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Black Butterfly Knot
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Thread: Black Butterfly Knot

  1. #1
    Junior Member raini's Avatar
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    Oct 2006

    Default Black Butterfly Knot 黑蝴蝶结 - A Xianxia (仙侠) Fantasy

    raini 2012. All rights reserved. Distribution of any kind is prohibited.

    In the boundless lands of ancient Pangu, in a time where destiny
    and fate are adrift like dandelions in a breeze, Ying Ru is merely a
    simple-minded girl; daydreams when she wants to, fights jing when
    she's forced to, and focuses on her immortality when she's told to.
    Life becomes infinitely complicated after she encounters a certain
    cold-blooded xian.

    C h a p t e r s --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22

    (These should play, but if they don't, just let me know)

    instrumental 1
    instrumental 2
    instrumental 3
    Fairy2 - Snow Telling Departure
    Chinese Paladin 1 - Asking Love
    Chinese Paladin 4 - Half Unchanged
    Chinese Paladin 5 - Willing Heart
    Life Ripple Effect - Young Love
    Sleepwalking God - 1000 Year Fate
    Ruffian Four - God-slaying Sword
    Hu Ge - Dare to Love
    Zhu Xian 2 - Drunken Love
    Richie Ren - God-slaying Love
    Jin Sha - Portrait of a God

    A u t h o r ' s . R a n t ----------------------------------------------------------

    Hi! This is raini. Please go easy on this story hehe. Will greatly
    appreciate anyone willing to give this a try. Lastly, I am a sappy
    love story writer leaning more on the emo side, but I promise this
    story will be my exception so it will be fairly light-hearted and easy
    read (I hope) even if it's not ram packed with thrilling wuxia action.
    Thank you!

    Last edited by raini; 05-28-12 at 07:44 PM.

  2. #2
    Junior Member raini's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2006

    Default Chapter 1 - Taste of Fear

    [ NOTE: the term 'jing' will be plural (kind of like 'rice' is always plural) unless I add an 'a' or 'the' in front of it. Same goes with the term 'xian' both terms I will actually go over in more detail in the story, so if you haven't figured out what they are, that's fine^^ ]

    In this secluded patch of the world, it is unmistakably the middle of fall. Sunlight filters in between every warm shade of red, orange, yellow and brown imaginable.

    The crisp sound of leaves breaking underneath hurried footsteps accompany the rhythm of harsh breathing. It's probably not an animal since animals most likely won't make this much noise getting around in this area.

    Someone is in a hurry. Perhaps the rapid heartbeats are even loud enough to hear. A rainfall of leaves protest to a sudden disturbance.

    A swath of canary yellow stumbles into the clearing. It's a young girl and she stops to catch her breath, putting her hand at her chest as if it'd help calm down her racing heart. Her waist-long black hair spills over her shoulder as she bends down. Her shoes are nearly ruined, she notices with an unhappy grumble. There's dirt stains all over the bottom of her clothing and her usual neat and charming appearance is completely lost. Her teacher would scold her if he could see her right now, but she's certain that if she told him why she was looking like this, he'd understand. He'd understand, but he'll still scold her.

    Ying Ru straightens up and dusts herself off, throwing her chin over her shoulder to peer behind her. Her breathing is slow and calculated, her eyes narrowed. Anyone can tell that she was waiting for something to jump out from behind the mass of trees. Yet at the same time, dread is written all over her face. She prefers that nothing is going to come running out from there.

    A shaky hand reaches into the small leather bag at her side and grasps around for a thin slip of paper she knows is sitting there. She really doesn't want to use this. It's the last one, so please, please tell her that mad thing lost her trail in the forest. It's not that she doesn't want to hurt it. She'd kill it and rip it into a million pieces if she could, but rather... she's not all that good at this combat kind of thing. She messes it up half the time so as expected, she'd deplete her stack of talismans twice as fast. It's a miracle she's not dead yet. Someone up there must be looking out for her because as bad a caster as she is, the spell always works out when she's certain that she wouldn't be able to escape the fate of being another jing's dinner. Ying Ru shouldn't keep testing her luck like this.

    Ah, you're probably wondering.

    What in the world are jing, you ask? Normal people don't encounter jing on a daily basis. Ying Ru is a special person, but she doesn't know why she is. She would rather not be special. All a sixteen year old girl should be occupied with at this age, the last thing should be running for her life. A normal sixteen year old girl would probably not know a jing even if it were right in front of her, but Ying Ru is different. She's run into enough to want to dig a hole and hide in it forever. She doesn't have time to write an entire book about them, but there really isn't much to say about them. She would even say that jing hold humans on a higher level, like they're afraid. Jing are animals after all. They're simple beings and normally don't become aggressive like this, like Master's dog Fu Fu doesn't get upset unless Ying Ru does something to upset it. Now if someone could explain to her why she always manages to trigger the worst of these otherwise passive creatures, that would be enough for her if she ends up dead by the hands of one.

    The leaves in a nearby bush tremble slightly. Ying Ru's breath stalls in her throat and her hands ball into fists. Her whole body is shaking in fear. This isn't the first time, but each time, she manages to be frightened half to Hell and back.

    Like a blade of lightning, a pure white silhouette streaks across the clearing over her head.

    So it did find her. She was never such a fast runner anyways. They find her. They always do.

    What was a large white fox one minute is now assumed the form of a woman. Her fluttering garments, clean and white like untimely snow, settles to the ground around her feet. Her face is pale and her entire body gives off a sense of deceptive beauty. If Ying Ru wasn't about to be made into this jing's meal, she would surely compliment this unearthly beauty in front of her. She's always been a shallow girl.

    "That was a tiring chase, little girl." The woman muses, sarcasm and grace intermingling perfectly in her voice.

    Ying Ru doesn't reply to the comment, choosing instead to analyze her chances of escaping by dividing the space between the fox and herself to the time it would take for her to successfully cast the dispelling curse.

    "Wha-what do you want from me?" Ying Ru cowardly asks. She might as well make her death an explained one.

    "I should ask you why you are running from me." The fox takes a step towards the frightened Ying Ru. "Let's just say, you don't appeal to my eyes. Is that good enough?"

    Ying Ru sighs. Unsatisfying, her life must be a joke. Even the jing that pursue her can't answer her last dying question.

    Any jing with a decent standing can feel that Ying Ru is a weakling. She can tell that the one standing before probably had a century or two under her belt. She can just imagine her potential. No, she can practically see it with her naked eyes, the qi surrounding the white figure. Can she outrun this one? No, it doesn't seem too possible. She can probably stall it if she can successfully cast that spell and escape by a hairsbreadth, but even chances of that is slim beyond hope. Why, why did she have to forget to ask Master for a few extra talismans this morning before going into the city? It's all her own fault. She has nobody to blame but herself for landing in this situation.

    "Let's not beat around the bush. If you want my life, just come and get it." Ying Ru decides to just wing it. There isn't much she can do at this point anyways.

    "That sounds good." The fox agreed. It's body language and tone is saturated with grace, making it all the more obvious who had the confidence.

    Ying Ru breathed heavily. Her fingers have become stiff from holding onto it for so long. One last talisman, it's all out of her hands if this one ends up wasted or not. She can feel the sweat from her hands passing onto the light, waxy surface of the yellow paper. She can feel the change in atmosphere immediately as the talisman made it's appearance. She can feel that the fox was slightly taken aback.

    Maybe Ying Ru was not as defenseless as she first came off. Why did she run though? Was it a ploy to lead the pursuing jing to a secluded area so as to make the attack more effective? Only Ying Ru can answer that.

    "A talisman." The fox states the obvious. She's waiting for Ying Ru to make a move and at the meantime must be wondering where she could've gotten it. Not many know how to craft a proper talisman these days. More correctly, not many left. It's somewhat of an abandoned occupation. There simply isn't much need for this sort of craft. Who would feel that jing are a threat if they aren't known to attack? When was the last time a conflict involving more than one race happened for that matter? Humans fight amongst themselves all the time for petty reasons, but they are strong in that they can quickly overcome disputes and band together. The jing are the opposite. It is a dead cause for jing to start conflict with humans. Therefore, talismans are nearly obsolete items except for the most insecure souls.

    "Yes, and feel honored that you get to have a taste of it's power before you leave for the underworld." That was a bluff by the way. Whether or not this jing will get to taste it's power would have to depend on whether or not Ying Ru is able to bring it out. It's still unclear who would be heading to the underworld first. Just the thought of that makes Ying Ru cringe inwardly.

    The air enclosed in this ring of trees has become thick and anticipating. Everything is silent save for the occasional leaf hitting the ground.

    Ying Ru swallowed nervously. She let the talisman flutter in the wind, holding only to a corner. It's hard to imagine such a delicate object can hold such immense power even for someone who uses them regularly like her. The self-acclaimed wise man in the city always goes on and on about how it's easy to underestimate someone's capabilities on a mere first encounter. Although rare, how can the jing in front of her possibly overlook the possibility that this harmless little sixteen year old girl have a talisman in hand? Even a hawk would know not to pursue a rabbit into death. Did this fox live long enough to want to try this sort of suffering? Ying Ru hopes against hope that this jing would have the discretion of backing down before anything can happen. That would be the best for the both of them. Would it be too silly a thought to hope for it to come back at a later time? Specifically after she's replenished her stock of talismans?

    Ying Ru closes her eyes, a dangerous act, but it's inevitable. If the fox wanted to attack now, she would be defenseless. Ying Ru needed to concentrate so that she can find that pool of qi inside of her. It's very evasive, unfortunately. She is always envious of Hao Yang and even her ten year old junior who entered under the roof of Master a few years after her. They make this look so easy, so why is it that Ying Ru takes so long simply to tap into some qi? It's like it doesn't belong to her and this is not her body. Beads of sweat lines her forehead. Even a stranger can tell she is using all her concentration to do this simple task. A bystander will immediately grow worried for this young girl, but there is no one to help her even if she screams for help. This is in the middle of a mountain forest too far from home but also too far from the city. No one can get her out of here except herself.

    "Taking a bit long are we?" The feminine voice has gotten a few steps closer to her horror.

    Ying Ru's concentration is being compromised by the untainted fear invading her mind. It makes even the pores on her body stand up. Has it really been that long? That the jing has gotten impatient even? Has she seen through her bluff and concluded that it would be all too easy to finish her off right then and there? Ying Ru swallows, keeping her eyes tightly shut while trying equally hard to keep the uneasiness from further distracting her.

    Another crack of leaves under the fox's feet and Ying Ru's eyes fly open. Now is the time to run again. She's gotten too near. The fear itself is able to make casting this spell an impossible task.

    "So disappointing." Another snide remark by the fox. Even with a talisman, the girl has chosen to run. Are humans always this amusing? No matter, this one was not going to make it out of this forest alive. The pale hands hidden within the broad sleeves of the fox's white robe has become long sharp claws in the mere span of a second. Snowy white fur extended as far as the sleeves revealed. It is a combat stance. The jing was finally going to attack.

    Blood. The silvery claws are now wearing Ying Ru's crimson blood.

    Ying Ru gasped as a blow struck her shoulder from behind. All she can see is a blur. Her body has been flung sideways by the force of the assault. She landed on the ground on her side. Her hand immediately clasps over her freshly injured right shoulder.

    Was she really going to be able to see the next day?

    She wonders as she bites down harshly on her bottom lip, pulling her body up to continue running. The impact had put some distance between her and the jing. There is no hope for hiding anymore since her blood has been spilled. Animals are good at tracking scent, especially blood. Her blood must be all over the leaf carpet by now. All she can do is run.

    Ying Ru can't help but start thinking of useless things. She thinks about Master. She thinks about Hao Yang and that little twerp that always teases her for being weak. She thinks about Fu Fu. She thinks about the city and all the great street food she's tried there. She thinks about the old man and his stories about the xian who fly on clouds and live for thousands of years. It's depressing to think about these things at a time like this, but it can't be helped. She's really going to die this time, isn't she?

    A protruding tree root hooks onto her clothing. Her body hurls into a tree trunk, knocking the talisman out of her hands.


    Ying Ru panics as she watches it drift over the leaves on the ground, settling and then drifting as if playing a game with her. Her heart is hammering away like an enraged wild boar. She grasps helplessly at the air, missing it by hairsbreadths. Tears began to well in her eyes. She has never been this desperate.

    - - - - - -
    Will be right back with ch. 2 shortly!
    Last edited by raini; 05-28-12 at 07:38 PM.

  3. #3
    Junior Member raini's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2006

    Default Chapter 2 - Cold Blood

    Here's chapter 2
    It picks up directly after Chapter 1 so you might want to scroll up a bit to refresh your memory ^^
    Personal replies at the end of the chapter~

    Another clearing of trees, she can see the talisman sitting innocently on the ground. She can finally feel her body calm down as her fingers wrap around the thin slip of paper, the only hope within reach. Maybe it's time to try again. She closes her eyes, holding the talisman out in front of her. Her heart is far from calm and so is the wind combing through her hair and garments.

    As if on cue, the trees opposite her let fall a sprinkle of leaves. A white figure flutters into the clearing. It's another breathtaking entrance. The fox bears her claws again, the red stains along them still evident. A murderous glint is in its eyes. "Hand over your life and I might consider giving you a painless death."

    Ying Ru who has been silent, finally opens her eyes. Something is different in her complexion. Her fingers let go of the talisman and it is immediately caught in a large bubble of glowing, pulsating air. There's no smirk on Ying Ru's face like the one that is painted over the jing's. A string of whispered incantations escape her lips. The bubble grows to twice it's previous size. With qi flowing freely throughout her body, Ying Ru feels that everything is alright again. Another string of incantations flow from her lips, this time to melt the talisman.

    By now, the fox has sensed something amiss. The tables have turned horribly against it. A human girl who can't utilize a talisman correctly is no threat, but the Ying Ru of this moment has already broken through that disadvantage. In all her hundred years of existence, this jing has never encountered a talisman, but it's power isn't something that can't be imagined. Instead of running as Ying Ru would at this turn of events, the fox assumed an unwavering stance. Half of it wanted to see it's power, the other half probably was too prideful to turn it's tail upwards and dash off into the forest in flight.

    The talisman has already begun to dissolve into tiny glittering specks, fusing violently with the ball of qi encasing it. Even a blind man can feel the energy and destruction it can bestow. A last string of incantations leave Ying Ru's chapped lips. The spell is very taxing to use and to add to it, she has already recieved a set of injuries from earlier. She hopes she can stand at least until she can deliver a decent damage.

    The blow came predicted and unpredicted at the same time. Ying Ru is confident it could finish it for the fox, but she didn't expect herself to be thrown back into the air as well. It proved too much for her weakened body to sustain. While the cry of the jing, something human and animistic at the same time, sounded in her ear, she herself felt the bone-cracking impact of her back against the trunk of a tree. Blood seeped out from the corner of her lips. Her whole body hurts badly, as if she had just fell down a cliff. At least she's still alive, she thought. Hao Yang might sigh at the sight of her when she gets back, but at least she isn't dead. Ying Ru doesn't need anyone to protect her, she smiles proudly. Even if she ends up like this from something as small as using a talisman, she managed to keep herself in one piece, didn't she?

    She is really tired. Realizing that her overactive mind has already become so unoccupied as to think about these useless things again, she decides to pull herself up and start heading home for real. She doesn't have another talisman nor the energy to run into another jing.

    Just when she got up, a rainfall of red leaves flutter down from over her head, some landing on her shoulders and hair. She hadn't touched the tree at all. The sound of shuffling reached her ears. Another drizzle of leaves follow.

    She arches her neck up, peering up into the tree behind her. Ying Ru can subtly make out a figure against one of the highest branches. She takes a few steps away and to the side of the tree. Now it was obvious there was something in the tree above her head, more specifically someone. She didn't know how long she stood there just gazing.

    "Are you done staring?"

    A tinge of pink surfaced on her cheeks, but it quickly disappeared. Her face was now a solid frown. "Staring?" She was trying hard not to let her mood plummet further. If she had another talisman she might consider using it on this cold blooded person. Who sits on a tree and watches a girl risk her life trying to dispel a jing? She doesn't even want to wonder how long he has been watching. She is just bitter.

    "Yes, staring." The figure sits up from the comfortable reclining position on the branch and returns her gaze. "It's rude."

    A crease formed between her eyes. Maybe it's because Ying Ru was already in such a bad mood. She did, after all, almost lose her life and now a stranger is mocking her. Her mood can't possibly get any better. "I apologize." She snaps, her tone not reflecting an ounce of sincerity. "Enjoy whatever you were doing." She really doesn't want to spend another second maintaining this awful conversation.

    The figure seems to have a problem with that though. The tree gave a tremble and leaves poured over her head, drifting in every direction. It's quite beautiful a sight actually, but unfortunately Ying Ru's mood is not to par.

    A fluttering of white and silver blinded her eyes for a moment, accompanied by a soft chorus of unseen bells. Instead of a tree's trunk, she is now face to face with the figure who was on the tree just seconds ago.

    Is there a face that will completely push all thoughts out of a person's mind?

    If Ying Ru wasn't staring, like this person had claimed a moment ago, then she is shamelessly staring at this moment. A pair of striking eyes set on a face with features that can only be described as elegant, beautiful in male terms stared unblinkingly back at her. It's a picture where shame does not exist, or so it looks. No matter how many beautiful people she has seen in all her sixteen years of life, they would not add up to the creature in front of her. This kind of beauty should be wrapped up in cloth and locked away forever in a place with no sunlight. Such a bewitching face, simply walking around will be a threat to the faint-hearted. Ying Ru has forgotten to breathe.

    "It's too late. You've disrupted my rest. How can I let that pass?" A low voice asked. It took her a few seconds to get back into her body and comprehend that the person in front of her was speaking.

    So that was what he was doing up there not coming to her aid like a man. She would really have to bring down her expectations. Simply resembling a man does not equate to being a man and in no way upholding to what makes a man a man. But still, it would have been perfect if he had come to her aid. She took a careful look at him again, this time from head to toe. He was dressed in a clean white robe. The front and bottom edges are embroidered with a thick, silver spiraling pattern. A large butterfly knot hung from his belt and on it she found the tiny bells. His black hair is held back by a strand of white silk reminiscent of the material his robe is made of. Every inch of him seems to exude a sense of regalness and painful refinement, the likes that would require a few centuries or perhaps a millennia to achieve.

    Is this what a xian is like?

    He turned his side to her, dusting off a red leaf that had settled on his shoulder.

    She can feel his qi radiating off his body in a thick aura. If she wasn't so busy as she had been with trying to preserve her life, and she would assume the same with the fox, there was no missing such a powerful being in the premises, even if he was asleep.

    Some things in life should not be given too much thought or the only outcome would be disappointment and more disappointment. If he had saved her, she would not have to face the cruel truth that someone looking like this is actually not a hero. Sadly, Ying Ru is a stubborn girl. What is worst than a stubborn girl? A stubborn and shallow girl.

    She dragged a sleeve over the unsightly red trail of blood running down from the corner of her lips.
    "If you really want to calculate it so clearly, let me have a question too." Ying Ru glares at the person in front of her with what she hopes is defiance. "You watched me almost get killed. Did it cross your mind that you should show some chivalry?"

    The person in front of her raised a hand to stroke his chin, pretending to think. "Chivalry is a human trend. Whether or not I personally uphold it is a matter of choice." He bends down, his startling features magnifying with the proximity. "What is our relationship for you to demand that of me?"

    Ying Ru chewed her bottom lip in frustration. "No relation. I'm a stranger, so I deserve to die. And you, what have you been cultivating? What's your name and what cult do you belong to?" The first thing she will do when she gets back to Master is to find out what kind of xian sees a person in need and chooses to overlook them. What makes them any more higher than humans then? The person in front of her has completely shattered her image of xian. Ying Ru isn't so sure she wants to cultivate into a xian anymore. If the first xian she has ever met turns out like this, it's equal to a knife in the heart.

    "I don't belong to any sect. As far as I remember, I've always been this way. My name," His eyes wander around as if searching for his name in the trees surrounding them, "Yie Feng." He returns his gaze to her. "Do you have any more questions?"

    "No." She answered quickly. The smirk on his lips, as attractive as it was, made her blood boil.

    "Are you disappointed?" He seems to have caught on to something hidden in her face and is gazing unblinkingly at her, the smirk all the more frozen on his lips. "But it's against my..." A pause. "nature to help any and every soul I come by, even if it happens to be a charming girl like yourself." His voice is all but cringe-inducing by the time he finishes the sentence. Perhaps it would be fitting if he had reached over and patted her head to complete the statement.

    "So cold-blooded is your nature?" The questions don't seem to stop.

    "No." He looks at her incredulously.

    "Under what circumstances would you help?" Ying Ru is seeming a lot like Fu Fu who has gotten a bite of Master's old slipper, refusing to let go under all pressures.

    There was a long, thoughtful silence. It made Ying Ru anticipate what kind of answer she would get.

    "Under the circumstance that you impress me." He answers severely. There is not a trace of nonsense in his tone.
    icon credits to suicidetheory
    Black Butterfly Knot (A Xianxia Fantasy Fanfic)
    BLOG Currently translating《六花禁爱》

  4. #4
    Junior Member raini's Avatar
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    Oct 2006

    Default Chapter 3 - Crossing Lives

    "Under the circumstance that you impress me."

    Ying Ru fanned herself with her hands. Just the memory of that sentence makes her hot-headed.

    Who does he think he is? Is he so high and mighty he expects lowly humans like her to beg for his aid? If so, how does he expect them to beg? Dance? Sing? Maybe a combination of both?

    Even if she was so low in dignity that she decides it's not too much to appeal for his help first, she was already very busy as is. He could see that for himself. She needed to keep herself in one piece first! Unlike someone who still had the leisure of hiding in a tree and sleeping. He even accused her of interrupting his rest! Of course she was making a racket! She was fighting a jing! She was using a talisman! The only way she'd be quiet is if she's dead. Ying Ru was very keen on staying alive.

    She wouldn't make such a big deal if she was fine with dying. Why did she have to be so weak? Why couldn't she have shown him a beautiful, clean fight? No, she had to show him her most unflattering side, complete with torn clothes, injuries, blood, and heaven-forbid, running. Even she thought she looked pathetic. Maybe that's why he decided to rub it in her face with that statement.

    What is a meager jing to a xian? Dispelling a jing to someone like him should be like brushing dust off his shoulder.

    She's never met anyone so cold-blooded and defending his cold-bloodedness in such a matter-of-fact way. Under the circumstance that she impress him? Ying Ru's never heard anything so shameless, and the fact that it came out of a xian's mouth. It's unacceptable. It really bothers her so so much.

    Ying Ru throws her head back onto her bed. Somehow, instead of her near-death encounter with the fox jing in the forest, her mind is much more adept to playing over her meeting with that cold-blooded xian and every word that had been exchanged between them. He just would not leave her alone! She didn't want to fall asleep with his cold-blooded yet indisputably attractive face clouding her senses. She was afraid what kind of dreams she would have. Would it consist of more jing pursuing her through a red forest? Would there be a white-robed stranger in a tree watching her fight futilely against a creature more than capable of killing her, or maybe in her dream he'd actually get it right and save her like he is supposed to? Disappointment leaves too much to be desired!

    When she had gotten back to Bamboo Forest, the first to notice was Fu Fu. The dirty brown dog jumped and leaped at her feet for a good minute before running off to mind its own business. She is really fond of Fu Fu, needless to say. It gives her space when she wants it and gives her love when she expects it.

    Master dropped the scroll in his hand when he took sight of her state. It looked like she had gone through a hurricane, to be lightly put. The dried blood caking her shoulder caused a frown to immediately appear on his face.

    It still causes her mental trauma whenever she looks at her teacher's face. Would you not be dumbfounded if it hasn't aged a day since you've seen it? Perhaps it did, but very very slowly. His visage is that of a man in his mid-twenties. With his current standing, Ying Ru speculated that her teacher should be considered a half-xian by now. She doesn't know how old he actually is, because she's afraid he'd scold her for thinking about useless things like this if she asked. He doesn't understand the pains of an itching curiosity. Perhaps someday in her cultivation, she'll suddenly stop aging too. That's a suitable thought for someone as visually oriented as Ying Ru.

    Ying Ru is his only female disciple so it is usual that she will tend to her own wounds. After peeling off the yellow dress with much tears, as the blood had already started clotting against the fabric, Ying Ru cleaned and dressed the gashes on her shoulder. The claw wounds went pretty deep, evidence that the fox had not held anything back in the attack. It is a good thing that Master has her take care of her own cuts and bruises. She can imagine the earful she would get if he were to see these hideous gifts that jing left her.

    "Does it hurt a lot?" A calm voice drifted from the doorway. Ying Ru sat up straight. Hao Yang, her Master's oldest disciple, was leaning against her doorway with arms crossed over his chest. He really isn't all that old, only a few years older than herself, but unlike her measly accomplishments that can't really measure up to anything significant, Hao Yang is the image of a perfect student. She is always secretly jealous of this person. Whenever Master has them demonstrate their progress, Hao Yang always amazes her by improving leaps and bounds whereas herself? It isn't that she is stupid or that Master is impatient.

    It is a complicated story. All of it starts at a young age, as all life stories go. The first time she met a jing, she could hardly walk. That was when she became an orphan. Even without the wordy explanation, one would be able to come up with a rough idea of what had taken place when they reached the small village hut. Ying Ru was only three then and that was also when strange things started to happen. An outsider was passing through the mountain and entered the mountain village in hope for shelter. It was about to rain.

    That was her Master.

    The scene that Master described to her still chills Ying Ru's blood when she recalls it. He described it as a slaughter. At that time, she didn't know what death meant. She was only three years old. There was blood everywhere, on the walls, on the floor, on little Ying Ru's clothes. The only thing that calmed the man was the lifeless bodies of a few animals littered over the expanse of the inner courtyard. If it were a human that came by this scene, they would be frightened and confused, but since it was Master, he understood what this meant. The animals; a wolf, two snakes, a leopard, and a monkey; were in fact not mere animals. They were jing. The remnant energy was still coursing through the air. It is a fresh scene. Without further dallying, the man picked up the little girl and left the village.

    Why she was still alive when Master arrived at the village is still unexplained. Why the jing killed her family is also unexplained. Now that she thought about it, her life is really unexplained isn't it?

    All Master has managed to come up with all these years is having to do with that pool of qi inside of her. Unlike any normal human, especially at such a young age, a large vat of qi like that is uncommon. It is unexplainable as well, not that they hadn't pondered it long and hard. Master says it is an inheritance from the heavens, a blessing. Ying Ru would have to disagree. She didn't think it was much of a blessing to have her family killed by jing or to be pursued by blood-lusting jing for the rest of her life.

    "Don't sleep on your side tonight." Hao Yang's soft voice fishes her out from her memories. "If my refinement was ahead by a few more years, I might be able to heal it for you." He sighs like he always does. "Don't get yourself killed before then." She knows he cares about her a lot, probably because she is so weak and troubling, but she appreciates it. She really does. The family she had lost to those jing so many years ago, Master and Hao Yang, even Fu Fu the dog and that little twerp Xiao Wu, managed to give her again. "Will it hurt you to tell one of us if you want to go into the city? You can always bring Xiao Wu even though he is so talkative."

    "Mmm." She nods. Hao Yang is starting to resemble Master a lot. He even lectures like him.

    A playful sigh this time. Hao Yang knows he can never persuade her to not make trouble.

    It is time to let her get her sleep. Ying Ru continued staring in the direction of the doorway even after Hao Yang left. The jing haven't tried attacking here before. Master has made sure of that. There are warding talismans on the bamboo fences all around the complex. With a individual at the level of Master, no jing would dare trouble her here even if they were hungry for whatever it was they wanted from her. In a few years, Hao Yang would be very formidable as well. Master says he is born with a gift like Ying Ru, but unlike Ying Ru, he seems to excel in everything Master teaches him. Ying Ru isn't greedy enough to want to rival anyone, not even Xiao Wu. She just wanted one thing this lifetime: to be able to protect herself and not be anyone's burden.

    "Under the circumstance that you impress me."

    He can't believe he actually told her that.

    The second her face came into sight, his world turned upside down.

    It didn't happen when he saw her desperately trying to dispel that fox jing, but when he could actually see her face. A flood of colorful memories seemed to pour into his mind cavern, drowning out his own existence. This must be what being hit by lightning feels like. He remembers the feeling. It is so vivid and real. Of course, that is because the person that stood in front of him then can only be real. How foolish of him if he had actually reached out and tried to touch that face of hers. Would she run off spooked?

    Bright, crystal-like eyes, small upright nose, a pair of full lips that ended in a slight inward dip, and porcelain pale skin (despite it possibly being an affect of exhaustion rather than natural); all of this coming together to weave a face he thought he'd never get to see again. It isn't too much to understand if he took a longer glance than necessary.

    It was a good thing she was so taken aback by his appearance. It gave him the discretion to just gaze at her without feeling as if he was doing anything wrong. The first to stare is the more shameless one, no?

    An unwarranted smile bloomed on his lips.

    Just when everything was starting to lose color again, a bright cloud of yellow comes stumbling into his world.

    If a person lives for so long, it's inevitable that they see more than they bargain for. If someone is told an exciting story, they will continuously crave for thrill. If the story is the world, then that becomes a troublesome thought. Exciting and thrilling in terms of the world would have to mean one thing; chaos. It is kind of disturbing that a person could possibly be craving for destruction and war for the sake of amusement, isn't it?

    It's been nearly a thousand years since the war. It's already been that long since anyone came to seek him out on the snowy summit. Has the world forgotten about him?

    For a thousand years, it's been peaceful. That means the xian who are still alive have become fat and lazy, choosing to spend their time drinking and holding useless gatherings. That also means that the only kind of conflicts in the human realm are consist of whoever stole whoever's belongings and whose husband has forsaken whoever's wife. The jing though, have managed to repopulate much of what was once their home. From what he saw earlier today, they have gotten less timid. He remembers they used to be capable of a lot more, but the jing of this millenia is a far cry from the yao of the previous. Yao and jing, they're essentially the same. When they are full of dark motive, they are referred to as yao in spite. The term jing has been preferred for the last thousand years simply because they don't pose a threat anymore.

    With the world at such an ideal state, it is a bit inappropriate of him to feel so restless.

    Nothing holds his interest for more than a few years. Even sleeping, he can only maintain for a few decades. The last time he came down from the snowy mountain, the locals in the valley endearingly call it Tian Xue Shan (Heavenly Snow Mountain) because it is the tallest peak visible for thousands of miles, he had decided to go into the city and settle down. Perhaps the people of Zhu Cheng (Pearl City) still remember the wealthy merchant that died an early death at fourty? Money can only keep a man's attention for so long. This time, his interest is a little more practical. He's heard some drift of how the men are in the city these days. They have really come a long way since the last time he visited Zhu Cheng. The last time he entered town, it was only a budding city. The cityfolk were nowhere as sophisticated and organized as the ones he was seeing now. It seems they have started a new trend. This time they are building large pavilions and filling them with beautiful women for the pleasure of the city men. They call them qing lou (green pavilion).

    "Patron!" A silk scarf is thrown in his face. "Handsome patron, step in! Miss Yao Yao's first night is being auctioned tonight." The outrageously colorful woman has already wrapped a firm hand around his arm and is currently trying to drag him through the door. He allows the woman to do as she pleases.

    What awaited him inside made his insides squirm in excitement. A large hall filled to the brim with eager men, at the outer circle are flocks of colorfully dressed women in elaborate hair ornamentation. There is a second overhanging platform on which stood the head peacock, a woman shrouded in an eye-scorching crimson robe. Besides that woman stood a female figure, her face draped by a large piece of silk. Her dress is dull compared to the woman standing next to her. It's a pale green. So is the tasselled cover over her head. He assumes this is the woman who is being bid on tonight?

    His eyes raked her delicate figure from head to toe. She seems awfully young even if her face is covered. If he were to take her outside, a breeze might be able to knock her over.

    Before long, numbers were being shouted from every which way. Men covered the entire expanse of the hall. They were all delirious over a girl who's face they couldn't even see. For the first time since he stepped into the building, he thought this was a comical scene. Humans were an amusing bunch. He remains silent, wondering how high those numbers would climb. Would the winning cost be too much for a mere night with a stranger? Or too less for the innocence of a maiden? Those are questions that don't seem to be asked tonight. The bright colors, excited chanting, and bustling activity all had a sort of constricting effect on him. They made him want to leave. All of a sudden, a loud voice in one of the side rooms silenced the entire hall by calling a cost much higher than the majority of the room could afford. The bar had been raised. What was once the frenzy of an entire hall of men had turned in a matter of seconds into a private dual between a handful of wealthy patrons. The rest of the hall waited in baited breath as the costs were thrown back and forth like a ball in a court.

    He turned around and made his way towards the entrance. It had gotten boring too quickly. It seems that this kind of activity would call for his previous status as a wealthy merchant. He was done with being a rich man, so unfortunately, this Miss Yao Yao was out of the question as well.

    Perhaps he should just get one of the other girls and call it a night. It would be meaningless if he left without what he came here for.

    In the room, a young girl stared at him, looking suspiciously like her soul had left her body. Was he that good looking? Did he have to give every girl he encountered a few seconds of silence simply to take in his exceptional looks? "Done staring?" He breaks the spell.

    "Ye-yes sir." An unmistakable pink tinge on her face and a stuttering voice betrays her embarrassment. "What would you like Ah Mei to do?"

    "I don't know. You would have to tell me what it is you do." He flashes a deceptively innocent grin at the girl who immediately blushes a few shades redder.

    This patron was too direct and shameless, but how can someone like this be so blessed in appearances? "Ah Mei can bring some refreshments and dishes to open your appetite." She replies eagerly.

    "Ah Mei." The name rolls off his tongue like a fish line breaking the surface of water. "I don't need any food. Just sit down and talk with me."

    "Eh?" The startled girl immediately does as told. "What does gongzi (something a girl calls a prince-like guy she's not familiar with) want to talk about?"

    "I saw a girl get auctioned tonight." He recalls the figure in the pale green. Her entire posture seems to leak sadness. Is it so bad to be the center of this kind of attention? An entire pavilion of men who see nothing but her, he can't push aside those two wealthy men behind the curtains either. If she is lucky, perhaps she can have a chance at a life much more satisfying than Ah Mei's. Ah Mei is not ugly, she has a small almond face and bright, beautiful eyes that remind him of..

    "Yao Yao jie (jie = older sister figure, used like 'unni')?" Ah Mei's shoulders slump and her doe-like eyes droop in disappointment. "Do you like Yao Yao jie? She is very pretty. Everyone seems to like her."

    "Can you tell me why she decided to sell herself?" From what he's heard, there are two type of women in the qing lou. One type sell skill and the other sell their bodies. Selling skills like song and music is not considered prostituting, but it is still involving drinking and being in the company of male patrons, but for those that choose to sell their bodies, there will be more money involved, but at the cost of being seen as a being lower than human.

    "Yao Yao jie is quite sad.." Ah Mei begins. "She is an eldest daughter. She doesn't talk much, but I heard from gugu (the peacock lady) that her father is sick or died already, I'm not too sure. I remember her saying she has two younger sisters."

    "So this Miss Yao Yao is quite honorable a woman even if she decides to lower herself to prostitution." He says after Ah Mei explains everything. The girl bobs her head up and down diligently.

    "No one here comes here under their own will, but because it is the only option." She shakes her head, a shy smile on her lips. "We all still want to find someone who will take us away and give us a normal home. For Yao Yao jie, it will be hard because men do not like to marry a girl who has been touched by another man, but that is too unfair for her. Gongzi, you are not one of those kind of men are you?" Ah Mei swallowed , her large eyes unblinkingly fixed on the white-robed man's flawless face.

    "I am not interested in women."

    "Eh?" Ah Mei blinked confusedly. "Gongzi, you are in a qing lou, what do you mean?" The girl seems awfully perturbed by the man's answer.

    "Does coming here necessarily have to be because of women?" He was simply curious to see what this fuss was about. Now that he has seen it with his own eyes, the magic has passed. "Did you see me calling costs on Miss Yao Yao earlier?"

    Ah Mei shook her head. "But I was not aware of you then."

    He nodded, picking up the porcelain cup for a sip. "No, I'm not one of those kind of men." In fact, he is not human at all. He finally relented to providing Ah Mei with a proper answer for her question. "But don't hold onto that too tightly, You will hurt yourself easily. And don't ask men that question too much, not all men will answer you honestly." He didn't know why he was throwing these useless warnings at her, but it seemed to make Ah Mei very happy.

    "Are you looking out for me?" She giggles. "There's no need to. A bird doesn't wait for the seasons to change. I don't have any of those thoughts."
    Ah Mei filled up his glass again. Yie Feng emptied it into his mouth. The girl immediately filled it up to the brim. "You've booked me for the night, are we going to talk about Yao Yao Jie the entire night?" She pouted.

    She had taken it to heart when he told her that he wasn't here for women. He chuckled. "Would you rather stay up all night and tell me about yourself instead?"

    Ah Mei's rosy cheeks were deep enough to rival the color of her pink dress.

    So this was how a white-robed man from Tian Xue Shan became very popular with the ladies of Zhu Cheng's first brothel.
    Last edited by raini; 06-02-12 at 05:00 PM.
    icon credits to suicidetheory
    Black Butterfly Knot (A Xianxia Fantasy Fanfic)
    BLOG Currently translating《六花禁爱》

  5. #5
    Junior Member raini's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2006



    Hi! thank you for reading! I am sorry to inform that I'll be discontinuing my updates here on spcnet. At first, I was wanting to test waters to see where would be the best to post this story since it's definitely not my usual kpop fanfics so at this point, I can say without doubt where I will ultimately be posting this story.

    You can find further updates at my personal blog: raini7o5.livejournal.com

    icon credits to suicidetheory
    Black Butterfly Knot (A Xianxia Fantasy Fanfic)
    BLOG Currently translating《六花禁爱》

  6. #6
    Senior Member Avidfan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2007


    Pretty nice story and even nicer arts! =)

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