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The Forbidden City The City Of Disillusionment (幻滅紫禁城) - Page 7
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Thread: The Forbidden City The City Of Disillusionment (幻滅紫禁城)

  1. #121
    Senior Member tweety365's Avatar
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    I haven't watched Schemes of Beauty. Any spoilers? I'll see if it has been English subbed or Viet dubbed.

    Sammul is a very lovable good guy. He's handsome and nice. I'm just saying that going head to head with someone like Wallace or even Yuan Hong, I'll have to give the edge to the latter 2. Sammul needs a breakthrough performance.

    EDIT - never mind, I googled Schemes of a Beauty and found out it is Mei Ren Xin Ji . It's too new to be dubbed or subtitled. Btw, I noticed that Sun Fei Fei has a small guest appearance. What role does she play and why did she die? I think she is in love with Sammul's character, but he only loves Ruby's character. I guess that is poetic justice for his torment in Rose Martial World. Please give spoilers.
    Last edited by tweety365; 08-12-11 at 05:06 PM.

  2. #122
    Senior Member charbydis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tweety365 View Post
    I haven't watched Schemes of Beauty. Any spoilers? I'll see if it has been English subbed or Viet dubbed.

    Sammul is a very lovable good guy. He's handsome and nice. I'm just saying that going head to head with someone like Wallace or even Yuan Hong, I'll have to give the edge to the latter 2. Sammul needs a breakthrough performance.

    EDIT - never mind, I googled Schemes of a Beauty and found out it is Mei Ren Xin Ji . It's too new to be dubbed or subtitled. Btw, I noticed that Sun Fei Fei has a small guest appearance. What role does she play and why did she die? I think she is in love with Sammul's character, but he only loves Ruby's character. I guess that is poetic justice for his torment in Rose Martial World. Please give spoilers.
    Sammul is Liu Heng one of the lesser sons of the First Han Emperor Liu Bang. Liu Bang's official wife Empress Lu is wary of him as a threat to her son Emperor Hui, and sends him off to a distant Dai kingdom within the Han Empire as the Prince of Dai. She sends Qing Ning (SFF) as a gift to Liu Heng and not daring to refuse Empress Lu's gift, Qing Ning is made the official Empress of Dai. But Liu Heng and his mother Lady Bo lock her up as they know Qing Ning is a spy, but have no proof.

    Qing Ning fell in love with Liu Heng at first glance but he never allowed himself to accept and love her. Qing Ning could have escaped easily from the Dai Kingdom and told Empress Luu all about Liu Heng's schemes, but she chose to stay as a prisoner to protect Liu Heng.

    Liu Heng falls in love with Dou Yi Fang (Ruby) and though she is jealous, Qing Ning sacrifices herself to protect the woman Liu Heng loves because DYF is also a spy from Empress Lu and was about to get caught. She dies looking Liu Heng in the eye.
    "Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self."
    Cyril Connolly

  3. #123
    Senior Member tweety365's Avatar
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    Thanks for the spoilers, charby
    I caught the clip of her dying in front of Sammul and it broke my heart . Well, at least she has more screen time than poor Yan Kuan. There sure are a lot of famous cameos. Seems quite wasteful of their talents to show up for minutes, then die off.

    Not to go too far off topic - GO LAU GAN

  4. #124
    Senior Member charbydis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tweety365 View Post
    Not to go too far off topic - GO LAU GAN
    If Lau Gan and SCN got into a fight, who would you support?

    Will be updating either later tonight or tomorrow afternoon.
    "Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self."
    Cyril Connolly

  5. #125
    Senior Member Melanie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by charbydis View Post
    If Lau Gan and SCN got into a fight, who would you support?
    I think I know tweety's answer. But I'm a bit torn between the two. Lau Gan and SCN are both my type of guy - evil yet coolheaded. Very Machiavellian, as tweety puts it. But since I don't know Lau Gan well enough yet until I read your story from the start rather than skipping only to the Gilbert parts, I will have to pick SCN. No matter how evil and how wrong SCN was with the kidnapping, I know there is a beating heart behind that ruthless exterior that can risk all for the woman he eventually falls in love with. If we're talking about choosing the actors behind the characters, then I'm torn there, too. I like both Wallace and Gilbert, but Wallace has a slight advantage as he is my favorite guy of the moment. Gilbert is like my first love. First loves are sweet, but no matter how sweet, they are just a memory.

  6. #126
    Senior Member charbydis's Avatar
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    Hey, BTW, Tweety, did you not watch Sammul as the handsome villian in the "Price of Greed"? I thought he was amazing! His two-faced qualities were portrayed very well and gosh was he handsome and suave in period suits!
    "Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self."
    Cyril Connolly

  7. #127
    Senior Member charbydis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Melanie View Post
    I think I know tweety's answer. But I'm a bit torn between the two. Lau Gan and SCN are both my type of guy - evil yet coolheaded. Very Machiavellian, as tweety puts it. But since I don't know Lau Gan well enough yet until I read your story from the start rather than skipping only to the Gilbert parts, I will have to pick SCN. No matter how evil and how wrong SCN was with the kidnapping, I know there is a beating heart behind that ruthless exterior that can risk all for the woman he eventually falls in love with. If we're talking about choosing the actors behind the characters, then I'm torn there, too. I like both Wallace and Gilbert, but Wallace has a slight advantage as he is my favorite guy of the moment. Gilbert is like my first love. First loves are sweet, but no matter how sweet, they are just a memory.
    What if Eric Tsang and Wallace got into a fight?
    "Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self."
    Cyril Connolly

  8. #128
    Senior Member tweety365's Avatar
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    Lau Gan vs SCN, obviously SCN for the win!
    Eric Tsang vs Wallace, do you even have to ask?

    Now, if it was Vincent Jiao vs Wallace, then Vincent > Wallace for me. As much as I Wallace, Vincent is still #1. The man just needs to smile and my heart melts. Really, he has a killer smile!

    I havent watched Price of Greed yet, but since you highly recommend it, I will try to catch it. Good news, I finally found the entire 40 eps of Schemes of a Beauty with English subtitles on Vikii website! . Well, I will be quite busy the next several days .

  9. #129
    Senior Member Melanie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by charbydis View Post
    What if Eric Tsang and Wallace got into a fight?
    SCN will probably just ignore Eric Tsang because he deems the dude unworthy of his time. I mean, Eric Tsang is no Black Rose.

  10. #130
    Senior Member Melanie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tweety365 View Post
    Now, if it was Vincent Jiao vs Wallace, then Vincent > Wallace for me. As much as I Wallace, Vincent is still #1. The man just needs to smile and my heart melts. Really, he has a killer smile!
    Ohhh! Careful, tweety, dear! I may just change my mind about writing another story with Wallace and SFF as a couple! Vincent's handsome, but his thick makeup really bothers me.

  11. #131
    Senior Member charbydis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Melanie View Post
    SCN will probably just ignore Eric Tsang because he deems the dude unworthy of his time. I mean, Eric Tsang is no Black Rose.
    Ummm. reread pls. Eric vs wallace, not Eric vs SCN!
    "Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self."
    Cyril Connolly

  12. #132
    Senior Member charbydis's Avatar
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    Default Book One: The Fist Of Domination (權傾天下)

    Chapter Twenty:

    Cast of Appearing Characters:

    Lau Gan - Gilbert Lam Wai Sun
    Yeung Ming Hung Kenneth Ma Kwok Ming
    Siu Kei Chi Sammul Chan Kin Fung
    Eunuch Chan - Yuen Wah
    Emperor Ching Dak - Matt Yeung Ming
    Kuk Yuen Yau - Lelia Tong Ling
    Tse Chin Law Lok Lum
    Lau Geen Kenneth Tsang Kong
    Kuk Him Yu - Lawrence Ng Wai Kwok
    Yau Jui - Lau Kong
    Siu Mo Chi - Ken Lo Wai Kwong


    Kuk Yuen Yau noticed that Lau Gan nodded slightly just before the Emperor proclaimed. All subjects in the Ming Empire are my people. They will understand that the reinstatement of the Western Faction is for the nations benefit. They will have nothing to fear from the two factions as long as they are loyal to me and the Great Ming Empire. Let the Western Faction be re-established from today onwards!

    Tse Chin fell onto the floor in desperation and pleaded, Your Majesty! Please reconsider! Are Minster Yuen and his family not a good example of the abuse of power from the Eastern Faction? They are still chained in a cell without any real allegations or proof! and the rest of the ministers followed suit.

    Lau Gan did not seem flustered by the mass objection. He coolly clapped his hands twice and a eunuch entered the hall, carrying a tray with some documents on it. I have told you before, that the Yuen family have been arrested on the grounds of treason. Here are documents that the Eastern Faction has uncovered after years of investigations.

    He picked a handful of documents from the tray and held it high in his hand for all to see. This is a witness testimony from a Treasury guard who swears on his life that Yuen Mo Kei and Yuen Lun have been falsifying treasury records for at least twenty years while pocketing the difference. Here are also the original correct records that Yuen Mo Kei had ordered the guard to burn but he had secretly kept as security.

    Picking up another few documents from the tray, he continued, One of our agents posing as a servant within the Yuen Manor has documented that on fifteen separate occasions, Mongolian envoys have visited the manor for unofficial business and have presented Yuen Mo Kei with expensive and exotic gifts. On twelve occasions, there have been Mongolian messengers in disguise that have approached Yuen Chiu and Yuen Long for secret gatherings in local restaurants and brothels. All details about dates and numbers of bribes have been carefully recorded! There is all the proof you want! If you dont believe me, look with your own eyes! and with that, he grabbed all the papers from the tray and flung it at the kneeling men who reached out to examine the scattered documents.

    While his opponents were busy scanning the documents, Lau Gan turned to the Emperor and cupped his hands in obeisance. Your Majesty! Yuen Mo Kei and his clan have been found to participate in eight-nine counts of fraud and theft from the Royal Treasury. In addition to that, there also sixty-two unconfirmed counts of treason and alliance with the Mongolians that are currently being investigated. In the severity of their crimes, the Yuen family cannot be released!

    Then out of the blue, Kuk Yuen Yau stood up and cried, You lie! My grandfather and uncles are not criminals! They have been framed! She was livid at hearing her family be scandalised. It was not true. It could not be true!

    Lau Gan spun around and eyed her with disdain. I trust that this is Lady Kuk, granddaughter of Yuen Mo Kei?

    Kuk Him Yu did not know what to say. His daughter was always one who would speak her mind but this was not the situation he was pleased to find her in. It was well-known that Lau Gan was narrow-minded and held grudges. Anyone who rebutted him openly in the past - whether eunuch, official or noble; was bound to suffer consequences one way or another.

    Kuk Yuen Yau nodded. What you have now are just witness statements and record. Are there live witnesses as well to corroborate the accusations in trial? Where are the signed confessions of my family then?

    Lau Gan scoffed at her comment. I am able to get as many witness and documents as I require for this case. As for confessions, we will have them ready when we finish the interrogation.

    Kuk Yuen Yau gasped out in anger, Are you hinting that you will use torture to force out a confession? What sort of justice is that?

    Lau Gan said indignantly, I need not explain the process of our work to you, My Lady! The Emperor has his trust in how we operate which no one else has the authority to question. Besides, I think it is time for you to retire!

    Kuk Yuen Yau turned to her husband for support, but the Emperor raised his hand and asked quietly, Just sit down and be quiet, my love. You are only here to listen.

    But Lau Gan would not let the matter rest. It is not proper for Lady Kuk to remain in this Court any further. All throughout history, chaos sprouts when the imperial harem interferes with politics! Your Majesty, are you willing to take that risk?

    The Emperor looked helplessly back and forth between Kuk Yuen Yau and Lau Gan. Lau Gan, Lady Kuk is only concerned about her family. She will not interfere with our discussions or decisions. She just wants to hear us discuss the case and make sure justice is served.

    Since she will not be taking part in our discussions, then there is no need for her to remain here then. Being related to the accused, whatever evidence that we present she will perceive as fraudulent because of her bias towards the accused. Her presence will only further complicate the case.

    Lau Gan ignored Kuk Yuen Yaus irate stare and continued. Wont you agree, your Majesty, that it is time for Lady Kuk to return to the Enclosed Palace?

    The Emperor sighed. All throughout his childhood, he had never been able to refuse Lau Gan. He never really laid a hand on him or shouted at him ever before in fact he quite enjoyed having Lau Gan around as he could always provide him with a quick solution to any problem. But Lau Gan always had a way of making him obey his instructions. He did not understand why but he was afraid when Lau Gan was not pleased. It was always the best outcome to let Lau Gan handle everything so he can be free to do what he wanted. Was it worth upsetting Lau Gan just for one concubine whose duty was to keep him happy and content?

    He said in a low voice, I do think you are getting tired, my dear!

    Kuk Yuen Yau got up from her seat grudgingly and left the royal platform. As she passed by, Lau Gan glanced sideways at her and strangely, only then did Kuk Yuen Yau get a closer look at him. To her surprise, he was not what she had pictured him to be.

    It was hard to tell his age maybe early fifties as he had some white hairs at the sides. But then his face was void of wrinkles and he had a fair skin complexion which complimented his sculpture-like facial features. He had a piercing stare, but unlike the Emperors gaze which gave warmth and affection; Lau Gans stare was like a pair of sharp daggers that had shot through her body, with the cold touch of their blades lingering long after they have passed.

    Even though his face was expressionless, he had a certain air of poise and arrogance that made him seem unapproachable and distant. Even after she had left the hall and strolled in the warm gardens, she could still feel the chills from his stare.

    But she was not the only one that to leave the hall. Eunuch Chan tugged incessantly at Yeung Ming Hungs sleeve to get him to come down from the ladder. You really are deaf! he whispered, Let us get out of here quietly as if we were never here before. Come on!

    Yeung Ming Hung took one last look at the distant figure of Lau Gan as he left, just as he was proclaiming the end of Court for the day.

    Yeung Ming Hung seemed confused about one thing. If Lau Gan had been back since last night, then he must have already gotten his hands on the roster already. It was no secret that Lau Gan and Yeung Yat Ching shared a mutual dislike for each other. The roster was a perfect opportunity to get rid of Yeung Yat Ching and his allies in one go. But why had Lau Gan ended Imperial Court without mentioning one word about the roster?

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

    Let have a quick history course about what all these Factions are about.

    Emperor Yongle (Zhu Di) did not trust the Brocade Clad Guards which were loyal to his father Emperor Hongwu (Zhu Yuan Zhang) who supported his grandson Emperor Jianwen, from which Emperor Yongle stole the throne from in a coup. Instead, Emperor Yongle decided to use eunuchs to control the Brocade Clad Guards in their surveillance work. These spy eunuchs were governed under a special department called the Eastern Faction.

    During the time of Emperor Shing Fa, one favoured eunuch called Wang Zhi decided that he was going to established a Western Faction which had even more power than the Eastern Faction. Wang Zhi eventually lost favour and his Western Faction was abolished while the traditional Eastern Faction was spared.

    One of the things Lau Gan was famous for was having three separate Eunuch Factions during his control of the government. It weakened the power of official departments and helped consolidate the power under eunuchs both in and out of court; this power which eventually was contained by himself. The third Eunuch Faction will appear later in the story. After Lau Gan's demise, only the Eastern Faction remained and never again did three Eunuch Factions operate concurrently.
    "Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self."
    Cyril Connolly

  13. #133
    Senior Member charbydis's Avatar
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    Was going to go to bed but could not resist!
    Is this not the cutest pic of GA ever?

    "Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self."
    Cyril Connolly

  14. #134
    Senior Member Melanie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by charbydis View Post
    What if Eric Tsang and Wallace got into a fight?
    Oops, misread the question in my haste. Well, if Eric and Wallace got into a fight, Wallace would probably be able to beat Eric to a pulp since he's a lot taller and has more muscle mass.

  15. #135
    Senior Member Melanie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by charbydis View Post
    Was going to go to bed but could not resist!
    Is this not the cutest pic of GA ever?

    That's pic is cute. I wonder what they are laughing at. It is such a huge contrast to the Honam and Paifong in part 1 of Heroine of the Yangs.

  16. #136
    Senior Member charbydis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Melanie View Post
    That's pic is cute. I wonder what they are laughing at. It is such a huge contrast to the Honam and Paifong in part 1 of Heroine of the Yangs.
    See! I told you they have a real-life brother/sister relationship! Looks like Gilbert surprised her on set and the two are laughing their heads off about it. Rumours from the tieba forums say it could be from their stage production prior HOTY.
    "Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self."
    Cyril Connolly

  17. #137
    Senior Member charbydis's Avatar
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    Default Book One: The Fist Of Domination (權傾天下)

    Chapter Twenty-One:

    Cast of Appearing Characters:

    Lau Gan - Gilbert Lam Wai Sun
    Yau Jui – Lau Kong
    Ma Wing Shing – Lee Kar Ding
    Guk Dai Yung – Waise Lee Chi Hung
    Cheung Wing – Mark Kwok Yiu Ming
    Ngai Bun – Sunny Fong Kong
    Lo Cheung – Deno Cheung Chung Chi
    Go Fung – Dominic Lam Kar Wah


    As soon as Emperor Ching Dak ascended the throne, a gang of his most trusted eight eunuchs acquired powerful positions that controlled the Imperial Court. Historically, eunuchs were considered lowly and sub-human. Their duty was to whole-heartedly serve the royal household for the rest of their lives, trapped in the palace as eternal slaves in life and death to do the bidding of their masters.

    As incomplete men, they were expected to have no love, no feelings and no ambitions. They were expected to welcome humiliation and degradation, and embrace violence and abuse. Ostracised by the outside as freaks, their only world was within the Imperial Palace where a selected few struggled against their social standing and sought to rise up above the rest. Such were the gang of eight eunuchs, also known as the “Eight Tigers”.

    The Eight Tigers all intimately served the young Emperor during his years as the Crown Prince, who gradually developed a great trust and reliance on them. Preferring to stay in the Enclosed Palace with his consorts and amusements, the Emperor allowed these eight eunuchs to relieve him of his obligations. Eunuchs were more trusted than officials who were complete men, for officials were able to reproduce and be inspired to rebel and seize the throne for their bloodline, but eunuchs would always be eunuchs.

    The Eight Tigers consolidated power both within and beyond the Forbidden City. They had independent military power from the government in Ngai Bun, who leads the Battalion of Three Thousand and Cheung Wing, who controlled both the Twelve Regiments and Battalion of Tactical Brilliance. Any rebellious activities from the military officials would be crushed effortlessly by their well-equipped armies.

    Within Beijing, they had secret intelligent agencies such as the Eastern Faction headed by Yau Jui and secondly by Ma Wing Shing; and the newly reinstated Western Faction headed by Guk Dai Yung. The two Factions allowed them to manipulate and restrain ministers who opposed them, not to mention to spread a net of doubt and dread over the common people.
    Within the Imperial Palace, no information from the outside world could be passed to the Emperor without being first relayed through eunuchs who shadowed him all throughout the day. All communications and visitors had to be initially processed by Law Cheung, Head of Eunuch Affairs and Go Fung, the elderly eunuch who was the Head Eunuch of Rites.

    After successfully isolating the Emperor, all decisions would be in the hands of these eight eunuchs. No one would know how much of the information relayed the Emperor was accurate, and no one would know how genuine the message conveyed back though the eunuchs were. As long as there was a red stamp from the official Imperial Seal, all documents were legally official and no one could question their validity. And with the Imperial Seal in hand, Lau Gan became the de-facto ruler of the nation.

    Even though he was not the oldest amongst the eight, Lau Gan was the undisputed head of the Eight Tigers. Even though each of the members was assigned an official position, Lau Gan was the one pulling all the strings and all were at his disposal. Regardless of age or experience, they all had to address him as “Master”.

    Normally, eunuchs slept in the Eunuch Quarters unless they had errands elsewhere during the night, and entered into their designated workplace before dawn. But as Lau Gan often worked overnight in his study, he was permitted to have his private quarters within the Eunuch Administrative Bureau.

    Six of the Eight Tigers were gathered there at his request. Go Fung was absent due to illness but the other six had already arrived early and were waiting in the study in their embroidered uniforms. Lau Gan was painting silently in the adjacent inner chamber. He liked to maintain the air of suspense by making them wait. The longer they waited; the more anxious and intimidated they were.

    The landscape scenery was slowly taking form on the blank sheet of paper. With each brush, the tall mountain ranges, vast valleys and the raging river became more defined. With each stroke, the gathering of birds in the tree branches became more realistic in their poise and seemed to converse with each other in silence. The masterpiece was filled with life and serenity, yet the spacious room itself contained lurking dangers.

    Yau Jui and Guk Dai Yung stared at each other intensely as they waited. The two had never liked each other even before Emperor Ching Dak came to the throne. It was worse after the coronation as more opportunities arose for greater power.

    Yau Jui spoke first. “I forgot to offer my congratulations to you for being promoted to be the Commander of the Western Faction! How much begging did you have to do for this position?”

    Guk Dai Yung sipped his tea gently with a smile. “Strangely enough, none at all! Thanks to the incompetence of your Eastern Faction, Master finds it essential that the Western Faction should share in the responsibilities of espionage and interrogation to ensure we maintain independence from the Ministry of Justice.”

    Yau Jui flew into a rage. “What incompetence? Do you think that I do not know about you and that back-stabbing Ma Wing Shing plotting together behind my back to bring me down? You have been jealous of me being put in a higher position than you all your life! You think that just because you are in charge of the Western Faction that you can be on par with me? ”

    Ma Wing Shing sniggered sinisterly at his superior, “Even the waves of the Yangtze have to replace one another. When it is your time to go, you just have to go!” When he sniggered, deep furrows demonstrating the affliction of time emerged upon his wrinkly skin.

    “Shut up you traitor!” snapped Yau Jui, “Your time will come too! Just because Master has been blinded by your lies and accusations, it does not mean that this is the end of me!”

    “What makes you think that I will be blinded by their words?” came Lau Gan’s cold voice as he emerged from his study.

    “Master!” all six of them greeted in unison. Lau Gan took his place on the large wooden chair engraved with gracious cranes. But Law Cheung did not sit down and instead walked to the door to let in twenty-two eunuchs who knelt down before Lau Gan and greeted him.

    Yau Jui tensed up as he recognised them to be the same twenty-two eunuchs that were assigned to guard the Eunuch Administrative Bureau on the day of the intrusion. The men had been previously caned fifty times and were now just recovering from their injuries. They still could not walk properly but they could not deny the request for their attendance. Guk Dai Yung saw the worried look upon Yau Jui’s face and sneered.

    Lau Gan took a sip of hot tea and casually said, “Yau Jui, there is something that I just don’t understand. Why don’t you enlighten me? There were twenty-nine Eastern Faction guards stationed within the Eunuch Administrative Bureau each night. Yet they let one single trespasser enter the grounds and then escape harmlessly after losing seven men? How do you explain that?”

    “Master, I can only say that our guards tried their best!” said Yau Jui quietly.

    Lau Gan asked with a hint of increasing fury in his voice. “Did you too try your best today, when without my order, you willingly agreed to release my prisoners to the Ministry of Justice? Did you even fight back before you automatically blamed me before the entire Imperial Court whilst distancing yourself from the matter? Had I not coincidentally transferred Yuen Mo Kei and his family to the Western Faction prison just before, would have personally taken off their shackles and presented them to the Emperor for merit?”

    “But Master, it was the Emperor who requested their release! And all the ministers of the Imperial Court were watching. It was the Emperor! The Emperor!” he pleaded frantically.

    “So what if it is the Emperor?” scoffed Lau Gan, “Is the power of the Emperor greater than my order? Have all the efforts we have made to control the Emperor for the past decade been in vain? It is I who you report to! Not the Emperor! It is I who raised you from menial servitude and promoted you as the eminent Commander of the Eastern Faction! Without me, you are nothing!”

    “Master, I dare not offend you!” cried Yau Jui falling onto his knees.

    “Then why did you order a search of my private study in my absence? Have I not repeated myself over and over again that no one is to enter the inner chambers of my study without my orders? What were you looking for?”

    “Nothing, Master!” stammered Yau Jui as he looked at the twenty-two eunuchs shaking beside him, “We just conducted a brief search to determine if anything was missing from the intrusion! We just investigated the outer chamber of your study where the official documents are stacked. We did not enter your inner chambers at all!”

    Lau Gan laughed maliciously. “Do you think that I would not detect if someone else entered my inner chambers? Would I not have noticed if someone had searched through my cupboards and put everything back in place afterwards? Would I have not noticed the fingerprints amongst the dust layer over the Imperial Seal?” Lau Gan stood up and towered over the twenty-three kneeling men. “What were you looking for?” He waved his hand at the door and it splintered into many pieces.

    The twenty-two guards quivered involuntarily as their mouths all pronounced in unison, “Nothing, Your Excellency!”

    Lau Gan waved his right sleeve over them swiftly three times, and with each motion, seven men fell down lifeless. He held his hand over the remaining eunuch whose face was as white as a sheet and sweating all over as he repeated “Spare me, Your Excellency!”

    Lau Gan stretched out his fingers into a palm and warned menacingly, “One last chance, what were you looking for in my chambers? Tell me, I am promise to let you live!”

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

    As formidable as the Gang of Eight Tigers were in the Imperial Palace, they were a volatile group, ready to gnash at each other's necks when they had the chance. They had to work together in order to continue their control over the young Emperor Ching Dak, but the Eight did not share the same status or powers which caused many backstabbing incidents to happen.
    Last edited by charbydis; 08-22-11 at 08:36 AM.
    "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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    Not that this is what the Eight Tigers look like, but I'll take any excuse to show some cute tiger pics:







    "Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self."
    Cyril Connolly

  19. #139
    Senior Member charbydis's Avatar
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    Default Book One: The Fist Of Domination (權傾天下)

    Chapter Twenty-Two:

    Cast of Appearing Characters:

    Lau Gan - Gilbert Lam Wai Sun
    Yau Jui Lau Kong
    Ma Wing Shing Lee Kar Ding
    Guk Dai Yung Waise Lee Chi Hung
    Cheung Wing Mark Kwok Yiu Ming
    Ngai Bun Sunny Fong Kong
    Lo Cheung Deno Cheung Chung Chi
    Go Fung Dominic Lam Kar Wah
    Yeung Ming Hung - Kenneth Ma Kwok Ming
    Yiu So Sum - Tavia Yeung Yi
    Cheung Wan Sheung - Nancy Wu Ding Yan


    The eunuch gave in and cried out loud, Commander Yau wanted us to find the antidote! Lau Gan waved his hand with indifference and the eunuch clasped his throat with both hands before toppling over with eyes widened and pupils dilated in death.

    Yau Jui stumbled backwards as white froth disgorged from the dead mans mouth. With two quick strides, Lau Gan stepped over the corpse and appeared right before Yau Jui, locking his throat firmly between his fingers. Any increase in force from Lau Gans fingers and the bones around Yau Juis trachea would be shattered. Yet, Lau Gan preferred to apply just enough force to let air into his lungs, but not too much to allow him to breath with ease.

    Moving his face close to the gasping Yau Jui, he asked, Now, what would you want with the antidote to the poison I give to the guards? I do not remember handing out any packets of poison for you to consume. Do you want to try some? Yau Jui saw his own terrified expression staring back at him from the reflection in Lau Gans fierce glare.

    Wheezing breathlessly with each gulp of air, Yau Jui only managed to spurt out, Master II He could not finish his sentence as he struggled for a breath of fresh air.

    Lau Gan looked at him with disgust before he threw him aside into a chair and released his deadly grip. Let me finish the sentence for you. said Lau Gan calmly folding both hands behind his back, You thought that by obtaining the antidotes for the guards, you will be able to control them to turn against me in a coup. After being in the espionage service for so long, you really should start realising that there is no safe place within Beijing to speak secrets, let alone out aloud whilst drunk in the Eastern Faction Headquarters.

    Yau Jui clambered onto his knees again and clutched at Lau Gans ankles in desperation. I dare not commit that offense again, Master! Please forgive me!

    Lau Gan did not even look at him. I hate betrayal as much as I hate incompetence. If you want to plan insubordination, then carry it out in perfect secrecy. If you cannot guarantee complete secrecy, then you might just as well give up from the beginning and save yourself some time.

    A quiet voice interceded on his behalf. Master, why dont you pardon Head Commander Yau just this once? After all, we have been through so much together in this past decade to get thus far. Are we to turn upon one another when our domination over the Imperial Court is just beginning? It was Cheung Wing, the second youngest of the Eight Tigers.

    If I wanted him dead, he would be headless already! stated Lau Gan, leaning back in his seat. All agents of the Eastern Faction have to regularly consume my poison to guarantee their loyalty. But out of trust, I have omitted this requirement with the two commanders. However, Yau Jui, since you do not cherish your position, then I will just have to find someone else to replace you instead. From hence forth, you and Ma Wing Shing will exchange positions. He will be the Head Commander and you will be the Vice-Commander. Maybe then, you will consider carefully where your allegiance should lie.

    Yau Jui bowed his head down on the floor in relief as Ma Wing Shing thanked his superior for the promotion. Thank you, for your appreciation, Master! I shall not disappoint you! I hear from my men that you have received some very important documents from Ningxia yesterday. I trust that you are happy with the contents.

    Cheung Wing interrupted, What contents?

    Lau Gan merely signalled for Law Cheung to retrieve the wooden box from a shelf. It was hidden in compartment under where an exquisite jade vase was placed. He opened the box passed the folded piece of paper around to the other men. It is an urgent intelligence document from one of our officials in Ning Xia. It contains a written pact between eighteen military officials from the Thee Border Provinces made last month to agree to raise troops against Beijing to rid of us Eight Tigers. There is also a roster with signatures from the eighteen participants to prove their identities.

    How dare they? If they dare come, my Battalion of Three Thousand will be ready for them! exclaimed Ngai Bun in his raspy voice. It was said that he was once forced to eat live coals after offending an offending eunuch when he was still a young eunuch and it has made an everlasting impact on his voice. Sometimes it was hard to hear exactly what he said at times, but after serving together for so many years, the other members were used to it.

    Lau Gan nodded in acknowledgment. The pact was headed by Yeung Yat Ching. We Eight Tigers were delegated by the Emperors own edict. To revolt against us is to revolt as the Emperor himself. The existence of this roster seals their fate as traitors to the Ming Dynasty!

    Congratulations, Master, for obtaining this useful piece of evidence. That irritable fool Yeung Yat Ching will finally be eliminated! said Ngai Bun.

    Lau Gan continued, However, I dont intend to hand this in to Imperial Court just yet!

    But why, Master? This is perfect opportunity to rid of Yeung Yat Ching who has been such a menace to our plans! cried Cheung Wing.

    But you forget that excluding Yeung Yat Ching and his nephew Yeung Ming Hung, there are also sixteen other names of military generals on that roster. These sixteen generals control the border armies that make up the majority of the Ming Dynastys military forces. To take ones life is not a difficult matter at all it can be as effortless as lifting a single finger. But to make one who loathes you to willing help you is the real challenge. Lau Gan smiled sinisterly at the thought.

    At this stage, Law Cheung also joined in. So Masters proposal is to make use of the power of these sixteen generals to our advantage? But how do we achieve that? They are fiercely loyal to the Emperor and openly oppose our influence on the Imperial Court?

    But some loyal men also fear death! reminded Lau Gan, and in a stern voice, he ordered, Cheung Wing and Ngai Bun, select some dependable men from your battalions and by tomorrow night, let them set out to these sixteen generals to notify them that the roster is in our hands. If they submit to us, then all is fine. If not, then exterminate them immediately. As long as the original document is in our hands, Yeung Yat Chings life is at our disposal!

    Outside, three masked figures were stationed at different positions at a distance from the room. They were too far to hear the conversation and also too far for the eunuchs to hear their breathing. This was their intention as they deciphered most of the communication from reading their lips though the open doorway. The three looked at one another and returned to their room to devise a counter-plan.

    Once behind closed doors, Yeung Ming Hung collapsed despondently onto a chair. I cannot believe that I am too late! Now whether that treacherous villain presents the roster to the Emperor or not, Uncle and those sixteen generals are still doomed!

    Cheung Wan Sheung patted him gently on the shoulder in encouragement. Dont worry! We still have time on our hands. We will think of something. Then noticing that Yiu So Sum had not uttered a word since they returned, she asked concernedly, Are you all right, Sister?

    Yiu So Sum jumped at her voice as if just woken from her deep thoughts. What did you just say?

    Cheung Wan Sheung reached over and checked the temperature of Yiu So Sums forehead with the back of her hand. I asked whether you are all right? Have you thought of a plan or something? Lets share it!

    Yiu So Sum carried a troubled expression upon her face. In a soft voice, she said, I am just wondering, why those eunuchs did not mention anything about Second Brother? If both Godfather and Big Brother signed the pact, then so should have Second Brother.

    Yeung Ming Hung quickly answered that question. I still remember that day. About half a month before signing the pact, a troop of two thousand Mongolian cavalry had attempted to assault Jiayu Pass and Ming Guk was the lead general in defending the fortress. He jumped off the fortress wall and landed right on top of the Mongolian general and tackled him to the ground. But then he was stomped in the back by the Mongolian generals stallion and suffered broken ribs. He was bedridden for a month and Uncle would not let him attend the meeting. Thats why his name was spared from the roster.

    Yiu So Sum was astounded. He leapt off the fortress wall? And got stomped on by a horse? What did you not tell me this before?

    Cheung Wan Sheung cut in. Your younger brother is getting crazier as he gets older. Didnt he chase some Mongolian wrestlers into the desert last year all by himself and then reappeared two months later at the barracks dragging all twenty of them tied up behind him? He had his face all black and blue and he dislocated his left wrist! He is mad, I tell you!

    Yeung Ming Hung laughed at the memory. He and his brother had been inseparable since young and had many fond adventures together. Yeung Ming Guk was always the impulsive and courageous one and he had sworn to their parents grave that he would protect his younger brother from danger even if it meant his life. Ming Guk is Ming Guk. Once he sets out to accomplish something, he will not rest until he obtains his goal. No matter how arduous the ordeal, he will not be deterred. He paused briefly before continuing, Do you understand what I am saying, So Sum?

    Cheung Wan Sheung smiled mischievously at Yiu So Sum, who immediately blushed and looked away. In an angry tone, she reproached both of them. I have no idea what you are talking about. Do not forget that out priority are Godfather and the sixteen generals!

    Right! cried Yeung Ming Hung, standing up from his seat. I will rush back to Gansu on my Ferghana horse as soon as I can get out of the Imperial Palace and warn Uncle and the sixteen generals before Lau Gans men get there! But we dont have much time until Lau Gan presents the roster to the Imperial Court!

    I will destroy it then! suggested Cheung Wan Sheung.

    Dont be rash! warned Yiu So Sum, Lau Gan is back now and he hardly ever leaves the study. You saw how powerful his martial arts are. Even if we team up together, we are not his match! We need to devise a plan!

    But Cheung Wan Sheung had it all planned out. So we will steal into the Eunuch Administrative Bureau when he is away at Imperial Court and I will set fire to it. Once it is a pile of ashes, I dont see how that dreadful eunuch can harm Mentor with it!
    Yiu So Sum nodded. Great idea! But we dont have much time left. Let us take action tomorrow and Big Brother can break out tomorrow night! And the two agreed.

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

    Seriously, eunuchs never had an easy life and it is very understable how they flaunt and abuse their power when they rise to a greater status, It is like a vicious cycle of life where they are oppressed when they are lowly and they oppress others as revenge when they get the authority to do so. Each eunuch will have their own story and their own reason to become the way they are.

    I thought the last chapter was a weird place to stop so I decided to break the rules and updated early.
    Last edited by charbydis; 08-25-14 at 08:43 AM.
    "Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self."
    Cyril Connolly

  20. #140
    Senior Member charbydis's Avatar
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    Default Book One: The Fist Of Domination (權傾天下)

    Chapter Twenty-Three:

    Cast of Appearing Characters:

    Kuk Yuen Yau – Lelia Tong Ling
    Suen Nga Yin – Natalie Tong See Wing
    So Yee Ha – Sharon Chan Man Chi



    A lonely figure strolled aimlessly around the Imperial Gardens, paying no attention to the vivid colours of the flora or the inviting warmth of the afternoon sun. The refreshing fragrance of the flowers failed to lift her spirits. The vitality of the koi that were weaving over and under the flat lotus leaves in the pond failed to make her smile. All Suen Nga Yin saw in waters of the pond was the reflection of a woman staring morosely back at her.

    She had waited and waited. But the Emperor had not summoned her privately for many days. All the attention and love that been showered upon her was like the short life span of the carefree red-winged butterfly that was encircling her hair. How long had it been since she was so carefree?

    “I thought you would not have come!” came a gentle voice from behind her. Suen Nga Yin turned around and saw Kuk Yuen Yau standing there. It was an awkward moment for both of them. In a short period of ten months, they had gone from close friends to love rivals. But right now, all feelings of jealousy and suspicion seemed non-existent again now that there was nothing left to fight for.

    “So you two have finally decided to speak to each other?” So Yee Ha stepped out from behind a large tree. “At least my intention has not been in vain. Both of you have come for this reunion.”

    Kuk Yuen Yau laughed bitterly. “Why else do we have to do with our time? It’s not like the Emperor will summon us!”

    “You too?” asked Suen Nga Yin. “I thought you had regained his favour after the dance? Did he not take you to Imperial Court with him yesterday?”

    Kuk Yuen Yau heaved a great sigh. “I am afraid the Emperor’s attention never settles for long. Since I left Court yesterday, he has not even sent a messenger to ask how I was. He must be with some other consort by now!” The three ladies walked side by side into a nearby pavilion and sat down on the round stone seats.

    So Yee Ha looked at Kuk Yuen Yau and hesitated before saying, “I hear the Emperor is now with Imperial Consort Fung.”

    Suen Nga Yin’s forehead immediately tensed up. “Who is Imperial Consort Fung?” she asked abruptly.

    “She is a new consort that recently entered the Imperial Palace. I hear from the eunuchs that she is from a common family and not well-educated in manners and etiquette, but the Emperor favours her tanned-skin and wild nature. She was promoted to an Imperial Consort only yesterday evening.”

    So Yee Ha look at her fair hand and sighed. An Imperial Consort was lower sub-grade of the third rank – a position more prestigious than any of the three.

    Kuk Yuen Yau smiled with a hint of resentment. “Who would have thought that a lady with tanned skin would become an Imperial Consort? How did she manage to enter the Enclosed Palace?”

    Traditionally, only wealthy maidens had fair skin for they were expected to stay hidden indoors whilst poorer maidens had to work in the streets and fields and thus have darker skin. Fair skin was considered as symbol of superiority and good fortune, and was a prerequisite for ladies entering the Enclosed Palace. But who knew that the Emperor would cast his favour upon a common girl?

    Suen Nga Yin stuck out her large unbound foot to help her rationalization. “As long as the Emperor decides he like a certain trait in maidens, he will send a request for them to be gathered up and escorted into the Enclosed Palace. Maybe he had made a demand for tanned skin maidens. Don’t you remember how he insisted on having maidens with unbound feet brought to him? If not for that, we wouldn’t all be sitting here today!”

    It was true that all three of them had unbound feet. In fact all of the maidens that had been delivered with them had unbound feet. Just like fair skin, small bound feet was a symbol of prosperity and status. Feet-binding was a long and excruciating process of torture and disfigurement. To reach the golden standard of a three-inch foot, you have to first break the tiny bones of the toddler’s toes, then cruelly bend the broken toes under the sole and securely bind in place with lengths of white cloth.

    Each time the girl walked, the broken bones and nails dug into the soft flesh and caused unimaginable pain. And if the feet turned out to be asymmetric in size, the whole process had to be repeated. Even after the wounds had healed, the maidens had to live a life of confinement for their bound feet did not carry them far. It was very uncommon for noblewomen to have unbound feet, but there were always soft-hearted parents that could not bear putting their precious daughter through all the pain.

    “I remember my mother was ecstatic when I was recruited as an imperial concubine.” said So Yee Ha in reminiscence, “She had always thought that I would have to settle for a common husband and blamed herself for her lack of determination to keep my feet bound.”

    “My mother always dreamed of me becoming an Imperial Consort. That was all she would talk about when I was young. She told me of the numerous servants I would have, the rich brocades and silks that would be draped over my body, the intricate golden utensils that I would be served with and the luxuriant rooms that I would sleep in.” Kuk Yuen Yau looked at her feet and continued, “My mother was adamant that I have three-inch feet but it was my grandfather who opposed.”

    “Why” asked Suen Nga Yin with curiosity.

    Kuk Yuen Yau smiled warmly at the memory, “Grandfather said that no females born into his family ever had their feet bound. He said that my late aunt was a graceful dancer. He said that I reminded him of her too much and he could not bear to see my feet damaged and be unable to dance.”

    Suen Nga Yin smiled encouragingly at her. “And you took right after her. I have to admit, you were fantastic that night!” and she reached out and grabbed her hand in support. Kuk Yuen Yau did not retract her hand. After all, friends were in more need now than enemies.

    Soo Yee Ha smiled at the pair as congratulated herself on reconciling the two. Even though she too wanted the Emperor’s favour, she did not see a need to give up on an innocent friendship to gain a womanising husband. “So no more fighting, girls?”

    The two other ladies smiled tenderly and putting her hand in between their own, and cried in unison, “No more fighting!”

    So Yee Ha leaned close and whispered, “So it will just be like old times now! Who cares about the Emperor anyway?”

    “Right!” whispered Suen Nga Yin in a low voice, “We don’t want him anymore!” Kuk Yuen Yau giggled.

    But So Yee Ha’s face suddenly changed and cupped her hand to her mouth.

    “What’s wrong, Yee Ha?” cried Suen Nga Yin in alarm, as her friend ran over to the bushes and vomited between the plants. She quickly followed to see help her sit down again.

    Kuk Yuen Yau reached over and stroked her back soothingly as So Yee Ha wiped her mouth with a silk handkerchief. “”I have been feeling light-headed and nausea for many days.” She explained whilst stroking her chest for relief, “I have caught a cold or something. Don’t worry, it will pass!”

    “That’s not good!” said Kuk Yuen Yau, “We have to get you back to your room and let a royal physician to examine you.” And with that, she dragged her back to the Palace of Abundant Longevity.

    However, they could not find either Yiu So Sum or Cheung Wan Sheung anywhere but luckily Siu Kei Chi was close by and managed to send for a royal physician. Within minutes of placing his fingers on her pulse, he immediately knew what her problem was.

    “Congratulations, Lady So!” exclaimed the royal physician with excitement, “You are carrying the Dragon's Seed!”

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

    Foot-binding is a terrible disfiguring and painful practice that has plagued ancient Chinese women for many centuries. It was all done to restrict women physically and mentally, so all their focus will be concentrated on the family and be totally dependent on the males as they are hardly ever able to leave the house. ( males)

    It started around the late Tang dynasty where a Imperial Concubine with naturally small feet was favoured for her ability to dance and glide gracefully across the dance floor. Other women tried to imitate her feet by bounding their feet and thus created this new fashion of "Three-Inch Lotus Feet" which ancient men foudn sexually stimulating (feet = breasts in the old days!).

    The process of feet-binding starts around the age of two or three where a large hammer is used to break the bones of the foot. The toes are bent underneath the middle of the sole, then long strips of cloth is used to cement the foot in this shape. As the girls' bones grows, this painful process is repeated a few times before the age of ten until the broken bones fuses in this unnatural position. The cloth needs to be changes regurlary and the deformed foot washes earnestly as the bent sole created a lot of grooves for bacteria to grow. Uncut toenails often penetrated the flesh and caused fatal infections.

    However, not all women had bound feet. Peasants, maids and working women could not afford to make a living with deformed and restrictive small feet and thus were spared from the torturous practice but instead were submitted to ridicule and discrimination for their large feet. Some rich women with soft-hearts could not bear to have their daughters go through so much pain and thus chose against society to not bind their feet or undo the binding in the early deformation stages. There are stories of how some girls ended up with uneven feet because of the early release of the binding strips, which is deemed even worse than large unbound feet.

    In this story, I have decided not to have my females have bound feet because it would not make the story flow well with clumsy stumbling women everywhere in the wulin world. I have intergrated valid reasons for that in my chapters so hopefully it won't affect the overall ancient feel of the story. Emperor Ching Dak has a liking for exotic women in the reports about his famous Panther House so it is possible that he could like women with big feet.
    Last edited by charbydis; 08-29-11 at 10:53 AM.
    "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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