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Thread: The Kingdom

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2007

    Default The Kingdom


    Author's Note

    The Kingdom is a story that of an ancient land that consisted of the Yin and the Yang realm, the Heavenly and the Netherlands zone. The setting of the story would be Wuxia based with magical touches and mixed fantasy.

    All the characters' name will be those in JY's or GL's canon but they will NOT be who or what they were originated. So readers, and peoples, no flame please – this is merely a fiction that is not related to reality, history or those in JY, GL or LYS etc etc. The reason I used Yang Guo, Guo Jing, Duan Yu etc is because i have no wish to harm my brain over names. So if I am to pair Yang Guo with Wang YuYan or I am to make Guo Jing a wimp and a traitor, please try to forget what you know or read about RoCH, DGSD and LoCH!


    Yang Guo – a lad of noble descendant from The Kingdom. Mild and kind.

    Yang Kang – cousin of of Yang Guo. Although kind and gallant, at times can be stern and overbearing.

    Guo Jing – friend of Yang Guo and Yang Kang.

    Duan Yu – a lesser born from The Kingdom. Best friend of Yang Guo.

    Wong YuYan – a disciple of Moon Sect, from the Yin Realm

    Huang Rong – a messenger of Star Sect, From Yin Realm

    Lin ChaoYing – a lady from the Heavenly Zone.

    Zhao ZhiRuo – a disciple from the Netherlands Zone.

    Author's Note : There will be more as The Kingdom develops.


    A beautiful lady was surrounded by creatures of darkness. Their sizes alone would have struck terror in ordinary men and women, but this lady can face their violence bravely and fought valiantly against brute and blood. With skillful maneuvering of her blade, she attacked the numbers and injured many. With flawless display of martial arts and moves, she killed enough to make others wisely retreated.

    Alone, she stared at the red ground. A rushing sound and mighty movements and she turned to the source, expecting another confrontation but all only a young man appeared and he stopped, stared at the place and his eyes finally rested on her, widened. They eyed each other and he gestured, “Miss, are you alright? I heard fightings and sensed danger –“ he stopped, unable to say what next.

    He is polite, and his bearing is noble.

    “Miss, I am glad you are alright”

    His stance is respectful and sincere, not many men ever come close. She turned and started to walk away.

    “Yang Guo, greetings to you. I am sorry if i have upset you someway or another”

    She stopped and turned back, “Yang Guo? You are the Lord of The Kingdom?”

    “My father is the Lord, I am merely his son”
    “The heir of The Kingdom then”

    She sounded cool and he wondered what has she against The Kingdom. Unless -

    “Miss, may I know your name?

    She turned away for a second time, and leaped suddenly leaving him facing the falling leaves and lingering sands. Just as he turned to go, her voice echoed from a distance, and ringing into his ears, “Wong YuYan of The Yin realm regrets this meeting”


    Comments, please.
    Last edited by author; 03-14-08 at 03:38 AM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2007

    Default The Kingdom - Chapter 1


    Yang Guo – heir of Kingdom
    Yang Kang – cousin of Yang Guo, second in line of the Kingdom
    Guo Jing – friend of Yang Guo and Yang Kang

    MieJue – Leader of Moon Sect from the Yin Realm
    Wang YuYan – MieJue's disciple


    Yang Guo returned home after his outing. The moment he stepped into the palace, his friend Guo Jing ran to him, his expression worried.

    “Jing, what is the matter? Anything happened during my absence?”
    “No, nothing much except some disturbing reports and your lack of news!”
    “Oh? I am sorry for my lack of news, but do tell me about the disturbing reports.” Yang Guo replied in his calm and dignified self, which makes Guo Jing wanted to strangle his friend. Being cool in the midst matter of importance is admirable but one time too many tends to be irritating.

    Guo Jing about to speak when Yang Kang, stepped out and said, “Guo, the two realms are at odds, the two zones are vying for supremacy. Left and right, up and down, there are jealousies and murders in between, plus countless motives intertwining. The Kingdom maybe on neutral ground, but sooner or later perils may be upon us if we don't do something”

    Although Yang Kang didn't raise his voice, his tone are firm and stern. By appearance, Yang Guo seems to be better looking male than his cousin, but Yang Kang is a very attractive man by the grace of solemn air and moody self. Guo Jing, meanwhile cannot be compared to the cousins in term of charisma and elegance, but he is one of the most sought after bachelors after them. What he lacked in title and power, Guo Jing however make up for being resourceful and understanding.

    Yang Guo prefers to be a gentleman at all times, unless provoked whereas Yang Kang observed fairness and strictness. At times, he never minced his strong words upon dishonesty or acts harshly against injustice. Guo Jing is the goody shoes between the two cousins. Many times, he is exasperated by Yang Guo's gentlemanly conduct and most time, he is forced to play peacemaker between the cousins should there be discord. In his own musing way, Yang Guo seems to represent male element Yin while Yang Kang the male element Yang. Despite individual character and contrast personality, the trio shared a steady affinity and unity.

    “I came across someone from the Yin realm while on my way back” Yang Guo began.
    “And?” Yang Kang is all attention.
    “Not only the Yin realm is at odd with Yang, but Yin seems to brew hate with Netherlands zone too. From the look of it, I am not at all surprise the same hate goes with Heavenly zone as well.”
    “Why do you say that?” Guo Jing asked.
    “The someone I came across actually wiped out a number of creatures of the Netherlands in a cold hearted way. I do not know who or what provoked the fight in the first place, but I have a feeling that such fight is not the first. As for Heavenly, Yang Kang mentioned earlier about left right up and down, jealousies and murders. It is not hard for me to add up together.”
    “This someone, does he or she has a name?”

    Yang Guo turned to face Yang Kang mildly, “It is a matter of no importance, what should be done now is to check things out immediately, to gain as much information as possible on the situation of each realms and zones. Their degree of influence and status would help us greatly too if we are to get hold of their leaders' details”

    “Do you want me to call for an assembly?” Guo Jing all ready to jump into action.
    “No” Yang Guo replied calmly.
    “No?” Yang Kang gave him an assessing look.
    “There is no need for an assembly. Assembly is for Father to deal with and the kingdom's elders see to, all I need is to do is paying somebody a visit” Yang Guo glanced at Guo Jing who caught his meaning and exclaimed, “Oh really, My Lord?”
    “Yes indeed, my friend, and please stop addressing me as My Lord”
    “Get used to it” Yang Kang advised. His tone reasonable and suggest no rivalry.
    “You do know who you be dealing with, don't you?” Guo Jing crossed his arms in a petulant way.
    “Who said I deal with him?” Yang Guo flashed one of his most dashing smiles, which annoyed Guo Jing so much that he retorts waspishly, “I am not going to do it!”
    “But you are the one who ready to jump into action earlier, why back off now?” Yang Guo spoke composedly like a father admonishing his wayward son.

    Guo Jing rarely wins against Yang Guo's in conversation. Still, refusing to back down, “Guo, you know my teacher is not somebody you could just drop in and say hello!”
    “That is why, I leave you to deal with him” came the oh so easy reply.
    “He might be choose to be difficult and I might suffer his unwelcome mood” came the direct answer.
    “Just display your disciple charm, and we shall let him decides to play easy or hard” came the oh so smooth line.
    “Confident, aren't you?” came the not so so polite tone.

    Yang Guo flashed another smile and said “Jing, stop being a spoil sport. You do know you are his precious, don't you? Since when he ever refused you? While I admit Dugu QiuBai is somewhat strange and peculiar, i do not think he is as at all unapproachable and unfriendly as others think he is when it comes to life acquaintance or common courtesy. Young spirit and witty company are all he needs to make his hermitage life more spicy and interesting.”

    At this point, Yang Kang who was silent until now, laughed heartily in agreement. A rare sight, but still a sight nevertheless. Yang Guo's smile widened sending hearts aflutter while Guo Jing who might not be the typical shining knight material, does complete the picture of masculinity and the female attendants savored the camaraderie behold.


    Away from the palace, a maiden is trying to fend off her vile attackers. Although skilled and strong, still a case of greater in numbers and at the moment she thought she is done for, a palm out of nowhere hit out and halted the blow.

    Shocked, the maiden looked at her savior in daze, wondering who is he and where he came from. Stunned, the attacker retreated for he is no mediocre to take that blow. The man in question is a young lad, and from his dressing and aura, seemed to be a native of some minor tribe. His overall appearance is not impressive at first glance, but decent enough to merit a second look which originated from his sharp features and foreign accent.

    “Are you alright, Miss” The man asked the maiden.
    “I, I am.... fine”
    “Please stay aside, I handle them for you”

    Without waiting for her reply, he turned to face the maiden's attackers.

    “Haha, lad! You should know better than intruding”
    “You should know better than to attack a lady, and in numbers too. Shame, shame”
    “Watch your wretch tongue, lad!”
    “Hey fiends, watch my first strike!”


    AUTHOR'S NOTE : Chapter 2 Sneak preview

    Wang YuYan stepped into her teacher's chamber room and is greeted by the latter's dressing and grooming sight. Long white hair but the woman's skin is as smooth as a maiden. Her curvaceous frame belied her advanced age. MieJue of Moon Sect is known for her majestic image of an ancient goddess while her most able disciple YuYan's beauty earned her the nickname Divine Fairy. At the same time, MieJue is also known for her ruthless streak throughout the both realms, and a great enemy of Lin ChaoYing from the Heavenly Zone whose legendary beauty rivaled hers.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2007



    Hey fiends, watch my first strike!”

    The attackers were unprepared for the lad's sudden onslaught, his “Yi Yang Zhi” skill is strong to wipe the vile lives.

    “Duh, no kick at all” He turned to look at the maiden who, though recovered from shock, still in daze.

    “Miss, are you alright? You are safe now”

    The maiden remained and he introduced himself, “Duan Yu, greetings”


    Her voice is soft and melodious. Too bad she spoke briefly.

    “If you are al...., i mean, you are fine now...” Duan Yu trailed off – he is in a hurry but to leave a daze maiden all alone is just not right.

    “Master Duan, where are you going?” She asked so suddenly, and for a moment he is speechless. But then recollect his though and remembering his manner, “I am going to visit a friend”

    “Who is your friend?”

    “Miss, i didn't mean to be rude, but I think I have right not to answer your question”
    “I am sorry, I just....” she stopped and then blurted, “I am all alone now, these fiends killed my whole family and pursued me....I c..can't hold m..much longer... luckily” she stopped again, almost breaking down.

    She didn't know she actually cried until he offered her a piece of cloth and she took it.

    “I am very sorry to her that, Miss....” he trailed off delicately. At the same time, his expression genuine and sincere.
    “, Ying Ying, Ren Ying...” she sniffed her name.
    “Well Miss Ren, I can take you wherever you wishes to go, and I will only leave you when are safe and settled” Duan Yu gallantly offered his protection. His friend can wait. Lady first, of course.
    “I have no relative, no one..... and since you saved me.... ” She looked down, embarrassed.
    “Oh... well....”
    “Master Duan, if you find me a burden, then it is.....” only to be cut by his firm, “Hold it. Just call me Duan Yu, and you are not my burden but my fellow realm. I bring you to see my friend. By law and by right, you are under his protection”
    “Miss Ren, like me you are also a native of The Kingdom, aren't you?”
    “Well, yes... but...” she hesitated and he smiled kindly, “Miss, you will be safe there, trust me”

    He gestured to take her hand, for signs of agreement and acceptance. Ren Ying Ying has never seen such chivalry offered in such way, and she slowly put her hand into his, looking into his eyes.

    “As my traveling companion, none can bully you. Under my friend's protection, none can harm you. Miss Ren, this I will promise you”


    Wang YuYan returned to Moon Sect and went to see her teacher, MieJue.

    “Teacher, YuYan seeks audience”
    “Yan er, come in”

    She stepped into her teacher's chamber and is greeted by the latter's dressing and grooming sight. Long white hair but the woman's skin as smooth as a maiden. Her curvaceous frame belied her advanced age. MieJue of Moon Sect is know for her majestic image of an ancient goddess while her most able disciple YuYan's beauty earned her the nickname Divine Fairy. At the same time, MieJue is also known for her ruthless streak throughout the both realms, and a great enemy of Lin ChaoYing from the Heavenly Zone whose legendary rivaled hers.

    “Have you done what I asked you to do?”
    “Yes teacher, your disciple fulfilled your order, some escaped but their retreat only temporarily”

    YuYan bowed, “Anything else, if not I would like to take my rest?”

    Her disciple is known for her cold and abrupt demeanor but nothing escaped MieJue's notice.

    “Anything happened during your outing?”
    “Yan er, go rest then. Tomorrow, go to Moon Shrine. There is someone I wanted you to meet”

    She turned to go and MieJue sat down, her expression darkened. She knew her disciple is hiding something and read YuYan's first deception. MieJue's manipulative mind worked fast – should her disciple shows second sign of deception, YuYan might as well sign her death warrant.

    When YuYan stepped into her bathtub, her eyes closed The image of a man materialized and YuYan snapped her eyes opened.

    A friendship, unlikely.
    A relationship, doom from beginning.

    Now, she shouldn't be sad, or should she?


    Coming up next, Zhao ZhiRuo.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2007



    Yang Guo and Yang Kang are getting ready for the journey, waiting for Guo Jing who seemed out of character. Usually he is the most punctual but today -

    “What is taking him so long?” Yang Kang spoke out impatiently.
    “Making himself decent, after all he is meeting his teacher, you know” Yang Guo said in a neutral voice, like commenting the obvious.
    “Meeting DuGu QiuBai is not like meeting his potential bride, what is there to be decent about? It is not as though as his teacher appreciates first impression and dashing appearance!”
    “DuGu QiuBai might lacks fashion sense, still human nature is positive towards decent presence. Why else do you put on your best cloak and attire?”

    “Perhaps he's the one who wanted to meet his potential bride along the way” came a dry reply and both turned to see Guo Jing finally making his grand entrance.

    “How long have you been listening?” Yang Kang asked.
    “Long enough” Guo Jing answered and turned to Yang Guo, “Well, do I pass?”

    Yang Guo looked at him top to bottom, bottom up – left to right and make a show of circling his friend displaying deep concentration. Eventually, “You definitely the best dressed and comeliest male in The Kingdom ever ”

    Yang Guo left suddenly, so suddenly that Guo Jing blinked furiosly at the empty space. Yang Kang refrained from laughing, who knows, Guo Jing might take it out on him.

    “Hey, come back here!!” Guo Jing shouted indignantly.
    “Hey, I don't have all day, do you?” Yang Kang said firmly then and he is someone serious enough to make the atmosphere change its mood.
    “Alright, lets go”

    As they leaped to catch up with Yang Guo, Yang Kang who was a step behind Guo Jing has the opportunity to view what a sight in front of him, couldn't keep his face straight upon seeing the pretty truth in Yang Guo's word.


    Wang YuYan is waiting at the Moon Sect's Shrine and when she heard footsteps, she turned to the source. Behind her teacher MieJue, a sultry being with long hair that seems never to end, a willowy figure that seems surreal, and an exotic features that seems.... inhuman? Her appearance exudes temptation and promises desire.

    “Yan er”

    YuYan was snapped back to the present, and she answered in confusion, “T...teacher?”

    MieJue smiled, a smile that didn't reach her eyes. Then turning to the sultry being beside her, MieJue said, “It seems my disciple too, is seduced by you, ZhiRuo”

    Only then, YuYan realized she is looking at Siren Zhao ZhiRuo, who is a disicple of Lady Sprite of The Netherlands.

    “Divine Fairy is quite bewitching too”
    “My pleasure to meet you, Siren Zhao” YuYan greeted her coolly.
    “Likewise” ZhiRuo replied equally cool.
    “Yan er, I wouldn't beat around the bush, ZhiRuo is my newly appointed messenger. She will serves me as her new mistress, without severing her ties with her teacher ”

    In other word, a double agent

    “I want my assistant and messenger to get acquainted”

    I better be on my guard

    “Now I will leave you two to talk”

    MieJue left soon after.

    “Divine Fairy, why look at me so distrustfully?”
    “Should I trust a siren who serve two masters?”
    “You do not know head or tail, so don't pass question like you are a divine”
    “Fine then, and good bye”
    “I thought we are supposed to get acquainted?”
    “We already did, didn't we?”

    With that, YuYan left Zhao ZhiRuo abruptly as per her nature and ZhiRuo who didn't like dismissal, raised a pointed a finger at the former departing figure. YuYan leapt aside in time to avoid the siren's “YinYang Shooting Finger”. The impact destroyed a minor stone figure, and the atmosphere turned chilly, with hissing winds lashed out of nowhere. As YuYan stands firmly against the unfriendly confrontation, her eyes clashed with ZhiRuo's who gave out a challenging smile. YuYan returned courtesy with a slanting one, neither challenging nor meek, but one full of character and her voice cuts the chill like one does a killing curse.

    “Challenge accepted... but, not today....”

    As ZhiRuo watched YuYan's figure receded, the siren didn't notice fairy retaliated in kind. She only realized her arm was bleeding profusely. As ZhiRuo licked her blood dry, she laughed and said loudly, “The Demon White Claw Skill, Ha Ha Ha....!!! Divine Fairy, such ugliness and cruelty in you, ha ha ha ha!!!


    “Ah, like me, you are from a minority tribe too”

    Ren Ying Ying smiled, “But unlike you, I do not have influential friends from The Kingdom”

    Duan Yu shook his head, “You are wrong. Influence has nothing to do with our friendship”

    “I didn't mean to sound....” YingYing started only to be shocked by Duan Yu who suddenly grabbed her strongly.

    “What.... , argghh!!” She screamed only to be cut by Duan Yu's shout “Come out, don't play hide and seek! I don't fall into traps easily like a three years old!!”

    Stalking footsteps, and rustle of sounds.... then silence.

    “Ying Ying, stay close and be extra careful” Duan Yu is greatly alarm, almost panic but she realized he fears for her safety. His gesture spoke volumes of valor and unquestioned honor.

    And soon she realized why, their stalkers are neither human nor beast in The Kingdom, not even those figures from The Netherlands or The Realms but mixed breed monsters. Stunned, Ying Ying could only stare at their immortal size and perverted features .

    “Ying Ying, run, quick while I handle them as much as I can!”
    “No!” She managed to gasp, then continue, “I won't leave you!!”
    “GO!!!” He roared, and pushed her out of the way and hit out the coming attack with his “Six Heavenly Mountain Palms” The impact shatters the environment, and YingYing have enough sense to leap to safety. She turned in time see Duan Yu disappeared in the midst of the battle against the monsters. One suddenly charged towards her and her courage and spirit returned in nick of the time.

    “Fine, I fight you till the end!!” YingYing shouted, unladylike and Duan Yu, who heard and caught sight of her just then, yelled “Ying, no!!” Displaying a stronger skill, he managed to break free from the monstrous onslaught and leaping to YingYing's defense, he forgot his own safety, only realized his folly when he experienced bone cracking. His last thought, “I'm doomed!” Everything turned black and he felt nothing.


    Coming up next, DuGu QiuBai

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2007



    Guo Jing was leading the cousins when he stopped suddenly. Yang Guo and Yang Kang stopped too, alerted by something, or rather -

    “I heard someone screaming” said Guo Jing.
    “I think it came from there” Yang Kang pointed east.

    Yang Guo didn't say anything but he leaped towards east, followed by the other two. Then they heard somebody roared “GO” and they increased their speed. The three landed on their feet just in time to witness two things, one monster about to strike a maiden and two, a body about to be torn apart.

    YingYing saw Duan Yu's fate and hers before very own eyes when suddenly a figure leaped out of nowhere to stand in front of her, intercepting the blow. Next, she was jerked backwards, landing at a safe distance leaning against a solid body. A male voice soothed her, “Miss, don't be afraid, just calm down”. Weakly she complied and they watched a fresh battling scene unfolding simultaneously.

    Yang Guo, who is trained under Wang Chong Yang, creator of Genuine Scripture of Nine Negation and founder of Quenzhen Sect, displayed one of his top skills “Sacred Art of Negation” which easily eliminate the nearby monsters in a single blow. Taking advantage of the chaos and confusion among the remaining attackers, Yang Guo rushed forward to grab the injured body. To complete the elimination process, Yang Guo hit out his “Divine Art of Negation” while he retreated with the body leaping to safety. The impact rocked the entire area. His confrontation with the monsters is over.

    At the same time, Yang Kang being a student of Hong Qi Gong whose nickname “Happy and Smiling Wanderer” once upon a time, displayed the “Dragon Palm” to counter the monster's strike had the monster retreated in pain and in bewilderment. Yang Kang lashed out, “No mercy for you for attacking a lady!” His “Dog Bashing Skill” came next, whacking the monster left and right, bottom up down.

    “Hey, no escape for you!” Yang Kang performed his elimination “Dragon Fist” and the monster dropped dead, his falling weight cracked the ground.

    The confrontations had shattered the surrounding but when it were over, the leaves fell quietly and the sands retreated silently in place.

    “Duan Yu! Yu!!” Yang Guo called out in disbelief, breaking the stillness. Yang Kang turned to see the body is indeed Duan Yu. Even Guo Jing is startled when Ying Ying suddenly make a dash forward. He followed her. All now grouped together.

    “Duan Yu” Ying Ying cried out and tried to make a grab at him but is stopped by Yang Guo who said, “No Miss! He has many broken bones, your reaching out would only serve him more injuries!!”
    “Miss, who are you? What exactly happened??”
    “Guo, we see to Duan Yu's injury first, you can ask her question later” Guo Jing said.
    “Yes, Jing is right” Yang Kang seconded.
    “You are Yang Guo, his best friend? The Heir of The Kingdom?? And you two, Yang Kang and Guo Jing??” YingYing asked surprising the trio.
    “He told you about us?” Yang Kang looked straight at Ren Ying Ying, who blushed suddenly when the three men stared at her without blinking.

    She is rather pretty despite being messed up but now is not simply the time to admire the opposite sex – you see - and they lowered their gazes and shifted their attention to their injured friend. She is embarrassed not because of their staring, but they looked neat and tidy and dashing whereas she being untidy with strands of hair all over her face while dirt staining her clothes. It is a woman's instinct to look good, or at least presentable in male(s) company - you know – so she is not ready to stage an introduction, neither in a state to be admired. They are considerate to allow her space and moment for composure while moving Duan Yu to a better and comfortable position.

    Soon, Yang Guo and Yang Kang checked Duan Yu's injury and saw to some of his healing and bandaging. In the meantime, Guo Jing built a fire and looked around for food.

    “He is too injured, we must carry him all the way, taking turns” Yang Guo said.
    “The sooner we reach Master Dugu's place, the sooner he will regain consciousness”
    “Luckily, we came in the nick of time”

    Then, turning to YingYing who sat quietly by herself, Yang Guo addressed her, “Miss...” he stopped and she blurted what on her mind since acquainting with the three men, “Lord Yang, I wish to seek privacy....” she stopped, doesn't know how to put in the rest. Yang Guo easily removed his cloak and said gallantly, “Miss, I understand you wish to clean yourself. Here, you may wear this while washing your dress. By the way, call me Yang Guo will do” He ended with a smile. Yang Kang too, stepped forward, “Take mine as well, night is fast approaching and this additional cloak should keep you warm throughout the coming hours”

    Ying Ying has little exposure in chivalry, Duan Yu was the first to show her. Then and there, she felt strangely adequate. Now and here she found it pleasing indeed.

    “I think the river nearby there” Yang Guo pointed and Yang Kang added, “Go now, Miss, we will keep a watch out for you. Don't worry, we will not let anything or anyone disturb your privacy”

    Grateful for their gentlemanly conduct and protection, Ying Ying smiled and bowed slightly before taking off to the river's direction. Guo Jing returned in time to see her disappeared behind trees.

    “She is okay?” He asked.
    “She is fine, but still in shock I guess” Yang Kang said.
    “She recovers soon, all she needs is a bath” Yang Guo said and turning to Guo Jing, “Jing, can we reach your teacher's place by tomorrow? Duan Yu needs further treatment and comfort”
    “Possible by noon” Guo Jing replied, but turning towards the river, “On second thought, maybe by nighttime”
    “She is trained, the way that she dared to confront face to face with the monster earlier, so we could make it by noon”

    While preparing the food, the men continued to discuss how to carry Duan Yu and to bring the girl along, if she wants to when Ying Ying returned, being decently and comfortably wrapped leaving her long hair free behind. She knew she looked pale and poorly, but the fashionable and quality cloaks does compliment her plain appearance, and she couldn't comprehend her improved mood. They waited until she took her place in front of the fire, and still standing when she seemed to remain ignorant.

    “Eh... hmm..” she started hesitantly. Refreshed and changed, she viewed them as much as a lady could and they at her. Pretty and charming, not in a stunning or mesmerizing way, but enough to make a man look twice and interested. If she has know how to decorate and putting ornaments about her, she would look like a fairy from ether but one has to understand this is no place for pleasure and indulgence now. However, this is the time for -

    “Yang Kang, nice to meet you, Miss” followed by “Guo Jing, my pleasure for an acquaintance”

    Yang Guo already introduced himself earlier and he waited patiently with the two until she finally took hint.

    “Oh, my name is Ren Ying Ying” she said, and feeling rather foolish. She has no idea how to conduct herself in front of these nobles. Duan Yu at least a commoner like herself. They noticed her naivety and to make things easier, Yang Guo gestured for her to sit first which she did, and the men sat after her at a respectful distance. She waited but the men seemed to wait as well, when Guo Jing said, “Lady first” and gestured the food. Feeling shy, she took the smallest fruit. Again, the men are kind not to comment, but each of them took an appropriate portion of variety and offered in front of her before they took their share. During conversation, Ying Ying got to know Duan Yu's stable condition for the time being and they got to know how she came about.

    “Then you follow us home after this. Duan Yu is right, it is my duty to look after The Kingdom's natives and minority tribes. Miss Ren, you are most welcome in my household” Yang Guo assured her.

    Something must have reflected in her face for Yang Kang smiled and said, “Miss Ren, there is a female household, and they lived and worked together peacefully. If there is cases of abuse and misbehavior, we have a female supreme council to deal with it fair and just”

    Ying Ying swallowed her food slowly, and then smiled. A smile that light up the dark night and warm the chilly atmosphere robbing all the fire's heat and element, causing distraction to Guo Jing who coughed a bit, only a bit but enough to make the other two men glanced at him with an interpreting look. As for Ying Ying, she is too weary and sleepy with her stomach full to notice what passed, she only knew she could trust these men with her life. As they settled for the night, Ying Ying was the first to fall asleep, feeling safe and protected for the first time in what it seem for a long, long time.


    Three men, a lady and a body soon arrived at the entry of a cave, an accommodating cave. A man who live in a stone shelter instead of a proper establishment in The Kingdom is either an eccentric, or an enigma – this Inhabitant could be both.

    “Well?” Yang Kang threw Guo Jing a “do your stuff” look.
    “You knew he doesn't like to receive me often, let alone we visiting so suddenly!” Guo Jing returned with a temper.
    “Jing, just call your greeting and leave us to do ours” Yang Guo said smoothly, which Guo Jing felt like punching him.

    Ying Ying said nothing, it is not her place to say or do anything. At the same time, she wishes for less attention on herself so she looked about at Duan Yu who remained unconscious, and worrying about his condition. After all, she indirectly caused his mishap.

    “Teacher, Guo Jing comes to see you”

    Silence. A very uncomfortable silence. The surrounding stood as still as statues. Even the birds and the bees strangely missing.

    “See, I told you so!”

    Yang Guo then stepped forward, “Master Dugu, Yang Guo is very sorry to have bother you. My teacher, Wang Chong Yang has not seen you, a legend in your generation and of his time, for very long and he wishes me to convey his utmost regards if I ever got the chance to meet you” followed by Yang Kang's gesture “Yang Kang, my respect to Master Dugu. My teacher, Hong Qi Gong remembers you as his elder and wishes me to return courtesy behalf of him should opportunity arises”

    Still silent, but then the wind started to stir lightly causing the the trees and plants to produce nature effects.

    “Teacher, I missed you dearly and you never replied my letters. Please allow your disciple and company to see you”

    The wind turned strong and YingYing jerked in surprise, then jumped when a loud voice boomed, “Who is that lying like a corpse? And whose lady is that?!”

    “We came across my friend's attack while on our way here. This lady was with him – her family were killed during one of the attacks, and she is now under my protection” Yang Guo inserted his authority.

    In reply, the ground shook a bit to shatter their standings and Guo Jing quickly addressed his moody teacher, “Teacher, please! Duan Yu is a disciple of Reverend Yi Deng of Shaolin, surely you know him by name if not by sight!!”

    The shaking stopped, and the booming voice echoed distastefully, “What?! Now, what and how the heck did that wretched monk teach your friend such lousy skills until he ended up dying thus??!”

    “Teacher, it was a case of greater in numbers. Besides, those attackers were monsters, and at the same time he had to protect the lady”

    The answer seemed to pacify him and the entrance was revealed with a cracking effect. All eyes were almost blinded by swirling sands and flying dusts that seemed targeting them. The men were strong to face the onslaught but YingYing raised her arms to shield her eyes from the stony particles. When all quiet down, she lowered her arms and blinked to focus, awe at the austere appearance of an ancient figure. A man who passed many moons and countless seasons, he still possessed the majestic bearing of masculinity and energy. An image of white haired and long beard, still he carried the mysterious airs of undiminished spirit and youthful valor. The mood has yet to subside but at least he didn't come out with a temper . The plain garment and coarse layer he wore merely serve to be a fashionable pieces of patchwork that complete the powerful picture of a living force. Instead of bending and walking with an aiding staff, Dugu QiuBai stood breathing with charisma that put sages to shame.

    In his days, he was nicknamed Solitude Swordsman because he was a loner. He lived only to challenge or to be challenged. His origin was unknown and he never offered to tell or bother to explain, adding mystery to his personality and attitude. His skills were unmatched and he never lost to others in his generation. In his later years, he lose interest in martial arts and retired into seclusion to pass his advancing age. Somewhere at that point, a new generation of great pugilists and impressive swordsmen starting to make names for themselves but to him, retirement means retirement. He acquainted briefly with some famous names, but no longer cared whether the name Dugu QiuBai still the best in The Kingdom or the new greats surpassing his fame. Being generation apart and senior by age, the new greats neither challenge nor confront him for a duel – in any event, it is not as easy as one think to find the Solitude Swordsman Dugu QiuBai! By chance, young Guo Jing crossed his path - one of those rare moments when he performed a low profile travel in order to keep himself informed of the outside events and kingdom's issues. The mellowed Dugu QiuBai allowed the youngster's offer of friendship and traveling companionship. Sensing affinity with the youth, he taught Guo Jing his “Dugu Nine Swordsmanship” featuring “Hermitage” - an acme skill that toppled many rivals and humbled countless challengers that vie for the title “Number One in The Kingdom” in those years. When the tutelage was over -

    “Jing er, you can leave now”
    “I already taught you all, there is nothing left to teach you”
    “No buts, leave now or I send you off myself!”

    Guo Jing left after marking respect and thanking the old man. He knew his teacher would miss him and he wrote long letters to his teacher from the day they parted company. Far and between he visited his teacher, in one his better moods, the old man is approachable, hospitable even but most times his teacher simply dismissed his disciple's visit in an unwelcome manner. To many others, Dugu QiuBai was cold and unfriendly which he still is, strange and peculiar, no doubt about it. Deep inside, however, the Solitude Swordsman loved and treasured his disciple. Yang Guo was not wrong stating Guo Jing his teacher's precious.


    Sneak Preview

    “Jing er, am I to be served ceremonial tea soon?”
    “Cere... ? Teacher, what are talking about? Guo Jing blushed, for no reason or for a reason he knows not.


    “The White Claw Demon has started to show signs of returning, I saw corpses' blood sucked dried, and read tell-tale-sign bodies being victim of cannibalism” Dugu QiuBai said.
    “The White Claw Demon?!” echoed the three.
    “Who is he?” asked Yang Guo, masking his anger.
    “Is he someone from the realms or the zones?” Yang Kang clenched his fists in fury.
    “Teacher, you said signs of returning, does that means he has committed these acts and deeds before?” Guo Jing sought confirmation, his reaction as furious as Yang Kang.

    Dugu QiuBai turned to face them, his expression sardonic and his tone sarcastic, “What makes you kids think The White Claw Demon is a he?”
    Last edited by author; 12-21-07 at 05:31 AM.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2007



    Dinner was served and Dugu QiuBai, in a rather satiated mood after a hearty meals prepared by Guo Jing allowed himself to entertain his disciple and young guests. Duan Yu was properly settled and Ying Ying, preferred to stay with the invalid before going to sleep, excused herself for the night.

    While Guo Jing is pouring tea for all of them, his teacher suddenly addressed him “Jing er, am I to be served ceremonial tea soon?”

    Startled, he almost dropped the teapot. Even the cousins were taken aback.

    “Cere... ? Teacher, what are talking about?” Guo Jing has absolutely nothing to blush about. But then his cheeks felt hot. Why?

    Fortunately, his teacher is not a man with sense of humor or jest. If his disciple is ignorant, Dugu QiuBai has no intention to pursue the matter further, at least for now.

    “Lad, what is your teacher doing now?” this was directed to Yang Guo who blinked at the sudden turn of conversation, but he recovers promptly to answer politely, “My teacher has been meditating in Chao Yang Shrine since last winter, and won't be seeing or receiving visitors at Quenzhen Sect until two more summers to come, only emerging in Autumn. I intent to go there to pay respect then”

    “What is his intention of achievement? immortality?” Dugu arched a haughty eyebrow and before Yang Guo could come up with a reply, the older man turned to Yang Kang with an equally haughty expression, “You? What about that happy go lucky mentor of yours?”

    Yang Kang, mentally preparing for the man's nature and manner of speaking, replied “The last time I heard my teacher was looking for Huang Yaoshi and Ou Yangfeng”

    “What? They are still at it? Don't they have anything to do beside chasing one another or pursuing each other in order to be The Kingdom's Number One?” Dugu QiuBai asked in a sneering tone.

    Yang Kang whose nature is not as calm or mild as the other two, retaliated in kind “Master Dugu, you yourself was chasing that title once upon a time”

    “Boy, do me a wretched favor by keeping this information in that your clueless brain of yours – I lived to challenge and to be challenged, not lived to chase a stupid title. Also, do yourself a miserable obligation by remembering this piece of crap – that title was given without I seeking it” came the stinging statement.

    Yang Kang caught Guo Jing's eyes who gave him a wrathful “Shut up, you!” look. The former was dully lectured and fully lessoned, and he said no more. Incurring the anger of a longtime friend or fury of a solitude legend are not good decision or wise idea.

    Dugu QiuBai went on without waiting for the uncomfortable silence to pass “I supposed your visits are not merely seeing or meeting me, but sourcing information. Am I correct?”

    “Master Dugu is indeed insightful” Yang Guo said in a subdued voice.

    The old man gave no indication of hearing him and continued talking – you see, he has this trademark of keeping peoples' attention without much bother and holding their interest without much effort.

    “The White Claw Demon has started to show signs of returning, I saw corpses' blood sucked dried, and read tell-tale-sign bodies being victim of cannibalism”
    “The White Claw Demon?!” echoed the three.
    “Who is he?” asked Yang Guo, masking his anger.
    “Is he someone from the realms or the zones?” Yang Kang clenched his fists in fury.
    “Teacher, you said signs of returning, does that means he has committed these act and deeds before?”
    Guo Jing sought confirmation, his reaction as furious as Yang Kang.

    Dugu QiuBai turned to face them, his expression sardonic and his tone sarcastic, “What makes you kids think The White Claw Demon is a he?
    “Teacher, you mean The White Claw Demon is a she, then?” Guo Jing expressed in horror.
    “Did I say that? Came a very dry retort.
    “Master Dugu, our experience is limited, and our way of pugilism is nothing compared to yours, please elaborate” Yang Guo requested in a humble yet dignified manner.
    “Master Dugu, we would like listening to tales that you are willing to share with us lads” Yang Kang is no novice when it comes to diplomacy.

    The older man's lips curled almost into a snort. The three braced themselves for his scathing tell-off but Dugu QiuBai sighed suddenly, so suddenly that for the first time, he revealed his jaded elements.

    ** Currently they are three roaming greats – Huang Yaoshi, Hong Qigong and Ou Yangfeng but they were, and still are loggerheads. Although the three renowned for their martial feats, their forte actually came from their individual field, stream and canon. Huang Yaoshi is an expert on healing and herbs. Hong Qigong is unmatched when comes to physical stamina and spiritual matter. Ou Yangfeng is immune to poisons and genius in potions. But none really knows where their loyalty lies, certainly not to The Kingdom - “.... I hate to be disturbed when I talk....” - Dugu warned Yang Kang coolly when the latter about to open his mouth, obviously wanting to vouch for his teacher Hong Qigong. Yang Guo gestured calmly at Yang Kang, willing the latter to back down.

    Wang Chaoyang and YiDeng, still renowned but no longer active as before. With them into meditation, Quenzhen sect is weakening having no capable successor, except Yang Guo who is not in line for leadership. As for Shaolin, they rarely get involved with mortal issues and kingdom's matter except participating in martial meets. There is not much news about Zhang San Feng of Wudang, while the Head Priestess of Emei hardly graced the martial scenes. A sad case with so many worthy ancient schools of pugilism but lacks new achievers - “...And I have to say Wang Chaoyang wasting his time in silly pursuit of the impossible...” - Dugu threw Yang Guo a provoking look for his reaction, where the latter displayed expression of a sleeping dog lie. Guo Jing appeared uncomfortable since his teacher seemed to enjoy the eccentric style of dialogue.

    However, all is not lost, for young leader Zhang Wuji of Ming Sect is an established name while new leader Linghu Chong of Mt Hua is an accomplished successor. Pugilist Lu Xiao Feng and his company are outstanding men of skills and talents. Although not a pugilist in a worthy sense, traveler Qin Feng from minority tribe deserved a mention.

    “Leader Zhang makes a sincere friend. Leader Linghu proves to be a loyal alliance – if I am decades younger, I would make them my only acquaintances -” You know, he rarely compliments but when the mighty Dugu QiuBai does, all should take note and heed.

    “Pugilist Lu and company loves to wine and dine and ....”

    The old man stopped abruptly but then he started again without picking up from where he had stopped earlier:-

    The Realms and The Zones are never at peace with each other. Among all, The Heavenly Zone is the least troublesome. Travelers either came back with bad news or disappeared without news, villagers uneasy over strangers with their disturbing presence. Meanwhile, bodily parts were discovered and decomposed corpses were found, all drained of blood. The natives panic and the tribes believed the mythical creature of yore, The Vampire really existed.

    “I have never come face to face with anything from The Zones or The Realms – once, I thought I would be confronting the white claw demon but when I reached that place, the demon already gone leaving its unfinished meal behind. To date I never saw a vampire's victim but I do know the difference between a demon's kill and a vampire's attack is their feasting marks. The demon clawed its victim to death, while the vampire sunk its teeth at the prey's neck. But enough of these gross tales. Lets focus on more humane subjects -

    News, especially carried by men in tea houses were talking about a certain fascinating star deity, a seductive siren and a divine fairy – I never asked, just listened so you can forget your whatever questionsin mind about them! -

    Slightly embarrassed, Yang Guo focused at the wall behind Dugu while Yang Kang and Guo Jing looked down.

    “At resting shelters, travelers were speaking of Nie Feng and Bu Jing Yun. If my hunch is right, these two should be Wind and Cloud respectively, as nicknamed by The Kingdom's pugilists. When combined powers, these two could kick up a storm. Apart from Wind and Cloud, there were mentions about Xiong Ba The Conqueror, Wu Ming The Nameless, Di Shi Tian The Phantom Menace.... Many more, but just names and baseless information without their proper sources or origins. I didn't stay on listening to flying rumors and mere gossips. Nevertheless, they are forces to be reckons with. They may wiped out pugilism, and posed danger throughout The Kingdom. They might already started”

    There were moments of silence, then Yang Guo said, “These women are not The Kingdom's natives. Neither are those men from tribal communities”

    “Obviously” again came the dry retort.
    “It is late now and I have nothing more to tell. Tomorrow all of you can leave at the first sign of dawn”
    “But teacher!” Guo Jing protested, “Duan Yu...” only to be cut by a dismissing tone, “He can stay until he wakes up. Now, go to sleep. You might not be tired but at my age, I am!”

    Dugu QiuBai left his disciple and guests without exchanging niceties.

    “That is very rude of your teacher” Yang Kang remarked matter of fact.
    “Master Dugu displayed enough generosity to his only unwelcome guests. We should be grateful and thankful for his time and allowance” Yang Guo's tone was neutral.
    “Come on, let us go to sleep” Guo Jing said with a yawning sigh.


    The next morning immediate after breakfast, Dugu QiuBai told Ying Ying to join the departing company.

    “But...” The unprepared Ying Ying protested, only to be cut by Dugu's direct question “Are you betrothed to him?”
    “Uh...,, of course not!”

    The old man is not done and he continued mercilessly one by one “An attachment then?”

    “Oh, a compromise perhaps?”
    “No betrothal, no attachment, no compromise, what is there for you to stay here?”

    By this time, Ying Ying already get worked up by his imperious tone.

    “I cannot leave him just like this!”

    Dugu QiuBai took a menacing step for her impertinence but Ying Ying stood her ground, trembling slightly. And then Yang Guo stood between Dugu and Ying Ying, “Master Dugu, please don't frighten her. Ms Ren, you come with us”

    “Ms Ren, my teacher will take care of Duan Yu. Please don't worry” Guo Jing said.

    Yang Kang, being the closest vicinity reached out for her gently, and Ying Ying relaxed under his warm gesture of tenderness and care.

    “What in The Kingdom's are you young peoples waiting for?! Compliments and pleasantries?!” barked their peevish host.

    Yang Guo and Yang Kang chose to do away with compliments but still they took leave appropriately saying a brief “Thank you, and farewell Master Dugu”

    Ying Ying went away with them without a word leaving Guo Jing alone with his teacher.

    “Jing er, you heard her
    “Her? W..what...?”
    “Yes, her! And the name is Ying Ying. She does not belong to him
    “No, err... I mean yes, uh....!”
    “Stop babbling! If you are interested, go and get her. If not, forget it”.
    “I did my duty procuring her status of eligibility, now you do your own courting part!”
    “No buts!”

    Dugu QiuBai suddenly hit out and Guo Jing, raised his hand to counter the sudden attack. The exchange resulted some blows which caused the formations to shift structurally and Guo Jing found himself pushed back, soon outside the cave. He sensed the slamming rather than he heard it. Shaking the dusts and waving the sands away resulting from the sealing entrance, he turned to look around and saw his friends stood at a waiting distance. He started to move when he swung around and skillfully retrieved the flying missile furiously targeting at his spot, which happened to be a piece of message of....


    Coming up next chapter 6 – THE STORY OF WHITE DEMON CLAW

    Sneak Preview

    “Arghhhh!!” she screamed in shock.
    “You just finished feeding” her mentor told her.
    “What?!” she gasped in horror, and tears filled her face. “No! I didn't!!”
    “Yes, you did. You shouldn't started in the first place but now that you did, you need to be a cannibal for the rest of your life in order to maintain youth and remain beautiful”
    Last edited by author; 12-27-07 at 02:40 AM.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2007



    Guo Jing and company stopped by the river to refresh themselves. Yang Guo sat beside Guo Jing and asked quietly, “Jing, are you alright?”
    “Shouldn't I be?”
    “You was silent all the way, which is so unlike you. You didn't even participate during my conversation with Kang”
    “Well, it was your conversation with him, wasn't it?”
    “Jing, I am sorry if we have upset your teacher by visiting him. My fault, no excuse about it. While I knew him to be strange and peculiar, I didn't know Dugu QiuBai would went so....” he trailed off meaningfully.
    “You are wrong, he didn't”
    “Oh, then why are you so upset after reading whatever he shot out at you”
    Guo Jing sighed, “Guo, leave me be. It is personal and I do not want to complicate things”
    “Personal? Complicate?” Yang Guo eyed him thoughtfully and Guo Jing's patience ran out, “Look, just drop it, alright!”

    He saw Yang Kang turned to look at his direction and even Ying Ying is watching him.


    The mild Yang Guo allowed Guo Jing few moments to calm down before continuing “Yang Kang and I decided to visit Ming Sect and Mt Hua after this. You can bring Ms Ren back to the palace and wait for our return”
    “No!” Guo Jing replied sharply, startling Yang Guo who eyed him thoughtfully again. He knew he gave much away but at the moment he doesn't give a hoot. “I want to visit with you two, but Ms Ren could be in the way so why not we go back to the palace soonest possible and setting out again. With our strength and speed, it won't cause much delay”

    Yang Guo didn't speak for a moment but when he did, he seemed to understand something Guo Jing himself didn't. “Fine. We must always respect one's privacy and other's freedom, mustn't we? I go tell Yang Kang of the changes now”

    Although impatient, Yang Kang complied without comment and Ren Ying Ying realizing she would be left, didn't complain. Throughout the journey, Guo Jing tried his best to remain at ease with himself. En route, the four encountered a stormy adventure .


    At Moon Sect, MieJue summoned her disciple Wong YuYan to see her.

    “Teacher” YuYan greeted her teacher and leader.
    “Yan er, I have not seen you for some time. How are you?”

    Surely, she did not summon me just to ask how am I?

    “I am fine, training and practicing as usual”
    “Good. Well then, there was a question I have been wanting to ask you, but never found the time to do so”
    “Teacher, you know you can always ask me anything and anytime”
    “Ha ha ha!!!” Mitjue laughed thrillingly before continued on smoothly, “It is nothing of importance or consequence but I am curious why you never heed my request of getting acquainted with ZhiRuo”

    Teacher, you trapped my weakness once, never I let you take opportunity to take advantage of your second catch.

    “I was in a hurry”
    “What the hurry that you went against your teacher's wish?”
    “It was my feeding time”

    Mitjue seemed startled but she recovered quickly, “Oh, Yan er, I am sorry! So sorry!!” She hugged her disciple compassionately then.

    “Teacher, it is alright. It is nothing of importance or consequence” Yuyan pulled away and continued unemotionally, “It that all? I wish to continue my training and practice”

    Mitjue's eyes narrowed and she addressed ingeniously, “One more thing, why did you wait until last minute to feed? Such risk and so reckless, what if you couldn't feed in time, or were you actually looking forward for a transformation?”
    “That was why I am in a hurry, otherwise, I would have to kill your newly appointed messenger” Yuyan replied coolly.

    There was a long silence.

    “Yan er, you may go” her teacher said dismissively, almost coldly.

    The Divine Fairy bowed and took leave. Zhou ZhiRuo stepped out and comment mischievously, “Hey, she is daring, isn't she”

    “Ruo er, I want you eliminate her”
    “Oh, really?”
    “You nurtured her from a nobody to a fairy that kills at your wills, then you choose to do away with her talent?”
    “I, Mitjue would not let anyone or anybody turned against me, even though she is my most able disciple or assistant. I can always find a replacement to replace her. She is not the only one around” She glanced artfully at the Siren who said archly, “You are so sure she would”
    “I noticed the signs for some time and they are getting stronger”
    “It that all?”
    “By all means, play with your food before swallowing it”


    Years ago, Wang YuYan was a common born of The Kingdom, a peaceful home to many subjects, natives and tribes, happy families and contented peoples. Pugilisms widely and freely practiced. Many martial schools flourished and sects being established. Shaolin being the oldest legacy and most ancient followed by Emei and Wudang. As time goes by, the major sects are Mount Hua, Mount Tai, Mount Heng and Mount Song while Quenzhen, Ancient Tomb, Ming Cult, Red Society and White Lotus make up the numbers. Also there were individuals, members, groups and clans of pugilism.

    Wang YuYan had a happy childhood and led an ordinary life. When her parents passed away, she managed and coped well. Although a commoner, like everyone and everybody in The Kingdom, she was free and independent. However, her fate changed when the palace timely announced, “All maidens of marriageable age are to be presented at court. The Lady of The Kingdom will presides and selects potential brides to be introduced to The Heir, who will personally choose his lady amongst them”

    Now, The Lord's word is the law of the Kingdom and the palace announcement equivalent to the The Kingdom's decree. She just reached puberty but poor and unsophisticated. Unwilling to be presented, she tried to avoid it by running away into hiding until the selection over. Unfortunately, one of the nobles, The Lord's favorite nephew, Wei Xiao Bao was passing by when he crossed her fleeing path and himself lusted her youth and beauty. What male would let go of such maiden? So he pursued his prize and when he finally cornered her, Wei Xiao Bao proceeded to ravish his captive.

    Help! Help! Somebody please! Help! She screamed, hitting and kicking.
    I am a noble from The Kingdom, who dare to defy me? Who are you to deny me!” He ripped off her clothes.
    No, don't! In the name of the lord, stop this!” Yuyan cried and trying to hinder his act.
    The lord is not going to help you, he is too busy minding his own business” He almost done with removing the feminine layers.
    The heir... !” she broke off, didn't know anything about the second most powerful man in The Kingdom. Tears wet her cheeks and she struggled on with whatever strength she had left. Her body shivered from fear and shame.
    The heir could have any maiden, he wouldn't notice one less – the selection merely a show of protocol – don't you know there is already an existing harem?” he pinned her down to complete his deed when a killing blow suddenly landed on his head. It was like staging a despicable rape scene that ends with horrendous death of the rapist. But that was no mere play, and the act was real.

    Shocked, Yuyan went still and eventually the body was kicked off her. Stunned, she couldn't even focus properly. A piece of garment hovered and then covered her her nude form, now shaking from cold. Still, Yuyan couldn't move and she didn't even know who or what saved her. Her savior seemed to allow her several moments of recollection.

    Child” a feminine voice finally addressed her.
    Yes...” she managed weakly.
    Come with me”
    To where?” she still in daze.
    To my home shrine, Moon Sect at the Yin Realm”
    Who are you?” her mind hazy.
    My name is Mitjue, but that is not important. The thing is you must leave this place forever. If you remain, you could be hanged to death for murdering a noble, or at least imprisoned for life”
    I didn't murder him! You did!!” only then, she jerked up and blinked at the strangely beautiful woman who dressed elegantly but vastly different from The Kingdom's fashion.
    I am not from here and they won't be able to find me. But if you don't follow me, they will find you drag you for execution”

    Yuyan was young and inexperienced, naïve and at times, childish but never stupid.

    I tell them, I tell Lord Yang the truth!”
    And they believe you? He is going to listen to you?”
    Its the truth!”
    Child, that rascal was a noble – a high born with aristocrat ancestry, you are just a commoner – a low born of poor birth. Although the truth, the fact is he is dead and you being alive. The case is a grave one having no witness to support your sensational claim. Rape is not a child's play, nor a mere accusation that could point at anybody, let alone someone of such breeding”

    Quickly on her knees, Yuyan went to her begging, “Please, you could be my witness”
    Ahh, but I don't intent to”
    Please, after all, you saved me”
    Yes, I saved you. I couldn't just ignore what I saw and heard but now I am already delayed in my return. So, I give you a choice, either you stay back or follow me home. I rescued you from that rascal, I owed you nothing”

    This time her tone strictly firm and her expression oddly cold. Yuyan still remained undecided, between agitation and ignorance when Mitjue said in a much softer way, “It came from my deepest and sincerest heart that I offer to take you away from The Kingdom”
    The Kingdom is my home”
    I can teach you martial arts to protect yourself in future, and you can always come back to The Kingdom anytime you want. Being my disciple is not like being a prisoner, you know”

    And that was how Wang Yuyan joined Mitjue and became a disciple of Moon Sect. Once she entered the Yin Realm, she learned what she was taught and seduced into mastering the sect's unique skills that the thought of going home seemed trivia. There, she followed Mitjue's regime of trainings and rampages against foes and enemies, never once thought about right or wrong. As time passed, Yuyan matured to become extremely divine-like and bloomed exceptionally fairy-look. With her natural elegance and growing confidence, together with her capacities, accomplishments and applications, Wang YuYan is renowned throughout Yin Realm, her nickname slighted other timeless beauties and her fame spread, creating classic rivals.

    One day, she achieved the perfection of a skill when her teacher leisurely suggested to pit at the shrine's hall with the sect members and fellow disciples in attendance. The date was set and they warmed up to one stroke to another and tested each other strength.

    Yan er, you learned so fast and improved so much. Your achievement is astounding” Mitjue smiled, a mysterious smile that didn't reach her eyes.

    It was then Yuyan noticed something different about her teacher but still, she was grateful and thankful to this woman.

    It was you who taught me so well”
    Yan er, you are tired now. Go and have a good rest” Mitjue smile widened, strange sparks and gleeful glints came from her eyes, suddenly her teacher seemed ugly and notorious.

    Indeed, Yuyan was tired but strangely alert and panting. A wild surge of rapid energy seemed to replace her present tiredness. She really didn't know what happening to her. Eerily, the hairs stood up and her black strands grew in length turning gray before changing to white. Without knowing what she was doing, YuYan reached out blindly and primitively. Her teacher was retreating from her, the fellow disciples were fleeing and cried out in fright. She managed to grab the unfortunate victim and she hungers for raw flesh. She thirsts for fresh blood. Her claws were white and sharp, and she saw a fleeting image of herself from the terrified eyes that mirrored into her own.

    Arghhhh!!” she screamed in shock and found herself on balance four instead of two. The place was abandoned, leaving her and only her teacher. On the floor and wall, smears of red and dripping wet blood. A disciple's body, mutilated beyond recognition. Aghast, she opened her mouth only to find a bitten finger dropped onto the floor.

    You just finished feeding” her mentor told her.
    What?!” she gasped in horror, and tears filled her face. “No! I didn't!!”
    Yes, you did. You shouldn't started in the first place but now that you did, you need to be a cannibal for the rest of your life in order to maintain youth and remain beautiful”


    Yuyan jerked up from her nightmare and wiped her wet forehead, cold face and neck. She has successfully put this nightmare behind here, so why it occurred now? And despite herself, her memory of her past and what happened next came flooding like it happened yesterday.

    What did you actually teach me?!”
    The Supreme Moon Maiden Skill”
    What I did just now was demonic!”
    Oh yes, make no mistake about it. But it happened because you couldn't control your imagination. It is only natural”
    Why such imagination?! And cannibalism is not natural!!”
    I overlooked your origin. The Supreme Moon Maiden Skill is created for us Yin beings. Thus we never encountered the negative effects, biologically or physically or like your case, imaginary. Such evils caused you to transform. Instead of mastering the highest Supreme Moon Maiden Skill, you successfully achieved its darker version, The White Demon Claw. It is not as powerful as the original, but stronger than most skills nevertheless”

    Mitjue spoke careless and almost heartlessly.

    You chose to teach me even though you know I would suffer imagination?!”
    I said I overlooked” came a thin reply, and her teacher turned crafty, “Look, you just accepted what I offered without a question asked. You being a natural female disciple and I never thought your origin would come to clash with our sect's acme skill. Such transformation certainly never happened to others under my tutelage” (Author's note : if it doesn't make sense to you readers, never mind. Stop your logic brain working in my piece of fiction)

    Yuyan was disappointed, with herself and with her teacher. Herself for being a fool and her teacher for being perverse. All her past deeds with or for her teacher, now misdeeds came stumbling down like crashing tons. She is beyond redemption, too far sinned and too deeply possessed. At that precise moment Yuyan changed, she is a demon(ess). Loyalty and piety to Mitjue are merely her devilish gestures in return for a secrecy. A demon's calling is evil, and evil loves cruelty.

    Yan er, before I overlook again, listen to me now. You must feed yourself constantly and privately. Don't wait or you would have to undergo such demonic transformation again. I have to say, by the way, it was appalling sight. No transformation means your secret is safe. None would know your ugliness, and in all eyes you are still a divine fairy”

    She kept her anger in check. It would be folly indeed to display any more weakness in this woman. Mitjue approached her easily taking latter hands into her own and continued as though the most natural conversation,“Yan er, I know how you felt but see the bright side, you are well trained and all grown up. I am not ashamed of your demon within you, only proud of to see you able to contain it. Your beauty remained undiminished. It was only a small sacrifice”

    Still the anger was there and refused to go away.

    The others already knew and saw” her own voice soft, and chilling even to Mitjue's own devious ears.
    What do you want to do about it?” Again, the strange glints and gleeful sparks. Her voice serene, too serene to be considered kind or true.

    It was diabolical indulgence from Mitjue's part, It was maniac thing to do on Yuyan's side.

    I want to kill them all”
    Then do it” came the answer.

    The disciple went for her killing spree. The teacher went away laughing in exhilaration.

    Yuyan wiped her silent tears away. Meeting the heir Yang Guo unexpectedly, it brought feelings of regret and remorse. Such feelings had her longing quietly for home and past. How she wishes being a maiden in human form once more, instead of The White Demon that existed in her for eternity.


    Sneak Preview CHAPTER 7 – STAR, WIND AND CLOUD

    “Who is she to you?”
    “That is none of your business!” Guo Jing snapped at her.
    “Hee hee!! Do you know you are cute when angry”

    Guo Jing ignored her.

    “Guo Jing”
    “I like you”

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2007



    Ren Ying Ying's step came to an abrupt halt, almost knocking into Yang Guo who stopped without warning. Yang Kang and Guo Jing stopped almost identically and they moved circling her in a protective and defensive manner. Their expressions alert and Yang Guo called out, “Gentlemen, whoever or whatever you are, just come out”

    Silent, but windy in a sense of spiritual rather than natural.

    “I prefer a challenging game, not a cowardly play” Yang Kang's cutting tone rang out.

    The sky dimmed, and the wind seemed to double its strength. Day light is replaced by a gloomy atmosphere, caused by an approaching dark cloud. Suddenly two men materialized before them as though they stepped through an invisible barrier. If not an invisible barrier, they must appeared by magic then. One dressed all in white, even his skin is fair. The other dressed all in black, and his being is tanned. The fair one seemed feminine at first glance but at the second look, he very much carried a man's sharp features with an impressive height. His comrade is slightly taller and broader, a masculinity that represent every meaning of an alpha male. They don't look at all friendly at all and both eyed Ying Ying in a sort of hunger that Yang Guo said, “Gentlemen, where is your manner? By the way, Yang Guo from The Kingdom, greetings to you”
    “Yang Kang”
    “Guo Jing”

    The two seemed to wait for the lady, but she merely ignored them and stubbornly looked elsewhere. Maybe rude of her but they weren't polite to her either or to her company in the first place. You know, for men to admire women is a fine and natural thing to do but leering are provoking and despicable. Such meeting could and would, led to fighting sooner or later and it proves to be sooner than expected. What happened was the dark one stepped forward to reach out for Ying Ying who jerked back, right into Guo Jing's arm that held her instantly. Yang Guo blocked his intent with a warning gesture of strength and the latter retaliated with aggressiveness. The white one broke in to support his comrade, only to be intercepted by Yang Kang who joined his cousin in the battles of stroke and skill.

    Meantime, Guo Jing pull Ying Ying to a safer place as the fighting turned fiery. He didn't joined his friends because it is unfair to have three against two. They watched together as violence took over the fiery fight. Stroke replaced by raging force and skill represented by tempestuous power. Yang Guo's “Art of negation” clashed with “Cloud” and Yang Kang's “Dragon Palm” met with “Wind”. The combination power of the cousins are strong to overcome the force of “Storm”. The confrontation was so explosive that even nature took part to rock the place. The lightning struck non stopping and the thunder went on deafeningly. The battle ground becomes wet land when rain crashing in. By ability and attainment in martial skills, obviously the cousins edged the duo but the latter make up in artful display and crafty feat, which tested all their speed, agility and might. One explosive display after another, the ground cracked first followed by a roaring atmosphere.

    Meanwhile, star comes out to play during the storm.


    A feminine figure stepped unexpectedly out from nowhere and caught unprepared, Guo Jing couldn't react at first. He even forgotten all about the others. She looked coquettish and her entire dressing is far too revealing in Guo Jing's eyes, or for his taste. She is certainly young and beautiful, but in the wrong kind of way, if you know what that means. Other men might finds her alluring and seductive, but Guo Jing could only pitied such exposure or degradation.

    “Hi” she greeted him by the way of greeting.
    “Who are you, what do you want?” Guo Jing asked cautiously, then remembered Ying Ying and gestured her to stand behind him to which she complied wisely. He heard an explosion, and the next and immediately on his guard. The newcomer might be cohort of duo, she might not but definitely not a friend of his or the cousins. Her fashion is too outrageous for The Kingdom, even the servicing ladies of the town or waiting women of the harem do not striking wear low cut and bare back in such colorful manner.

    “Do you know it is rude to ask a lady such a question without introducing yourself first?”

    Flashes of lightnings reflected on them and sounds of thunders echoed in their ears but she hardly noticed. Her eyes on him, as though devouring him and Guo Jing glanced at the fights briefly before looking at her again.

    “Guo Jing, greetings to you, miss”
    “My name Huang Rong, you can call me Rong er”
    “Miss Huang, what do you want?”

    She seemed displeased when he addressed her as such instead of intimately.

    “I was just passing by when I came across...” she make a brief glance too, and turned back, “... fightings” only then her eyes moved behind him and her expression changed. Without warning or reason, she lifted both hands and her nails stretched out. Long growing and powerful nails, equivalent to talons and claws, scratching out. Guo Jing was alerted the moment she moved, but the target wasn't him. Ying Ying avoided the attack by leaping away quickly. Huang Rong went after her but Guo Jing intercepted halfway and they exchanged a couple of heavy blows. He is strong, she is swift. His stroke is steady, hers is firm. Ying Ying knew she isn't Huang Rong's match should the latter decided to tear her apart. It is so easy to understand jealousy and read envy. What she don't get is, why?

    Huang Rong managed to break away from Guo Jing whom she has no desire to fight, but her focus is Ying Ying whom she took an instant dislike. The attacking style and her speed are deadly, and Ying Ying realized she is in peril from someone of her own age and size. But does age mark any significance? Or does size really matter?? The answer is Ren Ying Ying stood ready and brave entirely on her own. The slicing grip and crushing grab ended up empty handed, “Oh, she actually dodged me, but hey such mediocre skill she has is nothing” and Huang Rong about to launch a new attack when Guo Jing stood in front of Ying Ying once more, “Stop!” he told her sharply.

    “Who is she to you?”
    “That is none of your business!” Guo Jing snapped at her.
    “Hee hee!! Do you know you are cute when angry”

    Guo Jing ignored her. In any event, another explosion make an answer impossible to hear. The rain only make things worst and disaster comes in the form of her dressing. He kept his eyes firmly from wandering.

    “Guo Jing”
    “I like you”

    He was speechless. Ying Ying shivered under the pouring rain.

    “Do you like me?”
    “What do you want?”
    “One, get that menace out of the picture. Two, to replace her in your life of course”
    “I have to tell you won't succeed”

    Her expression underwent a spasm, and suddenly she looked like an evil witch. An evil witch she does become, Both her hands now seemed melting and the rough process emitting poisonous substances. Her coarse demeanor went from one feature to the next, each one getting discolored and more repulsive than before. It is saddening to see such waste of talents, talents where one could improves and accomplishes under the right tutelage instead of mastering wrong cultivation. Sorrow, indeed to witness such beauty and youth to commit gross act or deed, instead of following a proper path to martial skills or field.

    Her transformation completed and Huang Rong charged leaving him no choice but to confront her. Just as the cousins met the charging “storm” for another explosive display, Guo Jing comes to meet Huang Rong face to face, she spread her “poison” viciously and he formed “hermitage” to defend. Ying Ying watched in horror as hell hath no fury like a woman scorned. The two fought at a close range.


    Yang Guo and Yang Kang are more powerful than Wind and Cloud respectively, but the latter are a force not easily subdued, and the final explosive impact had the four thrown off balance. The cousins landed on their feet, staggering. Wind and Cloud hits the ground, rolling. A lone man flew out of nowhere, his movement is smooth and skillful, pointing his blade towards the fallen duo menacingly, who recovered enough to stand on their feet and make a speedy leap to vanish from the scene. Since Wind receded, the rain stopped. Cloud is gone so the sun is coming out.

    The man landed on his feet, and didn't pursue his targets for he was distracted by another scene, a kissing scene. At the same time, the cousins shifted their attention from the newcomer to the same distracting scene.

    Guo Jing could feel the poison entered his body, and he did his best to stop the poison from spreading by channeling all his energies forwards. He underestimated her and didn't utilized his “hermitage” to ward her off. Now he cursed himself for playing too much of a gentleman. By doing so, he lacked focus on the physical side of the fight. Angry she might be at him, Huang Rong didn't hate him to harm. Upon the tell tale sign on his skin, she knew his resistance is weak against her poison. So Huang Rong needs to cast him off her poison and to do that, she took the fastest route, or perhaps the advantageous way. Noticing his lack of focus in their fight seizing the first opportunity there is, she covered his with hers, and sucked hard. The evil witch was gone and in her place, a maiden openly kissed her man for all to see.

    Shocked, Guo Jing could only stand still. Stunned, the spectators could only do to witness a taboo. When he felt his strength returning and she is getting bit passionate, Guo Jing pushed her away disgustedly and the entire process disturbed. Huang Rong spat blood, and staggered. Their eyes met, his disgust turned realization when she whispered, “I removed the poison from your body and this is how you treat me?!”

    Before he could reply, she swung and vanished. It was then, he noticed the weather and realized his being the center of attention. Guo Jing looked at Ying Ying who, dared not to meet his eyes. He turned to see the cousins staring at him uneasily. Then he saw the newcomer, who smiled hesitantly at first, then gestured at him and the cousins.

    “Greetings, Lu Xiao Feng”

    Pugilist Lu has an easy manner, and the neatness of a gentleman. He has the airs of wealth and free spirit. Good looking too, but in a common way.

    “Yang Guo, greetings to you too, Pugilist Lu”
    “Yang Kang, greetings. I heard of you, Pugilist Lu”
    “Yang ....! Oh, my lords! Pardon me!!” Lu about to observe protocol.
    “No, please dispense with the ceremony!” Yang Guo stopped him and Yang Kang said, “Just call us by our names will do”
    “Well, if you insists”

    The three turned to Guo Jing who speak briefly, “Guo Jing” and they could see he is not in top condition. He didn't even perform his heating element to dry his drenched state. His skin lost some colors and his features were pale.

    “Jing...” Yang Guo rushed forward, followed by Yang Kang and Lu.
    “Don't...! No, see to Miss Ren, I am fine”
    “At least let me check your pulse”
    “Jing, please” Yang Guo said in his firm tone and Guo Jing allowed him to take his wrist.

    Yang Kang went over to Ying Ying who said, “I am fine but I think Guo Jing is going to be sick”

    He nodded, but didn't say anything and took her hand. Despite the sun coming out, she is still cold. Yang Kang channeled some energy to warm her up, then removed his cloak and wrapped around her before leading her forward to the other three men, now grouped together.

    “The two men, Bu Jing Yun and Nie Feng injured my friend. I have been tracking them for some time, and today I heard fightings and came to check. So, imagine my surprise or luck when I saw what happened. I thought I could have a showdown but.... ” Lu stopped at this stage.
    “Bu Jing Yun and Nie Feng? Cloud and Wind respectively??” asked Yang Kang.
    “Their nicknames, yes. They are from the Yang Realm and what their real intention here, no one knows for sure” Lu then looked at Guo Jing, “Star Deity”
    “The lady, she is known as Star Deity and she is from the Yin Realm. There were rumors that she is a messenger from Star Sect, thus her nickname. I saw her once but I was pursuing other matter and didn't come this close. Her appearance so far caused stirs, but raised no alarm. Oh, by the way, how you ended up with her like that?”

    The three men didn't know about the fight, they only saw the kiss. Only Ying Ying has an idea but it was too delicate subject for a lady to bring up personally. Guo Jing didn't say anything but the cousins in order to cover Guo Jing's uncomfortable silence, began to ask Lu question after question.

    “Pugilist Lu, could you tell us more about the situation in the pugilist circle”
    “What do you want to know most?”
    “For the time being, Wind and Cloud are the most menacing from the Yang Realm. As for Yin Realm, you saw Star Deity just now. Another is Divine Fairy. She is more notorious than Star Deity”
    “How notorious and why famous?”
    “I heard of her cruelty and evilness but never saw her, nor witness her atrocities with my own eyes”
    “Is that all?”
    “The Kingdom is a vast place. We pugilists travel widely and afar, news don't come easy with distances, mountains, lakes and borders separating all of us. By the time reaches us, either too late or just rumors. That is all I could tell for I only came across Bu Jing Yun and Nie Feng to date, and of course Star Deity. If it were not because of my friend, I wouldn't have bother tracking the two men. On a more recent cases, there were mentions about vampire and demon but the officers never caught anything except finding bodies. I myself is intrigue by such mysteries but it is not my nature to go after something creepy”

    After a short silence, Lu said to Yang Guo “It is good to know a man of your caliber to take over The Kingdom in future, and to know the heir personally set out to know about states and affairs”
    “No body knows what going to happen in future” replied Yang Guo smilingly.
    “Whatever happens, I am glad to make your acquaintance” Lu gestured, and they returned it. Turning to Ying Ying, Lu said, “Miss, I have yet to hear you speak, and may I so, by knowing your name”

    He turned rogue all the sudden, but in a good nature way to which she took no offense.

    “Ren Ying Ying”
    “Ah, such a mesmerizing name”
    “Pugilist Lu, we hope to reach home soon and I believe you have matters to pursue” Guo Jing broke his silence.
    “Yes, Guo Jing is right” Yang Guo once again came to his friend's cover.
    “Pugilist Lu, I hope we meet again in a better circumstances” Yang Kang said, proving a stronger cover that comes with a parting.

    If the lady is taken, Lu Xiao Feng respected that. He knows, and has enough women in his life. He is not the settling type, and he is not looking for domestic comfort either.

    “Farewell, gentlemen, Ms Ren”
    “Farewell, pugilist Lu”


    “Jing, you have been poisoned!” Yang Guo said.
    “I know, she did it and then ki... ah, tried to remove them”

    Now, that explained the kiss and he is grateful that Yang Guo decided not to pursue the matter further, at least for now. If the heir is to let his friend off, Yang Kang the spare could afford to do the same.

    “Guo Jing, I am sorry” Ying Ying said softly.
    “What is there for you to sorry about” Guo Jing asked looking at her.
    “First I caused my family's demise, then Duan Yu was injured saving me. Just now, the poison was meant for me, but you ended up taking it. Seems like I am bad luck. Perhaps we should part way for I have no wish to cause people more harm”
    “Ms Ren, Duan Yu would have save anyone or anybody and it happened to be you. We do the same and I rather have all your bad luck than leaving you alone and unprotected” Yang Guo said.
    “I don't believe in bad luck and I think you are more perfect than most women I know” Yang Kang said.

    With both men openly displayed their gallantry, Guo Jing looked elsewhere. The cousins saw his grim expression but didn't comment. What is there between Ying Ying and Duan Yu, they are not sure. What is going to happen between Guo Jing and Ying Ying during Duan Yu's absence, they dare not to conjecture.



    Sneak Preview

    “Is that your order, siren, just to tail after me?” YuYan said.
    “My order, divine fairy, is to kill you” ZhiRuo replied.
    “What stopping you?”
    “Wang YuYan, today you are doomed!”


    “What are you doing here?!”
    “Do you honestly think the physician will be able to help you?”
    “I managed, I do not need anyone's help”
    “Guo Jing, do not attempt anything stupid!”
    “Miss Huang, please leave at once. You are not welcome here!”
    “If the remaining poison in your body one more day, you are doomed!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2007



    News of the trio's return quickly spread throughout the palace and within the news, words traveled faster still that the heir, the spare and the friend returned with a young maiden in tow. Yang Guo and Yang Kang went to see their parents and elders to explain the circumstances. Guo Jing was left with the task of showing Ying Ying her new home and his next job is to make an introduction.

    “Ms Ren, this is Guo Fu, my cousin sister and she is in charge of the palace's west household. She will see to your room and other need. Fu er, I trust you to see to Ms Ren's comforts”

    Guo Fu is the cousin of Guo Jing, and together with her younger sister Guo Xiang, the two siblings are the palace beauties. The Guos' families do not hold any title(s) in The Kingdom but they are all members and subjects of the court according to hierarchy and ancestry. Guo Fu is ambitious and has eyes on Yang Kang but he never show any indication of settling down despite her efforts to please him, nor other women attempts to trap him into matrimony.

    “Ms Guo, greetings” Ying Ying bowed. Although commoner, she is polite and has manner.
    “Ms Ren, welcome” Guo Fu said. Her grace is skillfully trained, and her elegance is fashionably established.
    “I leave you two, so please excuse me” Guo Jing addressed them but his eyes on Ying Ying who smiled gratefully, “Guo Jing, thank you”

    Guo Fu read his body language and saw Ying Ying is oblivious to Guo Jing's signal. After he left them, and seeing she is not much a rival now, Guo Fu treated Ying Ying considerably warmer.

    “Just call me Guo Fu will do. We are about the same age”
    “If you will call me Ying Ying”


    Dinner at the palace is a banquet affair. The first family presides on the high tables followed by nobles and kins sitting in rows according to their ranks and status. Next are members and subjects of the court. The ladies in waiting and women of harem are the lowest and they sat slightly apart, but they are not at all isolated for many of them have titled companions and noble confidantes.

    When Guo Fu entered with Ying Ying, all voices stopped and Ying Ying, who never witnessed such grandeur, blinked at the wonder of luxury and extravagance. The spectators and watchers meanwhile, never saw such splendor of a maiden's beauty and youth displayed in the most simplest and common way. Guo Fu, in order to distinguish the rank between a well bred and a low born, dressed her in old robe with cheap accessories. But where she lacks in quantity Ying Ying sparks in quality. You see, a woman can never have beauty and grace, charm and elegance, virtue and innocence, establishment and accomplishment, all in that order united. Guo Fu is a very beautiful woman, but her make up and decorated beauty are nothing compared to the glow of nature and the color of purity. Beauty and exquisiteness are something universally admired and desired, but they comes in many forms. Guo Fu has her accessories and is based on her sophistication but Ren Ying Ying is unique and is judged by her originality. They are enchanting factors, and esteeming elements that boost one's value and worth. The neatness of health is another worthy dose added to one's constitution and composition.

    In the midst of silence, Yang Kang stood up and walked towards the ladies and whispers started to go round discreetly. When he reached them, all eyes and ears are wide opened ready to see and hear him.

    “I take over from here. You may take your seat”

    Guo Fu is sorely disappointed and upset, but she skillfully masked her reaction by bowing demurely, then walked docilely to her place. Yang Kang gestured to take Ying Ying's hand, but she seemed embarrassed now that the whispers beginning to rise to an uncomfortable level. He saw the highlight of her cheeks has nothing to do with red powder.

    “It is alright. The lord and lady wishes to meet you. It is only proper since you are new here. Yang Guo will introduce you then, I am merely to escort you there” Yang Kang gave her a solemn smile and she relaxed at the serious tone. Among the three, he has a calming effect on her and tonight, he seemed more distinguished than before. She returned his smile with a radiant one, and willingly put her hand in his. To onlookers, it was like an opening scene of a maiden accepting the knight. Nothing suggested he is her champion yet, nor any of their intimacy, but the couple carried so much familiarity and compatibility that produce an agreeable chemistry. Yang Kang stands nothing to lose by choosing a commoner as his companion, and Ying Ying has everything to gain, even without an official title. A union between them is passable and Yang Kang has come to an age and privilege where he could make marriage possible if he wanted to. Their scene came to a close when Yang Guo perfectly took over, breaking the picture of the pair. The voices and whispers died down, having no fuel to light the fire. The heir's reputation must not be speculated, nor flamed.

    Guo Xiang leaned over to whisper to her sister Guo Fu's ear, “You knew long ago he is not interested in palace women or court ladies”

    Years younger, Guo Xiang has the maturity and understanding that Guo Fu failed to possess. Although different in personality and character, the siblings are able to keep their peace most probably due to Guo Xiang less of sophistication and lack of ambition. Such points are a bonus, you know, for it able to keep jealousy and envy away among siblings and within genders. Informal but well presented, the younger girl is the prettiest in her generation. Her nature is friendly and playful which makes her an adorable person.

    “He is not married yet”
    “So is the Lord Yang Guo, why him when the heir is a better catch?”

    Guo Fu looked at her sister, and Guo Xiang thought she caught a hint of sadness there but it was gone quickly so she must be mistaken.

    “Xiang er, there is a list of foreign princesses waiting for his proposal and a harem of consorts ready for his selection. If Yang Kang is no easy catch, then it must be much harder still to snare the Lord Yang Guo”

    What Guo Fu didn't say is her name was eliminated during the selection. Meanwhile, Yang Guo introduced Ying Ying to his parents. Since there were no scandalous news about the lady, the lord and the lady of The Kingdom received her kindly. Since she is under the protection of the heir, the elders and nobles accepted and acknowledged her without a question asked or raised.

    Meantime, Yang Kang's eyes searched for Guo Jing, who sat with his relatives. He drank alone and ate quietly, which is rather unusual of him. But Yang Kang knew Guo Jing neither jealous nor seething for the latter understood long ago that there will be no rivalry or discord among them. His gestures towards Ying Ying were courtly manner and protocol call. He looked at Yang Guo, who caught his eyes and the latter nodded in an unspoken agreement. The dinner went on, followed by dances and entertainments. Ying Ying enjoyed herself very much and make some new friends, among them is Guo Xiang whom she found more pleasing and sincere than her sister Guo Fu. When Guo Jing silently make his exit, the cousins excused themselves for the night and followed him.


    “What are you two following me for?”
    “Jing, have you seen the physician?” Yang Guo said without beating the bush.
    “No, there is no need”
    “Jing, for a well learned man, you are extremely being stupid now” Yang Kang never minced his words.
    “Look, I managed to control the remaining poison. She already removed most of the dangerous ones”
    “Why the attack?”
    “I heard Ms Ren said the poison meant for her”

    They will come to him sooner or later so might as well be now.

    “I don't know why she attacked us in the first place” he answered not so truthfully. The fact was he is doesn't know want to let the cousins know so much. It just too personal to reveal certain parts.

    The cousins are not stupid men but the matter was rather private, and they suspected that incident involved Ying Ying as well. Yang Guo for his part, unable to question more and saying less for the best because it concerned his best friend Duan Yu who met and known the lady first, now injured and shall be absent for an immeasurable time. As for Yang Kang, he is not a man to complicate friendships or implicating others. If there is to be a case of a love triangle, it has to be conduct with honor and integrity. So after a while Yang Guo said, “I still want you to see the physician”
    “Guys, leave me to deal with it, alright?”
    “Guo Jing, if you do not see the physician by tomorrow afternoon, I drag you by the hair if I have to. For now, I say good night to you, gentlemen” Yang Kang went away, leaving his cousin to speak with Guo Jing privately.
    “Jing, I am not underestimating you but just wanting an assurance from the physician. I believed you heard what Kang said, and you do know he is a man of every word and extreme deed, don't you? Good night, my friend”


    Since her nightmare, Wang YuYan has been unsettled and her every instinct told her to leave. The demon in her screamed, “Leave now before it is too late!”

    A wake up call?

    And so Wang YuYan found herself back in The Kingdom. The last time she was here were eliminating the monsters. The battle was supposed to be in Yin Realm, but somehow they ended confronting in The Kingdom. And the memory brought back her meeting directly with the person who indirectly caused her childish flight, then outcome plight and now inner fight.

    Forget him....!
    He is the one....

    A tiny sound distracted her train of thoughts and the demon within her. And as one, she just knew exactly who and what going to happen before she actually saw the siren...

    “Is that your order, siren, just to tail after me?” YuYan said.

    A laughter rang out and a figure materializing from somewhere before fully revealed her true form.

    “My order, divine fairy, is to kill you” ZhiRuo replied.

    “What stopping you?”

    The siren never plays it fair, and from the other angles - a sprite, a banshee and a succubus make their presences felt.

    “My friends wished to join me”
    “Cowards, you mean”

    There were angry wails and furious screams to send the place echoed eerily.

    “Wang YuYan, today you are doomed!”
    “That time, I only accepted your challenge so this time, let brings it on”

    The divine fairy's transformation was complete, and the white demon is unleashed. The confrontation were hair raising.


    Guo Jing was meditating when he was disturbed by a gush of wind that seeped through his window. He jerked alerted and jumped up when he saw who stood in the middle of his chamber!

    “What are you doing here?!”
    “I want to finish where we started” came her rather suggestive tone.

    She might refer the fight or the kiss, but he chose to understand the fight.

    “I have no wish to fight with you. Please go”
    “Neither am I but I will not go until the poison is removed from you”
    “I will have my physician to do it for me”
    “Do you honestly think the physician will be able to help you?”
    “If he cannot, I can and will do it myself”
    “Who do you think you are, able to remove my poison? Even the great Ou Yangfeng unable to neutralize it!”

    Guo Jing stared at her. Huang Rong looked smug, has all the brashness and rashness in her.

    “Guo Jing, let me help you. I want to save you, not harm” her tone turned persuasive and seductive.
    “I managed, I do not need anyone's help” came his firm reply.

    She reached out, and he reacted by warding her off. By doing so, he disturbed his earlier meditation state and the poison staged an alarm. He channeled his energy to seal his points to prevent the spreads.

    “Guo Jing, do not attempt anything stupid!”
    “Miss Huang, please leave at once. You are not welcome here!”
    “If the remaining poison in your body one more day, you are doomed!

    She reached out again, this time her palm targeting his and Guo Jing, already learned his lesson, refused to play gentleman again. His palm met hers, and she was pushed back violently by his “gloom”.
    Startled, and disorientated, Huang Rong threw Guo Jing a surprising question, “You trained under the Solitude Swordsman?”

    He doesn't feel like answering her and Huang Rong reacted by attacking whoever comes calling. Guo Jing's maid got a shock in her life when a stranger charged at her from her master's. She gasped fearfully and then stunned, when Guo Jing intercepted from nowhere with a stinging sound of slapping and the stranger cried out in pain.

    “Get out of my sight, and get lost from here! Go back to your Star Sect in Yin Realm, you don't belong here in The Kingdom!” He bellowed expressively.

    Tears in her eyes, and touching her cheek, Huang Rong sniffed, “If Dugu QiuBai is indeed your teacher, then apply your skill “seclusion” to coexist with my poison's “camouflage”. The remains are not dangerous and won't bother you at all after their coexistence completed”

    With that, she took a leap and vanished. He should be happy, but why all the sudden he is so wretched?

    “Master Guo”

    He jumped at the voice, forgetting the maid who still around, witnessing and hearing all.

    “Qing er...., ah! Are you alright?”
    “Uh, yes. Well....”
    “Qing er, can you keep a secret?”
    “You want me to keep quiet of what happened and never to bring it up again?”
    “Will you?”
    “Master, you treated me well all these while and covered my flaws every time. I have no problem keeping this between us”
    “Qing er, thank you”
    “You are welcome, master. So, there reason I am here was to inform you Master Yang Wu Lang has come to the palace and now is with His Lordship”

    Yang Wu Lang is a cousin of Yang Guo and Yang Kang. He has seven male siblings and he is the fifth. He and another two youngest – Yang Liu Lang and Yang Qi Lang respectively and these three brothers get along with the trio famously. But this Yangs' clan are from a family of general and these cousins hardly in court for most of them are covering, and settling at The Kingdom's faraway borders. Yang Wu Lang is based in the central, which the palace is located while Liu Lang and Qi Lang are often covering place to place.

    “Are Guo and Kang there?”
    “Master Yang Guo is currently out but master Yang Kang should be on his way”
    “Thank you, Qing er. I think I see Wu Lang tomorrow for now I need to see to my....” he stopped, and the maid merely bowed, “Anything else, master?”
    “Nothing. Qing er, you may go”


    Yang Guo was standing in place while he let his horse grazing. This place is his secret memory, memory of her. His parents has long ago nagged at his single status, and the vacancy of a bride interested many. His excuses after excuses came in the form of a murdered kin - his late cousin Wei Xiao Boa whose death until today, remained an unsolved mystery, where every clues seemed to hint scandals and intrigues. Before his death, his past has been linked with foul plays and the palace recorded his indecency. Yang Guo is not close to him, but he was still his noble cousin and now deceased. Whether a foul play or his deserving death, the case comes in handy for Yang Guo to delay his matrimony date.


    I want to get to the bottom of things first. This is my first duty and utmost responsibility before coming to power”
    “Boa er's death affected me too, but Guo er, you can follow on the case after marriage and before taking over The Kingdom from your father” His mother reasoned.

    I have no wish for distraction or whatsoever”
    You cannot give me this excuse forever” His father in a way, demanded a resolution.
    Give me three to five years”
    What? That long??”
    Guo er, please spare me and do have pity on the princesses, ladies and maidens”
    Within these years, I will make up my mind and before the five years come to end, I will name my bride and future lady of The Kingdom”


    Yang Guo sighed. He has found her, but his future intended is neither princess nor palace lady. She is not even a maiden from The Kingdom. And from their first meeting, she seemed to dislike him at first sight. She is divine, but it was not her fairy like beauty that caught his eyes and interests. She was the first person who disregard his title, and then dismissed him coolly. His heart, unconquered for so long was pulled, tugged and tagged. It is time to go and Yang Guo went to his horse. As he rode to speed home, the wind slapped past him just like the hours are pressing at him. The whispers of love knows no bound and crossed all borders kept playing in his head and ringing into his ears.

    I will find you!


    Four against one, the confrontation raged for hours. The White Demon is strong and powerful but a case of greater in numbers, so there bound to be injuries and scars.

    “Hey, she is weakening”
    “Heehee Hee Hee!!!”

    The white demon is fading, and Yuyan knelt on knees with her blade as support.

    “Divine Fairy? What so divine about her?”
    “I don't see a fairy, but hairy is all I can tell”
    “Lets us ravish her, then we make sure she rots”

    The four closing in and summoning her whatever strength left, Yuyan leaped up suddenly and flung her blade in a violent circle that the four jerked off to avoid the sharp edge. Taking the advantage of their break, Yuyan sped off the to safety.

    “She won't escape far”
    “Come, let us give a chase”
    “Oh, I love to play chasing game”
    “Let us see who first to claim her virginity”


    Yuyan missed her step and she fell down.


    She sensed their inhumanity coming and she heard humans' footsteps as well.

    “Oh...!” a little girl's voice.
    “Sister, are you hurt? Are you alright, do you need any help?” A boy's voice.

    “Hooo hooooo hoooooo!”
    “hhhm hiiii hmmmmmmm hiiii!”

    The perverted four.

    “Arrghhhhhghhhhh” the innocent children cried and screamed out in fear.

    Yuyan didn't know how she do it, but it happened. She slipped in between the savages and victims, and took the perverse blow on behalf the two. At a distance, she thought she heard a mighty snap but then, she blacked out.



    Sneak Preview

    “I can heal the white demon in you, but to return to humanity is no easy task” the old man said.

    Tears brimming, she sniffed, then sobbed and finally cried.


    “We meet again” Yang Guo gestured.

    Why? Why?? Why???
    Last edited by author; 01-16-08 at 09:16 PM.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2007



    A lout was on his way out to seek pleasures, after beating his wife who refused to give him money and hitting his children when they cried in protest. The white demon is looking for new flesh and fresh blood when it saw the domestic abuse. The lout was never allowed to live to repeat his crime.

    Bandits raped and killed, and the next day, their bodies were mutilated and decapitated outside the village borders.

    Some people lives, only to make others miserable and one by one, these crappy peoples vanished without a trace. A number of travelers, are criminals in disguise. Sooner or later, they too disappeared without a word.

    Men and women who committing vices and sins openly or otherwise, eventually they were never seen or heard again. Not even their bones found, or any ashes left to speak for the dead.

    The ones who bullies and insults the weak and the poor, passed away without knowing what the cause, leaving others to justify the means.


    It was her second transformation and out of desperate measure rather than hunger pressure. However, she has already mastered the skills perfectly and this time she coexisted with the demon instead of imaginary, unlike the first time where she was possessed by it. Completely transform, the full force of its evil power has never tested or really tried until now. Her demonic confrontation with these freaks, therefore are no mortal combats but ultimately hair raising.

    The white demon attacked the siren first, who the strongest among four but the three posed interference. Her blade as defense, her white claws and white strands as double attack and the four has to retreat when it formed triple assault. A slight break and the white demon attacked again, with a strength that is inhuman, and the speed of nonhuman that they are forced to back off. However, now and then the siren managed to retaliate by a savage kick and the other three succeeded in their perverse moves. At one point, ZhiRuo injured her target and the hours of fighting and greater numbers proved to be determining factor. The white demon's strength is slowing diminishing but the four still a formidable combination. In her lowest element, the white demon's power is vanishing and the sprite managed to scar the fairy.... At her lowest point, the bleeding and disfigured Yuyan dropped weakly on her knees....


    She is running for her life.... then she fell flat..... death is staring at her face, not fear but sorrow came to her mind..... evil came intertwined with good where the demon and the maiden collides.... darkness versus humanity and the light in her says redeem all wrongs by doing what is right.... Her last strength in the final battle is to come in between viciousness of the four perverts and helplessness of these two children. The cruel blows came and she breathed her last.

    Hanging between life and death, her soul seek return to innocence.... and the Mighty judgment comes in the form of a Snap


    Eyes opened, Yuyan jerked up only to fall back, cried a soundless “oh, ah.....!” as she indeed in pain.

    “Be still!” a male voice bellowed, not angrily but impatiently.

    She went still and mute . Someone is coming and her eyes searched the approaching source. An old man hovered above her, “That was very stupid of you to fight on when you were already lost. You think playing heroine was all about being dead leaving the children to face the infamous four?”

    She opened her mouth to retort but her voice gone so he continued contemptuously, “But stupid people usually the noble one, for the clever ones only know how to cover their hides instead of saving other's skin”

    A weird compliment and an insult in one. Certainly the old man a bizarre character with some kinds of manner. When he spoke again, his tone is strangely cool.

    “I did my best to save your life first and not your other injuries, so you will not be able to speak for sometime until I find a solution to restore your speech. And oh, the children are safe and sound now, if you wants to know”

    Then he went away like the way he came and Yuyan fell asleep unconsciously.


    Yang Guo, Yang Kang and Guo Jing met up with Yang Wu Lang, the fifth son of General Yang who is the sibling of Lord Yang.

    “I heard you brought back a maiden” Wu Lang looked at Yang Guo.
    “Yes” Yang Guo replied briefly.
    “Oh?” came an arching look.
    “Wu Lang, you shouldn't be having ideas” said the ever serious Yang Kang, with a solemn look at his cousin.
    “I am just hoping for an introduction, so you no need to go lofty on me like that”
    “Sooner and later, but not now” Yang Guo said, drinking his tea.
    “Wu Lang, we would like stay and chat longer but actually we are going out again so that introduction have to wait” Yang Kang drank his.
    “Why do I have a feeling you guys are not telling me something?” Wu Lang asked them, then his eyes went to Guo Jing who answered easily, “There are problems recently, and we have tasks to do currently so you have to pardon us for having no time to play jackass or monkeying with you”
    “Troubles?” Joking and fooling aside, Wu Lang is all business now, if the security and peace of The Kingdom is under threat.
    “Arising, but not alarming”
    “We needs allies, and resources all we can seek, and gather. So when the time troubles come, we hope to be well prepared and suffer only the minority.
    “Do you need me?”
    “Wu Lang, you are doing great jobs so please continue on. Let us do ours”
    “And if we do need you, we let you know right away”
    “I don't like being left out, but I supposed I don't have any say in this”
    “Wu Lang, one cannot do and be all in one piece and of places”
    “Alright, alright – I get you. So let us drink to our farewell and until the next time”

    The men drank and Wu Lang took his leave. When he no longer in sight or within ear shot, Yang Kang make a dragging pull at Guo Jing's hair, “Well?”
    “The physician wrote this” he produced a piece of paper and the cousins read the medical report. It was an official sheet, completes with original handwriting and signatory so that was no fake or copied.
    “Pulse seems normal but also strange. Heartbeat is usual but equally strange, what does that means?” Yang Kang demanded impatiently.
    “It means, nothing” Guo Jing took back the piece and patiently removed Yang Kang's hand from his hair “Guys, I am healthy and fit to travel with you two”
    “We travel on horsebacks” Yang Guo said then
    “Hey, I am fine!” Guo Jing protested.
    “Why waste our time, energy and strength when we can have the horses to do it for us?”


    Wind and Cloud returned to Yang Realm and reported their activities and findings to Xiong Ba The Conquerer. Bu Jing Yun reported, “The Kingdom is strong strategically, and structurally located. The lord is a highly competent man and a respected figure. The heir and the spare are well trained and they mastered the best martial skills. The aristocrats and nobles, although not perfect humans are cultured men and civilized women. Their peoples are happy and free. Masters and teachers, leaders and founders, pugilists and commoners got along well, and all generally stands united when comes to matters of The Kingdom. The hermits and sages, although elusive and seclusive does marked their appearances now and then”

    “We came across the lesser kins and low officers, and they can be corrupted if the price offered is right” Nie Feng added.

    “Three Greats are at loggerhead which proves to be our advantage and marking their disadvantage. Two Greats are solitary which neither asset to The Kingdom nor liability to us. The well known ones often roams about and hardly grouped, providing weak links. The talented and celebrated ones are either leaders or founders and busy with own sects and matters. It is not easy, but not that hard either to crack and whack their wall of defenses”
    “The General of Yangs are The Kingdom's pillar of peace and security. We attacked not the borders but creating the trouble from within. Although The Kingdom's pugilism are renowned – ignorance, time distance are their enemies but our perfect allies are planning, chaos and surprise”
    “Even the good old army of the Yangs' arrived on time, much harm already done to The Kingdom”

    “You two succeeded well in stage one. Now, go back to The Kingdom and proceed to stage two”


    “So, is she alive or dead” Mitjue asked.
    “She should be dead for I know. That mighty snap came out from nowhere and killed my friends on the spot. I dodged just in time” ZhiRuo said.
    “And you ran off without a thought of who might died or whom actually survived”

    A siren shouldn't blush in embarrassment or shame, but it happened. Life or thing, can be strange indeed.

    “It was not not like that, but just....”
    “Just? Do continue on, Ruo er”
    “There seemed to be a great presence.... an invisible source.... I can't really explain the force behind. It has power to suffocate me and I just need to escape at once”
    “Mighty snap.... greatness..... invisibility.... hmmm, let me see.... and think.....”

    Mitjue stood up, and then concluded, “It must be Huang Yao Shi whose nickname is The Heretic Healer. He is famed for his “Mighty Snap” and trademark presence is - now you see him, then you don't or vice versa - from what you describe of the experiencing scene, it fits him”

    “Huang Yaoshi?!” Zhiruo jerked at the name, “One of the five greats in The Kingdom?!”
    “Fear not. He will not come after you, unless you carried a precious sword or possessed a treasured sabre. I have a new task for you. Are you up to it?”
    “If it is just to create more troubles, it should be no problem”
    “Exactly thats what I want you to do”


    Yuyan looked at her image in the mirror.... her black strands messed with the white streaks. Her face is pale and her beauty no more. The white streaks remained due to premature lost in the battle and her face scarred during the four against one attack.

    Someone came in, carrying a tray of uncooked meat and she smell the drink is mixed blood – chicken's, to be precise. The old man put the tray down and he said coldly, “This is all I can come up with”

    She looked at him, “how do you know?”

    As though heard her, he replied “I am a healer. I detected all the wrongs in you physically, biologically and elementally”

    Will you help me? Can I be saved?”

    “I do not why you become such evil in the first place, but there was a redeeming quality about you as well. Earlier, I managed to trace your origin so I will try my best to control the demon within and with passing time, I hope you learn to live like a mortal again”

    Yuyan reached out for the water, but instead of drinking it, she dipped her finger to wet it, then drawing out, started to write something on the table - I was tricked into becoming a demon -

    The old man read it and looked at her, searching truth and seeking fact. What he saw, she didn't know and won't ask. He kept quiet for some time and she didn't write more. She begged once, and she paid a heavy price for it. After a long silence between them, he stood up abruptly without facing her.

    “I can heal the white demon in you, but to return to humanity is no easy task” the old man said.

    She stared at him, unblinking and all ears. He knew he gave her hope and with her looking at him like, he wants to test something out, but good for her or bad of him, he himself does not know.

    “The white demon has ravaged all your systems – like a parasites. Cannibalism has mostly destroyed your mortal elements – like drugs. It takes time for me to bring back all the positive elements back into the body systems and removed all the negative intakes that you have been consuming and abusing all these while. However, that a small matter. The only flaw in my plan is your diet”

    He turned to face her again, and she expressed a soundless, “go on

    “To subdue the condition, you must eat what I prepared for you. But these are neither proper meals nor natural diets. As a matter of fact, downright gross but that is not all. Let me tell you now that my kind of treatment and this type of diet when combined, will banish your skills and at the cost of your fertility. There is no such thing as free treat or meal. So do you accept the term and agree to this condition?”

    He watched her closely for reaction and she didn't fail him or herself for that matter. Tears brimming, she sniffed, then sobbed and finally cried. Well, he thought, at least she got her voice back. Good for her but too bad for him for it is universally acknowledged, or at least generally known men like him can't stand tears.


    Guo Jing on his way out when Ying Ying on her way in.

    “Ms Ren”
    “Guo Jing, you are going off with the cousins now?”

    A brief silence then, and with a force of bright voice, she said presently “Take care then, and come back safely”

    He seemed to be remembering something and his hand went to seek it - a pair of female's bracelet. He bought it out of whim, meaning to give one to Guo Fu and the other to Guo Xiang. Seeing Ying Ying wearing his cousins' leftover, he decided to give her since the ladies has too much jewelry already. He is not questioning his intent but neither he denied the reason behind it. She looked at the bracelets, then her eyes raised slowly to stare into his.

    “I be honest, I bought for my cousins but it suits you better and I think they won't mind you having them”
    “Guo Jing, your generosity I can repay but this kindness, I simply cannot accept”

    Love cannot be forced, it must be freely given and mutually taken in order to make it last to a lifetime unless either party choose to renege on it. And one must learn to accept and gently retract, in the face of rejection. She never gave him any ideas, and he never started anything with her.

    “Ms Ren, a man should not ask for any repayment for what he voluntarily giving out. I only wishes you to accept it, as a token of our friendship”

    Kind and generous, sincere and genuine, how could a woman refused such a gallant? But her heart belonged to someone else and he cannot take what is already been given out. Fate arranged her to meet another first and unless there is a change of destiny concerning third party, Guo Jing will not play villain in love, nor he a man to covet a woman who has chosen somebody over him. He has done much for her, surely she could return favor by accepting the bracelets.

    “Guo Jing, thank you”
    “You are most welcome, and now I have to say farewell to you, Ms Ren”
    “Ying Ying” She smiled comfortably.
    “Ying Ying” He returned with an easy smile.

    She parted with him happily and joyful to have something new of her own while he went away without regret, having tried his luck, paid his court and done his honor.


    Days later, the trio arrived at valley and they got down from their horses, allowing the animals to graze about.

    “After crossing this hilly parts, we should reach Ming Sect” Yang Kang said.

    Guo Jing nodded and they looked at Yang Guo who seemed to focus on something at a distance.

    “Wait here, I be back shortly”
    “Hey, where are you going”
    “Will you two excuse me for a while?”

    The two stared at him, wondering what gotten into Yang Guo all sudden.

    “Look, I thought I saw someone I know passing by there so I just want to check it on my own. No need to be alarm, alright and I promise I be back shortly. If not, you can come after me if I don't turn up after some time”

    Yang Guo is an adult and not a kid so the two watched the heir took off and saw him disappeared at a distance woods.


    Yuyan was collecting woods. Winter is coming and the more woods she has with her, the warmer she will be. So far she underwent three treatments. Being plain has her feeling more serene than she was looking divine. Eating raw chickens or meats and uncooked fishes tasted better than feeding on a human or sucking blood. And since she is fare poorly in overall being and a scar forever marring her face, this place providing her a sanctuary, sparing her the stares and free from the jeers. With healing as her mean of living, and estrangement to pass time, she is at least, come to peace with her past and finding ease at the present. As for the future, there is no need to workout her mind over something so vague. She has enough white hairs already. In her tranquil musings she didn't hear him until he spoke. She jumped and dropped all the woods she is carrying.

    “We meet again” Yang Guo gestured.

    She blinked confusedly at first, then realized who when he stepped out from the shadows.

    Why they have to meet again?
    Why him, of all peoples and in all places?
    Why life and fate are so cruel when comes to her and concerning him?

    “Sorry, I didn't mean to startle you. Come, I help you with those”

    He stopped and at a closer look, he is startled to see her changed drastically. Her beauty aged and paled from what he last saw of her. A scar damaged her feature that not entirely ugly, but not pretty to look at either. But she is indeed her and love is blind. If all a man interested is beauty, there are so many types and aplenty kinds to choose from. Enough said.

    “Miss Wang”

    He remembered her name but that only serves to pain her more. She sought to keep a distance between.

    “Are you alright?”
    “Why are you here collecting woods in The Kingdom? Shouldn't your home be in Yin Realm?”
    “I am going now”
    “Don't come any closer, Lord Yang”
    “I will not come closer and my name is Yang Guo. But you please stay and listen to what I have got to say”
    “Perhaps this is not the right time or right place since I am in a hurry too, but I would like to see you again in future. May I, therefore, ask you to name a date, time and place?

    She turned to go and got no more than three steps when suddenly he is in front of her. She flinched visibly and jerked in shame. But then she straightened up proudly and faced him fully, with fire of wrath and fury of dare. Now that the spirits but Yang Guo was truly aghast at her changes. What had actually happened to her? She seemed to have been defeated, humiliated and degenerated!

    “What happened after we last met?”
    “Why you disliked me so then, and hate me now?”
    “I don't”
    “Then let me know more of you and lets us meet again in future”
    “If the lady is not willing, a man shouldn't impose himself”

    Yang Guo is jolted and swung around violently, his stance defensive and his gesture protective of her. He saw an old man carrying a sack of roots and bag of fruits, standing not far away. Since when the latter was there and for how long he has been listening? The man's bearing is forbidding and the air surrounding him is dignified. Yet the way he standing and staring, and his dressings showed he has wicked manners. Intruding without greeting is rude but for one who able to do that unnoticed must be of great skill and no boor. A healer's image with heretical means, it dawned him suddenly and Yang Guo gestured, “Are you Elder Huang Yaoshi? Yang Guo, greetings”

    Huang Yaoshi neither returned gesture nor acknowledged the heir. He is at an age and generation where he can afford to bypass gallantry and ignored pleasantry if he feels like it.

    “Being the lord of The Kingdom doesn't mean getting you anything or anybody you want”
    “My father is the lord”
    “Not yet a lord, but already so overbearing?”
    “Elder....” Yang Guo started only to be cut short when Huang Yaoshi sternly said past him, “Let's go” to which she moved away quickly and the two left the place without another word. Yang Guo blinked wondering whether he is dreaming but the fallen woods proved he was seeing her briefly only to have her disappearing again before his own eyes.

    Yang Guo took a step forward but coming voices calling his name. The heir turned back and went to meet his company, without telling what happened and they didn't ask much upon witnessing his bad mood, for the first time in their lives.


    “So he likes you, what about you?”

    She ignored him and sat by herself waiting for her next treatment from him.

    “First time I saw a man of title and status looks so besotted at a woman who appeared like an old hag. Either he got an eyesight problem, or he a mental case. If he is neither, I am very surprised he not at all disgusted with what he saw and actually asked you for a date”

    No doubt Huang Yaoshi has all the insensitiveness and crudeness of a conversation, but he is not all vile or vulgar of him for he knew when and where to stop. As he took his place to begin the next stage of healing process, he said things to her as though he in the state of telling her stories.

    “You might be bald after this and I have shawls for you to cover your head. Layers too if you wish to hide yourself entirely. Why bother to look into the mirror if it pains you? I suggest you stop doing that for what you don't see, you don't know and what you don't know, you won't hurt. No hurt means no more crying. And if you are willing to spare me your tears, I promise togive you something in return when all these done, dealt and delivered.



    Sneak Preview

    “As the pugilistic story goes, whoever possessed them will conquer the realms and dominates the zones. And the secret reveal the weapons' name as Heavenly Sword and Dragon Sabre”

    Last edited by author; 01-21-08 at 12:00 AM.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Nov 2007



    Huang Rong returned to Star Sect, looking pale and tired. Her mistress, the Princess Yao Yue just finished with her announcement when she heard her messenger's steps.

    “Rong er! You are back!”
    “Your highness” she bowed.
    “Oh, you sounded weak. Rong er, what happened” the Princess frowned deeply, but not concernedly.
    “Nothing, your highness. I am merely tired”
    “Well, I understand. Fine, then. Since you are tired I will leave you out of this one”
    “The attack on The Kingdom's palace is to take place soon, together with Xiong Ba. Currently, we are joining forces with Di Shi Tian to massacre The Kingdom's natives”
    “The Conqueror and The Phantom?!”
    “Why such reaction?”

    Huang Rong was born in Yin Realm and grew up in the Star Sect's. As she trained with the members, the girl who is naturally clever and bright person, quickly raised through the rank and once, she succeeded a mission faster than her seniors and was brought to the attention of the Princess Yao Yue. She tested the girl's intellect and skill, and found her competence in mastering poisons and excelling in many ways. As Huang Rong's position being upgraded, and is soon promoted as the Princess's messenger, her character and attitude towards others are rash and brash. As the Princess began to dote on her, Huang Rong became a mean person with malicious tendency. What she likes and dislikes, all have to obey and none dare to oppose her wishes. She used to have all complied and give in to her wants. Guo Jing was the first to refused her, and he is the one she desires but the only man she cannot has. And now the only man she fell in love, or lust – depending on how one looking at it – and wishes to possess is in grave danger. The Kingdom might survived if Star Sect alone launches a surprise attack but it joining the attack with the other two major powers of Yang Realm, The Kingdom is indeed in great perils.

    “N..nothing, your highness. I di... I mean I never knew them to be an ally”
    “I told you that they are in our last meeting”
    “Ah.. uh... I might have ah, forgotten about it”
    “How unlikely of you to forget something as important as such
    “Forgive me, your highness. Maybe I am too tired to think”

    Huang Rong bowed again and Princess Yao Yue decided to let her off for she is has a more important matter to focus rather than to pursue her messenger's blunder. “Rong er, you are forgiven, and you may go now”

    Huang Rong retreated, and she took no more than five steps when the Princess Yao Yue spoke again “Rong er, you do know nothing escapes my attention, don't you?”

    All these while, Huang Rong serves the princess faithfully, never questioned vice or virtue. After all, where and when to draw the line in the first place to one whose origin was already there? But for the first time, Huang Rong wondered whether she should be loyal to Yin Realm or going to the Kingdom's rescue. Loyal to Yin means committing to Star Sect and she has to make an enemy out of Guo Jing but helping him means turning her back against her mistress and home.

    “Your highness, you groomed from nobody to this day. Of course you knew well, more than I know of myself. My strength and weakness, are all at the back of your palm, and foremost in your mind”
    “I am glad we understand each other. Never forget again”
    Yes, your highness”


    Yang Guo in a very bad mood, and he was silent throughout the journey. Yang Kang seeing it for the first time, didn't comment for it will be a bad idea to confront a man at a wrong time and in the wrong place. As for Guo Jing, since his friend never intruded his privacy ever, he decided to return favor by not complaining anything. The three didn't stop until they reached a spot where there seemed to be a recent confrontation. Yang Guo leaped down skillfully followed by the two. Their eyes searched for clues – the cousins are trained to note, read and understand signs – give them a torn or broken piece and they be able to interpret the scene or event, depending the place and condition where the piece to be found. Guo Jing has some knowledges too, but his were limited compared to the heir and spare.

    “A foul fight, or rather gross fights. Attacks came from more than one source. Seemed to involve two children, one gruesome blow and a mighty impact. The surrounding air is still grim despite days passed, so at least one must suffered greatly, if not gravely” Yang Kang the first to speak.
    “These bodies are not from The Kingdom. The children survived from the looks of it and I think someone purposely covered the trails of survivors” Guo Jing added after checking the three decomposed forms and observed the stenched battleground.

    Yang Guo didn't say anything and the two pondered quietly what had actually happened in the woods. Surely the heir is not going to be silent from there to here and all the way to Ming Sect! Something caught his eyes, and Yang Guo went over to pick it up. The two followed him closely and watched him touched, traced and moved over the blade in a strange manner that somewhat a tender gesture. It was uncommon of him to dream, and rarer still, to witness Yang Guo's besotting moment. He is not a man to be easily mesmerized, nor simply to be caught in transfixed. Put a goddess in front of him, and he most likely to admire such ethereally without being spellbound but now he seemed to have smitten by the blade's owner without even meeting or knowing he or she! Now, he couldn't be possessed, or could he? After all, the are myths about spirit of the woods and legends about nymphs and dryads are said to enchant men. And then both jumped when he spoke unexpectedly, “The blade as strong and sharp as the piece but the spirit of the steel evil and cruel. The more powerful the nemesis in a fight, the more destructive the outcome. And the damaging result of the confrontation beyond blood, wound and scar”
    “Finally, you opened your mouth” Yang Kang said, doesn't know whether to be aggrieved or sighed in relief.
    “Guo, are you alright?” Guo Jing couldn't keep himself any longer.

    With a flick of fingering skill and movement from his hand, the blade vanished into his layers of sleeve for keeping. Seeming to recollect himself, Yang Guo said, “Don't worry about me but matters certainly arising from all angles. Things seemed to be gloomier and more damning than I first thought. Come on, let us go”

    The trio left the place and days later, they reached the doorstep of Ming Sect.


    “Yang Guo, greetings to Leader Zhang”
    “Yang Kang, forgive us for dropping in suddenly”
    “Guo Jing, pardon us for this uninvited call”

    Zhang Wuji of Ming Sect is young, so young that he doesn't seem to act and behave befitted a leader. But he got an aura of leadership and humility that charm peoples and outsiders alike. Also, he is handsome, as handsome as any male there could be, rivaled only by the cousins. And he would be one of the most sought after bachelors there is, until he settles down.

    “No, my lords. I should be grateful to receive such worthy visitors to my unworthy place”
    “My name is Yang Guo. There is no need to my lord this or my lord that with us”

    Yang Kang and Guo Jing nodded in agreements, where Guo Jing then added trivially, “I should be the one to call you my lord since you are the leader here”. They laughed and Leader Zhang shook his head in bemusement.

    “Well, if you all insisted” Leader Zhang replied presently and invited all of them to take a sit to which they returned it, gesturing their host to sit first. He complied, and they sat after him.
    “Yes, we insisted and the reason we are here today, is to nurture ties and form allies without all the usual terms and conditions applied”
    “The Kingdom is home to all, and our duties to share its news and developments, staying united as one in time of peace and war”
    “Yes, I agree. And guess what, Leader LingHu of Mount Hua is saying the same thing!”
    “Leader LingHu is here?”
    “Yes, do you know him?”
    “No, but we are going to pay him a visit after this”
    “Well, there is no need. I can ask him to join us here if you wishes it”
    “We definitely wishes it”

    Leader Linghu Chong of Mount Hua is also a young man. And he has a common air of a roaming pugilist rather than a successor of a major sect. He is not as handsome as Leader Zhang but he has a very nice countenance and possessed a rather playful manner. Where he lacks in looks and aspects, he make up impressively in male's height and vital physique. And judging from the eyes of the maids upon his entrance, the young leader is not short of female admirers, nor lack of interested attentions.

    “Linghu Chong of Mount Hua, greetings to my lords”
    “Yang Guo, greetings but do call me my name”
    “Yang Kang, please drop the formality”
    “Guo Jing, I am no mighty lord, merely a man looking for influential friends”

    The moment of merriment and pleasantries passed and the conversation took a more serious turn.

    “The Kingdom is still peaceful, but lately, we can sensed hostilities and atrocities, barbarism and vampirism arising”
    “Barbarism I can imagine, but do you really believe vampirism existed?”
    “Not true vampire, but some demonic cultivation that appears like vampirism”
    “Do you know who, or what cult behind them?”
    “Not our own pugilists, that I am certain”
    “Some of us may be wayward and eccentric, but I am sure they won't stoop so low to become the slave of evil. And I am sure most are too proud to play the devil's assistant”
    “What about being and playing the Devil himself?”
    “Pugilism is all about being gallantry and chivalry, freedom and independence, knowledge and enlightenment, not vice versa. The Kingdom's pugilists might vied with each other in order to become number one, they have not yet reaching the level where they killed the young and murdered the innocent in order to achieve superiority skills over one another”
    “Also, one cannot kills and simply murders without being caught. Strong possibilities they escaped home after committing crimes in The Kingdom”
    “Plus, the victims of killings and murders didn't just ended or turned up dead, but in the worst fate beyond mention. We in The Kingdom do not worship pagans or living like cannibals.
    “Indeed, there is no answer to the question, merely pointing all fingers at the Realms and the Zones. On our way here, we came across an appalling sight. And it seems, the members of realms or creatures among the zones are at loggerheads too”

    Yang Guo then stood up drawing all eyes to him, “There is no denying good and evil are a balance throughout this universe and in The Kingdom. It pains me to know evil dominates and triumphs all the time, mostly at the expenses of the weak and and upon the lives of the helpless. If only there is no kindness in the first place, then evil wouldn't have chance to preside over all these”
    “Guo, if there is no evil to preside, then there is no kindness to prevail in the end” Yang Kang told him.
    “The Lord is a good ruler and we are happy with his reign. *Steward Yang is a reputed man and we all prospers under his noble administration. General Yang's loyalty and his family's piety to The Kingdom went unquestioned. Compare to foreign lands and faraway territories, The Kingdom is a dream home for us and all that born and bred here. I wouldn't turn my back against any decree that requires my cooperation or submission” Leader Zhang said genuinely with all the allegiances of a patriot.

    * Steward Yang is the father of Yang Kang

    “And if The Kingdom needs me one day, I will not hesitate to give my all” Leader Linghu said with all the valor and honor he possessed.
    “Leader Zhang, Leader Linghu, my utmost admiration and deepest appreciation for your dedications to The Kingdom” Yang Guo gestured to which Yang Kang and Guo Jing followed suit.
    “Call me Wuji, we are actually about the same age. And the admiration and appreciation should be mine, to have the heir and the spare personally going rounds conducting duties in the name of visiting and forming acquaintances”
    “Addressing me as Chong will do. Yes, it is indeed comforting and satisfying knowledge that you cares for home and looks after peoples. Renowned too, in martial feats”
    “Yes, we received news from pugilist Hua Man Lou who got to know this fact from his friend Pugilist Lu Xiao Feng, whom we believed you had met before this”
    “We received some other news too from Pugilist Hua. Whether true or fake, we do not know”
    “There are mentions about a pair of weapon and its' secrets”
    “As the pugilistic story goes, whoever possessed them will conquer the realms and dominates the zones. And the secrets reveal the weapons' name as Heavenly Sword and Dragon Sabre”
    “These weapons existed?”
    “Like I said before, we do not know”
    “Where the story originated. From whom, it started?”
    “From one of the roamers, I believed, and if I am not wrong in assuming it, it should be by traveler Qin Feng”
    “Qin Feng?” the three echoed together.
    “You three knew him personally” Zhang asked.
    “No, but I... , we heard heard his name from my ah, I mean, a reliable source” Guo Jing replied him.
    “A reliable source does not necessary means anything and I happen to know Qin Feng tends to brag a bit, and that is a fact”
    “What else did he say?”
    “That the owner of the Dragon Sabre is to be a woman who looks like a goddess, and she happens to name Dragon Girl”
    “So does he went on saying that the Heavenly Sword belongs to a man who appeared like a god, and is called Heavenly Boy?”
    “No, but a name called Hua Wu Que”
    “Hua Wu Que? Who is he, and which sect he belongs to?”
    “No one knows, not even Qin Feng himself” Zhang answered.
    “I have never heard of Hua Wu Que myself” Linghu replied.
    “I never heard this story before and since has no proper basis in it, I suppose all we can do for now is keeping mental note and reserves it for future use or reference” Yang Kang said.
    “Yes, and oh my goodness! Just look at the hours passed!” Zhang told them.
    “Indeed! You three must be very tired and hungry. Wuji, you are the host here, come on, man! Do you stuff and see to the comforts and needs of these noble visitors” Linghu said to Zhang and it is so obvious for the trio to see that these two men are the best of friends.


    After dinner and parting with Yang Guo and Guo Jing for the night, Yang Kang didn't feel like sleeping so he wandered leisurely at their guests' quarter, away from the main sites. He was passing by a group of male servants when one seemed to bully another watched by the other rest. It is not his place to play middleman, nor to act superior so he just watched on, unnoticed by them. A big bully, and a small victim – not at all a good view or an admirable scene but a petty fight until one tiny and puny servant stepped in between the towering bully and the cowering victim.

    “Stop it! You brute!!”

    And from that moment, Yang Kang stood alerted and ready for the he-man turned out to be a she!

    “Step aside, Zhao! Or I crush you like an ant!!”
    “Little Zhao, don't get involve in this” they said, and one continued on jeeringly, “Lad, you don't have the size and strength to play defending champion for this wimp!”

    And how a bunch of guys could simply mistaken her for being a lad, is beyond him!

    “He didn't do anything wrong, and I will not step or stand aside to see you bullying him!”
    “Brave word, Zhao! And see what you get for playing a hero” the brute lifted his hand and Yang Kang moved swiftly. Zhao saw it coming and about to dodge but suddenly, all heard the movements of muscles being handled. Next, all eyes widened at the sight of Yang Kang's appearance and skill. The stillness of the night is shattered by the impact the bully being thrown off, hitting the wall yards away before falling down hitting the ground. Yang Kang's force, together with that bully's size, cracked the wall and broke some of the floor tiles. The bully groaned in pain, and those who met and knew Yang Kang's before this, quickly do their part. Some went to help him up, and someone gestured apologetically and said placidly, “My lord, please pardon our manners for disturbing you. We are off duty and are going now”

    Yang Kang didn't say anything but his steely looks and grim airs enough to send them off in a hurry. He then turned to the remaining two. The victim said thank you to Little Zhao and gestured to Yang Kang gratefully, before excusing himself to nurse his battered pride in private. Once alone, Zhao gestured at him, “Thank you, Sir, for your timely help”
    “You should know better than playing a man's game” Yang Kang didn't expose her directly but she caught him immediately.
    “Aahhh...!” and quickly turned away to hide her tell tale colors.
    “You should report to Leader Zhang about this so the matter will not have a repeat”

    She faced him, and spoke in a fast tone, “Leader Zhang does not know me, neither I am a member of Ming Sect”
    “So how on earth you ended in here, beauty among beasts?” Yang Kang didn't mean to sound like that but the words just got out before he could put a stop to himself. She blinked at his words, words that belonged only to the upper classes.
    “What I am saying is, you together with them”
    “Ming Sect was looking maids and servants when I have neither work nor money. So it was a timely offer in return for food and shelter”
    “What about your family? And why disguised as a male attendant when you can apply to be a maid? You could have been hurt or come to harm, if I wasn't around to stop him!”
    “I lost my family long ago. And disguising as a male is easier for me to move or going about freely without attracting much attentions and troubles”

    She didn't want to label men unkindly but Yang Kang understood her.“As for just now, I can always dodge for him easily. Not the first time anyway, and let me tell you he is both clumsy and lousy. All he can brag is his size and scaring others with his strength. He is only a brute and not a pugilist like you, Sir”

    He got to admit she has guts and she got nerves. Also, she seems witty and does well as a pretty boy.

    “What is your name?” he asked her.
    “Well, Little Zhao of course” she replied tartly.
    “Your real and full name, please”
    “What is yours?” she asked nonchalantly in return.
    “I asked you first
    “You already heard and knew my callingsnot once, not twice but thrice unless I am very much mistaken. I have yet to know or hear yours

    He could find himself in a danger, danger that often involves between genders.

    “Yang Kang”
    “Yang .... oh, I am sorry, my lord. Please pardon my impertinence” She went down hurriedly, so hurriedly that he cannot stop her on time.
    “No, please get up”

    Since he cannot stop her, he went to pull her up. The moment he touched her, the air surrounding them changed. What he felt, he is not sure but what she experienced was uneasiness. He let go of her and she stepped back uncomfortably. A wall seemed to materialize between them.

    “Just call me Yang Kang will do” He tried to break it down.
    “My name is Zhao Min. Why not this, I shall call you Brother Kang” She tried to bring back warmth into their conversation.

    But the magic has been broken, broken in the sense that if one do not grab the opportunity once presented, he or she will not regain what is lost. He will go away tomorrow on a course of duty while she, probably waiting to seek other opportunity. Their path, unlikely to be crossed again in the near future. Perhaps, never at all.

    “Miss Zhao” he addressed her formally.
    “Yes?” She is not at all surprised by his formality, for Zhao Min at least exposed to the the chivalrous members of pugilism, and their gallant mannerism.

    “Come with me. It doesn't sit well with me with your idea of going around disguising as a male attendant. You may be lucky most of the times, but there are times you could find yourself in an uncomfortable situation or landing into embarrassing moment”
    “If I come with you, it will not be meet either”
    “You can go on as you are, and I shall give you my word now I will not put you through difficulties. You can say I offer you my protection, or I can put you to serve my household, reporting and answering to none except mine directly”

    It is a heavenly offer – alright maybe not heavenly but put it a decent employment, employment she never thought will ever come her way. She is not greedy, neither a high achiever nor social climber but to refuse such term from a man of status will be a very stupid thing to do. Only a simpleton would be rejecting such condition.

    “Brother Kang, I thanked you from the bottom of my heart. I cannot find a word other than gratitude” she bowed, not gracefully but nicely enough.
    “Yang Kang” he said when she looked up again.
    “Does all your servants and maids called you that?”
    “What they called me is none of your concern for now, nor in future for that matter. See to your packing, and be ready tomorrow at the departing hall after breaking fast. I will speak to Leader Zhang personally about you following me, and I will bring to his attention about what had happened and leave him to deal with it. For now, we say good night, Little Zhao”

    He parted with her in a sombre mood.


    The next day, Zhao Min is waiting and when she saw the men coming, Leader Zhang in the midst of sending the guests off. Leader Linghu is staying on and he joined Zhang to see them off. When Yang Kang saw her, he gestured her to come forward which she did.

    “This is the lad I spoke to you about”
    “Little Zhao, I am sorry what you went through last night. If I had known these happenings before, I would have pay more attention to what taking place behind my back. Indeed, I felt sad at your leaving but glad you found a better employment”
    “Leader Zhang, you are a busy man and such fights were just petty. Really, you don't have to look into personally”

    While she talked on, Yang Guo was looking at her and catching Yang Kang's eyes, “He a she!”
    Aye” Yang Kang nodded. Then he turned to Guo Jing who seemed to say, “Leader Zhang is clueless, so are all of them here!
    “When you see Elder Zhang San Feng of Wudang and Leader Chen Jia Luo of Red Society after this, please convey my regards and best wishes” Zhang Wuji's voice broke into their silent musings and Yang Guo replied, “We will and please you do the same should you happens to see, or write to the other members of pugilism”
    “Certainly, though the Head Priestess Li Mochou of Emei likely choose to ignore such acquaintances and correspondences”
    “If she choose to ignore, then we prefer not to impose. In any event, Mt Emei is rather out of our way”
    “True, true”
    “Gentlemen, time to say farewell” Linghu gestured to all.


    “A mustache?!”
    “The pugilists might be clueless when it came to such deception, but where we come from, the peoples are not at all ignorant. Worst, they might think you something wrong somewhere altogether. And I don't mind telling you now there are those who is interested to swing both way”
    “Where do you get it?!”
    “From the horse”
    “I already cleaned it”
    “Still, it sucks!”
    “You know, you might as well dress like a girl instead of pretending to be a boy if the idea of being manlier so abhorrent to you”

    She thought about it for a moment, and then noticing the other two are watching but pretending otherwise, Zhao Min proceeded to put it on“Well, do I look more manly now?”

    It was on the tip of his tongue to say comely, but all he comes up is cute.

    “Yes, cute. Now, do come along, Little Zhao”


    Zhou ZhiRuo kidnapped a young noble from the palace, still in his boyhood and proceeded to torture him. She then left his body hanging inside the residence of Steward Yang.

    Elsewhere, a troop of phantom menace is terrorizing village by village and place to place. Natives lives in fear, and many fled their homes bringing tales of horror and spreading the terrifying news.

    Wind and Cloud went on their rampages, framing Yang Wu Lang, Liu Lang and Qi Lang along the way. They also spread scandalous rumors about Lord Yang and his family.



    Sneak preview.

    “Guo, we have to return now!” Guo Jing said as soon as he read the piece.


    “Your admirer passed by again today” Huang Yaoshi said casually as he took his place behind her.
    “He is not my admirer” Yuyan replied coolly.


    “Guo er, I am to name The Princess Xiang Xiang from Northern Desert as your bride” Lord Yang said.
    “No? What about the Princess Hua Zheng from South? Or do you prefer to have both?”


    “Ying...” Duan Yu mumbled, opening his eyes.
    “About time you wake up” Dugu QiuBai said.
    Last edited by author; 03-07-08 at 02:08 AM.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Nov 2007



    Halfway, they took a break and got down from the horses. Yang Kang offered a hand to Zhao Min, who sat on his horse but the latter simply jumped down like a boy.

    “You should have bought a mare for me from Leader Zhang” she said to Yang Kang in a manner of speaking. “And waiting for you to fall behind all of us?”
    “Hey, I can ride better than some men! How else do you think I went all the way up the Ming Sect, climbing on my two and crawling on my four?”
    “I do not doubt you, only doubting your mare to catch up with my stallion's speed unless he is distracted, and if he is, then we be all delayed by the rituals animal plays.”

    Zhao Min about to retort but one shouldn't be rude towards her benefactor, so she pursed her lips and sulked looking elsewhere. Meantime, Guo Jing and Yang Guo went away for privacy and they each took a different direction. With Yang Kang around, the atmosphere tends to be sombre, if not grim.

    “Do you want to go?” She looked back at him, concerned for his well being. It is part of her job, after all. Steely and overbearing he might be at times, still her employer a man of natural needs and passing motions.
    “I go after one of them comes back”
    “Oy, stop playing gentleman for a moment, will you! I be fine, and this is broad daylight you know!”
    “But I am not fine at all by leaving you all alone and unprotected in the open. Gentleman or no, I don't simply give my word and then performing negligence, you see”

    Again, her retort never came and crossing her arms, she looked away and Yang Kang stared elsewhere. Sometimes, a girl dressed and behaved like a boy can be only two things. Either attracting or disturbing, and he doesn't know whether to find she interesting, or annoying.

    Meanwhile, Guo Jing found a secluded spot and proceeded to mind his own business. A sound of spying movement had him covered himself quickly and suffered a premature moment. Such intrusion of privacy is uncalled for, he hissed out in anger, “Come out now!” His anger turned fury when Star Sect's messenger Huang Rong stepped out from a place that have offered a perfect view of him. Fury became something else he couldn't, and wouldn't want to name out loud but he has to lash out something.

    “What games are you playing at now?!”
    “I was here first, you the one who comes flashing your manhood”

    Guo Jing's fury yet to subside but he has no answer, which making him very pissed off with her. Worst, he blushed all over where she did not once. Wanting and wishing nothing to do with her, he turned away and began to walk off.

    “Guo Jing, wait”

    He ignored her and walked on, only to be stopped by her next words, “Return to the Palace at once, and prepares to go into battles. Major powers are joining forces to attack The Kingdom”
    “How do you know” he asked without turning to face her.
    “I know because I am part of Star Sect, one of the main powers”

    He turned slowly to face her again, and asked quietly, “Why?” and she looked at him at such that he is closing to blush all over again. “Why are you telling me all these? Miss Huang, where is your loyalty lies and what is your intention actually?”
    “I am telling you because I like you very much. My loyalty you can have if only you call me Rong er, and my intention is to be at your side forever if only you allows it” With that, she left him red faced and totally speechless. When he rejoined his company, Yang Kang was not around, leaving Yang Guo to talk with Zhao Min.

    “Jing?” Yang Guo addressed him when he noticed something amiss.
    “I am fine, just the heat” he came out with an excuse only to realize his blunder when Zhao Min sneezed aloud and shivered soon after.
    “Here, put this on” Yang Guo removed his traveling cloak and covered her, his eyes assessing his friend who is both feeling and looking wretched. Yang Kang came back then, and told Zhao Min to go pointing at a direction which is secluded from their eyes but easy for them to see others who spied.
    “It is alright. I am not in need to” she replied.
    “Still a long way, are you sure?” he asked.

    Before she could answer, a pigeon landed smoothly on Guo Jing's shoulder. Though startled, he nevertheless grab hold of the bird and retrieved something from its' leg. All could see it is a piece of small note.

    “Guo, we have to return now!” Guo Jing said as soon as he read the piece. Huang Rong's information proves to be true.
    “Jing, what is it?!”
    “A note of warning from my teacher, evil power uprising and chaos already started. Soon there to be war!”
    “Guo, no time for anything else. Jing is right, we have to return now and at once!”

    His answer is to got onto his horse and sped off leaving the rest to follow hastily. As they hurried home, Yang Guo started to see the result of the warning and suddenness. Hundreds are fleeing and many are suffering, mostly the children and elderly. But he cannot afford to stop seeing to their needs and comforts as he is racing against time and condition. Yang Kang too, saw what happened and Zhao Min could feel the temper and tension building within him. Guo Jing is feeling all worked and stressed up.


    As they passed by the one of the woods, Yang Guo reined his horse to an abrupt stop and the others almost ran into him. Zhao Min bumped hard into Yang Kang, causing her chest flatted against his back. She quickly jerked away but he seemed not at all embarrassed or bothered by it. Instead, he is sounded angry and impatient.

    “Guo, what in The Kingdom's name are you trying to do?!”

    Guo Jing reached out to calm Yang Kang, and together they watched quietly as Yang Guo stared silently at the distance woods, the place where the heir went in there before and then came out strangely. Just as he stopped abruptly, Yang Guo kicked at the rein and the horse sped off as suddenly, leaving the two to stare his back in bewilderments and Zhao Min all confusions.

    Huang Yaoshi was standing in the shadow when the company came speeding and stopped briefly, then passed by quickly. He can sensed the heir saw him, and he also knew the latter would be back one day. He too, could tell battles coming and the approaching wars but he will not waste his time running or escaping from what is inevitable. The old man then went to the place where his patient was recuperating in peace, and waiting for him as usual.

    Wang Yuyan is bald now but her head was covered up neatly and she cleverly fashioned a thin piece to veil half her face. Her scar is fading but still there will be a mark. She lost weight and appeared fragile. Might be sad sights for her but definitely good news to him for such symptoms means weakness and deterioration in a human normal condition, and not sickness or degeneration of a freaking kind.

    “Have you drank that potion I prepared for you?”
    “How do you find it?”
    “It is very bitter”
    “And the semi cooked food?”
    “It was hard and tough but tasty” She looked at him then, and asked, “Does this mean I can drink and eat normally now?”
    “Some of your mortal elements are returning but still a long way to go. You still cannot take in fully cooked meal yet, you threw up the other day, remember?” he reminded her and she lapsed into silence.
    “Do you still have craving for fresh blood and strong addiction for rawness?”

    She is quiet for a long time, and he thought she didn't hear him and about to ask again when she answered softly, “Sometimes”

    He seemed to be in deep thoughts, and then said, “Well, at least you are on a right journey to recovery pattern rather than sinking deeper into the sea of the accursed. By the way, your admirer passed by again today” Huang Yaoshi said casually as he took his place behind her.
    “He is not my admirer” Yuyan replied coolly.
    “He is the hunter then, and a man like him will not stop playing his game until he wins”

    Silence greeted him again, and he continued healing until he felt a sudden tremor in her.

    “What are you doing?!” he asked her sharply, “Do you know it would come to harm if the process went awry?!”
    “I want to go away from here. Please take me away, I do not want to meet him or he seeing me again!” Yuyan said suddenly and she turned to face him in agitation. Caught unexpected and unprepared, he didn't know how to react at first. Slowly, a paternal kind of feeling, or feeling of a bond and affinity overwhelmed him. After spending some time together, little by little he came to know more of her and his initial coldness towards her unholy existence steadily replaced by warmth in return for her origin self. And if she wasn't tricked or misguided in the first place, they would have met under a different circumstances, circumstances where she would make a good martial disciple or an outstanding healer's apprentice. Intelligent but unassuming, fate could have arranged her to be the successor of Huang Yaoshi instead of being The White Demon. Young and lovely, Wang YuYan should be destined to be The Bride of The Kingdom instead of being nicknamed as The Divine Fairy of Yin Realm.

    “The heir is a man of title and status. And he is not one to give up easily”
    “Just take me away where he won't be able to find me soon, and with so many young ladies and beautiful maidens, he will forget me who is ugly and scarred”
    “Listen to me. I can take you away anytime and anywhere, but still he will always find you. Men like him are so used to have many throwing themselves at them, and I believed he has long grown out of it, or bored to death by it. I was young once, and if I am to be in his place, I will choose someone exotic over somebody who has nothing to offer other than beauty and pleasure”
    “I am not exotic. My beauty is gone, and I have no pleasure to offer, only a demonic past” She is not at all embarrassed at their conversation.
    “That is a matter of opinion” He replied archly, and continued without battling an eye, “Sometimes, women with a past has more thrills and intoxicates men than those ladies who are without. Eroticism comes from all kinds of mind, and can happens in all sort. Come demonic past or nonsense, that is not at all important. Men are genius and women are expert when comes to foreplay, and everything else should, could and would be forgotten when things come to natural climax, you know”

    She blushed then and he said no more, merely repositioned her and continued with the healing process.
    Heretical he might be, Huang Yaoshi is not tempted to play a fate, or fake in matter of the hearts. Some matches are already endgame from the beginning.


    Reaching home, Yang Guo raced to his father's study, followed closely by Yang Kang, who left Zhao Min to Guo Jing. The Lord Yang together with the Steward Yang, are holding an assembly with the nobles and elders in attendance.

    “Father, war is upon us. We have to prepare going to battle” Yang Guo charged right in. Yang Kang a step behind, and all stood up immediately at the arrival of the heir, except the lord who remained seated.
    “Guo er, you are back. Kang er, you are here too, good” the lord calmly dismissed the assembly with a wave of his hand, and they bowed before retreating, leaving the lord with his his steward, the heir and the spare behind.
    “I have long prepared going for any war or battle, only I don't expect it to be sudden but no matter, all is within control”
    “Father, I saw the people fleeing and suffering while I am on my way back and you said all is within control?”
    “Guo er, do not jump to conclusion on matters you are ignorant of. And the peoples wouldn't have suffered so much if you had done your duty earlier”
    “My duty?”
    “Guo er, your father has been in contact with certain pugilists and nurtured some allies all these while” Steward Yang said for the first time since their arrival. “And what my brother meant about your duty is your marriage, which you keeps on postponing and delaying. War is not the games people play and matrimony the only pact that keeps us strong against coup or invasion. By the way, not only people fled and suffered, but do you know what happened recently?”
    “One of my nephews was murdered again, and autopsy reported he was sexually tortured and abused” Lord Yang said with some feelings.
    “His body was found hanged in my garden” Steward Yang added with an emotional sigh.

    As their conference wore on, Yang Guo's mildness is getting thiner and his air of calmness noticeably missing.

    “Who is it?!”
    “Yu er”
    “Little Yu Er?!”

    The boy is a cousin of Yang Kang, a favorite nephew of his mother. Yang Kang's temper and tension which were already at a breaking point, all came bursting forth.

    “No!” Yang Kang shouted.
    “Yes but we have no time to mourn for like you said, war is upon us”
    “Another matter for you two to shout about, Yang Wu Lang, Liu Lang and Qi Lang are suspended from their duties because they were found guilty of accepting bribes and committing offenses”
    “What?!” this came from Yang Guo, who shouted for the first time.
    ““Shocking, I know” Lord Yang said, observing his son thoroughly.
    “”Surely, these are all frame-ups!” Yang Kang never bother to lower down his voice.
    “I know, which means traitors in our midst” Steward Yang eyed his own son in return.
    “Let us get back to the first topic and most important issue” Lord Yang took over the conversation and continued observing his son, “Guo er, you did most of your court duties well when you were based here, which I am proud of it. And when you were out and about, I am very happy to hear you paying visits to members and pugilism with Kang er. Your only flaw comes in only when dealing with matrimony. If you have make up your mind earlier and settled down by now, the peoples won't have to flee their homes for our foreign neighbors would have help refuging them, and foreign allies would come handy in offering arms and troops”
    “Father, you and I already agreed on the matter”
    “Aye, and if I remembered correctly, you should name your choice by now. The five years are coming to an end, you know, by this winter to be precise”
    “Father, this is no time for you to remind me that now
    “You always have no time for that, so I will make it myself. Guo er, I am to name The Princess Xiang Xiang from Northern Desert as your bride” Lord Yang said.
    What?!” he shouted for a second time in his life, and the first at his father.
    “No? What about the Princess Hua Zheng from South? Or do you prefer to have both?”
    Father!” third time in counting, and the fourth likely to come.
    “They are the most civilized and The Kingdom needs of allies by union in time like now, or at least an offer of betrothals in return for aides as soon as possible. It is not as though marrying one of them is scarifying the other, neither were you caught between duty and love nor forced to put duty above love. In any event, these foreigners will not against polygamous union”
    “Father, I will do anything to save and protect the Kingdom, even sacrificing my life to it but I will not be forced into matrimony in the name of duty or reason for pact!” His forth and Yang Kang unconsciously reached out for his cousin. The atmosphere between father and son was so rile and antagonizing that Steward Yang almost took a step back, and Yang Kang seemed to be rooted in place. So when Lord Yang stood up suddenly and tensely, Yang Guo mentally and physically prepared to face his father's impending wrath and explosion.
    “Do you already have someone?” he asked his son tersely, who was caught unprepared and unexpected that he has no time to think or considering for an answer. Yang Kang forgot how to breathe altogether. Even Steward Yang was caught off guard somewhat.
    “Yes” he gritted out his shocking reply and stunning Yang Kang into making a startling movement.
    “Who is she? And will she be able to lend a hand in this war?”
    “She is only someone I met and fell in love without knowing much except her name and origin” Yang Guo is forced to make a confession with the rest listening and boring into matters of his heart and private life.

    Lord Yang is not a hard man, nor a father who put his selfishness first above others. He cares for his peoples and his kingdom, but he loves his son and family more.

    “Guo er, you are tired now. Go and take your rest, and be here first thing tomorrow morning. As for what I was saying within control, the moment I got to know evil terrorizing my kingdom and troops terrifying my peoples, I had orders issued and dispatched simultaneously. Those people you saw fleeing should be the ones receiving my decree to move into the palatial ground for safety and the place will be their sanctuary during the war. I understand what you saw and that they suffered, but I already did the best I could. I cannot just simply going out rescuing those who are in dire needs, or now dying in the hand of those brutes leaving my place empty and those who are relying and depending on me for further instruction and next step. As for your matrimony, since your mother and I already waited for so long and war is inevitable, if not already, so I don't think all of us in the palace and throughout kingdom have mood for a wedding celebration”

    The cousins could only blink in reply – Yang Guo unable to talk on while Yang Kang, failed to think more.

    “Kang er, you go too. Tomorrow there will be no rest for either of you, or us for the matter” Steward Yang informed his son.
    “Father, will General Yang be back in time to lead us?” Since he failed to think, he can ask.
    “General Yang will not come this time round, for he and his four other sons received orders to evacuate those who cannot make their journey here on time, and defending those who are in the open danger or trouble”
    “Then who will be in the front line?” Yang Guo found his voice then.
    “I will” Lord Yang answered calmly.
    “You?” the cousins echoed in surprise, for they never ever saw him swinging a sword, let alone lifting a spear. Lord Yang's ruling is known for his strategic plannings and generous resources, opportune developments and beneficial implementations. His reign effective due to laws and enforcements, tolerance and freedoms.“Yes, me. And please do always remember being the Lord of the Kingdom is the first to take lead and charge, then fighting and defending side by side with his subjects and the last to retreat from his battle and enemies. Now, go”

    After the cousins went away, Steward Yang turned to face Lord Yang with a look.

    “That was unkind of you to take advantage of my nephew's state to press your paternal issue, brother. And I am bit ashamed that I joined in playing your game”
    “You got the best opening part, so stop complaining”


    The last thing he saw, her image blurred and his vision went black.

    “Ying...” Duan Yu mumbled, opening his eyes.

    Where is he? What is this, he in a cave?

    Then a man, a very old and ancient figure of a man came within his sight and hearing “About time you wake up” Dugu QiuBai said.

    Duan Yu tried to move, and groaned out in pain. The man touched him and he felt his own energy returning. Soon he is able to sit up. “Elder....”
    “Time of you to wake up is also time for you to go”

    Duan Yu wondered who he is and suspected him to be the heretical healer, or the potion wizard but this man appeared to be more senior than Huang Yaoshi or Ou Yang Feng. And how could this person saved and healed him turned out to be so rude and rough towards his patience who just woken up. Not to mention his air of arrogance too.

    “You don't have to wonder who am I, boy! It is a matter of no importance, but there is an urgent need of you during emergency like now. Your friends brought you in on their en route here, now go and return favor by giving them the support you can”

    Duan Yu stared at him, still unable to speak or forming his speech. But his mind hazy at first, now falls into sharp focus.

    “Your friends' life are in danger. And The Kingdom now is in trouble”

    Since this man cannot be the two greats, he must be of another great. He has seen Wang Chaoyang and he knew Hong Qigong. That left him only with another friend whose teacher he have heard but never met.

    Austerity and mystery.... energy and spirit ..... arrogance.... hermitage....

    “Master Dugu, my respect and greetings to you” Duan Yu gestured.

    Dugu QiuBai is surprised, but he didn't show it. When comes to it, he really admired the youngster for his astuteness despite his condition. That Monk Yideng of Shaolin does know how to pick up and take in a good disciple, he thought.

    “There is no need to exchange niceties with me, lad, and if you still dilly and dallied, your girl might soon belonged to another, if not already taken. What's her name, Ying?” Dugu didn't mean to come out that but his tongue, quiet for so long couldn't be keep silence over the matter. He watched the young man's expression closely and found his features are controlled, and his temper in check. Again, he has to admire Duan Yu's state of maintaining calmness, and not easily giving into provoking stage. In his eyes, the lad may not necessary a hero's material, but he could be the one reduce the former to zero in straight game. Neither he is the champion stuff, but the only who would give the one worthy match. If the girl still chooses him over own disciple, Dugu QiuBai will really rest his case and has nothing more to say over the same matter.

    “Indeed, I would like to take my leave now and I very sorry to have bother you” Duan Yu finally talk and yet again, Dugu is surprised by his steady voice and grateful tone. He got up and although looking pale and appeared weak, the young man showed a recovery like he never been injured in first place “Master Dugu, thank you for your hospitality and generous treatment to me”

    Dugu nodded and Duan Yu asked, in a manner of a polite conversation, “Do you have any message for your disciple, Guo Jing?”

    He shook his head and Duan Yu took his leave. As soon as he is alone, Dugu went into an inner chamber of his cave and opened up a rusty and dusty chest. He picked up a wrapped bundle which is long, thick and heavy. Removing the wrap and holding the piece, his other hand moved over it nostalgically. Then at a point, it managed to cut his skin even though he is being extremely careful. Indeed, this antique is as legendary as the man himself, and remained as sharp as new.

    “Long time no see, my friend” Solitude Swordsman greeted his one and only companion in the cave.



    A Promise amidst battle and war,
    will it survive overall?
    Romantic sidekick?
    Or just ordinary fate?

    Heart that is freely given,
    Why is the will not taken?
    And where Love that is due,
    From you?

    When we are apart,
    I live on without you,
    Even though our lives already depart,
    Still, I love only you.

    Oh destiny, so cruel!
    Ah, but if these feelings are true,
    Dare mandate by throwing a dime,
    And stand against the test of life and time!


    Sneak Preview

    “Please allow me to see her, only if it for a short while”


    If he didn't move, she will definitely fall but if he does, she will see his bare all.


    Water and oil do not mixed, and if they do, the result is only contamination.


    Like beauty, love comes in many forms and in theirs, straight from the heart.
    Last edited by author; 01-29-08 at 12:42 AM.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Nov 2007



    Yang Kang was walking quietly behind Yang Guo, who was silent all the way after the conference with their fathers over. However, instead of going to their private quarters, Yang Guo make a turn, and startled, Yang Kang called out “Guo?”

    “I am going out”
    “What? At this time? Where?” And when his cousin never replied but just continue walking away, realization dawned him and Yang Kang uttered in amazement, “You are going to see her now?”
    “Kang, I was forced to make a confession, please allow me to mind my own decision now!”

    He rode all evening and through the night, never stopped until reaching his destination. Leaving his horse, he walked steadily into the woods. The night is dark, but the moon bright, providing the only light. He walked on and on until he came to a place that seemed to show signs of habitation. A maze to be exact, and not to be deterred Yang Guo went straight in. After some time, he realized this is no ordinary maze and he sat down, intending to rest for a while and clearing his mind to figure out the way in. But his tiredness only increasing, and the exhaustion continued relentlessly.

    He woke with a start and realized he is in a rather cramped dwelling.

    “Never pay court to a lady in the middle of the night. I was thinking you a robber when she stopped me from striking”

    Yang Guo turned to the voice and found the old man watching him in a satirical manner.

    “Elder Huang...” Yang Guo started only to be cut again by the tone and manner, “What do you want?”

    “Please allow me to see her, only if it for a short while”
    “What if she does not want to see you”
    “Elder, I am going to war after this. And I do not know what will happen to all of us. My request to you is to see her, and my asking of her is to let me have a word”
    “Before that, I have been wanting to ask you something for quite some time”
    “Do you have a vision problem?”
    “A history of mental case?”
    “Do you know she is ugly?”

    Yang Guo has no answer to that but he managed to come up with a “Maybe to all she is not perfect but I am alright with that” remark.

    “Why on earth would you want a woman like that when you could have all the best women in The Kingdom?”
    “Elder, you do not know or understand what I want”
    “I know you wanted her, and as fellow men I understand what lust is although yours rather spooky instead of being kinky”
    “You had your opinion and I spoke mine, so, can I see her now?”
    “The thing is, she doesn't want to see you”
    “Elder, this could be my last request and the final time seeing her”

    Huang Yaoshi knew that statement is probably very true. Yang Guo could lose his life in this coming war while protecting his birthright and defending The Kingdom.

    “Come out, lass” he called out and when she didn't, he continued “Now or I drag you out. Let us get over with it quickly. You need your sleep and I want my rest while he got to return soon”

    Yuyan knew the old man likely to carry out his threat. She has no wish to be drag out like a criminal so she proceeded to walk out with head held high and straight. Her composure is both curt and haughty.

    He saw first a fairy look alike, next a scarred recluse and now, a nun to be. Yang Guo is wondering what she could be next.

    “Once the war is over and if, I survived in battle, I would like to us to get acquainted” He went direct to the point and tried ignoring the old man who pretended to be transparent.

    Something seemed to ignite within her, and she addressed him coolly, “What happened during the presentation? Didn't you choose anyone from the selection?”

    Yang Guo stared at her in an incredulous way that she almost took a step back. The silence between them seemed to be ticking on and dragging forever. “What do you know about the presentation? How come you are aware of the selection?” she really took a step back as though she accidentally started on the time bomb. And having no answer to his questions, she quietly prayed he will not discover her past.

    “Only maidens of age received my father's decree for the presentation. While I didn't get really involved with its procedure, I did receive an information from my mother stating a maiden didn't turn up and when officers went to check, she was reported missing from home. She was never found after that”

    Yuyan's knees started to shake, either from the chill of the night or from the fear in her heart. While the Lord took care of the Kingdom's overall affairs, she overlooked the fact it's the Lady who watched over the Kingdom's families and was informed of their domestic matters. And how on earth she forgotten that the Lady was notified of every birth and the palace recorded every individual.

    “You are that maiden, aren't you?”
    “You joined the Yin Realm in order to avoid the decree. Your sense of disdain towards me during our first meeting because you was still upset on the matter. Your feeling of hatred had you blaming me for what happened when we next met” With a flicking movement of his arm, her broken blade came to view. “I recognized it despite the condition. Something went wrong somewhere recently and you were being hunted and were attacked by more than one, resulting your present injuries”

    If she stays on, he is bound to know more. While she cannot escaped from her past, she can always avoid him. Yang Guo moved the moment she did, and found Huang Yaoshi suddenly blocked his path.

    “You had your say. Now leave”
    “Go” Huang Yaoshi's tone is both firm and stern.

    Yang Guo watched until she disappeared from his sight. Then he said to the old man “She cannot run away forever”
    “You cannot stop her fleeing in the first place” came the caustic retort.
    “Elder, what happened in the first place I cannot make amend. But make no mistake about it now, for I can claim what is rightfully mine. If I am perished soon after this, then I will do so in my next life or the next”

    She came out when he is gone, and Huang Yaoshi asked in a dour manner, “I hate to acknowledge this myself too, but a fact is indeed, a fact. You do know everything and everyone in The Kingdom belongs and subjected to him in the future, don't you?”
    “What makes you think we all might survived in this war, or that The Kingdom still remains in future?” She threw the question back at him in a moment of spunk.
    “Oh, you have no wish for long life? Or, perhaps you really want him dead during the war? That would free you from him and give you peace of mind, wouldn't it? Oh, I almost forgot – he said something about next life and the next. Now the heir is such a nuisance, isn't he?”

    Silence and paleness greeted him and he went on without mincing his word “You like him too, only ashamed of yourself, else you wouldn't ask your silly question and revealing yourself. His foolish feelings or idea love at first sight had him make a promise amidst battle and war. Love is indeed for young fools and stupid peoples”
    “What would you do if you being in my place?!” she shouted at him for the first time.
    “Put on make up to color the face and to cover the scar. If he didn't die during the war, a sultry pose of invitation and a seductive piece of fashion from you will do enough to blow his head and mind off on the spot” he replied with a yawn and went off to sleep, leaving her hot, bothered and bewildered.


    Yang Kang watched Yang Guo until the latter is no more within his sight. Then he turned and walked to the direction of his mother's quarters. It was late when he entered his own, and he saw a tub was ready for him in the outer chamber but the palace attendants and his serving ladies were missing and he has no mood to send for them. So he took off his cloak and removed all his clothes by himself. The water make a splashing sound on the floor when his weight was all in, followed by a sound of someone being startled. He jerked around his tub and saw Zhao Min, who was somewhat hidden earlier and being tiny, thus went unnoticed by him. Actually, he has forgotten all about her!

    When Zhao Min fully awake and saw Yang Kang in the tub, she make a clumsy movement of getting up and happened to step on the slippery floor, and let out a startling sound.

    If he didn't move, she will definitely fall but if he does, she will see his bare all. Yang Kang made another splashing sound, this time reaching out for her. His doing so caused her long hair to come lose, and knocked off her mustache in the process. Meantime, Zhao Min is frantic for support and balance but her hands unable to find any appropriate landing on his frame. Then standing together and intimately close, both went still on spot. He took a break from time and the moment. On her part, from shame and embarrassment. Meanwhile Yang Kang came to realize that although Zhao Min is puny in size, she has shape of a woman and curve of a lady. Zhao Min just becoming aware of her wet clothes as a result of clinging onto him. He stared at her and couldn't stop himself from noticing all the girlishness and comeliness she possessed. And for the second time touching her, Yang Kang still couldn't figure out exactly what. As for Zhao Min, she dares not even to lift her eyes to meet his. And again, the uncomfortable and uneasy feelings all over her.

    “My lord” someone called out unexpectedly and Zhao Min jerked away, hiding behind a jolted Yang Kang who hurriedly picked up something to cover himself. The someone came to view, and Yang Kang turned to face Guo Fu whose first attention went towards the stranger in his chamber. His being almost naked and very wet, and the stranger appeared between in a boy's clothes and a girl's head had caused Guo Fu's eyes to be very round and still.

    “What do you want?”
    “I just got to know that you returned from your mother's and I ....” she was cut off by his abrupt “This is already late and you should retire by now”
    “I wish to finish my bath, so if you will excuse me”

    Guo Fu eyed the stranger again, who never bother to show face and Yang Kang feels to add “He will see to my needs. Now go”

    It is an order, and Guo Fu has no power to veto his order. After she is gone, Yang Kang turned to Zhao Min whose back still facing him, “How come you are here? Why didn't you at the servants' quarter?”

    She turned to face him, only to be meet by the sight of his bare chest. Quickly lowering her eyes, she answered in a rush, “Guo Jing saw that I can neither joining the male servants, nor going over to the attending maids. So he decided to put me here first, waiting for you to assign me or your decision to place me. While waiting for you, some of palace ladies turned up but they never bothered with me and prepared the tub. I dozed off on the stool after sitting on it for so long”

    “You can talk to my face, you know. There is no need to look down like that as though I am an indecent sight”

    He didn't mean to sound chastising but she took it very personally and her head jerked up, “You might have no problem with nudity and enjoyed consensual sex and I dare say you seen enough females in it and they saw you in return! I might not be a noble lady or highborn woman, but I do know how to value myself and I respect other's privacy!”

    She was shaking, either from cold or from anger and didn't realize he is holding her. It was only she felt his energy channeled into her system that she stopped shaking. She make effort to move away and he allowed her to make distance between them. When both regained the normalcy of the moment, he said quietly, “I do not deny countless palace ladies has served me from boyhood to manhood but I have you know that I do not indulge myself in manner of the harem, neither in my nature to consensual sex”

    “You do not and need not have to tell me that, my lord. I may not be as exposed as those women here, but I am not at all ignorant about the scandals of the rich or affairs of the titled. What you choose to do in your private life with other ladies is none of my business, for it happens to be an open secret and privilege among you breed”

    The moment that said, Zhao Min knew she went too far and overstepped her line. As an attendant in one's employment, one has to serve his or her employer loyally and discreetly.

    “I am sorry, my lord. I was... I mean, I just....” she trailed off.

    Yang Kang didn't say a thing and Zhao Min could feel his air of temper, tension and steeliness all coming from him.

    “Perhaps this is not a good idea. I am grateful for what you have done for me but I don't think we should continue on”

    Still, he remained grave and rigid.

    “Thank you very much, and good bye, my lord”

    She turned to go and took no more than three steps when Yang Kang stood blocking her, “Where do you think you are going?” He wanted to bellow at her, but since he shouted enough earlier and for the day, Yang Kang decided to take care of his voice.
    “To find new establishment”
    “At this time? Or in middle battle and during war?”

    Zhao Min blinked, and feeling wretched. But an idea suddenly come to her and she said brightly, “Why not I changed back to a girl, so that I can joined your female household. Guo Jing told me about it earlier and I got to know one recently joined the Lord Yang Guo's household.”
    “Listen to me, continue on as you are. I said before I will not put you through difficulties, so you need not to serve me personally but just stay in my quarters, appearing only as needed and when requested”
    “That will be only a boring life for me here, my lord”
    “Most would jump into the opportunity to be fed, sheltered and paid for doing nothing, you know”
    “But I am not like most, you see”
    “Zhao Min, now is too late and I am very tired. I haven't finish my bath and early tomorrow morning I have duties to perform and likely goes to war. Why not you just settled down here for the time and we talk again relocating and reintroducing you in future, if all of us in The Kingdom survives, that is”

    He has been responsible all along while she kept on complaining. Come to think of it, if she walks away from his employment and out of his life, she would come to regret later. After all there is one and only Lord Yang Kang in The Kingdom and who knows, there might be no future.

    “Let me reheat the tub, and you are not putting me through any difficulties. I serve you willingly” and she proceeded doing that. Silence greeted her from the time cold water becoming warm and she saw a surprised looking Yang Kang standing and staring at her in doubting manner.

    “Aww, come on, my lord! I already saw and touched you earlier, what is there for me to be shy off now?”
    “Seeing and doing are two different things. You might be uncomfortable”
    “I am not now. Are you the one being uncomfortable?”

    As the water is getting heated and evaporating, the chamber turned misty and inviting. There is something about being in the right place, at the right moment and with the right company. It has all the right ingredients and perfect chemistry to create a sizzling tub. Indeed, a setting for romance, interlude or rendezvous. But she is no scheming temptress, nor he a seductive rogue. He didn't answer her and still appeared doubtful. Zhao Min realized the initiative have to come from her for he will not the one to make his first move. So with a courage of a dare, Zhao Min approached him and pulled him towards the tub to which he complied. Before her courage fails her, Zhao Min removed the covering piece quickly and hurriedly had him into the water, wetting her clothes again in the process, this time all over but by then, least of her concern.


    Guo Jing is tired and hit the pillow as soon as he reached his chamber. Tomorrow will be a long day and he might never rest again until the war is over. In the middle of the night however, he is awoke by a sound and before he could blink properly, Huang Rong sat on his bed. All her dress need is a pull, and the garment will come lose in an instant.

    “What the....?!” he jerked up and the rest of his words were silenced by her kiss. He jumped up and away, and sought to distance himself from her. She got up after him.

    “Why do you always push me away?”
    “Why do you always bothering me?”
    “I like you!”
    “I don't know you!”
    “That could be remedy” She moved closer.
    “Don't!” he warned.

    She knew where to stop, and he sighed out, “Water and old do not mixed, and if there do, the result is only contamination”
    “Why are you saying all these?”
    “I am telling you now it is impossible between you and me”
    “Nothing is impossible, and we could and would make it possible for I am willing to stand your side”
    “Why can't you just understand? Certain things cannot be forced, and this is one of them”
    “Is it because of that woman's existence?!” she asked in anger.
    “That woman existence has nothing to do with it! Stop bothering her as well!” he replied sharply.
    “Guo Jing, I told you what I know. You owed me one, at least”
    “I thank you for what you did told me, and I wish I could repay you in kind but not the way you wants or wishes it”
    “Guo Jing, I know how the plans are and if you wants The Kingdom to survive this war....” she trailed off and Guo Jing could see her mind working and their conversation is going. A man like him will not be compromised in such way!

    “Miss Huang, if you wants to help me, let it be of your own free will and not by force. If we meet under different circumstances, we could have been friends. Instead our situations turning out to be more than complicated. I am a subject from The Kingdom, and you are a messenger of Star Sect. Even if you sided with me wholeheartedly, there will be a heavy price to pay in the end. Our involvement would be traitorous to both side, and you turning against your origin is despicable. Miss Huang, why impose on something that is forbidding from the beginning?”

    “I make no secret in giving you my heart, and you still called me Ms Huang”

    He has no answer to that and she could very well see he will never yield to her demands.

    “Guo Jing, you disappoints me so”

    It is an unfair statement, but he is a gentleman and a gentleman always know how and when to keep his mouth shut.

    “Guo Jing, I shall make you live to regret this”

    And what could a man do or say when a woman threatened him like this?

    “Miss Huang, I hope you come to learn all your wrongdoings and know how to repent before it is too late”

    Her eyes widened slightly, and her lips parted but no word came forth. Then she swung and vanished, and Guo Jing stared into the emptiness and the stillness of the night.


    Yang Guo reached home early in the morning and prepared himself for the assembly. After changing and breaking fast, he is on his way when he received news of his best friend's arrival.

    “Duan Yu is here?!”
    “Yes, my lord and he is at the main hall”

    At the same time, Guo Jing received the same news. After being made sleepless almost all night, this is a rather too early morning call.


    Yang Kang woke up smelling the food and his stomach growled. A neatly attired and mustached Zhao Min came to his view, “About time” and she pulled him up in order to throw a garment over his bare body. Then, she proceeded to dress him up decently.

    “Zhao Min?”
    “Hurry my lord, or you be late for your duties” she worked swiftly on his buttons before moving away.
    “Zhao Min” and she came to bring the food forward.
    “I have news for you, from the servants who brought in the food while you slept on. Someone named...” .
    “Zhao Min!” when she about to feed him.

    She stopped doing whatever and sighed, “Look, it was alright. You were very tired and almost dozed off while my clothes were all wet and the only thing I can find is your cloak. Nothing happened, and I, ..... I trusted you, I won't make an issue out of it, so why don't you just leave that's that. I was up about and changed long before the palace ladies came to remove the tub and cleaned the place. As for the servants, they came in with the food and left me with the news”

    If the girl insisted to overlook their aberration the night before, why would a man wants to argue otherwise? None really knew Zhao Min to be a girl for the time being, except those whose confidence he trusted. And none actually witnessed her sharing his bed. Zhao Min was right, nothing happened - except sleeping together. What he had on, or what she lacked off for last night was confidential between them, and nobody's else business. If there more than sleeping, then it was unintentional from his side, and superfluous for her part.

    “What news you have for me?”


    Yang Guo was the first to greet Duan Yu who was sipping his drink. Guo Jing appeared seconds later followed by Yang Kang. All are indeed glad and happy to see him but before they could actually sit down and talk properly, a breathless Ren Ying Ying came out running out and calling “Yu!”

    Duan Yu stood up and meet her half way at the main hall, and all eyes zoomed to watch the couple's display of affection. She has eyes and smiles, reserved only for him, and he could sense jealousy around him. He also saw, despite changes in her and she wearing a set of expensive bracelet - probably a present from a noble – Ren Ying Ying remained loyal and true to him. Like beauty, love comes in many forms and in theirs, straight from the heart. They nurtured a beginning friendship and their friendship was tested by accident, then distance and absence. These in turn, makes one's heart grew fonder. Fondness is one of the basics in a relationship, and such relationship could only give birth to one type of love. And this type of love, usually went without saying or doing much except mutual feelings, feelings that neither status nor title could buy. That saying, in turn creating forceful cynics and powerful disdains along the ways and all natures pertaining to it. But life often like that, making one to have something so priceless, only to lose out other privilege. Vice versa.

    “I missed you, really I do!”
    “I missed you very much too”

    He looked up then and saw the cousins staring at Guo Jing whose eyes openly on her and Duan Yu understood what Dugu QiuBai meant. When Guo Jing realized he was being watched in turn, he finds that he could meet Duan Yu's eyes calmly and even come to smile genuinely. The latter triumphed, yet humbled, that he managed to generate the envy of the entire court present without having anything to show off, and won the hand of a fair maiden without a fight from a man whose rivalry comes in the form good situations and better prospects.

    Then the battle gongs went off and sounds of war drums were heard.



    Sneak Preview

    The movement of wind an sand appeared normal, yet strange. And then, it grew stranger still like a man is controlling and commanding it.

    “Feng!” Lord Yang called out in surprise when the man finally revealed himself.

    Last edited by author; 02-04-08 at 02:04 AM.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Nov 2007


    Author's Note : If the fighting scenes illogical and war stuff doesn't make sense, never mind and just ignore it. Better still, skip the paragraph altogether and continue on with the story.


    The assembly were held fast and dismissed equally quick. Time is pressing and there no time to argue on the strategy or to dispute their position.

    Lord Yang is to take over the front line and set his camp outside, protecting his palace and all within. Yang Guo is to go North with his own army to join his eldest cousin, Yang Da Lang while Yang Kang to cover South, and to meet up with Yang Er Lang. Guo Jing will defend the west with Yang San Lang. General Yang and his fourth son, Yang Si Lang are taking care of the east. As for Yang Wu Lang, Lu Lang and Qi Lang, since they are suspended from duties and pending for cases, they didn't take part and barred from leaving the palace. Within its wall, however, they are still free men and the lord's own nephews.

    Duan Yu will remained behind since he held no official post, nor he a member of the court but his presence within the palace's wall prove to be an ally for Lord Yang and Steward Yang, and a source of comfort for both residents and refugees. The cousins and Guo Jing too, are relief and assured to know he will guarding their home during their absence along with the three Yangs' brothers.


    “Guo er, your father told me you already had someone”
    “Mother, we talk about my matrimony when everything is over and peace once more. Meanwhile, can you just tell me the name of the maiden who didn't turn up and was reported missing?”

    His mother is taken aback by his interest and question, but then she replied presently, “I cannot really remember her full name, but I think a Miss Wang”
    “Wang Yuyan” his father cuts in simply.

    Mother and son are so surprised that they gaped at him, and the lord stared at his heir pensively before continuing, “I may not know all my subjects and the peoples personally, but I took time to read reports and make a point to keep up with the Kingdom's news and official correspondences. The last news I have for you about this Miss Wang, some villagers saw here leaving her home early, but without taking my decree along” He then eyed his son thoroughly, as though reading him like an open book from beginning till end “You are right, we talk about her when the war is over”

    The lord then shifted his attention and spoke to his lady affectionately, and told his heir to take care during his battle like any father would informing his son, and excused himself to get ready for the war. After his father left, Yang Guo know it is time to take his own leave and said, “Mother, I am leaving now, please take care”

    The Lady of The Kingdom is a person of understanding, consideration and cooperation - displaying all the sensibility, strength and concern of a wife, mother and woman when times and moments call for it.

    “You take a good care too, my son”
    “I will, mother”
    “Go, on your guard and remember be safe”


    “Father, mother, I am leaving now”
    “Kang er, I understand you are leaving someone behind in your quarters” the Steward Yang eyed his son steadily before continued carefully, “Words got around last evening and this morning, that you had a new attendant. Fu er was telling me that she has never seen him out of your chamber, or him leaving your quarters”

    That means, she spied on him all night after he dismissed her. Why on earth there is such a senseless female and useless woman existed in the first place?

    “Father, I have no time to explain now”
    “Kang er, I manage the time for you and your father decided to make an allowance for it. Now, all these while I have no idea you are into that” his mother said with all the severity and stateliness a woman could ever come up with. After all, Yang Kang took after her.
    “Mother, you should believe in your own son”
    “Kang er, even I find it hard to believe in you. You should know better, that such thing travels faster than speed and his staying overnight, would only spice up the matter” his father said in a calmer and milder tone. Come to think of it, his cousin Yang Guo actually took a lot after his uncle the steward, and not Yang Kang's own uncle, the lord.

    It was then, he heard noises at the quarter's entrance and then sounds coming to his parents' chamber. Guo Fu appeared and seeing a stiff picture of Yang Kang, she dared not to look at him further but bowed quickly at his parents.

    “They brought him here”
    “Bring him in”

    And Yang Kang's stiff picture became fast and furious when he saw Zhao Min was brought in like someone who committed a petty crime.

    “Let go at once!” he roared at the members of the Male Supreme Council, to which they retreated hurriedly and fearfully. All eyes widened and faces more than stunned, at his pulling at the tiny lad into his embrace and puny attendant close to his heart.

    “Kang er!” his parents greatly alarmed at his display of outburst. While their son are known to be extreme in his tendencies, this is the first they witnessed his dark mood and ugly temper. Also stupefied by his obvious preference of sex. Even Guo Fu couldn't believe what she is seeing or witnessing.

    “Are you alright?! Did they hurt you?! Tell me!!”
    “I am fine, they weren't as rough or as tough like those outside. Hey, they quite civilized and hilarious here, actually”

    As she tried to make light of things, Yang Kang who has enough of nonsenses and suspicions, came to a sudden realization. Realization that he might be perished in the war. The feeling of not seeing her again, troubles him now or the thought of her being subjected to tyranny, incensed him still. But what pains him the most is, she might be relocate elsewhere and reassign to others regardless she a him, or her, during his absence. No, she belongs to him and will only serve him alone!

    Zhao Min gave a startled gasp when he removed her mustache without warning, and cried in surprise when he let down her hair for all to see suddenly. And her surprise turned shock as he kissed her hard, and brief. So hard that she couldn't react or express anything else. And so brief that all present doesn't know what to do, or what to think at all. Even his parents couldn't find anything to say at the moment. Guo Fu's jealousy and envy comes in full force but none really took notice, for all eyes and ears fully focus on Yang Kang and his words.

    “Father, I will seek your proper blessing when The Kingdom is at peace once more, and if that I come home safe and sound. Mother, please take care of her for me, and do continue to treat her well even though I fail to return”

    When a son spoke gravely like that, can a parent find his or her heart to object? Most parents might given their standing and authority, but Yang Kang has privileges and liberties that many titled men lacks, and envied by his fellow courtiers and other nobles for his freedom bestowed, and power granted to him since birth. Guo Fu could tell her ambition is slipping further and further away from her.

    His stunned father was the first to react, and he nodded solemnly in silence. After all, if his grown up son is like his cousin Yang Guo who took his own and sweet time, a father better wise up and fulfill his paternal duties when the son voiced and presented his choice. Anyway, in his opinion, the girl is rather cute and cheeky – just the right dose and exact thing to bring joys and laughters into the family. If himself secretly found the beauties in the palace and harem are all are fake and boring, then Steward Yang has to applaud his son's taste in someone merry and mischievous that stir and shake the entire hierarchy and palace ancestry – as long as there is no scandalous objection or intriguing affair, of course. His mother has to get her word out, and she approached the couple slowly. She looked steadily at her son first, who is not besotted but steely and determined. Then stared somberly at the girl next, who is all gutsy and seemed spunky.

    “Why are you dressing like a boy, and passed of as a male attendant for my son? Why can't you just be yourself, and serve him like a maid. And how on earth did you happened to meet him?”

    “I dressed like a boy because I have no wish to be disturbed or bothered, also to move freely and easily about. That was how I met your son anyway, and he saw through my disguise. He saved me from being hit by a bully. Perhaps me in my size and considering my gender, he took great pity and offered his protection next. Last night, I did mention to Lord Yang Kang that I wanted to join his female household instead of being his male attendant, but it was very late to do anything else and he suggested me to continue on like a boy until the war is over”

    It may not be a satisfactory way of an explanation, but a truth is a truth and the fact is, Zhao Min has all airs of honesty and open frankness the lady found acceptable. And she seriously knows her son is not a man to choose or name his choice simply. Being one of the first ladies of the court and second mother of the kingdom, she knew long ago his son was put off by the expertise of harem women intending to trap him into matrimony and he hates the scheming palace ladies vying for his attention. Ambitious and competing female courtiers are out of his list as well.

    “What is your name?”
    “Zhao Min, my lady”
    “And how old are you, Miss Zhao?”
    “Uh, four.... ah, only thirteen. Fourteen by next spring, my lady”

    The mother shot a disbelieving look at his son, which said, Cradle Snatcher! And Yang Kang saw his father gave him either a very impressed stare, or a rather discouraging frown. And himself is rather shock by her age, which he never bother to ask or even think about before. No wonder, she is so small! The best marriageable age in The Kingdom is sixteen and coming of age is fifteen. Although fourteen is acceptable in engagement and betrothal, the number kind of tricky and controversial when comes to individuals and due to backgrounds – Fourteen years old girls in the palace are already trained and educated differently in matters and subjects than from those fourteen years old girls who roamed about and moves freely outside. Whereas being a thirteen years old girl means - still underage - full stop.

    “Well, MinMin. My son is going to war, and your first duty is to send him off with luck

    She blushed and is speechless, like any girl would and knows not what to say or answer. Circumstances has robbed her of the gentleman's proper wooing and gentle courting. And the situation now is too late for her to call him bluff, or to refute his claim. The lady saw her naiveté and innocence are refreshing, and her approval increased. She gestured silently for the rest to leave the chamber – The seething Guo Fu is forced to move along, and the lady pulled her quiet husband along, leaving the couple some moments and granting them privacy.

    Now that the most difficult scene is over, they are left with the most embarrassing part. He wasn't prepared for a betrothal speech, while she was being compromised unexpectedly. Being the man, he has to say what a man has to say “I didn't mean to force the case onto you, but a man have to be responsible for what happened last night”

    “Nothing happened, really nothing at all! You didn't take advantage, and I am still chaste! So you don't have to bear any responsibility! I also know your kind preach on honors and sorts but there is no need to practice on my type of background! Really, I am not even your taste so please don't spoil your male appetite for other virgin, or non virgins! There so many willing and ready for you here and I am not worthy of you, and there is this one - she more than that, and ohhhhhh... whatever! I just know she suits you well and will satisfy you best - Oy, are you listening to me?! My lord?? OY!!!”

    The moment she babbled on and on, Yang Kang came to notice something else about her. She is really young, almost like a dainty child. Last night was late and tiring, this morning he is both sharp and alert. Before all these, she always appeared like a witty and pretty boy to him, but today meaning now, she with all the outrageous nature and outspoken manner of herself, succeeded rousing him to point of no return. And the memory of his hands on her form, his arms over her petiteness last night were all but firing shots into his male systems at one go. Next, her words sunk in and he finally figure out she is someone he wanted to strangle and desire at the same time. The latter is the lesser evil of two and Zhao Min was shocked for the second time in the morning. If his first kiss was hard, his second comes bruising.

    She shivered and her head spins, either in panic or something else together. He read her body languages and he almost cursed aloud. Imagine one just plucked a newly and ripened fruit, fresh from the source and of nature, only to realize the wrong and lack of timing for consumption. A man of twenty is in control of himself to a certain degree, but passing that degree there are actions cannot be denied or reasons to be refused. Also she is the only girl who could actually riles and drives him up the wall and yet, managed to excite and induces him into calls of sin and passion the moment she opened her mouth, or whenever they had conversations together.

    “For luck” he said softly and kissed her for the third, this time gently. The spinning became uncomfortably fast and he is gone next instant. His mother and her maids found Zhao Min fainted on the floor, and the lady realized the girl is suffering from the fever.


    The friends grouped together before parting ways shortly. Yang Kang was the last to join them and he not at least surprise news of his informal engagement with Zhao Min reached their ears already. Aware too, the entire palace now indulged in tongue wagging sessions. What else his friends had heard, Yang Kang decided not to ponder. However, they are polite not to make joke about last night but they couldn't resist jesting it in front of him.

    “I didn't know you had all the moves, but I do congratulate you. Kang, really, I do” Yang Guo said in manner that annoys him most.
    “I say, that was really and incredibly fast of you! So, congratulation!” Guo Jing took the opportunity to irk yang Kang next.
    “Yang Kang, although I haven't met her, I wish you two well and happy to hear about the engagement. Congratulation” Duan Yu gestured at him, the only decent one.

    Amid the glooms of battle and sufferings in war, at least one joyous moment among those concerned. And against the backdrops of childhood friendship and impending doom, two men exchanged a private conversation after others took off.

    “Do come home safely soon”
    “And get to hear good news from you?”
    “She loves you, I know and can see that”
    “You love her too, and I have no rights to butt in”
    “Yu, take care of yourself and please look after her. Pardon me, but I really have to go now”
    “Alright I won't detain you longer, but you be careful too and I shall conveyed your best regards to her”
    “Duan Yu, you are too kind and overly generous”
    “Because you are a sincere friend and honorable man, Guo Jing”


    Lord Yang is not a pugilist but he fought well, like a warrior should. One cannot rule so aptly and able to reign so prosperously, if he doesn't know how to defend himself and protect others first. The troops are lethal kinds and dangerous types but together with his trained nobles and skillful subjects, they managed to prevent the troops from advancing into the palace grounds. As the troops increased rapidly, so are the quantity on his side in term of strength and force, much to Lord Yang's own surprise.

    “Who are these peoples?” he asked his brother in bewilderment.
    “Roaming pugilists, I think” Steward Yang replied.
    Pugilists?! And you think?!
    “I don't know them myself, brother!” and Steward Yang dodged an attack.
    “Then why you said they are?!” Lord Yang struck the annoying attacker down and took angry swipes at the coming ones.
    “Because they looked and dressed like pugilists, and fought like pugilists, as you see what I am seeing. And they are so unlike us, if you know what I mean! By the way, I thank you for that blow on my attacker, my lord.” Steward Yang brought one enemy down and gets ugly with the next foe.
    “You are most welcome, steward” Lord Yang claimed another victory.

    Then, a rumble seemed to throw everything and everyone off balance. And Lord Yang is caught unprepared when a stream of power moving in dangerously close before him. He felt a phantom's menace, and fell under it's vicious force. He also saw death before his very eyes, and heard many called out, seemingly from faraway. The blow came merciless, so like slow motion - he raised his armor, trying to fend it off with all the strength and valor he possessed. At that exact moment, two figures flew swiftly over in time to prevent whoever and whatever from killing Lord Yang. The duo able to redirect the impact and the stream of power retreated in surprise, at the same time swing to reveal it's original form. A structure and bearing of an unspeakable evil. The troops now stopped and watched their leader. Caught unexpected by the turn of situation and blinking at the picture of his vile attacker, Lord Yang stood up and saw his saviors beside him. They are good looking young men with airs of skill, respect and honor.

    “My lord, are you alright?” The first young man asked.
    “I am fine, you two saved me in time, thank you very much, gentlemen” Lord Yang gestured.
    “Don't mention it” The second young man returned gesture.
    “Who are you? And where do you two come from?”
    “Linghu Chong of Mt Hua”
    “Zhang Wuji of Ming Sect, friends of your son, and subjects of The Kingdom”
    “Are you peoples done with introductions?!” The phantom's voice boomed, chilling and fearsome.
    “We are done, and I can take you on whatever, whenever or wherever it is!” Linghu Chong flexed out his leadership sword, the Sacred Sword of Mt Hua. The sword itself emitted powers, powers that rare and unique.
    “Hahaha.....! You think you alone could defeat me with that sword?!
    “I don't think, I just do
    “But count me in” Zhang Wuji said, raising his arm and shot out a warning at Phantom, who jerked and warded it with a mighty stroke. The impact exploded and shattered the atmosphere somewhere.
    “The more the merrier, but hey, my target is the Lord of the Kingdom and not you two ninnies!”

    The Phantom charged, and Linghu Chong leaped to take on him first, retorts dryly “Who you think you are, by the way, a genie?” leaving Zhang Wuji to tell Lord Yang, “Stay close, my lord and leave him to us! Pardon me, but you are really no match for him or his menace!” After he leaped after the other, and noticing all are at it again, Lord Yang turned to seek Steward Yang and when he finally saw his sibling, “Brother, this war is indeed perilous. You and the rest, see to your own safety and try to escape this battleground once there opportunity!”
    “What about you, my lord?”
    “I will retreat last”
    “No, we retreat together”
    “Are you disobeying me, steward?”
    “No brother, merely disagreeing”

    Lord Yang and Steward Yang found themselves thrown onto the ground, and have to seek cover from the powerful clashes that only comes from absolute skills and deadly feats. Zhang and Linghu are two of The Kingdom's top and young pugilists. Although seasoned and superior fighters, they are not men with killer instincts or murderous intents. Zhang is mighty in term of energy while Linghu an expert in swordplay, and the swordplay of Mt Hua is indeed superior in its own way. He is able to confuse and attack, then careless and double strike his opponent. Joining forces with his best friend, the two leaped and fought together against one great enemy, circled and surrounded the evil target, side by side, they are able to edge the Phantom but their foe is no minor. Although Phantom couldn't form his lethal attack against their combined pugilisms, his wall of defense is too hard for the duo to crack. They may be leaders and champions in their own rights, but usually in martial meets and mortal pits, and not gross battles or bloody wars. Hours of fights and confrontations without stopping, and continuous impact of sound and effect be tiring and exhausting. Fortunately for the nobles and subjects of The Kingdom, pugilists all over come out to help. While the troops being reduced and controlled, the greatest menace and evil comes from the Phantom itself. There is still no winner or loser and even Lord Yang wondered whether the war will ever come to an end at all. The war not only taking its toll to all but seemed to incur the wrath of everything else.

    The sky went red, turning the land yellow. When the war still went on without regarding weather and nature, fury comes in the form of blowing and sweeping winds, and rage came flooding. Breaking up the war like that is not enough, so winter decided to join early, sending cold chills and icy breezes. During the blizzard and catastrophe, Lord Yang and company retreated to their camps while Phantom and troops gathered at distance. Meantime, the company mingled with each other and makes new friend among one another. Lord Yang gets to acquaint with the two young leaders. The weather's mood seemed never wanted to change, but when it does considering into little sunshine and slight brightness many weeks later, they are ready to start all over again without waiting for the water recede or snow to melt when Phantom and troops approaching. By then, Lord Yang has come to a decision to have a brief conference with Phantom.

    “Why you beings attack us for no reason? And why do you want to take my life?”
    “Why you ordinary human like to ask so many questions?”
    “If I have strange and mysterious power like you, I would take you on myself”
    “Ah, but I can see you don't have, and let it be known that the Lord of The Kingdom is weak and useless, forcing others to cover your own hides”
    “Hey, watch your mouth!”
    “One more word, and I swear you never speak of another again”

    Meanwhile, slight movements were heard and sounds of skillful fingers from somewhere, and Phantom jerked away from the fiery onslaught. He almost got hit but managed to avoid the impact just in time. All eyes widened at the young man who now stood in front of Lord Yang and the experienced pairs didn't miss the Phantom's moment of fear before he took in a bolder stand.

    “Who are you, and what is your relationship with the Great YiDeng of Shaolin?”
    “Nobody important and not at all famous, but you insulted his lordship and I am going to teach you some manners”

    There are sounds of applauses and whistles in sync from Lord Yang's camp.

    “You haven't answer my second question”
    “The answer is none of your business”

    Again, applauses and whistles – this time accompanied by cheers to the young man and jeers at the phantom, who became aware now not only he has two young leaders to battle with but three to combat if he is to finish Lord Yang. And the latest one seemed to be slightly formidable than the other two. Pugilisms in The Kingdom are into many cultivations and, and into countless streams. If he is not mistaken, the lad should be a disciple of Yideng. He feared not at the lad for the latter is obviously no pugilist, but the former is cautious when comes to the monk's skill in his student. Phantom needs to change his battling tactic for the circumstances of the war has turned many tides and certainly not at his side. When he decided to join Star Sect and The Conqueror, they never counted the fact that the pugilists will come out to take part protecting and defending at the palace of The Kingdom. Also, winter is a nuisance to him and no great help at all.

    “Alright lad, let me confront you one, and if I win, I take over the palace and Lord Yang's life is mine to take”
    “What makes you think I will let you win and who do you think you are to take anyone's life, let alone his lordship's?”
    “Yu er...” Lord Yang started concernedly, only to be cut by Duan Yu's firm “I told Yang Guo I will take his place when needs to be” statement. And when Duan Yu stepped out, all hearts went to him, and with him as one. Zhang and Linghu are drawn to him, and it is not everyday they got to see someone unseen and unheard of in a daring and challenging piece of action.

    Phantom started to display his power, power of yang that represents strength, might and force but all in a wrong and straying ways. All except Duan Yu, retreated several steps behind away from harm's path. Gasps went unheard under the sound of splitting block of ices and the explosion of thick snows. Duan Yu leaped easily kicking the flying pieces, and his speed were smooth. When one moment he stood so far away from the enemy, and next instant he already exchanged exceptionally and extraordinary blows with the latter. Phantom, with size and shape that seemed to dominate the scene, but it is Duan Yu, swift and agile, who stole the show. As student of Shaolin and disciple of Rev. Yideng, he displayed all the ancient moves of from his school and exposed great skills of his teacher, “The Sacred YiYang Finger”. On foot, Phantom's brute strength unable to subdue Duan Yu's sets of skills combined, the latter manipulating fingers all but seemed to stop his impending attacks and violence. At one point, Duan Yu could actually immobilized one of Phantom's skills with the highest level of the fingering movement. After all, one against one – no problem for one whose teacher is Rev. Yideng, one of the five greats. In midair and off ground, his menacing power and physical attainment couldn't match up to the lad's youthful energy and precise achievement, where maneuvering hands and solid palms always hindered his next gestures and displays. The confrontation come to a premature climax – When one cannot win by the hook, Phantom decided to go crook but then Duan Yu knows how to play cheat first. One of his movements, hidden and distracted from Phantom's sight, form a timing blow and hit out at a close range when Phantom about to launch his foul play. Yes, man will be man and they know how, what, when and where to cheat - in his case, for a winning cause. The result is ear splitting and earth shattering, and mind blowing, forcing even the two leaping to safety with others taking cover from the disastrous quaking and shaking. Even sand beneath were released from it frozen soil.

    Phantom landed on his feet, although still going strong and maintaining his might, he staggered slightly for balance, eventually spat for his flows went awry, and his systems disturbed as the result of the confrontation. Duan Yu landed on his feet, stood firm and steady with little blood at the corner of his lips. Fortunately for Phantom, the lad lacks a killer's instinct, yet unfortunately for him, Duan Yu managed to give the former an embarrassing lesson. Even himself felt lousy at his own bashings and losing rounds. Never before, Phantom found himself to be thrashed and throttled by someone who is obviously new in the pugilistic society and the kingdom, and unknown of throughout the realms and zones.

    “Who are you exactly and from where, and what the heck is your name anyway?” Duan Yu demanded.
    “Di Shi Tian, of Yang Realm and what is yours?!” The phantom couldn't help roaring back.
    “Duan Yu, and yours truly really feel not very nice or pleasurable to meet you at all, Mr Di”

    It was then, snickering and amusement were heard from somewhere but before phantom could come up with a stinging retort, or signaling his troop for a final show down, all that are ready to confront the enemies again were caught unprepared by another presence, presence that is sudden and appeared as transparent, only to be sensed and not seen. And all senses drawn to it, by movement on the snow and land. The movement of wind and sand appeared normal, yet strange. And then, it grew stranger still like a man is controlling and commanding it. Uneasiness were stirred and whispers went about, wondering friend or foe. Slowly, all eyes could see the man about Lord Yang's age and bearing, but such appearances could be deceiving.

    “Feng!” Lord Yang called out in surprise when the man finally revealed himself.
    “How are you, my old friend? And I am very sorry for the delay, but I always believe late is better than never”

    Seeing Zhang San Feng the master of yin and yang principles, reclusive founder and seclusive leader of Wudang, making a rare appearance, Phantom hurriedly prepares to disappear only to be caught smoothly by the creator of Taiji, who effortless whacked his stance with a wave of his sleeve and toppled him on the ground without even touching him. Like a dog hiding between it's tail, Phantom got up clumsily and transformed before their confrontation barely started and hardly over. Seeing their leader vanished, his troops retreated instinctively and ran away from flying spears and hitting armors.

    Lord Yang lifted his hand to declare victory with his two finger, and horns were blow. Nobles and subjects shouted for joy and triumph, and pugilists joined in to celebrate their win over evil. Since winter is heavy and thick, Lord Yang declared they will stay put in their current camp and only returned to the Palace in spring. The pugilists, decided not to leave until the weather is better, or season is over. Although snowing and freezing, the cold winter sky is shining with its bright and golden rays. It is very rare to have a beautiful sight in this particular season, and rarer still to witness something so special in the outcome of the battle and in this war – friendships and pugilisms stayed close, against foes while valors and respects stood united, despite adversities in The Kingdom.



    A long, heavy and thick sword came flying mysteriously and broke his sphere of power, causing Xiong Ba to jump back.

    “Yes, me”
    “Dugu QiuBai, you retired long ago and should stays out of this!”
    “I am and will, but harm an hair on my disciple, I make sure you lose all yours, including those in the pubic part”
    Last edited by author; 02-14-08 at 12:34 AM.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Nov 2007



    Time passed since she left Guo Jing and Huang Rong is alone in Star Sect by herself. She didn't join the battle for the Princess Yao Yue ordered her to stay back. She missed Guo Jing very much, and is worried sick for him. She hopes and prays for him that he survives and escapes the war unscathed.

    Tears come to her eyes, and she who never experienced falling in love and getting her heart broken before by a man or rejected by any before for the matter, breaks down into loud sobs and then wept openly. Her only company, is the falling snow that seems to cry and wail along with her.


    “What are you doing?” Yuyan asked him.
    “Making a facial mask” Huang Yaoshi answered.

    He into one of his moods and she went away quietly, and he continued to work in silent. When he was done, she came back and the old man startled her by saying, “Pack up the necessities. We are leaving this place now for another dwelling”
    “I thought you say you want me to take you away?”

    She stared as though she misheard him and he asked impatiently, “yes, or no?”

    Yuyan took some time considering, and Huang Yaoshi about to drop the entire idea completely when she answered “yes” calmly and decisively.
    “So hurry up and be swift, will you?” He barked at her.
    “To where and of what dwelling?” she spoke coolly and patiently in return, making him feeling childish and immature.
    “The Ancient Tomb”

    She had heard of it, once, and if childhood memory didn't fail her, the sect was established secretly and then abandoned mysteriously. There were whispers, but it was so long ago and she couldn't recall what.

    “He will never, or ever find me there?”
    “I know I am great, but never that almighty one so I am not in heavenly mood to predict your futuristic question” His temper is returning any time soon.

    Wang Yuyan has the common sense to go away packing, leaving him to frown at her retreating back, back that is so proud and straight, yet carried so much guilt and past vice. Huang Yaoshi has his means and speeds when comes to travel quickly. And when they reached the mentioned place, Yuyan saw the red sky and yellow land for the last time and experienced the changes of an unpredictable weather. She took a moment to see the colors of nature and slightly witnessed a coming catastrophe in the open, before entering the ancient tomb where she is going to spend the rest of her life hiding and living inside the gloomy darkness.


    Little Zhao Min collecting fruits in the open woods when she heard someone's screaming. Curiosity, not fear or anything got her looking out for the source. Soon she came a across a distance scene, scene of a young male on top of a teenage maiden. She is too young to understand what going on, and she is too ignorant to do anything else but spying alone. The male laughed and tore at the maiden's clothes while the latter cried and screamed nonstop until Zhao Min herself felt something is not right but she remained just and still. And then there was a woman, a very beautiful woman slowly but steadily approached the struggling couple. As the dreadful male about to do something to the helpless maiden, the woman lifted up a palm and the next thing she knew, Zhao Min instinctively put her a hand over her mouth to prevent herself from making a sound. The scene after next were blurred, but she could make out the male got kicked off and the maiden got covered up. Then the maiden on her knees, and for some time, a dialog between the woman and the maiden. Suddenly, the two vanished before her very own and disbelieving eyes.

    Later that night, Zhao Min awoke hearing cries and screams, and she ran out. Everywhere, families were ripped asunder by strangers, and lives were lost – either taken by members of evil bearing or killed by figures that neither human nor being.

    Min er! Min er!!”
    Where are you?! Min er!!”
    Little sister, sis!”

    Zhao Min sought her family, and just as she found them, a woman - a very beautiful woman that she saw earlier - jumped in front of her parents and brother, and in a blink of an eye, they dropped dead before her. Poor little Zhao Min watched on, too shocked and much stunned as the very woman turned into an ugliest and scariest creature possible, with act of wildness and deed of vileness sunk her fangs into their necks one by one, and sucked their lives off and blood dry – all happened in just what seems a moment. All around, the vicious members were either feeding on humans, or decapitating the peoples. Being tiny and small, someone or something brutally knocked her down. Totally helpless and very frightened, she went weak and passed out.

    She felt hot, then cold, one moment perspiring and next, shivering. Someone closing in and Zhao Min jerked up, and screamed blindly, “NOOoooo!”


    Something crashed onto the floors and Zhao Min stopped screaming. Her dazed eyes sought the source and registered a female attendant stood still and mute, next her hazy mind noted sounds of hurrying movements and rushing footsteps and a lady appeared together with her maids in tow.


    She blinked at Yang Kang's mother, unable to speak and the female attendant moved forward, “My lady, she just woke up and screamed suddenly. And I was so startled that I dropped everything I was carrying”
    “What's that?”
    “Bucket of water and some clothes”
    “Then fetch them again, and while on your way, summon my physician here”
    “Yes, my lady”

    Ren Ying Ying went away, and the lady sat beside Zhao Min who saw and heard all but the latter still suffering the aftermaths.


    Silence, and the lady has no choice but to wait for her personal physician, and he came shortly. After checking her pulse and touching her head, and telling Ying Ying what to do, the physician went to see the lady who waited for him at the privacy in one of the outer chambers. The palace suspected and whispered about her condition, but Yang Kang's position able to cover Zhao Min's reputation so none dare to say loud or talking openly. Outsiders might frowned upon such thing but the palace usually kept an eye closed when comes to conduct of the nobles - as long as nobody comes accusing their misconducts – and an ear shut on the behavior from the titled - so long as their misbehaviors went unreported. In any event, Yang Kang already make an announcement and informal it might be, his announcement not to be ignored or overlooked. Besides, the steward gave his agreement and approval while his lady accepted and acknowledged Zhao Min. Now Guo Fu should kept her mouth shut, shouldn't she? The situation only pains her and shattered her very dream, whereas every circumstances positively and favorably towards the other girl.

    “The fever is temporary gone, my lady”
    “Meantime, she is suffering from another ailments, ailments of the past”
    “And what are they?”
    “Only she can tell, my lady, for I have no idea what horrors she went through in the past”
    “I have things to calm her dreams and soothe her nightmares, but too much of supplies might not be good in long run”
    “And you are very sure she is not in a delicate condition?”
    “No, my lady. Not that fast”
    “Well, I wouldn't know whether they did it before, would I?”
    “She is too young, my lady, and wouldn't be able to even if it really happened”

    The lady dismissed him after getting the information and confirmation. She then went to see Zhao Min, who now seemed asleep after Ying Ying saw to her needs and comforts.

    “She just fell asleep like that, my lady”

    They left quietly and after a peaceful while, Zhao Min got up silently and pondered at her dream, dream that she thought long forgotten. She wondered too, at the nightmare of her past, past that she thought over and done with. Children never heard of ghost or to understand vampire at a young age but if one kept her ears opened, they bound to hear about them and others existences. Having own eyes to witness a female vampire eliminating her family members, she believed in spirits of the night, and creatures of the dark but it was not a subject for her to bring up alone, for there being no other survivor, or she to go accusing it killed her whole family and that they rampaged an entire village. Who would believe a crying and raving child, anyway? Most probably dismissed her as a lunatic or a retard and send her faraway in the open, leaving her to the mercy of the wilderness. Happy and prosperous The Kingdom might be, there still be injustice and unkindness among the livings and habitants.

    Through the windows' gaps, she saw whites gathering the outside and heard snowdrops hitting the roof above her – that means, winter already here. After winter, comes spring, and this spring she will be fourteen. She miraculously survived alone years after her family perished. Orphaned at a juvenile age, she matures faster and learned to be independent quickly doing meager job in return for food, clothes and shelter. Serving the upper classes, she was exposed to rich men behavior with their mistresses, also saw the titled birth and noble born seeking town ladies. At time, she witnessed force and abuse that only wealth and privilege could afford and bought. And the moment her body develops, she instinctively have no wish to be in the same fate with that teenage maiden. So when Ming Sect looking for maids and attendants, she has the timing and opportunity to leave that kind of lifestyles and looking forward something basics to live herself sufficiently. Thus, Zhao Min the lass became Little Zhao the lad. It was not perfect or sensible, but experience plainly taught her better to be among commoners and pugilists, who at times, even more civilized and cultured than the upper classes, where they committed all sort of tendencies behind closed doors. She might be an ignorant child but the moment she stepped into survival of the fastest, she knew that young male was a noble born and a man of privilege. Upon their acquaintance and his introduction, as she got to know Yang Kang a noble born and man of power, Zhao Min was beware of him and felt uneasy whenever there were moments he seemed too close for comfort, or at times he appeared to touch her unconsciously. But then again, Yang Kang is not like that as far as she could see and tell. After all, one needs not to throw away the whole basket of goods just because few were rotten. She did come across many good and reputed men. She was smiling when luck and fortune dictated Yang Kang to offer protection and employment. But the moment she entered the palace, her luck and fortune seemed to suffer and her life started to take on a twisted fate. Her destiny begin when mind and heart at crossing point.

    What do you call it when one is to be taken without consent? That noble was indeed, ravishing that maiden, you know.

    The Lord Yang Kang doesn't have to rape or attempted anything like that if he wants a woman.

    If that's really the point so was that young noble's case, you see.

    His righteousness and generosity can be vouched, so are his understanding and respect towards people.

    And yet, he trapped you into matrimony, of course he meant well and behaved honorably, but at his lordly command and not your willing choice.

    Bruising kiss and body language that both marking and demanding.

    If he doesn't have to answer the call of duties, will he acted and behaved like that noble or Yang Kang really the gallant protector and chivalrous benefactor you thought yourself know so well?

    That night, her clothes were wet twice and she unknowingly caught the fever. After she was done drying Yang Kang, she was feeling unwell but seeing him almost dozed off on his feet, Zhao Min said nothing. He has no servants' garment in his chamber, and she cannot wear his richly clothes. Finding his cloak the only suitable piece, she changed quickly behind the screen and put it hurrying on. Helping Yang Kang to the bed and about to dress him when the man just hit the pillow and rolled over, knocking her small frame onto the other side of the bed where she wisely stay put while himself sleepily pulled up the luxurious comfort to cover his bare form. He definitely thought of nothing else except deep slumber and Zhao Min had not a heart to disturb him. She is already tired herself and sudden headache attacked in full force. Without him providing anything else, except maybe an arm that thrown unconsciously over her throughout the night, she was simply cold and shaking. Also, sleep doesn't come easy to her for spending night in Yang Kang's chamber and sharing his bed. Ah, she dared not to imagine whatever happened next! Oh, just think of the shame and the reputation that comes with it! Whether she a girl or boy, still be damned by such comprising situation! Not only she fretted and throbbed, but also chilled to the bones, and shivered more than often. She was further robbed of warmth when keeping gap between them every time he turned and tossed about. The freezing hour and night have no mercy on those who lacked necessities and obviously unprepared. At first sign dawn, she got up taking care not to wake Yang Kang and painstakingly prepared herself. The palace ladies came in to clean the place with silence that kills and left fuming in an unspeakable volumes. Servants appeared bringing in food and drink, without her portion and in voices of quiet contempt, they informed her the news to be reported to the Lord Yang Kang.

    Feeling sensationally and endless throbbing, she did her job without complain and fulfilled her duties. After she had conversations and told him the news, Yang Kang hurriedly finished his meals she fed him and rushed off without another word, and she didn't blame him for his lack of regard on her since his busy mind obviously occupied many things and countless matters. She drank his untouched drink only to spill out the content, because it was too strong for her to take in. She thought then could take a rest, when The Male Supreme Members of the Court turned up and barging in. They didn't abused her verbally or mistreated her physically, but looking with scorn and staring her with disdain at first. Next, under the condemning tones, they had Steward Yang's strict order to bring her along for meeting. Hungry and exhausted, the ailing and powerless Zhao Min allowed herself to be pulled and dragged out like a street urchin. Events and circumstances - fever, headache, hunger, thirst, ordeal, shock, panic and fear - all were but sending her falling miserably on the floor and fainting helplessly onto the ground.

    Then dream, dream of a ghastly past and nightmare, nightmare of a rampage kills and vampire attacks.

    Presently, she didn't notice the temperatures are dangerously closing into her. For one who weak and malnourished, her head full of past and present, and a mind between haze and daze - she fell unconsciously down from the bed, and hit her head hard. When Ying Ying came to check on her later, she found Zhao Min lain on the floor – out and cold, she has sense to raise aid and alarm. When the physician came rushing in and checked again, he was almost frightened out of wit. Yang Kang's mother is summoned in a rush and was told of Zhao Min's latest condition, the lady in turn, becoming pale and white with fear. After all, she could foretell and foresee his being extremely.

    If earlier, they went frenzy by news about Yang Kang's nightly preference, and then followed by the startling discovery that ended in an informal engagement, now they shivered to think about his homecoming reaction, if he survives and returns that is. The question on everyone and everybody in his household lips is, “What happened if the Lord Yang Kang comes back from war to find out his betrothed might never going to wake up again?” Maybe Guo Fu should be the happy one, shouldn't she? But then again, she neither felt befitting nor benefiting since she the one who started the chain of events.

    Mandate is a strange name, and has a bizarre way of doing thing and very erratic when kicking off.


    (Author Note : Senseless battle and illogical war again, so feel free to skip it)

    Guo Jing and company are racing against time, heading towards West when they came head to head with Xiong Ba The Conqueror and his soldiers midway. There is no need for introduction for their battle flags and war signatures says all.

    “Where and who is the champion?!

    One look, and all can tell Xiong Ba is no mere skilled pugilist but a major power in the Yang Realm. His bearing is confidently controlling, and cruelly suppressing. His voice is deep and his tone all conquering. His clothes in battle and accessories of war, all spoke of greatness and extravaganza. He is slightly younger than The Kingdom's Five Greats but obviously an experienced warlord in battlefields.

    Guo Jing knew his company, comprising of skilled members and trained subjects are no match for the conqueror, and himself is uncertain confronting such person but to retreat from such challenge is cowardice and shameful. Either ways, the result is still war. Besides, better to lose life in a battle and than to lose face in front of so many. So he somersaulted, and landed on the point of duel.

    “I am”
    “What is your name?”
    “Guo Jing”
    “I think I heard of you”
    “I don't think so since I am not as glamorous as you”
    “Ha Ha, I like your sense of humor and let see whether your skill as good as your tongue”

    As the two confronted each other, Guo Jing's company charged to meet Xiong Ba's soldiers. Guo Jing's skill lies in his swordsmanship and Xiong Ba's stroke comes from techniques. One wielded his “Gloom” to attack the other displaying his “Sphere” of defend. The clashing power of Steel, from the sword and Shield, from the sphere booms throughout the surrounding and the two jerked aside from the impact. Next Guo Jing's leaped to display “Doom” that went against Xiong Ba's “Realm” resulting a thunderous crash and a break. Guo Jing landed on his feet and took few steps back. Xiong Ba aggressively took the break and flew towards him, and Guo Jing instinctively put up his “Mood” up in time, to ward off the “Conquering” attack. The foe was pushed back forcefully and he managed to put one of his foot down, to halt the impact. By skill and strength, Guo Jing can take on his main strokes and major displays. But the young and inexperienced Guo Jing lacking the killing instinct. Physically powerful and impressively trained, Guo Jing does not possess the forceful mind or iron heart. Also, Xiong Ba came to realize something else.

    “Dugu Nine Swordsmanship”

    Guo Jing said nothing. What he supposed to say, anyway?

    “Your teacher only taught you to fight like him, but he didn't train you to become himself, or did he? The Solitude Swordsman wanted to be known as The Kingdom Number One forever, eh?”

    Still, he said nothing. What he supposed to answer to such questions?

    “He make a very grave mistake, mistake where he exposed your weakness”

    As he spoke gleefully, his palm come up with a vortex display, and the display soon become another image “Sphere”. Guo Jing is alerted to the moment Xiong Ba is set to attack again, and at the same time noticing the latter seemed to possess an invisible stream of energy to immobilize him. He tried to repel the energy by forming “rebellion” and to avoid further immobilization, he applied “camouflage” to counter it. When he saw the “Sphere” growing and increasing rapidly, he is dismayed to find a perilous situation. If Xiong Ba is to hurl it, Guo Jing needed to break his defenses but breaking his defenses meaning he will have to face the double attacks from energy and sphere. Counting the enemy joining and closing in, it will be triple assaults and he is as good as gone.

    Just as Xiong Ba about to do so, with an invincible skill of attacking speed and like hurling a weapon in an invisible sight, Guo Jing could almost smell and predict death when a sound of a swooshing piece of steel, with equal speed and sight appeared out suddenly ninety degree from what it seems flung at an open source.

    A long, heavy and thick sword came flying mysteriously and broke his sphere of power before he could hurl it, causing Xiong Ba to jump back. A deafening crack and both the sphere and sword landed thunderously onto the ground. The sphere's bits scattered all over, but the sword still one piece, standing proud with it's sharp edge pointing downwards. All eyes were like seeing a picture of an ancient legend, legend that seemed to triumph against the test of life and continued on undiminished with time. In those days, seeing the legendary piece means meeting the Solitude Swordsman. Today, witnessing such antique as old as myth itself, could either means favor, or might spells calamity, to see The Kingdom's Number One in action once more, and perhaps for the last time. Dugu QiuBai certainly knows how to make a divine appearance, appearance of austerity and intensity that all hairs stood up and still, except Guo Jing's. And he never forget how to create his existing presence, presence of an indescribable charisma and an unforgotten enigma rendering all meek and mute, including Guo Jing.

    After seeing the inexpressible effects he had on all present with much ado, and gaining full attentions on himself without having to speak a word, Dugu QiuBai moved on as though he in no hurry, and he appeared to ponder whether to take a seat or considering standing. Xiong Ba was the first to recover from the onslaught, he was never been shocked like that before but there always a first time for everything and everybody, even a conqueror.

    “You!” The conqueror pointed at him, and everyone got back to reality.
    “Yes, me” Returned the Solitude Swordsman who, then decided to stand and he glanced wonderingly at whomever talking to him.
    “Dugu QiuBai, you retired long ago and should stays out of this!”
    “I am and will, but harm an hair on my disciple, I make sure you lose all yours, including those in the pubic part”

    There seems to have certain sounds and noises, and Xiong Ba's stare and glare sending them into silence once more but he cannot quiet Guo Jing who called out, “Teacher!” in exasperation.
    “Lad, you stay out of the old people conversation. Didn't the elders taught you youngster to shut up when we adults are talking? Besides, this is really war, and not kid fight”

    Guo Jing opened his mouth, but no word coming out and he shut it back.

    “Now, where were we?” he asked Xiong Ba in befuddlement.
    “What are you doing here?!”
    “Good question. But you see, at my age, I really forgot what I am supposed to do next”

    His word, expression and gesture all are irking Xiong Ba and vexing his disciple but seems to amuse the rest, at least to the company and members of The Kingdom.

    “You won't took part in this”
    “What part, precisely?”
    “In this war”
    “An old and ancient man like me in war? Really, you got to be kidding”
    “So will you excuse us?!”
    “Say please, and let me decide after that

    No one ever spoke to the conqueror like that, and live. But Solitude Swordsman Dugu QiuBai still standing and retired or not, The Kingdom's Number One remained undefeated to this day. That fact alone enough to cause Xiong Ba's fury and rage.

    “Dugu QiuBai!”
    “That is my name, indeed and I thought we already settled that earlier, if not long ago”

    The conqueror gestured his wrath in a fistful, and Dugu QiuBai suddenly took a very overbearing pose and spoke in a derisive tone.

    Hey, never show your fist to one who is old enough to become your Sire and if you wants really wants me to mind my language, just send over your Teacher”

    It is not a challenge, not even a lecture, but very cutting insult. Aside from his famed skill and stroke, Dugu QiuBai also known to strike and bleed others with his imperious tongue. The Conqueror's ire and temper reached its limit and both his hands, moving in a gesture to conjure a stem of new energy, energy from the infinity.

    Dugu QiuBai for his part, clasped his own hands, and raised his arms towards sky. Skylight dimmed, as though bracing for cataclysm and the atmosphere seemed to read disaster. All winged beasts and land animals seemed taking off and running out of nowhere in the open to do a sudden migration. Seeing that, Xiong Ba howled, and hurled his sphere of energy towards Solitude Swordsman, who seemed to evoke the reaction of heaven, and expression came in the form of a whirlwind consisting the five elements. The retired pugilist retaliated by forming “Metal” in front to shield himself against infinite attack, while the element of “Fire” went off against his enemy's stem of mighty energy. The energy, engulfed by flame and heat, went down like ashes blown away by wind. Some birds were caught in the middle of the confrontation, either burnt or roasted tragically. Before Xiong Ba could recover his shock for a second time, Dugu QiuBai who never a patient foe, or a merciful enemy launched his next attack without stopping and breaking. All eyes watched in fear as The Solitude Swordsman's hands now became an outstretched palms summoning “Earth” and before they knew what happened, the land seemed to move with sand, stones and soil became fluid. Guo Jing has sense to leap, and his company followed. Some of Xiong Ba's soldiers either falling into the swallowing tunnels or into sinking holes. Scurrying animals that were at the wrong place and wrong time, disappeared and vanished into the underground without a trace. Cries begging for mercy, and shouts pleading to stop were heard, and Dugu QiuBai stopped his “Earth” only to produce “Wood” where trunks, and branches, and roots seemed coming to life.

    Guo Jing has never witnessed his teacher's full glory, or his gory – depending on opinion – before. The trunks brushed tightly together and savagely squeezed the hiding soldiers to their death. The branches snapped and flung violently, targeting the fleeing soldiers. The roots grew out in length and strength to drag the running soldiers into their soil.

    “Teacher!” Guo Jing called out in the meantime, he really doesn't know what else to do in such mayhem and his teacher gave him a splashing answer. “Water” drenched him, and his company. The wild torrents were so like those in open sea, or vast ocean drowning the soldiers. Even Xiong Ba was struggling but he has what it takes to be a conqueror, and he clung on bravely enough. The situation was so uncontrollable and everything in total chaos when Nature came storming. Those who are trained to withstand the charging weather and unstoppable element, tried to make a dash to safety or escaping via higher ground. With flick of commanding gesture, the antique piece jumped to order, and left no survivor in a single motion of slaying action. For them to die under such a sword and in a quick kill, should be painless, and may be an honor, yet how does one to justify the losses and do they deserving such ends in the first place?

    The Kingdom Number One verses The Realm Conqueror came to the final when the five elements retreated, leaving wind and rain, flood and torrent went unchallengeable on, which seemed tame now compared to the earlier battle. Their war came to a close with the land remaining as it is and the woods in original place. The only signs of confrontation, and climax of outcome were floating bodies of realm's soldiers and moving carcasses of kingdom's animals, swept away by waves. Guo Jing is alive and all his company survived, unhurt and unharmed. One moment, all over seemed red, color from the sky and bloody ground on a yellow land, but just then the snow came and even the water soon turned white.

    Meanwhile, Xiong Ba the Conqueror cowering in fear and cold.

    “Return to your realm and stay there, remember I will never allow you to conquer The Kingdom!”

    Xiong Ba, who lost his battle, soldiers, face, pride and almost life, stood up timidly.

    “What are you waiting for?! A kick from me in your butt to get you going?!”

    The Conqueror already turned and fled before Solitude Swordsman finished issuing his threat, as fast as the latter legs could carry him and as hurry possible as the winter allow him to leave.



    Sneak Preview

    A woman suddenly blocking his path and Yang Kang reined his speeding horse to an emergency halt. The woman is very beautiful, extremely inhumanely and sinfully so.

    “Hello” she greeted him.

    Yang Kang is spellbound for a moment before he remembered himself, and returned politely with his, “Greetings, miss but pardon me, I am in a hurry so please excuse me”
    “What if I refused to let you go?” she closed in and man will be man, and all men admired beauty and naturally seduced, including himself.
    Last edited by author; 02-24-08 at 10:21 PM.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Nov 2007



    When the Princess Yao Yue of Star Sect received news from one of her messengers about the Conqueror's defeat, she is smart to retreat before her own battle gets tough. Also, there were bad news from Phantom's side from. At the same time, winter was rough on her and she signaled return to Yin Realm.

    Huang Rong wise not to ask question but fulfilling all her mistress's commands and tried to pacify the princess's every tempers. Fortunately for her, she is Yao Yue's favorite for the time being, yet unfortunately for her, Huang Rong exposed much of lovelorn herself when she thought the princess was not looking.


    There are three occupants, altogether in The Lost Tomb. Huang Yaoshi introduced a Granny Sun, a Madam Ma and a Lady Ying. Yuyan didn't cover her head, and also stopped wearing her veil, for she never thought she will be meeting these people, people that staring at her now.

    “This is Ms Wang. She is recuperating from an ailment at the moment”

    The three women nodded, and said nothing at first. But then Granny Sun seemed to be more compassionate took the initiative to ask, “Miss Wang, will you be recovering anytime soon?”

    Yuyan looked at her healer and he replied, “on the way to recovery, but no, not anytime soon”

    “Come, I show her to the chamber” This come from Madam Ma and Huang Yaoshi said to Yuyan, “Go lass, and these are all for you”

    “These” are her potions and a packet of mask in a bundle of sack, and he continued “I am going off and you won't be seeing me for some time. Just drink the potions according to the usual timetable and followed on the eating rituals. The mask is for you to put on when you sleep at night. Just apply on the scar will do, and not your entire face otherwise, you will scare these women out of their wits”

    Without waiting for her to say anything, Huang Yaoshi turned to the trio telling, “I leave her here to your cares during my absence, and if I come back and find anything bad happened to her, I have you all into pieces and feed the parts to the wilds”


    After Xiong Ba ran off and disappeared from sight to only The Kingdom knows where, Dugu QiuBai retrieved his sword and took his leave without much a look at his disciple and his company, even though the latter calling “Teacher!” and others addressing “Master Dugu” for several times. All saw the Solitude Swordsman vanished into white distance. Guo Jing is in a dilemma, dilemma where he wanted to go after his teacher now, and at the same time to ride on with his company. He is still undecided when one of the members spoke quietly.

    “Guo Jing, see to your teacher first”

    He swung around to face the speaker, when another said softly, “Guo Jing, without him we wouldn't be alive now. Although not appropriately or positively, he saved all of us and ended up protecting part of The Kingdom”
    “Go” someone else urged him.
    “But....” he hesitated, doesn't know how to explain or express his calls for duty, and needs seeing his teacher.
    “We will ride on now without you, and we are very sure you will join us later”
    “Even if you didn't, we understand and will explain everything to Yang San Lang”
    “We do anything to cover you, after all, you pretty much covering us in the past”
    “Gentlemen, thank you! Thank you very much!” he gestured to all hurriedly.
    “Don't mention it. We owed him, and you” and they returned gesture gratefully.

    Guo Jing then raced to catch up with Dugu QiuBai and found his teacher was waiting for him, miles away inside the deep woods. The snow thick and heavy, but both teacher and disciple seemed not bothered by it.

    “Why are you here?”
    “I come to see you”
    “What I mean here is, why going to war and not inside the palace? You merely a subject of the court, not a leader in battlefield or guardian of war”

    Guo Jing was speechless, and his teacher went on like adding the salt into the wound, “You decided to ride out courageously because she chose another over you. You rather die bravely in war fighting the enemy but a coward when coming to do a personal battle with a friend”

    “Teacher, it is not like that at all!” Guo Jing couldn't help shouting. Now, he almost regretted coming over to see his teacher. Really, he should better off to war, shouldn't he?
    “What not like?”
    “They met first, and I am not a man to come between a couple!”
    “They met first, doesn't mean they be together in the end

    Guo Jing turned away, and was silently letting off his steam, steam of frustration and pressure when his teacher called out commandingly, “Jing er”. He almost didn't want to answer, but to ignore one's teacher is rude and unforgivable. So he faced his teacher again, without saying anything in reply.

    “Xiong Ba was right, I trained you to fight like The Solitude Swordsman but didn't turned you into a Dugu QiuBai. Being me means heartless and merciless, a killing mind and possessed ironed will, like you saw just now”

    Guo Jing kept quiet, for he has no reply to that either.

    “He was wrong though, that I wanted to be known as Number One forever”
    “When I took you in, I already knew with your manner and character, you cannot improvised the Dugu Nine Swordsmanship's level any further. I do not mind you failed to achieve higher, or lacking new supremacy, but I be really pissed if you lose to others who keep on attaining and cultivating their state to overcome your current stage”
    “Teacher, what are you trying to say, and getting at?”
    “After your tutelage completed, I realized the Dugu Nine Swordsmanship will not make you the new Number One”
    “But teacher, I do not want to be known as Number One!”
    Shut up!”

    There seemed to be a sudden change of mood in the conversation, and Guo Jing feared what his teacher going to say or do next.

    “So I came up with a new stream of skill. The same skill you witnessed just now which has nothing to do or related with Dugu Nine Swordsmanship. It is said, the greatest skill of a swordsman is his being and weapon as one, but I managed to come up with own version, that goes the greatest mastery of a man is himself and heaven as one. As the five elements are celestially related, one can almost play divinity. You just witnessed one man already did so”

    As he spoke, Dugu QiuBai approached Guo Jing with an intensive stare and the latter took steps back. His teacher grabbed his hand viciously, but he felt no pain or suffering. Instead, he experienced a shocking surge of rushing energy pumping into his being.

    Teacher!” Guo Jing shouted in horror for a brief while before he struggled violently against his teacher's effort.

    Dugu QiuBai, with almost a savage look on his face, merely increased his grip and force.

    “Since I cannot turned you into me, you can always inherit my power!”

    Guo Jing could feel his teacher's spiritual force of five elements, channeling to overtake and replacing his own existing energy.

    “No! Teacher!! Please stop!”

    Dugu QiuBai released him suddenly, and in what call the last remaining strength, pushed him away. Guo Jing put his foot down, and to his stunning surprise, he found that could be done awesomely.

    Why there poisons within you?!”

    The question came unexpectedly, and Guo Jing have no time to consider or ponder for an answer. He is not good at lying, anyway.

    “I was attacked by a member of Star Sect”
    “And... ah..., and.....uh, she....,”

    Guo Jing trying to come up with a better answer, only to hear his teacher providing the correct one, “You busy playing gentleman, and underestimated her skill”

    His red face ended saying all and Dugu QiuBai summing up accurately, “Something else happened in between, and she told you how to control the poison”

    Guo Jing could neither reply nor deny, for there was a loud crack above, and both men looked up at the winter catastrophe. Guo Jing reacted instinctively by leaping towards his teacher to prevent the latter from being hurt. The moment he touched the older man, Guo Jing came to realize two things. One, his teacher is fragile and two, Dugu QiuBai becomes unconscious.


    Guo Jing didn't rejoin his company. He brought his teacher back to his cave and watched over the latter throughout winter. In any event, how one is to travel in such condition? Meantime, when Dugu Qiubai regained consciousness later, teacher and disciple had talks, real talks, that is.

    “My time is up soon”
    “Teacher, you shouldn't have done what you did”
    “In case you forgotten, I am old and already outlived the ancient frame. I am also very tired and feeling deplorable, tired of life and deplores the time. Its true, there a naming price in everything and for everybody, and mine is sheer loneliness in return for a stupid title”

    Guo Jing said nothing, for the fact is beyond consolation. Tears is out, for a man don't cry. In any event, his teacher might even smack him soundly.

    “Jing er”
    “Yes, teacher?”
    “That title was freely bestowed to me, so I voluntarily bequeath it to my own disciple. After I am dead, bury me here with my sword. And you can decide whether to be the next Kingdom's Number One or choose to become the only one greatest Love Fool!”
    “Teacher, please don't say such things like that!”
    “And when do you think I should? Tonight, tomorrow, next spring or a decade from now on?”
    "If you ever mourn for me after I am gone, I will never forgive you for I hate such ceremony!”

    Solitude Swordsman remained arrogant and decidedly proud, even in his final hour.

    “And never come back here again, unless you with bride or wife, whomever she might be. If there one thing I wish to have your filial piety in this life and after, then it has to be that ceremonious cup of tea”

    Dugu QiuBai closed his ancient eyes, and slept on. He never woke up after that, and Guo Jing complied with his teacher's wishes and buried the deceased along with sword. After he was done, Guo Jing took moments off to visit his teacher's past. He saw his teacher's carvings and writings on the cave wall, so Guo Jing knew the Solitude Swordsman lived impressively and famously, yet full of bitterness and pain. Next, he read his late teacher's journals and letters, and Guo Jing realized the deceased triumphed in his glory and respect, but not without tragedy and regret. He also found, that there were some tokens and few mementos, which his late teacher left unopened and unappreciated. His reflection came to end as Guo Jing concluded the old man passed away desolate, exhausted and unfulfilled. By right, Dugu QiuBai should have a grand passing befitting The Kingdom's Number One. Even in death, his teacher lived to his nickname Solitude Swordsman, isolated and secreted with a sorrowful disciple in attendance. If there any comfort, the man eventually allowed to rest in peace.

    Meanwhile, Guo Jing didn't think about the war any more but just enjoying the quiet solitude inside the cave and experienced the life of a recluse. Since his teacher forbid him to mourn, Guo Jing decided to pay homage to the latter by becoming a winter hermit, to understand the feeling and suffering of a loner and swordsman who survived his remaining years only on the basics - food, shelter and clothes - for what it seemed like eternity.


    Yang Guo met up with Yang Da Lang in the North, and together they battled with “Storm”. Bu Jing Yun and Nie Feng have own armies, and Yang Guo told his cousin, “Da Lang, leave “Wind” and “Cloud” to me. You go and lead our troops against their followers”

    And so, Yang Guo confronted the duo all to himself, and as they fought without breaking, the three got cut off from the rest, edging towards hilly sides and into narrow paths. Winter came early and suddenly, creating more chaos and additional mayhem. Yang Guo able to control the duo, if not attacking and “Storm” took opportunity to “coexist” with nature and vanished from sight, and Yang Guo, in the case one against two, was so caught off guard at one point on a ridge, “Storm” revealed themselves, and attacked his worst moment, and at perilous range. The place Yang Guo chose retreating to safety, unable to support their weight when the duo followed and leaped over. Before they could exchange further blows, a loud crack was heard, and Yang Guo fell. He is well trained enough to reach out for support, and he dangled on disadvantageously. “Storm” seized their advantages and decides to finish the heir once and for all. The duo dangerously as one, and about to strike when a white figure appeared soundlessly and silently from the snow behind their target. It is as though the white figure is quietly part of the floating snow. Distracted by the grace of a female form, and a maiden with looks of a goddess, they ended up hitting blindly and failingly. Unfortunately, the outcome of the blow caused Yang Guo's to lose his support. He fell off further, lower and deeper knocking and bumping everything coming into his contact. A moment before he lost consciousness, Yang Guo saw a white figure is coming swiftly after him, and he thought of Nie Feng. Next, he blacked out.


    When Yang Kang met up with Yang Er Lang, Star Sect was ready to attack but suddenly there seemed to be a confusion as they were called back by the leader. From then on, the war appeared like a waiting game for some time from both side when the weather underwent changes, and winter came unexpectedly. Later, Yang Kang and Er Lang, together with their armies kept watch under the falling snow as Star Sect troops suddenly retreated and left the battle scene.

    “What is happening” Er Lang spoke to no one in particular.
    “There seemed to be changes of situation or luck” Yang Kang said.
    “Oh?” Er Lang turned to his cousin who continued, “Something happened at the palace or at least, somewhere else, and Star Sect turning tails”
    “Yang Kang, how can you tell?”
    “Star Sect is heading off site, and not towards elsewhere in The Kingdom. That means, they are running away. But it could be a trick or trap. Stay on and see what next”

    Time passed, when there little sunshine and snow receded bit, Yang Kang and Er Lang rode out to check at the battleground camps and fighting fields, and saw that, Star Sect has indeed retreated at all war points.

    “Does this mean good news or bad news?”
    “Er Lang, I will have to return to the palace in order to give you an answer”
    “Yang Kang, the outcome of all these still unpredictable and the weather is unstable. Do you think it is a wise decision, or the right course of action?”
    “Er Lang, I am sure you know there are risks and dangers I am to take and undergo since birth, and this being one of them”


    The air is cold, and the breeze is chilling but Yang Kang well equipped and strong to take on the weather onslaught. He thought of home, duty and responsibility in order to forget the cold. He also kept urging his horse to go faster, in order to keep the chill away. A woman suddenly blocking his path and Yang Kang reined his speeding horse to an emergency halt. The woman is very beautiful, extremely inhumanely and sinfully so. If the man somewhat spared from the gory of war, then he is going to face another tough kind of battle.

    “Hello” she greeted him.

    Yang Kang is spellbound for a moment before he remembered himself, and returned solemnly with his polite, “Greetings, miss but pardon me, I am in a hurry so please excuse me”
    “What if I refused to let you go?” she closed in and man will be man, and all men admired beauty and naturally seduced, including himself. There seemed to be something familiar about her, and on her that magically drew his eyes moving all over her. But Yang Kang good at exercising self restraint when it comes to matter involving gender. Growing up in the palace and exposed to the harem, he has lot of experiences and practices. Also training under Hong Qigong, who at times behaved like carefree vagrant and careless drifter, is a man of moral and tradition. Yang Kang is greatly influenced by his teacher and principles.

    “My name is Zhou ZhiRuo”
    “Miss Zhou, nice meeting you but time is pressing and I am really in a rush”

    For an answer, she took an unexpected leap and Yang Kang almost got thrown off when her act and weight seemed to bother his horse. He quickly needs to control the animal, and he is not a man to push a woman down. So they got pressed and closed intimately while struggling for proper balance. Once they got steadied on, the bedazzled Yang Kang stared at her in bemusement while she in her most captivating, looked at him beguilingly.

    “What is your name?”
    “Yang Kang”
    “Master Yang, what are your feelings now?”

    Enchanted.... Allured.... Enticed.... Ensnared.... Stimulated.... Enslaved....

    “Are you still in a rush?” she so close that his lips almost touched hers.

    Arousal...He leaned over and she shifted closer.

    Attraction and admiration, passion and pleasure, sexual and sensual. There are times, even the most serious man, simply caught in the net of intrigue and web of desire. Feeling sensationally at the point, he really into the mood and invitation, but for a moment he just mulled over her age..... Suddenly, Yang Kang abruptly brought back to reality. The seduction ZhiRuo wove around him is broken and miraculously went flat, as all craving needs and primitive feelings seemed to take leave from his senses and systems.

    “Miss Zhou!!” Yang Kang leaped down, leaving her alone on his horse. “Respect yourself! Here...!” He removed his traveling cloak, and threw it over to her. “.. do cover!”

    The spell is gone now, and Yang Kang very much reminded of those in the palace who used beauty and body to full vice. By the time he immune to Zhiruo's charm, the man continued to think of Zhao Min. That night, the image of the girl went behind the screen to undress came sharply to mind, and came out wearing nothing but his cloak on her body naturally, did lots of stirring to a sleepy and tired man, but nothing started between them, or ever existed before. Also he almost dozed on his feet. Pushing her onto his bed wasn't entirely appropriate but then to let her wandering around his quarters with nothing on, or she to spend the night sleeping on the floor or stool were simply unfitting. He fell into deep slumber before he could think of the consequences of their compromising stage. The next morning, he was strangely in a resolute state. Talks and events led him to make a decision and the announcement. After his parents sanctioned their informal engagement, Yang Kang all were but so unlike himself. And only then, meaning now, he realized has fallen in love for the first time in life without knowing how and when. That goes saying and proving men, no matter how smart and clever, are generally clueless or lacking when it comes to matter concerning feeling and emotion.

    “Hmmm, you reminded me of the boy who said the same thing to me before. Come about it, he also shared your looks” she mused.

    Yang Kang is startled by her saying so and his assertive mind came to work putting the pieces together. No wonder there seemed to be something familiar about her. She has the air of villainy and inhumanity. She possessed the aura of sin and perverseness. Yang Kang recalled alertly, the site – a foul fight and gross remains.... little Yu Er – tortured and hanged.... Earlier, she addressed him as Master Yang, which means, Zhou Zhiruo is not a native of The Kingdom. Who she attacked at the site, he will probably never know but he definitely sure she a murderess. He concluded if she could mesmerizing him like just now, she could bewitching others in the palace.

    “The boy was adorably shy and humble”
    “Oh, yes! How do you know?”
    “I also know you killed him, after you tortured him”

    Yang Kang's voice was steely, and Zhiruo is startled by his grimness. In his full height and noble bearing, Zhiruo saw the astuteness of a man and read his brilliant piece of mind, mind where he tricked her unsuspected self indirectly into confessing the outcome.


    As Zhiruo planning her quick escape, her fingers worked fast to let loose her garment, and Yang Kang has sense to gesture at the fallen cloak, and the piece went up the same time her piece coming down, thus blocking her nudity from his sight. ZhiRuo, although strong and skilled realized she is no match for Yang Kang in his anger or righteousness. He is not a man to be crossed or even played at, and she regretted their meeting where she exposed her own crime. Swiftly, she fled the scene and Yang Kang watched his cloak slowly and smoothly onto the snowy ground. He recalled his purpose so didn't give a chase.

    She will not avoid capture and remain escaping forever.

    Yang Kang then picked up and put on his cloak and about to ride again when someone laughing “Ha! Ha! Ha!” could be heard currently at a near distance. “Teacher?!” he called out in bewilderment.

    The happy and smiling wanderer came somersaulting to sight, and Yang Kang rushed to greet his “Teacher!” hurriedly.
    “Well, my lad, that was quite a display of lust and then temper. Indeed, at one point, I was only waiting to catch you in the act with pant down and ready to circumcise you on the spot, but then you seemed to change your mind. I say, you didn't disappoint me at all, but definitely ended up frustrating the lady. Imagine, getting all excited and steamed but fail to reach the climax. Really, Kang er, I didn't know you are such a teaser!” Hong Qigong laughed then, and unable to stand still, skipping around his disciple. It always a puzzle, and unimaginable to most how the two being the complete opposite could ended up as they are.
    “You was around during all that time?!”
    “From beginning to the end”
    “And you...?! when she....?!”
    “What, her nudity? Well aye.... but nothing to see, really”
    “Teacher, that was dirty spying...!”
    “Hey, stop that line of thought, my lad! I do not need you to lecture me on that kind of thing! If I snooped and sneaked around hoping to see her naked in private that will be call dirty spying but you and I saw she undressed openly, now that what we call free show! See, one must get and understand the point right!”
    “Still...! Teacher, you shouldn't be looking!”
    “Who says I am looking? If that woman can undressed in front of you, she also can do so with other men. When I say nothing to see means, really nothing. After all, what is there to look at such woman whose performances and talents not worth a price”
    “Alright, alright! Let not talk about it anymore. Teacher, what exactly are you doing here?”
    “Oh, as usual, happy go lucky kicking some evil butts along the way, and wandering freely while whacking off the intruders that showed up in The Kingdom. Smiling and laughing alone, when recently I came across an open seduction and happened to witness hormones at work. But I agree, let not talk about it anymore, so where are you going, actually?
    “I am rushing back to the palace”
    “Oh well, I won't detain you then, my lad! Now off you go, for I am off too myself. But wait, I have a grave question to ask you”
    “It was not easy for a man to ignore the Song of a Siren, or breaking the nature of such call, so when did you know how to tease?”

    The question came unexpectedly, and like most unprepared people, Yang Kang has no time to think or consider for the answer. Also, his teacher's expression became proper all sudden.

    “Never, I just remembered my betrothed”
    “What?! You are engaged?! How come I do not know about it?!” his teacher jerked in disbelief.
    “Informal engagement” he replied only to have Hong Qigong reacted by shaking him roughly, “Informal? What happened, you impregnated her?”
    “Concubinage?” he frowned.
    “Then why informal?” he asked distastefully.
    “A long story”
    “And you have not the time and mean to tell me, alright I get it, so no big deal!”
    “Teacher, please don't be upset! Nobody knew your whereabouts, including myself!”
    “Ha ha ha, that true, so very true. I shall see you later and meet your betrothed when time comes” he is back to himself.
    Teacher!” but Hong QiGong just come and go as he pleases and he decided to ignore his disciple and somersaulted off into distance. Again, Yang Kang didn't give a chase. After all, he already delayed on his course of duty, and chasing his teacher all over is not an easy task. Later, he got caught in a snowstorm and has to look for an immediate shelter. He found one abandoned hut, and forced to lodge there throughout winter.



    Sneak Preview

    A woman appeared, and her figure and bearing seemed to be a goddess of sort. It would be a lie, to say a man is not move by such etherealness and surreality.

    “Yang Guo, greetings to you, Miss....” he greeted and gestured presently.

    She stared at him, deep and intensive as though reading his mind. When she spoke, her voice and tone are thralling, “I am called Dragon Girl, and is the current Guardian of The Dragon Sabre. Welcome to my Dragon Castle in the Heavenly Zone, Lord Yang Guo of The Kingdom”
    Last edited by author; 02-27-08 at 06:06 AM.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Nov 2007



    Inside The Ancient and Lost Tomb, the tired and cold Wang Yuyan took a nap like a hibernating bear. After all, she is recuperating and the atmospheres of the place during winter, is somehow inviting. She jerked up from her sleep and cried, “Argghhhh....!” when Yang Guo fell into fate of the unknown. It took her several moments to calm her breathless self, and beating heart. Someone coming and she got up, and the someone turned out to be Granny Sun.

    “Are you alright? I thought I heard you cried out”

    Granny Sun stared at Yuyan, who seemed pale and white with fear. Being old and experienced, and the first inhabitant at the tomb after the sect was abandoned, the former knew the latter either experiencing bad dream, having to stay here, or suffering the vision, having premonition of kind. The tomb tends to overwhelm those who are initially not familiar with its darkness and gloominess. From what the old lady could see and tell, Wang Yuyan seemed wanting to run away from her past, and hiding here forever. Recuperation serves a good reason and rather solid excuse, but the truth is she cutting off links and connections throughout The Kingdom. Granny Sun then walked towards Yuyan, and she sat the younger girl down, intending to soothe her.

    “Miss Wang, I do not know your past, and I will not ask but I will tell you live for the present, and leave future to course. Your scar is healing, and your hairs are growing. Compare to Madam Ma and Lady Ying, you fares better in destiny. At least, you are young and if I am not mistaken, still chaste”

    She has no wish to talk about herself or the future, so she asked “Why are they here? What had happened to the ancient sect and why the abandonment? Were you one of the members?”
    “What do you know about The Ancient Tomb Sect?”
    “I heard it long ago, that it was mysteriously formed and abandoned. But that was all I remembered”
    “Well lass, my advice is never asking question about other people, unless they offered to tell. As for the Ancient Tomb Sect, let its secret to be buried with time and existence remained lost in place. I was not a member of the sect, but the first inhabitant here in The Lost Tomb”
    “Elder Huang brought you here? Wait, I am confused bit. Isn't this The Ancient Tomb, but you called it Lost Tomb. I remembered he said Ancient Tomb as well”
    “Yes, he brought me here. This place is originally The Ancient Tomb Sect, but we shall refer it as The Lost Tomb”
    “For one and only purpose, that is to confuse outsiders. It certainly confused you, and in case you didn't notice, there are only women here and the numbers are nothing great
    “It may not be homely, and at times, scary but the tomb does provide protection from....., well, things and others”
    “He also brought in Madam Ma and Lady Ying”

    Yuyan went silent and so does Granny Sun. Eventually, the latter said, “Isn't it time for you to take your potion?” and the former was startled. The older woman continued, “He informed me to remind you, and I shall leave you to mind own business. Food shall be served after some time from now. You can join us later at the main chamber”
    “But....!” Yuyan started, only to stop herself from saying so much else.
    “He also informed us what is suitable for you. So, don't worry”

    With that, Granny Sun took her leave, and Yuyan is left alone to wonder what else the healer told these women about her, and to ponder whether what their reaction would like be, to have a former cannibal staying and living amongst them.


    “Ying?” Duan Yu came to see her when she finished for the day. He returned to the palace the moment the weather improved bit, and bringing good news from Lord Yang's camp. He was thinking to rejoin the camp when heavy snow came once more. So, he might as well spent times with her and they enjoyed the winter courting. After all, the war is sort of over and the palace considered safe now, while the camp is secured with Zhang San Feng around, together with Zhang Wuji and Linghu Chong. With other pugilists around, those in the camp are bound to enjoy ale and tales, glory and stories, gory and adventures to the fullest.

    “Yu!” and Ren Ying Ying ran to meet him halfway.

    Holding hands together, the couple strolled along the corridor of the West Household's Main Quarter.

    “How is she?”
    “Still unconscious”
    “What the physicians said today”
    “Seemed like she was trapped in her past, unable to seek return. At one point, she stopped breathing altogether, and Yang Kang's mother almost screamed the the place down and physicians' heads off when Miss Zhao suddenly showed signs of coming back to life”
    That bad?”
    “Yes, and she ordered the physicians to take on shift, to monitor Miss Zhao night and day without her failing again. Yu, I feel sorry and really pitied for her. I thought I was unlucky, but now I got to know someone fared worst than me”
    “She might never wake up, at least in my life I had the chance of learning up skills, and got enough food to eat. She is small and tiny for her age. From her hands and foots, I can tell she worked hard to survive since young. When I bathe her, no doubt she has shape and curve of a girl but most are skins and bones. Yu, I don't think she got enough food to feed all these while and she lacks all the nourishments needed for her body when growing up. Also I have a feeling she is delayed on her time”

    Duan Yu could only stare at her, and listened quietly. After all, what else can he do, or say? And that was way bit of too much information to take in. When he remained silent and appeared uncomfortable, Ying Ying realized she revealed things that doesn't really concerned him.

    “Ying Ying, I think you are tired now. Try not to worry so much, and have a good sleep after a long day at work, hmmm....”
    “Good night” he gave her a gentle peck on her cheek.
    “Night, I see you tomorrow morning” and she went away.

    Duan Yu watched until she is no more within his sight, and turned to find Guo Xiang watching him from a distant angle. He and she hardly talked in the past, and rarely came face to face during his visits. Duan Yu smiled in greeting and nodded politely. She nodded in acknowledgment, but didn't smile in return. He went away without another thought of her, and she watched his retreating back with a wistful look on the face.


    General Yang and his fourth son has no problem tackling the war in the East. The most martially trained and physically drilled among the Yang brothers, he attacked and defended like a skilled pugilist. One of the widely traveled man in The Kingdom, he knew most roamers by name and befriended with many members of pugilism. It was he who brought his little nephew Yang Guo on first official trip when the former decided to pay a courtesy visit to Wang Chaoyang, who was in the process of taking in new disciples and the rest is history. It was also he, together with young Yang Kang on a hunt, when Hong Qigong came chasing and scaring all the animals away. And the hunt ended with the Smiling and Laughing Wanderer took a special liking at the serious and solemn boy.

    Meanwhile, the East rather spared from the major attacks due to the geographical structure, and by the time winter came, General Yang and Yang Si Lang has nothing else to do but continued to keep alert and watch.


    Zhao Min is cold, and shivering. Her teeth started chattering.... The place is bone chilling and she could feel all her hairs standing up.....

    Minnn.....!” the wind seemed to cry.
    MinMinnnnnnnn..........!” the place seemed to howl.

    Please....!” She has seen vampires before and lucky to be alive first time round. Surely she is not going to meet ghosts and spirits now. She might not be allowed to be so fortunate the second time. “Please.... Heaven, please....!”

    Min er”

    Zhoa Min jerked, and her eyes widened at the picture of her deceased family before her.

    Come.....” Her father called out.
    Min er, my daughter. Please join us” Her mother spread her arms.
    MinMin....! I missed you, little sister!” Her brother waved her over.

    Fear forgotten, and without further thought, Zhao Min ran over to her family. But she seemed never to reach them, and the more she ran, the colder and chiller she became. And the moment she thought she touching them, Zhao Min was struggling for breath from what it seemed a freezing suffocation. She closed her eyes, and about to take her last breath when someone shouted, “NOOOOOOOOO....!”



    Yang Kang jumped up, awakened and alerted. Despite the cold, he is perspiring heavily. Despite the chill, he is so hot and dampened that he needed to loosen the layers of clothes. He rarely dreams, and when he did, thing bounds to happen in a related way. And one of his dreams, long ago, about the passing event of his favorite hound. Another distant memory was, he dreamed of Yang Guo's pet got sick. And the pet really died soon after it was fed too much. Presently, he felt uneasy and troubled. His feelings refused be comforted, and he being unable to calm down. He shouted out loud, for the first time, and that was rather alarming.

    “Zhao Min....” he didn't mean to call, but couldn't help it and he went on, “Are you alright?” At that moment, the chilling wind seemed to cry, “oooo Noooo....oooo”

    Yang Kang stood up and began to check on the current weather. He has been stuck here for days, and days turned to weeks. His face was met by the frosty airs, which seemed to howl “ooooo Goooooo.....ooooo” His mind discontented, and his heart has decided. It is still dangerous for a journey, and perhaps deadly but he soon rides out with grim determination.


    Yang Guo opened his eyes, and found himself in a strange place. In fact everything about him and the place seemed strange but couldn't figure out what. He got up and saw injury marks which seemed healed. He about to stand when a woman appeared, and her figure and bearing seemed to be a goddess of sort. It would be a lie, to say a man is not move by such etherealness and surreality.

    “Yang Guo, greetings to you, Miss....” he greeted and gestured presently.

    She stared at him, deep and intensive as though reading his mind. When she spoke, her voice and tone are thralling, “I am called Dragon Girl, and is the current Guardian of The Dragon Sabre. Welcome to my Dragon Castle in the Heavenly Zone, Lord Yang Guo of The Kingdom”

    Only then, he recalled – the fight, the fall and the figure. It must be she who rescued him from his fate. If his memory serves him right, she came after him dressed all in white, as white as snow. Now, she appeared before him dressed in a combination color of red and black. Her top show off her bare shoulders, arms and the middle. The long skirt split on both side, revealing part of her long and slim legs. Like his cousin, Yang Guo also a man exercising self restraint. He is not easily embarrassed by such blatancy, neither he uncomfortable with such boldness. The harem has been a very good training ground for him since boyhood, and he grew up immune to such exposure. Also, his sessions of pugilisms at Quenzhen Sect also helps to averse such distraction.

    “Thank you for saving my life, Miss... ah, Dragon Girl. Oh, also helped to heal my injuries”

    She answered by holding out a hand, and it took Yang Guo a moment of consideration to take up the invitation she offered. He who used to gallantry, now felt inadequate on his side. To refuse a lady will be very rude of him, but to accept such gesture seems awkward on his part.

    “Don't be awkward ”
    “You can read thoughts. Pardon me, are all the beings in Heavenly Zone are something like you?”
    “Like what?” she asked him and moved.
    “Strange. No offense, but I cannot find a better word” he replied, moving along with her.
    “How about divinely” came the direct answer.

    If she is flirting with him, then it was done tastefully and Yang Guo has no answer to that. She didn't push her luck, and merely sat him down. He looked down at the drinks, then stared at the dishes.

    “You used aphrodisiac”

    Yang Guo is familiar with it. The palace sometimes used for purposes while the harem practiced discreetly.

    “This the main ingredients we take here, and what I healed you with”

    He said nothing in return. Dragon Girl took up a cup and closed in to his lips.

    “Drink” she said, not forcefully and he drank having not much of a choice, given the circumstances he as her patient. Next, she feed him the food, and he ate them. After Dragon Girl finished with him, she drank and ate her portions. He watched as her hands moved about, hands that are smooth and soft. He blinked, and he is drawn to her gestures entirely, gestures that seems arousing and stimulating. He blinked again, and tried to focus elsewhere.

    “You seemed very well behaved. Other men would have grab me already” Dragon Girl said and Yang Guo replied bemusedly “I am not other men”
    “I know” she glanced at him and he said, “If you could tell me when I can leave....?” only to be cut by her “Do you really want to leave?”

    Temptation is strong and raw. The air surrounding them is intense and thrilling. His Mind is in ecstasy but somehow, his Will refused to consent.

    “I got to leave...” he started steadily only to have her suddenly sitting on his lap, her hands formed crossed fingers behind his neck. He kept his eyes straight on her face and his hands strictly off her.

    “Don't leave”

    This time round, Temptation is both powerful and intoxicating. The things she gave him were potent and effective. Overall, his Being is not a piece of wood but his Heart remained unyielding.

    He slowly removed her hands, and himself from her, saying “The Kingdom is my home, and is now at war” He wanted to talk about duty and responsibility.

    “You are thinking about her, not because you missed home or bothered by the war” Dragon Girl spoke calmly, too calmly. Come to think of it, she even milder than himself! She also can read his mind and Yang Guo felt she raided him both physically and mentally. But then again, she saved his life so he owed her somehow.

    “I.... Dragon Girl, I.... I am sorry. Am so sorry” Yang Guo doesn't know what else to say, except apologizing.

    “What is there to be sorry about? Indeed, you are a very special man, Lord Yang Guo”

    As she spoke, her fingers traced him in a persuasive way, and Yang Guo couldn't stop the telling signs of his genuine reaction. He could only managed to express, “No...” but knew that his voice betrayed himself. Dragon Girl stopped what she doing, only to lean over and kissed him full in the mouth.


    Yang Guo woke up, and find himself in the strange place again, and on the same bed. The only difference between then and now, he is naked. He recalled she kissed him, and he couldn't remember after that.

    Now, surely he didn't...?! she didn't...!! or did they....!! Oh, why can't he remember a thing?!!

    “You fainted” an approaching voice told him.

    Yang Guo looked up and saw Dragon Girl has changed. Her attire now in purple and yellow, a royal color and a striking sight. He then stared elsewhere, and remembered he was too weak to go against factors and raptures that overwhelming him. And if she spoke in a smug or amused voice, he would have slap her soundly for it. Ah, who says man never throw tantrums?

    “You are angry” she said, and he remained quiet. Of course, he is angered. No, enraged the better word.

    “Nothing happened. I prefer a conscious man and willing partner. I may be imprudent, but not that desperate”

    Still, he is silent and sure she could read his line of thought, which she been doing all these while.

    “You need to change anyway. I merely didn't dress you up after that, because I want to see what your reaction would be like. You humans are really so gullible”
    “Whatever your opinion we humans might be, not all men likes to be touched or simply undressed when they were indisposed”
    “Please don't insult my intelligence, I know there are ladies who bathed and served you, Lord Yang Guo”
    “These ladies has seen and known me from birth, and continued to care for me like a mother would to a son. Dragon Girl, I am not condemning you, but I have to say I do not like the way you treated me. What other men wants from you or, what you chose to do with them, is not my place to comment. What I wish and request from you, at least some show of respect!”

    Yang Guo has never raised his voice to any woman before, neither he displayed his streaks so tempestuously to anyone, except maybe to foes or enemies. His tone is both stormy and scorning.

    “Lord Yang Guo, respect is earned,not demanded”
    “Dragon Girl,I am not demanding, merely claiming my rights and the dues befitting my post”

    He never spoke so contemptuously to anybody in his whole life, let alone to a lady with rank of a Guardian.

    “I saved your life”
    “And you can take it back if that pleases you. Just stop violating my privacy and assaulting my integrity”

    She was quiet after this, and in a voice that both steely and abrupt, “Can I have my clothes back?” She went away silently and came back with his clothes.

    “I am sorry”
    “I forgive you, and now I wish to change so will you please leave me alone?”
    “Yes, but I will come back later to bring you out for a walk”
    “Look, I wish to go home soon, for I am really worried about the situation in The Kingdom”
    “Lord Yang Guo, since you are already here, why not explore the place before taking leave? Let me play a proper hostess to my guest, even if it is for a last time. As for the situation in The Kingdom, the war is currently hindered due to courtesy of winter”

    To be honest, she wasn't all sultry or tartly in the first place. He can afford to make allowance for the earlier wanton displays due to the nature of her intakes. And if he to put it frankly, Dragon Girl is one of the most stylish and self assured females he ever met. She never make scenes, or used tears when failing to get her ways. She wasn't even into jealousy or envy when she got to know another already occupied his heart. Presently, she is into the grace of hospitality and diplomacy, and even possessed the finesse befitting a Guardian. His mood improved and temper subsided, Yang Guo is back to his mild code and gentleman mode.

    “I would like that, even if it for a short while” He replied formally.


    “Of course, compare to your palace, my castle is a mere inn to you”
    “No, please don't say like that. It is really beautiful and wonderful here”
    “But not impressive enough for you to stay on?”

    There she goes teasing him, but in a good natured way.

    “Home is always the best”
    “And so we have come to an end of our meeting”
    “Yes, time to say our goodbye”
    “Lord Yang Guo, anything else you wishes from me, aside from respect?”

    There she goes tempting him, of a different kind.

    “Dragon Girl....” he started, which he knew he shouldn't.
    “You wish to see, and behold The Dragon Sabre”

    He wondered at what term, and of what condition that follows, and comes with such wishes.

    “No term, no condition from me. The Dragon Sabre has spirit of own which neither beings would determine nor humans could control. Lord Yang Guo, your mind will not let you rest now, until you have seen it”

    She walked away, and he is caught between a dangling price and a great deal.

    “Are you coming” she asked from afar. Dragon Girl didn't even attempt to lure him, merely awaiting his approach. Humans are always so easily influenced by offer of the unusual, and the incomparable.

    Yang Guo was brought into a chamber, a chamber full of armories and awesome weapons. He saw rows and rows of battle equipments of variety kinds, and witnessed a vast display of military gears and war instruments of amazing lengths and astonishing weights. But what hypnotized him the most, is the glittering piece that hung magnificently onto the wall, at the end of the chamber. A kingly sized chair placed beneath it, as though the piece is sitting high and mightily on it.

    The Dragon Sabre.

    He is drawn to it like magnet. The elements of the sword alone awesome and majestic. Of a grand scale and shape, and from a bejeweled source and quality that could only produced by Heaven, or gift from the Ether.

    Whoever possessed them will conquers the realms and dominates the zones....

    If one Dragon Sabre able to emit such distinction and sovereignty, what happened if it to be put together with The Heavenly Sword?

    “An Entity, that not even The Almighty could rival”

    Yang Guo blinked at Dragon Girl, thinking he heard wrongly.

    “The Heavenly Sword is currently with Hua WuQue, but I will not be telling you more about that Sword and it's Guardian. Just now, you heard me correctly, put these Weapons together, and they become a Power so unmatchable, and a Force without equal that none could ever imagine. Lord Yang Guo, if you owned The Dragon Sabre alone, you become the indisputable Lord of The Universe, invincible throughout the Realms and Zones. Aside from The Kingdom, the outer lands, foreign deserts and open seas, all belongs to you, unchallenged. Immortality no longer a mere dream, but one man's accomplishment where none ever attained before. There were many rumors, true and false about these weapons and now, only you knew its real secrets”

    Yang Guo stared at her and Dragon Girl smiled, a smile that spoke thousands words, and thoughts.

    The Promise of Paradise and Ardor is indescribable.......

    He took a deep breath to calm himself, and tried to ignore the longings and desires, that corrupts and destroys the minds and hearts of men.

    Even more so when comes to the Promise of Eden and Fervor.....

    His eyes set again on The Dragon Sabre. Dragon Girl is right – it has spirit of own, and the same spirit is now grasping his very soul.

    The achieving of immortality is inconceivable..... you be the one and only this close.

    And the weapon dominates the emotions the way it controlled the zones and realms.

    Satisfaction.... Fulfillment..... Magnitude..... Infinity.... all that without going to battles and into wars.

    Lost in the sea of ambition and motion, Yang Guo reached out to touch the precious treasure.

    Supremacy.... Mastery...... Greatness..... Eternal...... Lord Yang Guo of The Universe.

    Drowning into the ocean of aspiration and reverence, his hand almost there when an awakening voice within himself roused from what it seemed a long hibernation, and collides with that spirit.

    Temptation has another name, and the name is.....


    To prevail, Man is to overcome the Temptation in himself.

    Startled, Yang Guo stopped in fortitude and dropped his hand in temperance. Man cannot executed something enlightening, without experienced nothing in exchange. Suddenly Yang Guo coughed heavily and choked in agony, and blood began to spill from the corner of his mouth. Numerous pains and dreadful pangs, shot through him as he suffered the aftermath of his fall and injuries, and side effects in return for sense and sensibility.

    Man got past Devil and succeeded denying Sins. Temptation lost in straight sets and what Yang Guo has to pay in the end are his mortal wounds.



    Sneak Preview

    “Help! Rape!!” Zhao Min screamed suddenly and wildly, jerking up to consciousness.

    Yang Kang froze. She saw blood rushed to leave his face, and then witnessed it returned at full speed.


    “I wish you both well, and do convey my warmest regards to The Divine Fairy of Yin Realm” Dragon Girl said her parting words.

    Yang Guo froze. She saw he is both shocked and stunned, by her reference to the latter.
    Last edited by author; 02-29-08 at 03:18 AM.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Nov 2007



    Inside one of their chambers while helping the elderly woman, she been thinking of him incessantly since her dream occurred more than once, where Yang Guo in constant perils when Granny Sun came to a revelation “He used to abuse her”.

    Wang Yuyan stopped her doing the works, and memory of her past started to flash strangely. She asked conversationally,“Why didn't Madam Ma leave him?”
    “She tried but her rich and good for nothing husband always managed to find her”
    “So finally, she got help from Elder Huang?”
    “No, her husband went missing suddenly. And he was never found long after that. Eventually he was declared dead by the authority. The Ma family schemed to seize the deceased inheritance, by framing Madam Ma committing adultery with an old family friend. The friend was bribed, and he accused her of the misconduct. The case was dropped when she agreed to hand over everything. As disgraced and disowned widow, none wanted to take her in except brothels. Then the family's member vanished one by one, and fingers started pointing at her, stating revenge as motive. Somehow, she managed to escape the authorities, and fled. Destitute, abandoned and ruined at the age of thirty something, she tried to take her own life when Elder Huang happened to be nearby. The rest of her story, I supposed, is history”

    The white demon saw a husband locked up his wife one evening. And it stalked him, ready to strike at night...... The white demon saw an injustice and it went on killing spree, wiping out the craps .....

    “Are you alright? You looked so pale. And why are you perspiring?”
    “Ah, perhaps I am tired... and uh.... I...,”
    “Oh well, just take your rest then. Come to think of it, we been working on these since morning”

    When she entered her own chamber, Yuyan walked slowly towards a mirror – for the first time since what it seems long ago. Her beauty, once she thought gone is glowing again. Her hair grew healthily in length, due to the steady diets here and her scar is healing miraculously, thanks to the mask's effect. Never she thought, the day she saw herself without shedding tears would be the same day her lovely image reflecting the ugliness of her cruel self or stirring the evil past. But was was done is done and she greatly punished by loss of happiness and freedom. Furthermore, she is gravely robbed of innocence and fertility.


    “Rong er, you seemed distracted these day” The Princess Yao Yue of Star Sect stared at her messenger. “I am most displeased at the reports and results you gave me”

    “Your highness, I wasn't well these days” Huang Rong lied simply.
    “You mean, lovesick? From what I know, only Fools fall in Love”

    The words came coldly, and Huang Rong froze. One more lie, and she knew her fate would never be same again.

    “You can't even recall your cunning mind and muster the scheming self like what you did in the past, can you? Is he such a dashing man that you totally lost your head, heart and soul?”

    Darn if she is to reply, and worst still, if she refused to answer. Either way, she is cornered and the only way out, or to end this, is to bring it on. It is every girl's dream and wish, to have Love as happy ending. But in Huang Rong's case, she realized hers would have to do without.

    What she going to do next is not at all wise nor a perfect move, but Love is something that often makes a person say things without regret.

    “Your highness, that is my personal matter, and none of your business”

    Huang Rong thought she saw it coming but still, unable to put up a defense. She thrown yards away, and knocked into hard pillars. She coughed, and spat blood. Someone stood in front of her, and Huang Rong looked up dazedly. She wouldn't be able to resist, if YaoYue decided to kill her there and then. Huang Rong closed her eyes, awaiting her sentence but the blow never came. Instead, she felt herself drained of strength and energy while vile poisons entered her body. Huang Rong snapped her eyes open. To her horror, she realized the princess has no intention to kill her, but a punishment worst than death.

    “A fond farewell and parting gift, to my favorite messenger” Yaoyue said viciously.

    Her skill banished, and vile poisons took control her body, Huang Rong could only stare at the woman whom she served willingly and loyally since young. By falling in love with a man, and believing in that love, she has to pay for the rest of her life living hideously in shame.

    The man got it right all along, water and oil do not mixed. He was slightly wrong on the result though. For her, it is not contamination but humiliation. He also understood these things better than her but what he never know is, she willing to bear all the weights, just for the sake of loving him.


    Winter is coming to end. Soon, Guo Jing left the cave heading towards West. When he reached the camp, Yang San Lang said to him, “The members of the court told me what happened, and I have to thank you for what your teacher did. All of us here, are spared too and we are very grateful”

    Guo Jing didn't say anything else, and Yang San Lang saw his dejected look.

    “My teacher passed away in winter” the revelation came quietly.
    “Oh...! I... Jing, I am sorry! Really, I... we are sorry....!”
    “It is not your fault, if there is, then mine alone” he then sighed softly.
    “San Lang, how the situations now?”

    San Lang is a sensible man, and if Guo Jing wishes to change the flow of their conversation, he is able to suit the latter.

    “I received news from my siblings. Second Brother said his Southern Camp is currently safe, while Yang Kang should be back in the palace right now. Meantime, Fourth Brother wrote from East, their camp is peaceful but he and my father continued to keep watch and alert. I received nothing from First Brother and The Palace yet”

    “Yang Kang back in the palace?”
    “Yes, their enemies retreated suddenly and he suspected something amiss, thus rushed home to check”
    “He traveled alone during winter time, amidst battle and ongoing war?”
    “Well, you do know Yang Kang, don't you?”


    “Our first joining of powers a failure, totally a failure!! The Phantom was vanquished, and Star Sect turned tails – Outrageous!!!” Xiong Ba slammed his palm in a temper. The table cracked asunder under his force. “All the pugilists be damned! He rots!!”

    Wind and Cloud kept quiet. It is not wise to say anything during time like this.

    “How did you two fare?”
    “We almost killed the Heir on the spot but our blows missed him, and he fell instead”
    “Someone appeared suddenly and we got distracted, then were attacked in return”
    “A lady, dressed all in white. Either from the Heavenly Zone, or the Netherlands. She immobilized us, and went after him. Whether he fell to his death, or she managed to rescue him, we do not know for the snow almost blinded and buried us alive when we recovered from the attack”
    “Winter hindered us, and we have no choice but to retreat”
    “Lady in white? It must be Dragon Girl of the Heavenly Zone, current Guardian of the Dragon Sabre”

    Xiong Ba's revelation startled the duo immensely, and they looked at each other. Xiong Ba is greatly incensed, never expected the turnouts of all events.

    “Never mind about the War and the Heir at the moment, or Dragon Girl and Dragon Sabre for the matter. I want you two to do something for me in the meantime”
    “To hunt down a man”
    “Guo Jing”
    “Guo Jing?”
    “Yes, any problem?”
    “We met him once, together with the Heir and the Spare whom we exchanged blows but never dueled with Guo Jing”
    “I did. His skill is not that far above you two. Once you got him, regardless by hook or by crook, bring him to me for I shall handle him personally

    Wind and Cloud kicked off to their latest mission, and Xiong Ba all alone with his thoughts and plans.

    I will have my revenge, revenge where I bleed you todeath with him as my knife sliced into your heart and flesh!


    Yang Kang reached the palace a day before spring. He knew something is terribly wrong the moment he rode past the startled West Guards, who froze on their tracks. The moment he got down and entered his quarters, his entire households stopped on their heels. He came across Guo Fu who seemed to tremble at the sight of him. He then noticed one by one, the servants making themselves scarce while the attendants avoiding his path.

    “Guo Fu”
    “ L.. lord....?” she stammered, then trying to manage herself, “What brings you here?”
    “This is my home, is case you forgotten” came his crisp reply where she realized her blunder and she continued whatever come to mind next, “Aren't you supposed to be at war?”
    This is not your place to ask me of that”

    She went red and before she could say anything else, someone called out sternly, “Kang er” and both of them turned to see Lady Mu Guiying coming.
    “Mother” Yang Kang acknowledged and greeted his mother.
    “My lady” Guo Fu bowed, thankful and grateful for the timely arrival.
    “Fu er, you may go”

    She went away hurriedly, and Lady Mu said to his son, “That wasn't nice of you to speak out like that”
    “Mother, she needs not to remind me of duty and responsibility. Neither her post to question nor checking me”

    He is so right, and Lady Mu could only feel sorry for the ambitious girl who seemed to get nowhere with her son.

    “Kang er, I am really glad to see you again, but why are you home out of sudden?”
    “The main reason I am home is I wanted news, and from what I have seen and witnessed from the war, the wheel of fortune seemed to favor The Kingdom. By the way, what had happened to Zhao Min?”
    “Kang er, why do you say that? And what makes you ask?”
    “I said because winter came early setting The Kingdom at an advantage, due to home bases and grounds. The weather served misfortune to The Enemies who came from afar and at a wrong time. I asked because the palace seemed to be in jovial moods until I came in, meaning their fears has nothing to do with war and have everything to do with my betrothed”

    Yang Kang could actually predict the accuracy of events and and summarized the outcome of things. Indeed, her son possessed too much brilliance and intelligence in him.

    “Kang er....” Lady Mu started presently, only to hesitate herself.
    Where is she?” Yang Kang asked, in a tone that is neither calm nor mild.
    “Kang er....”

    He didn't wait for his mother to hesitate again, and turned to run towards his chambers.


    Zhao Min is cold again, and shivering too. Her teeth chattering, and realized she at the same bone chilling place again. All her hairs standing up, for Death is staring at her face...

    Zhao Min...!” A voice called..... Invisible hands seemed to reach out for her.
    Please.... no....” She whimpered, as Death sucked the final light out of her ....
    Zhao Min....!” The voice echoed...... Invisible hands seemed to get hold on her.
    No...., don't....,!” She choked, as Death squeezed the last breath out from her...


    Yang Kang raced into his chamber and calling out her name repeatedly, but saw she not there. He rushed out and bellowed, “Attendants!”

    Somebody came in slowly, and he recognized Guo Xiong. It seemed neither attendants nor servants dares to see him. Not even her elder sister, or his palace ladies willing to turn up. “Where is my betrothed?!” he demanded.

    “Miss Zhao is currently at the Physician's Rooms” She replied with head bowed low.

    He stared at her in for what it seemed a recollective moment, then he ran out without another word. Halfway, he came across Duan Yu, who called out “Kang!” in surprise, but the latter just raced past the former like some kind of devil in a pursuit. Instinctively, Duan Yu went after him. And along the way, all members of the household stopped what they were doing, and from one end to the other, all pairs of eyes watched the two men sped towards the Physician's Rooms.

    Yang Kang charged into the Rooms, followed closely by Duan Yu. He eventually found Zhao Min, lain still and unconscious, and saw the panic physicians trying their best to revive her. His mother already being there, with some company as well but Yang Kang took no notice. He set his sight on his mother but even she couldn't and wouldn't meet his eyes. He finally realized his betrothed is dying, “Zhao Min...!”

    ZHAO MIN!!”


    Zhao Min....!”

    The voice is close, so very close and suddenly, he revealed himself before her..... Seeing Him again is the greatest shock, even worst than meeting Death, and she stopped breathing. Not yet dead but not alive either....

    ZHAO MIN!!” ... His invisible hands moving and touching her body all over.

    He tried to rape the maiden once, now trying to do again with her. Suddenly, Zhao Min remembered she no longer young or naïve. She might be hopeless and helpless then, but she all grown up since, and has been bravely going through life alone. Gathering all the strength and courage she possessed, the spunky Zhao Min put up a plucky front to fend off his vile attacks.


    “Help! Rape!!” Zhao Min screamed suddenly and wildly, jerking up to consciousness.

    The startled Physicians' are jolted, and they stepped aside in bafflement. Lady Mu is shocked, while her company stunned. Zhao Min blinked confusedly, trying to focus. As her mind and vision cleared, Zhao Min looked around, and came to notice him.

    Yang Kang froze. She saw blood rushed to leave his face, and then witnessed it returned at full speed. A stream of energy emerged from him causing the decorations and vases to shake violently. They fell and crashed, broken into shattering pieces. From the same energy, the hangings and paintings were savagely ripped off. His mother's protests went unheard by him. So are others' cries. He moved forward without warning, and Zhao Min gasped and withdrew instinctively. All it took is a moment, moment where she realized things she never did before, and realization comes in the form of reflections, reflections where similarity and familiarity revealed between this Man and that Noble. All it took is the same moment, moment which Yang Kang realized she has been unease of him all these while. He came to understand fully why she disguised as a boy in the first place.

    “Yang Kang, please!” He stopped when someone put a restraining hand on his arm, and continued, “She just woke up! And you are already frightening her!”

    He jerked, and stared Ying Ying in a pensive manner. She then eyed somebody behind him and the somebody came forward. He heard Duan Yu said, “Kang, please do come with me. You do want to know what had happened, don't you?”

    Yang Kang didn't bother to reply, nor he backed off. The circumstances again proved to be too much for Zhao Min, who was deprived and dehydrated during her being indisposed. Her mind and vision blurred, she saw he closed in swiftly but didn't know he reached out. Yang Kang stared down at her now fainted in his arms, therefore noticed all skins and felt the bones.


    Eventually, Yang Guo regained his consciousness and he got up. This time, he didn't experience the strangeness he felt before, upon waking up in the place and on the bed. He could even feel his energy returned and being recharged. Why, he is as good as new! And unlike before, he remembered everything from beginning till the end. It took a lot of courage to reject The Dragon Sabre, but it took more than courage to refuse The Great Evil!

    “Lord Yang Guo”

    He looked up, and saw Dragon Girl appeared decently and dressed respectably, all in white. He stood up, and greeted “Dragon Girl”
    “It is spring now and I am glad you have fully recovered. The war is over, and The Kingdom shall be at peace for some time. You are free to leave anytime you wishes it, be it soon or later” she said, with airs of wisdom and hospitality.

    A woman tends to be more captivating, and most pleasing when she simply be herself, along with the mesmerizing charms and refined manners. If only fate arranged them to meet first, or at a destined acquaintance, maybe she would be his choice.

    “Who knows, how fate works? Or what destiny have in store for us?” She smiled. Again, a smile of thousand words, and thoughts.
    “Dragon Girl....”
    “Lord Yang Guo, I shall have you know, that you are not the first man who told me off”
    “Oh...?” he is surprised, then recalling a certain story, Yang Guo ventured to say “Qin Feng?”
    “Yes, Traveler Qin Feng. Like you, he succeeded in overcoming himself but unlike you, he is not as handsome or as desirable, neither he a man of title and status”

    Yang Guo said nothing to such touchy statement. They allowed the remarkable moment to pass, before he announced formally, “Dragon Girl, I would like to take my leave now. Thank you for allowing me to overstay my visit”
    “I shall see you out”

    Before departing, he gestured “Thank you, again, for what you have done so generously and genuinely”

    She stared at him, and he quickly emptied his whatever thought. Dragon Girl grinned unexpectedly, and winsomely. He was so caught off guard, that he grinned humorously in return. In a sudden mood for chivalry, he reached for her hand and kissed it, “Until the next time” he said gallantly, and released her.

    “I wish you both well, and do convey my warmest regards to The Divine Fairy of Yin Realm” Dragon Girl said her parting words.

    Yang Guo froze. She saw he is both shocked and stunned, by her reference to the latter. “You fell in love at first sight, without knowing her properly or understanding her past?”

    Like his cousin, Yang Guo possessed the brilliance and intelligence of mind. And the shock that comes with such address put him into an alertness that forming the pieces together, if not the entire picture.

    Wang Yuyan of Yin Realm.... A Divine Fairy......... The blade strong and sharp, the spirit of steel evil and cruel.... She is more notorious than Star Deity..... The Divine Fairy the attacker and an assaulter..... Then she ended up as the hunted prey.... Now Wang Yuyan of the Kingdom is battered and scarred.

    Of course he is stunned by the sudden revelation, revelation that is most devastating of kinds.

    Presently, a stem of energy seemed to erupt within him, and even Dragon Girl is caught unprepared by the fiery power and livid force that comes with it. The same energy shattered the formations and uprooted the landscapes, burst and exploded, resulting wrecks and ruins. Yang Guo has never tested himself to the fullest, now he went to the extreme. Dragon Girl's question only served to add additional dose to his might, and with this might Yang Guo actually brought part of the Dragon Castle down, and ended up damaging Dragon Girl's home.

    Man, when provoked would not hesitate to release all the hidden fires within or to reveal the mean streaks of his true self, for all to see.


    “She was ill since I left?”
    “Yes, when she seemed to recover somewhat, she had an accidental fall”
    “No one attending her at all?”

    Duan Yu couldn't think of a proper reply to such a serious question, and is answered by Ying Ying who appeared just then, “I was attending her, but somehow I must have been neglectful somewhere”

    “Ying!” Duan Yu jumped up quickly, while Yang Kang stood up slowly.
    “Yang Kang, I am very sorry”

    Yang Kang said nothing but looking on gravely, and the conference is further solemnized by Lady Mu's coming into the conversation, “Kang er, Miss Ren not at fault. She saw to MinMin's needs, and I saw her asleep. We left your betrothed comfortably on the bed .

    Still, Yang Kang said nothing and remained unyielding.

    “Kang er, she is conscious now. There is no need for you to look severely at all of us
    “Mother, did you hear what she screamed out?
    “Kang er, that could be one of those awakenings reaction. She was trapped by bad dreams and eerie nightmares, after all”
    “I don't think so, mother. I believed it related to her past”
    “Well, yes... so what are you going to do about it?”
    “Later, I am going to ask her, and gets into bottom of things. Now excuse me, Ladies and Gentleman for I have duties to attend, and responsibilities to see to first”

    He left grimly, his company sombre and the atmosphere tensed.


    “I am sorry”
    “Don't be. You are angry, I understand”
    “Please allow me to restore your home”
    “You wanted to stay on”
    “Can I?”
    “As you wish, Lord Yang Guo”
    “Dragon Girl, just call me Yang Guo will do”


    Lord Yang and company returned to the palace, together with some renowned pugilists and reputable names. Yang Kang and Duan Yu got to meet Leader Zhang and Leader Linghu Chong again. They introduced Elder Zhang Sanfeng to Yang Kang, and the men took the opportunity to sit down together and chat, with others in attendance. At a later date, a grand banquet is to be held to honor the Pugilists, as gesture of appreciation and token of recognition for their support and loyalty.

    Meantime, Lord Yang received reports from other camps. The war has been a great alarm, but in the end turned out to be a minor casualty. However, there is a bad news that his son the heir is missing but neither clue nor evidence showed Yang Guo being perished during the war. He could be injured and recuperating somewhere, and Yang Da Lang vowed to search on until the latter is found. Meanwhile, Lord Yang declared peace and together with his Lady, kindly and generously saw to the peoples' departures. The efficient Steward Yang took in the safety measures, and arranged troops to perform duty travels, in the form of accompanying the natives home.


    When news reached their camp, Guo Jing decided not to return to the Palace for the time being and informed Yang San Lang to report his extended leave and requested absence.

    “But where are you going? If you do not mind me asking, that is”
    “I am taking the opportunity to roam about, perhaps to the North first. You heard what happened. Along the way, I keep a look out for Yang Guo”

    It is a noble reason, and a good excuse. But if he is to be honest with himself, Guo Jing have no wish to witness their courtship. Knowing them to be a happy couple is one thing, but seeing himself in their company, Guo Jing has feeling of being overcrowded.



    Sneak Preview

    “Why not you coming along with me? We can travel together, paying visit to my teacher while looking for Yang Guo” he suggested tentatively.
    “Yes, I like the idea very much” she replied happily, much to his own surprise.


    “Didn't they feed you?” he asked angrily.
    “You are holding me tightly, let go!” she struggled intensely.


    “Are you flirting with me?” she smiled.
    “If you think I am, then I am. If you think I am not, then I am not” he smiled.
    Last edited by author; 03-16-08 at 08:08 PM.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Nov 2007



    “She actually from the palace?!” Yuyan asked, between horror and panic.
    “Well lass, you don't address a woman as “Lady” for nothing, do you? And why are you turning white, as though seeing a ghost?” Granny Sun asked.
    “N..nothing.... m... merely....” her voice shook.
    “Ah,....uh,.... ”
    “Off you go, then”
    “Granny Sun...”
    “Why her husband didn't bother to look for her?”
    “I wouldn't know for sure but I supposed man with certain title, usually have several wives, and kept many concubines. I guessed he wouldn't have notice and couldn't care less if he is short of one lady in his harem”
    “But surely, she has own family, and perhaps children – sons or daughters”
    “I thought I said before, she retired from the indulgence and extravagance when her only son was killed... no, not killed. Murdered, to be precise. If memory serves me right, she told me he died at the time the palace underwent a selection – whatever that means. But I suspected the son must be up to no good, and received his early due and punishment. I didn't mean to sound unkind, but one cannot die young and mysteriously just like that”

    Something fell hard and loud onto the floor, and both realized she dropped it.

    “Now, now.... no need for such reaction”
    “Granny Sun, what had happened next?”
    “Well, she didn't elaborate and you seemed interested. Why is that?”
    “I am really tired now. Please excuse me”

    She left Granny Sun abruptly, and the old lady read the harassed movements and saw her hasty retreat. If she is not wrong, Wang Yuyan's seclusion is connected to Lady Ying's retirement. Fortunately, Granny Sun is too old to play busybody or to create discord among her fellow dwellings. Since Yuyan came, she felt less lonely and is glad to have someone to pass time, and somebody to keep her company. She has no wish to upset their civility, or to cause them estrangement. As for the other two women, Madam Ma is too devoid of feelings due to the injustices done to her whereas Lady Ying chose to spend most her time alone, mourning for her only son. Before the latter came here, Huang Yaoshi found her wandering aimlessly, and somewhat deranged. He managed to heal her mind, but unable to bring her of out of bereavement. That how Lady Ying ended up inside The Lost Tomb.


    The Kingdom peace once more, but the palace very worried. Yang Guo is still missing, and in the absence of the heir, Yang Kang the spare have to perform a double duty. At times, he has to shoulder a triple responsibility when matters concerning his own are related to Guo Jing's keepings. Furthermore, he needs to entertain the palace's guests upon requests, and also playing gracious host to his pugilist friends. He is so busy that he has no time for Zhao Min who is recuperating slowly but steadily at the Physicians' Rooms. However, he never missed a single report on her progresses and himself did took off to see her, but late at night where she fast asleep. She only got to know his visits the morning after, when the attendant or the physician told her so.


    Duan Yu is waiting when Ying Ying came to meet him at the usual place and time.

    “Yu, I heard you are leaving soon”
    “Well yes, I have been long enough here. As you are aware, Yang Guo is missing and Guo Jing being absent while Yang Kang all tight up. I am thinking, and hoping to find Yang Guo”
    “Oh...” She looked down.
    “Why oh? Anything the matter?” His hand came to her chin and gently lifted it up.
    “Come on, tell me”
    “Do you know Guo Fu informed me I can take off”
    “Er... no”
    “I am telling you now I will be off duty for the time being”
    “Yeah, so....? Wait, what about Miss Zhao?”
    “Oh... you...! Urgh...!!”

    Ying Ying jerked away from him and facing elsewhere, leaving Duan Yu to wonder about the time of the month.

    “For your information, Miss Zhao is on the verge of full recovery and will be relocated to Lady Mu's quarters which is under Lu Wushuang” The latter is Ying Ying's fellow attender and they are friends at work and of leisure.

    Duan Yu pondered what he supposed to say now. Ying Ying seemed to be in a very bad mood and he has no wish to upset her further.

    “Don't you have anything else to say?” She crossed her arms and turned to face him again.
    “Ah....” he hesitated.

    The man doesn't really know what to say, or do next.

    “Good bye!” She started to stomp away, and Duan Yu regained his senses somewhat.
    “Wait! Ying!! Ying Ying!!!” He went after her when she didn't stop, “Ying, why are you so upset all the sudden? What is wrong??” he pulled her back, making her facing him.
    “What is wrong? What is wrong??” she almost screamed at him.
    Yes. What. Is. Wrong?!” he almost shouted in return.
    “I. Am. Off. Duty - You. Are. Going. Away - Of course, n-o-t-h-i-n-g is w-r-o-n-g!! Now, good night to you, Mister!!!”

    Ah, he finally get her message across.... He believed this what one calls Lovers Spats and he supposed this being their first. Hopefully it be their last as well.

    “Oh, I am sorry! I am so sorry! Ying, I didn't mean to upset you like that!” he reached out for both her hands, and holding them closed in his, “I was thoughtless, and being inconsiderate”

    Whether man is right or wrong, or being entirely clueless, it is always advisable to admit himself at fault or taking on the blame. After all, one can often savor the marvel of such virtue later, in a delightful return, if not in full payment. She make a “Hmmm....” sound and he insisted, “Am I forgiven? Don't hmmm me, just say yes or no”
    “What if the answer is no?”
    “Then I have to find a way to make you say yes”

    He gave her a full kiss on the mouth.

    “Am I forgiven now?”
    “What if I to say no again?”
    “I kiss you on and on, until you say yes”

    He tricked her.

    “A gentleman do no such thing!”
    “See, when we men don't say or do things, the women threw tantrums out of sudden! When a man ready for actions that speaks louder than words, you said do no such thing”

    He is turning the tables on her.

    “So. Am. I. Forgiven?”
    “Alright, you are forgiven”

    Duan Yu grinned and gestured his hand, to which she took and they walked under the moonlight of a starry night. After enjoying the silent moments of togetherness, he said quietly, “Ying...”
    “Why not you coming along with me? We can travel together, paying visit to my teacher while looking for Yang Guo” he suggested tentatively.
    “Yes, I like the idea very much” she replied happily, much to his own surprise.
    “Yes, truly. When are we leaving?”
    “Perhaps, in a day or two”
    “Fine and I have to go now. Good night!”

    She kissed his cheek and ran off. Duan Yu smiled to himself. If he is to be frank, this trip would prove to be rather interesting and more exciting than his previous ones.


    Zhao Min came to wake fully. Instead of the attendant or her physician, she found a hand holding hers, and a head on her bed. Her widened eyes eventually took in the picture of Yang Kang slumping on a stool beside her, and dozed off. As the man slept on, Zhao Min decided not to rouse him and stole some moments to watch his countenance at close. Come to think of it, she never really studied him clearly or properly. Although there are familiarity and similarity, Yang Kang's face is far noble than that rapist, and his being more righteous. It has been years, but the memory of the rapist's features and cruel doings remained as fresh as yesterday. He deserved his vicious end, while the poor maiden..., well, hopefully still alive. A case of an awful fate and a monstrous circumstance, she prays the maiden managed to escape peril and death. If she sees the latter again, Zhao Min would definitely able to recognize her. If there is something Zhao Min wishes to do very much in this life, it has to be bringing the Killer-Murderer-Vampire to End. After all, she never got to avenge for her family members or delivering justice for her villagers. Neither Chance nor Fortune being fair to her on the matter. Only Life and Opportunity bestows her a pair of legs, and granting her the hands to take care of herself. So sad and lost in her reminiscing, Zhao Min must have make some movements, and Yang Kang being startled from his deep slumber and his head came up.

    “Zhao Min...?” He mumbled.
    “Yes...” She shifted to make a gap between them, and pulled the cover up while he yawned and rubbed his eyes. Now that he straightened up, she noticed he lost a great deal of weight, and his exhaustion is obvious.
    “Zhao Min, how are you?”
    “I am fine, thank you”

    She wanted to ask about him too, but the words just wouldn't come out from the mouth. He said nothing after this, just stared at her while she just looked down at the hand that holding hers. She tried to remove it only to find he tightened his hold. Uneasiness came over her, and she blurted whatever on the mind, “What are you doing here?”
    “To see you”
    “Don't you have work to do?”
    “I am off for the day”
    “So why don't you rest properly at your place?”
    “I am thinking to breaking fast with you”

    She ran out of lines and she couldn't meet his eyes without betraying herself. From her strained expressions and tensed body languages, Yang Kang knew she is wary of him, and perhaps distrusted all men in general when comes to proximity. I am going to KILL that bastard!

    “Zhao Min, tell me the man who tried to rape you”

    Her head jerked up, “What?!”

    “You cried out that day, remember? So, tell me his name and I have the palace to hunt him down until he is found. Even if takes forever or till the end of this Universe!”

    He spoke with such mean streak that she almost come to fear him.

    “I... He..., w..was not” she stuttered.
    “Not you? Please elaborate”

    In between broken lines, she says all she could, and would “... if I see the victim again, or come across the murderer, I can tell”
    “Can you still remember the rapist too?”

    Now, that is a very arduous subject for her to bring on and out. Although she is not sure what the actual relationship between him and that rapist, she knew the birds of same feathers flocked together. Her years serving the titled families and attending the rich peoples, were proofs enough for her to witness things that even Yang Kang himself didn't. However, she was saved from replying for the time being when servants and attendants came in, bringing the foods and drinks. Zhao Min's physician appeared as well and he came forward, reporting “My lord, I come to check on Miss Zhao”

    Yang Kang released her hand and stood up aside, and the physician gestured at her, “Miss Zhao, may I?” She allowed him so, and after a thorough check, he said “Miss Zhao, a tremendous improvement and impressive recovery. The only thing is, you must eat more from now on” Then turning to Yang Kang, the physician said, “I will informed his ladyship on the nourishments that she needs” and to her, “Miss Zhao, just take what his ladyship ordered the kitchen prepares and you be as good as new. And more besides” He smile, a smile that seemed to hint much more than improvement or recovery.

    Zhao Min kept quiet and Yang Kang asked, “Physician, are you done now?”
    “Yes, my lord”
    “Then you may go” he dismissed the latter.
    “Yes” he bowed, and retreated. The servants and attendants still around, and Yang Kang ordered, “Leave us”

    They left discreetly, and Yang Kang turned to Zhao Min, who is caught by surprise when he suddenly announces, “I will be my lady's servant and attendant for the day”
    “Are you joking?!” she asked incredulously.
    “Did I do a lousy job out of it, since you are not laughing out loud?”
    “It is not funny!”
    “I try my best to come out with another one then, just to humor my lady”

    As he spoke gallantly, he reached out and she allowed him to pull her up. She is relaxed for the moment, and indeed that is good. Very good, as a matter of fact. He never fails in his personal missions, neither a novice when comes to private quests. The cover came down, and Yang Kang removed one of his own layers and put it over her single piece of garment, “Although it is already spring, the weather still cold and chilly”

    If she is embarrassed or uncomfortable with the her state, he didn't show he noticed and proceeded to guide her to the table where food and drinks are served. He sat her down, and took a seat at a comfortable space. His hands went to prepare the foods meticulously as though all in a day's job, and poured their drinks without spilling out or messed up on the table. For someone whose life being served from birth until now, he could actually take care of himself well and others. And for somebody who used to be attended from head to toe, he performed the tasks far more efficient than herself or perhaps, better than those in the palace.

    “Open your mouth”
    “Uh..., I... ”
    “Eat. You heard what the physician said”
    “I can do it myself”
    “As you wish”

    He then ate his portion, and Zhao Min observed the man also has good table manner. Also, he in his formal wear and official front, Yang Kang is every inch of a noble and lord.

    “Do I look so handsome and extremely attractive to you all the sudden until you forgot how to eat?”

    He joked for the second time in a day, and at her expenses. Zhao Min ate hurriedly, and cursed him inwardly, Darn the man for spotting her on! When at one stage he flashed his rare smile, Damn him for being good looking! By right, she should curse her own hormone for kicking in unexpectedly. Indeed, this is the first time she is experiencing such kind of effect concerning the opposite gender.

    “Careful, lest you choke”

    She reached for her cup and after she drank her fill, Zhao Min wiped her mouth and setting aside her food.

    “You didn't finish it”
    “The food is too much”
    “You called that too much?”
    “I don't eat like a lot, sometimes I go without” She shouldn't have said that. She. Really. Shouldn't. Have. Said. That.
    “Oy, just take a look at me, do I seemed to be a big eater, and one with great appetite? Do I also appeared like a food dump or trash bin?” she joked, trying to humor him back.

    “You can't fool me, so please don't lie” His tone is grave, meaning next to steely. And she knew him well enough to understand it is an order and not a request. It is not wise to provoke the man now or to test his mood further.

    “In my previous employments, there were moments I got enough to eat, but most time I merely took leftover and just water. So I am used to little food, and could live on none”

    She didn't know her confession would ignite such a reaction, reaction where he grabbed hold of her immediately and unexpectedly.

    “Didn't they feed you?” he asked angrily.
    “You are holding me tightly, let go!” she struggled intensely.

    He released her presently but she was so caught up with the moments, “Do you expect me in my size and height, to push around the boys or guys in order to get food?! In case you forgotten, men are total brutes when coming to show off their strength on those who are weaker and smaller!! And I have you know now, that even women bullies girls and those who are younger than themselves!!!”

    She is shaking with pent up anger, that her whole being shivered and trembled. It took her several moments to register Yang Kang trying his best control her troubled flow. When she finally regained consciousness and senses somewhat, Zhao Min became aware of Yang Kang's arms fully around her.

    “I am sorry, I didn't know you had so much hardship in the past”

    Extracting herself from him which he allowed her to do so, she replied flatly, “It is not your fault, there is no need for you to be sorry. Even the Almighty failed us sometimes”

    He could discern bitterness and cynicism in it. She has suffered, she has truly suffered. For one to survive all the adversities at her age, Zhao Min must possessed more than wit and courage, will and determination. It is impossible for a man not to admire or impressed by such character and female strength.

    “Zhao Min....” he started but she said tiredly, “I wish to rest”

    This is not the time to push his luck, or to press her more. Besides, he needs to take his proper rest too. The rape issue yet to be solved, and Yang Kang decided to follow up later. Not that he being lacking now since his betrothed is unscathed in the case, but he must wait for the time and right place to raise it again.

    “I shall see you later today, and we will pay a visit to my parents then”


    She is packing when Guo Xiang comes knocking, “Ying Ying!”
    “Guo Xiang, please come in”

    The latter entered, saw her packing and asked, “You are going off with Duan Yu?”
    “How do you know?”
    “The wall have ears and the place got eyes”
    “Oh....! Well erm.... so what's up?”
    “Nothing, just wants to double confirm the fact. And since you are really going off with him, as a friend and confidante, I suggest and advise you to take precautions
    “Guo Xiang, what are you getting at?!”
    “Alright, I won't beat round the bushes. If you are underage, I can write you off as ignorance and deserved to be educated properly. If you are attached and he is married, or vice versa then I have to say what you two planning to do are wrong and scandalous. If you say no and he uses force, that is called rape. But now, you are willing and he is free, so the word is consensual. There is no harm doing things together, just remember to take precautions that's all. See, I talked like an expert and lectured you pretty well, didn't I?”
    “You are imagining too much! He... I, hey, stop laughing, we are not like that!
    “Let see – stolen kisses, ritual meetings and now private moments – me imagining too much, hmm...?”

    Before Ying Ying could reply, someone came in and said, “Xiang er, save your breath. Ying Ying doesn't need your help on such thing. She is already one crafty woman and artful lady, given the facts she could manage to have the man all by herself. Even the Lord Yang Kang listened to her, while I believed Guo Jing is still enamored by her.

    Guo Fu said all these smilingly, but her tone is anything but teasing. Ying Ying have no wish to make an enemy out of the lady, so she kept quiet. Guo Xiang however, refused to be silent. Her elder sister is getting more and more malicious lately. This time she went too far and one time too many.

    “There is no need for you to take it out on her. In case you forgotten, Lord Yang Kang is engaged to a certain Miss Zhao. I also failed to see why you so jealous when our cousin brother gave Ying Ying the bracelets, it is not as though you like them”

    “Xiang er!” Guo Fu shouted at her sister.

    Guo Xiang about to retaliate when Ying Ying cleared her throat and said, “Ladies, I just remember I have something to do. So, please excuse me” and went away, leaving the sisters to squabble in private.

    “Stop being a pain in the neck, would you? Do you really think being the thorn would endear you more to the Lord Yang Kang, or the rest of us in the palace?”
    “Guo Xiang, remember yourself!”
    “Why don't you do that first?!”

    With that, Guo Xiang swept passed her elder sister and left the latter alone and indignant.


    He cannot remain here forever. To do so, is neglecting his duties, and being an irresponsible person. It was his own folly, and he should blame on none but himself.

    “You being here, but your heart is afar”

    He took a deep breath, and Dragon Girl continued, “Our sights often deceived us. It is always better to see with our heart”

    Yang Guo turned to her, “Besides being Guardian of the Dragon Sabre, you are also a Seer in this Universe, aren't you?”
    “You really are a man of intelligence, and brilliance”
    “Of course, all due to present company”
    “Are you flirting with me?” she smiled.
    “If you think I am, then I am. If you think I am not, then I am not” he smiled.

    If her smile reflected thousands word and thought, then his would be thousands act and deed. A woman could keep a man using various means, and crafts but sooner or later he easily break free. If a man wanted to stay, nobody can make him go away. In any event, Dragon Girl has long foresee he is man who set his own terms and laying the conditions. If the most potent substance, or the oldest trade unable to dominate his will or rule his heart at his most weakest element and lowest defense, nothing else would. And for one able to show resistance and displayed restraint where most failed, is one to be highly regarded with esteem and honor. Such man is to be truly admired, and should be genuinely respected.

    “I have a parting gift for you” she said suddenly and producing a crystal vial. Inside the vial, a fluid of red.
    “What is it?” Fascinated, he asked and taking it from her hand.
    “Blood of a phoenix”

    Startled, Yang Guo stared at her for what it seemed moments before taking a closer look at the vial.

    “It could save a life, even though that life already departed”

    Again, Yang Guo stared at her and she continued, “It is very precious, and only a drop. So use it wisely”
    “Dragon Girl.... I, I don't know what to say to you for giving me such a treasure....”
    “Just say thank you will do”

    To him, the word “thank you” is inadequate. Yang Guo always believe in action that speaks louder than word. He leaned forward and kissed Dragon Girl gratefully on the cheek. Deeply touched by his voluntary gesture, she shifted a bit and he didn't pull away, allowing her liberty for the one and only time, if not the last. Almost perished in his course of duty, and having a close shave with malignity, Yang Guo decided then to go with the flow. If Life is to test him greatly and deeply, he will overcome whatever Fate has in store for him. And if Destiny is to drill him physically or plans to drain him emotionally, he is ready to conquer any Mandate that comes calling.


    “MinMin, since you are discharged, I want you to stay here for the time being so I have you pampered, and fattened up in no time” the Lady Mu Guiying fussed her.

    Zhao Min have no answer to such statement and the only thing she could manage is looking over at Yang Kang. But the man was engaged with his father, and they seemed in deep discussion over matters of the court.

    “Also, you need to be trained up befitting a Lady. You seemed bright to me, and I am sure you can master most of the procedures, if not all. Now come to think of it, Lady Zhao sounds very nice” Zhao Min could tell her face is getting hotter, and redder each passing moment.

    Meanwhile, Steward Yang has stopped talking and Yang Kang took a sip of his drink. The Lady Mu then asked her husband, “My Lord, have you set the date and settled the formality?”

    “The wedding is to be held in this Autumn. Today, the palace already issued an announcement throughout The Kingdom and all the preparations for the event are in progress”
    “What?!” Zhao Min will be Zhao Min, and she jumped up with her entire being flushed.
    “Kang er actually requested a Summer Wedding, but due to your newly coming fourteen of age I decided to give you some more time for the adjustment. Also in consideration of my nephew's absence. Hopefully, he will be found by then, and returned safely to the palace to celebrate the happy occasion with us” Steward Yang said as though he is reporting for all to hear.

    Zhao Min's widened eyes went to Yang Kang, who said nothing. Drat that man for not getting her message through! She cursed him for the third time straight in a day. Meantime, his parents has had the grace to overlook her reaction, and pretended nothing happened.

    “MinMin, it is time for us to call it a night, so why don't you send my son on his way out” Lady Mu told her.

    Yang Kang stood up, bidding good night to his parents and waited for Zhao Min to precede him. She saw his chivalry, and understood the protocol. She moved without excusing herself, and he followed quietly. His parents wisely refrained from commenting. Halfway, and when they are alone she turned to face him desperately, “There is no need for you to marry me! We can continue on as Master and Servant but if the palace objects or your parents prohibits it, then I can go away! I promised not to say a word about that night! I swear I won't ruin your name or tarnish your reputation!”

    It is becoming clear to him, that she never treated or regarded him to be more than an employer.

    “But I wanted to marry you. It has nothing to do with obligation any more, and no longer a question of reputation for my part. Not even an excuse under the guise of honor”

    Zhao Min opened and closed her mouth several times in attempt to reply the shocking and bold confession. But each time, neither she could come out with ready word nor able to muster up her proper speech.

    “Let me take care of you from now on, and allow me to protect you for life”

    The man offered his name, and bequeath everything that all girls could only yearn for but mostly never achieved. Her cheeks is stinging hot, and she knew her face has reddened so much so that Zhao Min has to look away from Yang Kang. He make a movement, and she jerked to find his face already lowered to hers. Zhao Min went still and stiff when the kiss came, but it was chaste.

    “While you are here, I will visit whenever time and work permits. Now, I shall see my own way out so good night, my lady”

    Long after he left her, she remained stunned on the spot when Lady Mu appeared silently by the side.

    “MinMin, my son loves you very much. You should cherish it”
    “My lady does not know that...” She stopped herself from saying, “Wait till you see another caught his fancy!”
    “Believe me, I know my own son. In my entire life, I never saw him wanting to marry any girl, be it tempting offers or decent proposals. His father told me, he never witness our son wishing to settle down or into matrimony so much like he does now. He almost turned the Study Room upside down when my husband suggested the next Spring when you turning fifteen. His uncle The Lord has to step in, to order his restraint and negotiated the date to Autumn”
    “Well, that only proves he's... he's...!” With greatest effort, Zhao Min held the tip of the tongue from running loose, by reminding herself that this woman is in fact, Yang Kang's mother.
    “Miss Zhao, a man needs not to marry a woman for the reason of bedding her. You ought to know, first my son saved you from further poverty and natural deprivation! Next, he utterly rescued you from the grasp of Death itself!”

    Now Zhao Min's red face has nothing to do with vexation or embarrassment but shame and chastened. The lady might as well slap her soundly, or splashing cold water onto her face by exposing nothing but the truth. Yes, she knew she was lost twice and indeed, aware herself owed him not only life, but many things she should be thankful of. Instead, she is being ungrateful to him, and ungraceful towards his mother.

    “Attendants!” Lady Mu called out and several maids turned up. The lady instructed, “Bring Miss Zhao to her new chamber, and served accordingly to her post and my son's status.

    “My lady....” Zhao Min ventured timidly, for Lady Mu a lot more sterner and far more austerer than his son.
    “I am sorry....” she swallowed, trying to think of a better way apologizing but she lacked the worldly arts and poor in that sophistications.
    “MinMin... it is alright. I trust my son will not simply take a wife, or name his bride so blindly. His father and I are satisfied with his choice of consort, and we do love to have you as our daughter in law”

    Zhao Min blushed for the third consecutive time for the night.



    Sneak Preview

    She seemed lost her way, and missed the actual direction. A sound of stalking movements, and she turned to the source. A large and mature wolf, with its predatory snarls and jaws snapping, took a moment to sense the prey and observed the wilderness before launching an attack to kill.
    Last edited by author; 03-11-08 at 03:08 AM.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Nov 2007



    “You are not staying until my wedding?” Yang Kang asked Duan Yu when the latter went to see him.
    “It is in Autumn, is it not?”
    “Well, I will make a point to come back by then, better still with Yang Guo with me”

    Yang Kang sighed sadly and said quietly “I am wishing him here now” and Duan Yu took a moment to swallow before replying softly, “Kang, as long as there no body, Guo should be alive”
    “Yes, but chances are getting slimmer, and hopes are growing dimmer”

    Duan Yu have no reply to that for what Yang Kang said is true. Days goes by without any news about the heir, and correspondences from North far from encouraging. As time passed, the Lord and Lady went on with their lives in quiet resignation, and the palace silently prepared for the worst. If Yang Guo is continuously absent and remained missing, Yang Kang is to be declared as the New Heir of The Kingdom to succeed the latter. At the same time, the palace will install a new Spare, yet to be named in order to replace the vacant post. He is not at all ease with the takeover but at least, there will be no rivalry among the cousins or power struggle within the hierarchy. Since neither evidence nor witness to prove Yang Guo is indeed perished, The Palace unable to announce his death. So The Kingdom have to overlook the period of mourning altogether.

    “Anyway, let's not be negative. Wherever he might be, Guo would want us positive. So, are you getting excited for your big day?” Duan Yu changed topic by teasing.
    “I am sure someone is more excited than me, for going away with somebody” Yang Kang sure knows how to retaliate.
    “We are just traveling together. And visiting my teacher” Duan Yu reached for his cup and drink.
    “You think I was born yesterday? An excuse for discretion, not traveling or visiting”
    “Ump... Kang! Ugh...I...., honestly didn't expect this from you! Of all peoples..!!” he almost spat the content to Yang Kang's face.
    “Alright, alright. I am sorry. That was rude of me, so please forgive me” Yang Kang raised a surrender gesture, and has the grace to go red in the face.
    “You are forgiven. Now, how about answering my question frankly”
    “What question?”
    “Are you excited?
    “Yu, don't you start all over again!”

    They laughed, and drank together until Ying Ying turned up ready to go off with Duan Yu. Two gentlemen and a pleasant lady formed one happy party. Seeing the couple off, Yang Kang said solemnly to Duan Yu, “Seriously, make sure you take a good care of her. Remember to behave and if she comes back here alone and crying, I have you hunted down and shall decapitates you myself”


    Yang Guo took a break beside a river. He doesn't know where he is, and couldn't care less. So long he is back to The Kingdom and will soon be returning home. He leaned closely against a tree trunk, and is feeling so right with the place. His being so peaceful and harmony that he almost part of the Nature's tranquility. However, his solitude is disturbed when he heard approaching steps. Steps that are half running, half skipping and even that of half dancing.


    “Granny Sun, you take a rest and I shall collect the woods on behalf of you” Yuyan helped the old lady to lie down.
    “But lass...”
    “I be careful, and won't stay out long...”

    Yuyan has a sudden urge to feel the open air, and to venture outside. Thus her impulsive offer.

    “But.....” she started only to be cut by the latter who continued, “And I picked up some fresh fruits for you. You do love them, don't you?”

    Still, Granny Sun do not think is advisable but she must owned her age is catching up for such a chore. Presently, she felt remarkably tired.

    “Lass....” she managed weakly.
    “Granny Sun, don't worry so much”

    Yuyan went away and didn't notice Granny Sun already closed her exhausted eyes.


    Outside all quiet, but she who used to silence is delighted. No one comes here and she felt the weights she carried all these while have been lifted, leaving her alright again. War didn't come to ravage this place, and the surrounding is spared from the gory of battle. She started collecting the nearby woods and nearing a tree, she put the woods down and reached up to pluck the ripened fruits. It is so peaceful, that she longs for some fun and freedom. Come to think of it, she lost so much in those years, and was robbed of youthful joys. Spring is very beautiful, and the flowers all are so colorful and bright. The trees stood tranquilly, while the ground spread pleasantly. The pent up feelings, and her independent streaks, all came bursting forward. The Forest seemed to offer so much for exploration, and Nature promised so much of tempting wonders.

    Yuyan remembered long ago, she used to run freely and moving everywhere on her own. Often she participated in the villages' many dances. She recalled certain steps and dropping all the things down, she went on to practice the dance again between trees imagining them to be her fellow dancers, sliding in and out of the rows. So immersed in her own game that she didn't notice the distance left behind. Deeply caught in a moment of nostalgia, she ventured further, and out of the bearing. She half ran, couldn't wait to see the vast landscape. Nearing the place, she half skipped along the path, and half danced her way. Out and about, she hummed and began to move around, turning and swinging into graceful steps. Twisting and twirling, her body formed the perfect rhythm of a dance. Her being attracted the fluttering butterflies, and they circled her playfully. She stopped what she doing, and laughed happily, reaching out in a charming manner. Rabbits came hopping and and squirrels scattered around, and Yuyan accommodates these cute and flurry spectators with a neat start of a mesmerizing performance. The wind came caressing, and revealing a figure of maturity under the single layer of femininity. She is decent, but such decency only served to reveal more than it conceal. The surrounding sensationally drank the picture of proportion and is drunk by such fullness. The atmosphere tensed at the ripeness she exhibits so innocuously, and enraptured by the passion a woman displayed so explicitly. Just think of the Pagan Rites performed by Virgins in secret, or imagine those Ancient Worships conducted by Females in private, that set the adrenalines pumping. The lady is very enticing and ravishing, yet entirely ignorant. She could be described as wanton, beyond abandon yet unperceived herself. There are those among rest, that can spellbound others, without the effort of scheming or to the degree of undressing. Wang Yuyan of The Kingdom is being one.

    Suddenly sensing she no longer alone, Yuyan stopped abruptly, as abrupt as one uncomfortably brings thing to an immediate halt. Really, she never been alone all these while. Her eyes went to search the source of her discomfit. Indeed she is startled to find the figure of man somewhat escaped her earlier notice, sitting and looking loftily as though he owned The Kingdom. The man's being so superior and bearing so regal, that everything here seemed to appear for his personal musing whereas she, his viewing pleasure. Eventually she does register him, and her first thought, He's alive! Alive!! Next an outrage, Ah, how dare he! Finally a realization, Oh no!! No!!!

    Yuyan in her panic didn't really see where she is heading to. She only wanted to run away from him, as far and as fast possible.


    From the moment their eyes met across the space, Yang Guo read her startled reaction, then took in the expressions. When she recognized him, he is surprised to find her almost happy. But the smile never came, instead she scowled. Next, the shock and what else but flight again. He didn't give a quick chase, and to be honest, he can hardly get up and barely managed a muscle. The way she affects him is something that not even the mighty Aphrodisiac's effect could rival. A man must regain full control of himself before attempting to confront things and others. Frankly, if he is to go after her now, Yang Guo will not be responsible for his action that comes with it after watching that kind of sensual show. Meantime, his mind replayed what passed and the man have a heart within heart talk.

    She happy to see you.....


    She likes you too.....

    Then why the scowling and not greeting?

    It's a woman thing.....

    The lady is notorious, remember?

    Was. She is harmless now. Her airs of aggressiveness missing....

    So what now?

    A man must be ferocious in order to counter the woman's notorious past....

    Easier said than done.

    A promise made is a promise kept.....

    A stupid and foolish promise!

    Then why didn't you break it when She could replace Her?

    Yang Guo experienced family closeness and witnessed his parents' devotion. Although those in the palace have more than one wife, or wifes, his own father and two uncles didn't. There is another man who kept him grounded, his teacher Wang Chaoyang who but observed the honorable Code and frowned upon scandalous Mode. All his life, virtues surrounded him and he grew up believing in the greatest of all.


    Presently, Yang Guo sighed and on his feet. His idleness is over, now action time.


    The forest appeared unfamiliar, and unfriendly. He didn't seem to come after her, and she relaxed somewhat. Panic gone, and Yuyan able to view the surrounding more clearly. She seemed to have lost her way, and missed the actual direction. A sound of stalking movements, and she turned to the source. A large and mature wolf, with its predatory snarls and jaws snapping, took a moment to sense the prey and observed the wilderness before launching an attack to kill.

    Instinctively, she reached out for a branch. If in the past, she could kills and took lives, she can definitely handle this. She might lost all her martial skills, but her ability and capability to survive remained intact. The situation could only picturing thus, either she ended up as the predator's meal or the beast to look for another prey.

    The wolf sprang and at the same time, Yuyan swung aside to defend herself against the onslaught. The branch hit out with full force and the beast landed on four. Unfortunately, she lost grip of the branch which goes down with the beastly strength. Between prolong confrontation and chance escape, Yuyan chose escape. Seizing the opportunity, she fled the scene. Her legs brought her to meet hanging stalks and distracting stems, her arms raised and hands furiously waved them aside, and off sights. A two legged being cannot outrun a four legged creature, so she instinctively ducked when the wolf took a sudden leap, and she hit the ground hard for one savage paw managed to reach her. A sound of a piece tearing, and Yuyan gasped as her garment is violently ripped apart. The moment she felt the open airs hit her bare skin, also the same time a cloak appeared out of nowhere to cover her modesty. The beast steadily on all four while man took his stand calmly.

    Yang Guo could easily issued a killing blow, but it is not his mild nature to kill untamed creatures that roams throughout The Kingdom. The wolf is a wild animal, and the heir understood beastly manner and it's diet. The wolf attacked, and Yang Guo came to meet it halfway. Wild strength against male barbarism, and the barbarism of man triumphed but not without suffering injury. As he whacked it aside, one of the sharp paws sunk deep into his arm, and Yuyan jumped at the sound of flesh tearing. Yang Guo is bleeding but he took no notice. The beast launched another attack and this time it managed to bring the heir down. Man and beast rolled viciously onto each other, and struggled brutally with one another. This time, primitivism versus pugilism. Despite herself, Yuyan flinched at the goriness of scene. Blood all over him, and on it. One moment man seemed strangling and mangling the beast, next predatory jaws almost snapped the man's head off. The climax is where predator became prey, and man turned victor. Yang Guo maybe unwilling to issue a killing blow, but that doesn't mean he refused to use stream of energy to vanquish the beast. Somehow, he got hold of Yuyan's torn garment and he managed to wring it onto the wolf. An increase of power had the beast squirmed in pain. An insertion of force and the wolf is rendered helpless. Yang Guo waited patiently until the beast is weakened, and posing no more threat that he released it gently before moving away. The beast took moments to get up, and sensing no match for man, retreated by disappearing into the depth of forest.

    A movement from behind, and Yang Guo turned to see Yuyan stood up while adjusting his cloak on her body. Her fingers jerky, and she is still shaking, either of what passed or by his presence. He remained on his spot and watched her eyes went to his arm, then came to rest on his own pair.

    Yuyan wanted so much to run to him, to see and tend his injury but she is rooted. She knew he could finish off the wolf in a single stroke, but he didn't. Yang Guo is kind hearted and being merciful, ended all their confrontations by sparing it's life. She also knew the heir has changed, and changed drastically. Before, the man eyed her as though she the only woman in this universe regardless her whatever looks. Now Yang Guo stared at her hostilely as though hating her, and seems to despise the moment and their meeting. What had happened? Did he find out about her past? Has someone, or somebody told him who she actually was?? Did he already know that she used to be a cannibal and the infamous White Clawed Demon?

    Meantime at a closer range, Yang Guo saw her changes too. Although she is not like what he first saw her, or appeared like the last time, the lady still pretty much remained the same in his eyes. He might be imprudent then, and more than willing to admit his folly now. Before returning to The Kingdom, he has no doubt himself no longer a fool about her, but then she comes back to his life - nay, danced into his systems - to be precise. Next Yang Guo witnessed with pangs, that she really lost all her skills due to past attacks and just now, almost her own life if he didn't turn up on time. What left of her are pride and courage. Pride where she dares to confront the beast alone without crying or calling out for help. Courage where she willing to take risk and gamble in order to save herself. Such streaks are commendable. Her attempt to defend herself is impressive. A man cannot be infatuated for a second time, and on the same lady. Our sights often deceived us. It is always better to see with our heart. And Heart said the same thing. Love.

    If one fell in love at first sight stupid and foolish, then what happened when he or she fell in love at second sight, and for a second time, with the same person? He erred once upon a time but at twenty one years old of age going to twenty two, a man unlikely to be hoodwinked twice.

    A howling heard at a distance, followed by others in synchronism. Yuyan jumped and noticed the time of the day. Yang Guo is jolted, and alerted “Miss Wang, where is your dwelling? I send you home now! We must leave this place at once!!”

    Yuyan is smart to read urgency and without a word, she moves hurriedly away. Swiftly, he followed her. The howling getting closer, and Yuyan sped up. He have no problem going after her. Unfortunately, she only ventured deeper totally far away from where she came from. After going rounds and emerging from angles, “Miss Wang!” he addressed her sharply.
    “Look, I am lost, alright! Lost!” she swung to face him and retorted angrily. “I am totally clueless and have no idea of going back!! Why don't you on your own way, and leave me alone figuring out mine!!!”

    No women ever talks like this to him, or dares to show her temper in a case that not even his fault! There is something about Wang Yuyan thats really gets to him, without saying much to him in the past, and into his blood for telling too much at the present. Also, he noticed for the first time she never this intimately near.

    She became aware that he is very close to her. Their bodies almost touching. Her eyes came to realize he is focusing on her mouth. Their kiss never happened, for the wolves turned up circling the couple. There an Alpha Pair, leading the other packs.

    Yang Guo pulled Yuyan to him, and she wisely complied. One to one, he could afford not to harm but now he has to consider her safety and his own perils. To go against so many, one must but act accordingly. Besides, one of his arms being injured, and the heir has no choice but to issue the blows. However, he didn't target the wolves directly, merely served to warn the packs off. His blows enough to cause fear among the beasts, and the Alpha Pack retreated. Seeing their leaders, most backed away too but just then one sprang an unexpected attack. Yang Guo is caught off guard, and he pushed Yuyan away instinctively out of danger and himself jerked off bearing. By doing so, he exposed her to the danger of the rest.

    She is unprepared when the attack came and when he pushed her away, Yuyan missed her balance and as she fell, the cloak came undone somehow. The packs sensing opportunity, returned in full force. One of the wolves, perhaps the same one earlier, got to her in no time so she grabbed whatever comes handy. She felt a searing pain when four sharp paws pinned her down but refused to be play maiden in distress. She blindly smashed the hard rock against the beast's head causing the wolf to retreat and howled loudly. She rolled away weakly and wounded. She is bleeding and indecent. The only thing she could do now, is to keep her eyes shut tight as other furry movements closed in. Her heart missed a beat, and then almost stop functioning.

    It is over.... This my end....


    She heard a cruel blow of bone cracking and muscle crunching impact, felt a tremendous weight and sensed a deadly execution. Yuyan snapped her eyes opened, and the carcass of the Alpha Male lain across her body. Her nostrils flared at the smell of kill, and blood rushed to her brain. Yang Guo issued one killing blow after another, and she hazily witnessed the beastly parts and limbs being thrown and strewn all over. Her head felt like exploding, and her being seemed frozen. Her heart which stopped functioning earlier, now at a doubling speed, perhaps even tripled. Her pain seemed to be excruciating and she do the only thing she could. Scream. She screamed and screamed until man came to view. He hit out like what called a slow motion and she stopped screaming. Dazed, she watched mutely as he reached out like what called a chivalrous gesture and she felt the cloak back to her body.

    Yang Guo waited until she fully lost consciousness. Only then he started to gather her up and carried her away to another place, far from all these. After a while he found an appropriate and comfortable spot, he put her down. The night is dark, and cold. He built a fire and tended their injuries. His own injury minor but her wound is dreadful. After all done, there is nothing he could do but waiting for her to regain consciousness. After a while, she turned and tossed around, and he went over to her. She didn't wake up, and he about to move away when she murmured softly but clearly, “...Yang Guo....” Startled, he remained in place, hoping to hear she said his name again, in case he mistaken. But she only slept on.

    He lost it, when he saw the beast almost had her. But wonder never ceased and she succeeded fighting the beast off. Seeing her suffering, wonder soon turned anger, and anger had him retaliated in the most punishing kind. None were spared, and he had the carcasses in a way to be scavenged by others in this realm of wilderness.


    Yuyan stirred, and snuggled comfortably. If this is a dream, she doesn't want it to end. In her dream she opened her eyes. Where is she? Why sleep in the open? Whose arms is this?


    Something is wrong, she is not waking up.

    “Miss Wang? Miss Wang!”


    My lady?

    My lord!


    Yang Guo checked her pulse. It is weak, and being unsteady. Next he touched her forehead, which is burning hot. He is not at all surprised by her condition. After all, she wore nothing underneath except his cloak as cover, which easily caught the chill of the night. He did wonder, however, how come Huang Yaoshi didn't come looking or searching for her. Surely, the Healer didn't leave her alone here, in the wild all by herself. Heretical that old man might be, but he doesn't seem the irresponsible sort. From what he could perceive, Huang Yaoshi rather watchful on his charge, and very protective towards her.

    He tried to bring down the heat via his cooling channel but such relief only temporarily. The fever itself might not be alarming, but the infection that comes from her wound could be life threatening. Yang Guo cannot afford to wait anymore, she must have proper treatment. But how he is to seek it for her when they being in the Middle of Nowhere? Currently he heard movements and Yang Guo stood up. His eyes searched, and ears tried to locate the source. At first, he thought of Huang Yaoshi but the movements, he sensed very soon, neither made by human nor beast. Something foul is filling up the atmosphere and the forest scene took in a sudden grossness. The Intruder will not form a crowd but something Else even himself tried not to imagine. At the same time he is tired, hungry, thirsty and not up for another confrontation, while she lost consciousness and burning up. Before Inhumanity could reveal its presence, Yang Guo instinctively reached out for Yuyan and he quickly left the place carrying her. He is swift and soon came to view a traveling path. From afar, he could hear riders approaching and he leaped to that direction. Imagine his luck when he saw his own troops, seemed to be returning from the North. And guess how their expressions like when they recognized the bloody, messy and untidy figure that landed on his feet in front of them, is their own very Lost and Found Heir?

    “My lord, is it really you?!”
    “My lord?! My lord is Alive!!”
    “My lord...!”
    “My loyal subjects, I have not the moment or time to spare, so please give me the fastest and strongest stallion there is!”

    Only then, the troops noticed his burden, and the leader hurriedly came forward with Yang Guo's own stallion. Without wasting time, he got up immediately and positioned her gently in front of him. His gesture of tenderness didn't go unnoticed by all present. Greeting and caressing the animal, the heir said urgently, “To home the palace with all might and speed!”

    The Stallion understood his Master, and without Yang Guo kicking the reins, it galloped off instantly into distances. Meanwhile, the Troops raced to follow suit. They wouldn't want to miss out anything, especially the palace's reaction when the heir returned with an unknown maiden in his arms. Although she is covered, but all could see and tell she is undressed underneath the heir's cloak.

    Meantime, Zhou Zhiruo watched the entire scene from afar. Then the Siren went away to pay a visit to Miejue of Moon Sect.



    “Do I know you?” he asked.
    “No, ... no...!” the miserable figure tried to scurry away.

    Who is she?


    “Guo Jing, be a good boy and follow us back to Yang Realm!”
    Make me”
    “Man, you really asked for it!”
    Last edited by author; 03-16-08 at 08:13 PM.

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