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Fanfic / Different Tales, Different Lessons

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A set of mini-sequels to the Fan Fic A Different Lesson. Some fill in Backstory on movie characters, OCs, and past history of the author's alternate KFP universe; others cover territory from during the main story but never shown directly to the reader, and still others show future events in the years following. Unlike the main story, much of these "vignettes" is devoted to the kind of humor, action, and heartwarming moments seen in the original movies, but there are still enough sad, unsettling, and shocking events to remind the reader that they are based on a Darker and Edgier world. A lot of loose ends are tied up (though still not quite all, as much because the original franchise isn't complete as to show life goes on), a lot of depth and Character Development is shown, and a lot of Shout Outs are made, per usual, especially to other fics.


The vignettes are divided into trilogies of a sort which usually follow a theme, one which is also usually (but not always) indicated by the individual titles.

  • "Marriage That Blessed Arrangement"; "That Dream Within a Dream"; "So Treasure Your Love": Tai Lung and Tigress get married, while Po, Shifu, the Five, Mei Ling, Wu Jia, and Tai Lung's biological family variously carry out all the preparations, cause trouble, and enjoy watching the proceedings. Hilarity Ensues.

  • Po and Jia's romance.
    • "Too Many Cooks Spoil the Date": Tai Lung and Tigress spy on Po and Jia's first date at Ping's noodle restaurant; Hilarity Ensues.
    • "What Happens in Prison Stays in Prison": Po and Jia visit the prison where his parents and Wu Chun are being held.
    • "Eat, Pray, Love": Po and Jia take the next step in their relationship while the Jade Palace crew alternately heckles and celebrates them.

  • Life moves on for Tai Lung, as master of the Jade Palace, as a husband, and as a father.
    • "Tai Can Cook": Exactly What It Says on the Tin, with the snow leopard enduring chef training from Jiao Dalang. Hilarity Ensues, but so does a fair share of Character Development for Tai Lung in a few ways.
    • "It's a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood" and "Father Knows Best?": Tai Lung goes out on a day trip to the village with his adorable twins, and encounters someone from his past.

  • Crane, Mei Ling, and Wu Jia Walk the Empire to do good deeds and help Jia atone.
    • "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun": The three travel to Shanghai, where they must infiltrate a new thieves' guild and bring down its disguising themselves as prostitutes. Hilarity Ensues.
    • "A Pirate's Lot is Not a Happy One": The three travel to Haojing (Macau) to take out the leader of a band of marauding pirates, with the aid of Portuguese colonizers and Jiao Shang.
    • "Hungry Like the Wolf": The three travel west to prevent the invasion of a warlord wanting revenge for Tai Lung's rampage, with the aid of the Kung Fu Council, Jiao Shen (a good guy in this 'verse), and an itinerant monk, while Jia struggles with the possibility of extending forgiveness to her eldest sister.

  • A much more loosely connected set, united only by the fact it explores the backstories of various OCs.
    • "Love Goes On and On": How Zhuang and Xiulan met, fell in love, and married. Hilarity Ensuoh wait.
    • "Warriors of Virtue, Warriors of Vice": Captain Vachir, in his youth, helps defend Beijing (and the Emperor) from a Mongol invasion; Wu Xuan and Qiao Yong (the fathers of Mei and the Wu Sisters, and Tai Lung, respectively) foil an assassination attempt; Po's father Bao discovers his bloodthirstiness in warfare; and a slightly older Xuan takes his daughter Mei to visit Wu Qing and her daughters while reminiscing on how they met.
    • "The Falcon, the Turtle, and the Hare": The next generation of kung fu warriors at the Jade Palace meet a tortured spirit from the past who in turn has a tale to tell of the first masters of the palace.

The author also completed a set of "shuffles", a FanFiction.Net concept wherein songs from a playlist set on random inspire (with varying levels of connection) brief pieces of writing. A few of these ended up longer than usual, but still quite short for this author. Most are only small character pieces which only deepen their subjects without really adding anything the movies or fics didn't already tell us, but a few are noteworthy and meaningful, and the last one ties up the author's 'verse.

Needless to say, there are many spoilers to the original story (and also a few to Kung Fu Panda 2, which came out after the first six vignettes). The series also exists on Archive of Our Own, divided in slightly different ways to allow for shorter, easier reading segments and an additional Theme Naming for each arc related to the series's title.

This fic series contains examples of:

  • Acceptable Professional Targets: Both subverted and played straight, In-Universe. When one of Kang's men reveals his father wanted him to be a law clerk, Mei lets him go to pursue this new line of work. But then Jia notes that if his father had wanted him to be a tax collector, then she'd have had to kill him.
  • Actually Pretty Funny: Qiao Yong admits this to be the case for most of Wu Xuan's naughty humor, with his only real issue being its frequency and inappropriateness to a given situation. He specifically finds himself nearly laughing when he thinks he's going to die with the last thing he hears being Xuan swearing.
  • Aggressive Negotiations: Mei and Jia discuss this (and Crane even mentions it directly) when they are offering Long Shi a diplomatic solution to The Siege, namely that if she is pardoned and retires, she can do this on behalf of the empire in order to protect it from its enemies. But it turns out the meeting is itself an example, since Long Shi is using it to get their number while also creating a distraction so she can pull off one last daring raid. It even turns into literal Gunboat Diplomacy when one ship in her fleet sends an ultimatum to let her escape to freedom or else they will use their cannons to blast apart the dock ward.
  • All Monks Know Kung-Fu: Played with; although Achal does know how to fight, and proves extremely competent and awesome in battle, it isn't kung fu he knows but something one of his discipline and nationality actually would have known—namely, Indian wrestling and martial arts.
  • All Myths Are True: Subverted. The fossilized skeleton of a dinosaur in the Flaming Mountains is at first thought to be a dragon, but Crane, Mei and Jia eventually decide they can't know for sure. Also, the legend of how the mountains were made is debated and natural means like erosion are propounded as a perfectly viable alternative.
  • All Work vs. All Play:
  • Almost Kiss: Po and Jia experience this in the kitchen the night after Tai Lung and Tigress's wedding, thanks to an interruption by De.
  • Anachronic Order: This applies to all the vignettes—the first three jump back to before the main story's epilogue; the fifth through the ninth jump back to the years after the epilogue; the tenth through the twelfth jump back to the year in between the main story and the epilogue; vignettes thirteen and fourteen take place anywhere from five to twenty to forty years in the past as they fill in Backstory; and vignette fifteen goes back to the future after vignette nine (except for a flashback story from nine hundred years ago). But also, within vignette four there's the fact it begins immediately after the main story's epilogue (which since the previous vignette's Po/Jia scene was a year prior, just after Tai Lung and Tigress's wedding, is a bit confusing), then jumps to a flashback to a year ago after the wedding again, then back to the present.
  • And Show It to You: In an extremely badass moment on both sides, Shou Feng (while impaling him on his sword) threatens Achal with this trope "without even blinking"...only for the lion to respond that he would let him do it, also without blinking.
  • Animal Stereotypes:
    • The warden of Shandong Prison, a crocodile, claims that if he let anything happen to Po, Chen would "have my hide for his luggage." Also, when Jia reveals her budding romance with Po to Chun, the latter quips that she'll need "those erotic scrolls we picked up in Shanghai" as a visual aid to teach him about sex. This might be a subversion, considering how Bao and Li-Na seem quite knowledgeable when about to give Po The Talk, but then again see World's Shortest Book.
    • When Tai Lung quotes something Lin said when he was a cub, she asks if he's an elephant to remember that. He responds he knows one (Chang) who taught him the tricks of the trade.
    • Played with for Ji Tao; he is very much sly, mischievous, and fun-loving (though much more so in backstory), but he's also an extremely competent soldier, commander, and fighter, and built like a tank. And let's not get started on what happens if you threaten the man he loves...
    • Shou Feng has shades of the Savage Wolves trope once he truly lets himself go, but after he repents and tries to atone, he becomes more like the Noble Wolf (albeit understandably sad).
    • Subverted in the case of Twin Weasels, who despite being sly and clever are also as heroic and noble as the rest of the old masters. Also with Emperor Yang, who is both not the timid prey his species would make one assume him to be (and is in fact a rather good swordsman) and a villainous tyrant rather than cute and harmless.
  • Anything That Moves: Tai Lung's brother De has this trait, it turns out. Possibly including for both genders, considering his comment to Po in the kitchen...
  • Artistic License – History: The author freely admits to using this (by putting a renamed Ching Shih, Alvares, Pires, and the Monte Forte all in the same time period). His justification, of course, is that it made for a better and more intriguing story.
  • The Atoner:
    • Bao turns out to be this after twenty years in prison and realizing just how much of a Blood Knight he had let himself become. Chun's time in prison has finally made her one as well.
    • Once he and his army are defeated, his weapon destroyed, and the truth of what happened shared with him via Tai Lung's letter, Shou Feng becomes this under Achal's tutelage.
    • Chao has become this, ten years after the events of the main story, albeit reluctantly and without full commitment yet (as much because he feels it can never be achieved and does not deserve to be as because of his pride and self-righteousness), thanks to the power of the Golden Spear and Oogway's chi-infused staff breaking him free of the darkness that had corrupted him.
  • Author Appeal: The author's love of lions is very much on display in both Achal Balaji and the Three Brothers who wielded the Sword of Heroes and were contemporaries of Chao's. To his credit, while the former is key in working out the philosophical and emotional crux of the conflict with Shou Feng and one of the latter is shown in closer friendship to Chao than the other masters, all of them are only one/a few among many fighters who help save the day, and even while Achal fights a great deal, it's really Mei and Jia who are the most important characters in battle.
  • Back-to-Back Badasses: As hinted at in the main novel, Vachir and Chen fight this way on the battlefield against the Mongols, after Dayan is defeated and carried off.
  • Badass Boast: Chao, to the yuan gui regarding those who had caused their deaths and suffering.
    Chao: If there is any justice in the next world, the karma they have accrued can never be truly expunged...I shall not rest until I have hastened them onto that path. No matter who they are or where they can be found, no matter what protects them from prosecution, no matter if it is the Emperor himself...I will redress your grievances, I will bring you the justice you deserve. And if I am right, then the Lord of Ten Thousand Years will have ten thousand years of torment before he can ever be washed down the river of Mount Meru to live again!
  • Bait-and-Switch: The opening scene of the first vignette apes the exchange between Shifu and Tai Lung before their battle in the first movie...only to have it be revealed the snow leopard in question was his mother Qiao Jian and that the scene in question was gearing up toward them negotiating the wedding dowry.
  • Bar Brawl: This is how Wu Xuan and Wu Qing met.
  • Boisterous Bruiser: Despite being much more slender and lithe than Qiao Yong, Wu Xuan was the snow leopard who actually fit this trope.
  • Brain Bleach: Tai Lung has to do this a great deal around Lin, but the worst offenses are when she claims she slept with Jiao Shen and when he discovers she and Ning Guo have become an item (and gets to witness them making out).
    Is this what a broken brain feels like?
  • Bring My Brown Pants: Happens to Kang once Crane, no longer forced to be the Butt-Monkey, reveals his true sex and identity as he's about to knock him out for the count. Occurs along with a very nice Shout-Out to the moviemakers' original plan to have Crane be a silent, deadly Clint Eastwood-type.
  • But for Me, It Was Tuesday: Played with. Several times it is lampshaded that because of how many he injured and killed, and because of how enraged and insane he had been at the time, Tai Lung does not remember much of his rampage or who all he had harmed. Shou Feng, naturally, expects that he would remember, and gloat over having killed his father, or at least not care—but the fact he can't remember deeply upsets Tai Lung, he can't even bring himself to look at the Jade Palace records of the rampage, and when he does remember Shou Feng's father, he is horrified and remorseful.
  • But Liquor Is Quicker: One of the big reasons he falls into Wu Qing's bed is Xuan being rather drunk—and doped up on opium.
  • Call-Back:
    • Tao's greeting to Mei mirrors her own first words to Crane in Yunxian in the main story.
    • At one point when battling some of Long Shi's Mooks, Shang punches one in the face with his breastplate and it is left dented with an impression, just as happened with Po, Tai Lung, and a wok in the first movie.
    • There is one to the Noodle Incident in the main story, regarding Po never being able to see plum juice the same way again after walking in on Tai Lung and Tigress being intimate in the kitchen pantry. After Po and Jia Almost Kiss in the kitchen late at night after Tigress and Tai Lung's wedding, a naked and aroused De walks by, enters the pantry and comes out with some plums and a big smile, saying that the plums were just where Tai Lung said they would be.
  • Call-Forward: During Chao's meditation session with Oogway, both the interaction between them (when Chao is discussing his impatience with the training and desire to learn about chi and other mystical secrets) and the specific phrasings used have a very similar feel to Tai Lung's first meeting with Oogway's ghost, when he was apologizing for not understanding the turtle's reason for denying him the Dragon Scroll. Another example of how Chao and the snow leopard are Not So Different.
  • Calling the Old Man Out: Po does this upon first meeting his biological father—actually punching him hard enough to be thrown on his back, then reading him the riot act for abandoning him and for becoming a murderous, bloodthirsty bandit. The trope is still played with, however, in that he also admits Bao did the right thing in giving him away and in how he is willing to forgive him if the elder panda has changed and wants to redeem himself.
  • The Cameo:
    • Jiao Dalang, like in the story he originates from, ends up working as a chef in the Valley of Peace—but this time it's at Ping's rather than a competitor's, to make up for Po's absence.
    • Jiao Shang, appearing as an Imperial soldier at the fort in Haojing.
    • Jiao Shen also appears, as a commanding general in the army the Kung Fu Council gathers to face Shou Feng's invasion. Has a number of similarities to the father of another Shang.
    • Aside from Fung, Peng from Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness appears as a kung fu trainee in the last vignette—as the son of De, of course.
  • Cannot Spit It Out: For various reasons (shyness, uncertainty about sexual matters—subverting A Man Is Always Eager!—thinking she could never find him attractive), Po is unable to tell Jia his true feelings for her until pushed into it by Tai Lung and given gentle encouragement from Jia herself.
  • Cats Are Mean: Shifu invokes the trope by name when complaining of how Jian, Tai Lung, and Tigress all ganged up on him to make sure he would not only give his blessing but go completely all-out for the wedding. A more serious version of this applies to Long Shi to some degree.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Shou Feng, it turns out. During the rush of memories from his rampage which Tai Lung recalls in Chapter 29 of the original story, there is a wolven elder of the village who is killed because he made the mistake of getting in the snow leopard's way (and trying to take him into custody). Afterward, Tai Lung discovered the elder had had a son. It's he who grows up to swear revenge on the Scourge of the Valley.
  • Chivalrous Pervert: Jiao Shang, at least by implication. The reader never actually gets to see him pursuing women (or anyone), but Tao and Liang both make reference to his past assignations (or as the fox puts it, "not being able to keep it in his pants") and how much of The Casanova he has been; at the same time, the tiger makes it very clear that the women he's bedded were all consensual and very much happy to be so, that the reason he never married any of them was because he couldn't pick just one he loved more than the others (and to keep her from becoming a widow should he die in the line of duty), and that he made sure to take care of all the illegitimate children he had with them. As far as his interactions with Jia and especially Mei go, he couldn't be more courteous, and while he does end up choosing to pursue men, it's clear he would have kept pursuing women if his interest had remained with them, so his behavior with Mei and Jia must be part of his usual sense of manners and decorum. His reaction to Long Shi, both before and especially after she reveals her backstory to him, also suggests both a strong sense of morality and a willingness to treat women fairly and properly.
  • Chubby Chaser: Surprisingly, while Jia still admires handsome, muscular, well-built men—and proves it while at Shandong and throughout her journeys with Crane and Mei Ling, drooling over both Shang and Achal (and rather aggressively pursuing the former for a serious seduction)—and will always have a certain appreciation for Tai Lung's masculinity (as shown at the start of vignette ten), she also shows during the romance arc, and states aloud in vignette six, that she is very fond of Po's chubbyness and really likes his belly. And once they become an item, she is of course utterly devoted to him.
  • Color-Coded Characters: Done more subtly unless you play close attention, but Achal's mane and Shou Feng's fur/ruff are the opposite colors from each other (gold with dark fringe/dark with golden fringe). This foreshadows their eventual master/disciple relationship.
  • Combined Energy Attack: A form of this is what Chao uses to free the yuan gui—calling upon the chi all his friends give him to help them let go of their hatred and vengeance so they can pass to the next world and be reborn. It's also an interesting counterpoint (and done with the opposite intent and results) to what Po, his fathers, Tigress, and the rest of the Panda Village do to help him break free of and eventually destroy Kai.
  • Comically Missing the Point: Pretty much describes a lot of Lin's responses to Tai Lung, from taking as genuine his sarcastic false shock at her having bad days, to shifting from accepting blame for how Tai Lung treated her after escaping Chorh-Gom to saying men apologize to her because of how wonderful she is (and they're the ones who screw up), to saying when he accused her of "wrenching her arm out of its socket patting herself on the back" that that had never happened to her in the past thirty years...
  • Cool and Unusual Punishment: Some of the means Master Hu used to discipline Mei Ling and Jia at Li Dai count as this, ranging from forcing the hyperactive Jia to stay perfectly still atop a post to putting Mei Ling (who both dislikes feminine frillery and the nobility) in garb befitting her station when dignitaries visited the school.
  • Cordon Bleugh Chef: Thanks to Tai Lung's rigorous training to learn how to cook so he can help out at Ping's restaurant, he finally ends up averting this trope in the end after a lot of hard work. Shifu is mentioned as one as well during fishing trips with Tai Lung in his youth, and Tigress was said to be an even worse one than Tai Lung, and while the former remains as this (namely by never cooking), Tigress eventually averts it after Tai Lung decides to teach her himself.
  • Dark Action Girl: When the reader finally meets her in Backstory, Wu Qing absolutely exemplifies this trope. In the flashback she also displays (and thus lures Wu Xuan in) many aspects of The Vamp and the Femme Fatale (with shades of The Baroness); in the main story where he and Mei are meeting her and the Wu Sisters, she comes off more as the Inscrutable Oriental.
  • Darkness Equals Death: Considering how the yuan gui appear at nightfall to surround the inn, the way the mines on the mountain later appear, and how close the masters come to becoming their latest victims, this trope definitely applies. Also a great deal of Nothing Is Scarier, before they actually put in an appearance.
  • Dead Guy Junior: With the inclusion of Chuluun, a character from Ilien's "Book of Changes", among the Anvil of Heaven, Vachir's son Chuluun becomes this trope. Except the elder Chuluun isn't dead, just retired.
  • Death Seeker: To a certain extent, Mei remarks to herself how Tao seems to have become this after Shang's kidnapping—in retrospect because he must feel life isn't worth living if he loses Shang.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: The scene where the old masters spend a night at an inn and end up in all manner of sexual encounters while also partaking of recreational drug use is certainly this to anyone in modern times who a) believes all kung fu warriors to be religious holy men and thus presumably celibate (never mind West and East have always had different views of such things) b) thinks matter of homo- and bisexuality were never as prevalent or accepted in the ancient world or c) has issues with infidelity, promiscuity, public versus private explorations of sexuality, and overall decadence, when such things were indeed much more common in ancient times (even if kept under wraps) and Double Standards allowed them for men in particular.
  • Determined Widow: Played with but mostly subverted. While Xiulan is absolutely determined, does have a child to live for, and would very much like to avenge her husband, she spent most of the original novel as an antagonist, because the protagonist was the one who made her a widow (twice, she thinks). She did become a target of the Big Bad's—but by being put through Demonic Possession and More Than Mind Control so as to inadvertently become his servant, so that even as she was distressed she also caused distress for others. In the end, however, she does decide to live on and let go of her hate, because Zhuang makes it clear to her how much he wants this and how much her future happiness and Yi's depends on it. And while she won't be going on to fight herself, nor is she carrying on Zhuang's work, she does agree to let Yi spend time with Tai Lung as his god-daughter and eventually train in kung fu with him, all things Zhuang would want or which would bring about the peace and forgiveness he embraced in life.
  • Didn't See That Coming: Long Shi weathers a diplomatic envoy containing two of the most skilled kung fu masters in the empire and a former assassin, a strafing run courtesy of those three warriors and bombs lofted from the sky, Alvares's fleet, and even a chi attack from Tao, all without really panicking or losing her cool very much. What did she not expect? Shang turning out to not be interested in women (any more).
  • Digging Yourself Deeper:
    • Crane, ignorantly walking into the Hurricane of Euphemisms between Tai Lung, Mantis, and Monkey, begins talking about his love of calligraphy...and of course everything he says just sounds worse and worse out-of-context until the three of them are unable to do anything but laugh on the floor.
    • Thanks to Xiulan leading him on in order to troll him, this is what happens with everything Zhuang says during their first meeting.
  • Dirty Old Man: Tai Lung's older brother, De, has this as his main characteristic, not helped by the fact that he's actually a Chick Magnet on top of it and is very open about his nature. He's so shameless about it that he spends most of his free time during the lead-up to Tai Lung and Tigress's wedding seducing Emperor Chen's chambermaids, at one point getting confronted by the Emperor about it (offscreen)... and De's reaction was to casually invite the Emperor to join in on the fun with the two maids the snow leopard had just seduced! When Chen confronts him again, this time in front of others, De is blasé about everyone's anger and disapproval and even smug when Chen points out his constant seducing. Even after promising to stop doing it under threat of Shifu himself, he continued to do so without a care in the world after the wedding was over. Also, noticeably, De has no problems walking around people totally naked and aroused, much to Po's horror.
    • Lovable Sex Maniac: De both falls into and averts this trope in the story. The ladies sure see him as this, not only due to his numerous conquests, but also it's mentioned that he shamelessly pursued Tigress (his own brother's fiancée), Mei Ling (who is Crane's girlfriend) and Jia, and none of the ladies except Tigress seemed to mind it at all, with Mei Ling, Jia and also Viper clearly finding him attractive. That being said, men do tend to dislike De's behavior, with Shifu, Chen and Enlai being quite vocal about it. De doing things such as referring to Tigress as "exotic" and "kinky" while in front of Shifu and the others certainly work on the averting of this trope around most other males.
    • While Emperor Chen is complaining about De's behavior to Tai Lung, Enlai and Shifu, and asking something be done about it, Tai Lung very subtly calls Chen this, stating that maybe it's all a lesson for Chen after he openly ogled Tigress in front of Tai Lung near the end of the main novel. Chen's reaction of looking guilty and sputtering about how it was an "entirely different matter" suggests that Dirty Old Man may apply to him too.
  • Disguised in Drag: What happens to poor Crane, to help him, Mei Ling, and Jia get into Kang Yuwang's mansion.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: Jia uses her feminine wiles to employ this trope with the young lion and tiger standing guard outside her sister's they won't search her and discover she's smuggled a knife inside.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Tai Lung secretly buying candy for himself, with Shifu's money, brings to mind buying drugs from the local dealer.
    Tai Lung: Do you have it? Everything I asked for?
    Le: I might. If you've got the money.
  • A Dog Named "Dog": Lampshaded and mocked by the artist Chen when complaining about Shifu naming the Five for their species/kung fu styles, and calling himself "Teacher."
  • Double Entendres: When Dalang and Tai Lung get into a spice-eating contest to prove their manliness, one could be forgiven for thinking they were indulging in something else. It ends up being quite the Hurricane of Euphemisms by the end.
  • Double Standard: Shang is revealed to have been quite The Casanova over the years, and having left Someone to Remember Him By all over the empire. Yet rather than finding this disgusting or at least inappropriate, Mei and Jia (especially the latter) seem to find this attractive and something to be admired. To be fair it is less that he is sleeping with so many women and more that he insists upon making sure all his illegitimate children are properly taken care of (with funds from the Emperor, no less) which is being lauded. And there is also much more in him to like and admire, whether his loyalty and honor, his determination to protect the empire, or his caring for the less fortunate (whether lower-ranked men in the army or the poor and undesirables in the city). But it is still a bit disconcerting. Of course that is partly the point, considering Deliberate Values Dissonance (and Truth in Television for men in those days, especially of higher rank) is in play.
    • Some of this also applies to De being similarly loved and praised for his seductions, but on the one hand such approval for him isn't universal (Tigress and most men, save Mantis and Monkey, are very annoyed and/or disgusted by it), and on the other hand he a) hasn't had lots of illegitimate children (there's only one we know about) and b) isn't in a position of authority that requires professional behavior like Shang's.
  • Dramatic Irony:
    • Naturally, a number of points in the story of Chao and the old masters exemplify this, from Chao wondering what Oogway intended for the Vault of Heroes when the cavern to hold it was being constructed, to Dog thinking Chao would not succumb to the darkness because he was so worried about it (the same as Viper did with Tai Lung), to the Prophetic Fallacy mentioned below, to the rush of chi Chao uses to free and purify the yuan gui being what inspires him to gather all the chi he can to bring down the Emperor (which is what leads to his Start of Darkness). This last has an especially harsh example, where Chao realizes he needs his friends' chi, but that it had to be given to him willingly "and of course the idea of simply stealing it was utterly abhorrent."
    • Aside from Chao's thoughts about disliking felines and their arrogance, the woman he and Kuan end up taking to bed is a snow leopardess. This makes his eventual interaction with both the Wu Sisters and Tai Lung darkly amusing.
  • Evil Matriarch: Wu Qing definitely turns out to be this in regards to the Wu Sisters, with shades of My Beloved Smother toward how she treats Xiu, expecting nothing but utter perfection from her according to her exacting standards.
  • Fanboy: Amusingly, Tai Lung ends up being this for Master Yao (just like Shifu).
  • Fate Worse than Death: What Oogway does to Yang in the end—forcing him to feel all the pain, misery, and suffering he inflicted on his people, until his guilty conscience drives him to suicide.
  • Fiery Redhead: Dayan Khan, as a nod to the historical line of Genghis. Also indicated by his species here being a wolverine, therefore making him Hot-Blooded with his Pride and affronts to it as his Berserk Button.
  • Food Porn: The story veers into this at times, mainly in vignette seven (with Tai Lung's training to become a good cook) and in vignette nine when his Sweet Tooth is showcased. The author goes through quite a bit of detail on what entails ingredients, cooking methods, the workings of one's nose and palate, and the finished product in itself, and even how the balance of Yin and Yang applies to cooking as it does everything else in life. A bit shows up in vignette eleven too when Mei, Crane, and Jia get to sample Cantonese cuisine.
  • Foreign Cuss Word: The author has always had fun with these, but one of the best occurs when Emperor Yang calls Oogway a wangbadan.Explanation  This also leads, naturally, to Oogway laughing at the inadvertent (?) literal pun made on his species.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • The end of Xuan and Yong's scene is full of this, as well as Tempting Fate, since the possibility of Yong dying to protect the Emperor is brought up several times and Yong concludes that it will likely happen someday "but not today."
    • Thanks to Dramatic Irony, we not only get Yong warning Xuan that Qing would "one day be the death of him", but Xuan himself thinking everything would be fine and safe so long as he and Mei stayed far away from Qing.
  • For Want of a Nail: The Jiao Clan in this universe is very different than in Luna Goldsun's, with Shen as a loyal, brave general serving under Emperor Chen, Huang as an apothecary, Chang and Ang as tailors, Xiang as a military scholar, Shang as an Imperial soldier (and presumably Feng is as well since he's also called a warrior), and Dalang as a chef. And it's all because Ming Hua didn't die, and was thus able to change Shen for the better so that he raised a good and honorable family instead. Lampshaded by Dalang when he mentions Shen saying he didn't know what he'd be if not for Ming Hua.
  • Freudian Excuse:
    • Long Shi's Backstory (which is identical to her historical antecedent's), but it doesn't excuse her actions during The Siege, particularly her betrayal of the diplomatic embassy for a final raid, or what happens to the city.
    • Shou Feng's Backstory as well. It also doesn't excuse his atrocities, although it does provide a basis for helping him to atone, once he hits his My God, What Have I Done? moment.
  • Furry Confusion: In the scene when Xuan and Mei meet the Wu Sisters as children, there are non-sentient birds swimming in the garden ponds.
  • Get a Hold of Yourself, Man!: Jia has to pull this on Tai Lung when he falls into morose despair over Shou Feng and actually considers turning himself in to be slain.
  • Ghostly Goals: This turns out to be the nature of the quest Chao and the old masters undertake, helping the yuan gui to pass on so they can be reborn by promising to redress the grievance of their cruel treatment in life and terrifying deaths.
  • Gilligan Cut: After Crane realizes what Mei Ling's plan for getting them into Kang's compound is.
    Crane: Mei...please, no. Please tell me you're not going to dress us up as changji.
    Mei Ling, completely serious and deadpan: Very well. I'm not dressing us up as changji.
    (Scene break)
    Two hours later, the three of them stood, wearing the simple yet elegant ruqun of Shanghai the street outside the House of Blossoms. Crane stared with a hurt expression at Mei Ling, who ignored him.
    Crane: You lied to me.
  • Go-Go Enslavement: How Long Shi ends up dressing Shang when he's her prisoner, since he wears only a loincloth.
  • Good People Have Good Sex: Once Po and Jia break the ice and have their first time together, this seems to describe their following love life, judging by the very pleased and naughty manner in which Jia tells Tai Lung and the Five about it. And by how many places they do it (or try to).
  • Gosh Dang It to Heck!: Qiao Yong speaks this way, when he even can bring himself to swear at all, a hilarious inversion from his son being Sir Swearsalot.
  • Guilty Pleasure: It turns out that thanks to Viper, reading romance novels has become this for Tai Lung.
  • Guy-on-Guy Is Hot: Discussed, invoked, and exploited by the old masters in order to draw in potential bedmates for the night. Amusingly, one of the women in question not only is completely aware of what they're doing, she mentions how Girl-on-Girl Is Hot can be used to accomplish the same thing on her end.
  • Hair-Raising Hare: Emperor Yang of Sui, a murderous tyrant and gifted swordsman, who also happens to be a hare.
  • A Handful for an Eye: Plays into how Bao defeats a wolven swordsman. Shou Feng also employs it against Mei Ling, but it only grants him a short advantage.
  • Henpecked Husband: In a lot of ways Zhuang appeared to be this in the main story, and many in the Valley thought he would be if he married Xiulan. But as revealed there, and especially in the backstory of vignette thirteen, they were Happily Married.
  • Her Heart Will Go On: Once she comes to terms with Zhuang's death, Xiulan eventually embraces this trope. It's also at least partly motivated by the fact she already had a child with him, rather than being pregnant with one.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Qiao Yong and Wu Xuan, it turns out. (And considering at one point the former is thinking about being able to top the latter—in either combat or bantering, not what it sounds like—there may just be a bit of Homoerotic Subtext involved.)
    It was Wu Xuan, of course, and those green eyes burned with something he'd never seen there before—absolute fury, but also an aching devotion and caring reserved only for a true soulmate. Someone whose bond with you transcended everything, even meant more than blood and family and ancestors.
  • Hidden Depths: To various degrees this applies to all the old masters, but it's especially true of the weasels (who study plants and other substances, not to be assassins or illicit drug-runners but as herbalists and doctors), Kuan (who gets into what seems to be a Testosterone Poisoned, Rated M for Manly competition with Flying Rhino, only to reveal that the winner will get to donate money, food, and service to charity in the next town), and Jin Hu, who despite his mockery of Chao's vocabulary and education is actually self-conscious of his own peasant background and secretly admires Chao for his intellect.
  • Historical Domain Character:
    • Three appear in the eleventh vignette: Jorge Alvares who led a Portuguese colonial expedition to China, Tome Pires who was a traveling historian and diplomat in the same period, and Long Shi, who is based off of the infamous female pirate Ching Shih.
    • Dayan Khan, in the scene with Vachir and the Mongol invasion of Beijing. Also something of a Historical Villain Upgrade, since in actual history he genuinely did try to maintain good relations with the Ming, the murder of his envoy actually was carried out by the Emperor's decree rather than a traitor in their midst, and his motives for invading (to keep from being subsumed by the Ming and as revenge for having previously been invaded and conquered by China) are purer and more sympathetic. Thankfully, the author states this had nothing to do with painting Mongols as villains but simply the fact that by making the current emperor and his government one of goodness and nobility rather than what it was in history, any invader or antagonist would have to look villainous in comparison; the inclusion of trickery and treachery on Meng Tao's part, and Dayan's own Hot-Blooded Pride, was intended as mitigating factors.
    • By contrast, Emperor Chen ends up being a Composite Character based on two different historical emperors, though mostly the Hongzhi Emperor. It's also a case of Historical Hero Upgrade—several of the emperors whose shorter reigns he replaced were rather cruel and barbaric in regards to the Mongols, and the son of the Emperor who was his main antecedent was a debauched, hedonistic, and incompetent ruler. Obviously this was done away with to create a far more idealized Son of Heaven. Since Emperor Yang (see below) was both accurately depicted from history and a tyrant, this would seem to be a case of trying to be balanced and fair to both the Imperial system and China itself, although a bit of Author Appeal might also apply.
    • Emperor Yang of Sui. Unlike the other examples, this one is almost exactly as he appeared in history and thus makes for a pretty good villain just as he is.
  • Historical Hero Upgrade: In order to keep the story from being too dark (or painting Europeans in the usual negative light), the author has Alvares be far more noble, forthright, and open with the Chinese, disapproving of his superior and fellow colonizers' actions elsewhere in India, Malaysia, and Indonesia (and not as disapproving of homosexuality as he should have been). To a lesser degree this also happens to Pires, since while his historical counterpart was genuinely fascinated by China and produced a narrative of his travels that was considered the most accurate and important text on the East of his day, he did end up thrown in prison by the Emperor and possibly died there—although this may have just been Guilt by Association thanks to what other members of his delegation had been up to.
  • Hurricane of Euphemisms: When Tai Lung has to throw off Yi and the other children from the quite adult discussion of his brother and nephews' libidos, he desperately uses calligraphy as a stand-in. After this, when Mantis and Monkey heckle him, he proceeds to launch into every possible permutation of naughty innuendo which could relate to it. As noted above, Crane unfortunately ends up contributing as well.
  • Hyper-Awareness: Apparently Qiao Yong possesses this (proving intelligence runs in the family), since in the middle of a conversation with Xuan he manages to notice a servant's accent and the way he wears his clothing, and use these to identify him as a rebel and assassin.
  • Hypocrite: Ox and Croc are revealed to be this when they refuse to believe at first that Tai Lung could really have redeemed himself, considering the former used to be a street brawler and the latter the leader of the Crocodile Bandits. It is lampshaded directly by first Mei, then Jia, and finally Crane. Both Jia and Thundering Rhino give Ox and Croc a "The Reason You Suck" Speech as a result.
  • Hypocritical Humor: This bit when Tigress is discussing how they should handle Shou Feng's invasion.
    Tigress: Not that I want my husband flinging himself back onto the field of battle practically on our wedding night...violence, after all, is not always the answer—keep that bill closed, Crane, or I'll do it for you—
    (Crane obeys since she had thrust her fist in his face)
  • I Can't Believe a Guy Like You Would Notice Me: Very much Zhuang's feelings toward Xiulan. She lets him know she very much notices him.
  • I Like Those Odds: Implied variation—when Dayan's men are surrounding Vachir and Chen, the rhino grins cockily and quips, "You take the ones on the left, I take the ones on the right?" The tiger replies that he took the words right out of his mouth.
  • I'm Standing Right Here: Crane, when Jia and Mei Ling are sitting and chatting about how hot Tai Lung is right in front of him.
  • I Owe You My Life: Emperor Chen, after Vachir saves him from Dayan Khan.
  • I Resemble That Remark!: In an example of both this and Hypocritical Humor, when Tai Lung gets after Lin for possibly using bad language around his cubs, she responds, "What're you talking about? My language is as damned good as anyone else's."
    • Further Hypocritical Humor appears when Lin suggests Dalang was far too hard on his cooking staff and needed to lighten up. When Tai Lung calls her on it, she claims she was only hard on Shifu, and then suggests consistency is overrated.
  • I Want Grandkids: Ping is in the same boat as Shifu, it seems. Luckily he is stopped from giving the full speech by Jia's Death Glare...which prompts Po to collapse in relief and laughter, thanking her for stopping what he hadn't been able to for years.
  • I Was Beaten by a Girl: Tai Lung seems to have some issues in this regard, most likely stemming from Shifu being a typical father-figure in ancient China. Played with in that he doesn't mind being beaten by one per se (and in fact admires Tigress for it), it's when it becomes a regular thing that he starts feeling insecure. To his credit, it always seems to be about him feeling he isn't good enough rather than that the women are unfairly besting him (i.e. he wants to improve and raise himself to their level, not bring them down so he can best them), and while he doesn't want to be seen as effeminate (including by doing 'girly' things like fighting with fans or tending gardens), it's clear as the vignettes progress that he is growing beyond such a sexist mindset.
    • Mantis does poke fun at Tai Lung by invoking this trope, in a way, pointing out that in one week (the period of preparations for his and Tigress's wedding) he got beat up by two women—first a Tonkinese cat lady that he kissed and groped after mistaking her for Tigress (this being a trick played on him by Viper and Mei Ling) beat him up and gave him a black eye in the process; then later by his shy, sweet sister Zhin, after she had asked if he could teach her some kung fu moves and Tai Lung offers to help her practice by offering his solid abs for her to take a punch. The latter ends up displaying unexpected brute strength (it must run in the family) and gives Tai Lung what may have been the most painful physical blow in his life (at least in a combat situation), taking him out in just that one blow. Tai Lung can't help but feel mortified, though again it is more because of leaving himself so arrogantly open to such a thing and because of how in need of further training and practice he is shown to be, not because he looks down on Zhin for doing so.
  • Interplay of Sex and Violence: Clearly this also plays into why Wu Xuan is attracted to Wu Qing.
  • Ironic Echo:
    • Long Shi taunts Shang when he asks why she took him prisoner: "Ransom, bargaining, that sort of thing. Nothing terribly original to tell." After she tries to suggest he should become her lover, and he refuses, he then goes on to list what will happen to her when his friends catch up with her, ending with "Blah Blah Blah, nothing terribly original to tell."
    • In a Call-Forward, one of the last things Chao says to Oogway before departing for Gansu is "I shall not disappoint you." The first thing Oogway said to him after he killed his fellow masters and the young kung fu trainees was, "You disappoint me."
  • It Gets Easier: Jia warns Po about this trope after he tells her of killing the assassin, saying he only needs to worry about killing if he starts to like it or just as badly not feel anything about doing it. Tai Lung told him much the same thing right after it happened. Compare this to how his father Bao felt in a somewhat similar situation...
  • It Will Never Catch On: Tigress's opinion after Ping invents Chinese take-out.
  • Karma Houdini: Long Shi. This is, of course, Truth in Television for her historical counterpart, but considering in this story she breaks a diplomatic truce, raids and destroys a good part of Haojing, kidnaps Shang, and generally shows little regard for the empire or anyone but herself and her own ill-gotten gains, it's actually pretty monstrous seeing how much she gets away with when she accepts the pardon deal at the end. To be fair, none of the protagonists seem particularly happy with the arrangement—they more accept it because they know they can't destroy or defeat her without an immense loss of life and property on both sides, and because her taking the deal allows them a sort of permanent Enemy Mine where she can help keep out other foreign dangers to the empire (and she's far better working for the Chinese than against them). And even as she finds herself admiring Long Shi for her backbone, willpower, and strength, Mei still doesn't forgive her for what she did. Long Shi does at least provide the proof that the city's nobles and other elites have been robbing and abusing the poor, so that Chen can have them removed from power. But considering how warriors of their caliber might have been able to imprison or kill her, Oogway's insistence on kung fu only being used for defense and Jia's desire to atone notwithstanding (the chi blast alone which Tao uses could easily have been fatal), it isn't surprising readers would find her fate rather unfair.
  • Knife Nut: Wu Qing, since she not only carried numerous blades on her person but had one embedded in the tip of her boot, making for a particularly horrific Groin Attack.
  • Last Kiss: Although they can't actually do so due to him being a ghost, Zhuang and Xiulan come as close to this as possible before he moves on.
  • Law of Inverse Fertility: Wu Xuan has a one-night stand with Qing...and the result is triplets. Contrast once he's married to Xu Mei and has only Mei Ling.
  • Load-Bearing Hero: Qiao Yong, holding up a collapsing doorway after a bomb goes off so that the Emperor and his family can be saved. Thanks to Xuan, though, he doesn't die...this time.
  • A Man Is Always Eager: Shang, once he's about to be carried off to consummate things with his superiors.
    Shang: I think I'm about to be exploited, abused, and generally treated as a sex object. So piss off and leave us alone, okay?
  • Manly Gay: Jiao Shang, the Chivalrous Pervert Amur tiger, though he's technically bisexual later focusing on homoromantic. Also his superiors (and eventual boyfriends) Ji Tao the fox and Liang the panther.
  • Marry for Love: Contrary to so many other men in his time, Zhuang wanted this.
  • The Matchmaker:
    • Ping tries to be this for Po and Jia (not that it's needed at that point). Jia is less than pleased.
    • Hilariously, this is also true not just of Viper but of Tai Lung when it comes to making sure Po and Jia get together. He willfully denies it when confronted by Viper, but is eventually forced to admit they make a good team.
  • Meaningful Echo:
    • As noted above under Bait-and-Switch, the lines Shifu and Tai Lung said to each other on the steps of the Jade Palace before their battle are used again by Shifu and Jian.
    • The saying "Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift. That's why they call it the present" recurs again from Oogway. But this time it refers to the chance Chao has to truly atone. This is even further emphasized when Chao, gazing at Sudu's portrait, repeats something he said to the lion after they had freed the yuan gui, a hope that one day they could all be reborn together again as friends.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • Both of Tai Lung and Tigress's children turn out to have this sort of name—their daughter Huo's name means "fire" while their son's name, Hu, means either "tiger" or "protector/defender, celestial blessing."
    • Itultarak, whose name is Kazakh for "dog loner." Achal Balaji, whose name is Sanskrit for "the strong, immovable one." And the given names of Storming Ox and Croc, which are Niu Qiu ("autumn ox") and Tengfei ("soaring high"), respectively.
  • Men Can't Keep House: Like his other somewhat sexist beliefs, Tai Lung has issues at first with anything domestic, especially cooking—although in this case it's less that he thought such a thing was unmanly as that he thought it unnecessary (because he could get by on just trail rations, inn food, or very simple meals) and also a form of menial work that was beneath him. Dalang quickly disabuses him of this notion.
  • A Million Is a Statistic: Averted in-story by the extreme amount of concern and care shown toward those whose lives and homes are being threatened by both Long Shi and Shou Feng. A particularly visceral example of the latter is when Jia watches some of the warlord's mercenaries taking prisoners to be sold for ransom (or slavery, or worse) and is only kept from attacking them by knowing it would be suicide; the part not long afterward when the Imperial troops carry the wounded and dead away, and how they and Crane work to heal them in the caves of Bezeklik, also exemplifies this aversion.
  • Misery Poker: Shifu and Tai Lung indulge in this at one point as they try to outdo the other in who has to do more stressful, thankless, troublesome tasks as Master or Grand Master of the Jade Palace.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Shang, just as he was in Luna Goldsun's story. Lampshaded by Jia when, as he leaps out a doorway after Long Shi, his shirt gets ripped by a nail and he tears the rest of it off.
    Jia: It just had to happen when I couldn't see it!
  • Mood Whiplash:
  • Mook Chivalry: The pirates who come to the Temple of A-Ma don't gang up on Mei, Crane, or Jia, though this may be slightly justified by a) they, like everyone else, being stunned by Long Shi's sudden exit b) being busy watching one of their number fighting Shang and c) Crane, Mei, and Jia being careful to separate them as they went into battle. On the pirate's ship, the trope is alternately subverted (where numerous groups of pirates all go for either Jia or Mei, not to mention Tao and Liang later, and Long Shi sneaks up treacherously on Jia while she was busy with the rhino who'd been attacking Mei) and played straight—though even this is justified, since the rhino was fighting Mei while Jia kept the other pirates busy; with all the chaos going on thanks to the bombing, it would have been rather hard to organize group attacks; and Long Shi had specifically ordered her men to go after Liang while she fought Tao herself.
  • Mook–Face Turn: One of the wolves serving Kang, once he finds all the rest of the pig's men have been defeated, decides discretion is the better part of valor, throws down his weapon, and only asks to be allowed to pursue the career his father originally wanted for him.
  • Multiple-Choice Past: In regards to the Kung Fu Council (and the differing origins given for them on the KFP website and in Secrets of the Masters), this trope is lampshaded, but also subverted via Retcon when Croc and Ox both note that there are a lot of conflicting stories and legends about them which can't all be true, and Jia actually runs down the list of events from Secrets of the Masters to note which were and were not true of the Wu Sisters and the Council.
  • Mundane Utility: Tai Lung makes use of his Fire chi to...heat the pans for cooking when he runs out of room on the top of the oven. He also heats his tea cup this way a couple of times, and the fact no one remarks on it suggests this has become a common practice for him.
  • Must Not Die a Virgin: Subverted; this is what Mei thinks is Crane's motivation in suggesting they make love before the confrontation with Shou Feng. In truth it's Pre-Climax Climax.
  • My Significance Sense Is Tingling: Both Oogway and Chao display this when reading chi/receiving premonitions and visions. The latter especially draws upon it when seeking the truth behind the yuan gui.
  • Naked People Are Funny: The final scene of the third vignette is an extremely risque and naughty version of this, since it consists of Tai Lung's brother De walking into the kitchen completely unclothed to fetch an aphrodisiac from the pantry for him and the Emperor's chambermaids. Everything is left entirely to the imagination of course, but two gems would be Jia wryly observing, "Well, somebody's happy to see us. What, ah, else is up?" and Po recoiling on the bench as he tells De to be careful because he could "put someone's eye out with that thing!"
  • National Animal Stereotypes: Aside from following up on Achal and the Great Khan, two of the adventures of Crane, Mei, and Jia feature more examples of this—in vignette 11 alone appear the Portuguese Captain Alvares and diplomat Tome Pires who are an Iberian lynx and alpine ibex, respectively; Long Shi, a South China pirate who is a clouded leopard; and a contingent of Sumatran rhinos. Vignette 12 additionally gives Shou Feng a dhole Number Two who hails from Kazakhstan, while vignette 14 has a passing Shout-Out reference made to a character from Ilien's "Book of Changes", Isidorus of Alexandria, who is a cheetah. Lastly, one of the shuffles reveals that Chao's betrothed Xiwang was, naturally, a nightingale.
  • The Needs of the Many: The justification the Kung Fu Council uses for why they would capitulate to Shou Feng and turn Tai Lung over to him—that it makes more sense to spare the many innocent people of China, especially when weighed against one man guilty of so much murder and destruction (and who may or may not have truly redeemed himself). Everyone, from Tigress and Shifu to Achal to Thundering Rhino and General Shen, call them out on this, though for very different reasons—some due to, of course, caring personally and deeply for Tai Lung, while the rest simply point out the dangerous precedent set by appeasing an enemy in that manner. But even Mei Ling can't deny there's a certain harsh logic to it.
  • Nobody Here but Us Statues: Tai Lung actually tries this at one point to hide from Jia as she and Tigress go in and out of the noodle shop kitchen to change their orders, by posing like a guardian dragon statue. As if the image isn't funny enough (and gets him mocked for it later by Dalang), it's eventually revealed that Jia saw him and knew exactly what he was he made a fool of himself for nothing.
  • Non-Mammal Mammaries: Crane's changji dress has its bosom stuffed to suggest he has these, even though birds of course do not. Stated by the author to be included solely for Rule of Funny.
  • Noodle Implements: For Mei Ling's plan to get herself, her sister, and Crane into Kang's compound: "What I would like is some parchment, ink, and a brush; whatever supplies of soporifics you have in your stores, along with a good cache of alcohol; and three sets of clothes suitable for women of the oldest profession."
  • Not So Above It All: It turns out this applied to Chao when he was still a good and moral man. The author also states that if he had been able to indulge in this more often, the balance that would bring to his life might have helped him stay proof against The Corruption he discovered in the scrolls.
  • Not So Different:
    • As usual, this trope ends up employed with Tai Lung, this time comparing him with Shou Feng who has not only become as much an intelligent and deadly warrior as the snow leopard, but is willing to cause countless deaths and destruction across the empire to satisfy his personal desires and need for revenge. Like Tai Lung, he is an orphan, and like Tai Lung, he ends up becoming The Atoner. The parallel is not only remarked on by Crane, Achal, and Mei (and even by Tai Lung himself in his letter), but underscored by the author giving Shou Feng both an outfit meant for Tai Lung in The Art of Kung Fu Panda and the army and Juggernaut the snow leopard was originally going to use to invade the Valley.
    • Vachir realizes this about Dayan, and that they are Foils of each other considering their pride, sense of honor, and tempers are very nearly identical, and how he could have been serving the Mongol instead of Chen if matters had gone differently. It's enough for him to feel regret at having to bring him down.
    • Also applies to Bao, realizing he and the wolven swordsman he'd fought and killed had been more alike than he wanted to admit, that even the Manchurians and Han had things in common too. He also came to see this as true of himself and General Hao, something that both disturbs and pleases him.
  • Number Two: Itultarak, the Kazakh dhole who serves under Shou Feng. Interestingly, although he is quite loyal to the warlord, this is shown to be due to genuine affection and concern for him, not simply being a ravening mercenary. He also is not forgotten or discarded by the text, disappearing into the background when the fighting starts—he in fact gives Jia quite the deadly combat. In a lot of ways he seems a Foil and What If? to the Wolf Boss from Kung Fu Panda 2.
  • Obviously Evil: The assassin who tries to kill Emperor Chen only to be stopped by Po, since he is dressed all in black; lampshaded by Po himself.
  • Odd Couple: Qiao Yong and Wu Xuan were this in many ways—Yong was from a family of poor farmers while Xuan was of a rich line of nobles in Kunlun Shan; Yong was a polite, well-spoken, and rather cultured man who abhorred bad language while Xuan was a snarky, irreverent, dirty-minded, and somewhat foul-mouthed jokester who seemed to make it his life's work to get his friend to loosen up and relax. Xuan was also, it seems, far more willing to try risque and naughty things in the bedroom (at least, so he tells it).
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: When narrating the events of his kung fu travels to Jia, Po mentions off-handedly that he once used his Water chi to stop the Yellow River from flooding. When Jia incredulously exclaims that he held it back (as in, the entire thing), Po is quick to downplay it as "just" pushing some of the floodwaters back and downstream to make sure fertile soil would still get deposited, but the oddly specific way he says "it wasn't like I was blocking a whole huge wall of water or something" followed by a nervous chuckle is certainly suggestive.
  • Older Than They Look: There are several characters who are middle-aged and seniors, and while some of them are in great physical condition, they still look their age, with the exception of Tai Lung's older brother De. Barring one or two minor differences (mainly eye color) he's pretty much a spitting image of Tai Lung, who's about 10 or more years younger than De, to the point that Emperor Chen almost thought it was Tai Lung himself who was seducing his maids, and only realized it was someone else because Tai Lung is "joined at the hip" with Tigress and was somewhere else at the time. It's very lightly hinted that this trope is at least one reason De is so successful at picking up women.
    • And among the ladies, there is their sister Zhin, only a couple of years younger than De himself, who looks quite young for her age too, Tai Lung noting that she seems to take very good care of herself.
  • Ominous Owl: Lampshaded and discussed by Chao when they encounter a messenger heading to the capital about the darkness plaguing Zhangye. In the end it's subverted since the owl himself is as earnest, forthright, and non-scary as can be, yet at the same time he's also a bit literal, since his appearance, the message he bears, and the fact he is reluctant to tell them the full story makes him ominous anyway (as in, carrying an ill omen in the form of his message).
  • One Degree of Separation: It turns out that Lin had met Jiao Dalang before in her travels and eaten at his restaurant, and that she met his father (him being one of the Emperor's men who was after her for her revolutionary ways around the empire).
  • One Steve Limit: Averted—although they have different first names, both the artist and kung fu warrior jerboa (from Marie Goos's "Blue Plate Special"/"From Scratch" 'verse) and the author's tiger emperor have the last name Chen.
  • One True Threesome: Shang, Ji Tao, and Cheng Liang end up being one of these In-Universe, once their true feelings are confessed (and Shang decides he and women are Better as Friends).
  • Orgasmically Delicious: Tai Lung ends up reacting to the candy he buys this way, especially the new exotic imports Master Le has for him.
    Le: Should I give you two a moment?
  • Our Ghosts Are Different:
    • Xun Chao. He's generally in the role of a hungry ghost, and even described as one, but due to the nature of his punishment and how Oogway interceded for him with the Lords of Death, rather than simply moaning and begging the living for food and sacrifices, he is forced to become a guardian of the Hall of Warriors and purveyor of its mystical and historical secrets. He also cannot harm (or be harmed by) the living, and is under an interdiction to speak only the truth and answer all questions and requests made, particularly regarding the knowledge he guards.
    • The yuan gui are the much more usual sort, and extremely accurate to the mythology, although thanks to the circumstances of their deaths they are a bit more dangerous and murderous than usual.
  • Pair the Spares: Sort of, but finding out that Lin and Ning Guo have hooked up not only reassures Tai Lung he doesn't have to worry about the goat and his mother getting together, it makes it so Lin isn't left alone without Shifu.
  • Pass the Popcorn: Twice—Tai Lung reflects that when she learned Po and Jia had been making out where their impressionable cubs could see it, Tigress would punish them...while Mantis and Monkey would be "devouring almond cookies and charging barrels of mou for ringside seats"; and a bit later, after seeing Lin with Ning Guo, he thinks that he'd enjoy chowing down on shrimp dumplings while watching Shifu encounter Lin again after all these years.
  • Pet the Dog: In backstory, it's finally revealed that Xiu was not always the heartless, sociopathic monster she was by the time of the main story. In a heartfelt flashback, she commiserates with Jia (in her own way) over what their mother had done to them both, in roundabout fashion claims one motive in locking Qing up in an asylum was to keep her from harming Jia any further, and generally offers her support, comfort, and sympathy as best she can.
  • Plot Parallel: The story of what happened to Shou Feng and his father, and whether he can ever forgive Tai Lung for it, is paralleled by Jia fighting with her conscience over whether she can ever forgive Xiu for killing their father.
  • The Power of Friendship/The Power of Love: This was what enabled Chao to free the yuan gui, courtesy of his fellow masters.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: Surprisingly (or perhaps not, as she's very intelligent), Wu Qing fulfills this trope, since she points out that giving up some of the money she and Xuan won at the gambling den would convince their former attackers that she is someone who will be generous and reward anyone who works for her, thus buying their loyalty—or if not, then that of others when they hear the story later.
  • Primal Scene:
    • This describes how Tai Lung and Tigress initially react to news of Po losing his virginity (and the ensuing romantic life that follows). At first he is afraid it's because they still see him as a Manchild or because he's fat...but then it turns out to be Sibling Sexuality Squick, something everyone finds rather heartwarming.
    • Twice more—first Tai Lung reacts this way to seeing Lin and Ning Guo make out, then his twins become disgusted by Po suggesting he and Jia would do the same in front of them (to make them go wash up for dinner).
  • The Promise:
    • Xuan had once gotten Chun and Jia to make another one, to look out for and try to save Xiu from Qing. Sadly they never were able to keep it, whether out of fear, hate, or loyalty to their mother.
    • Chao makes one of these to the yuan gui, that they would be avenged and their grievance redressed. He didn’t get to fulfill it either, but Oogway did on his behalf.
  • Prophetic Fallacy: After Oogway's vision, he tells Chao that "many souls depend on the choices you will make", that "if you follow the way revealed to you, China will not be the same." This of course comes true, but in a horrible way neither of them could have foreseen.
  • Rated M for Manly: The bullyboys who work for Kang that come to take Crane, Mei, and Jia to his mansion all act in a posturing, blustering way which suggests they ascribe to this trope.
  • Ready for Lovemaking: Fung appears at the very end of the tenth vignette, having been sent for aphrodisiacs (or perhaps even contraceptives; the text is vague)...and proceeds to strip off his loincloth as he invokes this trope by name. Despite the fact that, being a crocodile, he shouldn't have anything intimate to expose under there in the first place; like the Crane example, this is clearly meant to be Rule of Funny.
  • Really Gets Around:
    • As noted above under Double Standard, this applies to Jiao Shang and becomes even more clear when Mei, Jia, and Crane meet his father and learn his activities were both common and well-known to Shen. In his defense, it's clear in vignette eleven that at least Shang is a Chivalrous Pervert about it, and that it was as much about Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places as being The Casanova.
    • And while we don't know for sure just how many women he's been with, De's Dirty Old Man nature, the large number of chambermaids he apparently took to his bed, and how many women Peng had to ask before he could find De all indicate this is true of him too.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Oogway gives an absolutely epic one to Emperor Yang.
    Oogway: You dare act as if somehow that changes or undoes the evils you have committed? I know, Yang. I know what you have done, and what the price has been. How many have died by your hand, at your order or through sheer wastefulness and neglect. The famine and ruin and bankruptcy you have brought to the empire. The paranoia that has killed anyone you fear will supplant you. The immorality, the decadence. I know of how many men, fearing death in your endless wars or from being pulled away from the farms that would feed them, have broken their limbs to escape conscription. They call it 'propitious paws' and 'fortunate feet', were you aware?
    Battles everywhere, assassinations, revolts. When will it end, when will your thirst for blood and riches be quenched? When will you admit you care for nothing but yourself, and that you will do anything, eliminate anyone, to achieve your goals? You have made enemies everywhere, crossed too many lines. Your generals desert you. Your treasury is nearly empty. You have driven men who would otherwise be good and decent to immoral acts simply to bring you down.

    Your city is on the verge of falling. You are alone, save your wife and concubines. Your own Xiaoguo Army has mutinied against you. And I know what you ordered done in Zhangye—nor was that an isolated atrocity, I am certain. All of the earth is angry at you. It does not stop at just one man.

    I rather think that Heaven wishes nothing further to do with you. And one way or another, whether you heed my advice or not, this year will be the end of your reign—only fourteen in number, such a short span of time, yet also far too long for this land to groan under the oppression of a tyrant.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: The yuan gui, naturally.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Wu Xuan and Qiao Yong, respectively.
  • Retcon:
    • Thanks to the vignettes being at least partially written after Kung Fu Panda 2 came out, the author had to decide how (if at all) he was going to reference its events and characters, particularly in regards to why the Kung Fu Council did not stop Tai Lung's rampage or his return to the Valley after escaping Chorh-Gom, and why they also had no part in breaking Vachir and Chao's siege of the Valley. This is explained by, respectively, being occupied with a war in Manchuria, a rebellion in Yunnan (and the invasion of Shou Feng in the west), and Shifu deliberately not informing them of the siege (because of Thundering Rhino being Vachir's uncle, and the attitude of Ox and Croc towards Tai Lung).
    • Not only does the author weave Lin of "Blue Plate Special" into the backstory (despite her not having been mentioned once during the main novel), but he explains her absence by having her stay with Master Wei-Shan near Chorh-Gom during Chao's siege, and thus also explains what happened at Qinghe by having Wei-Shan fight off Vachir's zombies and get the rest of the villagers to flee with their dead.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Ji Tao goes on one of these after Long Shi kidnaps Shang, since he has developed strong feelings for the tiger under his command.
  • Running Gag:
    • People teasing Tai Lung about him becoming fat.
    • Also, Shifu's penny pinching tendencies.
  • Sad Clown: Jia admits herself to be this as a defense mechanism to explain her Obfuscating Stupidity/Cloud Cuckoolander nature.
  • Sanity Slippage: Shou Feng has clearly become unhinged over the years thanks to his loss and his long time of being fixated on revenge, but once he is denied his prize (and in fact learns Tai Lung isn't there) this trope becomes much more evident. It seems to be shocked out of him, somewhat, by his brush with death.
  • Save the Villain: Jia has this motivation with Shou Feng, as much because she couldn't save Xiu (or save Xuan from her) as because of his own motivations and backstory. She gets to (and it's even saving him from a Disney Villain Death!)
  • Scenery Porn: While this occurs throughout the vignettes (and the original novel, for that matter), the descriptions of Haojing and especially the Temple of A-Ma are quite breathtaking. Hukou Falls and the danxia near Zhangye also qualify.
  • Secret Test of Character: Jia's visit to Shandong turns out to be this, since she smuggles a knife in and offers to give it to Chun so she can kill the guards and escape, leaving her behind supposedly wounded and defeated. Chun passes by refusing such a plan—and not just because she thinks it is too dangerous and won't work, but because she wants to stay inside and earn her freedom the right and honorable way. Jia then reflects it was also a test for herself, since she wasn't sure what she'd have done if Chun had said yes.
  • Self-Deprecation: When Tai Lung is reading a romance novel, he reflects not only on its horrible prose and diction, but also on the scroll he and the others found at a bookstall on the way back from Chorh-Gom which told the story of the first movie in very garbled and inaccurate fashion, concluding both of them were composed by terrible writers. But of course both were written by the fic's actual author.
  • Self-Parody: Both the Self-Deprecation regarding the romance novel and the scroll of the first movie's events, and the Stylistic Suck of the romance novel itself, act as this trope as well. Also, Po's thoughts on the ridiculousness of people (read: shippers) who insisted on pairing him and Tigress up act as a great bit of mockery toward the author's own Tai/Tigress pairing.
  • Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: In a reversal of Po and Tai Lung, this trope applies to Qiao Yong and Wu Xuan, respectively. Most exemplified by how during one scene the former, when mockingly compared to a member of a historical operatic dancing troupe, defends them as being an honorable profession with long tradition behind them, while the latter seems determined to boast about his bedroom activities, the size of his feet, and how much women drool over them both. (Oddly, he also seems interested in praising Yong via how many children he's had.)
  • Serious Business: Cooking is most certainly this for Dalang. A bit Played for Laughs, but also given proper weight and acknowledgement when he explains how important it is to him to do it well, do it right, and do it to make his customers satisfied.
  • Shirtless Scene: Shang ends up in an extended one of these, first because of Clothing Damage during the fighting, then because after his capture Long Shi has him stripped for her amusement.
  • Shout-Out: Vignette seven, wherein Tai Lung undergoes chef training with Dalang, has more than a few similarities to both Hell's Kitchen and Worst Cooks in America.
  • Shutting Up Now: Mantis, when he suggests Monkey was lucky to escape marriage to Tigress.
  • Side Bet: Twin Weasels had one of these over whether Kuan could convince Chao to try out the other masters' brand of living.
  • The Siege:
    • Long Shi the pirate is waging one of these upon Haojing, and specifically its Imperial fort, when Mei, Jia, and Crane come to lend their aid.
    • Also, Shou Feng’s attack upon Huozhou and the Caves of Bezeklik.
    • And the Mongols invading Beijing in Backstory under Dayan Khan.
  • Silk Hiding Steel: From Xuan's description, this applies to Xu Mei.
  • So Proud of You: Wu Xuan's ghost finally gets to say this to Jia and Mei Ling at the end of the twelfth vignette.
  • Sorry, I'm Gay: When Long Shi makes her final offer to Shang, he turns her down by revealing he's bi, and has decided to focus only on men from now on.
  • Sorting Algorithm of Evil: The trilogy involving Crane, Mei, and Jia traveling across the empire plays with this trope in a number of fun ways.
    • The villain of vignette ten, Kang Yuwang, is set up to seem like a dangerous threat to Shanghai, perhaps even the empire and Chen himself, thanks to his large number of followers, the money and influence he has obtained from being involved in so many illegal activities, and the fact he has a large portion of the city constabulary in his pockets, so that both the travelers they meet as well as Yan-Yan and the jerboa Chen are quite frightened or at least concerned by him. But once the three get into his compound and come face-to-face with Kang, this all turns out to be a subversion where he's actually a Harmless Villain utterly Played for Laughs (one reviewer described him aptly, and hilariously, as "a used rickshaw salesman") whose worst threat seems to be his perverted sleaziness, and he is easily defeated; even his Mooks are for the most part dispatched with fun, zany kung fu and playful banter, and end up knocked out and arrested rather than killed. Definitely a case of a villain whose vileness far outweighs either his threat level (despite everything he seems to be only a local concern, threatening just Shanghai) or his effectiveness, and even his vileness is more on the order of disgust than outright horror or hatred. A very nice undermining of expectations.
    • Long Shi, the villain of vignette eleven, is in some ways only slightly more of a threat (because she remains only a danger to southern China rather than the entire empire, and mostly focuses her depredations on the area near Haojing), but at the same time she is far more dangerous and serious. Aside from having a whole fleet of ships at her disposal, with many fanatical pirates loyal to her because of her draconian yet harshly fair code, she has been carrying out raids all around the South China Sea, with no leaders or armed forces in the area—not even the Imperial garrison at Haojing—able to find her, let alone stop her, and even the Portuguese colonizers in the area are stumped, showing just how effective she is. The seriousness of her threat is underscored in a very sobering scene when Mei, Crane, and Jia are apprised of the details of the situation by Tao, Liang, and Shang, and only becomes worse during the actual invasion of the city which is the vignette's centerpiece, not to mention the rescue raid on her fleeing fleet afterward; although there is still some silliness and humor in how Jia fights, the battles are taken far more seriously, there's a lot more bloodshed and death, and a lot more is at stake. The villain herself has a sympathetic backstory, but her actions often work against this, so that her Freudian Excuse just makes her seem more vile in comparison; what exact kind of villain this makes her (particularly with her getting away with a great deal of her crimes in the end) is very much up to the individual reader, but overall consensus seems to be she is more vile than the rest. She is certainly the hardest one to defeat.
    • Finally Shou Feng of vignette twelve is the most dangerous threat of all in a number of ways—in terms of scale (while his specific target is Tai Lung/the Valley of Peace, he is ready willing and capable of laying waste to the entirety of China to get what he wants), power (both his large army of mercenaries and his Juggernaut are quite deadly in what they can do and prompt a large and concerted response from both the Kung Fu Council and the Chinese military), and motivation (since on the surface his desire for revenge against Tai Lung is far more understandable and less easy to dismiss than the motivations of the previous villains). The damage he causes on his way to Huozhou certainly proves his effectiveness, as does the actual battle and how both he and the Juggernaut acquit themselves in it. At the same time the only real vileness in him stems from what he allows his men to do, the fact he is willing to sacrifice so many innocents to get what he wants, and that Tai Lung has already redeemed himself and thus does not deserve what Shou Feng has in store for him—but these are mitigated by how sympathetic his backstory is and his unhinged nature which makes him less responsible for his actions. Also he is the only one of the three to realize his villainy, repent of it, and try to make amends in any way, which goes far toward making him less vile, despite the very large threat he posed. So while he is taken the most seriously of all three villains, he also turns out to be the least truly villainous in the end, and even if it does take a large number of allied forces to defeat him, he is about in the middle in terms of villain difficulty (with most of that deriving from getting through his insanity and vengeance to get him to back down and surrender).
  • Spit Take: Tai Lung does this while drinking some tea (ironically to calm his nerves), when he listens to his mother say she is going on a date with a certain goat. To make things worse, the tea lands all over Shifu and the emperor.
  • Start of Darkness: Downplayed—while the encounter with the yuan gui in Zhangye was what set Chao on his path to villainy, it occurs not due to any horrible atrocity or corruption on his part, nor is he shown to be falling into malicious or cruel acts. Instead it occurs far more subtly, shown through his ambivalent responses to the yuan gui, to the things he feels or is shown by Oogway and his own chi senses, his moments of hesitation and uncertainty where he considers acting out of (albeit justified) vengeance, and the great chi power he unleashes which will guide his future studies into Things Man Was Not Meant to Know. There's also the irony that the thing which fulfills Oogway's prophecy, learning of the power to be found in chi, is inspired by love and friendship...but that he ends up so focused on the power itself that he throws aside his friends and their love in order to achieve it, thus making himself no longer worthy of it and destroying what he was trying to save. And unlike Kai, who just became greedy for the power of chi, at first he truly was trying to gain it solely to bring down evil.
  • Stay in the Kitchen: Ironically, Qing claims that subverting the Double Standards of this trope explains why she is raising the Wu Sisters as she is, as a form of rebellion. As Xuan rightly points out, wanting to free her daughters from the patriarchal, sexist beliefs of their society still doesn't justify turning them into wicked, cruel killers; there is a middle ground, one very much represented by how he treats Jia, for example (not to mention what Mei Ling grows up to become).
  • Strange Minds Think Alike: Both Tai Lung and Ning Guo make the same joke about how the goat being short is perfect since it means he's waist-height on Jian.
  • Stuff Blowing Up:
    • Lots of this during the climax of vignette eleven—from the cannonade that explodes the dock ward, to the bombs Crane, Mei, and Jia drop on Long Shi's flagship, to Tao's massive chi attack.
    • Also occurs in vignette twelve, thanks to the weapons carried by the Juggernaut and the soldiers manning it, and those the Kung Fu Council and their army use to destroy it.
  • Stylistic Suck: The excerpt from the romance novel Tai Lung reads is, if possible, even more purple and sesquipedalian than the fic's regular text—showing the author at least knows how to use a little restraint most of the time.
  • Symbolism: The start of Bao's scene involves him studying a Go board, with a game he's playing against himself, as a means of working out battle strategy. Made explicit when after the battle he's thinking of Go again, partly to distract himself from all the death he's witnessed (and caused) but also because he clearly actually has come to start seeing his men as pieces.
  • Tempting Fate: Jia does this at the start of vignette twelve, when she suggests that now everything is going to be "clear sailing and blue skies from now until forever." When Zeng immediately appears with news of Shou Feng's invasion, Mei lampshades it in the usual fashion.
  • Theme Naming:
    • The different vignette trilogies generally have titles following a theme. The first trilogy uses quotes from the Impressive Clergyman's speech in The Princess Bride. The second trilogy uses variations on well-known sayings (and the title of a well-known book which became a popular movie). The third trilogy uses the names of television programs (and the Theme Song from a very beloved one). The fourth trilogy uses song titles. Only the last trilogy doesn't follow this pattern, instead using the title of the Falling-in-Love Montage song from Robin Hood, a somewhat cheesy (but inspired by Chinese mythology) martial arts fantasy movie from the 90's, and a well-known Aesop's Fable. (Although they are all tenuously linked by having connections to a product meant for children—ironic, considering these are some of the darker, sadder, and more adult vignettes.)
    • On Archive of Our Own, each arc of three is given an overarching title including either "Lesson" or "Tale" to reflect the series title, and when dividing the very long vignette 14, its individual chapters are also called tales.
  • Those Two Guys: Ji Tao and Cheng Liang, who are first mentioned in passing (the latter not even by name) in vignette ten, only to show up in the next vignette in Haojing. But unlike the usual examples of the trope, each of them is developed as a unique character in his own right, and while Liang has less to do (and seems more like a Shrinking Violet in comparison to his more boisterous commander), he's still a fun character with his own skills and personality traits.
  • Town with a Dark Secret: Downplayed; the innkeeper is willing, albeit very nervously and reticently, to tell Chao and the other masters about what happened at the mines near Zhangye, and while he doesn't tell them everything, this is as much because he himself doesn't know the full story. So not only are the townspeople not trying to hide things, exactly, but the parts that are hidden remain secret to the townspeople too.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: When Tai Lung takes the twins to the local candy store, he ends up buying the best confections that the store owner can provide—for himself, not just them—and it's all treated in a way that makes it look like he's smuggling and buying illegal substances.
  • Tragic Villain: Shou Feng again. There's not many things as bad as not only losing your only parent, but seeing them murdered (by having their throat ripped out) right in front of you. It's not surprising he grew up to become a vengeful vigilante warlord.
  • True Companions: It turns out that, tragically, this really was true of Chao and his fellow masters.
  • Unreliable Expositor: Oogway turns out to be this a bit, since he had previously told Shifu that the Emperor Chao wanted to bring down was ruthless but that the circumstances (invaders and conquerors at the borders, the bloodbath which had brought down the previous dynasty and thus left things very unstable) had made it so he had to be. The truth is that the things Yang did, that Oogway did not step in to stop them or bring him to justice for them until it was too late, and that so many suffered (including Chao himself) because of it made Oogway by his own admission ashamed. And so he kept the full truth to himself.
  • Unspoken Plan Guarantee: Although it becomes clear they intend to get to Kang by disguising themselves as changji, the rest of Mei's plan for what Crane, Jia, and herself intend to do is never revealed to the reader until it happens. So of course it goes off without a hitch. To a lesser extent this also applies to Crane's plan to rescue Shang and stop Long Shi, as well as the plan Jia and Achal present to the Kung Fu Council and General Jiao to bring down Shou Feng.
  • War Is Glorious: Bao came to feel this way after serving under General Hao; even the fact he found battle itself to be bloody and distressing doesn't change the fact he also found it fascinating and exciting. In short, In Harm's Way crossed with Spectacle and In-Universe Bile Fascination led him to become a Blood Knight.
  • War Is Hell: By contrast, very much Vachir's assessment during The Siege of Beijing.
  • Warrior Poet: Mei Ling turns out to be one of these in her battle with Kang's thieves and bodyguards.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: General Hao, as promised by the author, turns out to be this. In his own words:
    "Whether in this war or any other, out here in the hinterlands or in the streets of the capital itself, I have but one interest and one alone. The preservation of the Han, of our society and culture, our heritage and way of life, and the reign of our sovereign Emperor...I will do anything if it will serve that goal, I believe any means will justify that end. If I am 'using' [Bao], as you seem to believe, it is only for the noblest of ends... What could be more heroic than this?"
  • What If?:
    • Vachir has a moment like this, in a Shout-Out to The Lord of the Rings, when looking at a young Mongol rhino his own age and tribe whom he is forced to kill in battle, prompting an aversion of What Measure Is a Mook?.
    • Bao has a moment like this too, when he wonders how things might have gone if the wolven swordsman he'd had to kill had been on the empire's side, or if he could have studied bladecraft with him.
  • What Measure Is a Mook?:
    • Averted with Itultarak who, rather than being summarily killed in combat by Jia or disposed of afterward, gets to be redeemed along with Shou Feng.
    • Bao, trying to dismiss the lives and rights of the Manchurians he was fighting; subverted with the swordsman however, whose sword he takes as a trophy to remind him of the man's skill in battle and what could have been.
  • What Would X Do?: In Tai Lung's wedding vows, he mentions that part of how he was able to change and redeem himself was by asking himself, "What would Tigress do?" (This could explain, as much as him being Reformed, but Not Tamed, why the result of this is him still being aggressive, snarky, and temperamental even as he becomes heroic.)
  • Whip It Good: Wu Qing fought with one of these weapons as well.
  • Whole Plot Reference: The scheme to get inside Kang's mansion is ripped wholesale from Final Fantasy VII's infamous "Cloud cross-dresses to sneak into Don Corneo's mansion" subplot. And it's almost as funny.
  • Wife Husbandry: Thanks to the fact Bao had made her and Chun promise to look in on and try to take care of Po, Jia feels as if she's partly indulged in this now that she's romantically involved with him. But neither Po nor anyone else has an issue with their romance (at least, not for this reason), and in truth it seems the Sisters never got to do anything for Po as he was growing up, so this is clearly a case of Jia still having an incredibly knee-jerk guilty conscience.
  • The World Is Always Doomed: Lampshaded by Jia when news of Shou Feng's invasion arrives. She also rather humorously pokes fun at the Valley of Peace starting to become a Nonindicative Name.
  • World's Shortest Book: The played straight version appears in vignette five, when Po's biological father Bao promises to teach him "everything he knows about women."
    Li-Na: "Oh? That shouldn't take very long." (Keep in mind both of them are pandas.)
  • Worthy Opponent:
    • Itultarak seems to view Jia this way during their battle, and the feeling is mutual.
    • Vachir considers Dayan Khan to be this; to a lesser degree the feeling is returned.
    • The wolf swordsman whom Bao slays very clearly sees him as this, and Bao most definitely returns the favor.
  • You Could Have Used Your Powers for Good: Considering how he has become not only a powerful and charismatic warlord but also a studious and intelligent master of science, mathematics, and (it is implied through his signal flare) chemistry, it's very clear this trope applies to Shou Feng. Luckily thanks to Achal, he will get to do so.
  • You Keep Telling Yourself That: Bao berates himself a great deal, both mid and post-battle, about how he'd had no choice, it was him or them, there'd been no other way to stop the enemy (and that they were enemies), and that what he was doing and becoming was both necessary and a good thing in the end. His son would do the same thing years later with the assassin he kills, with far more cause and sincerity.
  • You Killed My Father: Obviously, this applies to Shou Feng, though thanks to Jia convincing Tai Lung to stay in the Valley, the accusation and its results only get passed on and addressed via messages.
  • Your Approval Fills Me with Shame: Subverted, as having General Hao approve of his methods in battle and his skill as a soldier and leader pleases Bao greatly. On the other hand, it's clear Lan Duo's disapproval does bother him on some level, and he isn't completely satisfied with being Hao's prized tool.
  • Zany Scheme: Tai Lung and Tigress's plan to disguise themselves as unassuming patrons of the noodle shop so they can spy on Po and Jia's first date...while Tigress is getting the first pregnancy cravings and a new tiger chef can't help flirting with the newlywed. The results are Wacky Hijinks galore, complete with insane ludicrous antics in and out of the restaurant kitchen that would fit perfectly into a Musical Slapstick Montage (most likely employing "Yakety Sax"). This would be because of the author's decision to employ a Silliness Switch as an antidote to the drama and horror in the original fic, at least for the early vignettes. It's also, of course, another wholesale ripoff/Shout-Out, this time to the scene at Mudka's Meat Hut in The Emperor's New Groove.

The shuffles contain examples of:

  • Arranged Marriage: Xun Chao and Xiwang had one of these; after his pursuit of the power of chi changes and starts corrupting him, she breaks it.
  • Badass Boast: In Tai Lung's dream of his escape, after he sees the enormous hail of arrows raining down toward him: "For anyone else, such a thing would be a truly ridiculous amount of overkill. For him, it wasn't nearly enough."
  • Back for the Finale: The last shuffle brings back Bao and Li-Na; Dalang and Shang; Ji Tao and Cheng Liang; Achal, Shou Feng, and Itultarak; Chuluun and Peng; and even Wu Chun.
  • Bait-and-Switch: The "army" of warriors Po is training turns out to be all the young ones of the beginner's class.
  • Big Bad Duumvirate: Ke-Pa, lord of the demons from Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness, has teamed up with Akshatha, the Indian tiger warlord who is the Big Bad of Ilien's "Book of Changes."
  • Bolivian Army Ending: The last shuffle ends with all the Jade Palace warriors and their allies going into battle against Ke-Pa, Akshatha, and his men. Subverted in that the author immediately says in his note that of course they're going to win.
  • Bookends: Aside from the movie dialogue quoted below under Meaningful Echo, the final shuffle ends the same way Kung Fu Panda began—with Po bearing the Sword of Heroes, about to fight an army led by a demonic force, at the side of the Furious Five. He's just wearing Flying Rhino's armor and the Shield of Fire Monkey Pass this time, rather than the hat, cape, and pao from either the dream or the pre-production art; it's a single (albeit the greatest) demon lord with an army of mercenaries and a warlord rather than the 10,000 demons of Wu Shon; and he's got Tai Lung and many more allies with him as well.
  • Call-Back:
    • Mei Ling references Crane's "Ka-kaw!" from Kung Fu Panda 2, and his trick with the clotheslines at Li Dai from Secrets of the Furious Five.
    • Monkey mentions Gongmen and "Hardcore."
    • Mantis says, "It's not the size of the insect in the fight, but the size of the fight in the insect," which is a quote from the comic book Art of Balance.
  • Catapult Nightmare: Both Po and Tai Lung are suffering from these, the former regarding his use of the Wuxi Finger Hold and how it could have had a far more awful and terrifying result, the latter a recurrence of his torture at Chorh-Gom and the rampage, mixed with some of his escape.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • To partially avert the Noodle Incident regarding the Wuxi Finger Hold, while the supposed third use still remains a mystery, Po's nightmare reveals what would have happened if he had used the hold in the way Shifu had described: Stripped to the Bone. (The nightmare is strongly hinted to have been a warning from Oogway, thus showing the information in it should be taken as accurate—at least in the author's 'verse, since obviously Kung Fu Panda 3 had not yet come out and ended up providing a different, and singular, explanation for the hold.)
    • In the main story, Shifu had mentioned that all masters at the Jade Palace could learn to use elemental chi. In the Final Battle, Crane uses Wood chi and Tigress uses Metal.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: Po, as usual. "And while many of them trembled and shook at the truly tremendous evil they faced, and worried at how many of them might not live to see the sunrise, they knew it was their destiny, nay, their duty, to stand on the precipice of the Valley of Peace, to protect its precarious...peacefulness."
  • Face Death with Dignity: As proof he was still a good and honorable man despite his classist actions, this is how General Hao goes to his execution once Chen impresses upon him why it is necessary.
  • Finishing Each Other's Sentences: Thanks to being Happily Married, Crane and Mei Ling speak like this now.
  • Fond Memories That Could Have Been: Amazingly, not only does Tai Lung draw upon what he stated in the main novel, how Vachir could have been a good, loyal ally and friend if matters had been different, but this trope also applies to how he feels about the members of the Anvil of Heaven who did not indulge in torturing him, how he could have trained them in his methods of fighting and they could have been a great force for heroism protecting the empire's borders together.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Chun finally fulfills this trope after her years in Shandong and a pardon.
  • I Like Those Odds: A beautiful textbook example where Tigress and Shifu are about to face off with the Wolf Boss and his pack.
    Tigress: The odds are stacked rather high.
    Shifu: Indeed. An entire horde of slavering, vicious, highly trained wolves against only the two of us. They don't stand a chance.
  • Is It Always Like This?: Bao has to ask Crane this, after listening to Po and the Five interacting.
  • Just Following Orders: Tai Lung uses this justification for those members of the Anvil who didn't torture him, but who also couldn't do anything to stop Vachir or their comrades without being dismissed or killed themselves.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: It is never revealed if the scene where Xiu confronts images of her parents in a dark, haunted, barren wasteland is some genuine mystical imprisonment/Battle in the Center of the Mind for her sanity and soul, or if it's just the product of a deranged mind. Xiu seems to think it is real on some level, the nature of Chao's chi-transfer and how it was broken could well have trapped her in the astral plane, and the crazed Qing seems to be aware of what is transpiring and enjoys it, but nothing is certain.
  • Meaningful Echo: The last line of the last shuffle is a Book End since it echoes the very first line of Kung Fu Panda: "Legends would tell of legendary warriors whose kung fu skills were the stuff of legends."
  • A Million Is a Statistic: Finally subverted, along with What Measure Is a Mook?, when Tai Lung realizes at Vachir's grave what injustice he had done to the majority of the Anvil of Heaven he'd killed. He ends up praying not only for their forgiveness, but also that they will be able to rest in peace and one day live again as heroic warriors.
  • My Own Private "I Do": Mei ends up pulling this on Crane (with Achal officiating, no less) as the only way to get him to commit.
  • The Needs of the Many: This is also the justification General Hao uses for why he would not let Bao leave to take care of his family, since he was needed at the front to make sure the army could win and thus protect all the people of China. Chen acknowledges this, but also points out how what one does to a single person is a reflection of how the majority might well be treated if their welfare is seen to be of secondary importance to some supposed higher goal/the greater good.
  • Panicky Expectant Father: Played with, as while Tai Lung is not panicky, he is nervous and a bit worried—but about what kind of father he'll be and whether the cub will turn out like him, not the birth itself. At the same time, the one who does panic is still a father—just Tigress's, not the baby's.
  • Retcon: In order to accommodate for the events of the second movie, but still keep the backstory he came up with for Po's past, the author has it that Lord Shen still incited the panda massacre—he just missed Bao and Li-Na because they had already gone on the run as highwaymen.
  • Screaming Birth: Averted of course with Tigress. As Tai Lung himself notes, "We're talking about the one who spent years of endurance training punching ironwood trees. What's birthing pains compared to that?"
  • Shout-Out: Xiwang's species is a nightingale, expressly revealed in an author's note to be a reference to the famous Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale. Also, the scene in which she appears and breaks off her engagement with Chao is an almost word-for-word recreation of Isabelle doing the same to Ebenezer Scrooge in A Christmas Carol (though with some extra lines and plenty of narration to provide context and differentiate them).
  • Side Bet: Monkey and Mantis had one of these running on whether Tai Lung would faint at the sight of blood and/or Tigress giving birth. Instead it's Shifu it happens to, which leads to a case of Once Done, Never Forgotten.
  • Spared by the Adaptation: The Wolf Boss survived, since Shen's knife "just missed his heart." Also, Thundering Rhino wasn't killed by Shen's cannon thanks to his experience with Shou Feng's Juggernaut, and was instead only badly wounded and stayed in prison while the other masters fought.
  • Strange Minds Think Alike: When everyone is trying to gather their courage to face Ke-Pa and Akshatha's army, Bao somewhat echoes Po's words from Kung Fu Panda 2: "We're warriors, with souls of steel and hearts of silver." ("Nerves of steel and souls of platinum.")
  • Tempting Fate: After talking about what Vachir/Chao did to the Weis, Zhuang muses that he hopes he never meets the one who committed such a terrible atrocity (when it ends up being Chao, while possessing Xiu, who kills him). He also mentions hoping Yi never has to go through what the Weis did...
  • Virtual Soundtrack: Essentially this is what the whole idea of a "shuffle" provides, since even as each song from the list ideally inspires the writing, they also act as a soundtrack of sorts to the shuffles when they are finished and read together.
  • What If?: Because the fic takes place in an Alternate Universe, Po's nightmare depicting what actually happened to Tai Lung after he used the Wuxi Finger Hold (before Kung Fu Panda 3 finally revealed the canonical explanation of the hold's effects) becomes this trope instead.
  • You Keep Telling Yourself That: Chao tells himself he does not need Xiwang, or love, or any such tender emotion, that all that matters is gaining the power to bring down the Emperor and save China. While later after being fully lost to the darkness he likely really didn't care any more about losing her, the scene where she leaves him, and how his ghost feels in the final vignette, suggest otherwise.

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