Does that mean LSS has 3 votes and YM has one, since Black Rose doesn't mind either?
Oh yes, Xaari's translation (日月剑谱传奇之前篇) sounds very authentic. Maybe Mel should add it into the thread title/first post.
Does that mean LSS has 3 votes and YM has one, since Black Rose doesn't mind either?
Oh yes, Xaari's translation (日月剑谱传奇之前篇) sounds very authentic. Maybe Mel should add it into the thread title/first post.
I agree that a Chinese title for her story would make it more authentic if the story gets published someday! I hope that day comes soon because it'll make it more likely that it will get adapted into a real drama! (I feel bad for the Wallace fans who only read Chinese, because they are missing out on a really good Wallace story.)
Oh yes! A published version! Although to make it into a drama/movie, someone needs to translate it and post it onto some Chinese fan-fic sites. The greater the number of clicks, the better chance it has of getting noticed and made into a drama/movie. But making it into a drama is a good dream though. Not that I can't already imagine the action and storyline playing through in my brain.
H.Ge-C.Liu and Black Rose - Yea, I'm working on the next chapter. I have 6 pages written so far.
That means the story will NEVER be made into a drama and I won't get to see Wallace as a bandit! I've only heard of people translating Chinese novels into English, not the other way around. I think Xaari even mentioned that someone tried to translate her work into Chinese but gave up because it was too difficult to translate from English to Chinese.Oh yes! A published version! Although to make it into a drama/movie, someone needs to translate it and post it onto some Chinese fan-fic sites. The greater the number of clicks, the better chance it has of getting noticed and made into a drama/movie.
Yea, but wouldn't it be cooler to see Wallace/SCN kiss on screen than to just read about him doing it? Besides, I bet you would prefer to see HG/MJH on screen with...ahem...maybe LSS rather than just read about them.Not that I can't already imagine the action and storyline playing through in my brain.
I will make no comment whatsoever. Back to my mantras/sutras...Besides, I bet you would prefer to see HG/MJH on screen with...ahem...maybe LSS rather than just read about them.
H.Ge-C.Liu and Xaari - Whoa, I almost missed the posts by both of you on page 10! Thanks for giving me some suggestions on the Chinese title for this story! I'm actually very, very touched that you two have gone through the trouble of coming up with titles for me. After much fumbling around (and cutting and pasting onto Google Translate), I've decided to use Xaari's suggestion 日月剑谱传奇之前篇 because it sounds less of a tongue twister. But regardless of which title I use, I want to express my most sincere thanks to both of you ladies. (Now I feel like I REALLY should cast LSS in the story as HG's character's love interest. Keep right on chanting, H.Ge-C.Liu... You may actually get your wish.)
Well, that's just great for Black Rose, but what about the other poor fools who are NOT Black Rose? I guess those people just have to die!Well, SCN melts into a puddle in the presence of Black Rose, so yes, warm and fuzzy.
Ohhh, opps. I guess I forgot to differentiate between Daoist and Daoist priest. Haha.Well, he isn't a Daoist priest, but follows the Dao. Remember the Seven Heroes of Wudang in HSDS? They could marry.
From your quick summaries of the four men in your heroine's life, I get the feeling that they are far from perfect, nor are they the typical romantic heroes I am used to seeing in dramas. I kind of like that. I used to LOVE perfect heroic types, but lately, I have developed a fondness for the flawed male leads who are not necessarily heroic and may be even villainous. I am trying very hard to make my characters in the prequel flawed, but sometimes I think that is an even harder task to do than making them perfect. And I fear that I am making SCN too "perfect" because of my crazed fangirl obsession with Wallace Chung. I want him to be flawed, not perfect.Haha, indeed he taught her for a few months before they were separated for many years. But actually my heroine discovers that during their very first encounter, he recognized that her martial arts resembled his half-brother's, so he didn't teach her out of the kindness of his heart. The original agreement was that he would teach her if she stole some treasures for him, but he never would've followed up on his promise if he didn't have selfish competitive motives as well. (Rivalry between brothers whose mothers had been rivals too, haha.)
Please take your time. School and social life come first. The story will still be around for another few decades. Believe me...I haven't had time to read further, but I'm excited to do so! I love to reread my own stories, so you should pick a nostalgic day to do so too.
The director for Sealed With A Kiss did pretty well with the manhandling scenes, although I thought they were not sexy enough...probably because Wallace Chung wasn't the male lead. Haha.
The chanting may backfire, you know...I will make no comment whatsoever. Back to my mantras/sutras...
Last edited by Melanie; 04-15-12 at 12:18 AM.
I've added the Chinese title to the first post of this thread. Unfortunately, I can't edit the title of the thread.
Last edited by Melanie; 04-14-12 at 11:19 PM.
I just sighed and went on to become a good reader (aka didn't complain. ) when the final product appeared in one of the previous chapters. Although that ad was definitely misleading.Are we still disgruntled about the "false advertising" I made regarding the kiss in one of the previous chapters? Next time, I should just give no warning and blast you girls with a sex scene and just let you blush, blush, blush.
The director for Sealed With A Kiss did pretty well with the manhandling scenes, although I thought they were not sexy enough...probably because Wallace Chung wasn't the male lead. Haha.
The chanting may backfire, you know...
I'm still much more eager for the wuxia, but the kisses/man-handling are great presents too.
I've only skimmed a few episodes of Sealed with a Kiss, but I saw the man handling scenes in the trailer. Now that is a job well done.
I feel like making Tweety's signature face...but I'm holding back.
I am currently quite conflicted because I have finally admitted that my story will never fit into one novel. It's already pushing the novel length limit and I'm barely 25% done. So focusing on just the first 50% is a huge relief, BUT all of a sudden I think my plots in earlier chapters are not as logically sound as I would like nowadays, so I expect a huge rewrite ahead. That's the problem with working on one project for so many years, haha.
Hi, everyone. I actually haven't been feeling very well for the past few days, so I am going to post the two new chapters and get some rest. I'll be back to respond to all of your comments when I feel better. Thank you so much for reading and commenting!
CHAPTER 10 --- DARK NIGHT, PART I
Characters appearing in this chapter:
Wallace Huo Jian Hua---Kuk Wai 曲偉
Sun Fei Fei---Fa Heung Yan a.k.a. Black Rose 花香燕
Cecilia Liu Shi Shi---Bak Yeuk Lam 白弱琳
NORTH STAR TOWN
LAKE BEHIND CHERRY BLOSSOM INN
Into this scene, a tall man clothed in a long midnight blue gown entered, his booted feet sinking into the earth softened by puddles of blood. The man scanned the area, his eyes noting the bodies of the Thousand Snake Black Rose Clan members. Deducing what had happened from the scene in front of him, his heart rate quickened with worry and he quickly leapt over the bodies as he frantically searched for the person he had been looking for in the past three months. Finding no trace of her presence among the dead bodies, he sighed with relief.
Suddenly from behind, he heard the pounding of footsteps. Quickly, he swung around to find an elderly man dressed in a long light gray gown. The elderly man tripped and stumbled over the dead bodies scattered around the perimeter of the lake, his expression a comical combination of disbelief and rage.
“Ahh! Ahh! Ahh!” The elderly innkeeper kept screeching as he stared at the once beautiful lake gracing the rear of his Cherry Blossom Inn. With his feet braced wide apart and his knees slightly bent, he huffed and puffed as his cheeks turned a bright shade of red. “I can’t believe this! Who’s going to clean up this mess? How can this happen? All these dead bodies! All these dead bodies! Who would want to stay at my Cherry Blossom Inn now?”
As the old man covered his face with his hands, moaning, the man in the midnight blue gown agilely leapt over the Thousand Snake Black Rose Clan members’ corpses to reach the elderly innkeeper’s side.
“Grandpa? Grandpa?” Kuk Wai addressed the innkeeper respectfully. “Do you know what happened here?” When the old man ignored him and continued groaning, he asked again. “Grandpa? Grandpa?”
Suddenly, the innkeeper dropped his hands from his face and jerked his head up to glare at Kuk Wai, his expression fuming. “What is it, young man?! Can’t you see that I am grieving here?
Startled, Kuk Wai straightened and cleared his threat awkwardly. “Grieving? Did you lose someone important to you during the battle that occurred here?”
“No, of course, not!” The old innkeeper snapped at Kuk Wai impatiently. “I didn’t lose any PERSON during the battle!” Sniffing indignantly, he punched his fists into the air. “I lost much more than that, young man!” Sweeping his arm in a wide arc, he puffed out his cheeks in frustration. “Look at all this! Look at all the bodies! The reputation of my inn is ruined! RUINED! Who will want to stay at my inn again after hearing about all the ghosts who will now wander aimlessly amongst the cherry blossom groves and the lake?”
“Then you witnessed the battle here?” Kuk Wai leaned down toward the shorter man and grabbed onto his shoulders urgently. “Did you see a young maiden about this tall?” He brought his hand up to the level of his nose. “She is about twenty-years-old. She is very noticeable. Her beauty is like no other in this world...”
Before Kuk Wai could continue any further, the innkeeper cut him off furiously. “Oh, THAT young maiden!” Jabbing his finger in front of a surprised Kuk Wai’s nose, the old man narrowed his eyes. “That maiden and the man with her are the cause of this...this...FIASCO!” He ended up yelling the last word as he gestured violently toward the scattered corpses. “If they weren’t staying at my inn, then those assassins would not have tracked them to my inn, and this whole terrible, terrible tragedy would not have occurred!” Ending on a sob, he covered his face with his hands again, shaking his head. “Oh, my poor Cherry Blossom Inn! I should have just shooed that couple out the door!”
Grabbing onto the innkeeper’s shoulders again, Kuk Wai asked urgently. “Do you know where she went?”
Sensing the deep concern in the young man’s voice, the innkeeper quieted his sobs and glanced up, his eyes shrewd. “I might know where she went... But this old man’s memory is too clouded right now with thoughts about how much it will cost me to repair the damages to my inn...”
Pausing slightly, Kuk Wai narrowed his eyes suspiciously at the innkeeper, understanding the sly old man’s unspoken meaning. Keeping his dark eyes on the old man, he slowly reached into his gown pocket and retrieved two gold ingots.
“Will this be enough to ‘uncloud’ your memory?” Kuk Wai placed the gold ingots into the innkeeper’s hand.
His eyes brightening at the gold, the innkeeper, now suddenly miraculously tearless, closed his fingers tightly over the gold. “When the assassins came earlier this evening, they knocked all my inn guests unconscious. I was...err...” Embarrassed, he paused briefly before continuing. “I was relieving myself in the outhouse when this occurred and hence immediately hid inside a hidden compartment within the outhouse designed for emergencies. From my hiding place, I had a clear view of the lake and of the battle.” He paused long enough to snort. “I must say that I thought that couple was doomed when I saw how outnumbered they were. Dozens and dozens of assassins rushed at that man, who managed to single-handedly slay them in a few minutes.”
Trying not to growl impatiently at the elderly man, Kuk Wai counted to ten to calm himself down. “What happened to the young woman, grandpa?”
“Oh, the sweet young maiden?” The innkeeper pretended to frown in deep thought. After one long excruciating minute during which Kuk Wai had to hold back the urge to shake the innkeeper violently for information, the old man finally looked up and smiled apologetically. “Oh, my. I’m sorry, young man. My memory is not what it used to be. Sometimes, I just need a little...something...to jolt my memory.”
Taking out another gold ingot, Kuk Wai dangled it in front of the innkeeper’s nose. “Will this jolt your memory, grandpa?”
Greedily snatching the ingot from the young man, the innkeeper grinned unabashedly. “Err, yes, I remember now what happened to the maiden. She disappeared in a poof of smoke. Before any of the assassins could reach her, a slender young man wearing a white gown grabbed her and flew off.”
“Which direction did they head toward?” This time, without any urging from the innkeeper, Kuk Wai, not wishing to waste any more time, reached into his gown pocket and deposited another gold ingot into the old man’s hand.
“That way.” The innkeeper gestured vaguely toward the eastbound direction. “They flew off that way. They disappeared so swiftly that none of the assassins were able to catch up to them.”
Even before the old man could finish his statement, Kuk Wai had already somersaulted into the air, his figure rapidly vanishing into the night.
“Thank you for your help, grandpa.” His voice echoed back.
“It is my pleasure, young man.” The old man’s eyes flashed avariciously as he rubbed at the four gold ingots he coaxed from Kuk Wai. “It is my pleasure...”
NORTH STAR TOWN
It had been about two hours since Bak Fei Lung had rescued Yan from the lake behind Cherry Blossom Inn. The darkness, their unfamiliarity of the area, and the vastness of the surrounding woods of North Star Town prevented them from speedily traveling through the dense and mountainous forest terrain surrounding the town. With Bak Fei Lung leading the way, the group trudged slowly up the steep hills, dodging thick tree branches, as they traveled to Seven Flags Manor.
About half an hour ago, one of the Flag Heroes, the one wearing the red robe, had mysteriously separated from the group upon orders from Bak Fei Lung and had not returned yet. Rather than wait for him, Bak Fei Lung continued onward, seemingly in a hurry to return to Seven Flags Manor.
The young master of Seven Flags Manor, though of slender and delicate build, exhibited great stamina as he leapt nimbly over logs and branches and traversed the rocky, hilly terrain easily. Behind him, Yan hobbled on her sprained ankle, her pain intensifying with each step. Two Flag Heroes flanked her, presumably to discourage her from attempting to escape, while the three remaining men trailed behind her in single-file.
Sighing silently to herself, Yan discreetly surveyed her surroundings to assess her chances for escape and observed nothing but nearly complete darkness. The moonlight barely penetrated the thickly woven canopy of leaves blanketing the entire forest ceiling. Only a few pale beams managed to peak through the sparse cracks between the leaves, bathing the pebbly forest ground in a lacy pattern of silver and gray, providing the group with just enough light to travel.
Yan’s throbbing ankle hindered her movements and made her clumsy, and every so often, she would trip slightly over a loose root. Gritting her teeth stubbornly, she refused to ask Bak Fei Lung to stop and rest. Unfortunately, after traveling another few steps, her weakened ankle rolled involuntarily outward and she stumbled forward.
“Ahh!” Yan gasped softly in surprise.
She reached forward trying to steady herself but only succeeded in grasping thin air.
Hearing the commotion behind him, Bak Fei Lung whirled around, just in time see Yan crashing into him. He tried to steady Yan and prevent her from pushing him over, but Yan’s momentum knocked him over, anyway. As they both tumbled to the ground in a tangle of arms and legs, Yan landed on top of Bak Fei Lung, flattening him against the earth.
“Sorry! Sorry, Young Hero Bak!” Yan widened her eyes in shock as she stared down into Bak Fei Lung’s eyes.
Out of breath, Yan turned beet-red with embarrassment. In her haste to untangle herself from Bak Fei Lung, she pushed against his chest, trying to scramble up. The minute her hands touched Bak Fei Lung’s chest, Yan inhaled sharply. Astonished at her unexpected discovery, she quickly withdrew her hands and comically popped upright to a siting position before hurrying to her feet.
Bewildered, Yan gawked at Bak Fei Lung. “Uhhh... Uhhh...”
Dashing to his feet, also, Bak Fei Lung avoided eye contact with Yan, pretending to dust at his gown.
The Flag Hero wearing the yellow robe, who had flanked Yan’s left before she stumbled, immediately rushed forward and positioned himself between Yan and his leader, his body deliberately blocking Bak Fei Lung from Yan’s curious gaze.
“Are you all right, Young Master Lung?” The yellow-robed man asked, clearing his throat.
With his face flaming red, Bak Fei Lung nodded. “I’m fine. I’m fine.” Awkwardly, he gestured to the rest of the Flag Heroes. “Umm, I think we’re all tired. It’s pointless to continue traveling on this uneven terrain in the darkness. Let’s all rest for the night and continue on our way tomorrow morning.”
Momentarily forgetting about her desire to rest earlier, Yan stood rooted to the ground and didn’t even hear Bak Fei Lung’s words. She stared openly at the young “man,” her expression a mixture of suspicion and curiosity.
Acutely aware of Yan’s sudden and obvious fascination with him, Bak Fei Lung cleared his throat uncomfortably. “Clan Leader Black Rose, you should probably rest while you can. We have a long day of traveling tomorrow.”
Shaking herself out of her reverie, Yan nodded absentmindedly, her gaze still focused intently on Bak Fei Lung. “Of course.”
She hobbled over to the edge of a dense cluster of trees and lowered herself gingerly onto a flat, smooth tree stump. Even as she massaged her aching ankle, Yan discreetly glanced in Bak Fei Lung’s direction. Suddenly, the scholarly Bak Fei Lung’s femininity and delicate features made sense. Even if she had not fallen on top of “him,” leading to her accidental revelation, she would have still discovered that “he” was not the real Bak Fei Lung. The true White Flag Bak Fei Lung would not have been so easily knocked over by a petite maiden who had no internal energy left. Lowering her head, Yan smiled slyly yet discreetly. Although the other six Flag Heroes would not be easy to evade, her chances for escape now increased dramatically with the real leader of the Seven Flag Heroes absent.
A few paces away, Bak Fei Lung and the Yellow Flag Hero were huddled together, whispering to each other in hushed, tense voices while the other Flag Heroes stationed themselves around Yan to prevent her from escaping.
“It looks like Fa Heung Yan is starting to suspect that you are not the real Bak Fei Lung, Young Mistress.” The yellow-robed man in his mid-forties threw a discreet glance at Yan, who pretended to concentrate on tending her sprained ankle.
The young maiden disguised as White Flag Bak Fei Lung flicked her fan close, her demeanor seemingly calm and nonchalant. However, the tightening of her grasp around the fan belied her outwardly composed appearance.
“At this point, it doesn’t matter what she suspects.” Bak Yeuk Lam spoke in a low voice to prevent Yan from overhearing. “What is important is that we have initially managed to fool her into believing I am Bak Fei Lung. Without White Flag Bak Fei Lung present, Fa Heung Yan would not have capitulated so easily earlier and come along with us. Now that we have Clan Leader Black Rose within our grasp, we must hastily return to Seven Flags Manor before we encounter more obstacles.”
“But Clan Leader Black Rose of the Thousand Snake Black Rose Clan is not an easy prisoner to take. Our journey back to Seven Flags Manor will definitely be sprinkled with ambushes.” The yellow-robed man, known to his fellow clan members as Uncle Wong, sighed with worry. “From the earlier attack by the Thousand Snake Black Rose Clan members on their own clan leader, it appears that the rumors about an internal war within the Thousand Snake Black Rose Clan are true. If that is the case, Poison Snake will be coming after her younger sister shortly. At least if your elder brother were present, Poison Snake would think twice before attacking. Unfortunately, without your elder brother, who is the most pivotal and strongest member of the Seven Flags Formation, our formation is only at most half as effective. If Poison Snake discovers that there are only six of the seven Flag Heroes remaining, she will not hesitate to exterminate us.”
“Uncle Wong, you know we have no choice but to risk Poison Snake’s wrath. We need Fa Heung Yan’s aid right now, and I am willing to risk everything to get her to Seven Flags Manor.” Bak Yeuk Lam stated emphatically.
“I know, child. I know.” Uncle Wong sighed again. Gesturing subtly to the other Flag Heroes, he vowed, “All of us are willing to give up our lives to bring Fa Heung Yan safely back to Seven Flags Manor. I just worry...”
Before Uncle Wong could finish his thought, the red-robed Flag Hero, who had disappeared earlier, suddenly somersaulted out from within the grove of trees to their right. The minute he landed, the red-robed man hurried over to Bak Yeuk Lam.
Turning slightly toward the man while keeping her gaze mostly trained on Yan, who was now feigning sleep, Yeuk Lam asked, “What have you found out, Red Flag?”
Lowering his voice, Red Flag leaned down and whispered in Yeuk Lam’s ear. “All Thousand Snake Black Rose Clan members sent out to capture Fa Heung Yan are dead. There must be at least fifty to sixty bodies littering the entire lake area behind Cherry Blossom Inn.”
“And Sit Chung Nam?” Yeuk Lam inquired.
“I couldn’t find him.” Red Flag replied.
“He’s gone?” Uncle Wong gasped. “He killed fifty to sixty men and then escaped unscathed?”
The red-robed man nodded, his expression filled with misgiving. “It appears to be so. We all know how notoriously ruthless Sit Chung Nam can be. If he finds us and demands that we return Fa Heung Yan to him, and we refuse, then...”
“Then we must not allow him to discover our location.” Yeuk Lam interrupted firmly. Gazing up at the dark heavens, she made a quick decision right then. “It’s so dark that it is pointless to wander around in unfamiliar territory without any light. We shall rest here for the night. However, there will be no campfires. We don’t want to attract Poison Snake or Sit Chung Nam’s attention. We travel once the first light of dawn arrives.”
Uncle Wong nodded in agreement. “Young Mistress is right. We should rest now rather than stumble around in the dark and attract more unwanted attention.”
“Red Flag, alert the other men of our plans.” Yeuk Lam instructed. “But take shifts guarding Fa Heung Yan. I don’t want her escaping.”
As Red Flag walked off to inform the other Flag Heroes, Yeuk Lam causally strolled over to Yan. Pasting on her most polite, “gentlemanly” smile, she bowed deeply from the waist. As Yan struggled to stand up, Yeuk Lam gestured for her to remain seated.
“Please, Clan Leader Black Rose.” Yeuk Lam shook her head. “Please do not get up. I just want to notify you that we will all be resting here for the night. If there is anything that you need, my men will be happy to assist you.”
Smiling back sweetly, Yan nodded. “Thank you, Young Hero. There is nothing that I need at this moment.”
“Then I shall bid you good night.” Bowing, Yeuk Lam backed away respectfully, leaving two men, one robed in green and the other robed in blue, to stand guard a discreet distance away from Yan.
As Bak Yeuk Lam and the other Flag Heroes not responsible for guarding her settled down onto the ground to rest, Yan leaned back against a large tree trunk and closed her eyes, pretending to sleep. Biding her time, she listened intently to her surroundings, her mind noting every man’s position and distance from the tree stump she was sitting on.
Earlier while Bak Yeuk Lam and the yellow-robed man were deep in conversation, Yan had mentally memorized the layout of her immediate surroundings. She had taken special notice of the sound of crashing water, probably a large river, somewhere in the distance, south of their location. The forest was too quiet right where they were settling for the night. Even if she were able to escape, she would need to run toward the direction of the greatest noise to avoid detection, as a good martial artist would be able to pick up the slightest sound and movement. With the crashing and thundering of the river, she hoped that she would have a better chance of hiding.
With a plan already forming in her head, Yan kept her eyes closed and started counting silently, waiting for the right moment to make her move.
One... Two... Three...
Finally, after she had counted to one-thousand to allow enough time to pass, Yan opened her eyes and scanned her surroundings. The blue- and green-robed Flag Heroes guarding her were seated a respectable distance away from her. Though their eyes appeared to be closed, Yan knew that they were awake and alert from their tense and erect postures. The four remaining Flag Heroes not responsible for guarding her were seated even further away from her, perhaps approximately twenty paces away, presumably to give her some privacy. Their leader was also about twenty paces away, leaning against a tree trunk and breathing softly in slumber.
For a few minutes, Yan silently observed her captors. Briefly, Yan considered staying with this group, as they had been very respectful and polite toward her so far. Traveling with a group would at least provide her some protection if her elder sister appeared. Besides, the Seven Soaring Flags Clan, though no longer an orthodox clan, had a relatively favorable reputation in the martial arts world.
The Seven Soaring Flags Clan had once been a prominent member of the orthodox clans and schools three generations ago. Together with the Heavenly Crane School, the Golden Tiger Clan, the Red Raven Clan, and the Mount Soaring Eagle School, the Seven Soaring Flags Clan had dominated the martial arts world during a time when the Thousand Snake Black Rose Clan had not even existed yet. At that time, the sole non-orthodox group that could threaten the five large orthodox schools and clans was the Floating Cloud Sect. Though severely outnumbered by the five large orthodox schools and clans, the Floating Cloud Sect nonetheless posed a very real threat, as its members three generations ago, like the present day Floating Cloud Sect members, engaged in underhanded guerilla warfare tactics and fought cruelly.
To counter the constant ambushes by the Floating Cloud Sect, Bak Fei Lung’s grandfather, the leader of the Seven Soaring Flags Clan at that time, called for a heroes gathering to select the most capable warrior to lead the five orthodox clans in a unified fight against the bandits. Though the five orthodox clan leaders treated each other as brothers, the majority of the leaders fiercely objected to unifying the schools and clans under one chancellor, for each group wished to maintain its own sovereignty and power. Soon, unrest erupted among the orthodox clans, as the other orthodox clan leaders accused Bak Fei Lung’s grandfather of selfishly trying to consolidate power and usurp the others‘ leadership positions. Hence, the other four clan leaders concocted a plan to rid themselves of Clan Leader Bak.
During a planned attack on the Floating Cloud Sect, the other four orthodox schools and clans withdrew at last minute, leaving Clan Leader Bak and his Seven Soaring Flags Clan members outnumbered with no reinforcements. As a result, the Floating Cloud Sect nearly exterminated the entire Seven Soaring Flags Clan. Only a scant few, including Clan Leader Bak, escaped with critical injuries.
The Seven Soaring Flags Clan mysteriously disappeared from the martial arts world from that point on, until approximately three years ago, when Old Clan Leader Bak’s grandson, Bak Fei Lung, emerged and stunned the martial arts world with his Seven Flags Formation, a technique created by his grandfather but perfected by Bak Fei Lung himself. Because of this formation, Bak Fei Lung quickly earned the respect of even the top and most respected martial artists.
The new Seven Soaring Flags Clan, under Bak Fei Lung’s leadership, was neither orthodox nor demonic. The four orthodox schools and clans initially feared that Bak Fei Lung would seek revenge for his grandfather’s betrayal. Yet, after three years, Bak Fei Lung still paid no attention to the orthodox schools and clans. Rather, the new Seven Soaring Flags Clan kept mostly to itself, while the rest of the martial arts community held its collective breath, unsure if the Seven Soaring Flags Clan was friend or foe.
Then, about four months ago, Bak Fei Lung and his Seven Soaring Flags Clan disappeared from the martial arts world. It seemed that they had gone into seclusion. Some hypothesized that Bak Fei Lung secluded himself to create a new martial arts technique, while others rumored that he must be seriously injured.
Now, considering the discovery of a fake Bak Fei Lung, Yan surmised that the rumors of the real Bak Fei Lung’s injury must be true. Why else would he need someone to impersonate him? Perhaps the Flag Heroes and this Bak Fei Lung impersonator wanted her to heal the true Bak Fei Lung’s injuries, which she might be amenable to doing if they had not tried to force her into returning to Seven Flags Manor with them. Yan, as stubborn and strong-willed as she was, did not like being forced to do anything. Besides, she knew little about these people’s intentions, as they might imprison her forever once they reach Seven Flags Manor.
With her resolve to escape even stronger now, Yan shifted slightly as she kept her eyes trained on the sleeping group of people around her. At her slightest movement, the blue- and green-robed Flag Heroes popped open their eyes and somehow immediately appeared at Yan’s side.
“Clan Leader Black Rose, is there something we can help you with?” The green-robed man inquired politely.
“Oh, I think there is a river over there.” Yan pointed toward the direction of the sound of gurgling water. “I would like to go there to wash up a bit.”
The two men exchanged uncertain glances.
“Please?” Yan hurriedly added. Gazing up at them, she smiled sweetly and innocently. “I would feel so much more refreshed if I could wash up a little. I promise I won’t take long.”
After much deliberation, the two men nodded subtly to each other.
“Fine.” The blue-robed man conceded. “But we will accompany you.”
“Oh, well, of course!” Yan beamed. “I would appreciate your company in this darkness.”
Hugging her travel sack close to her, Yan started hobbling toward the sound of water, with the two men trailing close behind her. The river ended up being rather far way, as it took them nearly half an hour to reach it in the dark. Secretly gleeful as her chances for escape increased the further away from the main group they were, Yan slowly walked over to the river bank, though she kept the two men within her visual field.
In this nearly moonless portion of the forest, the river resembled a wide ribbon of black ink, smooth and flawless in some parts, while bubbling and frothing wildly in other parts. The ribbon of water seemed to snake endlessly through the woods, crawling its way deep into the dark confines of black, wrapping itself around thick groves of trees, before disappearing. So quiet was the night that the sound of turbulent water echoed loudly as it crashed and swirled furiously over the rock formations.
Kneeling down onto the left bank of the river, Yan delicately splashed water onto her face, reveling in the coolness as droplets rolled down her cheeks. Scooping up a handful of water, she sipped, as she deliberately turned toward the two men standing guard over her a few paces away. A rare pale beam of moonlight splashed down onto the spot where Yan was kneeling, bathing her in a hazy, almost otherworldly light. Her deep midnight blue eyes seemed even darker in the night, like endless pools of sapphire. Her damp skin, dewy and soft, glowed in the weak silvery light, while the few droplets of water on her face gleamed like jewels suspended at her jawline. Yan smiled shyly and politely at the two Flag Heroes, her voice sweetly melodic against the fierce gurgling of the river.
“Young Heroes, would you mind...?” Yan asked softly.
Her hands moved to the hemline of her gown, indicating that she wanted to lift up her gown slightly to wash her feet.
For a minute, the men stared at her, stupefied, not even hearing her question. When Yan cleared her throat lightly, the two Flag Heroes finally snapped out of their dream state.
Clearing their throats awkwardly, the men blinked and stuttered in unison. “Of course. Of course, we’ll give you some privacy, Clan Leader Black Rose.”
Slightly embarrassed by their awe with her, the two men hurriedly took a few steps away from the left bank and turned their backs on Yan to give her some privacy. As soon as they were no longer watching her, Yan leapt into the rushing waters, her petite form barely making a sound as the rapids roared past. Soon, the darkness engulfed her as she swam fiercely, keeping herself submerged under water.
ONE MILE DOWNSTREAM
Dragging herself out of the water one mile downstream, Yan panted heavily. She crawled across the river bank, exhausted, as she swiped her wet bangs out of her eyes and wrung the moisture from her long tresses. Unstrapping her ever-present travel sack, she checked its contents, making sure nothing had fallen out during her late night swim. Satisfied that the contents were intact, she tied the wet bundle diagonally across her chest and stumbled to her feet, hopping a little to protect her sprained ankle.
“Men!” Yan muttered under her breath. “They are such idiots sometimes.”
“You’re right. They are such idiots sometimes.” A familiar voice from within the darkness agreed with her.
Freezing, Yan scanned her surroundings...
CHAPTER 11 --- DARK NIGHT, PART II
Characters appearing in this chapter:
Sun Fei Fei---Fa Heung Yan a.k.a. Black Rose 花香燕
Cecilia Liu Shi Shi---Bak Yeuk Lam 白弱琳
Wallace Chung Hon Leung---Sit Chung Nam 薛钟南
Wallace Huo Jian Hua---Kuk Wai 曲偉
Chen Hao---Fa Heung Ling a.k.a. Poison Snake 花香伶
NORTH STAR TOWN
“Men!” Yan muttered under her breath. “They are such idiots sometimes.”
“You’re right. They are such idiots sometimes.” A familiar voice from within the darkness agreed with her.
Freezing, Yan scanned her surroundings. From within thick foliage, a slender form emerged.
Recognizing the person, Yan gave a self-deprecating laugh. “But you’re not an idiot, because you’re not a man.”
Bak Yeuk Lam only smiled in response as she fanned herself calmly.
“You’re pretty clever to be waiting for me here, Miss.” Yan tilted her head slightly as she scrutinized the other woman.
“Since you already figured out that I am not the real Bak Fei Lung, then there is no need for me to continue my pretense. Please call me Yeuk Lam. Bak Yeuk Lam.” Yeuk Lam introduced herself.
“Miss Bak?” Yan processed this information. “Any relation to White Flag Bak Fei Lung?”
“He is my elder brother.” Yeuk Lam explained, a soft smile gracing her lips. Then her expression turned grave. “My clan members and I mean you no harm, Clan Leader Black Rose. We simply respectfully request that you return with us to Seven Flags Manor to assist us in an important matter.” When Yan hesitated, Yeuk Lam earnestly added, “Please.”
Giving Yeuk Lam a long stare, Yan remained silent. Regardless of her motives, Bak Yeuk Lam did save her from the lake behind Cherry Blossom Inn. Reluctantly, Yan nodded.
“All right,” Yan finally agreed. “What is this important matter that you need my assistance with?”
Just as Yeuk Lam opened her mouth to explain, Yan felt a shift in the air.
“There is someone here!” Yan held up her hand to hush Yeuk Lam.
Even as the warning left her mouth, a red palm emerged from within the darkness, aiming straight for Yeuk Lam’s back.
“AHHHHHHH!!!” Yan screamed involuntarily, her voice resonating loudly through the quiet forest.
NORTH STAR TOWN
AT THE OTHER END OF THE FOREST SEVERAL MILES AWAY
“Yan Yan! Yan Yan!” Sit Chung Nam called out, his deep voice resonating loudly in the quiet forest several miles from Cherry Blossom Inn, where he and Yan had first separated.
When only silence answered his calls, Chung Nam clenched his fists tightly as he suppressed the urge to ram them into the nearest tree trunk. Though he appeared unruffled, his posture was tense and a subtle hint of worry could be heard in his voice.
For the past couple of hours, he had been searching the area surrounding Cherry Blossom Inn, at first slowly and meticulously, but when he found no trace of Yan, he started retracing his steps more frantically, praying for her safety. His rational mind told him to rest until morning. His unfamiliarity with the area, combined with the darkness and the vastness of the dense forests surrounding North Star Town, hindered his ability to find her. Daylight would allow him to search for Yan more efficiently. Yet for the first time for as long as he could remember, he ignored logic, refusing to rest while Yan could be in danger.
He briefly thought about rushing off to the Thousand Snake Black Rose Clan to see if she had been captured and dragged back to her clan, but he quickly decided against that plan. It would take at least one day to reach the Thousand Snake Black Rose Clan, even with superior lightness kung fu and without stopping to rest. Yan had only been missing for about two hours, which meant that even if she were captured, she and her captors would not have reached the clan’s territories yet.
Chung Nam started pacing, his tense movements like that of a caged tiger, circling back and forth with carefully suppressed fury. Realizing what he was doing, he halted and closed his eyes, trying to quiet his mind and willing that familiar sense of calm to wash over him. While he attempted to clear his mind of distracting thoughts of Yan, the tiny silver bells on Yan’s ankle bracelet, which he had kept as a keepsake from their first meeting, jingled as the bracelet swayed lightly from his waist sash as a soft breeze swept by. The tinny sound, though barely audible, involuntarily brought a small smile to his lips, as the image of a miffed Yan glaring at him for daring to kiss her flashed across his mind. Then, in the next second, the peeved expression in her eyes was replaced by one of concern for his safety just moments before he left her on the floating log to battle the assassins, and his heart ached as he thought of those beautiful eyes, of his Yan Yan.
Immediately, Chung Nam tried to crush that achy feeling spreading like wildfire within his chest, consuming his calm rational state. He didn’t like this foreign, unwanted feeling of caring for someone, of putting someone else’s well-being and interests above his own. This feeling weakened him, exposed him, stripped him of his common sense, and he hated it with a vengeance!
He had not been this vulnerable since he was nine-years-old. That year, he had found a homeless puppy cowering under a pile of dried leaves in the forest at the base of Floating Cloud Summit, frightened and trying desperately to hide from him. The poor animal was emaciated with straggly fur and had one ear bitten off, likely by another larger and fiercer animal. One whole year with the Floating Cloud Sect bandits had not yet hardened his heart, and his child’s heart softened when he saw the puppy. He coaxed the hungry animal out with some food. He and the puppy became immediate friends over their shared meal of plain buns. When the meal was over, the puppy whined and faithfully followed him back to Floating Cloud Summit.
To a lonely boy with no family and living amongst cruel bandits, that puppy was his best and only friend. He was happy again, an emotion he was afraid to feel ever since his mother had abandoned him. But that happiness did not last long. A few bandits found out about his “laughable” attachment to the puppy, as they put it, and maliciously killed, cooked, and ate his friend. When he found out, he didn’t even shed a single tear. He simply memorized the faces of the three men who had slaughtered his companion and bided his time. From that day on, he stopped making friends, because it was easier to be alone, to care about nobody other than himself.
Five years after his puppy had died, at the age of fourteen and already an accomplished martial artist, he finally found an opportunity to avenge his friend’s death. He turned on those three men while they were out on a raid together. He executed them like the animals they were and left their bodies in the woods for the wolves. As he watched the wolves feast on the bodies, he felt no joy or satisfaction. Rather, he could only feel a door silently close shut somewhere in the deep recesses of his heart, forever locking away his desire to trust, to love.
For the past sixteen years since he had killed those three men, that door in his heart had remained sealed and safely locked...until today when Yan Yan looked at him with those heartbreakingly beautiful eyes filled with concern and spoke two simple words.
Those two simple words pierced through his invisible armor that he had carefully nurtured and wore protectively over his heart all these years. Those two simple words exploded through that sealed door in his heart and lured out his desire to love and trust. Now...now that desire was spreading through his heart and soul like an infection, invading his mind, filling his thoughts with only Yan.
This was unacceptable! His mind screamed at him, and he mentally tried to forcefully close that door to his heart again. But it was too late. The door had already vanished and his heart was exposed and vulnerable again. In his mind, he could hear Yan’s light laughter, feel the softness of her hair, smell her light rose scent. She had somehow found her way into his heart and settled there, refusing to leave.
“ARGH!!!” He growled angrily, his eyes clenched shut.
A long moment passed before Chung Nam opened his eyes and realized his knuckles were wet. Confused, he stared down at his wet, bloodied knuckles. His gaze then shifted to the deep impression of a fist in the tree trunk in front of him. Surprised, as he did not even remember punching the tree trunk, he narrowed his eyes at the tree, his thoughts still in turmoil. Slowly and deliberately, he lifted his right arm and pushed the air with his right palm. A wave of internal energy sailed forward, gliding smoothly like the wind, and decimated the entire tree. He solemnly watched as the tree disintegrated, leaving behind a cloud of dust particles. As the dust particles ballooned out and danced around frantically before landing onto the earth, he suddenly thought of the “fairy dust” Yan had thrown at him the first time they had met in the Forest of Shifting Echoes.
“Where are you, my little fairy?” He whispered to the few dust motes still twirling madly in the air.
Suddenly, as if in answer to his question, Chung Nam could hear the distant tinkling of bells, the hollow ringing sound oddly reminiscent of the melody emitted by the bells on Yan’s ankle bracelet hanging from his waist sash. Narrowing his eyes, Chung Nam tilted his head toward the direction of the sound, listening intently. As the tinkling became louder, he could make out the barely audible swishing sound of something rushing swiftly through air.
Another person was rapidly approaching, and this person was not Yan, judging from the swiftness and precision of this intruder’s lightness kung fu.
Cautiously, Chung Nam waited.
Within seconds, a man robed in a midnight blue gown flipped out from the darkness and landed a few paces from Chung Nam. With his back facing the bandit leader, the man in the midnight blue gown paused briefly.
Keeping his gaze steadily trained on the intruder’s back, Chung Nam crossed his arms across his chest, his feet planted slightly apart. Patiently, he waited for the other man to reveal his identity.
Finally, after a long moment, the man in the blue robe slowly turned and stared directly at Chung Nam.
Silence ensued. The crickets, previously merrily calling out to each other and creating a symphony of high-pitched tones, seemed to have quieted down. Even the wind stopped its whistling through the tree branches, leaving behind an almost deafening silence.
Both men stood as still as statues, as they stared at each other suspiciously across the small forest clearing. For what seemed like an eternity, nobody moved a single muscle or even blinked. They were strangers who had never met before, and yet a thick heavy wall of animosity stood between them.
At that moment, a surprisingly strong gust of wind interrupted the stillness as it swept through the forest clearing, whistling loudly. The delicate ankle bracelet secured to Chung Nam’s waist sash swung back and forth, as if dancing along with the wind, its tiny silver bells jingling furiously in a wild melody. Joining into this frenzied melody were the silver bells on an identical ankle bracelet hanging from the blue-robed man’s waist sash.
Slowly, each man allowed his eyes to drift downward toward the bracelet hanging from the other’s waist sash. Each man’s ankle bracelet swung madly, tauntingly, suspiciously. With eyes narrowed, both men suddenly darted their eyes upward and resumed glaring at each other.
“Who are you?” Chung Nam asked frostily, his arms still crossed across his chest arrogantly, his stance subtly belligerent.
Barely sparing the bandit leader a glance, Kuk Wai concentrated his entire attention on the ankle bracelet dangling from Chung Nam’s waist sash. His mind whirled uncontrollably as a myriad of emotions rushed through him.
When he had heard the bells ringing from afar moments ago, his heart had soared with joy, believing he had finally located Yan after three long months of searching. He had raced through the air, his heart giddy, his mind remembering her infectious smile, his ears filled with her laughter mingling in with the tinkle of bells on her ankle bracelet whenever she danced. But when he finally located the source of the ringing, his heart plummeted. Instead of finding Yan, he found a stranger with Yan’s precious bracelet hanging from his waist sash.
The bracelet swung wildly from the stranger’s waist sash, as if trying to grab Kuk Wai’s attention. He recognized Yan’s ankle bracelet, with the tiny silver bells shaped like swallows. This man, whoever he was, had Yan’s ankle bracelet. That ankle bracelet belonged to a pair of identical ankle bracelets, a custom-designed present by her parents for her twelfth birthday. She treasured those bracelets dearly, especially after her mother’s death, as they reminded her of happier times, when her family was still whole. After her mother’s death, her father changed and became a lifeless shadow of the man he once was, as if a part of him also died with his beloved wife. Shortly after her mother’s death, her father followed. Some said he died of a broken heart after losing his wife. Ever since then, Yan kept those two ankle bracelets with her like priceless treasures.
He still remembered clearly the day she had given him one of the ankle bracelets. He had asked her to marry him, and she had shyly nodded her head, her cheeks flaming. He joked that he would now have to train harder to improve his martial arts skills, so that he could fight off the sea of men who were waiting to steal his incomparably beautiful bride. Yan laughed and informed him sweetly that she only had room in her heart for one man. As a token of her love for him, she gave him her most valued possession, one of the two ankle bracelets. He would carry one bracelet and she would wear the other. She jested that with the bells, she would be able to know exactly where he was, in case he dared to run away from her.
Remembering her words, Kuk Wai smiled sadly, for she was the one who had eventually left him, and even the bells on her bracelet could not lead him to her. Sighing, he shook himself out of his reverie and focused his attention back on the scowling man standing a few paces away from him.
“Who are you?” Chung Nam asked again, the frostiness in his eyes dipping a few degrees further when Kuk Wai did not answer him.
Rather than answer Chung Nam’s question, Kuk Wai imitated the bandit leader’s pose and asked a question of his own. “Who are you?”
Smirking, Chung Nam ignored Kuk Wai’s question but simply lifted his chin and stared insolently at Kuk Wai under hooded lids.
Darting his eyes toward Yan’s distinctive ankle bracelet hanging from Chung Nam’s waist sash again, Kuk Wai pressed his lips together into a thin line. “Who are you and how did you get that ankle bracelet?”
Chung Nam raised one eyebrow disdainfully and threw Kuk Wai’s question back at him. “Who are you and where did you get your ankle bracelet?” He jerked his head toward the identical ankle bracelet dangling from Kuk Wai’s waist sash.
“I’m not answering your questions until you answer mine first.” Kuk Wai retorted.
“And I’m not answering your questions until you answer mine first.” Chung Nam replied just as obstinately.
At an impasse, both men glowered at each other across the forest clearing. The wind had stopped howling by now, and silence, tense and unsettling, again echoed through the night.
One second passed. Then two seconds. Then three.
As the time ticked by, the two men continued their staring contest, each unwilling to budge first and answer the other’s questions.
Four seconds. Five seconds. Six. Seven.
The scream suddenly reverberated from somewhere to the east of the forest clearing, its sound cutting through the silent night like a sharp knife, ripping and clawing through the air, and raising the heart rates of the two men.
Immediately recognizing the voice, Chung Nam and Kuk Wai straightened in alarm.
Unconsciously, they exchanged a knowing glance.
“Yan!” They gasped in unison.
Abandoning their glaring contest, both men somersaulted through the air, heading toward the direction of Yan’s scream...
BACK ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE FOREST
“Watch out! It’s my elder sister!” Yan yelled upon recognizing the red glowing palm. She tackled Yeuk Lam to the ground to get her out of target range.
As both women toppled to the ground, they quickly rolled away, narrowly avoiding a blow just as Poison Snake Fa Heung Ling sank her palm into the earth.
With quick reflexes Bak Yeuk Lam leapt to her feet as Yan hobbled to her feet behind her.
Ling sneered at Yan. “I see you’ve found a new bodyguard.” She spared Yeuk Lam a brief glance before refocusing her attention on her younger sister. “Where’s your other loyal bodyguard, Sit Chung Nam? You’ve abandoned him for someone else so quickly?”
Not bothering to respond to Ling, Yan simply glared icily at her.
With a quick flick of her wrist, Yeuk Lam discarded her fan and pulled out the short stick tucked in her waist sash. The rapidly twirling stick elongated into her elder brother’s signature staff with the white flag attached to one end. Holding the staff upright, Yeuk Lam planted her feet slightly apart in attack position.
Eyes narrowed, Ling stared at the effeminate young “man” through the dark veil covering her face and hiding the fresh scar she had sustained from her battle with Sit Chung Nam previously. Though she did not recognize this scholarly man, she definitely recognized the weapon unique to only White Flag Bak Fei Lung of the Seven Soaring Flags Clan.
“Who are you?” Fa Heung Ling demanded.
Instead of answering her opponent, Yeuk Lam brought her fingers to her mouth and whistled shrilly. Immediately, the other six Flag Heroes somersaulted out from the thick groves of trees and surrounded Ling.
Cautiously, Ling darted her eyes around, observing each man and his colored flag closely. Finally, she drew her lips into a mocking smile.
“Ah, the Flag Heroes of the Seven Soaring Flags Clan!” Ling smirked. “I didn’t expect such an exalted welcoming committee!”
Yeuk Lam smiled coolly in response. Bringing her hands together in a gesture of respect, she bowed politely. “It is my pleasure to meet Clan Leader Poison Snake of the Thousand Snake Black Rose Clan.”
“You must be Bak Fei Lung.” Ling deduced from Yeuk Lam’s weapon, making the same incorrect assumption Yan had made earlier.
Bowing deeply in affirmation, Yeuk Lam flashed Ling her most gentlemanly and charming smile. “Indeed, I am.”
Returning Yeuk Lam’s smile, Ling purred seductively. “Young Hero Bak, it is also my pleasure to meet you today. Under other circumstances, I would love to stay and chat with you and your men, but today, I would just like to retrieve my younger sister and leave. We have some important family business to discuss.”
With her charming smile still in place, Yeuk Lam shifted subtly so that her body completely blocked Yan from Ling’s view, her move discreet but obviously challenging. “Then I must sincerely apologize, Clan Leader Poison Snake. You see, your younger sister has agreed to assist me in a matter, so I’m afraid she cannot return with you to the Thousand Snake Black Rose Clan just yet.”
Ling’s pleasant smile immediately turned ugly upon hearing this. “You dare to interfere with the internal affairs of the Thousand Snake Black Rose Clan? I don’t care who you are. If you don’t move out of the way now, I will kill you.”
“I think you underestimate the Seven Soaring Flags Clan.” Yeuk Lam retorted, her smile becoming frigid.
“And I think you underestimate my Blood Shadow Palm.” Ling sneered.
Without further conversation, Ling lunged forward.
Immediately, Yeuk Lam pushed Yan out of the way and called out to the other Flag Heroes. “Seven Flags Formation!”
The six men somersaulted forward and surrounded Ling, blocking her path to Yeuk Lam. Shifting into a formation resembling a six-pointed star, each man twirled his colored flag rapidly. As the flags spun, their outlines seemed to blur as the flags flashed in and out of focus. The formation moved swiftly, at first appearing to close in on Ling, but then suddenly seeming to burst outward, giving the opponent the illusion of a pulsating star, constantly in motion.
Choosing the “green point” of the star to attack, Ling rushed forward with her palms outstretched. However, before she could reach Green Flag, who was controlling that point of the star formation, he vanished, and the rest of the formation collapsed inward, closing in on Ling. From the corner of her eyes, she detected a hint of green. She swiveled around, just in time to spot the green-robed man reappear on the opposite side of the star formation. While she was preoccupied with the location of Green Flag, a white flag shot toward her from directly above, approaching at a such a rapid speed that the white fabric almost appeared like a gray strip. At that very moment, the all six corners of the star formation folded inward even more, trapping Ling in a tight space, preventing her from somersaulting out of target range of the swiftly approaching Yeuk Lam with her white flag staff.
With no place to retreat, Ling extended her palms upward, forced to receive the oncoming weapon with her bare hands. Punching her left palm upward, she used her palm energy to redirect the trajectory of the staff. With her right palm, she started to unleash her Blood Shadow Palm, aiming for Yeuk Lam’s shoulder as her opponent dived straight down. However, before Ling could successfully complete her stance, Yellow Flag shifted out of formation and stabbed forward with his staff, aiming for Ling’s legs. Reflexively, Ling leapt up, but instead of successfully escaping, she found herself forced back down onto the ground by Yeuk Lam, who twirled her white flag rapidly in a figure-eight above Ling’s head, forming a “lid” with her flag, closing the top of the star formation.
Locked in the formation with each point of the star intermittently and unpredictably lunging forward to jab at her with a flagged staff, Ling clasped her palms together and spun, propelling her body downward into the earth, drilling herself out of the formation. Within seconds, she emerged from the ground a few feet away from the formation.
Immediately, the star formation dissolved and reassembled around Ling again. This time, Ling somersaulted upward before Yeuk Lam could close the “lid” on the formation. Meeting Yeuk Lam in the air, Ling thrust her right palm forward.
“Don’t receive her palm! It’s poisonous!” Yan screamed the warning to Yeuk Lam from below as she watched the battle anxiously a few feet away.
Hearing Yan’s warning, Yeuk Lam immediately withdrew her palm before it contacted Ling’s and stabbed forward with her staff instead. As the staff approached her, Ling grabbed onto one end of the staff, with Yeuk Lam still grasping onto the other end. An internal energy contest ensued as each combatant channeled her internal energy forward. The staff vibrated like a tightly pulled qin string. With her internal energy inferior to Ling’s, Yeuk Lam soon found herself forced backward. Sensing her opponent’s imminent defeat, Ling directed a final wave of energy toward the staff. Within seconds, it splintered and burst into a dozen fragments. Delivering a swift kick, Ling sent Yeuk Lam catapulting backward through the air.
“Young Master!” Uncle Wong called out in alarm.
Immediately, Uncle Wong somersaulted upward and grabbed onto Ling’s right foot, yanking her downward and preventing her from going after Yeuk Lam. The minute Ling landed onto the ground, her palm flashed forward. Before anyone else in the formation could react, Ling punched Uncle Wong on the chest. He skidded backward, blood spilling from his mouth.
“Yellow Flag!” Red Flag hollered.
Running over to Uncle Wong, Red Flag knelt down and lifted up his fallen comrade’s head.
“Are you all right?” Red Flag asked anyway, even though he knew his friend could not be saved.
Meanwhile, Blue Flag somersaulted up into the air and caught Yeuk Lam before she could crash to the ground. Once Blue Flag deposited her onto the ground, Yeuk Lam rushed to Uncle Wong’s side.
“Uncle Wong! Uncle Wong!” She fought back her tears as she cradled his head in her arms.
“Uhhh.... Uhhh...” Uncle Wong sputtered. “I...I’m sorry...I couldn’t protect you...”
“No, don’t waste your energy speaking, Uncle Wong.” Yeuk Lam choked. “You’ll be fine. We have the world’s most renowned healer, Fa Heung Yan, with us. She’ll be able to save you.”
But even as Yeuk Lam reassured him, Uncle Wong could no longer hear. In death, his head rolled to the right, his sightless eyes staring at Ling.
“Hahahahaha!” Ling threw her head back and chortled. “I didn’t even have to use my Blood Shadow Palm, and yet I managed to defeat Bak Fei Lung’s famed Seven Flags Formation. Perhaps Bak Fei Lung and his Seven Soaring Flags Clan are not as scary as they are rumored to be. Hahahahahaha!”
Paying no heed to Ling’s taunting words, Yeuk Lam gently ran her palm over Uncle Wong’s eyes, closing them. Then she slowly rose, her fists clenched tightly at her side.
“Be quiet.” Yeuk Lam commanded softly. “You have the most irritating, shrewish laugh.”
“Make me stop laughing.” Ling challenged, crossing her arms across her chest.
Needing no further invitation, Yeuk Lam charged at Ling, her five remaining Flag Heroes close behind. Unfortunately, without the seventh member present, the Seven Flags Formation could no longer be assembled. Out of formation, Yeuk Lam and each individual Flag Hero’s skills were no match for Poison Snake Fa Heung Ling.
In less than twenty stances, Ling knocked the five remaining Flag Heroes away, leaving only Yeuk Lam. With one precise kick, Ling sent Yeuk Lam flying backward. As Yeuk Lam landed hard onto the ground, Yan hurried over to Yeuk Lam’s side, just as Ling flipped toward her fallen opponent and punched forward with her palm. Quickly, Yan dragged Yeuk Lam back several feet, avoiding the blast of internal energy from Ling. Without giving them a chance to recover, Ling raised her arms in attack position again. Yan glanced up and recognized the opening stance to her elder sister’s Blood Shadow Palm.
“Stand up! Hurry!” Yan pulled Yeuk Lam up to a standing position.
However, before Yeuk Lam could gather herself, Ling shot through the air straight toward Yan and Yeuk Lam. With no time to spare, Yan jerked Yeuk Lam back and positioned herself directly in front of the other woman.
“Lend me your internal energy!” Yan shouted to Yeuk Lam, as she clasped her palms together.
Confused, Yeuk Lam yelled at the back of Yan’s head. “What?!”
“Lend me your internal energy!” Yan repeated, while anxiously eyeing the rapidly approaching Ling.
“Huh?” Yeuk Lam gaped.
“You heard me!” Yan snapped impatiently. “Just do it!”
Yan’s annoyed voice snapped Yeuk Lam out of her bewildered state. Without any further questions, Yeuk Lam channeled her internal energy toward her palms and slapped her hands against Yan’s back. With the jolt of borrowed internal energy, Yan separated her palms, and with a flip of her hands, crisscrossed her wrists. A halo of white light glowed from her hands, enlarging and increasing in intensity. Suddenly, in the blink of an eye, two arms multiplied into four, then eight, then sixteen, and so on, until there seemed to be an optical illusion of one-thousand arms, all moving quickly in concert.
Surprised by her younger sister’s new technique which she had not witnessed before, Ling blinked as she was about to make contact with Yan’s endless number of hands. Randomly choosing two of Yan’s hands, Ling slapped her palms against them. However, she realized too late that she had picked the incorrect hands, as Yan’s two real hands slammed into her shoulders.
Meanwhile, the other five Flag Heroes caught onto Yan’s tactic and somersaulted forward, lining up single file behind Yeuk Lam, who still had her palms plastered up against Yan’s back. In unison, they, too, lent their internal energy to Yan by thrusting their palms against the back of the person in front. The added boost of energy rushed through Yan’s arms and exited with an explosion out her palms, throwing Ling backward, but not hard enough to injure her severely.
Skidding backward, Ling finally managed to steady herself as she braced her hands against a tree trunk.
Ling recovered quickly and smirked, trying to hide her astonishment with her younger sister’s new technique. “Well, well, little sister. You surprise me sometimes...”
Yan forced herself to appear steely and composed, even though she was quivering inside. Knowing fully that if Ling rushed at them again, her older sister would discover that the combined internal energy of Bak Yeuk Lam and the five remaining Flag Heroes were not enough to defeat her. Instantly, Yan began thinking of an escape route.
Feigning confidence, Yan smiled smoothly and shot Ling a condescending look. “Impressed with my Thousand Hand Black Rose Palm technique, dear sister?”
Without waiting for Ling’s answer, Yan moved her multiple arms, as if to attack again. When Ling backed away cautiously, Yan suddenly collapsed her “extra” arms and turned toward the Flag Heroes and Yeuk Lam.
“Run! Hurry!” She started racing off into the woods, even as she screamed the commands to Yeuk Lam and the five men.
Yeuk Lam, instead of taking Yan’s advice, ran toward Uncle Wong’s body, refusing to leave him behind.
However, Red Flag yanked her back and hissed, “Young Mistress! We need to go now!”
“No! We can’t leave him behind!” Shrugging Red Flag off, Yeuk Lam dashed toward Uncle Wong’s body. She tried to drag Uncle Wong’s body along, but he was too heavy.
When Red Flag attempted to pull her away again, she screamed, “NO! I WON’T LEAVE HIM BEHIND!”
Yan and the other Flag Heroes heard the screaming behind them and turned back. Just at that moment, Ling flew toward Yeuk Lam, arms outstretched.
“Watch out!” Red Flag warned and shoved Yeuk Lam aside, taking the blow for her.
The impact tossed him through the air.
Meanwhile, Ling shifted her attention to Yeuk Lam. She somersaulted toward her target, and intending to kill her obstacle with one quick move, swiped her right palm forward.
Knowing Yan and the other Flag Heroes were still too far away to help her, Yeuk Lam grabbed Uncle Wong’s discarded yellow flag staff on the ground and whipped it the right, forcing Ling to withdraw her palm and swivel out of the way. Yeuk Lam then twirled the staff rapidly and swept it at Ling’s feet. Leaping out of the way, Ling twisted through the air and sent a flying kick at Yeuk Lam, who held the staff horizontally in front of her to block the kick. Unfortunately, the internal energy behind the kick proved too forceful for Yeuk Lam to withstand. She stumbled back, and before she could steady herself, Ling sent another flying kick, this time, sending Yeuk Lam catapulting backward like a rag doll. As Yeuk Lam landed with a hard thump onto the ground, Ling immediately somersaulted forward toward her opponent again, going in for the final kill as she raced through the air, her fist punching out.
At that moment, a sword sliced through the air, forcing Ling to back away from Yeuk Lam. Ling backflipped three times and whirled around, trying to locate the source of the interference. The sword cut a wide arc through the air before circling back toward the direction it came from. The owner of the sword leapt upward and smoothly plucked his weapon from the air before landing soundlessly a few paces away from Ling.
“Who are you?” Ling demanded, her eyes narrowed suspiciously.
The man did not answer her. Instead, he quietly stepped in front of the fallen Yeuk Lam, protecting her with his body. He kept his head lowered as he calmly strapped his sword to his back. Then, he slowly lifted his hand and adjusted his bamboo hat...
Last edited by Melanie; 05-03-12 at 07:14 AM.
And now the comments....
Ah! Ah! Ah! It's Liu Shi Shi! I knew you would be nice to your readers! It seems that most of our guesses about the BFL that appeared in the previous chapters were right. 白弱琳. Name sounds very nice! Her character is cute as well, but sometimes quite willful, which instead put others in danger. Overall, her character has made a good impression on me (okay, maybe a small part is because of the actress herself ).
Still have no pity for Kuk Wai though. Now he just reminds me of a whiny child who wants what he has already lost returned to him wholly. Never really had a liking for Ling, and hardly comment on her, so I'll just continue with this tradition.
As always, SCN always manages to tug at my heartstrings. Especially when there was the part talking about his youth, and about him being helpless. Because he was searching for Yan, there wasn't much interaction between the two, but there's definitely heaps of chances for that later on. Even a kid was born, so there must be heaps. I wonder if there are any more real 'steamy' scenes?
MJH's 英雄救美 (Hero saves beauty feat) appearance really made my day. First it was LSS appearing, and then MJH and BYL directly meeting each other for the first time (next chapter).
On a side note, the inn keeper's tantrums were really funny to read about, as well as Kuk Wai's bribing to jog his memory.
I can't photoshop, so here are the original pictures:
Try to visualise LSS' face on Ady An's:
I snipped his picture from a GeShi MV. There's more scenes with HG wearing/holding a bamboo hat and/or sword, but I don't think I should bombard this thread with HG snippings.
Get better soon, Melanie! Wow, you sure wrote a lot! You could've definitely posted one chapter at a time and saved us overeager fans a few days of misery. Thanks for adding so many twists and turns to the story! I wonder if the real Bai Feilong will show up soon? Lucky Yan, with two guys still pining so desperately after her.
Get well soon, Melanie! It's so sweet that you posted chapters for us even though you haven't been feeling well.
First, I want to say that I really like the two new chapters, even though I'm still waiting and WAITING for SCN and BR to meet again and have some romantic moments together (hint hint). :-D
These chapters are a nice blend of action and quiet revealing moments into some of the characters' past. Like H.Ge-C.Liu, I still don't like Kuk Wai, maybe because I'm such a Wallace Chung fan. But honestly, he doesn't elicit much sympathy. He slept with Ling! Can't forgive him for that, especially since there's another hottie (SCN) waiting faithfully in the background. Speaking of SCN, the more I read about him, the less scary he is. Like Xaari said, he's warm and fuzzy. Somehow, I find that really sexy. There's nothing sexier than an evil guy brought to his knees by love. Someone here once said that she liked SCN best when he was injured. Was it genna? Now I totally agree! His vulnerability really makes him likable. He's hot when he's mean, but he's so likable when he's vulnerable. The puppy makes me cry.
LOL! H.Ge-C.Liu finally got her wish! And she's so excited that she even found possible pics of MJH with his bamboo hat and BYL. Personally, I really like how you've portrayed MJH's quiet heroism so far, and the bamboo hat is a great accent piece to help the reader visualize this quiet heroism.
Should we expect a new actor popping up soon as the brother Bak Fei Lung?
Btw, I love the action parts. It's nice to see BR show off a bit of her martial arts prowess even if she has to borrow her internal energy. And nice imagination with the Seven Flags Formation!
And now, the long wait again for the next update. Xaari is right. You should have posted the chapters separately so that we wouldn't be able to greedily read everything at once! You know we couldn't hold ourselves back with another chapter just sitting there and staring at us!
Hey, everyone! Thanks for the well wishes. I'm feeling better, though still a bit nauseous. Sitting around the house has been pretty boring and I'm starting to get cabin fever in major doses.
Anyway, I'm so glad to find so many comments to the new chapters! Thanks, ladies!
I'm glad you're so excited about the confirmation of LSS's addition to the cast. I kind of felt bad when you were so disappointed over the whole DMY thing. Plus, you've been such a good sport posting here so often that I might as well throw her in since I need someone to play Bai Ruo Lin/Bak Yeuk Lam anyway. I laughed when I saw the pics you posted, because I knew you'd be glad about LSS's addition to the cast but never thought you would be SO excited as to find possible character pics. I never even knew Hu Ge had a series where he wore a bamboo hat. What a coincidence. Maybe you could make a poster with the newly added cast for the story. I'll add it to the two posters tweety has already made for me. Ready for some kissy scenes between the two? I'll keep them R-rated, so don't worry.
Actually, the "two" chapters are suppose to be one long chapter, but this other site I post my story at (winglin) does not allow me to post long chapters. Therefore, I had to split the chapter into two parts. Bai Fei Long/Bak Fei Lung will show up soon. He will probably be the last new character to the story. I'm still brainstorming for an actor to cast as Bai Fei Long/Bak Fei Lung. Suggestions, anyone?
I don't think Yan is that lucky, since we all know she will die in a few short years. Perhaps one of SCN's greatest regrets (later on in the story) is his inability to protect and save the most precious person in his life, despite his martial arts prowess. However, I do think, of the two men SCN and KW, SCN is the better candidate. If I were Yan, I would find it pretty hard to forget KW's betrayal, even if it is unintentional on his part.
Thanks for appreciating the quiet flashback moments. I was afraid they would be too boring, but I nonetheless had to add them in to provide some insight into some of the characters' backgrounds. I also had a lot of problems describing the fight scenes in this chapter, so again, thanks for appreciating the Seven Flags Formation and Yan's Thousand Hand Black Rose Palm.
The thing with KW is that even I am not sure if I like him all that much. Therefore, it is no wonder that you and H.Ge-C.Liu have conflicting feelings about him. I don't remember if you've already watched TLTSILY, but KW reminds me too much of Murong Feng in that drama. KW's betrayal of Yan is not entirely his fault, and yet, the cold-hard fact is that he did indeed sleep with Yan's sister (which makes the situation even more awkward). It will be difficult for any woman to forget that. Maybe Yan may be able to forgive his indiscretion, but it will be very hard to forget. With all that said, I am not sure if I am willing to forgive KW. He's not an abominable character, but I don't think he will be the most likable one, either.
By the way, does anyone think the confrontation between KW and SCN is funny? They both just kind of stood there and refused to answer each other's questions. Sort of like they are playing a game of chicken and waiting to see who would blink first.
From your comments, you sound like you're daring me write a steamy scene that will make Xaari blush. Are you trying to get me banished from this forum? Bad, bad, bad!
Thanks for the update! Hope you feel better soon.
I really like BYL and I think Liu Shi Shi is a perfect cast for her. BYL actually kind of reminds me of Zhao Min from HSDS. I hope she gets much more screen time.
As for BFL, ideally I would cast Yuan Hong but I think you already casted him for someone else. Though LSS and YH have so much chemistry that it would be weird for them to play brother and sister. They would be eye-sexing each other too much and may even get a incestuous fan base. :P
My second choice would be Li Dong Xue. He's not that famous but is quite handsome and tall.
It's really hot when SCN goes crazy for Yan, almost like watching Murong Feng destroy the greenhouse in TLTSILY. SCN and KW finally meet and I bet they both suspect that the other is Yan's potential suitor. I can't wait until they reach Yan and this is confirmed. I bet SCN will kiss Yan in front of KW to make him green with envy.
As always, your wuxia scenes are excellent. Keep up the good work!
I think either Li Dong Xue (quite liked his portrayal of Prince Guo in Inner Palace: Zhen Huan Biography) or Yuan Hong would be okay for the role of BFL.
Truth be told, I wasn't purposely trying to find pictures that suited the particular characters-finding the two only took a minute or so. It's most likely because I've watched the parts where Ady An (Heaven Sword Dragon Sabre 09) and HG (The Myth 2010) appear so many times that even their costumes are deeply etched into my mind, which means that I only have to substitute a new face in when a different character with the same costumes come along.
How I wish I could make posters! But pity that I cannot even use photoshop properly, and I'm too lazy and impatient to read through online tutorials. I might try my hand at making posters using some other program (maybe when my schedule is a little less tighter, i.e. week after next), but there's a high chance the result won't be decent at all.
Oh yes! More smooches! First between SCN and BR, and now MJH and BRL! I don't mind if it's not as heated as SCN and BR's kiss. MJH's personality prevents me from thinking about hot kisses between him and his girl-I can only visualise a soft brush of the lips so far, but I definitely won't mind if you decide to take it up a few notches when it actually happens.
Karma hits Mel when she discovers that her story has been made into a series, only to find that Yan Kuan has been casted as the lead instead of her beloved Wallace!
"Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self."
Aww, no new update? Where's Melanie? Aww!
I can just FEEL a romantic, hot scene coming up between SCN and BR! They're long overdue for a romantic scene. Don't you girls think so? I can't stand that they are separated for so long.
I agree with H.Ge-C.Liu that MJH doesn't seem like the type to grab BYL and give her hot kisses. Soft, gentle kisses seem more in character for him. Ooh! I wonder who is going to fall in love with whom first.
Charbydis' comment made me cry! Awww! After following SCN's adventures for so many episodes, I can't imagine anyone else other than Wallace Chung playing him. After all, Melanie was the one who convinced me Wallace Chung was the only one for the role of the sexy bandit. I think poor Charybdis just wants to get Melanie to update her other story. Lol.