It's not all the original. But this is all that I could come up with. Sorry for the delay. Wanted to build on the bickering <IMG SRC="smilies/argue.gif" border="0"> between my two favorite characters. In order to create some fiery sparks. <IMG SRC="smilies/biggrin.gif" border="0">
Droplets of water rained down his face. His body burned like a cauldron of fire. In a stupor, he dranked the cool water proffered to him with eagerness. After a few mouthfuls, the water was taken away. He coughed loudly slowly awakening from his dream-like haze. Leung Tian Bo could hear the “snap, crackle and pop” of the small campfire. Its orange flame danced on the moist walls of the hallow cave creating a spectacle of shadow and light. In a dry whisper, he managed to croak out, “So this is where I’m consigned to. Somehow my visions of Hell were much grander than this.”
A figure in the shadows scoffed loudly. “Humph! With such stupidity, even ‘Yeem Lau Wong” (Emperor of the Underworld) would not accept you.” The voice was female, deep, husky and mysterious. It came from behind.
He tried to shift his weight to see who it was. Instead he yelped loudly. “Ouch! So I am not dead! No wonder it hurts so much.”
“Stop moving!” ordered she. Tian Bo heard the soft rustling of fabric as she got up. “Consider yourself fortunate that your legs are the only things that are broken. Falling from such a height.”
“Luck has nothing to do with it. My wish was to fly away from this world.” He replied ominously.
“Well, the next time you decide to kill yourself make sure you pick a more isolated mountain top. Far away from me.” She snapped back. Bending down, she used one of the unlit branches to poke his bounded legs mightily.
“Ow!” He cried out. “Why did you do that for?” Now in the firelight, he could discern his rescuer was indeed a young lady. She wore a porcelain mask that hid much of her face except for the eyes and mouth.
“It’s the only way I know you’re not going to turn into a cripple. For surely you don’t expect me to carry you down from here.”
“But I never asked you to rescue me!”
“Neither did I want to. If not for the fact that your rotting flesh will eventually stink up this entire cave.” Angrily, Cherk Zhi Lan went back to her corner, sat down, and resumed with her meditation. She couldn’t believe Master and Ah Yee would leave her like this. To tend to this stupid, stupid man who wanted to throw his life away for the sake of such a diabolical woman as Li Yu Mei.
It was the second day since Ah Yee and her master left her alone here. After having rescued Lung Juan Fung from his demise, Ah Yee had brought him here for Master to see if she could do anything to help him. At first, Master refused, but Ah Yee’s constant persistence and nagging, she finally changed her mind. Zhi Lan wondered if Master’s sudden switch might have something to do with the fact that Juan Fung was closely related to the Dragon Mountain Clan. Whatever the ulterior motives, the two were off again. This time heading towards the area of Sword Lake to search for the abandonned shack that Zhi Lan talked about. The diary left behind by Cheung’s ancestor which Ah Yee had kept with her said little. It turned out that only the first page was readable. The rest of it had been written in an indeciperable mix of Mongolian, Sanskrit and Chinese gibberish.
More than ten days cooped up inside this danky cave, Zhi Lan was craving for freedom. The food reserves left behind was tolerable, but she was getting antsy. Over the course of this period, she was well aware of all that was happening on the precipice a hundred feet above her. Carried by the wind or by some fluke of nature, the cave wall she was lying against echoed and amplified sounds that were up in the mountain top. If she concentrated heard enough, she could hear even conversations. Therefore, she knew all there was to know about Juan Fung’s past with that evil witch that Zhi Lan has sworn to take vengeance.
Gingerly, she lifted the white mask off her face. Months ago, she used it mostly to hide her beauty from the rest of the world so that no one could remember or recognize her. Tracing the rough scars across her once smooth downy soft cheeks, Zhi Lan sighed deeply thinking to herself, “If no cure could be found, I will be stuck wearing this thing for the rest of my life.” The horror that greeted her when she saw her reflection in the pool days ago were too hard to bear. It turned out that the combination of the pill that Master gave her to disguise her face in order to infiltrate Cheung Manor and that of the poison that Li Yu Mei drugged her with had drastic repercussions. She snorted derisively at the irony now.
“What are you laughing about?” cried he in the dark.
She lashed out. “How little value you put on your life. Even when your precious third brother gave up his to save yours. You do not deserve to live. Do you know that?”
“How did you know about Sam Dai?”
“Does it matter?” She continued in a sneering tone, “I can’t believe your Dai Koh fell for all that brouhaha of yours. Swearing to go with him and make those killers pay. What foolery!”
Despite the pain, Tian Bo mustered all his strength and pivoted his body around to face this verbal attacker hiding in the shadows behind him. “Who are you? How come you know so much?” he yelled. This lady’s rebukes hit him harder than any physical blows ever could. Because she spoke only of the truth.
Zhi Lan quickly donned back her mask and got up. Walking over, she then stooped down to his level and stared squarely and contemptously at his face. The whites of her eyes gleamed in the firelight. She replied wickedly, “Maybe I’m the person you’ve been looking for all along?!”
“Li Yu Mei….” He uttered before falling unconscious once again.