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Thread: The Mandate #1

  1. #21
    Senior Member patricia n's Avatar
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    As Huo Yuan and Xue Qian returned to Luoyang, Huo Yuan briefly saw a figure dressed in dark green fleeting across One Hundred Flowers Brothel's rooftop. He focused on the individual’s face but was unsure if his eyes were deceiving him. “Could that be Wang Ai Lang?” wondered Huo Yuan. The features were similar, yet Wang was a young man and this person had too much gray hair to be who he thought he was. Huo Yuan tried to take a better look; however, the figure had already disappeared.

    He was tempted to follow the figure into the brothel, but Xue Qian distracted him, “Can you hurry it up? Zhao Long Inn is quite a distance away! I’m very hungry and the smell of your burnt fish is not helping me.” Xue Qian stretched out his arms and continued to complain, “I had such a terrible sleep last night on that uncomfortable grass and in these now worthless clothes,” thinking about the urine incident, Xue Qian’s agitation increased, “When I get my hands on that miserable waiter, he’ll wish he was never born.” As a count, he commanded respect and fear; people aimed to please him and constantly flattered him. Never had he been so humiliated until he encountered that dirty waiter.

    Just as Xue Qian stepped into the restaurant, Feng recognized him and quickly turned around so that he couldn’t be seen. He started cleaning the tables, all the while inching closer to the back door. Fortunately for him, Xue Qian could not differentiate between the waiters’ backs. All commoners were dirt in his eyes, and he rarely bothered to remember much detail about them. Only those he despised did he bother to remember their faces to make their lives insufferable, especially those he had a vendetta against.

    Huo Yuan saw Feng exit the back door and excused himself, “Go ahead and order. I’ll be right back.” He exited the back door and quickly followed Feng who panicked but was unable to outrun him.

    “What are you doing, following me? I didn’t spill any urine on you!” exclaimed Feng.

    Huo Yuan reached into his pocket and took out one tael of gold, “This is to cover the cost of the damage yesterday,” and handed it to Feng.

    “Huh, what do you know? You actually kept your word,” however, Feng pushed the tael back, “Don’t give it to me. Give it to my boss.” Feng did not wish to reenter the restaurant to hand the tael over.

    Huo Yuan put the tael of gold back into his pocket and guessed, “Actually, I know that you’re afraid to see my companion.”

    “Well, you can’t blame me. He has such a nasty attitude. Instead of being appreciative of my help, he looks like he wants to kill me every time he sees me now.” Feng walked towards the outhouse and squatted down to clean it as the area began to reek strongly from urine and feces scattered everywhere. He also hoped that the smell would encourage Huo Yuan to leave. “This man cannot be a good person if he has such a rude companion,” thought Feng.

    Surprisingly, Huo Yuan followed him and also squatted down, “I’m here to warn you to leave this area for a bit while my companion cools down. He looks like a man of power and is obviously displeased with you.”

    “Aren’t you put off by the smell?” Feng was curious. Most men of Huo Yuan’s status only used the outhouse when necessary and definitely not for conversations.

    Huo Yuan replied, “You can’t use these tricks against me.” While training, he had been through much worse things than people realized, “But I’ll take my leave. I hope the next time I see you, you’re not beaten up.”

    Feng continued to scrub and thought about Huo Yuan’s words, “He has a point. With that spoiled young master here, the prediction will really come true.”
    Last edited by patricia n; 08-04-11 at 08:33 PM.
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  2. #22
    Senior Member IcyFox's Avatar
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    Feng scrubbed for a minute when he realised that Huo Yuan was still standing there despite saying that he was taking his leave.

    Feng stood up and stared at Huo Yuan, wondering, "What does he want this time?"

    Huo Yuan was actually miffed that this dirty kid was trying to use the shit to chase him away despite his good intentions. He decided to teach Feng a lesson by showing this kid that he was not afraid of getting himself dirty.

    Huo Yuan said, "Ah, I'm off."

    As Huo Yuan walked out of the outhouse, he purposely bumped into the little kid. His butt rubbed against Feng's butt as he past Feng. This shocked Feng and he instantly recoiled, turning to face Huo Yuan, glaring at Huo Yuan with his face red with anger.

    Huo Yuan nonchalantly looked down at his robe and said, "Oh it's soiled now. That's alright." He dusted the robe twice and walked back to the restaurant whistling.

    Feng breathed heavily and clenched his fists. He never felt this violated in his life...

  3. #23
    Senior Member IcyFox's Avatar
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    Back at the Palace


    The King of Pan sat through the Court session in a good mood, approving minor matters without a second thought. Once these were settled, he summoned the Xiwu Chief Envoy Zhang Duo Qian.

    The envoy bowed and presented the King with a precious sword, a Xiwu speciality. When the King unsheathed the sword, a cold glimmer greeted the hall and a soft but fluid whistle was heard clearly by everyone present. The blade was thin and flexible, but when the King dropped a brush onto it, the brush split into 2 with little force.

    The King exclaimed, "Good sword! Your King has sent me a great gift indeed. Bestow the envoy with 1000 taels of gold."

    Zhang Duo Qian said, "Thank you, Your Royal Highness. Our King would like to increase trade in Pan's fine horses for our royalty and noblemen. In return, our best blacksmiths will forge more precious swords for Your Royal Highness."

    The King replied, "Sure. And the horse millet? Will your King be agreeable to the price?"

    Zhang Duo Qian said, "Our King has decided to pay double the price Your Royal Highness asks as a gesture of goodwill and strong ties between our nations. Now that Pan and Xiwu are allied against Xiang, our King suggests that our 2 armies be withdrawn from the Pan-Xiwu border and re-deployed in the northern front against the Xiang armies. That would save both our countries a lot of resources and allow us more troops to focus on defeating Xiang and capturing rich bounties."

    The Pan King nodded, "Yes, that's a good idea indeed. My officials, what do you think?"

    The officials broke out in affirmation. "Yes! Good!" "Great Plan!" "Your Royal Highness is wise indeed!" "This pact with Xiwu can only benefit us!"

    However, one young official, the Secretariat of Palace Protocol, Du Zhi Er, protested, "But Your Royal Highness, if Xiwu were to suddenly attack us, there would be no troops between them and Loyang, and with the wide roads and even terrain, their armies can reach Loyang within a day. Your Royal Highness should reconsider."

    The King laughed, "Xiwu just married their beautiful princess to us, and now their King is paying good money for our goods. What's this silly talk of a Xiwu attack? Rubbish!"

    The other officials agreed, mocking at Du Zhi Er for being young and naive. He sighed and said no more.

    The King then said, "Alright, if there's nothing else, Court dismissed!"

    The officials dispersed and the Xiwu Envoy smirked, for he knew that all those officials accepted princely bribes from Xiwu and were safely in its pockets. Just then, he saw Prince Ying briskly walking in his direction and trying to catch up with the King...
    Last edited by IcyFox; 08-04-11 at 09:23 PM.

  4. #24
    Senior Member Ren Ying Ying's Avatar
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    In the Zhao Long Inn
    “I knew it was a good idea not to eat his fish,” Xue Qian mumbled to himself, assuming that Huo Yuan was running to the restroom. He then seated himself on an empty table and called for the waiter.

    When the owner saw Huo Yuan and Xue Qian appearing in his inn again, his stomach churned. Not these two again… Yet, he was afraid to kick them out as he knew it was probably not a good idea to upset either. By the way Xue Qian dressed, he looked like he could be a man of power. Huo Yuan, on the other hand, is skilled enough to bring down the entire inn if wanted to. As he heard Xue Qian called for a waiter, he quickly motioned one of the inn workers to attend to Xue Qian.

    The waiter grimaced as he remembered the fiasco from the previous night. Plus, as a citizen of Pan, he was more than happy with the peace treaty between Pan and Xiwu. Xue Qian’s comments on the King last night certainly didn’t sit well with him. I should’ve called in sick today…

    “Young Master, what would you like?” The inn worker forced a smile as he placed a pot of tea and cups on the table.

    “Bring up a table finest dishes and your best wine,” Xue Qian demanded.

    “Yes. Right your way.” I’ll serve you some of my finest saliva, too.

    “And also,” Xue Qian pulled out a silver ingot and placed it on the table. “Bring me a new set of robes.”

    What is this? We’re not your servants. “Um, we only serve food here--"

    “Yes, young master. We’ll get you a new set of robes.” The waiter was quickly interrupted by the grinning inn owner, who eyed the shining silver ingot.

    “Yes, we’ll get it for you,” the waiter rolled his eyes and quickly walked away, afraid that if he lingered any longer, Xue Qian might come up with a new demand.

    “For as good as the food and wine this place has, they really need to hire better waiters,” Xue Qian mumbled to himself. He scanned the restaurant one more time, to see if there was any sign of Feng. Well, I can't smell him, so he's probably somewhere else...

    Just then, Huo Yuan returned from the back and sat down on the table. Xue Qian immediately wrinkled his nose. “Geez, what did you do? Fall into the toilet?” He then tossed another silver ingot to the inn owner and pointed to Huo Yuan, “Can you get a set of robes for him, too?” The owner happily agreed.

    “I don’t need new robes,” Huo Yuan replied as he poured himself some tea and took a sip. He has been much dirtier during his training and times of battle. “I’m fine with my current clothes.”

    “You may be fine, but your smell is ruining my appetitie.”
    Last edited by Ren Ying Ying; 08-05-11 at 02:20 AM.

  5. #25
    Senior Member Allen D's Avatar
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    Wang Ai Lang had been doing some inteligence gathering within the palace. Learning of the kings habits, and determining what would be the best time to strike.

    "Based on what I heard today concerning Xiang, it's probably best that I kill that King soon ," thought Ai Lang as he walked through the entrance to Zhao Long Inn.

    Just as he was about to walk up the stairs, a familiar figure caught his attention. It was Huo Yuan!!! The son of the general whom he served under while in the Xiang army. He wanted to approach Huo, but feared that doing so would bring unneeded attention to two former Xiang soldiers.
    Last edited by Allen D; 08-07-11 at 03:54 AM.
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  6. #26
    Senior Member patricia n's Avatar
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    “What’s wrong with these men?” Feng was furious, but what could he do? He was only the most junior employee at Zhao Long Inn, the one who was expected to carry out all of the dirty work just to make a meager living to help with the family. Thinking about his family, he realized that it had been a while since he had seen them. His family lived in the outskirts of Luoyang, quite a distance away as they were too poor to live in the capital. How he missed them! If he stayed here, he would surely come across the vindictive young master and his equally obnoxious friend. Nonetheless, if he returned home for a period of time, that might cause concern for his brother and sister in law. He had immense difficulty securing his job given his widespread reputation as the Cursed One. It was only upon his sister’s in law suggestion to mask his true identity and the favor owed to his brother by the owner of Zhao Long did Feng find a job. Perhaps he should stay to observe what would happen the following few days.

    But the Cursed One is a cursed one. Every corner he turned to, he found himself crossing paths with Xue Qian and Huo Yuan. It became too much for Feng to avoid. Were it not for Huo Yuan’s intervention each time, Xue Qian most likely would have crippled Feng. Even the owner of the inn worried for Feng’s safety and suggested that Feng took a temporary leave of absence from his work. Unable to argue with the owner and also because of his gratitude towards the owner for hiring him, Feng decided it was time to go home.

    Unbeknownst to him, his destiny would soon intertwine with another.

    At the east wing of the inn, an elderly gentleman began to gather his belongings. He was convinced that those he sought could be found at Luoyang, yet he had searched high and low to no avail. He even requested help from the one person who never wished to see him. Wu Haocun sighed as he recalled the incident from yesterday.

    ***

    It had already been over a week since Wu Haocun arrived at Luoyang. Within this one week, he had searched throughout the entire city multiple times. He spent countless hours wandering the streets starting at dawn only to return to Zhao Long Inn in the evenings to sleep and then to repeat this routine daily.

    He had explored every part of Zhao Long Inn except for one. Today, he finally mustered the courage and walked through the door of the flamboyantly decorated One Hundred Flowers Brothel. Upon entering, he was greeted by an entourage of heavily made up women dressed in little clothing. He pushed them aside and with a stern expression he asked, “Where is Chen Biyu?”

    One of the younger and more beautiful ladies moved forward and touched him gently before leaning her body against his and whispered, “Why do you want to look for an old maid, a maid who does not pleasure, a maid who does not know how to please her client when you can have a young and obedient woman like me?”

    Wu Haocun politely responded, “Miss, you can speak as many tempting words as you like, but I only want to seek Chen Biyu.”

    The other ladies began to lose interest in him after their multiple failed attempts in seducing him. Realizing they were only wasting their time on him instead of the valuable joy seekers entering the brothel, they ultimately gave up on him and showed him Chen Biyu’s room.

    Entering Chen Biyu’s room, one could observe that the room was simply decorated in stark contrast to the colors and extravagance showered in the common room and entrance, but one would not care much for the room when one could stare at the dazzling beauty sitting in the chair.

    “So you have finally come,” a beautiful voice…one that still haunted him.

    Wu Haocun looked at her. It had been seven years since he last saw her, and she aged very gracefully. Her large eyes that cried so many tears still pierced his heart as she gazed at him with coldness.

    “Biyu, I…” he did not know how to start. If the matter at hand was any less important, he would not have the courage to come there.

    “If you didn’t need my help, would you have still come?”

    “I am ashamed to face you. I…I owe you too much.” He took a step closer to her but still maintained a good distance.

    “You should be ashamed to face me. I have every right to kill you!” With that, Biyu unsheathed a sword and with lightning speed she aimed for Haocun’s heart.

    Haocun easily defended her from the attack and feared that if he tried to pacify her, he would wound her. It was a rather difficult task, for although she was not as highly skilled as he, she was one of the world’s faster sword yielder. Seeing that her moves were getting fiercer and her aim more accurate, Haocun released his flying dagger. Ding. Although Chen Biyu had speed to her advantage, she could not avoid the flying dagger. Wu Haocun’s accuracy was unparalled. One dagger was all it took to break the sword.

    “Biyu,…” he wanted to make sure she was not hurt by the impact. He threw the dagger with little force to avoid injuring her.


    “Don’t call my name. What do you want from me?”

    “I want to know if you have seen any of these people.” He took out the scrolls and showed her the drawings. Chen Biyu recognized one of them; however, her spite towards Wu Haocun motivated her to lie to him, “I’ve never seen either one of them ever. Now leave!”

    He was greatly disappointed. If anyone knew of the whereabouts of foreigners traveling through Pan, it would be Chen Biyu. If she herself had not seen them, what were his chances of finding them? He never would suspect that his true love would lie to him.

    ***

    Thinking about his incident with Chen Biyu and their past, he was filled with much regret. If he wasn’t so foolish and adamant about being the world’s finest pugilist, perhaps they would have been happily married by now. There were so many things he would have changed about his past. But his biggest regret was hurting her and disappointing her time and time again.

    He was so focused on the recent events that he didn’t realize he had loosely tucked the scrolls into his bag and failed to pay attention to his surroundings. As he exited the inn, he accidentally bumped into Feng, causing the scrolls to fall down. Feng helped pick up the scrolls, but then his eyes widened as he recognized one of the drawings. He scanned the paper and read to himself “Wanted by the Kingdom of Donghai, dead or alive. Very large reward.” He immediately panicked.
    Last edited by patricia n; 08-06-11 at 03:17 AM.
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  7. #27
    Senior Member Guo Xiang's Avatar
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    “Your Majesty.” Prince Ying greeted loudly but politely.

    The King heard and turned around. He smiled brightly at Prince Ying who bowed politely to him.

    “Ah! Prince Ying! There you are! This is most certainly a good day, isn’t it?” The King of Pan laughed merrily.

    “Yes, it most certainly is.” Prince Ying agreed. Quickly, he turned to the topic he wanted to talk about.

    “Your Majesty, my apologies I have not managed to congratulate you on your marriage with the Princess of Xiwu. Surely your people must be happy now that the longstanding war with Xiwu is officially over and Pan is growing stronger by the day.” Prince Ying said. In truth, Prince Ying felt rather disturbed by Pan’s growing power and the manner of which it had been achieved. But as a guest he had no right to butt in, and all he could do is to secure support to take the throne of Donghai and rebuild his ancestors’ empire.

    The King of Pan grinned. “Well well, Prince Ying, that’s correct. My people have been celebrating the union. People might think differently and accuse me of working with the enemy, but there is no eternal enemy in this world likewise for friends. Besides, how could I ignore the plight of the commoners just so I could continue wage war against Xiwu?”

    // Besides, that Xiwu Princess is really… // He smirked in self-satisfaction as he remembered the intimate moments he had with Yue Fei-er. So beautiful, so daring and so adventurous. Are all Xiwu women like that?

    “That is great, Your Majesty.” Prince Ying smiles. Now is the chance, he decided. “I too, cannot ignore the plight of my people. Ever since my Father-King passed away, Donghai has been embroiled in internal strife… It pains me to see what is happening to my home country, and most certainly the people of Donghai are suffering. If only Your Majesty could lend me some of your troops and supplies, the internal strife of Donghai can be solved and my people and I will be most grateful to Pan.”

    // Ah, the damnable dreaded topic… // The King of Pan thought, but did not let his face betray his thoughts.

    “Of course I understand. But as you should know, Prince Ying, my troops are currently at the frontline fighting Xiang, and even if I pull back my troops from the West it will take quite some time and most certainly they will have to be directed to the war efforts against Xiang…” The King said.

    Prince Ying was surprised by the news. “… Your Majesty is pulling troops stationed in the West back?”

    “Of course. The war against Xiang is not moving as fast as expected. We do need more troops at the frontline. The troops at the western borders will do good, as they are seasoned and are Pan’s elites.” The King reasoned.

    “But…” Prince Ying was stunned beyond words. Pan was opening itself to Xiwu! It is simply too dangerous!

    The King raised his hand. “I know what you are thinking, Prince Ying. But think of it this way, Pan has just sealed an alliance with Xiwu, and we are beginning an extremely profitable trade. Why would Xiwu make so much effort only to break it at the end?”

    “Then the borrowing of the troops…”

    “It will have to wait.” The King of Pan sighed. “As much as I’d hate to make you continue waiting, Prince Ying, but don’t you think it is better to wait for your royal brothers to drain themselves out before you move in for the kill?”

    Before Prince Ying could reply, a beautiful woman turned in from around the corner.

    “I found you, Your Majesty!” Yue Fei-er laughed as she ran over and hooked her arm with the King’s.

    “Ah, my darling!” The King of Pan was absolutely delighted to see his new favourite consort.

    “Your Majesty, you said you wouldn’t take more than half of the morning before you return to my side!” Yue Fei-er pouted, effectively melting the King of Pan’s heart.

    “I’m so sorry. But there are so many petitions and discussions to go through this morning… Come come, I will make it up to you.” He winked at Yue Fei-er, tickling her chin.

    “Yes… let’s go.” She beamed.

    “Ah, be seeing you another time then, Prince Ying.” The King of Pan smiled, happy to be rid of Prince Ying again. He wrapped his arm around Yue Fei-er’s waist and turned.

    Prince Ying knew that was the end of the discussion and he shouldn’t push on. Tucking his hands into his long sleeves, he bowed. As he bowed, he did not see Yue Fei-er turn to look at him with flames of desire in her eyes.

    After the King and the Xiwu Princess had left, Prince Ying stood up straight and stared ahead.

    // Continue to wait for my royal brothers to drain themselves out before moving in for the kill? You are speaking for yourself, right? // Prince Ying felt a silent anger in him.

    “Your Highness…” Zhou He appeared from behind.

    “You’ve heard everything?” Prince Ying asked.

    “Yes.” Zhou He nodded his head solemnly. Prince Ying flinched at Zhou He’s expression.

    “Boyan… it couldn’t be… you agree with His Majesty?”

    “Yes, Your Highness.” Zhou He replied without hesitation.

    “But his actions went against honour and integrity.” Prince Ying pointed out, unable to accept that even Zhou He took the King of Pan’s side.

    “What is honour and integrity, Your Highness? Whatever you may think, the King of Pan did end a longterm war with Xiwu, a war that hurts the civilians the most. Yes, the King of Pan might have went against honour and integrity, but at the end of the day, he will be remembered as the one who ended the war and the pain. He will be seen as the man who sacrificed himself to secure the best for his country and people. If he succeeds, he might even become the hero who unifies the Central Plains after centuries of disunity and suffering.” Zhou He replied.

    “But…” Prince Ying frowned.

    “Your Highness, which conqueror have their hands clean? To achieve greatness, sometimes you must make sacrifices and not be too sentimental.” Zhou He shook his head. “… If Your Highness is unable to make sacrifices, it will be pointless even if the King of Pan lent us his troops and supplies.”

    “What?!” Prince Ying was stunned at the bluntness of Zhou He’s words.

    “I have a plan that can help Your Highness.” Zhou He said. He had not missed how the Xiwu Princess had looked at Prince Ying earlier on.

    “Which is?” Prince Ying was eager to hear.

    Zhou He shook his head. “… Never mind, please forget about what I’ve said, Your Highness. It’s too risky of a plan.”
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  8. #28
    Senior Member Ren Ying Ying's Avatar
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    Lanxi yawned lazily and rubbed her eyes as she sat up from her bed. Judging by the brightness of her windows, it must be past mid-morning. Because of her hard work in gathering information the previous night, Lady Yi had given her a few days off. Perhaps that was the only positive thing that comes out of all these tasks.

    Lanxi wondered if she should sleep in a little more or find something to eat. In the end, with the warm spring weather and the birds chirping, Lanxi decided it was too good a morning not to be sleeping. She pulled up her blankets again and laid back down comfortably. //Ah, such is the good life...//

    BANG! Lanxi’s doors suddenly flew open. “Lanxi! Lanxi!” It was Lanyi’s voice.

    “Lanyi!” Lanxi whined in annoyance as she pulled the blankets over her head. “Don’t bother me. I’m sleeping.”

    “You little lazy bug. The sun is going to shine on your butt soon!” Lanyi sat down on the bed and pulled Lanxi’s blankets down. “Guess what? Young Master will be returning from the Xiwu border soon!”

    “Young Master? Shouldn’t you be calling him General Yi now? I don’t care where he is going, only you do. I don't get it. Isn't he too young for you??” Lanxi rolled her eye. “So, what is he doing back anyways?”

    Lanyi blushed at Lanxi’s comments but continued to explain, “His Majesty just ordered the troops from the Xiwu border to return and use them to concentrate on the war with Xiang. Since Luoyang is in between the Xiwu border and the Xiang strongholds in the North, the troops will probably stop at Luoyang for a few days.”

    “Withdrawing troops from the Xiwu border?” Lanxi sudden sat up being more alert. “Isn’t that dangerous?”

    “Apparently, Xiwu wants to increase in trade and their desire for strong ties seem genuine. So, His Majesty withdrew troops on goodwill. Plus, Xiwu Chief Envoy Zhang Duo Qian seems to have a way with words and…” Lanyi paused for a moment. “…and His Majesty’s new favor of the Xiwu Princess of the Morning Jade probably made his decision easier…”

    Lanxi frowned, “This isn’t good news for us. The closer the ties with Xiwu, the more favor the Xiwu Princess would receive. We need to inform Lady Yi.”

    ************************************************** ************************************************** ********

    “Is that so?” Lady Yi swirl her cup of tea and watched the tea leaves whirl in circles until they slowly settled to the bottom of the cup. “I suppose it’s been long enough. Perhaps it is time we pay my new ‘sister’ a visit.”

    “Yes, My Lady.” Lanyi bowed and ordered the servants to prepare the sedan to travel to the palace of the Xiwu Princess of Morning Jade.
    Last edited by Ren Ying Ying; 08-08-11 at 11:52 PM.

  9. #29
    Senior Member Guo Xiang's Avatar
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    In the inn

    Huo Yuan was brushing off Xue Qian's comments about his smell and the dirt on him when he noticed a pausing movement not too far away. He turned his head saw Wang Ailang, a man who once served under his father and had dropped by the Huo residence a couple of times before. Huo Yuan remembered that Wang Ailang was one of his father's favoured subordinates so he was sometimes invited home for a drink or chat.

    There were a few times when Huo Yuan exchanged words with Wang Ailang, but it wasn't like they were friends or anything. Vexed and angry that his career was making no headway and his father was never making things easier, Huo Yuan seldom spoke at home. In fact he would usually leave for training in the woods. On hindsight, it might be because of his aloofness that led to his father favouring Wang Ailang who was close to his age.

    Wang Ailang stopped dropping by after his father went missing. There wasn't much reason to... since he was most probably visiting only because Huo Long had invited him. He continued to serve the army and Huo Yuan didn't think much of it, until he heard that Wang Ailang left the military after his wife was killed in a Pan assault.

    He frowned deeply. Unlike him, Wang Ailang was not ostracised in the army or court. He could have continued serving, and could have served with distinction, for his country and for his wife. Instead he left to heavens knows where and for what.

    Huo Yuan glared bitterly at Wang Ailang. One who had the chance to serve his country simply gave up; while he, who so badly wanted to serve, had no chance and was blocked to do so.

    "Hey, you listening to me?" Xue Qian was annoyed that Huo Yuan didn't seem to be paying attention to his gripes. He noticed Huo Yuan glaring and felt a chill down his spine. Following the glare's direction, he saw it was directed at a strapping young man with greying hair, and the young man seems to be looking over too.

    "Uhh... you know him?" Xue Qian asked curiously. He wondered if the man with the greying hair enjoys stinking food, clothes and dirt like Huo Yuan does.

    "Do I?" Huo Yuan smirked. "Do you know what's the biggest irony in life?"

    "Huh?" Xue Qian raised a brow. Why such an odd question out of the blue?

    "It is when there is something you want or want to do so badly, yet it is stolen from you, without a chance for you to defend and protect it. Others has the fortune to have exactly that, but would throw it away without a care as though it is trash. How infuriating is that!" Huo Yuan slammed his fist onto the table, causing the utensils to jump and land back on the table with loud noises.
    Last edited by Guo Xiang; 08-07-11 at 03:57 AM.
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  10. #30
    Senior Member IcyFox's Avatar
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    Palace Scene - Viewer Discretion Advised!

    (Continued from Post #28)

    Lady Yi arrived outside the Xiwu Consort's chambers. Just as she got off the sedan, she heard panting and moaning coming from inside. Suspecting that Yue Fei'er is having an illicit affair, she thought this would be a good chance for her to blackmail Yue Fei'er.

    Ignoring Lanyi and Lanxi's hasty protests, she barged into the chambers and was about to confront Yue Fei'er when she saw the King and Yue Fei'er nude, the latter with her hands tied to the bedpost while the King was dripping candle wax on her abdomen.

    Lady Yi's jaws dropped and she stammered, "Your... Highness... Aren't you at the Court... Session? I... You..."

    The King was taken aback at this sudden intrusion and he was about to punish Lady Yi severely for her audacity when his instincts prevailed.

    The King smiled menacingly, "So Lady Yi also wants in on the fun, eh? Then come!" He dragged Lady Yi to the bed, ripped off her robes as she screamed and pushed her onto the bed nude between Yue Fei'er's spread-eagled legs.

    Yue Fei'er looked back at Lady Yi with meek submission in her eyes as Lady Yi stared at her full bosom and clearly pointed tips. Before she could think, the King shoved her head down into a kowtow position and and her lips came into contact with one tip.

    The King commanded, "Now lick." Lady Yi reluctantly obliged, suckling Yue Fei'er like an infant. Yue Fei'er writhed and moaned on the bed, but with her hands tied she could not move anywhere.

    At the same time, the King groped Lady Yi's chest, his hands stroking up and down as though milking a cow. Instead of being put off by this totally inappropriate and awkward situation, Lady Yi became increasingly aroused. Coupled with Yue Fei'er's sensual moanings, Lady Yi's body gave in against her will because she found the whole thing so erotic.

    Suddenly, the King penetrated Lady Yi from behind and her head jerked forward. Lady Yi screamed in fright because the King went all the way instantly. As the King thrust in and out, Lady Yi felt her sensations building up below and she also began to moan rapidly together with Yue Fei'er.

    Soon Lady Yi could not hold in any longer and yelled out as torrents of spasms were unleashed in her body like streams of Qi that couldn't be controlled. At that moment she realized that the King and Yue Fei'er has yelled out at the same moment. Lady Yi had never experienced this much humiliation, nor this much pleasure, in her life.

    As the King got off, Lady Yi thought, "So it feels so good to be humiliated like this, no wonder the King is completely under this s-l-u-t's spell."

    The King untied Yue Fei'er and stroke her soft silky hair, his eyes completely lost in hers. Lady Yi saw that and quickly felt that she had to push her limits further. Lady Yi's mouth moved below Yue Fei'er's bosom, gently kissing and nibbling downwards, to her torso, below her navel, finally licking between her legs.

    Yue Fei'er took a sharp breath as the King watched in surprise...

    ***

    The three of them, Yue Fei'er, Lady Yi and the King cuddled together in the bed. Lady Yi gently whispered into Yue Fei'er's ear, "Sisters?" Yue Fei'er innocently replied, "Of course," while the King closed his eyes and smiled.
    Last edited by IcyFox; 08-06-11 at 06:25 PM.

  11. #31
    Senior Member Guo Xiang's Avatar
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    “Erm… Your Ladyship?”

    Lady Yi jerked out of her daze and blinked when she saw Lanxi and Lanyi looking at her worriedly. She looked down and examined herself carefully before gazing around her surroundings.

    Her clothes were still on and this was her room.

    She sucked in a deep breath as she recalled what happened not too long ago. Now thinking of it, she had no idea how she could have landed herself in that kind of situation, not to mention even enjoying it. It was… a disgrace.

    “Your Ladyship?” Lanyi tried again. Lady Yi had been behaving strangely ever since she returned from the Xiwu Princess’ chamber wing. What exactly happened to cause the usually spirited Lady Yi to become so depressed?

    “Nothing’s wrong. Both of you, leave the room right now.” Lady Yi ordered.

    Stunned at how Lady Yi suddenly snapped at them, the two maids quickly leaves the room so that their mistress could have her own peace.

    Lady Yi’s face darkened as she watched the doors closed behind her maids.

    That wicked Xiwu Princess! How dare she bring such twisted bedroom ideas into the Palace of Pan, corrupting the King and now even caused her to become involved?! How is she supposed to face anyone if word of such deviant practices spreads out??

    // I must find a way to make her lose favour…! // Lady Yi gritted her teeth.

    ********

    “Ahhh….” Yue Fei-er sighed as she stretched her body in the bathtub. She rubbed at her wrists, where it was still red from the rope tying. Lady Yi’s interruption and participation was completely unexpected, but the effect wasn’t so bad. Though at first she was shocked at how Lady Yi was made to participate, it didn’t take long for Yue Fei-er to adjust to it. She never knew something like that could feel so good.

    Besides, it seems like Lady Yi also enjoyed it very much, and they had formed a sister bond. That isn’t so bad, considering their now ‘unique relationship’ and how Lady Yi was one of the King’s favourite consorts. It’s like gaining an ally!

    As Yue Jiayan poured another bucket of warm water into the bathtub, Yue Fei-er smiles sweetly at her sister. Naturally she had told her sister everything.

    “Don’t you think things are going really well for us right now, sister?” Yue Fei-er asked, obviously pleased at how things are proceeding.

    “Your Ladyship, please do not call me that.” Jiayan replied in a low voice as she glanced at Fei-er.

    “Hmm? But there’s only two of us here.”

    “Walls have ears.” Jiayan warned. She did not want to risk getting exposed. That will make the Xiwu presence in the palace extremely awkward, uncomfortable and dangerous. It jeopardises the little trust they had worked hard to build, and could even destroy the alliance should Pan discover the deception.

    “All right.” Yue-er sighed.

    “Do not be too sure about Lady Yi too. Remember she said that in front of you and the King… Who knows what she really thinks in her heart and mind? It’s best not to let our guard down.” Jiayan advised.

    “Oh well. What can she do anyway? The King loves me so much.” Fei-er scoffed.

    “She can do a lot, especially now that she’s aware of how you are making the King so besotted with you.” Lowering her voice, Jiayan added, “Besides, men are fickle… especially those with power. Your Highness should be very aware of how many consorts have fallen in and out of our own King’s graces over the years.”

    “That… that makes sense.” Fei-er nodded her head in agreement. Those women the Xiwu King got tired of, were either left forgotten in the harem or were mercilessly tossed to the cold palace. Fei-er shivered whenever she thought of it.

    “Your Ladyship should continue to work hard. We have been here for not long so it’s natural to have the King’s attention. But how to maintain it for the coming years is another different thing.” Jiayan placed her hand on Fei-er’s shoulder and gave it a tight squeeze. “But don’t worry, there’s me. I will be here to assist you wherever possible.” She whispered into her sister’s ear reassuringly.

    “Jiayan…” Fei-er was touched. “Don’t worry. I won’t let you and our Father-King down.” She promised.

    Jiayan nodded in approval.

    Fei-er leaned relaxingly in the bathtub. Something struck her mind suddenly.

    “Speaking of which, I saw the Prince of Donghai today. Uhh… what’s his name again?”

    “Prince Ying?” Jiayan offered. She had heard of how Prince Ying of Donghai had been a “guest” at the Palace of Pan for the past few years ever since her first day here.

    “Ah yes! He was… so handsome. Almost beautiful. Very well-mannered too. And his limbs…” Fei-er was almost swooning.

    “Walls have ears, Your Ladyship.” Jiayan reminded.

    “Uhh yes, of course I know!” Fei-er was embarrassed. “I was just saying… erm… He looks like someone you could be interested in. Uhh yeah, that’s what I wanted to say.”

    “All right. Don’t worry about the Prince of Donghai for now. Your Ladyship should just rest well today.” Jiayan said.

    “Okay.”
    Last edited by Guo Xiang; 08-07-11 at 07:03 AM.
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    Yue Jiayan hugged her sister and changed her clothes before leaving the chambers. She then walked over to the Guest House and found the Xiwu Chief Envoy waiting for her with his assistant diplomats.

    They knelt down and said, "Your Highness, after we got your message we immediately prepared for your arrival."

    Yue Jiayan said, "Alright get up! Please don't rouse suspicions. Are you ready to go? How do I look?"

    Chief Envoy Zhang Duo Qian said, "Your Highness, you look just like the junior diplomats here. Sorry we have to trouble you to walk with us instead of sending a sedan."

    Yue Jiayan replied, "That was my instruction anyway. Let's go!" She hopped and skipped along the way, and her followers could not help but smile at how cute she was.

    Soon they arrived at the Pan Premier Gao Si's office.

    Gao Si, the elderly and highly-regarded Premier of Pan, cordially invited them to tea and said, "Envoy Zhang, His Royal Highness the King has instructed me to discuss the details regarding our bilateral troop withdrawal and horse trade. He also wants to consult your Great Xiwu King on the problem of the Yellow River. As you know, the river floods severely when the seasonal rain hits, and since the Yellow River through our Pan territories flows downstream from your Great Xiwu..."

    Zhang Duo Qian said, "Rest assured, our Wise King has already made plans for that. We are aware that the flooding in your Great Pan is partly due to our Xiwu farmers diverting the river for irrigation, but when the rains hit, these irrigation channels burst and release the waters into your Pan lands. We are now constructing dams and dikes along the river in our territory, and we suggest your Great Pan do the same."

    He unrolled a large-scale map of the Yellow River with several markings made at strategic places. "This is where we recommend the dams and dikes should be."

    Gao Si studied the map carefully and nodded periodically. "Yes, you are right. Your Great Xiwu King is wise indeed. We shall do as you recommend."

    Zhang Duo Qian said, "OK I shall take my leave now. I still have to prepare a report for our Wise King." He pointed at Yue Jiayan and said, "This is Guo Xingling, my most intelligent and capable assistant. She will stay behind to discuss the troop withdrawal with Your Excellency. Once the details are settled, we can discuss about the horse trade. Many thanks for your hospitality."

    He cupped his hands and left with the other diplomats, leaving Yue Jiayan and 2 attendants behind.

    Gao Si looked carefully and noted her exquisite features and sweet, innocent eyes peering earnestly back at him. He stared at her delicate and beautiful face and his heart stirred with lust and passion.

    (To be continued...)
    Last edited by IcyFox; 08-07-11 at 05:44 AM.

  13. #33
    Senior Member Allen D's Avatar
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    Zhao Long Inn was not very far from the Pan palace, making it quick and easy for Ai Lang to travel back and forth. He had been following the king unnoticed for the last few days, he seemed to spend most of his time with the Xiwu princess. However tonight, right now, he was in the open.The king had apparently decided to go for a stroll in the palace courtyards and he had only eight soldiers with him.

    "After days of trailing the king, I think this is my chance. If I take him down now, Xiang will be spared and further bloodshed, and that goes for all the other surrounding nations. If Pan turned on Xiang, it will surely turn on it's other "allies." But i'll have to do it fast, I don't want to give them enough time to react to the situation," thought Ai Lang as he looked downon the king from a nearby rooftop.

    As the king was staring intently at the moon, Ai Lang suddenly appeared in front of his face. Startled, staring at the masked figure, the king asked,"Who are you?!?!!?"

    "Just someone trying to prevent more bloodshed...and that starts with you."

    With that, Ai Lang lunged toward the king and released a palm. However the king too was familiar with the martial arts. Though he was not able to avoid the palm entirely, he was able to pivot himself enough so that he would not receive the full force of the palm. Instead of hitting the king in the chest like he wanted, Ai Lang's palm strike landed on the king's shoulder,dislocated it, and knocked him back against a wall.

    "Why aren't you stupid dogs attacking him???!!!" screamed the king in pain.

    Up to this point, the king's soldiers had not had time to react, Ai Lang was too fast. Finally snapping out of it, they encircled Ai Lang, and all together charged at him with their swords. Ai Lang calmly brought his right hand to his waist.
    Just before the swords of the 8 soldiers were able to connect with Ai Lang, he pulled out a sword that had been wrapped around his waist this whole time, and with one swift spin, slit the throats of the 8 soldiers. The movement was so
    swift that there was no blood coming from the cuts, just thin clean lines. The 8 soldiers dropped dead.

    Ai Lang lunged for the king who had a dreadful look on his face. Just as his sword was about to connect with the king, Ai Lang felt two claw-like objects dig into his Shoulders, and abruptly pull him back.
    The whiplash threw Ai Lang to his back. He realized it was too late, the Pan soldiers had had time to react to the situation. But Ai Lang was not the sort to give up, he would still try.

    Ai Lang pulled the two claws from his shoulders, which were now bleeding, and struggled to his feet. When he got up, it looked like he was facing hundreds of soldiers. Some with clawed chains designed to tear their enemies apart, and some with swords.Ai Lang fearlessly charged the enemy, chopping down soldier after soldier. But no matter how many he killed, they kept coming. At this point, Ai Lang was starting to feel the fatigue.
    His very light sword, had started to become heavy, and his shoulders did not help. Ai Lang glanced over at the king and saw that he was now surrounded by his own soldiers, safely guarded.

    "Best to live and fight another day," thought Ai Lang as he ran and leaped over the nearest wall. However, just as he was about to escape from the view of the soldiers, an arrow pierced through the left side of his lower back and came through his stomach. Ai Lang let out a cry of pain, and used all his strength to land on his feet. On the other side of the wall, he could here the king ordering to soldiers to go and find him. Ai Lang painfully pulled out the arrow, and ran back to Zhao Long Inn as fast as he could, despite the great injury. Thankfully it was night time, making it harder for people to notice him.
    Last edited by Allen D; 08-08-11 at 08:20 PM.
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  14. #34
    Senior Member IcyFox's Avatar
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    WARNING: Disturbing Scenes Ahead.

    Continued from Post #32

    Gao Si smiled, "So you're Guo Xingling, eh? I wonder if you're as smart as you're pretty."

    Yue Jiayan coyly looked down and said, "Young maiden (xiao nu zi) doesn't deserve such praise."

    Gao Si felt his heart racing and he said, "Perhaps you would like to come to my study to discuss the troop withdrawal. We have more privacy to talk about state affairs there."

    Yue Jiayan appeared to hesitate before replying, "If that suits Your Excellency, I shall oblige."

    Gao Si stretched his hand out and said, "This way, please."

    Yue Jiayan bade her 2 attendants to wait there while she closely followed Gao Si to his study, her head bowed all the way. He waved and the maids there dismissed themselves and the duo entered the quiet room looking over a secluded garden.

    Gao Si invited Yue Jiayan to sit on the cushion next to him, and they looked at the map of the Northwest Central Plains. He kept sneaking peeks at Yue Jiayan's voluptious figure as he pointed out the Xiwu troop locations.

    Soon Gao Si got bolder and he put his hand around Yue Jiayan's waist. Yue Jiayan softly gasped and turned her head away shyly. Gao Si said, "You are such a beauty indeed. All my life I've had many women throw themselves at me, but none hold a candle to you. Let me share my vast experience with you!"

    He leaned over to kiss Yue Jiayan but she weakly resisted his advances, "No Your Excellency, this is not proper..."

    By this time Gao Si could hardly control himself and he forcefully pulled open Yue Jiayan's robes, exposing her bare chest and heaving bosom like her sister's. He hurriedly removed the rest of her clothes as she meekly protested, leaving her naked lying on top of the map.

    He then undid his robes, revealing his wrinkled chest and blemished skin overstretched in covering his sagging pot belly. He looked down but found that it was not fully at attention, which made him embarassed.

    Yue Jiayan sat up and asked with a mischevious smile, "Having some trouble?"

    Gao Si smiled sheepishly, "Erm, I must be advanced in age..."

    Yue Jiayan said, "That's alright, let me help." She gently pushed him onto the cushion and used her bosom to massage his member. Gao Si's heart was by this time thumping against his chest walls as this hot and demure young maiden was taking control of the situation, nothing like any other woman he had beded.

    Yue Jiayan stroke her bosom along the length of his chest, then used her lips to comb his white goatee. Gao Si grinned and cupped his hands on her bottom, trying to place her on top of his now fully-extended member while Yue Jiayan blushed.

    Just before Gao Si could make his grand entrance, Yue Jiayan suddenly jabbed his accupoint, immobilizing his body. She grabbed his head with one hand and squeezed his nose with another hand, then she forcefully kissed his mouth, completely covering it.

    Gao Si stared at her in shock and he clenched his fists, straining himself vigorously but his struggles were in vain. He tried to shout for help but his muffled grunts were barely audible with Yue Jiayan wrestling his tongue with hers.

    Gao Si could not move at all as he lay there helplessly, his life force slowly ebbing away from him. All his life he toyed with the beautiful women his political power put at his mercy, but never did he expect that he would one day die under the hands of a young nude maiden straddling him.

    Finally, Gao Si stopped struggling and lay still with his eyes wide open. Yue Jiayan got off and smiled. She casually put her clothes on and carefully dressed the dead body in his official attire. She then tossed a rope over the ceiling beam and tied the ends.

    With that Yue Jiayan peeked out of the study doors and softly whistled. Her 2 attendants hurried in and they lifted the body, placing his neck onto the rope. Once secured, they tied his hands behind his back and stuck a note to his body with a knife.

    The trio looked out and saw that the coast was clear, then they closed the door behind them and quietly made their way out.

  15. #35
    Senior Member IcyFox's Avatar
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    Continued from Posts #33 and #34


    By now it was morning, and the Pan King had not slept a wink. The palace physicians were tending to his wounds as he sat there in a foul mood. "Ouch! Watch it!" he snarled as a physician apologised profusely.

    Just then the Guard Captain hurried in and knelt down, saying, "Your Royal Highness, my men have searched the surrounding areas and put up Wanted notices, but we still can't find the assasin. I believe he's highly skilled, so we need more men to apprehend him."

    The King banged the table and shouted, "Useless dogs! I want him dead or alive at all costs! Find him and bring him back or you can bring your own head back to me!" The Guard Captain hastily cupped his hands and ran out.

    Suddenly, more shocking reports came in.

    "Your Highness, Premier Gao is dead! His murderers left a note saying, \\ This is the price you pay for habouring Prince Ying. Stop meddling in our Donghai affairs! // "

    "Your Highness, the General of the Imperial Guard Fan Weiqi is dead! He was poisoned last night!"

    "Your Highness, the General of Xuchang Pass was poisoned yesterday morning!"

    "Your Highness, the General of Weinan Pass was decapitated in his sleep 2 nights ago!"

    The Pan King looked at the messengers in disbelief. He yelled, "Audacious! Despicable! Donghai scoundrels, you have gone too far! How dare you provoke my mighty Pan!"

    The courtiers cowered in silence as the King barked at them.

    Shortly after, the Guard Captain returned. The King tapped his fingers impatiently, "Well? Have you got him?"

    The Captain replied, "No, Your Highness, but we captured the 2 assasins who murdered General Fan Weiqi." He turned to his subordinates, "Drag them in."

    The 2 bound men were shoved into the Court. The King demanded, "Who sent you?!"

    They shouted back, "You blasted king. You dared to collude with the enemy Xiwu and encroached our Great Donghai territory! Our wise Prince Fen, the Donghai Long Wang, shall not let the matter slide!"

    The King shivered with anger, "Execute them immediately!"

    The 2 men were dragged out, still kicking and screaming, and brought to the execution grounds.

    There, in the crowd, Yue Jiayan was dressed as a horse merchant. When the condemned prisoners saw her, they sighed. Yue Jiayan nodded her head. They were actually Xiwu agents Yue Jiayan assigned for this suicide mission, and she had promised that the Xiwu King would take good care of their families.

    They shut their eyes tightly as the sabre fell on their necks, and their severed heads were displayed for the public to witness.

    Yue Jiayan smiled cooly. Everything was going according to plan.
    Last edited by IcyFox; 08-08-11 at 05:31 PM.

  16. #36
    Senior Member Guo Xiang's Avatar
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    By now the story of the attempted assassination and murders had spread like wild fire, invoking panic in Pan’s court. Has Donghai settled its internal problems that it dared to make such a challenge to Pan? If that is indeed true, the situation is not in Pan’s favour with its ongoing war with Xiang, especially so if Xiang and Donghai allied together to fight Pan.

    While Donghai has been embroiled in internal strife for years, the civil wars had not caused the empire to collapse yet, and its highly efficient and mobile armies have left fearsome memories in the hearts of Pan officials.

    Already there were multiple petitions to the King of Pan; some asked to return Prince Ying to Donghai so the issue could be solved, some others advised to kill Prince Ying to avenge the dead and to show that Pan is still a friend of Donghai’s.

    The King angrily casts the petitions to the floor.

    “Rubbish! All rubbish!” The King shouted in court and the officials trembled in fear and worry.

    “All of you are seasoned officials, and this is what you can come up with?! Return Prince Ying to Donghai?! He is our guest! He came here seeking refuge because there was trust in Pan! What will the world say if I sold someone who came to seek protection from Pan?!” The King railed.

    Grabbing another thick roll of petitions, the King threw it to the officials who gasped in fear.

    “These are the worst of the lot! Kill Prince Ying to avenge the dead and prove that Pan is still Donghai’s friend?! Have you bunch become idiots from years of being high ranking officials?! How is this no different from admitting to the world we are frightened of Donghai and is Donghai’s subordinate?? Are you crazy?!”

    “Please be appeased, Your Majesty!” The officials bowed meekly.

    “Appeased! I will be appeased if you bunch of fools stop coming up with such idiotic petitions!” The King fumed.

    A guard rushed in and said, “Prince Ying of Donghai is here!”

    “Good! So he’s finally here. Let him in!” The King ordered.

    Prince Ying stepped into the audience hall, ignoring all the hostile eyes that were on him as he tucked his hands into the sleeves and bowed politely to the King.

    “Ying pays respect to Your Majesty.”

    “Prince Ying, you should know very well why I have summoned you here.” The King said, gritting his teeth.

    “Yes, Your Majesty. It is regarding the assassinations and the attempt on Your Majesty’s life.” Prince Ying replied. So the deaths made so open, it was impossible not to know.

    “Good! Now we can talk!” The King growled.

    (to be continued)
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  17. #37
    Senior Member Guo Xiang's Avatar
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    ”Right now it is important to play the cards right, Your Highness.” Zhou He advised Prince Ying as they walked together to the audience hall. The King of Pan had summoned them to court and it was an expected turn of events after what had happened.

    “Whatever Your Highness says or do in court, will have an effect on Pan’s resulting action, as well as Donghai and Your Highness’s future.”

    “So what do I do? Those are clearly not done by my royal brothers.” Prince Ying shook his head, “That is simply not their style, especially when the situation in Donghai is still the same as ever.”

    “That is true. But Pan will not see it this way.” Zhou He agreed. “But remember, Your Highness. We must practice prudence… even more so at this point…”


    Prince Ying knew there were two ways to doing it; pinning it on his brothers so he could convince the King of Pan to lend troops to him, or deflect the accusations to ensure matters do not spiral out of control, but that could also mean he would lose the immediate chance to take back what is rightfully his in Donghai.

    “Your Majesty, I am truly sorry for your loss.” Prince Ying began.

    “Hmpf! You must have heard, that it is Prince Fen who did this!” The King accused.

    Prince Ying bowed again and replied, “I am sorry, Your Majesty, but that I do not agree with.”

    “You don’t?” The King’s eyes flashed dangerously.

    “Your Majesty, my royal brothers have their hands tied with the situation in Donghai as it is. Even if they do wish for assassination, the target would be I. Yet they chose to go after Pan. That does not make sense. Why would they risk Pan’s ire and a potential war when none of them have full control in Donghai? Besides, Pan is not a random state; Pan has a powerful army and combined with Xiwu’s alliance, any missteps in that sense could cause the destruction of Donghai. I assure Your Majesty that none of my royal brothers are foolish to that extent.” Prince Ying explained patiently.

    “Hmpf. Perhaps they fear Pan would lend troops to you.” The King seethed.

    “True. But won’t those actions actually have the effect of hastening the process?” Prince Ying appealed.

    “That… That is true…” The King nodded, as realization dawned upon him. He would not deny that he was partly angry because none of his officials had thought of taking military action against Donghai. In fact, he was already considering lending troops to Prince Ying to get back at the royal princes in Donghai who dared to issue such a brazen challenge. But now thinking of it, perhaps the challenge was too brazen to be true.

    Prince Ying had a better idea on who the true culprit is, but decided against speaking out because it could turn the tables on him.

    “I wonder, Prince Ying. Why do you not take this chance to request for troops? Surely I would have agreed.” The King questioned.

    “I do not doubt that, Your Majesty, after what happened and since Your Majesty had always the heart to help me.” Prince Ying replied. “But I fear this could be a wicked plot to drive a wedge between Pan and Donghai relations, with the aim to completely do both states in with one move. I certainly will not risk Donghai, but at the same time I do not wish Pan to be in trouble.”

    “Hmm…” The King stroked his chin thoughtfully. “Who then, do you think could be behind this?”

    // For all its faults, Pan’s court had always been peaceful… but just a few days after the Xiwu Princess is here, there is such big trouble already… Surely the biggest winner after all these wars would be Xiwu, who had been silent all these while, with the opportunities to build on its military strength as Pan, Xiang and Donghai squander theirs needlessly… // Prince Ying thought.

    Prince Ying, however, held his tongue.

    He bowed politely. “I must apologise, Your Majesty, but I have no idea. But whoever it is, the intention must be wicked and bears no good will towards either Pan or Donghai.”
    Last edited by Guo Xiang; 08-08-11 at 11:15 PM.
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  18. #38
    Senior Member Guo Xiang's Avatar
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    Tangquan Sect, Jingzhou 唐拳派, 荆州

    The man fell to the ground screaming. There was a ‘thud!’ sound as a bloodied severed hand landed on the ground next to the screaming man.

    “Hah! The best fists in Jing? You couldn’t even hold out for more than five stances!” A young woman scoffed as she whipped her sword to one side.

    The other men present looked on in fear. When the woman challenged their master Tang Yi, known for his powerful palm skills in Jingzhou, they had thought little of her; just another one of those snotty ignorant budding pugilists who thought too highly of themselves.

    Although they were rather impressed with the sword she held – purple decorated with a shiny blade that was purplish in tint but which reflected multiple colours depending on how and where the sunlight landed on the blade – they didn’t think she was this good.

    “What a waste of time. You lot deserves death for this.” The woman raised her sword arm, ready to attack. The men cowered, knowing they would not be the woman’s match even if they teamed up on her. Plus, she had a companion.

    “Yushen, stop.”

    All eyes turned to the woman’s companion, who had remained silent and stood behind for the whole time. Dressed in splendid white robes, he was tall and had golden brown hair and blue eyes. Even though he looked every bit like a foreigner, he spoke their language perfectly, as though he had lived in the Central Plains all his life.

    The man smiled.

    “Yushen, there is no need to waste further energy on these worthless bums. Let’s go.”

    At that, Yushen lowered her sword arm and sheathed her sword. What’s more surprising was that her killing aura had instantly vanished the moment the man spoke.

    “Yes, Master.”

    “Wa… wait!” Tang Yi shouted from the ground. Two of his men were at his side, helping with his wounds. Gritting his teeth to exert control over his body and the pain that is ravaging him, he demanded, “Just who are you people!”

    “What? Losers have no right to demand such knowledge.” Yushen sneered. But her master held out his hand to stop her. He smiles.

    “Do you really want to know?” He asked.

    “I want to know the names and background of those who defeated me!” Tang Yi growled.

    “All right.” He obliged.

    “Master?” Yushen was confused.

    The man stuck out two fingers and swiped straight down, pointing directly at Tang Yi. Tang Yi’s eyes widened for a second before the light goes out of them, and his head plopped aside.

    “Master?!” The men were shocked.

    Yushen nodded once in understanding. So weak, so common, yet dared to be called the best fists in Jingzhou. And even after defeat had the audacity to be insolent. It was only appropriate that he pays for the knowledge with his death.

    “She is Yushen, my sword carrier. And I am Jueqing, Lord of Jiancheng.”

    “What?!” The men were stunned. The woman who defeated their master so easily was only a sword carrier? And this man was the lord of the famed Jiancheng?

    Jueqing looked tenderly at Yushen.

    “Yushen, let’s go. Time to look for more worthy opponents.” He turned and stepped out of the hall. Yushen smiles and follows faithfully.

    Very soon, she was very sure, the whole of Central Plains would know of Jiancheng’s prowess and bow to her Lord.
    Last edited by Guo Xiang; 08-09-11 at 02:40 AM.
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  19. #39
    Senior Member Allen D's Avatar
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    BACK AT ZHAO LONG INN

    Things hadn't gone as Ai Lang had planned. He had been up all night tending his wound, periodically changing the bloody bandages, circulating his chi so that the arrow wound would heal faster. However, a wound like this would take more than a few days to heal. Maybe weeks or even months.

    Ai Lang had a chance to look outside his window on to the street a few times. He had noticed that wanted posters had been put up. Thankfully he had had a mask on at the time, but the poster did mention graying hair. Ai Lang knew he had to leave Pan as soon as he could. Suddenly there was a knock at the door. Ai Lang grabbed his shirt and threw it on his naked upper torso, trying to cove up the wound. Ai Lang walked up to the door and asked ,"who is it?"
    Formerly DuGu Qiu Bai

  20. #40
    Senior Member Ren Ying Ying's Avatar
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    In the Palace

    “Clarify your words, Prince Ying!” One official demanded. “It’s a known fact that the other Princes of Donghai have been resentful towards Pan ever since your arrival. The only enemy of Pan at the moment is Xiang. Are you suggesting that Xiang is the one trying to sow the discord?”

    “But Xiang has always been on friendly terms with Donghai. Even though Donghai is not involved with the war between Pan and Xiang, there is no reason for Xiang to frame Donghai, as a weakened Donghai will not benefit them at all. If anything, Xiang would want to sow discord between Pan and her biggest current ally—Xiwu.”

    “Secretariat Du, if you don’t think it is Xiang, then who do you think it is?” the King asked.

    Du Zhi Er responded solemnly, “Your Majesty, as Prince Ying has stated, going to war with Donghai benefits neither of us as the fighting will weaken both of our military powers regardless of who is victorious. The only ones that benefit are those that want to see both Pan and Donghai weakened.”

    “But there are no common enemies of Pan and Donghai,” another official chimed in. “We have forged a new alliance with Xiwu and Naxi generally does not have any contact with us. Jin, Feng, and the other states are all too small and weak. Even if Pan and Donghai’s armies are weakened, they still do not stand a chance against either of us.”

    Du Zhi Er hesitated for a moment and breathed deeply before saying his next phrases. “We should not rule out Xiwu as a culprit.”

    Suddenly a scroll flew down the hall and hit Du Zhi Er straight in the face, causing his teeth to cut into his lips and blood to drip from both his nose and his mouth. “Ridiculous!” The King exclaimed angrily. “I thought you had made some sense in the beginning but all you came up was this rubbish? Take him out and give him 50 beatings!”

    Immediately, two palace guards entered and grabbed Du Zhi Er by the shoulders and arms to drag him outside of the hall.

    “Your Majesty, perhaps it is best to first hear his reasons!” Prince Ying quickly pleaded.

    “What reasons could be have for such rubbish?” Other court officials began to add in.

    “It’s obvious he has an agenda against Xiwu. He was protesting against a trade and peaceful arrangements to remove troops just yesterday!”

    The King waved his hands to silence the crowd and to order the palace guards to momentarily pause before dragging Du Zhi Er out of the hall.

    “Du Zhi Er, what do you have to say for yourself?” the King interrogated.

    “Your Majesty, they say that in war, there are no friends or enemies forever. We should not put complete trust in Xiwu. Outside of Pan and Donghai, Xiwu is the most powerful state. The one who could benefit the most is Xiwu!”

    “Humph. That is your reason? We have already discussed this yesterday. Xiwu benefits in their allegiance with us because we are a strong state. Perhaps they may have an agenda against Donghai, but there is no reason for them to want to weaken Pan. Use your brain next time! Let those 50 beating teach you a lesson. Take him down!”
    Last edited by Ren Ying Ying; 08-09-11 at 03:16 AM.

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