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The Forbidden City The City Of Disillusionment (幻滅紫禁城) - Page 17
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Thread: The Forbidden City The City Of Disillusionment (幻滅紫禁城)

  1. #321
    Senior Member charbydis's Avatar
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    Default Book One: The Fist Of Domination (權傾天下)

    Chapter Fifty -Seven:

    Cast of Appearing Characters:

    Yeung Ming Hung - Kenneth Ma Kwok Ming
    Suen Nga Yin - Natalie Tong Sze Wing
    Yeung Ming Guk - Ruco Chan Chin Pang
    Siu Kei Chi - Sammul Chan Kin Fung
    Lung Tin Kwun - Felix Wong Yat Wah
    Yeung Yat Ching - Michael Miu Kiu Wai
    Ning Fung - Jackie Lui Chung Yin


    The half an hour limit had long passed but burdened by the extra numbers of prisoners from the secret prisons, the three major sects still had not managed to fully retreat out of Beijing, Imperial Guards were already pouring out of the other gates of the Forbidden City while eunuch guards were making their way out of the nearest secret passageway exits to delay them at the North Gate.

    Yeung Ming Hung, Yeung Ming Guk and Suen Nga Yin were immediately ambushed when they exited from under the Royal Ancestral Shrine. They had no difficulty with the eunuch guards but the sheer number of opponents that were coming at them from all directions was overwhelming. Being the weakest, Suen Nga Yin was protected at both sides by the Yeung brothers as they slowly cleared a path to the front of the North Gate but was pushed into a side courtyard where a multitude of guards were emerging.

    Opening a path with a few thrusts of his spear, Yeung Ming Hung grabbed Suen Nga Yins hand and shouted You leave first! Then with a gentle palm to her back, he propelled her forwards several feet into the air and out of the attack range of the guards as they closed in onto the two brothers. All knew that if this was to continue any longer, all three of them would never leave the Forbidden City alive.

    But Suen Nga Yin quickly wrapped her sash around the neck of a eunuch and swung herself back towards them, kicking the eunuchs to the side as she landed back by his side. No! We will all leave together!

    You two both leave! cried Yeung Ming Hung who slashed another opening amidst the guards. He pushed both his brother and Suen Nga Yin into the void and turned around to block the oncoming guards by himself.

    Elder Brother! shouted Yeung Ming Guk who leapt back to help his brother but was forced back with a backward kick from Yeung Ming Hung.

    To be able to die in combat is my dream! shouted Yeung Ming Hung as he lunged furiously stabbing at the armed eunuch guards with his golden spear. You two leave and meet up with the others! The Yeung family cannot lose both sons!

    All of a sudden, there was a strange whirling sound in the air and a lean figure shot through the wall of eunuchs and caught off guard, Yeung Ming Hung let out a groan of pain as a thin silver blade slipped past his golden spear and pieced his right shoulder, and restricted the movement of his dominant arm.

    Ming Hung! screamed Suen Nga Yin who immediately released both ends of her sash who wrapped tightly around Siu Kei Chis neck and pulled him backwards.

    Yeung Ming Guk leapt forwards with a backward kick at Siu Kei Chi but was quickly distracted by protecting his wounded brother from the bloodthirsty eunuch guards lusting for the credit of killing one of the Yeungs. Siu Kei Chi smiled and cut the sash with a hidden dagger in his sleeve and Suen Nga Yin toppled backwards from the lack of opposing force. Guards quickly surrounded her as she tried her best to defend herself.

    Yeung Ming Hung groaned as he forced his right arm to hurl the heavy golden spear to his left hand which quickly spun it around and stabbed at Siu Kei Chis thigh. Both men released their opponents from their weapons as they moved backwards in defence.

    Consider this a rematch then, Yeung Ming Hung! shouted Siu Kei Chi slyly as he quickly blocked the major acupressure points of his thigh to ease the bleeding.

    Yeung Ming Hung propped himself with his spear and did the same to his wounded shoulder. He had not yet fully recovered from the injuries sustained in his earlier escape attempt from the Forbidden City and this new injury weakened his fighting ability. But as a soldier, he was trained to carry on despite the pain and he quickly charged with simultaneous attacks at Siu Kei Chis thigh Even if you win today, it is only because you have despicably ambushed me!

    As the tip of the spear grazed his open wound, Siu Kei Chi replied calmly with a twinkle in his eyes, I have always been a despicable man who will do whatever it takes! Whether it is I am babysitting spoilt brainless concubines or ambushing wanted fugitives, whatever I want I get!

    His pale face illuminated an eerie red in the light of the firebrands as if revealing a deeper evil that resided behind his innocent features. Had not he seen and heard the words come out of his mouth, never would Yeung Ming Hung have believed that such ruthless words could come from such an innocent and kind face.

    Too bad I am also such a despicable woman! said Suen Nga Yin calmly as with another hidden sash, she caught several of her opponents silver hooks and released them at the eunuchs back. But that split second decision to attack Siu Kei Chi instead of the eunuch guards around her came at a large cost as she received a deep slash to her back.

    Siu Kei Chi laughed loudly as he somersaulted high up into the air to avoid Yeung Ming Hungs attacks, stepping off the silver hooks to remain airbourne. Had Yeung Ming Hung chosen to kill him, the brief moment of distraction would have cost him his life. But Yeung Ming Hung pushed past him up to Suen Nga Yin and catching her around the waist, he propped her up as he dispatched the guards around her. She was still conscious as she smiled and leant weakly against him for support.

    Siu Kei Chi landed safely before them with a laugh. A truly despicable person will not risk his life to save a person, even if it is someone she loves! If her blood loss had not been so great, her pale cheeks would have certainly blushed.

    Kicking up a discarded silver hook from the ground, Siu Kei Chi pointed it at the two. Yeung Ming Guk saw what was happening but was helpless as he was locked into a corner by the hordes of eunuch guards which he had merely kept away with his weak sphere of sword energy.

    In a very loud voice, Siu Kei Chi shouted, Yeung Ming Hung, even if Yeung Yat Ching and Lung Tin Kwun are here today, they can not save you today! I will have your head ready to serve up on a platter when Supreme Commander Lau decides to exit his training chamber!

    Oh really! came an amused voice and out of nowhere, something slashed at the ground next to where Siu Kei Chi stood and left a deep gash into the old stone paving. Siu Kei Chi jumped out of the way just in time as the stone paving shattered into tiny bits that flew up like little projectiles.

    Uncle! shouted Yeung Ming Guk happily as with a few quick slashes with his iron chains, Yeung Yat Ching opened up a path in the surrounding guards for him to exit and join his uncle by his side. The remaining eunuch guards all stepped back carefully from the well-renowned Loyal General and the dead bodies on the floor that each had a scorched mark upon their backs where the iron chain had hit them.

    Turning around calmly to face Siu Kei Chi, Yeung Yat Ching said in a peaceful but authoritative voice, Are you the one who is shouting about cutting off my nephews head to serve to Lau Gan?

    Siu Kei Chi breathed deeply in as his eyes flitted from side to side.But he remained still and composed to reply, Everyone here wants to have his head but I am the only one who dares to say it out aloud! Either stop me or step out of my way!

    What a nerve, young man! cried Yeung Yat Ching, Let me teach you some manners! and with a quickly flick of the wrist, the iron chain came flying through the air at Siu Kei Chi.

    Let me handle him, Soldier! came the voice of Lung Tin Kwun who swatted the end of the iron chain away and released both palms at Siu Kei Chi.

    Siu Kei Chi spun out of the way as the force of the palm hit the stone paving and reduced it into small fragments. But before he could react, Lung Tin Kwun moved up close and locked both of his arms with his wrists. Now what did your teacher tell you to do when your arms get locked by your opponent like this?

    But slithery like a snake, Siu Kei Chi retracted his slender arms out of the entanglement and replied swiftly, This! and to everyones shock he managed to palm Lung Tin Kwun squarely on the chest with both palms.

    Outlaw! Uncle Lung! Senior Lung!

    Everyone shouted out in shock at the attack. No one had thought that he would have willingly taken on Lung Tin Kwun in a real fight. How could Siu Kei Chi have thought to escape safely? Lung Tin Kwun puffed out his chest to neutralise the energy from Siu Kei Chis palms with his own internal energy, and with a sudden outburst, Siu Kei Chi was thrown backwards into a brick wall which immediately transformed into a pile of rubble.

    Why should I miss out on all the fun? A dark bat-like figure somersaulted out of nowhere and palmed Suen Nga Yin the chest. The long black cloak he had on unfolded behind him like a large victorious flag flapping in the night breeze.

    Yeung Ming Hung let out a roar of anger and with a quick flick of his spear, he hurled as many of the discarded weapons on the ground at the dark figure. The weapons impaled the billowing black cloak which was lifelessly pinned to the wall. Several feet away with his back to them, a cold assassin stood motionless with his arms crossed casually around his sword scabbard.

    He turned his head sideways and announced with a confident smile, Ning Fung pays his greetings to two of the Four Heroes of Wulin!

    Ning Fung! You would need to get pass me first! shouted Yeung Ming Guk who stepped forward holding both swords in a criss-cross position before his body, ready to strike.

    Ning Fung spun around casually and teased, If you could not beat me days before, what makes you so confident now? Dont tell me it is because of that extra sword in your hand!

    Cut the talk! and Yeung Ming Guk launched himself at Ning Fung. Elder Brother, take Miss Suen and leave! We will meet up later on! Yeung Ming Guk looked at the pale Suen Nga Yin in his arms and waited for an approving nod from his uncle before emitting a high-pitched whistle with his lips. Within seconds, the trusty Ferghana Horse came plowing through the masses of humans to find its owner and take him away.

    A weak curtain of invisible sword energy arose between the tips of the two swords in Yeung Ming Guks hand, and they moved around Ning Fung in two flurries of silver blur to trap him inside.

    Ning Fung scoffed, Slight improvement but only merely! and with a quick flick of his flexible sword, vibrations interrupted the weak wall and broke the trap.

    I have had enough! One after the other! When will this end? Just get out of our way! bellowed an irritated Lung Tin Kwun who was growing more impatient and anxious with each minute they were delayed. Grabbing Yeung Ming Guk by the clothes on his back, he hurled the young man backwards up into the air and met Ning Fung with both palms outstretched. Ning Fungs sword was disarmed by the sudden outburst of internal energy but he managed to dodge most of the damage.

    Time to leave, Bandit! shouted Yeung Yat Ching who pushed his nephew away. With several quick lashes to the surrounding base of the brick walls, the large doorway began to collapse.

    Lung Tin Kwun made a move to exit but Ning Fung quickly followed. Lung Tin Kwun palmed him in the shoulder and fell backwards to avoid the falling debris of brick, wood and stone. Once this doorway was gone, no matter how many eunuch guards emerged from the secret passageways, the route to the North Gate was barred.

    As a last attempt to deter the escapees, a dark pointy object shot out from Ning Fungs right sleeve and narrowly missed Lung Tin Kwun who caught it by the teeth. Lung Tin Kwuns eyes widened the second he first saw the familiar hardwood dart and looked with surprise at Ning Fung who stood silently on the other side of the collapsing doorway. With another blow to the fragile structure, Yeung Yat Ching ensured that the final opening was firmly closed by the falling debris. As the last piece of stone fell into place, hardly anyone could see the faint nod that Yeung Yat Ching and Ning Fung gave each other through the tiny crack between them. Whether friend or foe, only they themselves knew.

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Author's Note:

    No facts to write about that is relevant this chapter. Thanks for tuning in though. Cheers!
    Last edited by charbydis; 08-25-14 at 08:26 AM.
    "Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self."
    Cyril Connolly

  2. #322
    Senior Member szfong's Avatar
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    Thanks for the update!

  3. #323
    Senior Member charbydis's Avatar
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    Default Book One: The Fist Of Domination (權傾天下)

    Chapter Fifty-Eight:

    Cast of Appearing Characters:


    Lung Tin Kwun - Felix Wong Yat Wah
    Yeung Yat Ching - Michael Miu Kiu Wai
    Yeung Ming Guk - Ruco Chan Chin Pang
    Chan Hong - Derek Kwok Jing Hung
    Yuen Ho - Pierre Ngo Ka Nin
    Cheung Wan Sheung - Nancy Wu Ding Yan
    Yiu So Sum - Tavia Yeung Yi
    Yeung Ming Hung - Kenneth Ma Kwok Ming
    Suen Nga Yin - Natalie Tong Sze Wing
    Ma Wing Shing - Lee Kar Ding
    Guk Dai Yung - Waise Lee Chi Hung
    Ghost Face - someone
    Lau Gan - Gilbert Lam Wai Sun



    Mounted on his horse, Lung Tin Kwun overlooked the exit of the three major clans from the Imperial City. As soon as the last rescuer had mounted, he pulled on the reins with a loud cry and galloped down amongst the crowd. Holding up one arm vertically to the heavens, a bright red flare shot out from his sleeve which lit up the night sky with yellow and blue sparks.

    What is that, Second Brother? asked Yuen Ho astonished as he stared at the brightly coloured droplets that formed a bright flashing mushroom-shaped mark that dominated the night sky. Both his father and grandfather were carried unconscious on the horseback of two other members of the Brotherhood of the Heavenly Dragons. Others who had escaped earlier had already headed off to their assigned hiding places outside Beijing but a selected few stayed behind with Chan Hong, who was now waiting anxiously within Beijing for Lung Tin Kwuns signal.

    Chan Hong took a swig of alcohol from his winejug and then sprayed the firebrand in his hand. The flames burst high into the air and multiplied tenfold in size. That is what took me two days and two sleepless nights to plan! he said proudly.

    Is that why your breath stinks like a toilet? joked one of his friends.

    Shut up! snapped Chan Hong as he dropped the firebrand onto a thick trail of black powder that split into two and travelled all the way along Cheung Wong Street up to the North Gate. He then leaned back and crossed his arms to admire his own work.

    Almost immediately, the black powder ignited and tall red walls of fire erected and spread along the length of Cheung Wong Street with the speed of an arrow. Even the whooshing sound of the flames could not catch up with the spectacular path of light and heat that met the last of the escapees.

    What on earth is this? shouted Yeung Ming Guk as his horse reared backwards onto its hind legs in fear of the two towering walls of flames on either side of them.

    Taking out a black sash from his sleeve, Lung Tin Kwun draped it over his steeds eyes and urged it to gallop faster. Everybody shield your horses eyes! Dont stop! Just keep going straight ahead until we leave Beijing City!

    The walls of flames travelled back up to the North Gate to hold back the reinforcements that were rushing out from every department available ranging from City Wall Sentinels to Faction Guards to the Imperial Guards. But no matter where the reinforcements had come from, they could not get within ten feet of the towering walls of flames. The heat made them keep their distance from Cheung Wong Street where all the rescuers were and the blinding light stopped them from aiming and shooting arrows into the escaping crowd. Nothing could stop them from leaving Beijing City safely.

    Great work! shouted Yeung Ming Hung who sped past Chan Hong and Yuen Ho with Suen Nga Yin on his Ferghana horse and quickly disappeared into the distance.

    Thanks, Ming Hung! shouted Chan Hong back smugly with a wave.

    Somewhere behind them, Yiu So Sum ears pricked as she heard their voices and looked around widly Wan Sheung, did someone say Ming Hung? Is Big Brother here?

    Cheung Wan Sheung was seated before her and was battling to keep her frightened horse focused on the road ahead. What did you say? she shouted at the top of her voice.

    Seated behind Chan Hong, Yuen Ho turned around at that time and the two caught each others eye.

    Crazy Witch!

    Perverted Eunuch!

    Cheung Wan Sheung unleashed her whip and lashed out at Yuen Ho who ducked to one side. Yuen Ho leant down to the side of the horse and picked up a brick to hurl at the girls. The brick smashed into fragments with one lash from the whip before it could even reach the girls.

    At that exact point, Chan Hongs horse had to leap over a log that had rolled into the street and with a sudden jolt, the firebrand fell out of Yuen Hos hands and hit the oncoMing Gukoves of the girls horse.

    Immediately, the terrified horse neighed in fright and turned to the side as it felt the hot burning sensation on its delicate hooves. Standing up on its hind legs in a panic, it lost concentration and turning around, it galloped back towards the North Gate in a frenzied manner with pupils widened in alarm.

    You dirty despicable cheap good-for nothing.. the last of Cheung Wan Sheungs words could no longer be heard as the terrified horse veered off track and crashed into the stone lion statue at the front of a large mansion.

    With the sound of whooshing flames and galloping hooves all around him, Chan Hong had been totally unaware of what had just happened behind him. Did you say something? he asked Yuen Ho, who shook his head and chuckled silently to himself.

    But the towering walls of flames were not to last forever. As more of the flammable power burned off, the fiery barriers weakened and gaps began to appear. The soldiers and guards launched themselves over the wall and continued the pursuit both on ground and underground.

    The last of the rescuers had just merely exited the Outer Wall of the Beijing City Wall when a flurry of arrows erupted from the trees right into their path. Yeung Yat Ching leapt off his horse and swinging the iron chains in his hands like a giant propeller, he created a giant circular protective force field that stood between the arrows and the remaining escapees.

    From above, ropes with silver hooks descended onto the crowd and lifted them high up into the branches were their throats were cut. Yeung Ming Guk caught onto one of the hooks and let himself be hoisted up into the canopy were he released an onslaught onto the hidden attackers.

    Only his black boots could be seen from below, moving along the thin branches with surprising balance and agility as he cut through the troop. Bodies dropped to the ground like flies while Lung Tin Kwun swiped his blade horizontally in the direction of the arrows and released deadly bouts of energy like many small daggers flying towards their target.

    Painful screams came from within the bushes as the hidden guards were slaughtered. But still, a deadly aura could be sensed in the air as the two top martial arts experts stood silently in the forest. Not even the cicada chirped for they too sensed the danger that was to erupt and quickly scampered to safety with their families. One of the enemies was still alive and hidden from their eyes.

    Come back down, Ming Guk! shouted Yeung Yat Ching.

    Uncle! whispered Yeung Ming Guk who descended quickly to his side, Do you think it is Lau Gan?

    Yeung Yat Ching laughed calmly and shook his head. No! It is not Lau Gan! Lau Gan is confident and arrogant and will not hide like a coward in the bushes. Whoever it is, he is hiding because he does not have the confidence to defeat both me and Lung Tin Kwun and wants to delay us until his reinforcements arrive!

    Then lets get out of here! shouted Lung Tin Kwun, The coward can either attack or watch us leave! He knew that even though Yeung Yat Ching did not show it, he was slowly draining of power after being confined for so many days. If the enemy too realised this, then they would rush at them in great numbers to tire him out.

    Two dark shadows burst out of the bushes to their right. Yeung Ming Guk rushed forward to repel them with both palms when Yeung Yat Ching suddenly gasped and pushed his nephew aside before he could make contact with the dead bodies. With a lash of the chains, the two bodies flew backwards and landed in a nearby tree. In the pale moonlight, their faces were melting off like wax off a burning candle.

    Skin Melting Poison! Any contact with bare skin and you are dead! shouted Lung Tin Kwun.

    Another dark shadow leapt out from the bushes behind them and let out a spray of fine mist. Lung Tin Kwun and Yeung Yat Ching quickly grabbed Yeung Ming Guk and leapt up into the branches just as the acidic liquid burned into the forest floor leaving behind only putrid greenish foam.

    From the dark shadows emerged an elderly white-haired eunuch stepped out who grimaced menacingly at the three. I might not be able to all three of you on in an open fight, but I have others means to stop you from leaving! Ma Wing Shings smile was always more terrifying than his frown.

    All of a sudden, there was loud crumbling sound as a large tree branch tumbled down on top Ma Wing Shing. He spun sideways as a dark shadow moved past the three and released a long metal whip at Ma Wing Shing who deflected it with his long whisk. The skinny man wrapped his whip around an overhanging tree branch and dangled back and forth like a monkey from its tail as he released a rain of darts at Ma Wing Shing before disappearing into the trees.

    Ma Wing Shing spun around and shouted out in anger at the trees, Guk Dai Yung, come out you coward!

    There was a rustle in the trees and out jumped Guk Dai Yung with a furious expression on his face. Shooting out his metal whip like a long lance, he yelled, I am going to kill you, Ma Wing Shing!

    The leaders of two eunuch factions faced off in a heated battle with each other as if Yeung Yat Ching, Lung Tin Kwun and Yeung Ming Guk did not exist. He did not hear Lung Tin Kwun mutter under his breath, This one is two inches taller.

    Ma Wing Shing hollered, Yeung Yat Ching is a prisoner of my Eastern Faction. Back off! The fibres of his whisk whipped the side of his enemys face and left a long red mark.

    Well, if he had escaped than he no longer belongs to your Eastern Faction! cried Guk Dai Yung who retaliated with several strikes of his own.

    The main advantage of using a soft weapon is its unpredictability and ability to curve around rigid weapons. But when two soft weapons are pitted against each other, there is no real advantage for both the long whip and shorter whisk had its own strengths. Both eunuchs weapons wrapped around each other and the two were trapped in a battle of internal energy travelling within the weapons. The first to fatigue or let go would get the full blast of the opponents power.

    They did not know for how long they had been standing there until there was an abrupt chill in the air as if the temperature around them had rapidly plummeted. Before they realised it, a tall man appeared before them in a flash. With one flick of his finger at the junction of the two weapons, the connection of internal energy was broken and was sent spiralling back towards its origin. Both Ma Wing Shing and Guk Dai Yung toppled onto the ground after being hit with their own internal energy and spat out a mouthful of blood.

    Lau Gan stood tall in his flowing black robes with his back to them. He did not even look at the two who were struggling to get up and kneel before him. They were not worthy.

    Where is Yeung Yat Ching? His voice was calm and cold as usual. The two eunuchs looked around fretfully but Yeung Yat Ching, Lung Tin Kwun and Yeung Ming Guk had long gone.

    MasMaster! spluttered Guk Dai Yung on his knees, I took thirty men via the underground passages to pursue Yeung Yat Ching when we were suddenly ambushed by a man with a long whisk near the Lions Stone Exit. Only I was lucky to have survived. It was him and his lifted a shaking figure at Ma Wing Shing.

    Dont point your finger at me! defended Ma Wing Shing, I didnt even come near Lions Stone Exit! We got out of the Thousand-year Pine Exit! You are the one who attacked me with this giant tree and all these projectiles back there! You are the thief who cried Thief!

    Silence! ordered Lau Gan with a wave of his sleeve and the two immediately shut their mouths. Idiots! Do you not realise that you have both been deceived?

    A faint cackling laughter resonated in the forest canopy as all looked up to see where it was coming from. Perched cosily in the fork of a tree branch was a black clad man with an iron mask for a face.

    Stupid! Stupid! Stupid! he mocked, Lucky my mother didnt have such stupid sons! Lau Gan, youd better not hang around these two that much or you too will get infected by their stupidity!

    Ghost Face! muttered Lau Gan. With one hand behind his back, he secretly sucked up a few projectiles from the ground and without warning, released at the masked man.

    There was a short tremor of the tree branch and Ghost Face disappeared. A white whisk and a metal whip dropped onto the forest floor, along with several drops of fresh blood.

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Author's Note:

    Let's talk about the Chinese whisk which Ma Wing Shing uses.

    I am not referring to the long stick like cooking utensil used for beating eggs to make a cake. I am talking about the Horsetail Whisk which is weapon that is simply a long white tassel of fibres with a long handle. It is usually made from white horse hair with a wooden handle, though there can be slight variations in material used depending on what was available in the area.





    The Horsetail Whisk originates from Taoism, which believes that the only way for a mortal to surpass their limitations and transcend into higher spiritual levels is to distances themselves from worldly desires which cause sin . Its name, Chen Fu (塵拂), literally means to sweep away earthly desires. The whisk is often carried by high level Taoist priests as a symbol of this belief, waving the whisk around whenever they think of worldly thoughts.

    In martial arts, it is considered to be a harmonious soft weapon mostly used for defensive purposes. It is not an offensive weapon as it can not harm directly (like a sword or a spear) unless you hit your opponent really really hard with the tassels (e.g. a spoon is a blunt object but you can cause real damage if you press hard enough ). The handle can also be used as hard weapon when needed, which someone told me fits in with the balance of yin-yang in Taoism. It moves are quick yet graceful, and its transformations are unpredictable.

    In supernatural tales, the horsetail is known to have magical properties used to expel and destroy demons. In modern times, it is used as an instrument in dance choreography.
    Last edited by charbydis; 08-25-14 at 08:29 AM.
    "Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self."
    Cyril Connolly

  4. #324
    Senior Member szfong's Avatar
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    Thanx for the update!!

  5. #325
    Senior Member charbydis's Avatar
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    Default Book One: The Fist Of Domination (權傾天下)

    Chapter Fifty-Nine:

    Cast of Appearing Characters:


    Kuk Yuen Yau - Lelia Tong Ning
    Duen Mo Ngai - Lawrence Yan Chi Keung
    Ngai Bun - Sunny Fong Kong
    Ha Hau Mo - Kenny Wong Tak Bun
    Masked Man - a good-looking guy
    Ethereal White-haired Beauty - Erica Choi Hiu Yee


    The yellow eyes of a hungry night owl glowed magnificently as it focussed its concentration on a small rabbit who had ventured out of its cosy burrow to forage for a midnight snack. The wings of the owl spread out like a cloak behind it and with a short hoot; it lifted off its perch and swooped down on the unsuspecting prey. But a faint rustle in the trees distracted both prey and predator that both fled to safety at the looming danger.

    Bits of dirt and crumbled leaves flew into the air as a tall armed man with a beautiful young maiden in his arms landed with a crash. The man spat out a mouthful of blood as he struggled to pry both him and the young maiden up with his long sword.

    Kuk Yuen Yau placed her arms around him to support him, but the blood was streaming from his wounds like a small river. With tears of guilt in her eyes, she pleaded, They are coming! Why dont I distract them and you leave?

    Duen Mo Ngai slowly staggered to his feet with groans of pain. He had one hand over the wound at his side, but the blood was seeping through the deep puncture wound which did not close even with the extra pressure on it.

    He grabbed Kuk Yuen Yau roughly by the hand and shouted, Tell me! Why?

    Kuk Yuen Yau was too scared and confused to notice the bruise that was forming where he gripped her. I dont know! I really dont! You have to trust me! If I did, I would have never called you into the room! Her grandfather and uncles actions shocked her. Why did they stab Duen Mo Ngai when he was coming to save them? Was it intentional act or a consequence of temporary insanity after all the torture?

    Duen Mo Ngai looked up into the air just as twenty armed guards descended in a circle around them and quickly pushed Kuk Yuen Yau to the side.

    A horse raspy voice came from behind the men. How much blood can a top martial arts expert lose before he can no longer stand and fight? A bloodchilling laugh followed by a sucking noise sent chills through each and every mans spine.

    There was already a small pool of blood where Duen Mo Ngai stood. Each droplet that came out of his body brought along a little of his strength that was slowly draining away. He wiped off blood trail from the corner of his mouth and replied, Well, we will just have to wait and see then, wont we?

    As the Blade of the Peerless Moon moved, the silvery reflection from the moonlight caught each man in the eye which masked the sharp blade that was to follow. It would have been a flawless technique had not Duen Mo Ngai been slowed down by his blood loss. The eunuch guards closest to him fell victim to his blade but the others quickly moved out of his way as his energy sphere began to build.

    A white-haired eunuch spun horizontally in the air and with his silver cane outstretched, penetrated the weak energy sphere like a drill and quickly changed direction at Duen Mo Ngai. Duen Mo Ngai blocked with a swipe of his blade. But he felt something was moving quickly through the air behind him, and quickly spun around just in time to block the oncoming palms of a muscular eunuch. All of a sudden, there was a sharp jab right at his side wound where a silver cane was stabbed right into the tunnel in his flesh.

    Duen Mo Ngai palmed the old eunuch with the remainder of energy as a quick punch to his wounded leg made him involuntarily fall to the ground. The old eunuch kneed him in the head and Duen Mo Ngai toppled backwards with the world around him spinning around. The Blade of the Peerless Moon lay by side, only inches from his finger but he could no longer find the strength to pick it up.

    Good job, Ha Hau Mo! hissed Ngai Bun, licking the blood off his silver cane with an evil look on his face.

    Hau Hau Mo replied self-assuredly, Now all credit can go to you, Commander Ngai. I hope you would not forget to put in a good word for me when you present the Wandering Swordsmans head to Supreme Commander Lau? All the eunuchs laughed as they edged closer to Duen Mo Ngai.

    What a shame that the well-reknowned Wandering Swordsman came to an end like this! hissed Ngai Bun.

    Get away from him! shouted Kuk Yuen Yau who dashed to Duen Mo Ngais side and grabbed the Blade of the Peerless Moon with both hands.

    Go...Ngok Yee! murmured Duen Mo Ngai as the world through his eyes darkened. The last thing he saw was the worried face of Kuk Yuen Yau and the thin smoke-like mist that was slowly filling the air around them. Then he lost consciousness.

    The blade was a lot heavier than she thought and the eunuchs laughed at her struggling to keep the blade off the ground. But she did not care. With all her strength, she swung the sword at the approaching eunuchs. Ha Hau Mo stepped forward and kicked it easily out of her hands. Kuk Yuen Yau jumped out and clawed at his face to which he responded with a slap on her delicate face that sent her flying towards the trunk of a tree. Bruised and in pain, she glared at the eunuch.

    What are you going to do about it, Lady Kuk? laughed Ha Hau Mo. But he did not laugh for long as a dark figure burst out of the ground and punched him in the face.

    Run! the masked man shouted, grabbing Kuk Yuen Yau as the made a run for it.

    Not so fast! came the raspy voice and a silver cane came flying at them. The masked man blocked the silver cane with a short dagger by his side and continued the escape. But the silver cane just rebounded off the surrounding tree trunks and continued its attack, blocking off each step they took.

    Ha Hau Mo quickly caught up and the two engaged in a short close-distance fight while the others looked on. Ngai Bun made a sudden move and caught Kuk Yuen Yau by her fragile neck. The masked man was distracted by her cries of pain as the hand closed around her throat and Ha Mau Mo took the opportunity to palm him in the chest with both hands, sending him flying backwards with the force.

    Argghhh! Ngai Bun released his hand to examine the stab wound as Kuk Yuen Yau flung away her hairpin and ran to the masked man who strived to get up.

    You harlot! shouted Ngai Bun in pain, pointing at her, Men! Capture her alive and sell her to the cheapest, foulest brothel you know of! The masked man quickly placed himself before her as the eunuchs approached.

    But even before they could get close, they stopped in their tracks as a haunting female laugh echoed through the lonely forest. Everyone looked around wildly to find the origin of the laugh but no one could be seen.

    Up there! Up there! shouted one of the eunuchs as several long tentacles of white fabric fell from the branches above.

    Ghost! they all shouted in unison as the tentacles chased after them as they ran, wrapping tightly around their necks and lifted them up off their struggling feet until they were strangled.

    Ha Hau Mo stood stunned at what was happening while the remaining five ran for their lives. But there was no way out of this alive as Ngai Bun broke their neck bones with several quick blows. No one leaves here without my permission! he shouted angrily.

    The tentacles of fabric immediately dropped all its victims and slithered through the air towards Ngai Bun. There is no such thing as ghosts! shouted Ngai Bun as he leapt at the fabric tentacles which quickly encircled him like a moth trapped within an enlarged cocoon.

    However, Ngai Bun was not made the Commander of the Battalion of Three Thousand for no reason. He gathered up his internal energy and pushed on the fabric cocoon from within. There was only a certain elasticity of the fabric which quickly burst into shreds as Ngai Bun landed safetly on the ground with a somersault. The broken ends of the overhanging fabric tentacles retracted back up within the branches.

    Waving his silver cane around wildly, Ngai Bun looked up into the unseen canopy and shouted, Is that all you have to offer? I, Ngai Bun, have stood before an opposing army of a thousand men without faltering? Nothing in the world can scare me! Come on!

    But Ha Hau Mo almost fainted when he saw the response to Ngai Buns taunts. A gigantic spider, covered in thick black fur descended from a fabric tentacle with a smoky mist coming out from its mouth ajar. White sticky saliva dripped from its open pincers that opened and shit menacingly as it turned to face both eunuchs. Not including the eight feet protruding from its sides, its terrifying body was at least three times as wide as Ngai Bun and twice as tall.

    Even a thousand man army was not as frightening as this, especially if it started to chase you with all eight legs. Ngai Bun and Ha Mau Mo ran for their lives as the giant spider pursued them across the forest floor and their terrified screams quickly faded into the distance.

    After recovering from that frightening sight, Kuk Yuen Yau quickly shook the masked man on top of her. Are you all right? He slowly opened his eyes and she recognised him immediately.

    However, there was no time for words as the tentacles of fabric descended again, this time, accompanied by a large square sheet of transparent white fabric that slowly settled over the unconscious body of Duen Mo Ngai. The two shuffled backwards in fright when they realised that there was a figure underneath the fabric, crouching over Duen Mo Ngai. Was it a ghost? If it was, then it must have been a female ghost.

    The figure was in the form of a beautiful slender woman. The side outline of her face was just visible through the fabric as she bent down close to Duen Mo Ngai and gently caressed his face with her long fingers. Long white tresses of hair flowed down her back and hung over her shoulders, yet her slender figure resembled that of a young woman. It was hard to tell her exact age.

    With an elegant swirl, she got up onto her feet and the white fabric fell over her shoulder like a cloak. She picked up the Blade of Peerless Moon and ran her fingers along the blade tenderly which gleamed with her touch. In the reflection of the blade, Kuk Yuen Yau could see that the woman had a beautiful complexion with gentle features. But had what made her stand out apart from her frightening white hair, were her mournful eyes, full of longing and loneliness. And it was this exact pair of mournful eyes that suddenly flashed with hatred as they spotted an object on the ground before her.

    Duen Mo Ngais scroll had fallen out during the battle and now lay open on the ground next to him. With one swipe of her wide sleeve, the scroll was violently flung to the side.

    No! shouted Kuk Yuen Yau as she rushed to her feet and caught the scroll. She knew how much the portrait of her aunt had meant to Duen Mo Ngai. She could not stand by and while it was destroyed.

    The ethereal woman spun around and her eyes widened with both anger and disbelief when she saw Kuk Yuen Yau. Her gentle voice shouted angrily, You again! Why is it always you? and with a swipe of her arm, a tentacle of fabric came slicing through the air like a large sword, right at Kuk Yuen Yau!

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Author's Note:

    sleepy, will comment later.
    Last edited by charbydis; 03-24-14 at 06:07 AM.
    "Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self."
    Cyril Connolly

  6. #326
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    Thanks for the update, charbydis!

  7. #327
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    Chapter Sixty:

    Cast of Appearing Characters:

    Kuk Yuen Yau - Lelia Tong Ning
    Siu Kei Chi - Sammul Chan Kin Fung
    Ethereal White-haired Beauty - Erica Choi Hiu Yee
    Duen Mo Ngai - Lawrence Yan Chi Keung
    Yeung Ming Hung - Kenneth Ma Kwok Ming
    Yeung Ming Guk - Ruco Chan Chin Pang
    Chan Hong - Derek Kwok Jing Hung
    Lung Tin Kwun - Felix Wong Yat Wah
    Yeung Yat Ching - Michael Miu Kiu Wai
    Cheung Luk Chung - Cheung Kwok Keung
    Mistress Chow King Fong - Christine Ng Wing Mei
    Tsui Sing Lau - Lau Dan
    Joi Sung - Yeung Chak Lum ( Toadie!!!)


    No! shouted the masked man as he dived towards Kuk Yuen Yau and spun her around to shield her from the blow.

    But Kuk Yuen Yau saw what was happening. No! Siu Kei Chi! she cried as she spun around before him just as the tentacle struck.

    However, Siu Kei Chi pushed her behind him and wrapping his body around her; took the blow to his back.

    Are you crazy? shouted Kuk Yuen Yau as Siu Kei Chi spat out a mouthful of blood over her shoulder. But he still refused to let go and would not allow her to be exposed to another blow.

    I once said that I would always stand by you as your servant and protector! he said weakly, As long as I am here, no one will be able to hurt you!

    Kuk Yuen Yau closed her eyes as confused tears dripped out. What was it that she felt for him? She hated him deeply for his betrayal and opportunistic motives towards Yeung Ming Hung, Suen Nga Yin and So Yee Ha. There was a point where she despised nothing in the world more than him. But on reflection, Siu Kei Chi had never done a single thing to harm her. She had tried to find a million ulterior motives for his behaviour to her in the past but at this moment, she could find no reason for him to risk his life for a demoted imperial concubine who had no status or power for him to exploit.

    His arms wrapped tightly around he. His face pressed so close to her that they could hear each other rapid heartbeats as they waited for the next blow.

    It is not you!

    They opened their eyes and turned around to see the ethereal woman staring at them. The hatred and anger had disappeared from her eyes when she realised that Kuk Yuen Yau was not the woman in the portrait.

    A mouthful of fresh mist emitted from her mouth as she sighed. Since you truly love her, then I will spare the both of you. It is hard to find someone who you truly love and loves you back. She looked down intently at the unconscious Duen Mo Ngai. It really is too hard! There was a lot of sadness in her voice from those few words.

    Farewell! she said quietly as she whipped up the ends of her cloak and fabric tentacles around her in a flurry with her white hair flying freely in the wind. Picking up Duen Mo Ngai in her arms, she pushed off the ground and sailed away through the trees with fabric tentacles swirling behind her.

    Both Siu Kei Chi and Kuk Yuen Yau let out a breath of relief as the woman disappeared, but an awkward silence now surrounded them as they stood still, unable to look each other in the eye.

    Not too far away, small groups of horsemen separted rapidy from their hiding place, one after another, each setting out to a different destination. Once the security of the Forbidden City was confirmed, Lau Gan would surely send out faction guards and agents to track down Yeung Yat Ching. The longer they stayed within the vicinity of Beijing, the more dangerous it was for them. But not every one of them wanted to leave Beijing.

    I must go back! Get out of my way! shouted Yeung Ming Guk as he pushed his brother aside.

    But Yeung Ming Hung swung around to the front of his brother and stopped him with an outstretched hand. Ming Guk! You cannot return to Beijing! It must be full of Brocade Guards and Faction Guards by now! It is too risky! I wont let you go back!

    Yeung Ming Guk swatted his brothers hand away and replied furiously, You got it right, Beijing is too dangerous! How can I leave So Sum and Wan Sheung there? I must go back!

    But you dont know that they are still in Beijing! Maybe they got separated from the group and ended up elsewhere? They know where we are and where we will be heading! They will find us! Calm down!

    Yeung Ming Guks face was all red with emotion and his eyes bloodshot. I want to calm down too, Elder Brother! But I cant! If they are safe then why have they not yet returned? We have waited three hours already! They must in trouble! I must go back for them!

    Ming Guk! Even if you go back, where would you find them? Beijing is such a large city! You would be gutted by the faction guards even before you set foot on Cheung Wong Street! Yeung Ming Hung held a hand to his injured right shoulder which seared with pain with all the movement. But he could not let his pain show upon his face for his men were still around. If they knew the true extent of his injury, then their morale would be lost.

    I dont care! If I can plow though hundreds of Mongolian troops all by myself, then what does a few more faction guards matter? You can leave yourself, but I must find So Sum!

    For goodness sake, why wont you just calm down? shouted Yeung Ming Hung irately and he slapped his brother hard on the face.

    He was already exhausted after all the fighting. Suen Nga Yin was still unconscious with Mistress Chow examining at her injuries. He did not even know if she would make it through the night. He no longer had the patience to put up with his younger brothers tantrums. As your commanding general, I order you to sit down and calm yourself down!

    Yeung Ming Guk was initially shocked at the blow, but then his eyes narrowed with rage and quickly responded with a sharp punch.

    Yeung Ming Hung took a step back but his younger brother pounced on top him like a madman. The two men rolled along the petal-strewn floor with their limbs entangled, grunting in both pain and frustration as they punched and kicked each other in the close contact wrestle. The others present looked on from a distance in shock, not knowing whether to intercept or not. After all, they were both from a different clan and it was improper to intrude into another clans matters.

    Suddenly, a man hastened towards the two brothers and without warning, splashed a bucketful of fresh chilled water onto them. How old do you think you are? Two grown men behaving like pesky little kids in a brawl!

    Both men gasped in a deep breath as the cold feeling brought back their rationality. Yeung Ming Guk noticed the red stain seeping from his brothers right shoulder and quickly got off his body. He sat cross-legged in the puddle with his head lowered in guilt, but not willing to apologize. The white magnolia petals stuck to his wet clothes all over his body.

    Chan Hong rushed over to help Yeung Ming Hung up who looked curiously at the elderly man who hurried back to Tsui Sing Laus side. Tsui Sing Lau sat cross-legged in meditation with his eyes closed as he waited for his own clan members to arrive and leave. The old beardless man knelt attentively at his side and wiped the sweat from his face.

    Chan Hong draped his outer coat over Yeung Ming Hung to hide his wound. Who is that man, Brother Chan? he asked. Yeung Ming Hung had never seen him before in his life. He looked like an ordinary old man on the outside yet it took real courage for one to splash the main organizer of this rescue mission with cold water.

    Chan Hong leant close and said in a low voice, His name is Joi Sung. He is the personal servant of Tsui Sing Lau and has never left his side for nearly thirty years. He doesnt talk to other people and In a whisper, he continued, I just won the fifty taels of silver from some of my men on whether he was really a deaf-mute! Thanks!

    What is going on here? shouted Lung Tin Kwun as he, Yeung Yat Ching and Mistress Chow approached. Chan Hong ran up to them and briefed them on what had happened.

    Upon seeing Mistress Chow, Yeung Ming Hungs face lit up and rushed up to her. How is she, Mistress Chow? She eyed him suspiciously and took a step back. It was no secret that she disliked being near men.

    Miss Suen should be fine. she replied casually without looking at the concerned expression upon his face, and concentrated on wiping the blood off her soft white hands. It was a clean cut and no major organs were injured. It will heal within days but she might have a large scar on her back and almost with a sneer, she continued, Not that it concerns you at all! Yeung Ming Hung lowered his gaze with embarrassment and thanked her.

    Lung Tin Kwun looked at the dazed Yeung Ming Guk on the floor and sighed. Placing a comforting hand on his shoulder, he said quietly, Dont worry, Ming Guk! So Sum and Wan Sheung should be fine! Yeung Ming Guk smiled wryly but said nothing.

    So, when can we leave? said Mistress Chow coldly, All my disciples are accounted for.

    Well, mine havent all left yet! Wait for your turn! shouted Cheung Luk Chung, who glared at her angrily.

    Stop it you two! came Tsui Sing Laus calming yet authoritative voice. Joi Sung helped him onto his feet. Have we heard from Duen Mo Ngai yet?

    Yeung Yat Ching sighed. Not yet. There has been no sign of him and the main problem is that he has never known our set meeting place so even if we wanted to, he would not know where to find us.

    The Yeung brothers and Chan Hong all exchanged awkward glances in silence. They had only told the others that Duen Mo Ngai had been injured but not how or by whom. The whole incident had been so confusing. Did Yuen Mo Kei and Yuen Hong attack him with intent or was it an act of self defence by two terrified and befuddled men that did not recognise their rescuer from their attack? The three men were afraid that if they told the truth to everyone before their intention was clarified, the three major wulin clans might all rush in and tear the two men apart from limb to limb. Maybe later on, they will reveal the truth to Yeung Yat Ching and Lung Tin Kwun who would be much calmer and more understanding.

    All of a sudden, everyones ears prickled at the slight rustle of dried leaves and all went silent. Mistress Chow somersaulted high into the air in then blink of an eyes, released five chrysanthemum projectiles at the origin of the noise. But Cheung Luk Chung was also quick to act. He deflected Mistress Chows projectiles with a handful of stones and with the other hand, sent out a powerful palm of energy at the approaching figure.

    Wait! cried Yeung Yat Ching who leapt out in front towards the figure. The approaching footsteps belonged to only one person, and sounded too light to be of a martial artist. If it was an ambush, then the attacker would not be as stupid to walk carelessly into their midst.

    Shooting out his palms, Yeung Yat Ching dissipated Cheung Luk Chungs palm energy before it could hit the target. Reaching into the bushes with one hand, he somersaulted back into the centre with the frail maiden his arms. Her beautiful face was pale with fright. Her thin clothing was ripped and flapping freely in the wind while her dishevelled hair hung loosely on one side.

    Who are you? shouted Cheung Luk Chung, pointing his Green Pine Sword at her. The stunned maiden stared at him silently with out a word. Her large doe-like eyes were slowly brimming with tears as if silently pleading him to lower his sword.

    Wait! came a shout from Chan Hong. This is Lady Kuk! She is the daughter of Minister Kuk Him Yu and she assisted with our escape from the Western Faction Headquarters today! She was with the Wandering Swordsman when we last saw him! Sounds of shock and surprise came from the surrounding crowd.

    Cheung Luk Chung lowered his sword. Yeung Yat Ching turned to Kuk Yuen Yau and asked her gently, Lady Kuk! Do you know where Duen Mo Ngai is? Is he alright?

    Kuk Yuen Yau opened her mouth to speak, but it was minutes before any sound actually came out. He is fine. Senior Duen is fine she murmured repeatedly.

    What happened? everyone crowded around her, asking her the same question. Kuk Yuen Yau stared at them with her mouth ajar, not knowing how to answer.

    Yeung Yat Ching tapped her on the shoulder and asked, How did you find us? Kuk Yuen Yau shook her head violently and burying her face in her hands, immediately burst into tears.

    Yeung Yat Ching was slightly taken aback but her reaction, but quickly stood up to announce, Everyone! Listen to me! If Lady Kuk is here, then it means that someone must know our location! We must leave immediately!

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Author's Note:

    Thanks for reading, szfong! Here is another chapter for you!
    Last edited by charbydis; 08-25-14 at 08:38 AM.
    "Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self."
    Cyril Connolly

  8. #328
    Senior Member szfong's Avatar
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    Thanks again for another chapter charbytis... Much appreciate you effort!

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    Thanks for the many new chapters Charbydis. I devour them as soon as you post them. Anxiously waiting for more.

  10. #330
    Senior Member charbydis's Avatar
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    Default Book One: The Fist Of Domination (權傾天下)

    Chapter Sixty -One:

    Cast of Appearing Characters:


    Ngai Bun - Sunny Fong Kong
    Lau Gan - Gilbert Lam Wai Sun
    Siu Kei Chi - Sammul Chan Kin Fung
    Ha Hau Mo - Kenny Wong Tak Bun


    Ngai Bun sprinted frantically through the vast forest without stopping. He could smell and hear the giant spiders eight legs moving briskly over the dead foliage just behind him. If he were to stop, he would definitely have been eaten alive. He had no idea how much miles he had covered with his two legs though his sides ached with pain. He even had no idea of where Ha Hau Mo had gone. He did not care. He just wanted to lose the giant spider.

    All of a sudden, the greyish mist cleared and there was the giant spider before him, waiting for its prey with his pincers open. How could it be? It was always just behind him? With a loud shriek. Ngai Bun veered away from the arachnid and continued to run. But the spider followed quickly. Ngai Bun ran faster and faster as with each sidewards glance, the spider was getting closer and closer.

    Distracted, he tripped over his feet and fell face first into the leaves. The shadow of the giant arachnid towered over him as he shook and shivered all over. Unwilling to open his eyes to face the ugly creature, Ngai Bun shouted madly at the top of his voice, Dont eat me! I promise to never kill a spider or ruin a web ever again!

    Have you lost your mind, you fool? came a cold voice and the spider slapped him across the head, sending him flying sideways.

    Ngai Bun staggered up against a tree trunk as the spider closed in on him. His vision seemed to flash rapidly and then he saw it! It was even more frightening than the spider. The giant arachnid before suddenly morphed into Lau Gan!

    Master! he cried out as Lau Gan slapped him again.

    But then he saw it again! This time the spider was behind Lau Gan.

    Look, Master! he stuttured, pointing a shaking finger. Then they saw it too - the eunuchs that came with Lau Gan. With loud shrieks, they all abandoned their torches and scattered as the giant arachnid approached.

    In fact, Lau Gan saw it too. But he was not a fool. The greyish fragrant mist that enveloped them was getting thicker and thicker. So thick and fragrant that it was unnatural. Leaping up into the air, Lau Gan released a palm of energy at the spider. The spider suddenly shattered at once, leaving no trace behind. Lau Gan spun around in one spot, releasing torrents of internal energy from his wide sleeves to encircle him.

    Normally, internal energy is invisible to the naked eye but to all who were present, the greyish mist revealed the extent of Lau Gans energy field. A large unconquerable spheric void lay in the midst of the greyish mist in where Lau Gan stood; its borders defined with the wavering grey wisps trying to enter the void. With each wave of his sleeves, the void around Lau Gan expanded an inch and began to push the stubborn mist backwards. Then with a final move, Lau Gan emitted a large explosion of internal energy that burst the sphere from the inside, releasing the force that shot out in all directions which tore across the forest. An instant coldness filled the air around them as the mist immediately dispersed.

    All the eunuchs including Ngai Bun fell onto their knees before Lau Gan with praise. But Lau Gan did not care at all. Standing tall and dignified with his hands behind his back, he gazed absorbedly at the thin wisps of dissipating mist that was slowing disappearing as mysteriously as it came.

    Master! croaked Ngai Bun, It is my fault for letting that witchcraft blind my eyes! Please punish me!

    Lau Gan continued to look at the mist. It is not witchcraft. This is an illusion.

    An illusion?

    This is the infamous Fragrant Mist of Illusion technique that was solely practised by the now extinct Mirage Sect that once terrified the Central Plains many decades ago. It made sure all enemies lose their sense of rationality and be distracted during battle. There is no cure and no prevention against it. Over a hundred wulin clans were wiped out because of this. There must be a remnant of the Mirage Sect within a one mile radius of here!

    Ngai Bun looked cautiously in all directions for any signs of the strange mists. Then should we seek out this remnant of the Mirage Sect and eradicate him?

    Lau Gan laughed coldly and replied, What will you do when you find him? Shriek at him?

    Ngai Bun glared at his subordinates, as if daring them to laugh.

    In a loud voice, Lau Gan ordered, Ngai Bun! I command you to lead your troops to canvas the underground labyrinth for any remaining rebels! I want all passageways cleared and secured before sunrise!

    Ngai Bun and the others bowed obediently with their heads on the forest floor as Lau Gan disappeared into the darkness with a flick of his long robes.

    Back at the Imperial Palace, a dark figure leapt over the towering walls and landed with a stumble in the abandoned courtyards. Clutching his chest in pain, he managed to get up onto his feet.

    How dare you return, you traitor? called out a low voice from behind him.

    Siu Kei Chi quickly spun around and out of the shadows, walked out Ha Hau Mo with a smug look on his face.

    I have no idea what you are going on about, Ha Hau Mo! laughed Siu Kei Chi.

    Ha Hau Mo grimaced I hope you have said your farewells to Lady Kuk ! No matter if you are masked or unmasked. you will never see her again!

    If you are drunk, go to bed before Commander Guk catches you blabbering nonsense! shouted Siu Kei Chi indignantly.

    Ah! You want Commander Guk to be here, dont you? You think he will take your side as he always has? But not this time! Not if I tell him that it was you who intercepted our capture of Wandering Swordsman and Lady Kuk out in the forest today!

    What proof of this do you have, Ha Hau Mo? he bluffed confidently. The forest has been dark and everything had happened so fast. There was no way he could have been recognised.

    Ha Mau Mo gave him a cunning smile before reaching forward with his hand to his chest. Siu Kei Chi stepped back and blocked the blow but Ha Hau Mos fingers closed in and ripped open the clothing from his chest.

    Pointing victoriously at him, Ha Hau Mo shouted, There is my proof, Lau Kei! The protruding ends of ten silver needles were just visible from his skin. Siu Kei Chis chest was burning with pain ever since those needles were injected into him when he took the blow trying to save Kuk Yuen Yau. He had tried to remove it by force and with his own internal energy but they did not budge even one bit.

    It hurts, doesnt it? taunted Ha Hau Mo, eyeing his opponent with extreme contempt. He had hated Siu Kei Chi ever since he was first admitted into the Western Faction and gained favour from both Guk Dai Yung and Lau Gan. Such competition would always be in the way of his path to success. What luck he had to discover his competition to be the one saving the fugitives!

    These ten needles are firmly embedded in your rib cage. They cause agonising pain as the swelling puts pressure on your nerves and energy channels. Not fatal but definitely unbearable! You must have tried to remove them and failed miserably. Give up! Not even I can remove them! At least not while you still breathe! They are my proof that you are indeed the masked man who saved Lady Kuk earlier tonight! Dont think that no one can recognise you with your mask on! I can tell who you are by just a glimpse of your frame!

    Siu Kei Chi stood still as his mind worked hard to find a solution. If his rescue of Kuk Yuen Yau was exposed, then his career within the Forbidden City would be no more.

    Lau Kei, you fool! sneered Ha Hau Mo, slowly circling Siu Kei Chi with his footsteps, Dont you know your place? Who do you think you are? Eunuchs can crave for everything in the world, except for one thing women!

    Siu Kei Chi took in a deep breath. The image of Kuk Yuen Yau flashed before his eyes and the rapid beating of his heart only made the pain in chest even more unbearable.

    How dare you dream of coveting the Emperors woman and give up your life in the process? Do you really think that she will return your love? Eunuchs will always be eunuchs! and he broke out in a mocking laughter.

    But that laughter was suddenly cut short with a disturbing sharp crack. Ha Hau Mos eyeballs turned upwards underneath his upper eyelids as he toppled over sideways onto the ground, gurgling desperately for air as his throat collapsed. The last thing he ever saw was a pair of arrogant eyes flash at him. The last thing he ever felt was the icy cold hand upon his neck. Siu Kei Chi fell to the ground and shuffled backwards; his astonished gaze alternating warily between Ha Hau Mo and his killer.

    Lau Gan retracted his outstretched fingers and brushed the dust off his black robes. Like a silent spectre, he had suddenly appeared out of thin air. Siu Kei Chi breathed in and out rapidly as nervous thoughts ran involuntarily across his mind, How much of their conversation had Lau Gan been listening in on?

    With his eyes intent on Siu Kei Chi, Lau Gan slowly walked up to him and raised his hand over him. With the slightest movement of that hand, his death was imminent.

    Siu Kei Chi closed his eyes and winced as he waited for the strike. He had seen many people die in the split of a second yet he had no idea what it felt it. Would it be excruciating as he breathed in his last breath or will it be over so fast that there was no time to feel any pain?

    But the strike never came. Instead, the tips of Lau Gans fingers brushed against his hair. Lau Gan stretched out his hand and picked up a small white object between his fingers. Siu Kei Chi opened his eyes. He was curious but he dare not interrupt Lau Gan. From where he was, Lau Gan seemed to tower over him like a giant to a lowly ant.
    Lau Gan held the small white object up close for a better look. There was no expression on his face. There was no way of telling what he was thinking.

    Then he opened his mouth. The magnolia groves in the vast forest outside Beijing city must be in full blossom at this time of the year. Even though there are small paths in that forest that leave Beijing in all directions, it is a pity that not many people even know it exists. Definitely a good hiding place for Yeung Yat Ching! With a twist of his fingers, the magnolia petal flew out of his hands and spiralled in the air to freedom.

    He knew! thought Siu Kei Chi to himself as his heart nearly jumped out of his mouth.

    My men are heading over there at this very moment. But too late though. They must be gone by now. How did you know they were there? Lau Gans words were concise and calm. There was no anger, nor was there any fury. He had not moved but his cold piercing stare was fixated solely on Siu Kei Chi.

    Lady Kuk told me! he lied.
    As soon as those words exited his mouth, Lau Gan shot forwards and landed a palm on his chest. Siu Kei Chi stared wide-eyed with his mouth ajar as ten silver needles ejected from his exposed chest into the air and fell lifelessly onto the ground. Siu Kei Chi was astonished that he was still breathing.

    Lau Gan retracted his palm and placed both hands behind his back. Ha Hou Mo is just another casualty from the intrusion. That is all you need to know. His body will be collected and disposed of before sunrise. Return to your quarters at once. The Western Faction sets out tomorrow at noon.

    Supreme Commander Lau! shouted Siu Kei Chi, clambering to his feet but falling clumsily on his face. The force from the palm had vibrated all along the energy channels of his body, interfering with control of his muscles. He probably would not regain control of his limbs within the next hour.

    Please stay and let me explain! Lady Kuk and I he pleaded pitifully as he reached out for Lau Gans ankles. No one could last a day within the Forbidden Palace even if Lau Gan held the tiniest amount of suspicion against them. Such was the secret rule of survival for all. If powerful ministers, imperial consorts and high-ranked eunuch did not have the power to contest that fact, what chance did a lowly eunuch like him have?

    But Lau Gan stepped back out of his reach and gently shook his head at him. I need not an explanation.

    Siu Kei Chi breathed heavily as Lau Gan looked him right in the eye.

    Everyone is entitled to their own secret. As long as you serve me faithfully, your secrets remain your own.

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Author's Note:

    Yay! Just finished writing the final chapter of Book 1! Gosh! I think I am in love with one of my characters!

    Saved two copies in case my computer blows up!

    Anyhow, I am heading over to Adelaide next week so won't be back for a while. Thanks to szfong & Sjohnb for your continual support!
    "Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self."
    Cyril Connolly

  11. #331
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    Thanks charbydis for another update!

  12. #332
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    Thanks and nice to see that you've finished book 1. Hope you have a safe trip.

  13. #333
    Senior Member charbydis's Avatar
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    Default Book One: The Fist Of Domination (權傾天下)

    Chapter Sixty -Two:

    Cast of Appearing Characters:


    Yiu So Sum - Tavia Yeung Yi
    Cheung Wan Sheung - Nancy Wu Ding Yan
    Yau Jui - Lau Kong



    Under the Forbidden Palace, the numerous passages were cold and damp. Only the major passages that were commonly used were illuminated by candles. Others were almost pitch-black and without a map of the exit points, it was an impossible task to get out this labyrinth alive.

    Ah! Cheung Wan Sheung let out a loud scream and fell to the ground.

    What is the matter? Yiu So Sum spun around instinctively, dividing her attention between her friend and what lay behind them. All of a sudden, there had been a sudden influx into the passageways and the two had only just gotten away. But the troops could catch up with them anytime soon.

    Who on earth put a hole in the ground? Cheung Wan Sheung yelled angrily, rubbing her injured knee as she got up again and leaned against the wall.

    It must be too dark! Here! You hold the candle! said Yiu So Sum gently, handing over the stolen candle to Cheung Wan Sheung, We must hurry and get as far away as possible!

    But Cheung Wan Sheung shook her head and would not budge. We have been running non-stop for hours! We must be miles away from the Forbidden City by now! The guards wont be able to keep up with us! Let me rest for a while! Leaning against the wall, she bent over and massaged her sore calves.

    No, Wan Sheung! shouted Yiu So Sum, We have to keep going! The greater the distance between the guards and us, the more safer it is! Get up! and she pulled her friend up onto her feet.

    When will this end? I am starving! whinged the younger girl grudgingly as she followed her friend reluctantly down the dark passageway. Damn that eunuch! she shouted, thinking about Yuen Ho, This is his entire fault!

    The two girls had totally lost control of their horse when it went into a panic and ran blindly up and down Cheung Wong Street at the sight of the towering red flames on both sides. The more the girls pulled on the reins to control it, the more irritated it began and finally, it rammed headfirst into the front door of a store. Both fell off in the impact and in the confusion, one of them accidentally pressed a finger into the right eye of the stone lion statue out front.

    Immediately, a hidden trap door opened up beneath them and they fell into this passageway, right on top of some eunuch guards heading over to reinforce their Faction Commanders outside of Beijing.

    After several frenzied fights, the two girls managed to break out from the guards and fled down the most convenient corridor they came across to evade their pursuit. The stress of the being chased by the guards made them run as fast as they could, not knowing which directing they were heading in. The guards were not slow as all, catching up with them several times since their interruption and not giving the luxury of time to look for exits. Thinking about Yuen Ho made her even more frustrated.

    Stupid eunuch! shouted Cheung Wan Sheung suddenly at the top of her voice. Yiu So Sum immediately cupped her hand over her mouth, but her voice had escaped and echoed down the long corridor.

    Do you think the guards heard me? whispered Cheung Wan Sheung with a guilty look upon her face as Yiu So Sum looked at her disapprovingly.

    Then it came. Who is talking about me? Who?

    The angry voice resonated back towards them as if a ferocious gush of wind; getting louder and angrier with each haunting echo. The two girls froze as if the speaker was just standing in right front of them, for that was what it sounded like. The strong internal energy of the speaker had given the voice a boost in volume for its long and lonely journey.

    This place is haunted! What shall we do? stuttered Cheung Wan Sheung, clutching onto her friend with all her might, her eyes flitting wilding around her, looking for an exit. Fighting live men and angry ghosts were two very different matters.

    But Yiu So Sum fixed her eyes intently onto the darkness before them. The angry male voice came from somewhere further down the corridor. With the level of internal energy she deduced from the echoes, it was no chore for the speaker to rush down the corridor with great speed and tear their throats open if he was really displeased with them. But he still had not appeared.

    Yiu So Sum took in a deep breath and summoning up her courage, she brushed the reluctant Cheung Wan Sheung off her arm. There is no such thing as ghost, Wan Sheung!

    Stepping forward, Yiu So Sum raised both hands cupped in obeisance and announced in a clear voice, Greetings to Senior! Your humble juniors, Yiu So Sum and Cheung Wan Sheung, were foolishly unaware that such a powerful martial arts expert as yourself, were in the same presence as us and unwittingly disturbed your peace! We offer our sincere apologies!

    The mysterious speaker replied with a bloodcurdling mixture of frienzied laughter and painful moans. Was it really a man that made these noises? It was spine-chilling to hear.

    Quit your hypocritical flatter! I have heard more than enough of that nonsense in my lifetime! Do not think that I do not know what you want! I know exactly what you two birdies want! You want me to show you the way out! Never!

    Cheung Wan Sheung mouthed in silence, Did he just call us birdies? as the two girls tiptoed warily ahead towards the voice.

    What do you think you are doing? Step back or I will kill you both! There was an element of fear and surprise in his voice.

    Yiu So Sum shouted, Even if Senior does not take our lives, we two are destined to die in this passageway anyway, either by starvation or when the guards catch up! We will rather take this chance and beg for Seniors assistance rather than sit around and wait for death!

    Get away! Get away! Ill kill you! Ill kill you both!

    With each step the girls took, the more frustrated and anxious the speaker was. But he still had not shown himself. The girls became more bolder as they walked up a flight of stairs.

    Cheung Wan Sheung pricked up her ears and signalled to Yiu So Sum with her hands, He is around the corner! Yiu So Sum nodded. Taking each others hand for support, the girls stepped around the corner to meet the mysterious man.

    The light from their candle lit up the small space immediately, revealing the intricate carvings on the stone walls and brightly painted ceilings of gold and red paint. This was of a totally different design to the plain and simple passageways that they had just come out of. There was also another set of stairs leading to the unknown.

    But what caught their attention was not the rich design of the room, but the large lifelike stone dragon that was carved into the back wall. It had rubies for its eyes and its long body was encrusted with emeralds and pearls as it made its way all around the walls of the room. It had a vicious expression upon its scaly face, with his mouth wide open and ready to strike and intruders daring to enter the place it guarded.

    Argh! Ill kill you! Ill kill you! came the voice again.

    Ghost! Cheung Wan Sheung jumped up in fright for the voice came from the open mouth of the dragon. There was a stench coming from the mouth of the dragon. Yiu So Sum stepped forward and let the candlelight do its work. The origin of the stench was obvious.

    An emaciated man laid collapsed on the floor of the dragons mouth, amidst a tangle of metal chains of a mess of human filth. The mans long white hair was dishevelled and messy, but his face could still be seen. He was elderly; there was not an ounce of fat upon the poor old man. His cheeks could not be anymore sunken than it was it was like looking at a bag of bones. How long had it been since he had last eaten?

    Ill kill you! Ill kill you! muttered the old man repeatedly through gritted teeth, who sounded much less threatening now. Their hearts immediately softened at the sight of the helpless old man.

    Yiu So Sum knelt down on one knee and said softly, Who are you? Let us get you out of here!, but quicker than she could react, he lunged forward and dug his teeth into her arm. Instinctively, Yiu So Sum screamed and struck the old man on the head to get him to let go.

    Cheung Wan Sheung rushed forward to support her friend and shouted irately at the old man, Hey! How dare you repay our kindness with vengeance? And without warning, she released her whip and caught the old man around the neck and dragged him out of the dragons mouth.

    To her surprise, the old man did not resist and let her haul him across the stone floor like a doll. His limbs dragged placidly along with him, not even moving once to break free. Cheung Wan Sheung immediately retracted her whip .
    The old man writhed around on the floor like an eel, yelling I do not need your help! Go away!

    Cheung Wan Sheung was just about to give him another lesson for his rudeness when Yiu So Sum suddenly caught her by the hand and pointed, Look! His wrists and ankles!

    It was more obvious after Yiu So Sum pointed it out. There was a long straight wound on each wrist and ankle. It was not a new wound and should have healed except that it was swollen and inflamed with blisters of blood and pus. No wonder the old man could not get off the ground. Even without any movement, the pain must have been tremendous.

    Who did you make an enemy of that had all your tendons severed? asked Yiu So Sum at disbelief. Who could have been so inhumane in treating an old man?

    The old man glared at them both in silence, and then his eyes quickly darted towards behind them. Questions later, my birdies! We have company!

    The girls spun around just as a troop of Eastern Faction guards rushed in and blocked the entrance. At the same time, the door above the staircase slid open and a group of armoured guards entered, closing off the second entrance.

    Stop running girls! You cannot escape us! Surrender and we will let you die a fast death!

    The old man yelled wrathfully, Traitors! Traitors!

    The Eastern Faction guards pointed and laughed at him. The times have changes like the tree changes its leaves, old man! Look what state you are in! You are no longer the Commander of the Eastern Faction and we dont have to put up with you anymore!

    The girls looked both shocked and horrified towards the writhing old man. He was no other than Yau Jui, who had mysteriously disappeared on a secret mission for Lau Gan many days ago. There were rumours about him being killed by Lau Gan since he fell from favour after Yeung Ming Hungs escape. But how would one have guessed that he was actually still alive, but only barely; not to mention in such horrid conditions.

    Cut the talk! shouted the armed guards, Get out of here, Eastern Faction! Since the fugitives entered the vicinity of the Royal Mausoleum, then it is up to us to arrest them, not you!

    As the two departments argued, Yiu So Sum felt a tug on her pants and looked down to see Yau Jui yanking on them with his teeth. If you want to live, follow my instructions! Sit me up!

    The two girls bent down immediately and helped him sit up. Yau Juis eyes glinted momentarily at Cheung Wan Sheung and jerking his head sideways, he snapped, You! Get closer to me! I have something to say to you!

    Cheung Wan Sheung waited for Yiu So Sums nod before approaching the old man with caution, with her ear to his mouth. You are not going to bite me, right?

    Come just a little closer! Yau Jui ordered, unable to hide the excitement in his voice as Cheung Wan Sheungs ear was just millimetres from his lips.

    Without a warning, Cheung Wan Sheung screamed as the old eunuch leapt on top of her, pinning her down with the weight of his body.

    Get off her! shouted Yiu So Sum as she tried to pull the old eunuch off, but it was already two late.

    Both the Eastern Faction guards and Royal Mausoleum Guards turned around just in time to see Cheung Wan Sheung get up onto her feet, screaming her head off as Yau Jui wrapped his legs around her waist and arms around her shoulders.

    What are you doing to me, you stinky old eunuch? shrieked Cheung Wan Sheung, unable to shake off the feeble-looking man. Looking powerlessly at her friend, she pleaded, Help me, So Sum! I cant control myself! Help!

    With the swipe of a hand, the retractable silver spear shot out from Yiu So Sums back and within seconds, elongated to its full length, ready to strike. But even before it could make a move, a eerie green glow radiated from Cheung Wan Sheung and an invisible force threw Yiu So Sum backwards onto the jewel-encrusted dragon. The fragments of his metal chains scattered around the hollow room with a lingering ring.

    A dark smile spread across the sallow skeletal face of Yau Jui as Cheung Wan Sheung lashed her whip menacingly on the stone ground, leaving the violent cracks as evidence of this impact. Letting out a wild maniacal laughter, he glared at the frightened guards one by one as if he could devour them with his gaze of fury. The guards all stood frozen to the ground, their minds telling them to run but their feet would not obey.

    If any one of you manages to survive today, remember to remind Lau Gan that his turn will come soon!

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Author's Note:

    Hi! I'm back!

    Just a note that I already thought "楊鳴鵠" was pronounced as "Yeung Ming Ho" in Cantonese. After writing one whole book of over 100 chapters, I suddenly found out that "鵠" in fact pronounced as "Huk", not "Ho". I have checked various sources and unfortunately, it is true.

    Though frustratingly irritating, I have gone through all the chapters I have written and changed every single "Ho" to "Huk". The horrible task is finally over but now I have to go through all the posts made here and edit the name again.

    So from henceforth, the character is known as "Yeung Ming Huk".
    "Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self."
    Cyril Connolly

  14. #334
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    Thanks for more Forbidden City, Charbydis. Look forward to more.

  15. #335
    Senior Member charbydis's Avatar
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    Default Book One: The Fist Of Domination (權傾天下)

    Chapter Sixty -Three:

    Cast of Appearing Characters:

    Yiu So Sum - Tavia Yeung Yi
    Cheung Wan Sheung - Nancy Wu Ding Yan
    Yau Jui - Lau Kong
    Someone - Lee Yuk Ngor



    Yiu So Sum watched in horror as Cheung Wan Sheung flipped high up onto the ceiling and then flitted around the room to slaughter the guards like a wild beast out of control. It was as if the whole room glowed red as fresh blood was split. Despite shouting at herself not to, Cheung Wan Sheung was powerless against her own body which had a mind of its own. The ordinary leather whip now became a monstrous tool of obliteration everything that it came in contact with had to give way or suffer the consequences.

    Guards ran in all directions to avoid it but even if they could avoid the long body of the whip slashing through the air like a sharp blade, they could not avoid the the claw-like fingers of Cheung Wan Sheung. The veins upon her delicate hangs bulged and pulsed rapidly as her ten fingers acted like ten individual blades which plunged into each mans chest and ripped out his heart.

    Cheung Wan Sheung screamed with terror as their blood splatterred across her clothes and face. She could still feel its warmth as it settled upon her skin with a metallic stench. Her fingers ached as if they were all broken but yet, the massacre did not cease.

    Yiu So Sum knew this was not the doing of her sworn sister. Cheung Wan Sheung did not have use such brutal techniques nor did she have such powerful internal energy to dig her fingers into the stone ceiling as she hung upside down like an alert gecko. Watching each man breathe their last breath was euphoria for Yau Jui, who slung himself off her back like a hideously overgrown baby with his legs still wrapped tightly around her waist.

    Yiu So Sum backed away as Cheung Wan Sheung landed right before her, still traumatised and traumatised. Yau Juis face was hidden eerily in the dark shadows. Only his evil eyes gleamed from the reflection of the candles. Yiu So Sum thought to herself, This cannot be the work of a human! He must be a demon!

    A sneer revealed his uneven and crooked yellow teeth. Well, little birdie! he said in an amused tone, Let us get some fresh air! and despite her loud protests, Cheung Wan Sheung grabbed her arm with an iron grip and they sped along the corridor. Being the once Commander of the Eastern Faction, Yau Jui knew the underground labyrinth like the veins on the back of his hand and soon, they burst out of an outlet and penetrated the open air, leaving behind shrieking echoes of laughter.

    As they cut through the air, Cheung Wan Sheung seemed to be trapped in a trance, looking down at the blood all over her and muttering repeatedly, It is not possible! Not possible! Not possible

    Yiu So Sum stared at them with disbelief but could not figure how he was doing this. However, she was sure that without them as host bodies, the cripple Yau Jui would be powerless again. She dug her feet into the ground, hoping to slow down this monster but to no avail. Yau Jui merely laughed at her weak attempt and made Cheung Wan Sheung drag her along. In desperation, Yiu So Sum lodged her silver spear into the trunk of passing tree and hung onto the handle with all her might.

    Yau Jui, you evil monster! she shouted with disgust as he turned to look at her with his hollow eyes, Either kill us both or let us go!

    Yau Juis eyes gleamed with wickedness and Yiu So Sum screamed out loud as Cheung Wan Sheungs swollen fingers tightened around her arm like a blacksmiths clamp. Cheung Wan Sheung also screamed out in pain but could not control her fingers. But Yiu So Sum did not let go.

    Is this anyway to repay your benefactor? Dont forget that it was I who saved you from the Royal Mausoleum? You two now belong to me!

    In your dreams, you dreadful eunuch! shouted Cheung Wan Sheung, We will rather die than be your tool for your sins! So Sum, dont let go!

    That is right! agreed Yiu So Sum, biting on her lower lip to distract herself from the pain, The Yeung Family Army only produces righteous patriots! If you dont let us go, we will just commit suicide by severing our tongues with our teeth and all you will have is two corpses in this remote forestland to accompany your crippled body until the guards catch up! Totally your choice!

    Yau Jui sneered menacing at them and replied with a nasty smile at Yiu So Sum, You, little birdie, can die all you want! As for you he said turning his attention to the other girl, you cannot take your life without my permission! However, if your friend decides to, I will make you run up and down a busy street naked for all men to admire your youthful body! Totally your choice!

    You despicable cursed Yiu So Sum but she could never finish as Cheung Wan Sheung kneed her in the mouth and kicked her away into some bushes.

    Cheung Wan Sheung flipped acrobatically in the air and landed facing the other way, with Yau Jui scanning the area like a hawk for prey.

    Come out now, you coward! You dared not attack me inside the Royal Mausoleum and instead tailed me for many miles! Let us not waste any more time! Come out and meet your end!

    Yau Jui s eyes narrowed as he caught a glimpse of silver in the dark forest and immediately spun out of the way as a dark figure leapt out and the end of a nine-section whip came slicing down at them. Cheung Wan Sheung released her deadly whip at the mystery figure who let out a short yelp, and then blocked all the attacks with proficiency; leaping to a safe distance.

    Yiu So Sum strained her eyes to make out who the mysterious figure was but could not. All she could see was a person of moderate height dressed in a brown cloak, with neck and hands wrapped tightly with many layers of cloth that hardly any skin could be seen. Even the eyes were barely visible under the scarf around the face.

    In a low voice, the person said, Yau Jui, the whip is not your expertise! I bet you miss your Metal Eagle Claws now, dont you?

    Yau Jui did not reply and hid his head behind Cheung Wan Sheungs hair, his eyes focussed intently on this unknown enemy. Then without warning, he whipped out a hairpin out of her hair and flung it at the figure.

    The sudden move was all Yau Jui needed to distract the enemy. Once the figure concentrated on blocking the oncoming hairpin, Cheung Wan Sheungs whip came flying through the air straight after it, guaranteeing that both attacks could not be blocked simultaneously. The end of the whip cut downwards at the length mysterious figure and then suddenly flicking up, tore the cloak and scarf right off.

    Yiu So Sum and Cheung Wan Sheung both gasped at the unmasked face that now stood before them. The deep and disfiguring scars now shone even more apparent in the moonlight, as gleaming patches of white covered her face, neck, hands and presumably the rest of her body hidden by the palace maid uniform.

    Sister Yuk Ngor! shouted both girls in astonishment. All the times they passed each other in the Forbidden City, they had not realised that she was also a martial artist.

    Yau Jui stared at her in brief silence and then cried, I remember you! The great fire at the Pavillion of Pristine Virtue thirty years ago! Lee Yuk Ngor, one of the two personal maids of Imperial Consort Yuen!

    Lee Yuk Ngor quickly ripped the lower half of her outer dress and wrapped it protectively around her face. No one had seen her real face for decades. She was not used to it and felt insecure without it being covered.

    Yau Jui scoffed, Yuk Ngor! Even in the height of the rivalry between Lady Man and Lady Yuen, we have never meddled in each others business. Why start now? Not many agents of the Eastern Faction can survive to old age like you. Since you have been able to preserve your life in the great fire, why not cherish and enjoy its remainder? No one who stands in my way will get away unscathed!

    Lee Yuk Ngor laughed at his warning. But it was no longer the low voice she used as a disguise all those years. It was a clear ringing like the chimes of a bell. For thrity years, I have hidden myself in the Enclosed Palace, indifferent to the ambitious struggles of the Forbidden City that had plagued the first half of my life, waiting for a chance to escape. But today, I can no longer stand by and watch you endanger these girls! Her voice was sweet and clear, but it could not conceal her natural harsh tone.

    Yau Jui cackled loudly, Back in the old days, we did not even flinch when our colleagues were executed right beside us. Are you growing a conscience now?

    Lee Yuk Ngor pushed off the ground and released her nine-segment whip at him. The nine-segment whip was a special weapon made entirely of nine sections of thin metal linked together in a chain whip. Used skilfully, it can be used as a soft whip or as a solid hard sword for each segment was a blade itself. It made a defining whistle as it spun through the air in both attack and defense against Yau Jui and Cheung Wan Sheung. But Yau Jui was not an easy opponent. The two only just matched each other in skills but with time, Yau Jui was slowly gaining the upper hand.

    Let me help you, Sister Yuk Ngor! Yiu So Sum quickly lunged herself into the action with her silver spear. Shoulder to shoulder, the two women attacked the strange combination of Yau Jui and Cheung Wan Sheung, but even with their skills combined, were unable to take down Yau Jui without endangering Cheung Wan Sheung.

    Lets see how much internal energy you can exhaust! called out Lee Yuk Ngor as sparks of silver rained down around both her and Yau Jui as their weapons clashed. Dont think that I cannot see through your technique of lining up your four major acupressure points with that of Wan Sheungs to force your internal energy through her and use her as a puppet! It is highly effective for a cripple like you but also consumes your internal energy at twice the rate! How much do you have left?

    So that is how he is doing it! cried Yiu So Sum, and she quickly multipled her rate of attacks to help drain the old eunuch of power. Yau Jui was like a reserve of internal energy hidden within a locked box. The locked box was his damaged body but his internal energy remained quite powerful. As long as he has a host to latch onto, that was his key to releasing his potential.

    Attack his eyes! shouted Lee Yuk Ngor spinning to one side and Yiu So Sum quickly obeyed.

    Yau Jui blocked his eyes instinctively and immediately fell for the trap. Lee Yuk Ngor shot through her nine-segment whip right between Yau Juis chest and Cheung Wan Sheungs back. The two let out a cry of pain as it gashed pass their skin and swivelled horizontally at a rapid speed, gradually pushing the two bodies apart with each swivel.

    No! shouted Yau Jui as he tightened his hold on Cheung Wan Sheung with both legs and arms, reducing the gap and strengthing the connection of internal energy.

    Got you! yelled Lee Yuk Ngor who quickly turned to Yiu so Sum, His weakest point is his arms as he has no hands to grip with! Attack!

    Shut your mouth! hollered Yau Jui as Cheung Wan Sheungs whip curled around Lee Yuk Ngors neck like a mightly python, slowly strangling her.

    But Yiu So Sum had already striked. The tip of her spear cut into the flesh of his shoulders and he moved backwards in reflex, severing the connection of internal energy by himself. Yau Jui fell backwards, stretching out his hands before him at Cheung Wan Sheung, but his lame fingers unable to latch onto her.

    He was a helpless cripple again, lying falt on his back, unable to move or pick himself up. The three women gathered around him, each a victim of his vicious glare.

    Pick me up! Pick me up! he shouted in frustration.

    With the weight finally off her back, Cheung Wan Sheung crumpled up on the ground, opening her mouth wide to vomit but nothing came out. A fresh drizzle of rain washed the red blood from her clothes but it could not take away the dreadful memories of what had happened.

    Tired, wounded and fatigued, the three women helped each other up onto their feet from the ground and left the old eunuch exactly where he was, lying on top of a bed of fallen leaves, with his face towards the oncoming downpour. The three tracked across the rough forest terrain as the Yau Jui howled with manic laughter. But barely had they reached a hundred paces when Yiu So Sum collapsed onto the floor.

    What is wrong, So Sum? cried Cheung Wan Sheung in horror as her lips now turned a blue tinge.

    Lee Yuk Ngor quickly examined her hands and cried, Look!

    She held up Yiu So Sums hand and her right hands fingernails had all turned blue as well. She ripped off the sleeve of the arm and revealed a deep blue imprint of a bite mark, exactly where Yau Jui had bitten her hours ago.

    She has been poisoned! shouted Lee Yuk Ngor.

    Yau Juis menancing voice came thundering across the forest at them, Leave all you want, but if I die, I know one little birdie who will meet me along the road to the Yellow Springs!

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Author's Note:

    Let's have a quick introduction to the Nine-Section Whip that is being used by Lee Yuk Ngor in this chapter.



    It is basically a metal whip made of nine separate sections linked together. It is hard to control as the whip is not one continuous body like the normal leather whip or an actual metal whip made from malleable metal. You need a lot of practise to control all nine sections and to send the force right across the total length. It is very similar to hitting someone with a link chain, except that each section is of solid metal that is more destructive.

    There is no common standard to the length of a Nine-Section Whip, which is variable depending on the arm span, height, and strength of the practitioner. For example, for a woman like Lee Yuk Ngor is not tall, you would not want a whip that is too long or heavy so that it will hit the ground and lose its momentum. However, for a woman with shorter limbs and thus a shorter attack range, you do not want it too short in order to keep the enemy at a safe distance.

    The stances of a Nine-Section Whip needs to be fluid and continuous in order not to lose momentum. You actually need to hear the weapon whooshing around in the air to know that you are doing the right thing. The moves needs to be fast to confuse the opponent so many accidents can cause injuries to the practitioner. However, the practitioner can gather the sections in his/her hand to control the length if needed in variable combat conditions. Traditionally, the whip comprises of nine-sections, but rarer forms like seven or five or even three section whips can be found, but resemble more of a nunchuka.

    Here is a video of it in use: (credits to the uploader Nicholas Yu)




    On another note, I just realised that 鵠 is pronounced as Guk, not Huk or Ho in Cantonese. So ihave to go back and change it in all my previous chapters!
    Last edited by charbydis; 08-25-14 at 08:19 AM.
    "Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self."
    Cyril Connolly

  16. #336
    Senior Member charbydis's Avatar
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    Default Book One: The Fist Of Domination (權傾天下)

    Chapter Sixty -Four:

    Cast of Appearing Characters:

    So Yee Ha - Sharon Chan Man Chi
    Ning Fung - Jackie Lui Chung Yin
    Old Man Po - Paul Chun Pui



    So Yee Ha and Old Man Po had just finished dinner and were cleaning up when Ning Fung stepped into the hut with a tense look upon his face. So Yee Ha had been living with them for two months, though they did not talk much, but never did she ever see him with such a worried expression.

    Ning Fung had always seemed so calm and composed with his trademark slanted smile even in the midst of a deadly fight, showing that he was still in control of the situation. But tonight, that smile had all but faded. Something terrible must have happened.

    She quietly observed him as he stood motionless in the doorway when Ning Fung suddenly looked up. You! Woman! he said with annoyance, pointing his finger right at her, Get out!

    What? she cried.

    Men need to talk! Get out of this hut! he shouted and grabbing her by the arm, he dragged her out of the hut and jostled her into another, slamming the door loudly after her.

    So Yee Ha heard the click of a lock and she banged violently at the bolted door. What is going on? Let me out! Locking the window as well, Ning Fung walked away without a word.

    Mind your temper, young man? Where are you gentlemanly manners? cried Old Man Po shaking his head as Ning Fung re-entered the hut and sat down at the table, holding both hands over his forehead in frustration.

    Old Man Po had a warm bottle wine heating above some red hot coals, when Ning Fung snatched the whole bottle of wine and poured its scalding contents down his throat. He choked and threw up immediately on the floor as Old Man Po patted his back, offering him some refreshing cold water.

    Old Man Po sighed and looked into the distance in the direction of the Forbidden City. I knew something must be going on whether I saw that huge eruption of coloured light from Beijing earlier tonight. What is it this time? Assassination? Massacre? Or is it that rescue attempt that you anticipated?

    Ning Fung scoffed down some of the soothing cold water and replied with a few short coughs, Yeung Yat Ching has successfully escaped with help of the Three Major Clans and the Brotherhood of Heavenly Dragons. All Western Factions agent must leave Beijing at noon tomorrow in pursuit. The Eastern Faction will set out the day after.

    Old Man Po stroked his beard thoughtfully and asked, When will you return?

    Ning Fung wrung his hands anxiously. Maybe a few days, maybe a few months, or maybe never!

    Old Man Po caught hold of his left hand and laid four fingers at his wrist. I bet that you were very helpful in Yeung Yat Chings escape tonight.

    Ning Fung opened his mouth to protest but was quickly silenced by the older man, Dont bother! I can tell whether you are lying by the rate of your pulse! You know my abilities well enough than to try and lie to me!

    Ning Fung closed his eyes and admitted his guilt with silence.

    Old Man Po sighed, I warned you about the consequences when you started having ideas about saving Yeung Yat Ching. But you did not heed my advice. To see without seeing and to hear without hearing is the best option for your profession. Knowing too much and doing too much only leads to trouble.

    Ning Fung cried indignantly What is the point of living to a ripe of age if I have to work against my conscience? I can kill an ordinary man without a blink because I do know him but I cannot let Yeung Yat Ching die meaninglessly in prison. Even if I did not lend a hand, others will also risk their lives to save him because it is the right thing to do!

    Conscience. said Old Man Po wistfully as he let go of Ning Fungs hand. Can a clear conscience really erase past misdeeds?

    Ning Fung took another sip of water. Nothing can erase the past but a clear conscience can help change the future - no matter how ever short mine is! Talking another gulp, he asked, How is it?

    Old Man Po walked over to his medicine shelf and got out a small white phial. With the help of these Life Prolonging Pills and my acupuncture treatment, your internal organs are temporarily clear of poison which has been purged out into your bloodstream. But you must be treated daily with both the pills and the acupuncture, for when the effects of the treatment runs out, the poison will again sink into your organs and cause you immeasurable pain.

    Ning Fung gave a wry smile as he playfully balanced the empty cup on his knuckles. Then I guess I just have to wait till I get the antidote from Lau Gan every seven days. Then the cycle just continues over and over again.

    Ning Fung watched the spinning white cup upon his knuckles and continued, You well know that supposed antidote is just another type of poison that temporarily counteracts the original poison we are ordered to consume regularly and will only add the severity of toxicity. That is why all Faction Agents lose their minds and rather take their own lives whenever captured alive by the opposition. Too live without it is worse than death itself! Sometimes I wonder whether all our efforts have been worth it! Maybe my fate is to never have control over my own life!

    Old Man Po laid a supporting hand upon his shoulder. We have persisted this far. We cannot give up now. It has already been one and a half year since you last took the poison and its supposed antidote, and you are still alive and breathing today. Unless someone finds out that you have not swallowing those poison pills, I swear to the Heavens upon the souls of my dead wife and children that even until my last breath, I will persist to find a way to extract the poison from your body even if it means giving up my own life!

    Ha! shouted Ning Fung suddenly, jumping up to face the older man, Someone is growing a conscience!

    Old Man Po smiled sadly and said, You better be asleep when I get back!

    Where are you going? asked Ning Fung curiously as the older man put on a long cloak, ready to go outdoors. Ill drink all your wine!

    To forage for relevant plants and herbs to make you enough Life-Elongating Pills until you return! replied Old Man Po.

    Dont forget!Ning Fung somersaulted in the air and kicked a large straw hat off the wall at the old man, who quickly put it on to hide his face. For two whole years, Old Man Po never took a step outside the safety of the hidden sanctuary without concealing his face. One could never be too careful about such things.

    The wine bottle was much colder now and Ning Fung took pleasure in leaning back and pouring the alcohol directly into his mouth. He closed his eyes to savour the liquid; swishing the fluid across his eager tastebuds to alternate between tinges of both bitter and sweet.

    Sometimes, wine was just like life. Life was made up of both good and bad. No ones life could totally one-sided or it could not really be called living. Neither could exist without the other to complement. The slightest dash of happiness was sometimes all that was needed to motivate one to continue forward through misery. The memory of past anguish reminds one to cherish what one still has before it is gone forever. All these emotion and experiences blended together in an inseparable mixture was life. It would have bee much simpler if life could be over as easily as a gulp of wine, quick and painless with no consequences and no regrets. But no matter how similar - life was life, and wine was wine.

    Hearing faint hurried footsteps approaching the hut, Ning Fung strolled over to the door and called out, Forgotten something, Old Man? The footsteps stepped cautiously towards him and stopped just beside him.

    Breathing heavily, So Yee Ha slammed a wooden stool at his head. Though she could not open the locked door and window, she climbed up on a table and repeatedly attacked the straw-thatched roof with a stool until it gave way and she clambered out. Bits of loose straw were sprouting from her messy hair.

    Quicker than she could react, Ning Fung opened his eyes and quickly restrained her by the arms. You still want to kill me?

    Get off me! she screamed as she attempted to wrangle out of his grip. I hate you! I want to kill you! she shouted as she struggled.

    Ning Fung twisted her body before him and pressed his body against her from behind. She could feel the pulsation of his chest upon her back and the tension in the muscles of the arm which wrapped around her shoulder. You are indeed one adorable feisty lady!

    Cocking his head to one side, he put his face close to her neck as if to kiss her and whispered gently in her ear, But too bad I am who I am! I hope to never see you ever again! The feeling of his hot breath was upon the side of her neck when she suddenly lost consciousness.

    When So Yee Ha awoke, the sun was already shining bright. Streaks of warm sunshine peered in from all gaps in the bamboo walls.She was tucked in warmly under a quilt upon the bed but no matter how hard she tried, she just could not get up. Her body was restrained by invisible bonds. Only her eyes could move freely to explore her surroundings.

    Dont look at me! He did it! said Old Man Po innocently.

    What did he do to me? Why can I not move? she cried.

    He just blocked your acupressure points for several hours. You can regain movement in a few hours time. Old Man Po explained.

    What else did he do to me? she cried, worried that she could not get up and check if her clothes were orderly. She must have been unconscious for hours. Anything could have happened!

    Old Man Po laughed as he saw her blushing and straining to check underneath the quilt. It is quite obvious that Ning Fung harbours a soft spot for you. All women have this awfully accurately instinct! There is no way that you could not have detected it! He may be a bold and abrupt scoundrel on the outside, but he is a gentleman at heart! If he wanted to molest you, he would have done it months ago!

    She immediately breathed a sigh of relief. Of course she had detected his feelings for her. Her mother had taught her how to look out for these signs from men around her. Ning Fung had tried to act casually around her, but he displayed the signs - the long deep breaths, the secret glances at her when her head was turned how could she not have known?

    Where is he now? she shouted. She remembered that supposed kiss on the side of her neck.

    He is off on a mission. He said that you can leave. Old Man Po related casually.

    What? she asked in confusion. For months she had asked for her freedom but had been refused everytime. Why did he suddenly grant her freedom now? And why had he left? No, he could not leave! She had not taken her revenge yet!

    He said you can leave! the old man said, In five days time, every available Faction Agent will set out from Beijing in droves, leaving only the City Guards and Imperial Guards to defend the city. The patrols will be much less frequent and as long as you do not head south towards Huai Yin where the Faction Agents are heading, you can escape safety to lead a new life!

    Pointing to the table, he continued, He had already packed your luggage for you. It has enough gold and silver for you to lead a comfortable life. So Yee Ha was stunned. She did not know what to say.

    Walking over to her bed, Old Man Po announced, Then I guess it is farewell for us as well. Best wishes, Lady So!
    Where are you going? she asked.

    I will follow after Ning Fung. replied the old man. I will leave soon after. Take care!

    Wait! So Yee Ha called out after him. How long does he have to live?

    You know about it? he cried in surprise.

    She would have nodded if she could. Everything from Yeung Yat Ching to the poison. She only heard bits of their conversation but she was clever enough to piece together that the Western Faction was regularly feeding its agents addictive poisons to keep them under control. Ning Fung was no exception. She had heard the hopelessness in his voice every one of his words betrayed the weariness he felt about his current lifestyle no matter how short it was.

    Old Man Po sat down on a stool. The poison he is supposed to be taking will collect within the depths of his internal organs but will not take his life. However, if anyone finds out that he is not consuming the poison pills, then he will be in great immediate danger! I must follow after him and help him mask his condition from those backstabbing rogues.

    So Yee Ha took in a deep breath. Old Man Po, you must save him! She hated Ning Fung, but she also hated herself. Why did she have to show concern for the man who caused the death of her unborn child? But then, he did save her life unconditionally when her death would have benefited him more in many ways. The hate in her brewed each time she saw him, but now that he was gone, a feeling of vulnerability had replaced the hate. She could hardly believe it. She missed him.

    He sighed. Ning Fung and I have experienced too much together in these two years. I owe him my life and he owes me his. I will not let him and die and neither will he let me die!

    So Yee Ha detected the strong emotion in his voice. She had long noticed the closeness between the two men, and did not doubt their genuinity. But until now, she did not understand how strong their bond really was. It was more then a normal friendship for the two man to willingly brave life and death together.

    Old Man Po sighed again. This is the evil that I have helped plant. And this is the evil that I must help uproot!

    Standing up again, he bowed before her. Farewell, Lady So! and without another word, he stepped out of the hut.

    So Yee Ha struggled helplessly against her invisible restraints, calling out to the softening footsteps Wait, Old Man Po! Come back! Old Man Po!

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Author's Note:

    Sorry, no facts for this chapter. Just felt like posting another chapter when I saw 2 anonymous guests in this thread! Hi! Hope you enjoyed the chapters!
    "Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self."
    Cyril Connolly

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    Thanks Charbydis

  18. #338
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    Default Book One: The Fist Of Domination (權傾天下)

    Chapter Sixty-Five:

    Cast of Appearing Characters:

    Kuk Yuen Yau - Lelia Tong Ning
    Madam Yuen - Lisa Lui Yau Wai
    Madam Kuk / Yuen Kwai - Maggie Chan Mei Kei
    Tseng Yu (the maid) - June Chan Kei
    Suen Nga Yin - Natalie Tong Sze Wing



    An army of ants huddled together in the safety of their underground palace as the ground around them shook non-stop. Soundsas loud as thunder came from above them, as if the ceiling of their hideout was about to collapse. But they could not leave despite their fears. Their duty was to protect the nest of the royalty at all costs, even if it meant sacrificing their own lives. Such was the life of an ant. Not too different from the life of a soldier.

    The thunderous sound of hooves plagued the area as Yeung Yat Ching and his rescuers hurried on their way. They had been travelling non-stop at full speed since their secret meeting place had been exposed. Lau Gan was one determined man. It was only a matter of time before the well-equipped and well-nourished Faction Guards would catch up with them. The greater the distance gained between them, the safer it was for all of them.

    It was a difficult task for they had a number of weak and wounded who were unable to ride on horseback. Furthermore, some of the Yuen family members who they rescued had never been on a horse ever before. Somehow, Chan Hong had managed to get hold of a few spacious horse-drawn carts one especially for the women.

    It had been a long and rushed journey and many of the women of the Yuen household had already fallen asleep. Suen Nga Yin lay unconscious across the length of the cart, with the old maid of the family regularly tending to her the rest of the women saw around her. Madam Kuk had nodded off to sleep and only the old maid, Kuk Yuen Yau and Madam Yuen were awake.

    Kuk Yuen Yau huddled cosily into her grandmothers loving arms and rested her head lovingly on her shoulder. The warm feeling spread from the surface of her skin into the depths of her heart. It was as if time had suddenly turned backwards and she was still the innocent child that could still hide within the protective caress of a doting grandmother, without the worries that plagued the adult life. But even that brief moment of security could not wash away the reality of what she had seen the night before.

    Duen Mo Ngais pair of mournful eyes and his painful cry haunted her sleep all night. Everytime, she closed her eyes, the scene of him being stabbed by her grandfather and uncle played repeatedly before her as if she was reliving the dreadful event over and over again.

    Grandmother! she called out quietly, as not to wake the others.

    What is it my child? replied Madam Yuen gently, stroking her granddaughter's long hair.

    Despite her the wrinkles upon her face and the specks of white in her greying hair, Madam Yuen retained the grace and composure from her youth. She was a great beauty once upon a time ago; her soft and gentle features had kindly been passed on to the younger generation which reflected in both her daughter and granddaughter.

    After hesitating briefly, Kuk Yuen Yau took in a deep breath and asked, Grandma, do you know of a person named Yim Lai Yin?

    She could have sworn she saw her grandmother hold her breath for several seconds before any response was made. Madam Kuk suddenly opened her eyes with a jerk. Even the old maid dropped the towel she was using to wipe Suen Nga Yins forehead with, then subtly picked it up and resumed her wiping as if nothing had happened.

    An awkward exchange of glances occurred between mother and daughter before Madam Yuen forced a smile. Why do you ask my child?

    Kuk Yuen Yau retrieved the two scrolls hidden in her wide sleeve and carefully rolled it for them to see. The red square seal with his name was clearly visible even in the dark carriage.

    Madam Yuen slowly reached out her shaking hands and took Yuen Ngoks portrait for a closer look. She breathed a mournful sigh as her gaze wandered the familiar features of her late daughters endearing face. How quickly times flies! Thinking back, Ngok Yee has already passed away thirty odd years ago.

    Tears rolled uncontrolably down her cheek as she wiped her eyes with her sleeve. Madam Kuk moved forward to comfort her mother as she stared at the picture with a strange mixture of expressions that Kuk Yuen Yau could not identify.

    Madam Yuen sighed as she trailed her fingers along the creases of the portrait, Yim Lai Yin was undoubtedly talented and learned. Many Imperial Artists have attempted to paint Ngok Yees image yet this is the only portait captures her innocence and charm perfectly. What a pity! What a pity! Death at such a young age!

    Mother! cried Madam Kuk to halt her mothers words.

    Kuk Yuen Yau sat up straight. Are you talking about my aunt, or about Yim Lai Yin? Madam Yuen lowered her head and silently shook her head.

    In a calm voice, Madam Kuk asked, Where did you get this? Her voice was both clear and soothing, yet her tone was firm and demanding. She had always been the strict parent who made sure Kuk Yuen Yau kept to her strict education routine whereas Kuk Him Yu was the doting father who was lenient on punishment.

    I got it from Yim Lai Yin.

    What? cried both women surprised. Even the old maid glanced at her briefly.

    Kuk Yuen Yau looked them both straight in the eye. Yim Lai Yin is not dead. He is now called Duen Mo Ngai and is known in wulin as the Wandering Swordsman! I met him yesterday and he helped me rescue grandfather and father. Only

    She noticed the expressions of shock and disbelief as the two women looked at each other, but what she did not expect was that their complexion suddenly paled as if all blood has been drained from their faces. This only further supported her suspicions about the past.

    Grandmother, she tried to keep her voice steady, What happened forty odd years ago between the Yuen family and Yim Lai Yin?

    Madam Yuen opened her mouth but Madam Kuk cut in before her mother could answer. What did he say? And what happened when he saw your grandfather and uncle? Where is he now?

    Kuk Yuen Yau replied in a low voice. I want to hear it from you first. Then I will tell you what he said and did. Her short time in the Forbidden City had introduced her to suspicion. Her lesson with Siu Kei Chi's betrayal had taught her well.

    Nothing happened. answered Madam Kuk sharply, avoiding her daughters steady gaze. The Yim and Yuen families used to be acquainted many years ago but since have lost contact.

    Kuk Yuen Yau knew that it was an outright lie. She retrieved the secret letter and held it up. Much more than a simple acquaintance I think, Mother! From my aunts own words!

    The two women quickly snatched the letter and skimmed through its contents, their expression more intense with each word they read.

    Kuk Yuen Yaus heart grew heavier as the truth came closer to the surface. She had her doubts before but now, she was almost certain. Forty odd years ago, did grandfather really use Yim Lai Yins life to force my aunt to enter the Forbidden City?

    Dont use that tone on me! Madam Kuk glared at her daughter. Nothing of that sort ever happened! Now tell me where he is now?

    But Mother! I saw with my own eyes! Yim Senior Duen went to save Grandfather and Uncle but they both suddenly attacked him. I saw the pain in his face as the wooden stake impaled him and the blood spurt from his body. Why would they stab a man for no reason at all? What happened between them in the past, Mother? Tell me, I must know why they tried to kill him! What are you not telling me?

    Even though she had only that brief encounter with Duen Mo Ngai, she felt very close to the older man who protected her with his life. If her family really did wrong him in the past, her conscience would never be cleared. Senior Duen has only snippets of memory remaining after an accident many years ago. If we really have wronged him, then we owe him the truth!

    Yuen Yau! reprimanded Madam Kuk with a snap, How can you think such a way of your grandfather and uncle who have both pampered with love and affection since the day you were born? Have I raised you to be such an ungrateful and unfilial daughter?

    Mother! I Her voice trailed off. She had no intention of being disrespectful in voicing her suspicions, but she really needed to know or her heart would never be at rest.

    Madam Yuen grabbed her hand and asked emotionally, So he is now dead?

    Kuk Yuen Yau could see the guilt in her watery eyes. I do not know! We were ambushed by a company of eunuchs and he was knocked unconscious. But a mysterious woman came to save him.

    A woman? Madam Kuks brows knitted together.

    Kuk Yuen Yau nodded. A strange woman dressed in white with long white hair. I have no idea who she is. At first, we I thought she was a ghost but when she got closer, I knew she was human. She took him away and left me behind with these scrolls.

    More tears came rolling down Madam Yuens cheeks as she took her hands and clasped them tightly in her own shaking hands. Thank the Heavens that he was saved. You are right, Yuen Yau! The Yuen family does indeed owe him a lot

    Mother! interrupted Madam Kuk who was quickly silence with a disapproving shake of her mothers head.

    You know nothing, Kwai Yee! You were only five at the time!

    Turning back to look at her granddaughter she continued, I will tell you the truth but please do not think bad of your grandfather!
    Madam Kuk alternated her gaze between them as her bosom heaved in and out rapidly with anxoius breaths. Kuk Yuen Yau stared intently at her grandmother. Surely, all those tears could not be faked? She nodded slowly.

    Madam Yuen took in a deep breath as she explained, Back then, your aunt and Yim Lai Yin were indeed betrothed at birth. But Yim Lai Yin was obsessed with obtaining the position of Top Scholar in the Imperial Exams and year after year, allowed the marriage to be delayed over and over again as he concentrated on his studies. We adhered to the agreement for the first few years but our hearts worried as your aunt was slowly exceeding the Age of Falling Plum Blossoms yet Yim Lai Yin refused to marry her.

    She wiped away another tear, People started to spread rumours that your aunt had an incurable defect that made Yim Lai Yin refuse to marry her. Every time she stepped outside the house, people will gather to gossip terrible lies behind her back. It was a terrible time for her as well the entire Yuen family. So we decided to end the betrothal agreement and seek another husband for your aunt. We both knew it was dishonourable, but but we could not let our daughter continue to be ridiculed. That year happened to be the year that the Enclosed Palace opened its doors for consort selection so we

    Kuk Yuen Yau eyes widened as another version of the story materialized. But the letter my aunt said that they were forcibly separated!

    It is true. We knew they shared deep feelings for each other but it was for the best. From her perspective, your Grandfather and I did forcibly separate them. But a womans heart should only be with her husband. She soon realised this principle and readily developed feelings for Emperor Shing Fa. And the fact that she died with the significant status of a Noble Consort proves that what we did was right for her in the end.

    But there was still one point that Kuk Yuen Yau was not clear on. So what did Grandfather do to Yim Lai Yin?

    Madam Yuen replied between sobs, He could not take it when we decided to annul the betrothal. He went into a mad frenzy, burnt all his property and disappeared into the night. We never heard from him again! You can ask anyone in Yangzhou! It is the truth!

    Kuk Yuen Yau was stunned. This version of events was totally different from what she has gathered in her mind. How many more secrets were there yet to be disclosed?

    Gripping her granddaughters hands tightly, she stressed, Yuen Yau! You must believe me! For whatever reason that your grandfather and uncle stabbed Yim Lai Yin for, it must have been a mistake! They were extremely injured and tortured in both the mind and body. We all share the same blood. Are we cold-blooded monsters? Your grandfather and uncle are good men, Yuen Yau! Remember that!

    Tear after tear rolled down her grandmothers cheeks and splashed onto her dress. After seeing the intense sincerity in her eyes, how could Kuk Yuen Yau doubt them any longer? There were always two sides to a story. Maybe she did come to a conclusion too quickly after only hearing about one side. I trust you, Grandmother!

    Madam Yuen cried, Yuen Yau! You must keep what I told you a secret and never mention it to anyone not even Yim Lai Yin! Afterall, this concerns the reputation of your late aunt and we cannot let her name be tainted after so many years of peaceful rest. Since he has already forgotten the pain of the past, why should we distress him with the truth? A womans virtuous reputation is many times more valuable than her life! Promise me! Kuk Yuen Yau nodded.

    All of a sudden, the old maid called out excitedly, Miss Suen is saying something!

    Kuk Yuen Yau quickly dashed to her friends side. Suen Nga Yin still had her eyes closed but she was muttering nonstop and feebly tossing her head from side to side, as if trapped in a worrying nightmare.

    Leaning close, Kuk Yuen Yau finally understood what she was saying.

    Ming Hung ... Ming Hung Ming Hung
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Author's Note:

    Let's have a short chat about the "Age of Falling Plum Blossoms" (摽梅之年). There is a old chinese saying of "摽梅已過﹐嫁杏無期", which basically translate to "After the plum blossoms fall, all hope for the almond tree to marry is lost".

    Flowers refers to the youth of young unmarried maidens. As people in ancient China died early, they married young. There is no official lower limit for marriage. But Confucian teachings say that from age seven onwards, children of different genders are seated at different tables, in so to teach them that opposite genders should not be in close contact with each other, especially females. There are some records to say that children were married to each other as young as twelve, but whether consummation was carried out is another story.

    Generally, the age of marriage in Ancient China was roughly from age twelve to eighteen. Eighteen was supposed the "Age of the Fallen Blossoms" where a girl's beauty would start to fade and thus lose her value. So most girls would have been betrothed at very young ages so they would not have to worry about finding a husband before they turn "old".

    "The almond tree to marry" refers to the old practice that one used to drape young almond trees in their garden with red fabric in order to prepare them to bear fruit. The phrase basically means that the spinster is has finished flowering and is useless as she cannot bear fruit (i.e sons).

    Unmarried girls are generally not wanted afterwards, and spend the rest of the lives in shame living with her own family until death. Females have no status within her own family as she does not contribute and relies on other's for income. Spinsters were seen as possessing some problem that men refused to marry them, such as unchaste, ugliness, disrespect and incurable disease. So some spinsters turn to Buddhism or Taoism so they can live at the temples as nuns away from the criticisms of society. In ancient Chinese society, it is better to be a widow than a spinster.

    I am way past the Age of the Falling Plum Blossoms!
    Last edited by charbydis; 09-07-14 at 07:48 AM.
    "Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self."
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    Quote Originally Posted by Anh Nam View Post
    Thanks Charbydis
    Thanks Anh Nam for reading.
    "Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self."
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