|The Way of the Iron Fist|
|Season 6, Episode 20|
Welcome to New York
-Absolutely not. My sister, Joy, and I have been overseeing Mr. Wilkins and the Board of Directors and making sure it follows what our beloved, late father would’ve wanted.- The young man replied, as Wilkins nodded from afar.
-Danny was a dear friend…- Joy started, but was interrupted by her brother.
-But his crash was proven to be fatal to both his parents. I don’t see how he could have survived.-
-However, they never found his body.- The reporter continued.
-As I’ve said, there’s logic and common sense going against any hypothesis of survival.- Ward replied sternly.
-Unfortunately.- Joy added, and her brother nodded. -We think Danny’s… Danny is still with us, but not in New York. He’s considerably further than that.-
-Woah, this is impressive.- Spider-Man commented, as he followed Danny through the hidden city’s gates.
-It is indeed. Far beyond imagination.-
-Why did you have to come back? I’m sorry but I don’t really understand all this mystical talk.-
-K'un-Lun, is a very special place.- Danny explained. -The mystical heart of the world, and as such, it has been protected from the outside for centuries. I was trained by the elders and told that one day, I would usher in an era of peace as the Protector of K’un-Lun. So I trained in the ways of honor, defeated the dragon Shou-Lao, the Undying. We fought fair and square. I pressed my chest to the dragon’s to cut off its energy, and plunged my hands into its heart to absorb its power, and assume the mantle of the Iron Fist. But to fully embrace my role as Protector of K’un-Lun, I have to leave the outside world forever. I was given until I turned 18 to say my goodbyes and get my affairs settled. Instead, I chose to learn. With Luke, the Initiative and you. But the monks don’t trust the outside world. They believe it to be corrupt and without honor. There’s much to learn from the outside, but the monks are set in their ways and I am honor bound to become the Immortal Iron Fist.-
-So why are you here? Why are WE here?-
-I must face the final test… The Da Jue Zhan. The final test to prove I’m worthy of the Iron Fist.-
-I don’t see how I fit in in all of this.-
-Maybe if the elders see you… They might change their mind. On the outside world, I mean.-
Suddenly, a warrior walked to them.
-Danny? Is it really you?-
-Davos?- Rand exclaimed, hugging his childhood best friend tightly. The other man didn’t return the hug.
-I didn’t think you’d be back.-
-One day, you were just gone. Without a word. I kept waiting, Danny, thinking you’d be back. What happened?-
-I’m not sure I can explain.-
-You owe me an answer. The people of K’un-Lun need to know why they were abandoned.- The man looked briefly at Spider-Man. -Who is this infidel?-
-This is Peter Benjamin Parker. He is a hero where I come from.-
-Why is he dressed like that?- Davos examined him.
-Uh…- Peter looked away.
-To protect his identity.- Iron Fist replied.
-Fair enough.- He muttered. -Come with me, Lei-Kung would probably like to see you.- He said, headed towards the city. -And make sure the infidel doesn’t touch anything.-
-Daniel.- Lei-Kung the Thunderer greeted his former student. -I am glad to see you again.-
-Likewise, Thunderer.- Iron Fist nodded.
-Who is this?- The monk looked at Spider-Man.
-This is my guest, Peter Parker. He is a hero in the outside world.- Danny looked at Peter. -This is Lei-Kung the Thunderer. He has trained generations of K’un-Lun’s inhabitants…-
-And my father.- Davos interrupted him.
-Are you back to finally face the Da Jue Zhan and take on your role as Protector of K’un-Lun?-
Daniel closed his eyes and remained silent for some seconds. The other three looked at him. -I am.-
Da Jue Zhan Arena.
Danny walked inside the empty arena as the doors closed behind him. He headed towards the well in the center, and placed his hand gently on the stone.
-The Iron Fist accepts the challenge of the Grand Duel in the name of the holy city of K’un-Lun.-
Lei-Kung walked towards him, and bowed slightly. -Welcome.-
Iron Fist put his fist against his palm and bowed gently. The Thunderer walked away from the arena and stood on the platform above it.
-I am Danny Rand, apprentice of Lei-Kung, champion of K’un-Lun.-
-You fall outside of the arena, you lose. If you die, you lose…- Lei-Kung banged the gong. -The challenge has begun-
The Bride of Nine Spiders slowly approached Danny from behind, seductively.
-You’re a woman…- He pointed out.
She chuckled. -I am, indeed. Does that make you… Uneasy?-
-No.- The Iron Fist replied sternly.
Alessa chuckled again. -It does. I sense your fear. But don’t worry…- She walked even closer to him. -We all fear something. There’s no need to hide…- She placed her hand on his shoulder.
-I’m not hiding.-
-Aren’t you? Then why hide behind the mask of… Danny Rand?-
-It’s not a mask… It’s who I am.-
The Bride of Nine Spiders shook her head, placing her hand on his chest. -I don’t think so. That child died long ago… I think someone new is waiting to get out…- Suddenly, she moved away from his sight.
Iron Fist examined the whole arena, trying to find his opponent.
-We don’t have to fight…- She appeared behind him, running her hand through his back. -Why don’t you… Kiss me instead?- She walked in front of him, placing her hand behind his neck. -How would that make you feel?- She asked, slowly placing three needles on his bare skin. -Terrible?-
Suddenly, Danny looked at the crowd and noticed his sight was blurry. Panting, he put his hand on his neck and pulled out the needles, groaning. -What is this?-
-Singing Spider Venom. Very rare…- Alessa smiled, her voice distorted as well. -It’ll help you let go.-
Danny tried to hit her, but he missed and she pushed him away.
-You want to be free of all that is boiling inside of you to get out. You’re terrified of losing control, aren’t you?-
Iron Fist threw a punch, but widely missed. -Stop!-
-Don’t you wanna be free of the burden of keeping all that in its cage? You can let it out. Let it take you.-
-You’re trying to get my heart racing, to spread the poison faster…- Rand figured out, taking a deep breath. However, Alessa kicked his face, not giving him enough time. Daniel ran towards her, but she evaded him and pushed him to the ground. He looked at his arm and saw more needles sunken deep into his skin. Iron Fist tried to stand up, but Alessa kicked him down again.
She crawled over him, and once she was on top of him, the Bride pulled out her knife and was ready to stab Danny. However, he stopped her.
Rand struggled to keep the knife away from his forehead, and he looked up to the platform where his former master was.
-Reject or accept the darkness.- He heard him say in his mind, a flashback to his teachings. -It is your choice. Both are acceptable. But your choice…-
-Reveals who you are.- Danny finished the sentence out loud, successfully pushing Alessa off. He stood up and kicked her chest, making her fall to the ground.
He closed his eyes and focused his chi.
The woman got back on her feet and charged at the Immortal Weapon, ready to strike him with her knife. He reacted quickly, kicking her hand and making her step out of the arena.
-The first battle is won.- Lei-Kung said.
A man carrying a scythe walked inside the arena. The man ran towards him, swinging the weapon around. Danny crouched and then jumped, dodging the blade. Scythe swung it at him again, and the Iron Fist grabbed it just above the blade, swinging the man on the other side instead. The other man kicked his stomach and tried to hit the Immortal Weapon with his blade, but he jumped proficiently and kicked his face. He then stepped on the scythe’s rope, blocking any of the man's moves. Danny’s adversary jumped and kicked his face, making him take a couple steps backwards, to the edge of the arena. With his opponent cornered, Scythe tried to hit Rand with his weapon.
-Cast away your childish needs.- Danny heard Lei-Kung’s voice in his mind. -Bury your mother. Bury your father. You belong to me and to me alone. You must submit, can you do it?-
Just as the scythe was headed his way, Daniel channeled the Iron Fist. -Yes!- He screamed, punching the blade and shattering it.
-Then tell me… Who you are!-
-A child…- Danny said, approaching Scythe. -Touched by fire… Delivered from heaven to become the greatest warrior, destined for victory.- He muttered, charging his Fist again. -I AM THE IRON FIST!- He punched Scythe’s chest hard, pushing him out of the arena.
-I am proud of you, Daniel Rand.- Lei-Kung congratulated his apprentice. -You have successfully completed the Da Jue Zhan and are ready to become the Protector of K’un-Lun.-
Davos was standing besides his father.
However, Danny looked at Peter, who was standing some feet behind him.
-Are you having second thoughts, Daniel? Again?- The Thunderer inquired. -Whatever you have been through in the outside world must have been strong to make you change… But your responsibilities as Iron Fist supersede the troubles of Daniel Rand. You must fight for K’un-Lun now.-
-Master, I accept the mantle of the Iron Fist… But I cannot stay in K’un-Lun. The world needs me…-
-The outside world… Are you really rejecting your duty for an outworlder?!-
-Not one. Seven billion.-
-Daniel... Remember what I told you before you faced Shou-Lao!-
A flashback appeared in Danny’s head. He was standing at Shou-Lao’s cave entrance, with Lei-Kung by his side.
-At the entry to every door is the opportunity to choose a different path. If you wish to continue as you are, do not enter. But if you choose to face the Dragon inside, know that you risk everything. Should you live your former self will be destroyed. If you choose to take this up you will be forever marked as one of us. Are you willing to kill Danny Rand so that the Iron Fist might live?- The Thunderer asked him.
Then, he remembered fighting the dragon… Grabbing his body and plunging his hands into the brazier containing his molten heart… Becoming the Iron Fist.
Davos ran towards Shou-Lao’s cave, where he found his best friend knocked unconscious.
-Danny…- He whispered, turning him around. As he did, he saw the dragon-shaped scar on his chest. He had defeated Shou-Lao.
Suddenly, Rand woke up grunting, his Iron Fist charged.
-You did it, Danny. The Trial of Shou-Lao. You survived. You’re the Iron Fist.- Davos helped him up. -The people need to meet the Immortal Weapon.- He said, as he helped him get back to the city. -I’ll be your second. Standing beside you on the pass. Protectors of K’un-Lun.-
Danny looked back at the cave. -It’s not what I thought.- Then, he looked at Davos.
-It’s not what any of us thought.- The other one said. -But you have a duty now.- Rand nodded.
-And we’ll face it together.-
-I am sorry, master… But I’ve met so many people in New York… So many innocent lives that are at risk…-
-I cannot force you to fulfill your duty… It is up to you.-
-I truly am sorry.- Iron Fist bowed down and turned around, headed towards the exit. -Come on, Peter.- He told his friend.
Just as they were about to cross the gates, Davos ran towards Danny and punched him hard on the face.
-I’m not the Iron Fist!- Danny’s childhood friend yelled, kicking Rand’s stomach. -I wasn’t chosen! YOU WERE! And you took it… And ran.- He spat bitterly.
-I didn’t run…- The Immortal Weapon muttered.
-You were gone, Danny. There one moment, then nothing. You failed us! And for what?! For what?!- He said, jumping and kicking his face. -FOR WHAT?! What do you have to show for abandoning us?!-
-Davos, stop! I don't want to fight…-
-AND NOW YOU’RE DOING IT AGAIN!-
-YOU’RE A FAILURE!- Davos kneeled the Iron Fist's chest. -K’un-Lun would have been better off if Chodak and Tashi had never found you.- He punched his face, and Danny retaliated, pushing him to the ground.
The former best friends started fighting, using all their training to defeat one another. Iron Fist ran towards the Steel Serpent and jumped, but Davos took this as an opportunity to push Danny away.
-You’d choose that putrid hellhole over the people who raised you?! GET UP!- He ordered.
Daniel stood up, panting. -This has nothing to do with K’un-Lun. This is because I left you.- Davos tried to kick Danny but he blocked him with his hand. Then, Rand punched his former best friend with his other fist. Iron Fist jumped and kicked the Steel Serpent in the face, making him fall to the ground.
Danny held his hand out at Davos. -Yield.-
The other reached out for his hand, but he used it to throw him away. Refusing to give in easily, Davos continued fighting until Rand pinned him down.
-Yield!- Danny yelled, harnessing his Chi and threatening him with the Iron Fist.
-DANNY!- Spider-Man yelled.
-I hurt you. I get it.- Iron Fist said. -It was selfish and wrong of me to leave without telling you. But going to New York has taught me that the Iron Fist isn’t just for K’un-Lun. Others before me may have felt it was their destiny… But I am Danny Rand. And I’m the Iron Fist.- After a few seconds, Daniel stopped harnessing the Fist. -I’m sorry…- He whispered, as both of them stood up. -I wish you could understand.-
-I never will…- Davos shook his head. -All I know is the way to K’un-Lun is open, and there’s no one guarding the pass. There will be consequences for this, brother.- The Steel Serpent turned around and headed himself back to the city, as both Iron Fist and Spider-Man looked at the city.
Back in New York, a living Harold Meachum was sitting in front of the fireplace, in his penthouse. Suddenly, someone walked inside the room.
-I heard your son has legally inherited the company now that he is of legal age.- A voice said.
-He has.- Meachum nodded.
-Are you certain he will be compliant?-
-He trusts me… The same way I trust him. He is the only person in Rand that knows I’m alive.-
-Good. I hope this transition will make things easier for us.-
-I hope so too.-
-Especially now that the Iron Fist has gone back to K’un-Lun to face the Da Jue Zhan.-
Harold turned around to face the other person. -What do you mean? I thought he had abandoned the monks.-
-I sent two of my finest warriors to compete against him. He won.- She smiled.
-That’s… That’s a relief.-
-Oh, yes it is, Mr. Meachum.- Madame Gao nodded, walking towards the elevator.