Heroes to face Vachir when it's pointed out that he is technically one of the good guys simply trying to punish Tai Lung. The fact the snow leopard still did a lot of horrible things during the rampage, he knows it, and on some level believes he deserves to be punished for it, only muddies the waters even more. A very realistic way of showing answers in life aren't always easy, and pretty much unavoidable when The Atoner has to deal with an Inspector Javert who is, on some level, right.
  • Groin Attack: A number of these were used on Vachir at Chorh-Gom. Xiu also pulls one on Tai Lung during the final battle, and on Po at Wu Dan.
  • Half-Sibling Angst: Played with for Mei Ling and the Wu Sisters. The angst stems not from feeling unloved by/jealous over the shared parent per se (Jia, Mei, and Wu Xuan all got along quite well, and Xiu considered their father weak and pathetic so wouldn't want to be close to him), or that they don't count as real family. Instead it's due to the fact one side of the family is a good, noble, honorable clan while the other is...The Family That Slays Together. As a result, it's the shared parent (Wu Xuan, in this case) who is troubled, as he loves all his daughters but also wishes to save the Wu Sisters from their mother's evil if he can. Xiu and Mei Ling act as Cain and Abel to one another, while poor Jia is caught in the middle as the Black Sheep (from both sides, at different times). Add in the rumor that Qing's immorality stems from Inbred and Evil, and that Xiu ends up killing Wu Xuan (while framing Jia for it), and you get quite the Big, Screwed-Up Family.
  • Hall of Mirrors: During the final battle, Tigress and Chun fight amidst crystals that act like this. And Chun proves her intelligence by refusing to make the navigational mistakes most fictional characters do.
  • Hammy Herald: Po does this for Tai Lung during the time the latter is deciding whether or not to accept Shifu's offer, presumably to remind people of the good things he had done. However, hearing "Make way for the Master of the Thousand Scrolls!" instead makes it so, in the words of Crane of all people, the panda would be "hogtied, slashed with the Thousand Cuts of Death, and left beneath dripping water for days on end; it was just a matter of who got to him first."
  • Hand Behind Head: Once he's gone through Character Development (mostly of the falling-in-love sort, but also learning to be humble and to care about others besides himself), Tai Lung does this a great deal, particularly around Tigress.
  • Hangover Sensitivity: Monkey the morning after the Ghost Festival: wishing "Mantis didn't walk so loudly through the bunkhouse" and then later begging for a spare hat from Crane to shade his eyes.
  • Hate Plague:
    • Monkey's infection as it spreads to the Five, since his mere presence let alone speaking with or touching them causes almost everyone at the Jade Palace to become increasingly argumentative and disagreeable. While it's most visible in Chapter 27 as everyone gets into it over Vachir's note and then travels to Chorh-Gom, it actually begins well before that though more subtly (during the "Truth or Dare", and then as Monkey whispers in Tigress's ear during their search around Yunxian), and it has well over a month and a half to build up during Tigress's convalescence. It also has varying effects depending on personality—while Tigress and Tai Lung are the most temperamental, Crane is made jealous and Mei Ling tongue-tied, while even Viper's compassion and Mantis's patience are pushed to their limits.
    • Later used on the entire Valley in tandem with People Puppets, thanks to Chao corrupting the Sacred Pool, which only fans the suspicions and distrust of the villagers toward Tai Lung before culminating in a Kangaroo Court, a mob, and his near-execution.
  • Have You Come to Gloat?: At the very start of the story, when Shifu comes to visit Tai Lung's cell at the Jade Palace after the Wuxi Finger Hold, the snow leopard accuses his father of this.
  • The Hecate Sisters: Because they are based off of Avatar: The Last Airbender's Dangerous Ladies, the Wu Sisters fit this trope—Jia, the playful and silly, innocent and optimistic, but also seductive, Maiden; Xiu, the manipulative and controlling Mother as the leader of the group; and Chun, the apathetic, cynical and unemotional Crone. This is most exemplified in their introductory scene, where Jia is excited at Chao's offer (and busily building structures out of mahjong tiles) but also wants to seduce Tai Lung, Xiu is calculatingly trying to turn things to the Wu Sisters' advantage, and Chun fans herself in boredom while claiming all Chao can give them is "empty shadows and a headache."
  • He Didn't Make It: Viper uses the Stock Phrase when informing Po of Mantis's death; considering the fact she had come right out and used the word "dead" when telling the others back at Chorh-Gom, it's likely this was to spare the sensitive bear's feelings. And ironically, since Mantis was actually alive and just delayed coming back, "he didn't make it" ends up being literally true.
  • Heel–Face Turn: The story's main premise is focusing on this trope for Tai Lung as he shifts from villain to (anti)hero. Later on, Jia unequivocally shifts to heroic, since she was only Forced into Evil and is finally able to break free of Xiu, and Chun edges towards it slightly but ends up averting it.
  • Heir Club for Men: Tai Lung's original motivation to romance Tigress is that he wishes to ensure his family line continues, both in the sense of "leaving a legacy behind" and to carry on his kung fu tradition. Thankfully he dropped this once he a) wised up as to the dangers and b) actually fell in love.
  • Heroes' Frontier Step:
    • Tai Lung has several. The first three are the more personal, where he takes a knife for Tigress, thus saving her from Vachir; where he forgives Vachir for the Cold-Blooded Torture he put him under at Chorh-Gom and provides him a Mercy Kill; and his forgiveness of Monkey afterwards. All of these personally convince Shifu and the rest of the Five that Tai Lung not only deserves his second chance, but has good in him and is genuinely trying to achieve it, so that from that point on in the story, they all defend and support him unequivocally against the threats that follow. The last one is the biggest and also the one that convinces the rest of the Valley as well as the Emperor, his being the one to decisively kill and destroy Heian Chao (albeit with help).
    • Jia has a big one too, where she delivers one of the fatal blows to Xiu as payback for the murder of their father and forcing her into a life of evil.
  • Heroic BSoD: Po experiences a lesser form, descending into babbling, tears, and general emotional instability rather than a complete mental breakdown, when he learns his parents were thieves and murderers and again when Chao reveals to him his use of the Wuxi Finger Hold also set him free; the results are still the same, however, with him collapsing under Chao's onslaught and having to retire from the fight for a while. Luckily, he gets better thanks to Viper's help (Get Ahold Of Yourself Man followed by You Are Better Than You Think You Are and You Did the Right Thing) and returns to save Tai Lung, complete with a "World of Cardboard" Speech.
  • Heroic Resolve: Po proves once again how capable he is of great kung fu feats when his father Ping is in danger from the Wu Sisters. Tai Lung also is able to rally from being badly injured on several occasions, such as protecting Tigress from Vachir, or defending Po from Heian Chao.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Averted, although Tai Lung would have done it if it proved necessary.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: By the end of the story, a strong case could be made for this regarding Po and Tai Lung. Among the highlights: Tai Lung first coming to see Po as his friend while helping the panda recover from a life-threatening injury; cooking meals together; Strange Minds Think Alike, Finishing Each Other's Sentences...
  • He Who Must Not Be Seen/The Faceless: Chao doesn't reveal his face until near the end of the story. Also, the reader doesn't even get to know his species or name for a while.
  • Hidden Depths: Jia isn't just the silly girl she seems on the surface. Also Viper isn't always the civilized girl she appears to be. She can be pretty wicked too. Is demonstrated at the end of her fight with Chun at Wu Dan. Viper's words and actions do surprise Po and even her girlfriend Tigress to such an extent that they agree to tell no one else anything about what happened.
  • Hidden Heart of Gold: As much as Tai Lung has been (or pretended to be) a Jerkass for so long, when the chips are down he does eventually prove that he has good inclinations, the ability to love, and a desire to protect those who are weak and innocent, especially children—even though his masculine pride makes it very hard for him to admit.
  • Hidden in Plain Sight: Chao's body was imprisoned in the Vault of Heroes, and thus was under the Jade Palace—and everyone's noses—all along.
  • History Repeats:
  • Hopeless Suitor: Ever since she first met him twenty years ago, just before his rampage, Wu Jia has strongly desired Tai Lung and wanted to make him her lover. At the time, he was focused only on the Dragon Scroll; now in the present, he's only focused on winning over Tigress, so no matter how much she tries and wishes otherwise, he'll never be hers. Thankfully, she gets to find love after all, and in the most unexpected place, with Po.
  • Hope Spot: Occurs at various points throughout the story, particularly during battles, but two clear ones occur at Chorh-Gom. First, when Tigress and Tai Lung have sent Vachir flying down a bridge to slam into a wall and the two cats congratulate themselves (Tai Lung even starts Tempting Fate and thinking they were going to win), only for Vachir to pull free of the wall and reveal he wasn't even injured. Second, a short time later: after horribly beating and injuring Vachir in a near (and quite deserved) Roaring Rampage of Revenge, it seems Tai Lung will win...only for Chao's dark chi to heal everything the snow leopard did to him. Oh, Crap! would describe Tai Lung's reaction nicely.
  • Hostage Situation: Vachir attempts one of these in Chorh-Gom...with Tigress. Big mistake.
  • Hot-Blooded: Despite going through a Heel–Face Turn, Tai Lung just seems unable to rid himself of this trope, although he does get better by the end. Tigress also counts, although in one aversion of this (and contrary to her first battle with Xiu which shows she learned her lesson), her encounter with Chun during the Final Battle is a sword fight that is described as calm, clever, and coolly calculated—which is a big part of why she wins it.
  • How Dare You Die on Me!: Non-romantic variation—both Tai Lung and Tigress get teary-eyed, curse, and chastise Shifu when it seems he's about to die after the Final Battle. A very short time before this, Tigress also starts to invoke the trope name through her tears when it seems as if Tai Lung has been crushed in the rockfall caused by Heian Chao's death, only for him to break free, battered but still quite alive.
  • How Do I Shot Web?: Tai Lung couldn't master fire chi right away. Even aside from his initial difficulties at Wu Dan, he was also constantly struggling to control it (and his temper) during his fight with Vachir and at several other points thereafter; it isn't until the final battle, with assistance from Po, that he learns to do so. However, Po's learning of water chi also took some time, seeing as it required him to learn to give in to and express his emotions rather than be the polite and proper waiter Ping raised him to be. And even with the instruction of Tai Lung, Mei Ling, Crane, and later Tigress, it also still took him a month and a half to more skillfully and masterfully learn more advanced kung fu.
  • How Much Did You Hear?: Chang's reponse when Shifu reveals he'd been standing in the palace doorway listening to him confront Tai Lung. Unlike most versions of the trope, the speaker doesn't turn around in the middle of giving himself away, instead being caught fighting with Tai Lung and then attempting to throw the snow leopard under the bus by claiming he was only defending himself after Tai Lung lost control again. It's not until Shifu allows the elephant to incriminate himself, and then reveals he had overheard the earlier dialogue, that Chang realizes how much he screwed up and invokes the trope name.
  • Hypocritical Humor: The Wu Sisters tease Tai Lung about him being old enough to be their grandfather...when in fact they aren't much younger than he is, having been in their late teens or early twenties when Crane and Mei Ling were in school twenty years ago. The teasing, of course, is merely meant to annoy and anger the snow leopard who is sensitive about his age.
  • I Always Wanted to Say That: “Quit hitting yourself!” Said by Viper, while battering Chun senseless with her own paw at Wu Dan, after which she notes her desire to say it but which Shifu had always kept her from doing until that moment.
  • I Am Not Left-Handed: Discussed, when Tai Lung explains to Po why it's good to be ambidextrous—because, among other advantages, you can switch hands in the middle of a battle and thus throw your opponent off.
  • I Can Explain: Tai Lung and Tigress, when Shifu walks in on them after they've... well, you know. Also earlier, when Tigress caught him with Jia. A Running Gag for the fic.
  • I Cannot Self-Terminate: Vachir, to the point that though he wishes he could kill himself to escape Chao, he can't. Eventually leads to Tai Lung's Mercy Kill of him.
  • I Can't Believe A Girl Like You Would Notice Me!: So very much Crane's feelings toward Mei Ling. Happens also with Po toward Jia:
    For answer, Jia leaped toward him without warning. The panda only had time for a brief flail as he caught her in both arms, and then as she planted a forceful, fervent kiss on his muzzle he fell back, wind milling, right into the river shallows.
  • Ice-Cream Koan: When Tai Lung tries to comfort Tigress regarding Shifu and his ability to love them both, he tries to think like Oogway. What he comes up with starts off from a good place ("Love isn't a finite thing, it's a pool everyone can drink from that never runs out"), but then he ends up falling into a statement that instead of profound comes across as silly and contrived: "So, look at your life as a glass half-full of love?"
  • An Ice Person: In the fic's setting, high-level kung fu masters can manipulate chi so as to create and/or control various Elemental Powers (although these are the Chinese elements, of course, not Western) based on the year of their birth. Chao's elemental ability is ice, which allows him to not only form it from liquid water and water vapor, but to transform Po's water attacks to ice and turn them against him. Naturally this makes him opposed to Tai Lung (not only in power but in personality), but it also holds a hidden weakness: because it's cold he's actually controlling, when his ice is melted by the snow leopard's Fire into warm water, he can no longer influence it but Po still can. It's also a case of a chi master extending what such power can normally affect, since ice is not one of the birth-year elements. (As he himself states, "Did you truly think...that the Five Elements are the only ones which exist?")
  • I Did What I Had to Do: Another aspect of Chao's justification for his study of Black Magic and his subsequent actions, though it is highly questionable that it truly was necessary, or whether he truly believes this any more.
  • If I Can't Have You...: Monkey, to Tigress. Not only does he try to ensure Tai Lung won't have Tigress by trying to fatally stab her, he actually invokes the trope by name while doing so.
  • If I Wanted You Dead...: Xiu reveals to Tai Lung that the reason he's left alive at Yuxnian is because he wasn't her actual target.
    Xiu, after having cut Po's throat but left Tai Lung mostly alone: Who said I was after you?
  • If You Ever Do Anything to Hurt Her...: After Monkey finally gives the snow leopard his blessing in pursuing Tigress, the primate understandably falls into this trope. Tai Lung's response is first the heartwarming declaration that hurting her is the last thing he wants (and that he'd rather kill himself than hurt her, and would if he did), then the humorous one that hurting her is likely the last thing he'd ever do.
  • If You Kill Him, You Will Be Just Like Him:
    • Implied to be why Tai Lung won't kill Vachir, then stated outright when Vachir taunts him about it. Justified, since if Tai Lung really were to kill him, and through a Roaring Rampage of Revenge, this would leave him susceptible to Chao's Demonic Possession. Having someone else kill Vachir prevents this, while also ensuring there is no Karma Houdini nor a continued slaughter of innocents.
    • A less prominent example also occurs on Wu Dan, when Viper refrains from killing Chun, as that would "make her no better than the Wu Sisters."
  • Ignoring by Singing: Tai Lung does this in Oogway's room, as a form of Brain Bleach when they discover Oogway's love letters. He comes close to doing so again at the very end of the story, when the turtle's ghost makes reference to his thoughts on Tigress were he younger (and alive).
  • I Got You Covered: Invoked by name when Tai Lung, on the verge of defeat against Chao's chi attacks (and already having been badly injured fighting Xiu), is suddenly rescued by Po—complete with One-Liner and a short Rousing Speech—intervening and taking up the fight until the snow leopard can gather his Heroic Second Wind.
  • I Have Your Wife (or in this case, father): Variation. Instead of kidnapping Ping to force Po to do something nasty, the villain's plan is to enforce inaction, namely keeping the Dragon Warrior out of the Final Battle so that Tai Lung and the others will be doomed to failure. Between Po immediately breaking the rules by informing Tigress and Viper, and his choice to come to the rescue instead of sitting on his hands, things don't work out as Chao had hoped.
  • "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight: Subverted. Mantis thought he could get through to the possessed Monkey at Chorh-Gom but it didn't work. And it didn't work for Dog and Chao either.
  • I Know You Know I Know: Much of the interactions between Heian Chao and the Wu Sisters are like this, partly because of the Right Hand vs. Left Hand principle, partly because they just enjoy toying with each other that much and fooling each other (or trying to) into believing the other is the one in charge.
  • I Like My X Like I Like My Y: Variation, both to fit the Chinese setting and inverted in where the speaker is saying this about someone else's preferences rather than their own—while flirting and bantering on the ledge in Chorh-Gom, Tigress suggests that because of his love for her, Tai Lung must like women like he does his tea, "strong and hot".
  • I Love You Because I Can't Control You: Although he had never tried to charm or woo anyone before, such is Tai Lung's arrogance and narcissism that he clearly thinks he could get anyone to throw themselves at his feet, should he want it—and so when he does pursue Tigress, the fact she resists and stands up to him is another big part of what makes her challenging and therefore appealing. Like his other less-admirable traits, this changes as he does until, by the end of the story, he simply deeply admires her willpower and strength.
  • Immortality Immorality: Not only is Heian Chao seeking to be both ageless and unkillable (things which would be just as against Buddhist and Taoist beliefs as Western ones), he is willing to do anything and everything to achieve it (and his specific methods involve Life Drinking and being Powered by a Forsaken Child).
  • Impact Silhouette: Tai Lung does this to Chao during the final battle. He and Tigress also do it to Vachir at Chorh-Gom.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Chao. By the Golden Spear, no less, which thanks to its sacred nature makes the results seem even more like meat on a barbecue skewer.
  • Impeded Messenger: The message to the Emperor never gets there, as Zeng gets captured.
  • Implacable Man: Possessed Vachir. Not only did he continue to approach the Valley inexorably in his pursuit of Tai Lung and twisted murder spree, but during the battle at Chorh-Gom he refused to die, give up, or back down—surviving any and all injuries dealt to him thanks to the healing provided by Chao's dark chi and getting back up after countless attacks which should have killed him or knocked him unconscious.
  • Incorruptible Pure Pureness: Po and Viper seem pretty much immune to Chao's corruption. On the other hand, Jia is normally a very sweet and kind woman, but Xiu corrupted her into becoming an assassin out of fear and blackmail, so she averted the trope.
  • Inferiority Superiority Complex: While this was already noticeable in the first movie (particularly if you read between the lines during the Calling the Old Man Out scene), the author delves much more into how this trope applies to Tai Lung. It's mostly a cross between him being an orphan who doesn't know his family or ancestors (something of paramount importance in ancient China) and the way Shifu raised him to believe he would be the Dragon Warrior and thus had to be the best—so that anything less was not good enough to him, he always needed outside validation to see his own worth rather than seeking self-enlightenment as Oogway would have taught, and he believed that without the Dragon Scroll or even mastery of kung fu, Shifu would never love or be proud of him. It's genuinely heartbreaking...but thankfully the snow leopard is able to conquer this by the end, for a number of reasons but mostly Shifu finally opening up properly to him, the love of Tigress, and Po's friendship all showing him his value and how he can be a hero.
  • Informed Ability: While Mei Ling's word (and her own inherited abilities) are fairly good testimonials, it's sadly the case that the reader never gets to see her father Wu Xuan's great warrior prowess. This is rectified in the sequel vignettes, however.
  • In the Back: How Wu Xuan died. And how Jia betrays Xiu, fittingly enough.
  • In the Blood: Tai Lung, Mei Ling, the Wu Sisters, and to an extent, Po. Tai Lung is afraid his darkness is in the blood, but it turns out it's his fighting ability. Interestingly the same is also true of Po. Jia and Chun are convinced being assassins is in their blood and will always make them evil and distrusted, while Mei has in fact inherited her father's fighting prowess.
  • In Love with Love: When Tai Lung first confesses to Tigress that he loves her, she accuses him of both only wanting the experience and circumstances of being in love without actually caring about her, and of Loving a Shadow—that because she is the first female kung fu warrior he's met, a fellow feline, and the leader of the Furious Five, this makes her the perfect/only possible mate for him, while at the same time he thinks she will just be a warrior-wife who will defer to him because of his masculinity and kung fu skill rather than who she really is. Tai Lung denies it, but later admits to himself she's at least partially right and resolves to do better, to grow beyond such shallowness.
    Tigress: You've got it all mapped out in your head, don't you? Why we're destined to be together.... You, the Master of the Thousand Scrolls, and me, the leader of the Furious Five. It must seem like poetic justice to you, that we should be fated to meet and become lovers. Who else is there worthy of you, after all? We're the perfect couple, and once I accept the truth, give into your charms, and fall into your arms, all of China will have to marvel at how our love was written in the stars, and we can spread a legacy of kung fu all across the land.
  • Insistent Terminology: Tai Lung disparages Po's action figures as dolls when catching him playing with them, so that the panda corrects him with "They're action figures." Heian Chao does the same during the Final Battle, albeit in a far more mocking and condescending manner, prompting Po to snap, "And for the last time, they're action figures!"
  • Intergenerational Friendship: Less extreme than most examples, but due to the twenty-year age gap, Tai Lung could be said to have one of these with Po, Viper, and Monkey by the end of the story (Mantis is a little older than him, Crane and Mei Ling are of nearly the same generation, while Tigress of course has a different relationship).
  • Interrupted Intimacy: Poor Tai Lung. First while dreaming of Tigress he is interrupted only to find himself with Jia instead...and caught by the actual Tigress. Then in the Call-Back to this same scene, it gets worse since he and Tigress get walked in on by Shifu...
  • Interspecies Romance:
    • Crane and Mei Ling. And Po and Jia.
    • Tigress and Tai Lung also count, but at least they're compatible enough to have cubs.
  • In Vino Veritas: Played with. Getting drunk at the Ghost Festival doesn't really bring out of Monkey anything the reader hadn't already seen, since other than a few caustic remarks he mostly keeps his resentful thoughts about Tai Lung to himself, nor does it change his personality in any way. However it does lead to the Alcohol-Induced Idiocy of wandering around alone on the night when the dead are said to walk and want the bodies of the living and lowers his inhibitions enough to make Demonic Possession easier...which could be said to have brought on a permanent distillation, inversion, and exaggeration of his feelings.
  • Ironic Echo: "There are no accidents." Originally a saying of Oogway's, it is here spoken by the Big Bad as he learns that the character he aided Xiu in killing, so as to frame Tai Lung, just so happened to be a Spanner in the Works who had been interfering in the Wu Sisters' plans for some time.
  • It Has Been an Honor: Vachir's final moments before Tai Lung gives him a Mercy Kill partake of this, once he realizes he and Tai Lung are Not So Different and the snow leopard promises to fulfill his Last Request.
  • It's All My Fault:
  • It's Not You, It's My Enemies: Implied, and averted in Tigress being a badass who can take care of herself just fine, and Tai Lung knows it. This also plays into why Tai Lung tries to leave the Five and Shifu behind when he goes to Chorh-Gom to face Vachir; naturally, they all shoot him down with the rejoinder that they can take care of themselves too—and that rather than being in danger from being near him, they can actually protect his back. (Of course, since one of them almost dies, perhaps they should have listened to him after all.)
  • It's Personal: Mei Ling wants to get vengeance on the Wu Sisters for her father's death, Tai Lung wants to get vengeance on Chao for everything he has done to him (both in-story and in the past), and Tigress and Po both want revenge on the Sisters for Zhuang's death and for being trounced by them.
  • It's Quiet... Too Quiet: Employed by Tai Lung in the “where did all the birds go” sense when the Wu Sisters first show up, but actually stated in Mei Ling's thoughts when she's about to discover Po and Jia in Monkey's Room Full of Crazy.
  • Is That What He Told You?: Invoked but subverted, since Xiu doesn't know anything about Tai Lung's parents and neither does Shifu. Another instance of it is later played straight—except it is a hero using it, when Mei Ling convinces Jia to not believe Xiu's lies about her always being a worthless, evil assassin and so complete her Heel–Face Turn.
  • I've Come Too Far:
    • At a certain point in the story, Tai Lung wonders whether it might be better to give up in his pursuit of Tigress, but he declares to himself that he's gone too far and worked too hard to do such a thing now (especially since by this point he is pursing heroism and his redemption as much for his own sake as to impress her). He also realizes, once he is calm and not just acting on knee-jerk rage, that he's come too far (i.e. in mastering the thousand scrolls) to give up on his future and join the Wu Sisters just because he didn't become the Dragon Warrior.
    • Heian Chao refuses to give up on his villainous plans no matter how many set-backs he has with Vachir, the Sisters, or Monkey; he has, after all, been plotting to take over China for over nine hundred years at this point.
  • I Want Grandkids: Once he has it clear that Tai Lung and Tigress have become a couple, Shifu falls into pressuring them to give him grandchildren, both in words and in hints like knitting baby clothing.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: When Crane believes that Mei Ling has fallen for Tai Lung, he resolves to ignore his Unrequited Love for her and instead insists she should be with the snow leopard, that he's happy for her, and that he won't stand in their way.

     Tropes J-L 
  • Juggle Fu: Tigress performs such actions several times during the final battle with the Ninja Weapons.
  • Just Between You and Me: Though not his entire plot, Chao does explain a great deal of what he plans to Tai Lung in his cell. Somewhat justified in that Chao is trying to earn Tai Lung's respect, prove to him how cleverly diabolical he is, so that the snow leopard will join him, and that a great deal of the revelations are couched as threats to ensure compliance. But since Tai Lung is merely stalling for time and fishing for information...
  • Justified Criminal: Bao and Li-Na (Po's parents) were forced into a life of crime when the destruction of their restaurant in an earthquake robbed them of their home, livelihood, and savings and the former was forced by an unsympathetic superior to desert the army in order to help his wife (an act which obviously set the empire's enforcers against him for treason). While committing robberies and murders, they ensured they never harmed children or families with them, and they did all they could to ensure their victims were ones who deserved it. Over time, however, as Bao became more and more enamored of bloodthirsty practices, this became far less true.
  • Kangaroo Court: A much darker example than usual (which is saying something), thanks in part to Chao possessing the villagers, with authentic Chinese legal practices to boot. But because it's Tai Lung on trial for killing Shen Zhuang, the outcome is certainly decided in advance (the gallows are being built outside the whole time), and while witnesses and testimony are allowed, there's plenty of Courtroom Antics and intervention by the Hanging Judge to undermine or dismiss them, and even then Tai Lung is given a physical contempt of court penalty (beatings on a rack-like device) for simply hesitating to answer and for proclaiming his innocence.
  • Keystone Army: Played with. Shifu guesses that the undead Anvil of Heaven is under the possessed Vachir's control and can only be defeated if he is killed, but dealing him a fatal injury he can't heal doesn't immediately cause them to collapse, only mill about a bit in confusion. However, this deathblow does break him free of possession, and the departure of the dark chi within him does in fact induce instant rotting/dissolving in the zombies as they lose the power that was animating them along with it. Whether this was the case for the yaoguai is unknown, since they get banished back to the underworld and the gate which let them cross over is sealed before their summoner Chao dies.
  • Ki Attacks: Elemental ki attacks, to be more precise, end up being employed in battle by Tai Lung, Po, Shifu, and Heian Chao.
  • Ki Manipulation: Another of Chao's powers, most seen in the moment when Vachir gets possessed and the flashback where Chao kills his friends and fellow classmates.
  • Kneel Before Frodo: After defeating the Big Bad and fulfilling his oath to get justice for the death of Zhuang and the possession of Vachir, Tai Lung receives one of these moments—in a very nice full circle, begun by Po and spreading from there to the Five and all the rest of the Valley.
  • Knew It All Along: At the very end of the story, after Tai Lung learns about his birth family from Wu Xuan's ghost, Mantis claims he knew all the time that the color of Tai Lung's pants and baby bunting meant he had an Imperial guard for a father. The narrative then snarkily notes "which he had somehow completely failed to mention before this."
  • Knight Templar:
  • Kung-Fu Wizard: Heian Chao is a master of numerous forms of dark spiritual energy, ranging from Necromancy and Demonic Possession to More Than Mind Control and Casting a Shadow, but all of it revolving around his stealing and manipulation of Life Energy. He augments this, however, with also being a master of Eagle Claw kung fu, and is thus fast, skilled, and supernaturally strong.
  • The Lancer: Played with, as at different times, both Tai Lung and Po fit this trope. Tai Lung is Po's former enemy, The Stoic to the panda's naïve innocence (some would call it idiocy), is perceived as a Handsome Lech (and often plays up the image) while Po is definitely chaste, and is both an Ineffectual Loner and Anti-Hero to Po's All-Loving Hero. But...he is also the much-better leader. Not to mention that through training with Tai Lung, Po becomes a lot more badass, their Elemental Powers are the opposite you'd expect for The Hero and The Lancer (though not for their personalities), and over time Po gradually becomes more willing to enter moral gray areas or pull dirty tricks on his enemies. In the end, they both end up supporting each other as much as being the leader. And Tai Lung also gets to literally be a lancer in the final battle.
  • Large Ham: Heian Chao is best experienced if you imagine him being voiced in the same tone as Liquid Snake.
  • Laser-Guided Karma:
    • Both Chao and Xiu end up getting hit hard in various ways due to their own actions. Chao is the one while possessing Xiu to kill Zhuang, only for the latter to leave a Dying Clue revealing the truth which completely undercuts his Frameup scheme against Tai Lung; he forced Monkey to attack and nearly kill Mantis, leading both of them to destroy and seal away his Badass Army; he inflamed Jia's lusts so as to make her obsessed with Tai Lung, only to then later try to kill him leading to her coming to actually care for Tai Lung and turn on Chao; and after his entire campaign to turn Tai Lung to darkness and make him his servant (but especially encouraging his rampage, Vachir's Cold-Blooded Torture, and the Frameup and Kangaroo Court), it's the snow leopard who ends up killing him. Meanwhile, after being Forced into Evil, made to believe she was to blame for their father's death, and generally treated like crap, Jia ends up turning on Xiu by stabbing her In the Back, just as she had their father.
    • Chang and Xiulan, two of Tai Lung's most vocal detractors, end up losing his son and eyesight, and her husband, respectively. Comes across as a bit of Protagonist-Centered Morality until one considers that these losses came about, not due to disapproving of Tai Lung specifically, but because neither of them could let go of their hatred, desire for vengeance, and It's All About Me mentality. Oh, and because of an evil chi wizard and an insane assassin, of course.
  • Last Minute Hookup: After Jia goes most of the fic pining/lusting for Tai Lung, she ends up getting together with Po in the very last chapter. Since a good portion of her desire for the snow leopard was encouraged by Chao, and there is foreshadowing (some subtle) in how she interacts with Po, especially during their fight on Wu Dan and the trip back to the palace, it doesn't come completely out of nowhere. It's also developed more in the vignettes, showing how they got there and where they'll go in the future.
  • Last Request: Vachir has two, one made while dying and the other made during a Dead Person Conversation—to avenge him, and to take care of his son.
  • Lawful Stupid: Fu Xiao, considering the claims he makes at the trial to justify both Tai Lung's supposed descent back into villainy and finding him guilty, whatever it takes. While some of this is surely caused by Chao's dark chi, the fact Shifu doesn't consider it to be too greatly out-of-character, coupled with the fact the Big Bad's possession is in most cases only More Than Mind Control, suggests it's part of the ram's own stubborn and Holier Than Thou nature.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall:
    • The story scroll detailing the events of the first movie, found when the heroes visit a bookseller, is almost meta in its acknowledgment of both things people watching the film noticed and things the moviemakers did to mislead the audience. To be specific, thanks to Gossip Evolution, willful misinterpretation, and a certain amount of Shout Outs to fanon, Po is turned into a Fake Ultimate Hero who took out Tai Lung all by himself while the Furious Five did next to nothing (the fight at the bridge becomes a "footnote"); Viper only cares about makeup and pretty clothes, Monkey is mute, while Shifu's Cynical Mentor and Jerkass tendencies are lampshaded; the filmmakers' ploy with making Tai Lung appear to be a mindless beast before The Reveal of Ian McShane's voice is also referenced by making the snow leopard a drooling savage with Hulk Speak, and...Tigress is a man.
    • Mantis indulges in a bit of this too at the start of Chapter 24, when he notes that the Bait-and-Switch Double Entendre opening would "sound really bad to anybody who didn't know what you were talking about."
  • Let's Get Dangerous!: Most of the time Po, even when he demonstrates the skill in kung fu he has learned from Shifu, Tigress, and Tai Lung, remains a sweet, kind, fairly bumbling and amusing character. But after the Wu Sisters kidnap Ping and threaten to kill him unless Po sits the coming battle out, the panda immediately switches to serious, focused mode, shows off his true badassery, and even comes close to a dark line a few times.
  • Lie to the Beholder: Chao's Glamour makes Xiu appear to Xiulan as Tai Lung when killing Zhuang. It isn't clear if the other Wu Sisters also saw it, but it's implied Zhuang did before seeing through it, which suggests it was intended solely to be viewed by the villagers as part of the Frameup, not a general illusion.
  • Lighthearted Rematch: The training in the kwoon which Tai Lung and Po undergo after the snow leopard's acupuncture session definitely feels like this, at least until Po says the wrong thing and makes Tai Lung lose his temper again. The dumpling fight on Wu Dan would be this trope played entirely (and heartwarmingly) straight, twice over, since it's a rematch for every combination of Tai Lung, Po, and Shifu as pairs, as would the nighttime training of Tai Lung and Po in Chapter 22. Emperor Chen's challenge near the end of the story has shades of this too, suggesting he and Tai Lung might have sparred more seriously once, long ago.
  • Light Is Not Good: "Shadows can surround us, ensnare us, make us lose our path. But when the light is brightest around us, we are just as blind." A case could also be made that, despite being stronger in the calm, cool, calculated Yin that is the dark half of the taijitu, Heian Chao also exemplified this trope, ironically, before he gained his shadow powers—because he was so convinced of his own wisdom and superiority, so steeped in the good side of Life Energy, that he believed he knew better than everyone else and had to be given all power so as to control and manage their lives, and it was this belief and pride which led him to evil.
  • Like an Old Married Couple: While it unsurprisingly tends to fall on the darker, uglier side of things, Tai Lung and Tigress's arguing and overall conflicts can often come across as what you'd see from a long-time couple—Mei Ling certainly thinks so, at least.
  • Likes Older Men: Quite a few characters seem to have this trait, from the chambermaids who go to bed with De in the sequel vignettes to everyone who swoons over Emperor Chen, but the main example seems to be Tigress, since she not only falls for Tai Lung and also is swayed by Chen's physique (even at his current age of seventy-something), but among the men she was interested in before the snow leopard at least one, the lion monk Achal, is revealed in the vignettes to be an older man as well.
  • Likes Older Women: On the other hand, one character follows this trope—Zhuang, who makes it clear that he married Xiulan precisely because he felt more at ease with someone who had experience and could show him how things were done. (Po doesn't quite count, since his interest in such matters seems to be limited just to Jia.)
  • Literal Disarming: Happens to Heian Chao during the Final Battle, in order to deprive him of his claw bracer. Unusual both in how it is accomplished (by means of an Elemental Ki Attack of super-sharpened water, rather than air) and who does it: Po. However, considering Chao's Healing Factor and status as a horrific and monstrous villain, it could be argued that such an attack was quite justified and would not cause long-lasting damage anyway, rendering it more pragmatic than anti-heroic.
  • Little "No": While not an actual 'no', Tai Lung very quietly saying Po's name to try and rouse him after his throat is cut has the same feel and impact.
  • Load-Bearing Boss: Played with. The Vault of Heroes doesn't fall apart because its existence depended on Chao—it falls apart because his explosion destabilized it.
  • A Load of Bull: Being as he's a stonemason, Shen Zhuang is quite the large and muscular bull, and even though he's not a kung fu warrior it's clear he has great strength and toughness and could handle himself well in a regular fight. However, due to his kind and generally peaceful nature, he's more of a Gentle Giant.
  • Lock-and-Load Montage: The heroes arm themselves up before the final battle with most of the famous kung fu artifacts in the Hall of Warriors, mostly consisting of the ones originally listed on the KFP Wiki including the Golden Spear. The fact they belonged to the Jade Palace's first class who were all murdered by Chao makes this deliciously ironic.
  • Love Dodecahedron: Tai Lung falls in love with Tigress, Monkey is also in love with Tigress, Crane is in love with Mei Ling, Mei Ling thinks Tai Lung is hot but loves Crane who in turn thinks Mei Ling loves Tai Lung, and Jia also wants Tai Lung. Phew! Oh, and there are shades of Jia and Po getting together.
  • Love Is a Weakness: Heian Chao disparages love repeatedly as something undesirable which either would interfere with his grand schemes or makes those he wishes to manipulate into pathetic, overemotional weaklings. The implication from some of his thoughts is that the underlying reason for this is either due to Silly Rabbit, Romance Is for Kids! or Love Hurts.
  • Love Makes You Crazy: Played for Laughs from Tai Lung's point of view, as he speaks often of how his desire for and pursuit of Tigress often renders him irrational if not actually crazy. By contrast, Monkey is so determined to protect Tigress from him (or anyone else) while still secretly yearning for her that it is sadly, remarkably easy for Chao to possess and corrupt him straight into Love Makes You Evil territory.
  • Love Redeems: While there becomes far more to it as the story develops (genuine desire for atonement, embracing the heroism he threw aside years ago, finding hope and meaning again in his relationships with his father and Po), it's his love for Tigress and his determination to become a better man so as to win her that kickstarts Tai Lung's redemption, and helps him resist Chao's influence later on.
  • Loves the Sound of Screaming: Both Xiu and Chao exemplify this, the latter even more so since it seems to literally give him power, witnessing and feeding on the pain, fear, and anguish of his victims. But witness how Xiu enjoyed tormenting Tigress in the birch forest, killing Zhuang, and punching Tai Lung in his wounded side.
  • Ludicrous Gibs: Thanks to their being zombies, the battle with the Anvil of Heaven at Chorh-Gom results in quite the explosion of gore, blood, and other viscera.
  • Lust: Jia has an intense sexual desire for Tai Lung which only gets stronger as the story goes on thanks to Chao's influence. At the same time, both Chao himself and Xiu have an equally strong desire for power and conquest, whether it is over lives and souls, the empire, or life and death itself.
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