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Thread: The Mandate #1

  1. #1
    Senior Member Guo Xiang's Avatar
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    Default The Mandate #1

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    *********

    A thin man sat on a horse as he stares out at the expansive plains below him; it was almost bare, but with a couple of sprightly trees dotted across the land that looked almost if it would stretch on for all eternity.

    The land’s serenity was almost surreal, given that it wasn’t more than 10 years ago when this place was where many great battles took place.

    Xiwu, the kingdom located in the southwest, frequently invaded its neighbours, and it was here that Xiwu troops met with the allied troops; primarily made up of Donghai, Pan and Xiang armies.

    SQUAWK SQUAWK!

    The thin man stirred and almost ducked, but stopped and sighed in relief when he saw a pair of crows sitting calmly on the tree behind him. There used to be a lot more of them around; the numerous battles and countless war dead made sure they had more than enough food.

    He turned his sight to the plains again.

    The land is now peaceful, if only on the surface. It has only been ten years, but the political landscape had changed beyond recognition.

    Xiwu for the past several years had not renewed its invasions; the strong and reliable Donghai had sank into internal strife; Pan had abandoned its longtime friendship with Xiang, and tied up an alliance with its arch enemy Xiwu; Xiang was on the verge of collapse.

    The invader was no longer an invader, and the now former allies had turned inward.

    SQUAWK SQUAWK!!!!

    The crows took off, and the thin man’s eyes followed them for a while before returning his gaze to the plains. A small movement in the horizon alerted him and he leaned forward, narrowing his eyes.

    The small movement slowly emerged and it soon became clear to the man what it was he was seeing. He sucked in a deep breath and grabbed the horse reins. The horse neighed as it spurn around.

    “The Xiwu entourage’s here! We’ve got to alert the general to welcome the bride!”
    Last edited by Guo Xiang; 08-06-11 at 09:21 PM.
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    Senior Member IcyFox's Avatar
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    A messenger saluted the lieutanent and hastily rode off to the Pan capital of Luoyang. General Fan Weiqi was inspecting the fortress walls when he saw the messenger. He immediately knew what news was at hand and shouted for his already-assembled army to march out.

    The city came to life with drums and fireworks and a party of dancers followed the army out to greet the entourage. The entourage soon arrived with a carriage made of gold and decked richly with red curtains. The Pan army shouted in unison to hail the bridal entourage, for it carried the Princess of the Morning Jade Yue Fei'er, eldest daughter of the King of Xiwu and consort-to-be of the King of Pan.

    The Pan army led the carriage to the palace while the Xiwu escort guard were invited to rest at the guesthouse. The Premier of Pan, Gao Si, came to the gates of the palace with a number of civil officials and palace maids. The officials bowed as the palace maids drew aside the curtains and helped the bride out of the carriage.

    The maids held the Princess' hands as the party proceeded into the King's court. The King received his bride in his yellow robes of splendor and they bowed before Heaven in the royal wedding ceremony. The grand banquet followed and the Xiwu envoys were honoured with gold and silk. Finally, the King led his new consort to his private chambers to consumate the marriage.

    Meanwhile, a beautiful young lady was gossiping with the palace maids in the servants' quarters. She was dressed plainly like the other maids, but she was Yue Jiayan, the Xiwu Princess of the Northern Clouds, disguised as the Consort's personal attendant. Being really smart, she quickly picked up the important details of the internal politics of the Pan King's Palace...
    Last edited by IcyFox; 07-29-11 at 04:46 PM.

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    Senior Member Guo Xiang's Avatar
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    A white shadow suddenly walked past, startling the chattering maids. One of the maids was so startled that she yelped and fell.

    "Oi...! What the... wearing all white at such a day and walking so fast at such a time... like a floating ghost!" The maid scolded angrily in a bid to hide her embarrassment at having fallen.

    Having heard the maid, the black shadow stopped and turned to look at the maid.

    It wasn't a ghost, but a tall man with sharp, handsome features, wearing long white robes with a sword attached to the belt on his left waist. His robes were made of good material, and he didn't seem like someone who should be at the servants' quarters.

    "Oh..! It's Lord Zhou! I... I'm sorry! I didn't know!" The maid apologised profusely upon recognising the man. "Uhh... what is Lord Zhou doing here at the servants' quarters? Is there anything we can do to help?" The maid offered quickly with a bright smile, either hoping the man would forget about her rudeness or take a shine to her... or both. But her smile quickly fades when she saw how dark Zhou He's face was.

    "Newbie, this is Lord Zhou He, chief attendant of Donghai's Prince Ying." The second maid quickly introduced the undercover princess to the man in a hushed whisper.

    "My apologies for frightening you ladies." Zhou He tucked his hands into his sleeves and nodded his head at the maids. "I should be going."

    Without another word, Zhou He left as quickly as he appeared.

    "Huh. Weird one. He didn't even explain why he's here." The second maid scratched her head.

    "Can't be a tryst, right?!" The first maid's eyes glowered.

    "What are you talking about?" The second maid was confused.

    "Sometimes I see him with that Lanxi!"

    The second maid shook her head. She smiled in embarrassment at Jiayan. "Ah, hope you don't take this seriously, newbie. She's just a bit... you know." She sighed.

    "He looked upset. Should I check up on him or on Prince Ying?" The first maid wondered aloud.

    "Oh... just in case you haven't heard, Prince Ying of Donghai is a guest at our palace. He and his entourage has been here for three years now, and who knows how long they are going to keep staying. Anyway, since Donghai is in an unstable condition right now, nobody knows what's going to happen to this royal guest. So you might want to exercise caution around them." The second maid kindly told Jiayan.
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    Quote Originally Posted by athlee View Post
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  4. #4
    Senior Member patricia n's Avatar
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    in the corner of a grand room, sat a pretty maid, carefully selected by the emperor's highly favored consort, lady yi. the maid's journey to become the consort's private musician was filled with much obstacle as her competitors were also highly talented with the zither. although lady yi had a reputation for being particular and moody, everyone knew that she was also generous with her gifts as long as she was pleased. the maid beautifully played the zither, providing background music for lady yi, who sat in the center of the room while gracefully working on her embroidery. she stopped short as she was displeased with her work. for how could she work? the king regularly and faithfully visited her, but ever since his marriage to princess fei'er, she had not seen him. her two most trusted maids, who stood guard by her, sensed her displeasure and dared not to speak up to comfort her. sometimes, silence is golden.

    lady yi sighed, "lanxi, lanyi."

    "yes your highness," they obediently and simulataneously answered.

    the lady glided her fingers across the embroidery, "how many days has it been since his last visit?" she knew how long it had been, but she wanted confirmation.

    lanxi politely responded, "your highness, it has been one week."

    "this princess fei'er, how is she?" wondered lady yi. who was this woman who was able to keep the emperor away from her? not even the empress had that power over him.

    as lanxi and lanyi guarded her day and night, they too had not had a chance to interact with princess fei'er. lanyi reluctanly answered, "we hear from the gossiping maids that this princess fei'er is a beautiful and young maiden. but she keeps to herself, so it is hard for us to learn much about her. the maids that have served them during the wedding ceremony could tell that the emperor was quite smitten by her."

    "is that so?" lady yi glowered as she imagined how to deal with this challenge.

    and then, a loud announcement could be heard as footsteps were approaching her room, "his royal highness has arrived."

    lady yi immediately put on her most charming smile as she rushed out and curtsied, "long live his royal highness."

    the king nodded, "good," helping lady yi up, "consort yi, how have you been?"

    seeing his good mood, she pouted and playfully turned around, "your royal highness, how could you neglect me like this? do you know that i think about you and miss you day and night? it's been so lonely and frightfully boring without you around."

    the king laughed, obviously pleased that his absence could cause so much distress, "but i'm here now, aren't i?"

    "you're here today, but what about next time? i've never been without you for more than three days since i've set foot into the palace," she turned around to face him and carefully caressed his face and slid her hand in a seductive manner down to his chest.

    the surrounding maids cast their eyes down. aware that they were not alone, the emperor waived his arm to dismiss them.

    once alone, the king chuckled, "well, in that case, i really have to make it up to you, don't i?" as he led her to her bedroom.

    she flirtatiously asked him, "aren't you tired after all of those restless nights with your new consort?" moving away from him to entice him. although she flattered him to please him, she was also fully aware that a man always wants what he cannot get. if she carefully played hard to get, he would be much more enticed and would likely return for more. she continued in a sing song voice, "and even if you're not tired, i am from having to wait for you in this room day and night."

    the king wrapped his arm around her, "then what is it you seek, my love?"

    she playfully pounded his chest, "you can't bully me with your strength," as she giggled, "but promise me that you will visit me more often?"

    "how can i visit you more often? i don't even see some of my wives more than once a month."

    lady yi knew this was true, but her position in his heart might have been compromised with the arrival of the princess. She needed to secure her position. as the king led her to her bed, he failed to see the dark glimpse behind lady yi’s scheming pair of eyes.
    Last edited by patricia n; 08-04-11 at 12:55 AM.
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    Senior Member Ren Ying Ying's Avatar
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    **********

    It was a warm spring evening. While the sun had finished his day of work and gone to sleep, the city of Luoyang chattered away busily. Bright lamps lit the streets where citizens continued to celebrate their excitement from the event of the day—the arrival of the Xiwu Princess of the Morning Jade. In fact, many have travelled from far just to witness this historical event. It marked the beginning of an alliance of peace between Xiwu and Pan. Gone were the days of worrying about when the next attack from southwestern neighbors would be. Shouts of glee and singing of cheers to the rhythm of clanging of cups were heard from all corners of the city.

    “Long live His Majesty, the King of Pan!”

    “May the Princess of Morning Jade and His Majesty unite in happiness for a hundred years!”

    “And one hundred royal children, too!”

    “And may you, brother, also have as many children.”

    “Hahahahahaha!”

    “Cheers!”

    There was no person without a smile.

    Perhaps except for one.

    Xue Qian could not even manage a frown because the muscles of his face were tired from being wrinkled disgust all day. Disgusted that the lady of his pursuit is to be married to another man. Disgusted at himself for being unable to take her away before she stepped foot into the Palace. And now, he had to listen to these commoners' disgusting praise for their King and his new marriage.

    At least the wine was good. Xue Qian raised the bottle to his lips and gulped the liquid down continuously until it emptied. “Waiter! One more bottle!” He shouted, but his voice was drowned out by cheerful chatters of the other customers. With the influx of visitors, it was no wonder that all the restaurants and inns found their business to be more prosperous than usual. Despite the owners taking advantage of the event and raising their prices threefold, all the tables and rooms were filled to capacity.

    “Waiter!” Xue Qian shouted one again, this time much more anger in his tone. He slammed down on the table with his left fist. A few other customers quickly glanced at his direction and looked at him strangely but quickly ignored him and returned to their conversations.
    Last edited by Ren Ying Ying; 07-30-11 at 04:06 AM.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Guo Xiang's Avatar
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    Unknown to Xue Qian, his anger had caught the attention of another customer at the wine house. Apparently the festive mood had not penetrated everyone's psyche and perhaps rightly so.

    Huo Yuan has been in Luoyang for more than a few days already, and he finds it almost disgusting that everyone seemed so happy about the marriage. Have they forgotten that Xiwu was their enemy? Have they forgotten about their friendship with Xiang, just as their fiend of a King had? Have they accepted the betrayal so easily, just so they could make it rich and big with the wealth held within Xiang's lands? And most baffling of all, how could they have trusted Xiwu's intentions as though they had learnt nothing from the stories of Daji, Baosi and Xishi?

    Seeing the happy people around him, Huo Yuan wasn't sure which was more infuriating - the behaviour of these people or the fact that he was constantly under appreciated and set up by court officials who were more concerned of their personal vendetta against his father than for the well-being of Xiang.

    Any petitions or suggestions he had nearly always received only silence in response or were rejected after months of antagonising wait. Yet an admirable efficiency was displayed the moment he requested for leave...

    He gritted his teeth and stood up, holding his half-full wine jar in one hand and his trusty spear in another. He walked over to Xue Qian's table.

    "What made you so angry at such a day, my friend?" He asked. He wasn't sure why he was talking to this man. Maybe he needed someone who shared similar feelings, albeit for different reasons, to talk to.
    Last edited by Guo Xiang; 07-30-11 at 07:18 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by athlee View Post
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    Senior Member patricia n's Avatar
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    “Wine! Wine! Wine! Get me more wine!” demanded Xue Qian, momentarily ignoring Huo Yuan while pounding his fist against the table to attract the waiter’s attention.

    The coward waiter signaled back and reassured, “Just a second young master.” He quickly ran to the counter and whispered to the owner of the inn, “I think we have trouble here. Everyone around us is celebrating, but those two men,” pointing in Xue Qian and Huo Yuan’s direction, “are the most solemn here. The nearly drunk young master is getting really difficult to please.”

    The owner ordered, “Go get Feng to take care of this.” The waiter nodded and ran to the outhouse, where he found a lanky and dirty faced boy dutifully cleaning away any hint of waste matter on the ground and stall. He quickly grabbed the boy and exclaimed, “Feng, we’re understaffed and you are required to help out with the restaurant today.”

    Feng jerked himself away from the waiter, “Oh. What do you guys need me to do this time?” He quickly tidied himself while hurrying to the restaurant with the waiter.

    “There is another spoiled young master out front who you have to serve. He is getting quite drunk, and none of us wish to be a part of it.” Entering through the backdoor of the restaurant, he motioned, “Quickly, go grab him another bottle of the best wine. He’s sitting right at that table over there.”

    Feng walked towards Xue Qian’s direction as he heard him yell out, “What does it take to get any service here?” Feng took a quick look at Xue Qian, lavishly dressed in the finest silk. “One would expect a person with such refine taste to be more well-mannered,” thought Feng. He then saw the gentleman standing next to Xue Qian, also well dressed but much more sober with a slight frown on his face.

    As Feng finally approached the table, Xue Qian grabbed the bottle from him, but then he immediately dropped the bottle. “What is that horrid smell?” Xue Qian finally looked up and stared at Feng in disgust. As if his day was not already miserable enough. He may be drunk, but he still could smell everything perfectly well, especially when the odor was feces. “Well, well, I would have never expect a first rate inn like Zhao Long Inn to have such a dirty employee.”

    Feng merely stooped down to pick up the pieces of the broken bottle, “Sorry about this young master, I’ll get you another wine bottle.”

    “Hmph! You have better get me another waiter too!”

    At this point, Huo Yuan sat himself down and stared at Xue Qian, who turned to him and asked, “What do you want?” He was too drunk to care about social etiquette and too miserable to entertain company, but seeing that he couldn’t ignore this person, perhaps rudeness would shoo him away.

    But Huo Yuan was a patient man. He repeated, “"What made you so angry at such a day, my friend?"
    Last edited by patricia n; 08-02-11 at 12:00 AM.
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    Senior Member Ren Ying Ying's Avatar
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    “Did I invite you to sit here and chat?” Xue Qian rolled his eyes and waved his left hand, motioning Huo Yuan to leave. “F--k off. I don’t want to talk about your lecherous King.”

    “How dare you insult His Majesty!” a fat man from a neighboring table turned around after hearing Xue Qian’s words. A few others chimed in agreement. Many sitting in the inn were already annoyed with Xue Qian’s behavior as it spoiled the cheerful mood. Who puts on such a long face on such a festive night? Furthermore, he even dared to badmouth the King—a crime that could automatically have him beheaded.

    “What? Am I lying?” Xue Qian retorted. “Isn’t that what you people are celebrating today? How your greedy King has claimed another young maiden?”

    “Humph. You dress like a human but you speak like a dog,” the fat man taunted. “His Majesty is doing his best to ensure peace to his country and wealth to his people. He has a magnanimous heart, unlike some certain people sitting here who speaks with their a--hole.”

    “Hahahahaha!” The inn filled with laughter as many others have already turned their attention this way.

    “Are you talking about yourself? Magnanimous heart? He’s nothing but an opportunistic backstabbing leech! He saw the strength of Xiwu so he betrayed his old friend the Xiang and begged for a marriage with Xiwu instead.”

    “Bullsh-t! Xiwu should be thankful that Pan is willing to form an allegiance with them. They’re the ones sucking up to us by marrying their daughter to us, not the other way ar---ARG!” Before the fat man could finish his sentence, a cup had smashed into his face, immediately knocking a tooth out. The shards of the cup had cut into this face and blood seeped from his cheeks and out of his lips. He spit out a mouthful of blood, “Why you lithle bathard!”

    But before the fat man could speak further, Xue Qian had already pouched in his direction, grabbed him by the collar, and threw him to the ground. However, his body was too heavy and the momentum carried him over to the next table, knocking the table over.

    The customers of that table angrily stood up and charged towards Xue Qian. Xue Qian grabbed them each and threw them in whatever direction he could, causing a few other tables to knock over. Most customers had been drinking in celebration all night and thus their disposition a bit more belligerent than usual. Soon enough, more than a dozen customers were throwing punches and kicks at Xue Qian. The entire inn had become a riot. Even those passing by on the street stopped to peak in and see what was going on.

    Knowing such a scene was bad for his business, the owner tried to stop the men but they were much too engaged in the fight to pay attention to him. He tried to pull one man out of the fight but instead recieved a punch to the stomach and was shoved away.

    While Xue Qian had been trained in the martial arts, he was never a fervent practitioner. He could fend off a few street rascals, but certainly not a crowd. It didn’t take long for him to fall to the losing side of the battle.
    Last edited by Ren Ying Ying; 07-31-11 at 03:56 AM.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Guo Xiang's Avatar
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    The man is an a**. That, Huo Yuan could easily tell. But the way he was talking, he was either a Pan citizen who held serious grievances against his king, or was simply a foreigner like himself. Either way, the man wasn't going to get away easily for shooting his mouth off. The price was that at least a dozen feet was kicking at him while he laid on the floor shielding himself helplessly.

    He probably deserved the beating, but such an unfair fight was most unsightly. As a professional soldier, Huo Yuan also finds this unacceptable. He had to step in, before the beating escalate into something worse. Besides, he agrees on what was being said about the King of Pan.

    Looking at the crowd, he had to do something drastic to make them get away from the man.

    "Stop!" He ordered, hitting the floor hard with the spear. The force was so great that the cement floor cracked a little, creating enough noise to stun the crowd and stop them momentarily.

    Seeing the effect, he moved quickly to shield Xue Qian.

    "He is only a drunkard. Must you kind sirs take offense at the words of a drunk man?" Huo Yuan appealed. However, a cold anger burnt his heart at this moment and he changed his mind about defusing the situation. "Besides, why let him ruin a good night that celebrates Pan's consorting with the enemy? Why stop the merrymaking when Pan will soon become more powerful and wealthier than before by ruthlessly betraying and annexing the lands of an old and faithful friend?"

    "Wha... what! You... you are with him! What the hell!" Angry customers yelled out. A man lunged forward but was stunned to a quick stop when Huo Yuan jabbed the tip of his spear forward.

    "Damnit! Beat him up!" the crowd cried. Boosted in confidence by the number, the mob rushed up.

    Huo Yuan easily fended them off as he drew a quick circle with the bottom of the pole diagonally, tripping some while others were deterred from moving in further. Building on that momentum, Huo Yuan swept in again and stabbed at the crowd's feet with the wooden end, forcing them off, creating a larger space in between. Now having a bigger and more comfortable space, Huo Yuan bent his legs and lowered his spear, the shiny tip pointed at the hostile crowd. He was prepared for a bigger fight.

    // This feels kind of good. I must be really sick of them all! // He thought with almost a glee.

    "Hey. Can you move? Or are you playing dead? Get up and run." Huo Yuan said as he nudged Xue Qian with his foot.
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    Quote Originally Posted by athlee View Post
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  10. #10
    Senior Member Guo Xiang's Avatar
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    At the palace


    As Lady Yi and the King retire for the night, Lanxi and Lanyi went to stand guard outside the room. As time creeps past, Lanxi turned to Lanyi.

    “I’m going to the loo.”

    “Ok. Be careful.”

    Lanxi nodded and walked toward the loo, but once she turned around the corner, she changed direction and quickened her pace, until she reached the imperial garden. Quietly, she snuck into a well-hidden small spacing between two rocks. She smiled upon seeing the person who was waiting for her.

    “Well well. Aren’t you on time, Lord Zhou He.”

    The rocks’ shadows was casted over Zhou He and even though she could not see his expression, but she imagined he must be…

    She brushed the image out of her mind and stepped closer. He did not move.

    “How is His Majesty’s mood?” Zhou He asked.

    “Cutting right to the chase? You sure aren’t a romantic person.” Lanxi crossed her arms.

    Zhou He paused for a moment before he replied, “… I imagine you must be on guard duty so I should not hold you back too long.”

    “You have a way with words, but that does not make a woman happy.” Lanxi frowned, but sighed in resignation. “Fine fine… who asked me to like a heartless cad like you, right?”

    “Boyan is just…” Zhou He started but Lanxi raised her hand.

    “His Majesty’s mood is obviously very good. How could he not be? He has got what he wanted, and the Xiwu princess is young and beautiful, no? He’s happy enough to spend days with her consecutively and he’s all smiles today as well.”

    “I see.”

    Lanxi waited for a moment but there was only silence. Irritated, she cursed Zhou He in her heart. “That’s it? Then I’m going.”

    She turned to leave but was surprised when a hand grabbed at her arm.

    “Wait. Lanxi, I…” Zhou He’s voice was hesitative. She waited expectantly.

    The grip loosened and the hand slipped off.

    “Goodnight, Lanxi.”

    Taken aback at the sudden change of Zhou He’s behaviour, she turned around and slapped him across the face with the back of her hand before storming off.

    Tears welled in her eyes but she would not cry. No. Not over him. He’s not worth it.

    Yet she knows she will go to him again the next time he calls for her.
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    Quote Originally Posted by athlee View Post
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  11. #11
    Senior Member patricia n's Avatar
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    The owner of the inn panicked, “Heavens! My restaurant. Don’t these stupid hot blooded men have anything better to do? Feng, stop them!” Feng’s colleagues also gathered around him and pushed him forward, “That’s right. Do as the boss tells you.”

    Feng stared wide eyed as he pondered how to stop the commotion. He barely knew any martial arts, but as he tried to come up with a scheme, it was already too late.

    “What are we waiting for? Let’s all attack him at once,” suggested one of the restaurant’s patrons. All the men immediately surrounded Huo Yuan and lunged forward convinced that the bunch of them could take down one man. Unfortunately, they were wrong; they barely even scratched him. Several men jumped back in shock when they saw the spear heading towards their direction, and the more reckless men were forcefully pushed in various directions by the blunted end of the spear.

    Huo Yuan laughed at their uselessness, and he felt good. Finally, a release for all those years of suppression by his own kind.

    Suddenly, a figure swiftly somersaulted through the window and caught a man who was thrown back midair. He helped the man land safely and saluted Huo Yuan, “Greetings.”

    Huo Yuan eyed the older gentleman with interest as this was completely unexpected. The man was dressed in regular civilian clothes. Nothing was distinguished about him, yet he had this calmness that disturbed Huo Yuan. “This has nothing to do with you. Please step aside.”

    The older gentleman responded, “You’re right, but this fight is unfair. These men are obviously not your match, and what joy is there in beating up civilians?”

    Huo Yuan almost let it go until one of the patrons tried to sneak attack him from behind. He spun and kicked the patron. As the patron flew back, Huo Yuan jumped towards him with the spear racing towards his chest, “I hate sneak attacks. That’s something only a son of a turtle would stoop to do.”

    The older gentleman quickly ran towards Huo Yuan and grabbed the back of the spear with his left hand, and then he used his right hand to gently push the back of the spear down. Although the motion appeared as gentle as a breeze, the force generated was so great that it caused Huo Yuan to lose control of the spear. The spear shot straight through the window, and both Huo Yuan and the older gentlemen jumped out of the window to retrieve it. Huo Yuan tried to palm the gentleman to push him away, but he was surprised to find that not only did he not hurt that gentleman, but the palm allowed the gentlemen to lunge forward farther to retrieve the spear.


    When the gentleman landed, he walked towards Huo Yuan. He lifted the spear up with both of his hands and offered it to Huo Yuan. It was only then that Huo Yuan noticed the man walked with a limp.

    The man spoke, “It is clear what that patron did is wrong. I hope he has learned his lesson.” When the gentleman looked up at the patron who tried to attack Huo Yuan, the man looked down in embarrassment.

    Huo Yuan smiled. It had been awhile since he had a good duel. “If you must intervene on their behalf then I have no choice but to let bygone be bygone. By the way, I am Huo Yuan. May I have elder’s name?”

    The gentleman smiled, “Who I am does not matter. I am glad to have encountered a reasonable young lad like you. If we have an affinity, perhaps we will meet again in the future.”

    “Even if elder does not share with me, I can guess that you are the famous Wu Hao Cun.” Everyone in wulin knew that Wu Hao Cun suffered a major injury to his left leg during his fight against his greatest enemy seven years ago. And a man with such a high internal energy and great martial arts skills as the one Huo Yuan just fought can only be the one and only Wu Hao Cun, the one who possessed the legendary flying dagger.

    The gentleman laughed and walked away.

    Huo Yuan suddenly remembered Xue Qian. He rushed back and all the patrons cowered away from him. He gently kicked Xue Qian, “Eh, wake up. Are you dead?”

    Just then, Feng rushed over with a bucket of fluid and splashed it towards their direction. Xue Qian opened his eyes and startled as he smelled the fluid. “Urine? Why you stupid, dirty waiter.”

    Feng then panicked and ran away. He didn’t realize that he grabbed the bucket of urine. He thought it was water in his haste to find something to help wake up Xue Qian.
    Last edited by patricia n; 08-02-11 at 01:37 AM.
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  12. #12
    Senior Member Ren Ying Ying's Avatar
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    “You piece of sh*t! I’m going to kill you!” Xue Qian cried angrily as he charged after Feng. All the other customers covered their noses and quickly jumped out of his way to avoid touching his urine soaked robes.

    As he closed in on Feng, Xue Qian leaped forward to grab Feng’s collar, but grabbed only air. Unfortunately, while the urine had woke him up, it did not clear away the effects of alcohol. He clearly misjudged the distance between himself and Feng. His momentum carried him forward but before he could react, he had already slammed head first into a nearby table.

    For a split moment, he saw flashing lights. Then, he saw nothing and drifted away from consciousness.

    “Ha! Now who’s the stinky one?” Feng snickered. While he did not pour the urine on purpose, any feelings of sympathy had disappeared by now after seeing Xue Qian’s attitude. The other customers also laughed and enjoyed watching Xue Qian make a fool out of himself.
    Last edited by Ren Ying Ying; 08-01-11 at 02:42 AM.

  13. #13
    Senior Member Guo Xiang's Avatar
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    Huo Yuan deftly stepped aside when he saw the urine splashing towards them. What happened was that the entire bucket of the unfortunate liquid landed square onto Xue Qian.

    “You piece of sh*t! I’m going to kill you!” Xue Qian cried angrily as he charged after Feng.

    But he was still drunk, and his senses and judgment failed him terribly, eventually causing him to slam head-down onto a nearby table, rendering him unconscious.

    The customers looked at Xue Qian in disgust.

    "Take your friend away! What troublemakers you are!" The customers demanded.

    Huo Yuan sighed and said, "He's not my friend, but I will take him away."

    Xue Qian might have been rude and unruly, but at least they had common views. Plus, maybe he's a better person when sober.

    Tying his spear to his back, Huo Yuan bent down, slipped his arms under Xue Qian's neck and legs and carried him up easily.

    "EWWW!" The customers groaned. They were unable to understand how Huo Yuan could do that, considering Xue Qian was soaked and wet with urine. But in his younger days when he trained hard at his martial arts, and when court officials made things difficult for him, he had seen and experienced worse.

    "Wait. What about the stuff you guys broke?" Feng came asking, apparently concerned about the loss they would make.

    Huo Yuan looked at Feng.

    "If you believe me, I'd come back here tomorrow morning to make the repayments." He said and leaves the wine house before Feng could stop him. He tried to follow but Huo Yuan had disappeared into the busy street.

    "Aww... who knows if he will come back at all!" Feng muttered in dissatisfaction.

    ********

    With the inns in Luoyang fully booked, there was no inn for Huo Yuan to return to. But considering they need to clean themselves up, Huo Yuan leaves the city and went to the closest available river stream.

    Once they reached there, Huo Yuan placed Xue Qian down and went to wash himself as he observed the area. Clean, pristine looking, and better still, a large tree was just next to the river stream. Good place for sleeping too.

    As for Xue Qian... Huo Yuan looked at the unconscious man lying on the grass.

    He would remain there.
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  14. #14
    Senior Member patricia n's Avatar
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    The older gentleman who walked away from Zhao Long Inn was indeed Wu Hao Cun. He smiled, slightly pleased that despite his disappearance, the younger generation of martial artists heard of him. Thinking about his encounter with Huo Yuan, he thought, “That young lad is quite rational. Most young pugilists are too proud and want to parry recklessly just to save face, but this lad is different.”

    Then he sighed and touched his left leg. He was well aware that his limp disclosed his identity. This handicap…it would forever be with him. It would forever be a reminder that he was not as invincible as he once thought he was. Perhaps he was too proud, too conceited, and too confident in his abilities. It was partially the reason for his seclusion from the martial arts world these past six years. But these were things of the past. Currently, he had a more important task at hand.

    It was getting late. He had wandered the streets of Luoyang long enough and now had to return to his room in Zhao Long inn. When he entered the room, he took out two scrolls from his undershirt and unrolled them; each scroll had a drawing of a different person. He looked at the drawings for the hundredth time. Although he had never seen these individuals, he committed their faces to memory. He wondered how long it would take him to find them. The sooner, the better.

    As usual, he woke up early the next day to further explore Luoyang, hoping to find those three individuals.
    Last edited by patricia n; 08-06-11 at 03:14 AM.
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  15. #15
    Senior Member Ren Ying Ying's Avatar
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    The sun began to peek from the eastern sky. With the ray of light splashing across his face, Xue Qian awoke with a heavy pounding sensation in his head. His body ached. His mouth was dry. He opened his eyes, only to see himself lying on grass next to a river. What the hell? What kind of bad dream is this?

    Xue Qian closed his eyes and tried to return to sleep—hoping he’ll wake up from this dream the next time. But before he could even settle in on a comfortable position, a foul smell seeped into his nose. Something like urine. He immediately stood up and tried to walk away from the area but the smell of urine did not diminish at all. Where is this smell coming from? He looked around in confusion.

    But soon enough, flashes of scenes from the previous night returned to his mind. The fighting, the dirty little waiter, and the ur---

    “Argh!” Xue Qian screamed in disgust as he immediately jumped into the nearby river. He took off his robe and scrubbed himself as hard as he can to remove any residue of urine until his skin began turning red.

    It wasn’t until he heard a chuckle coming from the shore that Xue Qian stopped and turned his head. He saw a young man with a spear laughing at him. “So that smell finally got to you. Funny how comfortable you look sleeping in urine.”

    Xue Qian raised his furrowed his eyebrows, offended that someone is laughing at him. “Who the hell are you and what do you want?”

    “I see. You are just as terrible sober as you are drunk. This is how you treat the one who saved you?”

    “Saved me? I don’t need anybody saving me--AHHH!!” Xue Qian suddenly saw a spear thrusting in his direction and quickly ducked out of the way.

    The spear sliced into the water without splash, a feat only accomplished with effective speed and accuracy. Huo Yuan lifted his spear out of the water, revealing two carps pierced through the stomach wiggling at the tip.

    “Don't tell me you're going to eat that,” Xue Qian winced as he hopped out of the river. He wrung his robe as tight as he can to squeeze out as much water as he can before putting it back on. Still wet, but it’ll have to do for now.

    “We're in Luoyang. If you’re going to eat, go to a respectable restaurant.” He walked towards the city. After walking a few steps, he realized that Huo Yuan had not followed. He turned around, “What at you standing there for? Are you not coming? Hurry up, let's go.”
    Last edited by Ren Ying Ying; 08-02-11 at 05:10 PM.

  16. #16
    Senior Member Allen D's Avatar
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    BACK IN TOWN

    The streets were still bustling from excitement due to the new alliance between Pan and Xiwu. Lanterns, candy, and special memorabilia were selling like hot cakes, in commemoration of the special event.

    The scene now shifts back to Zhao Long Inn. On the roof of the restaurant sat a man by the name of Wang Ai Lang. He was dressed in a dark green outfit, black sash, black shoes. Strong, handsome, features. But he had something very distinguishing about him. Despite looking to be in his late 20's, this Wang Ai Lang was heavily graying.

    Wang Ai Lang was observing the events blow him, unnoticed, "These people sure are a happy bunch. Drinking and eating, not a worry in their lives. Xiang was once like this. These people most likely have no idea how ruthless the conquest against Xiang was....Xiang, Pan's former ally. In their eye's they see their King as a great man, full of great ambition, wanting to expand the territory of Pan, but they do not realize how treacherous he is. I bet Xiwu too will have the same fate as Xiang...Once the King is bored with the princess, Xiwu too will fall.....and once again, many innocent people will lose their lives.....just like Yu (as in Jade)....I must go find the dog of a king," Wang thought to himself.

    Wang then left the roof to prepare for what would lay ahead.
    Formerly DuGu Qiu Bai

  17. #17
    Senior Member IcyFox's Avatar
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    Caution: Intimate Scene

    [Continued from Post 10...]

    AT THE PALACE


    Two days later, in the chambers of the Xiwu Princess Yan Fei'er, she sat at the dressing table with Yue Jiayan sitting next to her, still posing as a maid.

    Yue Fei'er said, "Yanyan, you were right. It did cast a strong spell on the King. But I really couldn't bring myself to do it at first."

    Yue Jiayan said, "Elder Sis, I know it's been hard on you, but you have to do it for the sake of our great Xiwu. Don't worry too much, Little Sis here will do the dirty work for you, and I'll make sure none of the other jealous concubines dare lay a finger on you."

    Yue Fei'er sighed. "Alright, I really hope you can fulfil Father-King's (Fu Wang) ambition soon."

    At this moment, the attendant outside announced, "The King has arrived!"

    Yue Jiayan winked at Yue Fei'er and carried the tea tray. The Pan King walked in and Yue Jiayan gently bowed her head, "Greetings, Your Royal Highness." The King walked right past her and straight towards Yue Fei'er. He completely failed to notice that the beautiful maid bore great resemblance to the Consort he was now smitten with.

    Yue Jiayan's lips curved into a sly smile and walked out as Yue Fei'er gracefully curtsied behind her.

    The King said, "My beauty, hardly a day has gone by without me thinking of you. Even Lady Yi cannot please me the way you do. Right now I want you to give me such pleasure that befits a King again, just like last week."

    Yue Fei'er said, "Your Highness flatters me. As your consort it gives me great fulfilment to please you as a woman deserves to please a King."

    The King cupped her voluptuous bosom and she gave a soft moan. That really turned him on and he quickly pulled her robe apart and let it drop on the floor. She carefully took off his clothes and the pair faced each other completely nude.

    Yue Fei'er knelt down on a cushion and held the King's waist. The King quickly took a step forward and grinned down at her. She licked it lightly and he took a sharp breath. She then stroke it before sucking it gently, making a slurping sound. The King panted as he ran his fingers through her silky hair, pushing her head closer to himself.

    Soon, her head was bobbing back and forth as the King yelled out in ecstasy. When he was done, she pulled her mouth away and licked the deposit off her lips. He then tilted her head upwards and wiped off a drop that had dripped down her mouth as she stared at him captivatingly...

    ***

    Outside, Yue Jiayan heard everything clearly. She chuckled to herself and tossed stones into the fish pond as she schemed her next move.
    Last edited by IcyFox; 08-08-11 at 06:28 PM.

  18. #18
    Senior Member Ren Ying Ying's Avatar
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    While the King and Yue Fei’er were busy enjoying themselves, they had not noticed the masked figure in a night suit crouched on the rooftop watching them. Well, even if they weren’t distracted, they still would not have noticed as this person’s lightness skill can only be matched by top experts. Luckily for them, she was neither an assassin nor a thief. Instead, she was a palace maid.

    Lanxi’s face turned bright red as she watched the actions in the room take place. This certainly wasn’t the first time she had been sent for such a task, but she could not help feeling embarrassed and awkward every single time.

    When Lady Yi had discovered that the King would report to the Xiwu Princess’s court earlier this evening, Lanxi knew she was going to be assigned this task again. As always, Lady Yi likes to keep a close eye on all her competition. She wanted to know everything from how they dressed to who they speak with. Of course, their interaction with the King was most important—every single detailed interaction.

    Sometimes Lanxi cursed herself for training too hard in lightness skill during her youth. Had she been any less skilled, she would never have been assigned such a task. “All those years of training and all I use it for is voyeurism?

    Lanxi sighed. It wasn’t that she felt unwilling to serve Lady Yi for she owes great gratitude to General Yi for saving her and Lanyi from starvation 15 years ago, during the chaotic times of war. They have been serving Lady Yi since then. While Lady Yi was strict in her rules and desires, she had always been good to them. They are more than willing to give an arm, a leg, or even a life to satisfy Lady Yi’s wishes, but the current task at hand really does not sit well with her.

    But, before Lanxi could grumble to herself any further, she noticed two figures approaching the building from a distance.
    Last edited by Ren Ying Ying; 08-03-11 at 03:36 AM.

  19. #19
    Senior Member Guo Xiang's Avatar
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    Outside the palace

    “What? Are you paying?” Huo Yuan mocked. He doesn’t lack money for sure, but he was certainly amused by Xue Qian’s obvious disgust at the wild catch and his rich young master attitude.

    Xue Qian rolled his eyes. He must be some vagrant, Xue Qian decided.

    “Well, if you are that poor, I suppose I can spare you a meal or two.” He scoffed.

    Huo Yuan pulled the fish off his spear and thrust them into his pouch. Xue Qian wriggled his nose in disgust, disbelieving that Huo Yuan’s going to keep them. Noticing Xue Qian’s face, he grinned, “They can come in useful.”

    “I doubt it.” Xue Qian turned his nose up as he walked towards the city, with Huo Yuan following right behind.

    // Hehe. Just a free meal and I gain a bodyguard! Not bad! // Xue Qian smiled.


    In the palace

    It didn’t take long before Lanxi saw whom the two figures were. The man walking ahead was rather young and wore a troubled expression. He wore courtly robes and a headset befitting of a prince. Yet he was no Prince of Pan. He was in fact, Prince Ying of Donghai, who had sought refuge from Pan a few years ago when his royal brothers began fighting among themselves for the Donghai throne which remained empty to date.

    He came to Pan when he was only seventeen. How fast time had passed.

    Lanxi’s eyes went to the man walking behind Prince Ying and her heart soured. Zhou He. She didn’t know which was more annoying – having to see him right after the previous night’s fiasco of a tryst or the voyeurism.

    He sure had passed on the information to Prince Ying fast enough; the young prince was now already at the doorsteps.

    For Prince Ying, this was something he must do, no matter how ashamed he is. The previous King of Pan had promised assistance in reviving Donghai, but his son did not see to fulfilling his father’s dying wish. In fact, he had broken many of Pan’s political standards.

    Now Pan had formally sealed the Xiwu alliance with the royal marriage, the hope of getting the King of Pan to do something was slimmer than before. Surely Xiwu would not allow their most powerful enemy to get back on track only to defy them and their ambitions again. For Xiwu, a weakened Donghai would be the greatest news and they would not want it to regain its strength.

    But what else can Prince Ying do? He has no support back home. If his supporters weren’t dead, they would be in prison or like him, living in exile. He had no armies, and he didn’t even have any money; he was purely living off Pan’s generosity but already that was starting to wear thin.

    He frowned. As difficult as it is, he has to be thick-skinned and keep petitioning to the King of Pan. The last time they met there were signs the King could be giving in soon. Yet he was refused audience for the next one month.... so now he’s here, paying the King a surprise attack so the man would not give him the slip again.

    His fists balled. He must succeed.

    A hand was placed on his shoulder, holding it firmly, and Prince Ying relaxed at the hand’s warmth.

    “Calm down, Your Highness.” Zhou He said in his usual calm and soothing voice.

    Prince Ying unclenched his fists and sighed deeply.

    “Yes, of course.” He smiles faintly at his loyal attendant.

    Taking in a deep breath, Prince Ying turned around the corner and stepped into the courtyard of the palace.

    A strange animal-like sound came from the chambers within, and Prince Ying’s hand went to his sword instinctively.

    “Wait, Your Highness…” Zhou He quickly stopped him. His lord was young and inexperienced, thus was unable to recognise the noise. His eyes shifted to the roof, but there was nothing.

    More groans.

    Sounds like it’s bad timing, he mused.

    “AHHH!” A sharp shriek came from the chambers.

    “That’s a woman’s voice!” Prince Ying was alarmed. “Someone’s in danger!” His hand moved to his sword again as he readies to rush into the chambers for rescue.
    Last edited by Guo Xiang; 08-03-11 at 11:11 AM.
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  20. #20
    Senior Member IcyFox's Avatar
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    Palace Storyline Continued


    Zhou He hurriedly grabbed Prince Ying. "No! Your Highness, that was the King, you must not bother them now."

    Prince Ying asked, "What?? The King is in trouble? Then how can I not go?" He tried to shake himself free.

    Zhou He said, "Aiyah. They are just doing... You know, what a man and woman does. They may be a little noisy but we shouldn't be nosy right now."

    Prince Ying was confused, "Doing what thing? What are you saying??"

    Just then, the doors opened and the King stepped out. Consort Yan Fei'er hugged him lightly from behind and rested her head on his shoulders. He tilted his head backwards and gentle pecked her on the forehead as she stroked his firm chest.

    The King said, "My precious, I'm off now." Yue Fei'er bowed slightly before retiring back into her chambers.

    The King walked out feeling very pleased with himself when he saw Prince Ying again. He laughed, "Oh Prince Ying, what brings you here? Admiring the Moon while having a stroll eh?"

    Prince Ying took a breath before saying, "Your Royal Highness, I really wish to seek an audience with you regarding the restoration of my country Donghai. I'm very grateful for your hospitality all this while but I sincerely beg Your Royal Highness' help."

    The King smiled, "Sure. After tomorrow's Court session, you can come find me."

    Prince Ying cupped his hands and bowed, "Prince Ying thanks Your Royal Highness."

    Prince Ying and Zhou He watched the King stroll off and said together, "Wow that was easy. He must be in a good mood."

    When they realised they were thinking the same thing, they looked at each other and chuckled. At that moment, Prince Ying looked at Zhou He and found him looking back at the same moment. They searched each others' eyes for a while before breaking off their gaze.

    Zhou He stuttered, "Erm, Your Highness... Er it's late. Perhaps you should get some rest..."

    Prince Ying hastily replied, "Uhh yes you're right. I should go." He glanced away and quickly walked off, trying not to let Zhou He see him blushing.

    Zhou He watched Prince Ying's back get smaller with distance and sighed to himself, "The Prince is a handsome man indeed."
    Last edited by IcyFox; 08-03-11 at 07:21 PM.

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