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Thread: Legendary Book of Sun-Moon Swordplay

  1. #1
    Senior Member Melanie's Avatar
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    Talking Legendary Book of Sun-Moon Swordplay (日月剑谱传奇)

    Thank you to all my readers who have created the lovely story posters below for Legendary Book of Sun-Moon Swordplay.

    HAOMEI'S CREATIONS:










    TWEETY'S CREATION:






    HANNIE'S CREATION:






    CAST OF CHARACTERS

    Ada Choi Siu Fun---Luk Bing Yi 陸冰怡
    Adam Cheng Siu Chow---Emperor 皇上
    Alec Su You Peng---Ah Pang 阿朋
    Andy Lau Tak Wah---Lam Siu Tin 林笑天
    Angie Cheung Wai Yee---Cheung Yim Na 張豔娜
    Angie Chiu Ngar Chi---Chung So Lan 鍾愫蘭
    Annie Man Chung Han---So Siu Han 蘇小嫻
    Bae Yong Joon---Yip Fung 葉風
    Benny Chan Ho Man---Gu Yat Keung 古日強
    Chun Wong---Bandit Leader 強盜頭子
    Ekin Cheng Yee Kin---Yeung Lap Chun 楊立俊
    Eric Wan Tin Chiu---Law Man Kin 羅文健
    Felix Wong Yat Wah---Wong Hap Ming 黃俠明
    Frankie Lam Mun Lung---Lam Yik Wah 林億龍
    Gigi Lai Chi---Lam Suk Chi 林淑姿
    Gilbert Lam Wai Sun---Lam Yik Lun 林億倫
    Helena Law Lan---Grandmother Fa 花婆婆
    Idy Chan Yuk Lin---Chan Yin Yuk 陳嬿玉
    Joe Ma Tuk Chung---Lau Dong 劉當
    Joyce Tang Lai Ming---Suen Ling Wan 孫泠雲
    Kenix Kwok Ho Ying---Kwok Mong Yuet 郭夢月
    Kevin Cheng Ka Wing---Cheng Sai Chung 鄭世忠
    Kitty Lai Mei Han---Kwan Suet Lin 關雪蓮
    Kristy Yeung Gong Yu---Lam Suk Yu 林淑瑜
    Lau Dan---Old Man
    Lee Heung Kum---Old Woman
    Louis Koo Tin Lok---Gu Yat Fei 古日飛
    Marco Ngai Chun Kit---Ng Sam Lung 吳三龍
    Margie Tsang Wah Sin---Chu Sau Fa 朱繡花
    Myolie Wu Hung Yee---Mok Yi San 莫綺晨
    Patrick Tam Yiu Man--- Marquis Ching Bong 程邦晨
    Paul Chun Pui---Royal Physician Chun Ying 秦鷹
    Rain Lau Yuk Chui---Sung Ling 宋玲
    Ray Lui Leung Wai---Luk Gwan Lam 陸君林
    Raymond Lam Fung---Chu Kot Chuet Ching 諸葛決情
    Roger Kwok Chun On---Kong Dai Hei 江大嘻
    Sean Lau Ching Wan---Lau Yuen 劉运
    Selena Li Sze Wan---Sum Guk Yiu 沈菊耀
    Song Yun Ah---Tong Mei Si 滕美詩
    Steven Ma Chun Wai---Lee Wai Kit 李偉劼
    Steven Ma Jing Tao---Leung Cheuk Fu 梁卓虎
    Tony Leung Chiu Wai---Ha Ming 夏命
    Vincent Jiao Enjun---Chau Mo 周武
    Wong Suk Yee---Lai Hong 黎紅
    Yeung Jak Lam---General Law 羅将官

  2. #2
    Senior Member Melanie's Avatar
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    PROLOGUE

    The Sword of Sun glows bright and red
    His blade fierce and all-consuming
    Slashing those who stand in his path
    With ruthless vengeance and deadly swiftness

    The Sword of Moon shimmers in ethereal beauty
    Her timeless grace unrivaled
    In the heavens above and on the earth below
    Mesmerizing all who lay eyes on her

    United, two swords attack as one
    Like lovers with hearts beating in harmony
    Striking fear and stirring awe
    In all who witness the power of Sun and Moon

    But pity that Sun betrays Moon
    Leaving her with hatred and revenge raging through her heart
    And she vows to never rest in peace
    Until Sun and Moon meet once more

    And hence two swords shall rest in eternal sleep
    Their radiance and power never more
    Until Sun and Moon walk the earth again
    And learn to forgive and love once more

  3. #3
    Senior Member Melanie's Avatar
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    CHAPTER 1 -- THE ESCAPE

    Characters appearing in this chapter:
    Adam Cheng Siu Chow---Emperor 皇上
    Idy Chan Yuk Lin---Chan Yin Yuk 陳嬿玉
    Andy Lau Tak Wah---Lam Siu Tin 林笑天
    Angie Cheung Wai Yee---Cheung Yim Na 張豔娜

    IN THE DESERT

    Lightning blazed across the dark sky, sending currents of electricity hissing through the silent night. A lone rider, astride his mighty black stallion, galloped across the desert terrain, the horse's hooves beating the rhythm of a thousand drums. The tall man on horseback, robed in an impressive long yellow garment embroidered with the imperial symbol of the dragon, scanned the horizon, his eyes darting back and forth urgently, hoping to catch a glimpse of his target.

    Finally from afar, he spied two figures, a man in black and a woman in white, racing through the evening sky using their lightness kung fu. The man on horseback urged his horse along, and with a hand placed on the stallion's back for leverage, he pushed himself into the air, executing several flips to pursue the couple ahead of him. As he neared them, he reached out with his hand and attempted to palm the man in black.

    Sensing another's presence, the man in black twirled in the air, avoiding the man on horseback's attack and at the same time pulling the woman with him so that they both landed safely on the ground. The three people now faced each other, both men with menacing expressions on their faces and the woman with a contrite look on hers.

    The man wearing the yellow gown with the embroidered dragon pointed at the man in black, a ferocious expression on his face. "How dare you try to elope with Concubine Chan! I shall have you beheaded for this outrageous behavior!"

    The woman, with a terrified expression, ran to stand in front of the man in black, as if trying to protect him from the man in yellow's wrath. "No! Please, Your Majesty! Spare my senior martial brother's life! If you need to blame someone, then blame me."

    She knelt down in front of the Emperor and held his hand beseechingly. In the background, thunder rumbled and lightning flashed, giving the night sky an eerie brightness and accentuating the woman's delicate and breathtakingly beautiful features.

    The Emperor stared despairingly at the woman. "Why, Siu Yuk? I love you so much. In the past year since you have entered the palace, I have not even looked at other women. I have even neglected Concubine Cheung to spend more time with you. Why do you betray me with this man?"

    Tears streamed down her cheeks as Yin Yuk pleaded. "Your Majesty, I know I have abused your kindness by eloping with Big Brother Siu Tin, but we truly love each other. Even though I have tried my hardest to put him out of my mind after I have entered the palace, I cannot bring myself to forget him. My senior martial brother will always be my one and only true love. Your Highness, you control the world in your fist. Why not let an insignificant woman like me go? I do not deserve your love and kindness!"

    The Emperor looked at his beloved concubine for a painful moment, then suddenly turned to his love rival, Lam Siu Tin. "This is all his fault! If he had not shown up at the palace, enticing you to leave with him, then you would still be at the palace now and we would still be happily together! I am going to kill him for this!"

    Chan Yin Yuk tightened her hold on the emperor's hand. "No, Your Highness! Execute me, instead!"

    Lam Siu Tin dropped down to the ground to hug Yin Yuk tightly. "Siu Yuk, do not beg him. I am not afraid to die. I will die without regrets, knowing that you still love me." He tenderly kissed her on the forehead and then stood up facing the Emperor. "Your Highness, I challenge you to a sword fight. If I win, then I want you to let us leave. If I lose, then my life is yours to take."

    Yin Yuk, horrified at the prospect of a sword fight between these two men with powerful martial arts, burst out, "No, please!"

    The Emperor looked at his precious concubine for a long time with a tortured expression. "Just leave, both of you. I do not want to see you again."

    He turned his back on the couple, who looked at each other with surprised relief. Lam Siu Tin helped his junior martial sister stand up, and they both slowly walked away.

    Suddenly, the Emperor turned to look back at the couple. "Wait! Take my stallion with you, Siu Yuk. You are not accustomed to prolonged travel by foot. My stallion is strong, and he will take you safely to your destination."

    Yin Yuk gnawed at her bottom lip and gave the Emperor a remorseful look. "Thank you, Your Highness. I will always remember your kindness."

    The couple took the reins of the stallion from the Emperor. Siu Tin leapt up onto the stallion and bent from the waist to help Yin Yuk onto the horse. They galloped away, the sound of hoof beats fading into the darkness, as the Emperor stared at their retreating backs solemnly. As if the heavens pitied the Emperor his misfortune of losing his most beloved concubine, the sky released a torrent of heavy rain.

    THE NEXT MORNING
    ON A SMALL BOAT

    Yin Yuk, with her head snuggled on Siu Tin's shoulder, looked at her senior martial brother uncertainly. "Big Brother Siu Tin, do you regret running away with me?"

    Siu Tin glanced down at her, surprised at her question. "Of course, not! I love you, Siu Yuk!"

    Yin Yuk gnawed at her bottom lip anxiously. "But I am carrying the Emperor's child…"

    Siu Tin lifted her chin with his index finger and thumb. "Don't be silly, love. The Emperor does not know that you are carrying his child. Besides, I will treat your child as my own. He will receive the best of care, the best schooling, and I will personally teach him our Lam family martial arts."

    Yin Yuk glanced at him teasingly. "Him? How do you know the baby will be a boy? Are you a physician?"

    Siu Tin looked insulted. "I do not have to be a doctor to know! I can just feel your abdomen here…" He reached forward to caress her flat belly.

    Yin Yuk giggled and playfully pushed his hand away. "There are other passengers on the boat!" She whispered with embarrassment.

    An elderly couple looked at the younger couple's playful antics with a smile. How loving and compatible they appeared, the elderly man and woman thought to themselves. As the boat sailed off into the horizon, Yin Yuk snuggled closer to Siu Tin, feeling like the luckiest person in the world.

    NINE MONTHS LATER
    LAM ON CITY
    AT LAM MANOR

    Siu Tin paced back and forth in front of the birthing room. "What is taking so long? It has been hours!"

    Inside the room, Yin Yuk let out an ear-piercing scream. Upon hearing her scream, he jolted to a halt. "Oh, no! Siu Yuk!"

    He dashed into the room in time to see the midwife wrap a squalling, red-faced infant boy in a red blanket. The midwife turned to the new father with a jubilant grin. "Congratulations, Young Master Lam! You have a son!"

    The midwife handed the baby over to Siu Tin, and he stared at the little wrinkled face with awe. He brought the baby over to his wife's bedside to share his joy with her.

    Siu Tin showed the baby off to Yin Yuk proudly, as if he had single-handedly brought the child into this world. "Sui Yuk, we have a beautiful son! Look how handsome he is!"

    Yin Yuk peeked at her son with a tired but serene expression. "He is kind of cute. Look at his tiny hands and feet!" Pausing, she pondered, "What shall we name him?"

    Siu Tin paused in deep thought. "Let's name him Yik Lun. One hundred million ethics. I want our son to be ethical, to be an upstanding man who will know right from wrong, who will protect and uphold the moral principles that we, the Lam family, represent as Chancellor of Wulin."

    Yin Yuk stroked her son's cheek tenderly as the baby punched the air vigorously with his miniature fists as his tiny rosebud mouth searched for his mother's breast. "Yik Lun…"

  4. #4
    Senior Member Melanie's Avatar
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    CHAPTER 2 -- SWEET BUN

    Characters appearing in this chapter:
    Gilbert Lam Wai Sun---Lam Yik Lun 林億倫
    Annie Man Chung Han---So Siu Han 蘇小嫻

    TWENTY-FIVE YEARS LATER
    SEASHORE

    Seagulls glided across a deep blue sky, their cries blending in with the soothing melody of gentle waves lapping against the jagged rocks lining the bottom of a steep cliff. The orange sun blazed proud and hot, its rays reflecting off the waves, making the sea appear like a blanket of shimmering ice-blue jewels.

    A lone man in a long white robe walked briskly along the shore, his right hand clutching a sword. Suddenly, he stopped as if listening intently to the surroundings. Out of nowhere, five men, dressed completely in black with black handkerchiefs covering the lower part of their faces, flew out toward the lone man in white. The man in white adroitly executed several flips in the air and vanished from sight. The five black-robed assassins surveyed the surrounding beach in confusion. Suddenly, from the corner of their eyes, they caught a glimpse of the metallic glint of a sword, but before they could react, they felt the fatal sting of blade against their throats. All five assassins collapsed onto the sandy beach, blood gushing from their wounds.

    One assassin gasped and panted as he pointed weakly at the man in white. "Lam Yik Lun, there are more assassins coming. Do you think the Wulin Chancellor’s family is invincible? Your enemies lurk everywhere. One day, your guard will be down, and you will die at our hands!" He coughed up blood and finally dropped his head onto the sand as he took in his last breath.

    Yik Lun glanced at the five bodies emotionlessly. Drops of crimson blood slowly trickled down the blade of his sword, saturating the dry, thirsty sand. Calmly, he re-sheathed his sword and strolled away without a backward glance.

    LATER THAT DAY
    GRASSY MEADOW

    Lun sat cross-legged on the soft grass under the shade of a willow tree, with his ever-present sword on the ground beside him. He untied the travel sack on his lap and took out a sweet bun. Enjoying his bun slowly, he leaned back against the trunk of the willow tree and closed his eyes as he listened to the gentle swishing sounds of leaves swaying in the breeze. Bees buzzed busily around the field, flying from one sweet blossom to another, sampling their sweet nectar.

    The tinkling sound of chains and soft footsteps interrupted the peaceful sounds of nature. Lun opened his eyes, looked up, and found himself staring into the most angelic face he had ever seen. A young woman stood in front him, garbed in a long frosty pink gown. From her appearance, she seemed to have been traveling for a long time. Specks of dirt dotted the silver ruffles at the hem of her gown and mud caked her once white slippered shoes. Her long, silky black tresses, slightly disheveled, trailed down her back, the tips fluttering around her tiny waist. Long, thick eyelashes framed a pair of large, brown eyes. A streak of grime slashed across her left cheek. As a gust of wind swept by, a loose tendril of hair tickled her cheek, and she absentmindedly brushed the lock aside, further smearing more dirt across her soft, smooth cheek.

    To Lun, she looked achingly beautiful, fragile, lost, and in dire need of help, yet the expression in her eyes revealed a trace of determination. Despite her delicate appearance, Lun could sense a subtle but strong will to survive, as steely and tenacious as the steel chains clamped around her ankles, restricting her from taking long strides and from running. Lun could not help but gawk at those metal links, wondering why this maiden was chained.

    On the other hand, the young woman did not seem to notice his curiosity and attention, but instead stared hungrily at the sweet bun in his hand. Finally, Lun noticed her hungry look.

    Clearing his throat, he awkwardly offered her a new bun from his travel sack. “Miss, would you like a bun?”

    Tears of gratitude swam in her eyes as she hesitantly reached for the bun. She whispered gratefully. "Thank you, Young Master."

    As she eagerly broke the bun in half, Lun tried to politely look away, but he kept finding his gaze involuntarily returning to her. Oblivious to his fascination with her, she hungrily devoured the bun and finished it within minutes. Still, her stomach continued to rumble, as she had not eaten in nearly three days.

    In the past few days, she had mainly travelled along small paths and side roads, avoiding towns and any bustling locations where her presence could be detected. Though penniless, she was too proud to beg, or rather, she was too cautious to beg, as she knew a stranger would never help without a steep price. Besides, even if she had wanted to plead, she couldn’t, as the small roads she had travelled on were nearly deserted. She had drunk from streams, had dug the earth for potatoes or anything that could possibly be edible, but unfortunately her efforts had been fruitless. Just when she thought she would starve to death, she had spotted him across the grassy expanse of meadow, his white gown like a bright beacon of hope, the food in his hand like a magnet, drawing her toward him. Hunger had gnawed painfully and anxiously at her, and she had found herself inching toward him as she threw caution aside.

    Now, after nearly swallowing one whole bun without chewing, she shamefully looked at Lun with downcast eyes, wanting to ask him for another bun but too embarrassed to voice her request.

    Astutely, he noticed her longing look and smiled kindly at her. “If Miss does not mind my simple fare, then please take the rest of the sweet buns.” He placed the small travel sack containing the remaining sweet buns in her hands.

    With her head still lowered, she accepted the buns shyly and smiled at him. "Thank you, Young Master. I will forever be grateful to you." She bowed to him slightly.

    The young woman turned around and began to walk away, the chains around her ankles rattling with her every step.

    Quickly, Lun jumped up from his seated position. "Wait, Miss!” When she turned back toward him with a quizzical look, Lun fumbled around for something to say and blurted out the first thing that came to mind. “Forgive me for being too curious, but why do you have chains around your ankles?"

    She paused and stared at the ground with a sad expression. "It's a long story. I must leave now, for I do not want to bring you trouble."

    She began to walk away. Again, Lun chased after her, unwilling to let her disappear.

    Lun attempted to stop her again. "Miss, wait! My name is Lam Yik Lun. Please, will you tell me your name?"

    The young woman hesitated but finally decided to divulge her name since he had been so kind to her. "My name is So Siu Han."

    Lun trailed after her. "Miss Siu Han, if you do not object, I would like to accompany you." He helpfully offered. "It is not safe for a woman to be traveling alone in the wilderness."

    Siu Han shook her head vigorously, her eyes huge as saucers. "No, you must not travel with me, Young Master! I will bring you bad luck!"

    Lun smiled gently at her frantic expression. "Nonsense. Why would you bring me bad luck? Does this have something to do with the chains around your ankles?"

    Siu Han nodded her head sadly before explaining. "I was born in a small fishing village. From the day I was born, my family started experiencing episode after episode of misfortune. My family caught and sold fish at the marketplace for a living. Before my birth, my father would always come home from a day at sea with barrels of large fish. Unfortunately after my birth, my family could no longer catch any fish, not even one single fish, and because of this, my baby brother starved to death. By the time I was three years old, my father died at sea in a boating accident. My mother, due to unbearable grief, committed suicide soon afterward, leaving my older brother and me to fend for ourselves."

    Frowning, she continued. "We lived off the streets, because the landlord considered us bad luck. When I was ten years old, my brother went up the mountains to look for wild berries and never came back. From that day on, I roamed the streets alone. When I turned fifteen years old, a terrible flood killed many people in my village. So, you see, I am pure bad luck." Siu Han concluded her story with a depressed sigh.

    Seeing her forlorn expression, Lun reassured her. "I am not superstitious. Everything that happened to your family could simply be due to coincidence. You should not blame yourself."

    Siu Han, her eyes downcast, spoke in a shaky voice. "A fortune teller in my village predicted that I would bring misfortune to everyone around me. Because of his words, no one would dare come near me."

    She stared into space, as if looking into the past. In a trance, she continued her story. "Big Brother Sai Chung was the only one who would befriend me after my biological brother disappeared. He was an orphan, too. He was out foraging for food when he found me one cold, wintery day, huddled next to a haystack in an open field. He took one look at me and knew we came from the same background, orphaned and unwanted by the rest of the villagers. He immediately looked after me as if I were his own younger sister. He allowed me to live with him in the wooden shack he was staying at. He brought me food and blankets, and for the first time in a very long time, I felt safe and happy.”

    Too emotional to continue, Siu Han sniffed back her tears. "But one day, he went out to look for firewood and never returned. I waited and waited, but he never came back. Days later, I heard gossip from some of the villagers that mountain bandits had stabbed a young boy to death while he was up on the mountains chopping firewood. The youth the villagers described matched Big Brother Sai Chung’s description."

    Sobbing softly, Siu Han confessed, "I killed Big Brother Sai Chung with my bad luck. I am such a jinx!" She wiped her tears with the back of her hand and then looked at Lun determinedly. "Don't you see? You must stay away from me!"

    She turned and walked away as quickly as her chains would allow her, but she tripped on a rock in her haste. Lun quickly lunged forward in an attempt to break her fall. Unfortunately, he was too far away and reached her a second too late, and instead of preventing her from falling, he tumbled to the ground with her. He landed with her sprawled on top of him, their faces inches apart.

    He stared deeply into her beautiful brown eyes, strangely mesmerized by this young woman he had barely met, as if he had known her from a different lifetime. Embarrassed, Siu Han scrambled to get up, but he suddenly jerked her head down onto his chest. Alarmed, she looked up at him, but he signaled to her to be quiet. He concentrated intensely on the grove of trees behind them.

    Suddenly, arrows shot out from the vicinity of the trees. In one fluid movement, Lun picked Siu Han up in his arms and flew away from the rain of arrows.

    Five men, dressed in black, gave chase. Lun settled Siu Han back on her feet and charged toward the men. Siu Han, her eyes wide with fear, backed away from the scene, trying to distance herself from the violence.

    Meanwhile, the five assassins seemed to be losing to Lun's more superior martial arts skills. With five consecutive forceful kicks, Lun knocked all five men down.

    Staggering backward, one of the assassins looked at Siu Han out of the corner of his eyes. Without warning, he lunged to his feet and charged toward Siu Han in an attempt to hold her hostage. Swiftly, Lun flipped through the air and stabbed the man through the heart. Without his feet touching the ground, he kicked off from a nearby tree trunk and flipped several more times through the air to where the other four assassins lay sprawled on the ground. With one swift slash of his sword, he finished them off.

    Shocked at what had just happened, Siu Han stood frozen to the ground.

    Walking toward Siu Han, Lun looked at her with concerned eyes. "Miss Siu Han, are you all right?"

    Siu Han stared at him with wide, horrified eyes and began to hyperventilate. The combination of hunger and fright caused the world to suddenly spin out of control, and soon she saw a curtain of gray before she dropped limply toward the ground. Calling to her in surprise, Lun rushed forward and caught her in time.

    Lun held an unconscious Siu Han in his arms and gently tapped her cheeks in an attempt to rouse her. "Miss Siu Han! Miss Siu Han!"

    When he received no response from the unconscious Siu Han, he quickly picked her up in his arms and ran swiftly towards Lam Manor.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Melanie's Avatar
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    CHAPTER 3 -- THE REST OF THE LAMS

    Characters appearing in this chapter:
    Gigi Lai Chi---Lam Suk Chi a.k.a. Chi Chi 林淑姿
    Frankie Lam Mun Lung---Lam Yik Wah 林億龍
    Kristy Yeung Gong Yu---Lam Suk Yu 林淑瑜

    LAM ON CITY
    MARKETPLACE

    A young man, delicate in build with almost feminine features, walked around in the crowded marketplace, eyeing the vendors and calmly fanning himself with an expensive white fan. He strolled past Lam On City’s most famous house of ill repute, Pearl Fragrance Pavilion, then suddenly backtracked to the brothel's main entrance. Curiously, he glanced up at the balcony occupied by seductive women waving their handkerchiefs and calling to the men on the streets. He seemed to ponder for a short moment. Suddenly, he smiled mischievously and snapped his fan shut before walking into the notorious establishment.

    INSIDE PEARL FRAGRANCE PAVILION

    The Madam Ma, the brothel’s proprietor, a colorfully dressed older woman, rushed toward the young man who had just entered her establishment. He looked at his surroundings with a cheerful twinkle in his big eyes.

    Madam Ma sashayed shamelessly up to her new costumer. "Young Master! Welcome to Pearl Fragrance Pavilion, where the women are beautiful, the music is high-classed, and the food is delicious! Is this your first time here? You do not look familiar to me, but I promise after one unforgettable night in the company of my beautiful girls, you'll come back for more! Now who is your pleasure?"

    The young man grinned playfully, as he dangled a pouch full of gold coins in front of the madam's nose and declared brashly. "I want the most beautiful girl here!"

    Madam Ma stared greedily at the bag of gold coins, practically drooling thinking about the amount of wealth in that little pouch. "Of course! I will immediately summon her!" She turned around and screamed at the top of her lungs. "Mong Ching! Mong Ching! Come here quickly!"

    However, before Mong Ching could make an appearance, the young man felt a masculine hand clamp tightly around his arm. He turned around and saw another man, dressed in a dark blue gown, with an angry expression on his face. The man in blue yanked the young man away, and with his lightness kung fu, sped past the confused Madam Ma while dragging the protesting young man with him.

    Within seconds, both men arrived in an open field five miles away from Pearl Fragrance Pavilion.

    The young man pouted as he rubbed at his sore arm where the other man's tight grip had previously been. "Second Brother! You and Eldest Brother are always ruining my fun!"

    Lam Yik Wah sighed as his angry expression faded. "Chi Chi, do you know it is inappropriate for a genteel lady, like you, to be found in a house of prostitution? What will your future husband think?! If your good name is soiled, the Lam Family's honor will be marred and no man would want to marry you!"

    Lam Suk Chi pouted at her brother. "I am just having some good-natured fun. Besides, I want to see what the inside of a brothel is like. I am disguised as a man, so nobody will know who I am." She kicked at a loose pebble with her foot. "It is so boring at home, especially with Eldest Brother away on a mission and Third Sister touring the countryside gathering herbs. And you are no fun to be with! All you do is practice your sword skills. You won't even practice with me!"

    Wah sighed. "Chi Chi, have you ever considered staying home and practicing your embroidery like Mother suggested? A well-bred lady like you should not run around dressed as a man! And to enter such a disreputable establishment! What would Mother and Father say if they return and find out?" Noting that she was about to interrupt him, he held up a hand and continued his lecture. "I don't practice my sword skills with you, because you always quit after you sense that you are losing. Now come on. Let's go home. Eldest Brother and Suk Yu should be back soon."

    Chi Chi, still pouting, reluctantly trailed after her second brother while muttering under her breath about boring brothers. "Fine. I will go home and stare at the walls," she mumbled, disgruntled.

    IN THE OUTSKIRTS OF LAM ON CITY
    SMALL TEA STAND

    A beautiful young woman dressed in pale yellow sat at a small table at a tea stand, enjoying tea and some biscuits. On the table beside her food lay a jade flute, her weapon of choice. She finished her meal quickly, placed a few gold coins on the table, and left. A few minutes after her departure, two burly men sitting at a table nearby picked up their swords and followed her.

    FOREST

    As the young woman passed through the forest on her journey home, she played her flute, showering the woodland with a sad, lilting melody. The rustle of leaves from the nearby brush alerted her to the presence of others. She stopped in her tracks, but continued to play her flute. However, her tune changed to a sharp, ear-piercing pitch, causing the surrounding trees to quiver and the small animals to run for cover. The men hiding in the brush screamed and crashed out of the shrubbery, their hands clenched against their ears. The young woman continued her flute playing mercilessly as she looked at the two burly men writhing in pain on the forest ground. Blood trickled from their nostrils. Finally, taking pity on their suffering, the young woman halted her melody.

    The young woman twirled her flute. "Had enough, you two? Which sect do you belong to and why are you following me?"

    Without responding to her questions, the two men stabbed themselves with their swords, refusing to provide her with answers. The young woman hurried to their sides in an attempt to prevent them from committing suicide. Unfortunately, it was too late, for the men had already died. A metal disc hanging from a chain from one of the men's waist sash caught her eye, and she picked it up for closer inspection. The engraving on the metal read, "Sun Moon Sect."

    The young woman frowned as she examined the metal disc incredulously. "Hmmm…the Sun Moon Sect? There exists a second Sun Moon Sect?"

    In the distance, footsteps pounded on the dirt road of the forest. Soon two familiar voices could be heard, one male and the other female.

    Wah shouted, "Suk Yu! Suk Yu! Where are you?"

    Chi Chi followed close behind her second brother, screaming at the top of her lungs. "Third Sister! Third Sister! Are you all right?"

    Lam Suk Yu turned toward the direction of the voices, her hand still holding the metal disc. "Chi Chi! Second Brother! I am over here!"

    From the depths of the woods, Wah and Chi Chi emerged. They ran towards their sister, Lam Suk Yu.

    Chi Chi happily trotted over to her sister, a wide smile gracing her mischievous face. "Third Sister!"

    Suk Yu looked at her second elder brother and her younger sister with a confused expression. "Why are you two here? I thought you were at home."

    Wah shot Chi Chi a long-suffering look before turning toward Suk Yu to answer her question. "We were home, until Chi Chi sneaked out to cause trouble. I had to go look for her. On our way back to Lam Manor, we heard your flute playing and were concerned that you were in danger."

    Chi Chi, highly insulted by her brother's remark, pouted. "I was not out causing trouble, Second Brother! I just wanted to have some fresh air!"

    Suk Yu smiled at her younger sister's irked look. "All right, Chi Chi. I believe you. By the way, Second Brother, have you ever that there are two Sun Moon Sects? I found this metal disc on the body of one of the men following me."

    Suk Yu showed Wah the metal disc in her hand. Wah scrutinized it closely, his brow furrowed in concentration. Finally, he shook his head in confusion.

    Tiptoeing and peeking over her second brother’s shoulder, Chi Chi narrowed her eyes at the words engraved on the metal disc. “Two Sun Moon Sects?” Chi Chi butted into the conversation. “Impossible! We are the only Sun Moon Sect around! This other sect must be an impostor!”

    Wah handed the disc back to Suk Yu, replying, "No, I have never heard of another sect with the same name as our sect. Our Sun Moon Sect only consists of family. Other than you, me, Chi Chi, and Eldest Brother, Father and Mother have no other disciples. Therefore, there isn’t even the possibility of a fellow disciple establishing his own sect with the same name.” His fingers traced over the unfamiliar carving on the disc. “This symbol of a snake intertwined around a single rose... I’ve never seen this before...” He glanced at Suk Yu. “I wonder why its members are following you."

    Suk Yu appeared just as confused as her brother. "I asked them the same question, but they committed suicide before I was able to force an answer from them. I guess we'll have to ask Father when he and Mother return."

    Listening in on her siblings' conversation, Chi Chi suddenly chirped excitedly. "Maybe we should ask around to see if anyone has heard of this phony Sun Moon Sect!"

    Alarmed that Chi Chi will get into further mischief, Suk Yu and Wah shouted in unison, "No!"

    Wah frowned sternly at his youngest sister. "Chi Chi, you need to learn how to stay out of trouble! Lam Family is one of the pugilist world's most respected families. We have a reputation to uphold! You have to remember that. Let's all return and wait for Eldest Brother to return."

    The three set off on their journey home. Suk Yu and Wah continued to speculate on the origins of the mysterious “other” Sun Moon Sect, while Chi Chi trailed after them with a pout.

    As the three siblings exited the forest, two men arrived on the scene, dressed similarly in style as the two deceased men. They rushed toward the two corpses lying on the forest ground.

    The first man checked the pulses of the two dead men, his expression grim. "They're dead. We have to report back to First Young Master that they have failed their mission."

    Nodding, the second man inquired, "Should we pursue the Lam siblings?"

    The first man pondered briefly before answering, "No. Since our two dead comrades have already been discovered, the Lam siblings will be more vigilant. It will not be easy to capture them. Let's see what First Young Master wishes for us to do next."

    After burying their two fellow disciples, the two men disappeared into the thick woodland.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Melanie's Avatar
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    CHAPTER 4 -- UNCONSCIOUS GUEST

    Characters appearing in this chapter:
    Gigi Lai Chi---Lam Suk Chi a.k.a. Chi Chi 林淑姿
    Frankie Lam Mun Lung---Lam Yik Wah 林億龍
    Kristy Yeung Gong Yu---Lam Suk Yu 林淑瑜
    Myolie Wu Hung Yee---Mok Yi San 莫綺晨
    Rain Lau Yuk Chui---Sung Ling 宋玲
    Gilbert Lam Wai Sun---Lam Yik Lun 林億倫
    Annie Man Chung Han---So Siu Han 蘇小嫻

    LAM ON CITY
    LAM MANOR

    The minute Yik Wah, Suk Yu, and Chi Chi arrived home, a servant girl ran out to greet the three siblings. Without paying much attention to her two young mistresses, she headed directly toward Lam Yik Wah.

    The servant girl placed her hands on Wah's arm and batted her eyelashes. "Second Young Master, you have finally come home!"

    Wah cleared his throat self-consciously and removed his arm from her grasp. "Yi San, please have the cook prepare us a meal."

    Mok Yi San pouted and replaced her hands on Wah's arm again. "Second Young Master, where did you go? Why wouldn't you let me accompany you? You need someone to see to your comforts.”

    Shaking his head with a mild trace of impatience, Wah extricated his arm from her grasp again and spoke more firmly this time. "Yi San, would you please do as I say and go get us some food?"

    Yi San pretended that she did not see his irritation and smiled at him. "Fine. I will bring you some food immediately. You just rest."

    She continued smiling sweetly as she curtsied to Wah before leaving. However, her smile turned into a vicious snarl the minute she entered the hallway, out of the Lam siblings' earshot. With her fists tightly clenched, she stomped into the kitchen.

    Yi San muttered to herself angrily. "One of these days, I will marry into the Lam Family and never have to tend to others' needs again!"

    LAM MANOR
    KITCHEN

    News of the Lam siblings’ return reached the kitchen staff rapidly. Because the Lams had always been kind and fair to the servants, many were extremely loyal to them and were overjoyed that they had returned safely. The cook and several servants bustled around the kitchen. Some busily chopped firewood, some washed vegetables, and some tended to the huge wok.

    The Lam's young cook, Sung Ling, screamed indignantly at another servant. "AAAAAHHHHHH! Ah Ming! You cannot just randomly throw ingredients into the pot! You must add them one by one delicately." She demonstrated by gently sprinkling a dab of salt here and a dab of pepper there. "There! Perfect!" Satisfied, she ladled the boiling soup as she leaned forward to sniff the aromatic the fumes.

    As Yi San passed by, the cook grabbed her arm and dragged her toward the sizzling pot of stew.

    Sung Ling grinned happily. "Yi San! Here, try my stew. I bet Second Young Master, Third Young Mistress, and Fourth Young Mistress would love it!"

    Yi San angrily brushed off her friend's hand. "Ling, leave me alone. I am not in the mood to taste any of your concoctions."

    Sensing something wrong with Yi San, Ling frowned as she stared at her friend's dark expression. "What's wrong, Yi San? I thought you would be overjoyed that Second Young Master is home."

    Pouting, Yi San, sighed deeply and stomped her feet. "He doesn't even notice that I am alive. All I am to him is a servant. I'll show him one day."

    Hearing this complaint from Yi San a million times before, Ling now sighed and shook her head sympathetically. "Yi San, I told you not to get your hopes up. We are servants and should know our place. Besides, I do not think Second Young Master has any romantic feelings for you."

    Yi San clenched her fists. "I will make him love me. I swear to this!"

    LAM MANOR
    MAIN RECEPTION HALL

    Yik Lun burst through the main entrance of Lam Manor, an unconscious Siu Han cradled in his arms. He looked about frantically, shouting for assistance.

    Lun called for his third younger sister, the healer in the family. "Suk Yu, Suk Yu! Are you home, yet? I need your help!"

    After a few minutes of no response, he stared down at the unconscious Siu Han helplessly. Frowning, he carried Siu Han into one of the guest chambers and laid her gently down on the bed. While he wiped her brow with a cloth, Suk Yu, Wah, and Chi Chi barged into the room upon hearing their eldest brother's shouts.

    Wah rushed up to Lun, a happy grin gracing his serious face. "Eldest Brother! I am glad you are back. It has been months since you left on your mission."

    Lun gave his younger brother a slight, preoccupied smile before turning his attention back to the young maiden on the bed.

    Chi Chi curiously sidled toward the bed and stared at Sui Han. "Eldest Brother, who is she? She's very pretty."

    Lun urgently looked at Suk Yu. "Suk Yu, she just suddenly fainted. Can you find out what is wrong with her?"

    Suk Yu nodded, calmly sat on the bed beside Siu Han, and reached for her radial pulse. After a few minutes, she turned toward Lun, a reassuring smile on her face. "Don't worry, Eldest Brother. Her pulse appears fine to me. She probably fainted from exhaustion. She should recover nicely after some rest."

    Lun let out a relieved sigh, reclaimed his seat by the side of Siu Han's bed, and gently dabbed at her brow with the wash cloth. Meanwhile, the rest of his siblings looked down on Siu Han curiously and then directed a questioning look at their eldest brother, who had never brought a woman home before, nor had he ever shown such concern for one.

    Suk Yu, the most sensitive sibling of the bunch, smiled with understanding as she observed the worry on her brother's face. Suk Yu placed a comforting hand on her oldest brother's shoulder. "Don't worry, Eldest Brother. She will wake up soon. You have just returned from a long journey. Why don't you eat something and then get some rest? Chi Chi and I will take care of her and inform you when she wakes up."

    Chi Chi cheerfully piped up. "Yay! I am so happy that I now have someone my age to keep me company! I wonder if she knows martial arts? Maybe we can practice our sword skills together. You three never practice with me." She glared accusingly at her three siblings.

    Suk Yu gently pushed her oldest brother out the door. "Go ahead, Eldest Brother. Get some rest. Chi Chi, why don't you see if you can get some fresh clothes for her to change into once she rouses."

    Lun reluctantly left after one final concerned glance at Siu Han. Wah, who had remained silent all this time, trudged out, too, after another curious look at their delicate guest. Chi Chi, however, continued to gawk at the unconscious young woman with interest. Suk Yu, not wanting her talkative younger sister to disturb their guest, shooed her out to search for clothing.

    LAM MANOR
    LATER THAT EVENING

    The moon shone luminescent and bright, its white light bathing the majestic gardens of Lam Manor. In a guest chamber facing the gardens, Suk Yu sat at a table, reading a martial arts manuscript in the candlelight, her ever-present jade flute on the table by her side. Chi Chi, on the other hand, paced back and forth, too full of energy to sit still. Her older sister looked at her and sighed, shaking her head indulgently.

    Finally, Chi Chi came to stand beside Suk Yu. "Third Sister, why do you think this Miss has chains on her feet?" She pondered this mystery for a while. "Maybe she's an escaped convict! Maybe she's a ruthless killer!" Her eyes widened as her imagination ran wild. "But why would Eldest Brother bring her home if she's evil? Hmmm…"

    Suk Yu sighed at Chi Chi's bizarre imagination. "Eldest Brother has always been a good judge of character. I doubt our mysterious guest is evil. Remember, try to refrain from asking her about the chains when she wakes up. It might upset her."

    Chi Chi nodded absentmindedly. Trotting back to stand beside the bed, she scrutinized the unconscious Siu Han. "She looks very slender. I bet she hasn't eaten in days. Poor thing!" Tilting her head curiously, she spied a small, simple heart-shaped jade hanging from a red string by Siu Han's waist. "Look at this, Third Sister. It's very simple but pretty."

    Chi Chi's voice broke through Siu Han's consciousness, and she struggled back to reality. Siu Han moaned as she turned her head slowly to stare up at Chi Chi. Shocked at seeing a stranger's face, Siu Han sat up quickly, knocking her forehead right into Chi Chi's.

    "Ouch!” Chi Chi and Siu Han grimaced in pain as they both rubbed their foreheads. In unison, they muttered something incoherent.

    From behind, Suk Yu approached the bed. "Miss! You are awake! How do you feel?"

    Alarmed and still disoriented, Siu Han backed away from the two sisters in shock and fright.

    Suk Yu smiled reassuringly. "Miss, do not be afraid. We mean you no harm."

    Nodding her head enthusiastically, Chi Chi tugged on Siu Han's sleeve. "I'm Lam Suk Chi, but everybody calls me Chi Chi. This is my sister, Lam Suk Yu. What's your name?"

    Siu Han, still rubbing her forehead, eyed the two strangers warily. "Why…why am I here?"

    Chi Chi, eyes wide, exclaimed, "Don't you remember what happened? You fainted and my eldest brother carried you home."

    Confused, Siu Han stared at Chi Chi and Suk Yu blankly. "Huh?" Then she suddenly remembered her sweet buns, which she had been looking forward to eating. "Where are my sweet buns?!" She frantically searched the bed for the buns. When she realized that she must have dropped them, she became teary-eyed because she was so hungry.

    Suk Yu guessed correctly that their guest must be hungry since she was so upset over the sweet buns. "Miss, would you like to eat something first?" She gestured at the dishes of food on the table. “Why don't you and Chi Chi eat, while I go inform Eldest Brother that you are awake?"

    After Suk Yu left the room, Siu Han edged hesitantly toward the table full of delicious smelling food. She nearly clapped with joy and quickly sat down and hungrily devoured the biscuits and slices of fruit. Chi Chi sat down next to her, with her elbows resting on the table.

    As Siu Han ravenously feasted, Chi Chi perched on the stool and looked at Sui Han curiously. "You haven't told me your name."

    Less frightened now as she sensed that the sisters had no intention to harm her, Siu Han swallowed her food slowly before answering. "My name is So Siu Han."

    Chi Chi tilted her head inquisitively at her guest. "Do you have any family here?"

    Siu Han shook her head. "No. I come from a fishing village up north. Everyone in my family has passed away except for me."

    Chi Chi nodded sympathetically. "It must be difficult being without family." She stopped to contemplate something. "Although I must admit being the youngest in a big family isn't always easy. My siblings always treat me like a child, and they watch every move I make!" She suddenly brightened as an idea popped into her head. "Hey, why don't you stay here and become my younger god sister, so that I don't have to be the youngest anymore!"

    Siu Han peered at the talkative Chi Chi questioningly. "Hmmm…," she mumbled, unsure how to reply to that statement.

    Thinking that Chi Chi was a little peculiar, Siu Han made a noncommittal sound and returned to her eating. Since escaping Pearl Fragrance Pavilion three days ago, she had not eaten and had been hiding in corners and alleys, afraid that the two burly brothel security guards would find her and drag her back. If Mong Ching, another prostitute at the brothel, had not created a diversion to help her escape, she would still be trapped in that despicable place. Siu Han was not so naïve to believe that Mong Ching had aided her out of kindness. She knew that the other woman saw her as stiff competition for customers and would love to see her leave the establishment.

    Unaware of Siu Han’s thoughts, Chi Chi babbled on and on about all the fun things they could do together as god sisters.

    Siu Han finished her food quickly and turned to Chi Chi. "Where am I?"

    Smiling proudly, Chi Chi puffed out her chest and exclaimed, "Why, you're at Lam Manor!”

    She stared expectantly at Siu Han after that announcement, expecting some sort of awed applause. When no sort thing happened, she frowned. “Siu Han, haven’t you heard of Lam Manor?”

    Siu Han shook her head, her expression puzzled.

    “Do you know martial arts, Siu Han?” Chi Chi questioned.

    Again, Siu Han shook her head.

    At that, Chi Chi slapped her palm down onto the table top suddenly, startling Siu Han, and cried loudly, “Then no wonder you don’t know Lam Manor!” She clasped Siu Han’s hands tightly in hers. “We are the one of the most respected families in the pugilist world. Everyone must give face to Lam Family of Lam On City. Don't worry, whoever put those chains around your ankles would not dare harm you as long as you stay with us."

    Upon learning about her location, Siu Han started panicking. "Wait! Lam Manor is in Lam On City? I am back in Lam On City?! How could it be? I remember being near the outskirts of the city yesterday!"

    Frightened at the prospect of being discovered by the brothel security guards since Pearl Fragrance Pavilion was also located in Lam On City, Siu Han frantically tried to come up with an escape plan. Without out another word, she stood up and hurried toward the door.

    Noticing that her guest was leaving, Chi Chi halted her nonstop chatter and placed a hand on Siu Han's arm to stop her departure.

    Chi Chi exclaimed in surprise. "Siu Han, where are you going? Eldest Brother will be so mad at me if I let you leave before he sees you!"

    Ignoring Chi Chi's question, Siu Han frantically shook off Chi Chi's hand. "Miss Chi Chi, I really must go!"

    Sui Han rushed out the door at full speed, ran right into Lun's chest, and bounced back from the impact.

    Caught by surprise, Lun reached out to steady her. "Whoa! Miss, where are rushing off to? You have just recovered. You must stay here and rest!"

    Siu Han glanced up at him with terrified eyes. "I can't stay! They are going to come after me! They are going to come after me!"

    Lun and Chi Chi exchanged confused looks and asked in unison. "Who's going to come after you?"

    Breathing rapidly, Siu Han replied in a shaky voice. "Those Pearl Fragrance Pavilion security guards! They are out there looking for me right now, waiting for the opportunity to drag me back! Madam Ma said that she would pay a handsome reward for any employee who is able to return me to her."

    Wah, who had wandered out of his room to see what the commotion was about, joined in the conversation. "I am Chi Chi's second brother. Miss, why don't you explain the situation to us? We will help you." He tried to calm Siu Han down.

    Siu Han looked at her hosts with big, frightened eyes before taking in a deep breath. "About a week ago, the villagers in my fishing village said that my presence was bad luck. They all decided to sell me to a house of prostitution in Lam On City, far away from the village so that my bad luck would no longer affect them. The Madam of Pearl Fragrance Pavilion paid a hefty sum for me and planned to launch my debut as one of her 'stars.' I tried to run away once but was captured. They locked me in chains to prevent future escapes. Luckily, three days ago, one of the girls there helped me escape. They have been looking for me ever since. I must leave before they find me!"

    Wah furrowed his brows, speaking in a reassuring voice and trying to calm down Siu Han's hysteria. "We will pay for your freedom. You have nothing to fear."

    Chi Chi chimed in cheerfully. "Yeah! I'll accompany you tomorrow to Pearl Fragrance Pavilion and give that evil Madam Ma a piece of my mind!"

    Sighing, Wah and Lun glanced at Chi Chi reproachfully. "Chi Chi, please! We do not need anymore problems while Mother and Father are away!" They burst out in unison.

    Siu Han whispered gratefully to her benefactors. "Thank you, everyone. I will work to repay your kindness."

    Lun shook his head. "No, you are our guest. There is no need to repay us." He reassured her.

    Siu Han, full of stubborn pride, pursed her lips into a grim line. "I won't accept your help unless you let me work to repay you."

    Chi Chi squeezed into the conversation enthusiastically. "Okay! Then, it's settled. Siu Han can be my personal maid!" Turning to Siu Han, she grabbed her hand excitedly. "We will have so much fun exploring the city!"

    At her declaration, her brothers frowned at her warningly.

    Chi Chi returned their glances indignantly. "What?! I'll take care of Siu Han. I promise!"

    Not at all reassured, the brothers continued to eye Chi Chi suspiciously, while Siu Han smiled at their sibling tiff.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Melanie's Avatar
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    CHAPTER 5 -- MY HERO

    Characters appearing in this chapter:
    Louis Koo Tin Lok---Gu Yat Fei 古日飛
    Benny Chan Ho Man---Gu Yat Keung 古日強
    Gilbert Lam Wai Sun---Lam Yik Lun 林億倫
    Annie Man Chung Han---So Siu Han 蘇小嫻
    Joe Ma Tuk Chung---Lau Dong 劉當
    Vincent Jiao Enjun---Chau Mo 周武
    Helena Law Lan---Grandmother Fa 花婆婆

    NEAR NORTHERN BORDER OF SUNG DYNASTY
    SUN MOON SECT

    The two Sun Moon Sect members, who had previously discovered the deaths of two fellow members in the forest, hastily returned to the Sun Moon Sect to report this setback. They pressed a hidden stone lever near the entrance of a stone structure, and a hidden door slid open to reveal a long, torch lit hallway. The two members entered, their footsteps echoing loudly in the silence. At the end of the hall, they hesitated at the entrance of a huge, dimly lit room and exchanged apprehensive glances before stepping inside.

    A darkly handsome man sat meditating on a stone slab with his legs crossed and eyes closed. Sensing the presence of the two newcomers, his eyes suddenly opened, and he jerked his head in the direction of the entranceway. His cold, emotionless eyes pierced the two Sun Moon Sect members.

    The man looked questioningly at the two members. "Did the two men I sent out successfully capture the third young mistress of the Lam family, Lam Suk Yu?"

    One of the members, Chau Mo, shook his head. "No, First Young Master. Lau Dong and I found the bodies of our two fellow sect members in the forest near the outskirts of Lam On City. She must have discovered and killed them."

    Hearing this news, the darkly handsome man tightened his jaw muscles, his lips flattened into a grim line. "Incompetent imbeciles! I send two burly men out, and they cannot even capture one young maiden! What about the ten assassins I sent out to kill the eldest Lam family son, Lam Yik Lun?"

    The other Sun Moon Sect member, Lau Dong, glanced worriedly at his fellow sect member, Chau Mo, before answering. "They, too, have failed their mission. Chau Mo and I found five assassins dead on the beach and five more dead on a meadow in the outskirts of Lam On City."

    Incensed at this news, the darkly handsome man hurled a fireball at the opposite stone wall.

    Another young man stood at the corner of the inner chamber with his back facing the other three people in the room, as he calmly studied the martial arts drawings on the walls. He now turned around and spoke, smirking slightly at his darkly handsome older brother. "Elder Brother, I told you that the Lam siblings are difficult to defeat. After all, the Lam family has been holding the title of Chancellor of the Pugilist World for over forty years."

    The darkly handsome man glanced over at his younger brother, his gaze piercing. "Yat Keung, don't be so sure of the Lams' invincibility. After all, everyone has a weakness. All we have to do is find that weak spot and strike. I will challenge these Lam siblings personally if I have to, and I believe that I, Gu Yat Fei, will be able to defeat them."

    Gu Yat Keung walked calmly toward his older brother. "Why waste your talents, Elder Brother? Why don't I take care of them for you?"

    Fei looked at his younger brother questioningly. "You? Are you sure you want to deal with this?"

    Keung shrugged nonchalantly. "Sure. Why, not? I haven't had the chance to try out my new Dragon Claws Flying Daggers technique. I might as well use this skill on the Lams."

    Fei smiled. "Then I shall wait here for your good news, Little Brother. Take Lau Dong and Chau Mo with you to help. Don't disappoint me, Keung."

    Keung grinned confidently. "When have I ever let you down?"

    LAM ON CITY
    OUTSIDE PEARL FRAGRANCE PAVILION

    Lun walked toward Pearl Fragrance Pavilion, with Siu Han trailing apprehensively after him. He paused in front of the brothel's entrance and glanced back at the quivering Siu Han.

    Lun smiled reassuringly at the frightened maiden before walking over to Siu Han's side. "Siu Han, do not be afraid. I promise I won't let them recapture you."

    Siu Han peeked up at Lun worriedly. "But First Young Master, what if they…?"

    Lun shook his head and reassured Siu Han again. "Don't worry. We are here to pay for your freedom. You'll never have to return to this place again."

    Siu Han looked at him gratefully. "Thank you, First Young Master. You are so kind and generous. You have no obligation to help me, and yet, you still offer to pay for my freedom. I don't think I will ever be able to repay you for your kindness."

    Lun stared at her intently but remained silent for a moment. Then he smiled slightly and patted her hand. "Don't be silly. There is nothing to repay. Let's get this unpleasant task settled, and we can be on our way."

    Sui Han, eyes wide, hesitantly followed him into Pearl Fragrance Pavilion, her hand tightly gripping his.

    INSIDE PEARL FRAGRANCE PAVILION

    Inside the notorious house of ill-repute, drunken men chased scantily dressed women around, while some customers enjoyed the seductive dance performance on stage as they sampled the fine wine and cuisine. Discreetly from a corner of the main reception hall, the madam of the establishment scanned the crowd, her sharp eyes immediately spying a well-dressed Yik Lun, and smelling a potential rich customer, sashayed up to him.

    Madam Ma smiled charmingly, baring all her teeth. "Young Master! Welcome to Pearl Fragrance Pavilion, where the women are beautiful, the music is high-classed, and the cuisine is delicious! We have a wide variety of girls for selection. Who is your pleasure today?"

    As Madam Ma chattered on, Siu Han hid behind Lun and stayed out of the madam's line of vision.

    Lun dangled a pouch full of gold coins in front of Madam Ma's nose. "I am here to pay for the freedom of one of your girls." He pulled Siu Han out from behind him, thus revealing her presence to the madam.

    Spotting Siu Han, Madam Ma’s mouth dropped open with surprise. As surprise turned into outrage, the madam pointed an accusing finger at Siu Han as she advanced toward the frightened young woman threateningly. "You! So this man is whom you have been hiding with all this time! I paid good money for you, and you have not brought in one gold coin for me!"

    Terrified, Siu Han burrowed herself against Lun's chest. He held her protectively against him as he thrust one hand out to halt the advance of the angry Madam Ma.

    Lun spoke calmly. "Madam, why don't you just take these gold coins as payment for Siu Han’s freedom? There is more than enough money in the pouch to cover all your losses."

    Madam Ma, incensed at being told what to do, screeched, "What?! Set this girl free? Are you kidding? She has the kind of fragile beauty that attracts men like honey attracts bees! She will make me a million times richer than I am now! Do you think that your pouch of gold can compare to the riches that I will gain in the future?"

    Lun's eyes narrowed dangerously at the madam’s uncooperative attitude, his voice cold with anger. "I sincerely advise that you take the gold coins I am offering, Madam."

    Madam Ma laughed mockingly in Lun's face. "I am not afraid of you! I have men to take care of troublemakers like you!"

    She backed away from Lun and Siu Han as she clapped her hands loudly. From the interior balcony of the reception hall, four heavyset men leapt down and surrounded Lun. Sensing trouble, Lun set Siu Han away from him and turned to face his opponents with a dangerously quiet expression.

    Madam Ma shrieked in the background. "Beat him up!!!"

    The four men charged at Lun simultaneously with fists raised menacingly. Calmly, without unsheathing his sword, Lun grabbed one of the men by the lapels of his robe and flung him toward a second man, who was in the process of charging forward, thereby knocking both down. Out of the corner of his eyes, he saw two more men swiftly approaching, and with a forceful kick, sent both crashing into a nearby table. The occupants of the table screamed and ran for cover. Chaos ensued as guests quickly evacuated Pearl Fragrance Pavilion, leaving the four brothel security guards writhing in pain on the floor and Madam Ma cowering in the corner.

    Siu Han quickly ran to Lun's side and latched onto his arm as she surveyed the carnage. Lun, with Siu Han attached to his arm, walked toward the frightened madam.

    He dropped his pouch of gold coins onto the floor in front of Madam Ma. Stretching his hand out toward the frightened woman, he demanded, "Give me Siu Han’s ownership papers." When Madam Ma continued to stare up at him with shock, her eyes glazed over, he added calmly in a lethally soft voice. "Now."

    Her head nodding like a puppet attached to strings, Madam Ma crawled over to a wooden cabinet hidden behind a thick, red brocade curtain at a secluded corner of the reception hall. With shaky hands, she pulled out Siu Han’s ownership papers from a hidden compartment inside the top drawer and handed them over to Lun. "Here, Young Master."

    Lun scanned the papers to confirm their authenticity and then immediately shredded them to pieces. Then holding Siu Han's hand, he started to walk out of Pearl Fragrance Pavilion with her.

    One of the burly men, unwilling to accept defeat easily, charged at Lun's back with a small knife. A split second before the knife touched his back, Lun swiftly turned around and stared emotionlessly at his opponent. Frightened by Lun's steely gaze, the man dropped his knife and ran away.

    OUTSIDE PEARL FRAGRANCE PAVILION

    Holding Siu Han’s hand firmly, Lun pulled her across the cobblestone road, walking at a steady pace without glancing back at the brothel. After passing several store fronts along the busy market street, Lun paused and turned toward Siu Han with concern.

    "Are you all right?"

    Siu Han looked at him quietly for such a long time that Lun began to worry that she might have been traumatized by the events inside Pearl Fragrance Pavilion earlier. Then Siu Han suddenly grinned widely, surprising him.

    "First Young Master, you were fabulous in there, just like the heroes in the bedtime stories my mother used to tell me!" She raved enthusiastically.

    Not expecting such a compliment, Lun turned beet-red and looked bashfully down at the ground. "Ummm…" Clearing his throat, he mumbled shyly to his feet. “It is nothing. Siu Han…”

    However, by the time he glanced back up, Siu Han had already wandered off to inspect some hairpins at a nearby vendor stand. He walked over to her and peered over her shoulder to see which pieces had caught her eye.

    Lun commented, "Those hairpins are beautiful. Would you like one?"

    Siu Han smiled and shook her head, although a tinge of wistfulness danced fleetingly across her eyes. "The hairpins are pretty, but too expensive. Let's go, First Young Master. It's getting late." She walked away after one last longing look at the hair pieces.

    Hesitantly, Lun glanced back at the hairpins. After a moment, he followed Siu Han, who appeared to be deep in thought. Tapping Siu Han on the shoulder, Lun made up an excuse to stop Siu Han from heading straight back to Lam Manor. "Siu Han, I am a bit hungry. Why don't you find us a table at that restaurant up ahead? I have something to do first and will meet up with you in a few minutes."

    Sui Han nodded. "All right."

    Sui Han walked toward the restaurant up ahead. Once she disappeared into the restaurant, Lun quickly returned to the hairpin vendor stand.

    VENDOR STAND SELLING HAIR ACCESSORIES

    The vendor, a smooth-talking elderly woman, enthusiastically welcomed Lun's browsing and excitedly advertised her goods. He inspected the wide selection of hair accessories with a confused frown, since he had never bought anything for a woman before.

    The vendor spoke encouragingly. "Take your time, Young Master. I have a wide variety of hair accessories which not only accentuate a maiden's beauty but also are sturdy to wear and tear."

    Lun studied every hairpin spread out on the table. "Which hair accessory did that young maiden like?"

    The vendor looked at Lun questioningly. "You mean, the young maiden with you here a few moments ago? Well, it was hard to tell because she glanced at every piece." The old woman smiled at Lun cunningly, sensing an easy target. "Young Master, if you wish to impress her, then my advice is to purchase this one here." She pointed to a delicate gold hairpin with multicolored jewels clustered together at one end to form the shape of a phoenix. The phoenix “feathers” extended into three long, shimmering, gold chains, which dangled from one end of the pin. "It's a replica of the hair accessory worn by the beautiful and famous Tang Dynasty concubine, Lady Yeung."

    Lun picked up the recommended hairpin and examined it closely, his brow furrowed in concentration. "Hmmm…" He glanced at the other hairpins, which looked exquisite, also. He tried to imagine which one Siu Han would prefer, but came up with a blank. Finally, after much deliberation, he made a decision. "I would like to buy all of them. Wrap them up for me, please."

    The vendor smiled excitedly, for this was her lucky day. "Thank you! Thank you, Young Master! That young maiden is truly fortunate to have you as an admirer."

    After handing over his payment and tucking his package away, Lun headed toward the restaurant, deciding that he will surprise Siu Han tonight with his purchases. As he strolled away, the hairpin vendor, also known to others in the Sun Moon Sect as Grandmother Fa, grinned slyly at Lun's retreating back…

  8. #8
    Senior Member Melanie's Avatar
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    CHAPTER 6 -- PERVERT!

    Characters appearing in this chapter:
    Annie Man Chung Han---So Sui Han
    Gilbert Lam Wai Sun---Lam Yik Lun
    Benny Chan Ho Man---Koo Yat Keung
    Frankie Lam Mun Lung---Lam Yik Wah
    Gigi Lai Chi---Lam Suk Chi a.k.a. Chi Chi
    Myolie Wu Hung Yee---Mok Yee San
    Rain Lau Yuk Chui---Sung Ling
    Vincent Jiao Enjun---Chau Mo
    Joe Ma Tuk Chung---Lau Dong
    Helena Law Lan---Grandmother Fa

    CITY OF LAM ON
    ON THE SECOND FLOOR OF SKY DRAGON RESTAURANT

    Koo Yat Keung, Chau Mo, and Lau Dong sit at a table near Sky Dragon Restaurant's second floor balcony overlooking the busy marketplace of Lam On. The three Sun Moon Sect members sip wine as they plan their next course of action against the Lam family.

    Koo Yat Keung brings his miniature cup of wine close to his nostrils for a sniff. "Have you sent our people to survey the lay of Lam Mansion?"


    Chau Mo nods. "Yes, we have, Second Young Master. According to reports, Lam Siu Tin and Chan Yin Yuk are away, leaving their four children to guard Lam Mansion. There are a total of four entrances to the mansion, each with two stationed manservants serving as guards. Change of guard duty occurs at sunrise and at sunset."

    Keung nods approvingly. "Have you found out any more useful information?"

    Lau Dong smiles. "As a matter of fact, yes. One of the servants, a Mok Yee San, appears to have romantic feelings toward the second Lam son. It also appears that she is very rash and short-tempered. In addition, a few days ago, the Lams acquired a new maid, who used to be one of the "untouched" new girls at Yee Heung Lau, Lam On's most popular house of ill-repute."

    Keung rubs his chin thoughtfully. "Very interesting, indeed. I want you to find out more information on these two servants. They may be the keys to the downfall of this family of invincible martial arts experts."

    Chau Mo nods in assent. "Yes, we will see to this immediately. Grandmother Fa wants us to inform you that she will meet with you tonight for any reports of new developments."

    Chau Mo and Lau Dong get ready to leave the restaurant. While descending the stairs of Sky Dragon Restaurant, they brush pass Sui Han, who is coming up the stairs to look for a table to sit while she waits for Lun. Delighted at finding an empty table near the balcony overlooking the bustling marketplace, she quickly walks over to claim her spot. Now that she is free of Yee Heung Lau, she feels lighthearted and cheerful, emotions which she has not experienced since her Big Brother Sai Chung died. Humming a soft tune to herself, Sui Han glances down on the street below, trying to catch a glimpse of Lun.

    At the next table facing her, Keung looks up from his wine, trying to locate the source of the gentle, sweet melody, and sees a vision of delicate beauty in front of him. He gazes at her, bewitched, his wine forgotten. For Keung, the rest of the world has faded away, leaving only this fair maiden.


    A toddler, who has escaped his mother's grasp, energetically chugs his stubby legs towards the balcony, where colorful lanterns sway in the gentle breeze. He clumsily bumps into Keung, bringing him out of his trance. The little boy, who has fallen down from his collision with Keung, now sits on the floor wailing, more from shock than from pain.

    As Keung and Sui Han rush toward the child, both of their hands accidentally touch in their haste to pick up the boy. Sui Han hurriedly withdraws her hands, uncomfortable. At that moment, the child's mother rushes up to them and claims her boy.

    The child's mother gushes effusely. "Thank you so much, Sir. Thank you, Miss."

    Keung acknowledges her gratitude distractedly. "You're welcome." He keeps his eyes on Sui Han, who has her head turned slightly away from him, uncomfortable at being stared at so blatantly.

    Sui Han goes back to her seat and resumes her watch for Lun, while Keung also returns to his table. Out of the corner of her eyes, she notices Keung's steady gaze.

    Sui Han mutters under her breath. "Pervert!"

    Extremely uneasy, Sui Han tries to ignore him. After a few minutes, she peeks over in his direction, hoping that he has lost his fascination with her. Unfortunately, her gaze locks with his the second she glances over. He smiles charmingly at her. Unimpressed, she leaps up from her seat and hurries downstairs.

    Alarmed that he has scared her off with his smile, he attempts to pursue her, but his chase is thwarted by the appearance of huge, overly friendly, burly man.

    The burly man envelops Keung in a bone-crushing embrace. "Thank you, Sir, for taking care of my little boy when he fell down." The man delivers a couple of forceful slaps to Keung's back before walking off with his family.

    Stunned at what just occurred, Keung stands rooted to the ground for a few minutes before he remembers Sui Han. Quickly, using his lightness kung fu, he leaps down the balcony and runs down the street, urgently scanning the area for the young woman who has stolen his heart within a matter of seconds.

    Sui Han, hiding behind a large woven basket in an alley, sneaks a peek at Keung as he rushes past her. "You pervert! You've got some nerve to stalk me in broad daylight!" She grumbles angrily under her breath. She waits a few more minutes after he has passed before walking back toward Sky Dragon Resturant to wait for Lun.

    MUCH LATER THAT SAME DAY
    IN THE GARDENS OF LAM MANSION

    Sparrows flutter from tree to tree, chirping furiously as their peace is disturbed by Yik Wah's swift and accurate sword strokes. He flies into the air and flips from one tree to the next, scattering leaves with his sword. With one final air-borne somersault, he lands on the rooftop, sits down, and chugs from a small gourd of wine to quench his thirst. On the ground below him, the scattered leaves form the Chinese character, "Lam."

    Nearby, Chi Chi, who is also practicing her sword skills, stops and runs over to admire her Second Brother's handy work.

    Chi Chi exclaims excitedly. "Second Brother! I want to learn how to form Chinese characters with scattered leaves!

    Wah leaps down from the rooftop to pat Chi Chi on the cheek. "I'll teach you only if you promise to not leave Lam Mansion until Father and Mother return."

    Chi Chi pouts. "Hey! That's not a fair exchange! I'll be bored to death! You and Eldest Brother never let me go anywhere! He wouldn't even let me accompany Sui Han this morning to Yee Heung Lau."

    Wah sighs. "That's because a well-bred lady is not supposed to frequent those places!"

    Chi Chi sticks her tongue out at Wah. "I am going to find Sui Han. She is more fun to be with!"

    She runs off to the kitchen, leaving Wah staring after her with a resigned look. He picks up his sword and dabs the sweat from his forehead with this sleeve. At that moment, Mok Yee San enters the garden, carrying a tray of desserts. She smiles at Wah and quickly places the tray down on the stone table.

    Yee San rushes over to Wah and makes a move to dab the sweat from his forehead. "Here, let me help you, Second Young Master."

    Wah quickly moves his head backward, away from her hands. "I am fine." He walks into his room and shuts the door firmly, leaving a fuming and speechless Yee San standing alone in the garden.

    IN THE LAM'S KITCHEN

    Sui Han busily chops vegetables on a cutting board. Because the Lam's regular cook, Sung Ling, is visiting her ailing mother and most of the kitchen staff is sick with a head cold, Sui Han has volunteered to help prepare today's evening meal. Beside her, Lun stares at the pot of half-cooked rice in confusion.

    Lun frowns and mutters to himself. "I could have sworn I added enough water to the pot! But why is the rice only half-cooked?"

    Sui Han glances over at him and smiles secretly. "First Young Master, how is the rice coming along over there?"

    Lun tries to hide the rice pot from her view. "Ummm…fine. Everything is under control."

    Sui Han probes teasingly. "Really? Let me see the rice pot."

    Lun stares at her indignantly. "Why? I can cook just as well as any person!"

    Not believing a word he says, Sui Han stands on tiptoes to peek over his shoulder at the pot of half-cooked rice. "Hmmm…" She giggles at his insulted look. "First Young Master, you do not belong in the kitchen. Why don't you wait in the dining room until dinner is ready? I can handle this by myself."

    Lun, wanting to take advantage of every opportunity to be near Sui Han, objects quickly. "No, I want to help you. You are new here, and it is unfair that you have to take over another servant's responsibilities in addition to your own."

    Chi Chi, who has just reached the kitchen, stands in the doorway silently observing her Eldest Brother's lovesick expression. She smiles mischievously.

    Chi Chi remarks teasingly. "Eldest Brother, since when did you decide to become a cook? I recall that you dread even the simple task of boiling water. Remember that time you almost burned the whole kitchen down trying to impress mother by making her breakfast?" She turns to Sui Han and whispers to her. "Our old cook retired the day following that incident!"

    Lun glares at Chi Chi, willing her to be quiet with his stern expression. "You're making that up!" He denies.

    Sui Han smiles at the siblings. "First Young Master, to be honest, I think dinner will be finished sooner if you wait in the dining room."

    Chi Chi, upon hearing this, giggles uncontrollably. Lun continues to glare at his youngest sister.

    Sui Han, taking pity on Lun, suggests, "First Young Master, why don't you help by chopping more wood for me?"

    Lun breaks into a wide grin, relieved that he does not have to re-cook the rice. "Sure! I can do that!"

    He walks over to the pile of wood and proceeds to break each large block into miniature pieces with his bare hands. Chi Chi rolls her eyes at her brother's obvious attempt to show off in front of Sui Han.

    Chi Chi clears her throat. "Uhhh…Eldest Brother, the axe is right at your feet."

    Lun stops and glares at Chi Chi. Sui Han chuckles, convinced that the Lams are a strange but very amusing family.

    THAT EVENING
    CITY OF LAM ON
    IN ONE OF THE CHAMBERS OF A HIGH-CLASSED INN

    Koo Yat Keung sits at the table, a small smile on his lips as he stares dreamily at his drawing of the young woman he has met this morning at Sky Dragon Restaurant. Three consecutive knocks on the door interrupt his reverie. Keung quickly rolls up the drawing and places it beside his pillow on the bed.

    Keung walks toward the door. "Who is it?"

    Grandmother Fa replies, "Second Young Master, it is I, Grandmother Fa."

    Recognizing the voice of one of his subordinates, Keung opens the door and invites her in. "Do you have any more news on the Lams?"

    Grandmother Fa nods. "Yes. It appears that the oldest Lam son is infatuated with the new maid. He came by my vendor stand this morning and bought all my hairpins in an attempt to impress her."

    Keung laughs amusingly. "Interesting! So the lone swordsman known to the martial arts world as cold and emotionless is not so emotionless after all!" He chuckles slyly.

    Grandmother Fa asks, "What do you want us to do?"

    Keung, with an evil glint in his eyes, muses to himself. "United, the Lams are invincible. Even individually, they are difficult to defeat. However, it seems as if we have discovered a new weak link in this unbreakable chain." He paces the room slowly, scheming. "Grandmother Fa, here's what I want you to do…"

  9. #9
    Senior Member Melanie's Avatar
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    CHAPTER 7 -- LOVE POTION

    Characters appearing in this chapter:
    Annie Man Chung Han---So Sui Han
    Gilbert Lam Wai Sun---Lam Yik Lun
    Benny Chan Ho Man---Koo Yat Keung
    Louis Koo Tin Lok---Koo Yat Fei
    Myolie Wu Hung Yee---Mok Yee San
    Rain Lau Yuk Chui---Sung Ling
    Helena Law Lan---Grandmother Fa

    THE FOLLOWING MORNING
    LAM MANSION
    LAM YIK LUN'S CHAMBER

    Lam Yik Lun sits crossed-legged on his bed with fifteen assorted hairpins spread out on the bed in front of him. He picks one up, holds it up toward the ceiling, and examines it with one eye squeezed shut. He then repeats the procedure with the other fourteen pins. Finally, he puts the last hairpin down and sighs. He gets off the bed and starts to pace around the room as a hundred thoughts race through his mind.

    Lun mutters to himself. "Which one should I give her? Maybe she would like the one with the rubies." He shakes his head. "No. No. That one looks too bloody red. How about the one with the silver flowers? No. That one is so bulky it will hurt her head. Maybe she would like the one that the vendor recommended. But what if she does not like wearing a hairpin that is a replica of something once worn by a dead person? What if she does not want any hairpins at all?" He suddenly stops in his tracks as a horrifying thought pops into his mind. "What if she LAUGHS at me when I show her the hairpins?"

    Finally, after wearing out the rug with his pacing, he drops down into a chair, his head slumped forward gloomily. A soft knock on his door has him springing up from his seat in surprise.

    Lun shouts. "Who is it?"

    Sui Han stands outside his closed bedroom door balancing a heavy tray of rice soup. "First Young Master, it is I, Sui Han. Third Young Mistress wanted me to bring you some breakfast."

    Lun, with a panicked look at the hairpins scattered all over his bed, stutters. "Ummm…hold on, Sui Han." He rushes over to his bed and frantically collects the hairpins into a black velvet pouch. However, in his haste to put them away, the dangling chains on several of the pins become tangled together. On the other side of the door, Sui Han knocks again. Lun glances at the door worriedly. "Wait just a few more minutes, Sui Han."

    Sui Han, having a difficult time balancing the heavy tray, calls out, "First Young Master, please hurry up. This tray is very heavy!"

    Not wanting Sui Han to drop the tray and hurt herself, Lun gives up trying to hide the hairpins and opens the door. "Sui Han, here, let me help you with that tray."

    He takes the tray from her and walks over to place it on the table. The sunlight shining into his room through the opened window reflects off the gold and silver hairpins lying on his bed, attracting Sui Han's attention. She curiously wanders over to the bed and stares at the hairpins with awe.

    Eyes wide, Sui Han gasps in awe. "They are so beautiful! Why do you have so many hairpins, First Young Master?"

    Lun turns around and notices Sui Han's wistful look. "Do you like them?" He comes to stand behind her.

    Sui Han nods slowly as she reverently touches a dangling chain on one of the hairpins. Overjoyed at Sui Han's interest, Lun reaches from behind her and picks up the pin she has just touched.

    He turns Sui Han around to face him, and with the hairpin in hand, he reaches up and inserts the pin into her hair. "It looks even more beautiful now that you are wearing it."

    Sui Han shakes her vigorously as she reaches up in an attempt to remove the hairpin. "I cannot accept it, First Young Master! You must already have a young lady in mind to give this to. I cannot take this away from her."

    Lun clasps her hands in his to prevent her from removing the hairpin. "Leave it on, Sui Han. I bought it for you."

    Sui Han, eyes round with wonder, looks at Lun questioningly. "You bought this for me?" She looks down at the floor demurely. Then, suddenly remembering that her hands are still enveloped in his big warm ones, she quickly jerks her hands away and hides them behind her back, a warm blush creeping up her neck.

    Lun smiles at Sui Han's charming shyness. "I bought all these hairpins for you." He gestures to the hair accessories scattered on his bed. "Do you want to try on a different one?"

    Sui Han shakes her head and looks down on the floor bashfully, while Lun stares at her, completely mesmerized by her ethereal beauty, which is accentuated by her comely blush. After several long moments of silence, Sui Han glances up and notices Lun's steady gaze. Embarrassed, she hurriedly leaves the room.

    As Sui Han rushes from Lun's room, Grandmother Fa, who has stationed herself on the rooftop of Lam Mansion overlooking Lun's room, smiles slyly and follows Sui Han's departure with calculating eyes…

    CITY OF LAM ON
    KOO YAT KEUNG'S INN ROOM

    Koo Yat Keung returns to his inn room, after a long fruitless search for the young woman he saw at Sky Dragon Restaurant yesterday. He walked around the marketplace, showing the townspeople her drawing. Unfortunately, no one knew who she was. He even waited at the restaurant for two hours this morning, hoping she would reappear. Mildly dejected, he shuffles listlessly into his room.

    Sitting at the table enjoying tea, Koo Yat Fei glances at his younger brother, who has just stepped over the threshold. "Where have you been, Keung?"

    Keung looks up in surprise. "Elder Brother, what are you doing here? I thought you were back at headquarters."

    Fei puts down his cup of tea. "I want to be here to witness and enjoy the Lams' defeat."

    Keung smiles challengingly. "Did you come to check up on me? Do you doubt my ability to handle them?"

    Fei chuckles. "Wow, you are in a nasty mood this morning!" Then he speaks in a more serious tone of voice. "How are the plans coming along?"

    Keung walks over to the table to pour himself a cup of tea. "Everything will go off like clockwork. You just relax and sit back to enjoy the show."

    The brothers smile craftily as they discuss their upcoming plans for the Lam family tonight.

    LAM MANSION
    IN THE SERVANTS' QUARTERS

    Sui Han sits on her cot folding laundry, as Sung Ling, who has just returned from visiting her mother, unpacks her travel bag. Suddenly the door to the servants' quarters slams open, and Mok Yee San stomps in and flops down angrily on her cot.

    Ling goes to Yee San with a concerned expression. "Why are you so mad, Yee San?"

    Sui Han sidles up to the other two servants curiously. Yee San picks up her pillow and throws it across the room in a fit of rage.

    Yee San whines. "Second Young Master ignored me again this morning."

    Ling sighs and shakes her head. "I told you to stop wishing for the impossible!"

    Confused, Sui Han asks, "What are you two talking about?"

    Ling turns to Sui Han to explain. "Yee San likes Second Young Master, but I told her that her dream is impossible! We are servants. Why would the master's son want to marry one of us when he has plenty of ladies from rich families fluttering around him?"

    Sui Han slowly sits down on Yee San's cot, mulling Ling's words over in her mind.

    Yee San looks up from her snit and sees the expensive hairpin on Sui Han's head. She reaches up to gently touch the pin. "This is exquisite. Where did you find the money to purchase this?"

    Suddenly remembering the hairpin, Sui Han reaches up to touch the shimmering hair accessory. "First Young Master gave it to me as a gift."

    Yee San looks at her suspiciously. "Really? Why would he do that?" After a few minutes, she smiles with a knowing look on her face. "Oh, I see. How many nights did you have to spend with him in order to persuade him to buy you that hairpin?"

    Ling yanks on Yee San's arm, admonishing her to be quiet. "Yee San!"

    Furious at Yee San's implication, Sui Han leaps up from the cot. "WHAT!!! I did no such thing! Unlike you, I have morals!" She stomps to the door and flings it open to reveal Lun on the other side, who is just about to knock on the door.

    Lun smiles. "Sui Han, I want to…" He trails off as he notices Ling and Yee San in the room listening closely to his words. Awkwardly, Lun stands at the entrance. An uncomfortable silence descends on the room.

    Yee San gives Sui Han a sly wink as she drags Ling with her out of the room. "We'll leave you two alone."

    Sui Han pouts and glares after them and then shifts her look of displeasure to Lun. "What do you want now, First Young Master?" She crosses her arms and turns her back to him.

    Lun clears his throat nervously. "Sui Han, I am wondering if you would…"

    Still indignant about Yee San's accusations and in no mood to deal with Lun, Sui Han interrupts him. "Honestly, First Young Master, you should get your own servant. I am Fourth Young Mistress' personal maid, not yours." Sui Han huffily walks out, leaving a confused and stunned Lun behind.

    Staring at Sui Han's retreating figure with bewilderment, Lun speaks to the empty room. "What did I do?"

    LATER THAT AFTERNOON
    IN THE MARKETPLACE

    Mok Yee San walks along the marketplace, a woven basket containing lettuce and fruits hanging from her arm. She envies Sui Han. If only Second Young Master would look at her the way First Young Master looks at Sui Han! Deep in thought, she strolls by a fortune-telling stand.

    As Yee San walks by the booth, the fortune-teller calls after her. "Miss! Miss! Congratulations! I could not help but notice the good luck blooming on your face. According to my years of fortune-telling experience, I can guarantee that you will marry a wealthy husband by the end of this week!"

    Yee San stares at the elderly woman curiously. "Really?" Her interest piqued, she sits down on the stool at the fortune-telling stand. "Do you know who my future husband is?"

    The fortune-teller takes Yee San's palm and scrutinizes it. "Hmmm…I see you marrying a handsome man. He is the second son of a powerful and wealthy family. Hmmm…It appears that you already know this person…"

    Yee San's face lights up excitedly. "Yes! Yes! I think I know whom you are talking about!" She claps her hands together in glee, but then glumly slumps down on her seat as she remembers that it would be impossible for Second Young Master to change his mind that quickly. "It is an impossible dream. He doesn't even like me. How will I get him to marry me?"

    The fortune-teller smiles knowingly. "I have a little something to help you, Miss." She takes out a small bottle and hands it over to Yee San. "This is a love potion that my teacher has passed along to me. All you have to do is put a few drops into his drink, and he will have eyes only for you."

    Yee San studies the bottle and then looks up. "Will it really work?"

    The fortune-teller smiles reassuringly. "I guarantee that you will be married by the end of the week. As a show of good faith, I will not collect any money now. You may come back at the end of the week with your payment."

    Yee San smiles happily. "Thank you, Grandmother! I will put the potion in his drink tonight!"

    As Yee San walks off, her mind filled with thoughts of which bridal outfit to wear, the fortune-teller looks at her retreating figure with a crafty smile.

    Grandmother Fa, who is disguised as the fortune-teller, chuckles evilly to herself. "Yes, little girl. You will be surprised at what that potion can do…"

  10. #10
    Senior Member Melanie's Avatar
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    CHAPTER 8 -- THE CRY OF DEATH

    Characters appearing in this chapter:
    Myolie Wu Hung Yee---Mok Yee San
    Frankie Lam Mun Lung---Lam Yik Wah
    Gilbert Lam Wai Sun---Lam Yik Lun
    Annie Man Chung Han---So Sui Han
    Kristy Yeung Gong Yu---Lam Suk Yu
    Gigi Lai Chi---Lam Suk Chi a.k.a. Chi Chi

    THAT EVENING
    IN THE KITCHEN OF LAM MANSION

    Yee San rushes to the kitchen after returning from the marketplace, her bottle of love potion nestled safely in her pocket. She causally saunters over to the shelves holding several jugs of wine. One of the kitchen servants removes one of the jugs and places it on a tray.

    Yee San quickly intercepts the kitchen servant and asks nonchalantly, "Are you bringing that jug of wine to Second Young Master?"

    The kitchen servant nods. "Yes, Second Young Master requested that I bring some wine to his room."

    Yee San takes the tray from the servant, the eagerness building up inside her. "Actually, I can bring that to him. You are busy enough here with your kitchen duties."

    The servant looks at Yee San gratefully. "Thanks, Yee San. I am especially busy tonight, especially with several servants still sick with a head cold."

    Yee San smiles cheekily. "I am glad that I am able to help out!"

    The moment she walks out with the tray, she quickly takes out her bottle of love potion and sprinkles a few drops into the jug of wine.

    With a satisfied smile on her lips, Yee San exclaims softly to herself, "There! That should do the job!" She brings the jug of wine to Wah's room and knocks on his door.

    OUTSIDE LAM YIK WAH'S CHAMBER

    Yik Wah sits at his table, reading a kung-fu manuscript. "Who is it?" He asks when he hears the knock on his door.

    Yee San calls out from the other side of the door. "Second Young Master, I brought you the wine you requested!"

    Wah sighs to himself, wishing Yee San would just leave him alone. "Why don't you leave it by the door? I will come get it in a moment."

    Yee San pouts but reluctantly agrees. "Sure. I'll leave the tray by the door. Remember to come get it soon." She places the tray down and walks away. However, instead of leaving, she hides behind a pillar near his room.

    Wah, upon hearing no movement outside his room, walks to the door to pick up his wine. Outside his room, a crow perches near the edge of the rooftop overlooking his room, its beady eyes glowing dangerously in the moonlight as it squawks loudly, as if announcing impending doom. An ominous shiver runs down Wah's spine. Uneasy, he walks back to the table with his wine. As he sips his wine, he senses something terribly wrong but could not place his finger on it.

    Outside Wah's room, Yee San giggles with glee as she observes Wah drink the love potion that is mixed in with his wine…

    MEANWHILE…
    IN THE COURTYARD OUTSIDE THE SERVANTS' QUARTERS

    Lun paces back and forth, wringing his hands. He wants to ask Sui Han why she is mad at him, but he is afraid that she will rebuff him again as she did this afternoon. Finally, drawing in a deep breath, he marches over to the door leading to the servants' rooms and raises his hand, getting ready to knock. However, his breath whooshes out of him at the last minute, and he loses his resolve. He shakes his head at his lack of courage when it comes to Sui Han. How ironic that he can face an opponent without breaking a sweat and can kill without a backward glance, and yet his heart thumps wildly when he is within shouting distance of Sui Han. Discouraged, he dispiritedly shuffles back to his room.

    INSIDE LAM YIK LUN'S CHAMBER

    As Lun enters his chamber, he notices a note on his table. Quickly, he scans its contents, becoming more excited as he reads.

    First Young Master,
    I am sorry about the way I treated you this afternoon. Please let me make it up to you. Meet me in the forest five miles from here. I have a surprise for you. I'll be waiting for you and won't leave until you show up.
    Sui Han

    As he finishes reading the letter, Lun's eyes sparkle happily. All thoughts of caution vanish from his mind as he thinks only of Sui Han. He picks up his sword, more out of habit than necessity, and hurries out into the dark night.

    IN THE GARDENS OF LAM MANSION

    Suk Yu and Chi Chi, who are both in the garden enjoying the cool, balmy night, notice their eldest brother rush by them.

    Chi Chi runs up to Lun. "Eldest Brother, where are you going so late at night?"

    Suk Yu approaches her oldest brother at a slower pace, her expression just as confused as Chi Chi's.

    Lun looks at his sisters. "Uhhh…I have some business to take care of."

    Chi Chi enthusiastically asks, "What business? May we come with you?!"

    Lun, his face reddening, stammers, "Uhhh…" Unsure of how to refuse Chi Chi's request to tag along without rousing her susupicions, he pats Chi Chi on the head awkwardly. "Next time, okay? Eldest Brother must go now, or else I'll be late."

    He quickly walks away. Suk Yu and Chi Chi watch his disappearing figure in confusion.

    Chi Chi worriedly looks over at Suk Yu. "Third Sister, where do think Eldest Brother is going at this time of night? He is never this closed-mouthed and mysterious."

    Suk Yu shrugs but a frown remains on her forehead. "I don't know, but we should not be too concerned. Eldest Brother can take care of himself."

    At that moment, Sui Han wanders out of the servants' quarters, unable to sleep as Yee San's words circle in her mind. Upon seeing Suk Yu and Chi Chi at the far side of the garden, she breaks into a happy smile and runs over to the sisters, looking forward to gossiping with them to take her mind off of the rumors circulating about her and First Young Master.

    Sui Han greets the sisters, a bit breathless from the jog. "Third Young Mistress, Fourth Young Mistress."

    Chi Chi turns to Sui Han delightedly. "Sui Han! Isn't this just so funny? It's already pretty late, but no one seems to be asleep yet tonight!"

    Sui Han, confused by Chi Chi's comment, looks at her questioningly. "What do you mean?"

    Suk Yu explains. "We just saw Eldest Brother rush off somewhere a few minutes ago. We wanted to come along, but he refused. He said he has some 'business to take care of.'" Suk Yu sighs to herself. "We are just worried because he was acting strangely."

    Sui Han mulls over this new information to herself. "Hmmm… That's strange. He doesn't seem to be the type to leave without letting people know where he is going. Unless…" Sui Han's eyes widen as a new thought occurs to her. "I have to leave!" She rushes off, her heart pounding with dread.

    Chi Chi and Suk Yu call out in unison. "Wait! Sui Han, where are you going?!" They exchange confused looks as Sui Han rushes off.

    MEANWHILE…
    IN LAM YIK WAH'S CHAMBER

    The empty jug of wine sits by the candle on the table. At the opposite end of the room near the wash basin, Lam Yik Wah prepares for bed. For some odd reason, the image of the crow that was perched outside his room earlier this evening refuses to leave his mind. Its continuous squawking echoes through his head, like a death cry. With his brow wrinkled in worry, he walks over to the table, about to blow out the candle. Suddenly, from the corner of his eyes, Wah sees a human shadow dash by.

    Wah shouts in alarm. "Who is it?"

    He listens carefully for an answer. Seconds tick by as the candle flame dances wildly, sending ghostly shadows bouncing off the walls. Complete silence, save for Wah's heavy breathing, descends on the room. All of a sudden, a shadowed figure flickers by outside his room, and several small knives shoot through his window. Wah executes several back flips to avoid the rain of knives. Determined to find out who the intruder is, Wah picks up his sword and flies out through his window, giving chase.

    Nearby, Yee San, who has been lurking near Wah's room all evening, curious about the effects of the love potion, stealthily follows him.

    MEANWHILE…
    BACK IN THE GARDENS OF LAM MANSION

    Meanwhile, back in the garden, Suk Yu and Chi Chi stare at Sui Han's rapidly retreating figure, baffled by the turn of events.

    Chi Chi shakes her head. "Everyone is acting so strangely this evening. Third Sister, what do you think…?" She stops mid-sentence as Suk Yu raises a hand to signal to Chi Chi to be silent.

    Suk Yu twirls her flute as her eyes scan the surrounding area carefully. "Friends, you have been hiding for quite some time now. Don't you think that it is time you reveal yourself?"

    Chi Chi comes to stand beside Suk Yu, her eyes also surveying her surroundings. Out of nowhere, a fireball shoots out in their direction. Quickly, Suk Yu and Chi Chi leap apart, avoiding the fireball's licking flames.

    Four figures, dressed in black, flip over the walls of Lam Mansion and land on the garden grounds, surrounding the sisters. However, instead of charging at Suk Yu and Chi Chi, they throw small hand bombs at the young women and then immediately flip back over the walls of Lam Mansion. The sisters somersault through the air, dodging the bombs, which shortly explode, enveloping the garden in a cloud of smoke and dust. The impact sends Suk Yu and Chi Chi crashing into the hard surface of the huge well in the garden.

    Chi Chi leans against the side of the well in a daze. "Ouch!!!"

    Suk Yu winces from the pain but crawls over to Chi Chi. "Are you all right?"

    Chi Chi nods. "Yes, I am just a little shocked. Who are those people?"

    Suk Yu helps Chi Chi to stand up. "I don't know, but we'll find out very shortly."

    Suk Yu grabs Chi Chi's arm, and together they flip over the walls, flying after the intruders.

    MEANWHILE…
    FIVE MILES FROM LAM MANSION
    IN THE FOREST

    Lun reaches the edge of the forest, his heart pounding furiously as he anxiously searches for Sui Han. Slivers of moonlight peak through the small cracks in the thick canopy of leaves, illuminating the forest ground with a lacy pattern of white light. Other than the sound of his footsteps and the crackle of dry leaves, silence reigns throughout the forest, almost like the calm before a storm. From the depths of the woodland, Lun spies a small figure with her back turned to him. The iridescent shimmer of precious stones from her hairpin winks at him in the moonlight, almost like a beacon beckoning to him.

    Lun approaches her, giddy with love and yet strangely uneasy. "Sui Han…"

  11. #11
    Senior Member Melanie's Avatar
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    CHAPTER 9 -- BLINDED BY LOVE

    Characters appearing in this chapter:
    Gilbert Lam Wai Sun---Lam Yik Lun
    Frankie Lam Mun Lung---Lam Yik Wah
    Kristy Yeung Gong Yu---Lam Suk Yu
    Gigi Lai Chi---Lam Suk Chi a.k.a. Chi Chi
    Myolie Wu Hung Yee---Mok Yee San
    Benny Chan Ho Man---Koo Yat Keung
    Louis Koo Tin Lok---Koo Yat Fei
    Helena Law Lan---Grandmother Fa
    Vincent Jiao Enjun---Chau Mo
    Joe Ma Tuk Chung---Lau Dong

    FIVE MILES FROM LAM MANSION
    IN THE FOREST

    Lun reaches the edge of the forest, his heart pounding furiously as he anxiously searches for Sui Han. Slivers of moonlight peak through the small cracks in the thick canopy of leaves, illuminating the forest ground with a lacy pattern of white light. Other than the sound of his footsteps and the crackle of dry leaves, silence reigns throughout the forest, almost like the calm before a storm. From the depths of the woodland, Lun spies a small figure with her back turned to him. The iridescent shimmer of precious stones from her hairpin winks at him in the moonlight, almost like a beacon beckoning to him.

    Lun approaches her, giddy with love and yet strangely uneasy. "Sui Han…"

    The figure remains silent. Confused, Lun ventures closer, until he stands directly behind her. Reaching a hand out to touch her shoulder, he calls to her again. "Sui Han…"

    The figure slowly turns around…and suddenly flings white powder into his face, blinding him. Lun backs away in surprise, his stinging eyes squeezed shut and his arms flailing the air in an attempt to clear the dense cloud of powder surrounding him.

    From the surrounding trees, twenty men, garbed in black, flip out from their hiding places and surround the blinded Lun. One of the men, taking advantage of Lun's shock, delivers a resounding kick, sending Lun flying backwards and crashing into a tree trunk.

    The figure, which resembles Sui Han, disappears in a poof of smoke, and in her place stands Grandmother Fa. She cackles loudly, her whole body trembling with glee. "The invincible, lone swordsman, Lam Siu Tin's heir apparent to the seat of Chancellor, brought to his knees today in the name of love!" She chuckles to herself as she backs away from Lun.

    Lun, his vision greatly impaired by the gritty powder still clinging to his eyes and face, quickly recovers and stands up. With his eyes tightly shut to prevent further irritation and damage by the unknown powdery substance, he relies on his hearing to determine the location of each of his opponents. Head slightly cocked, he listens carefully and estimates a total of fifteen to twenty men surrounding him, all with swords as he hears the whooshing sound of blades slicing through the air. With his sheathed sword in his left hand, he twirls it three times before switching the weapon over to his right hand as he readies himself for attack.

    From his right, three assassins, with swords raised, charge at him. Lun flips his sword horizontally, allowing the sword sheath to shoot out, hitting the first man in the chest and sending him crashing into the two men running behind him. With a swift turn of his body toward the left, he kicks two more opponents down. Then, stabbing his sword vertically down into the forest ground and holding onto the hilt with his left hand, he suspends himself over his weapon, using it as a pivot point to spin himself in the air as he sends consecutive, forceful kicks to the assassins rapidly approaching from all directions.

    MEANWHILE…
    AT THE OTHER END OF THE SAME FOREST

    Wah, with his sword strapped to his back, races along the treetops, chasing after the figure clothed completely in black. While in the air, he nears the intruder and attempts to palm him in the back. The intruder flips away adroitly, and using a tree trunk as a springing board, he kicks off and circles back three-hundred sixty degrees, flying straight toward Wah. Seeing his approach, Wah, using the treetops as a stepping stone, launches himself higher up into the air and then shoots vertically straight downward in a move to palm the intruder on his head. The man in black quickly changes direction and flies upward vertically. Both men's palms meet half way, causing a resounding clash to echo throughout the silent night. Reeling from the impact, both men execute air-borne back flips away from each other before landing on the ground.

    Wah points to the intruder with his sword. "Who are you and why are sneaking around Lam Mansion?"

    The intruder laughs slyly behind the black cloth covering the lower part of his face. "Why don't you ask the God of the Underworld for the answer?"

    Wah, incensed, retorts, "We shall see who ends up in the Underworld."

    They charge at each other and a fierce battle ensues. The intruder flings several small blades, sending them flying at Wah, who parries using his sword blade to block the rain of knives. Stabbing his sword into the ground, Wah rushes toward the intruder. Their palms once again collide in a forceful clash, as each uses his internal energy to try to defeat the other.

    As this clash of inner strength continues, four more men, dressed in black, race toward the battling duo. The four intruders periodically glance behind them, as if expecting company. From afar, Wah hears two familiar female voices.

    Suk Yu's echoes loudly in the distance. "Hold it right there, you four!"

    One of the four men in black flings a hand bomb backward over his head as he continues to run forward.

    Chi Chi screams warningly, "Watch out, Third Sister!"

    An explosion shatters the silence of the night as rock particles scatter in all directions. From the corner of his eyes, Wah sees the approach of four men garbed in black. But unlike the intruder that he is currently battling with, these four men's faces are uncovered. The men run to stand directly behind their leader, the masked man in black, who ignores them as he concentrates on defeating Wah.

    From the darkness, two young women flip out and land on the forest ground, chasing close behind the four men in black.

    Chi Chi points to Wah. "Third Sister, it's Second Brother!"

    Chi Chi and Suk Yu run toward Wah.

    Koo Yat Keung, his palms still connected to Wah's, looks sideways at the four other men in black. "Don't just stand there, idiots!" He jerks his head toward Suk Yu and Chi Chi's direction. "Finish them off!"

    Chau Mo nods. "Yes, Second Young Master."

    The four men charge at Suk Yu and Chi Chi.

    MEANWHILE…
    BACK ON THE OPPOSITE SIDE OF THE FOREST

    While his siblings battle the Sun Moon Sect members on the other end of the forest, Lam Yik Lun fends off wave after wave of assassins on his end of the forest. Even blinded, he remains amazingly calm, as he sends his opponents crashing to the ground with his deadly accurate kicks and sword strokes.

    In the background, a darkly handsome man emerges from the woods, quietly observing the struggle between his men and the young swordsman known throughout the martial arts world as unbeatable. As he watches all twenty assassins fall at this swordsman's feet, he smiles craftily and steps over several of his Sun Moon Sect members writhing in pain on the ground. With a flick of his hand, he orders the remaining assassins who are still alive to retreat to the background.

    Koo Yat Fei steps forward and claps loudly twice, applauding Lun's martial arts skills. "Very impressive! Even when blinded, you manage to defeat all twenty of my members. It is no wonder that the Lam Family Sword Fighting Style has been undefeatable for over forty years."

    Lun, his eyes still closed, turns toward the direction of this new person's voice. "Who are you?"

    Fei chuckles. "I am your nemesis. Prepare to die at my hands tonight."

    Lun snorts at Fei's brash declaration. "You? What makes you think that you could kill me?"

    Fei smiles coldy. "We'll see who will emerge as the victor tonight."

    Fei rubs his palms together. A small flicker of flame rises from his clasped hands, gradually enlarging and gaining heat, and eventually becoming a fireball balanced on the palm of his hand. With a wicked grin, Fei hurls the fireball toward Lun, intending to burn him alive.

    Unable to see the approach of the fireball, Lun tilts his head slightly, listening attentively to his enemy's actions. Suddenly, he feels a change in the air temperature and hears the licking of flames. Deducing that he is being attacked with fireballs, he shifts slightly to the side, avoiding the fiery ball. Immediately, several more balls follow. Lun twists through the air, expertly dodging each volley. Using his sword, he bats at one of the fireballs, sending it hurtling back toward Fei, who executes a back flip to avoid being burned.

    Lun goads Fei with a mocking smile. "Is that the best you can do?"

    Furious, Fei signals with his hand. Immediately, ten men in black leap down from the treetops, each armed with a long wooden staff. At their leader's cue, the ten men strike the ground with the ends of the staffs, filling the previously silent forest with harsh, discordant noise. With the aid of the background noise created by his men, Fei flies at Lun. Unable to hear clearly now, Lun tries his best to dodge Fei's blows. After ten minutes of combat, Fei manages to sock Lun in the chest, causing Lun to back away several steps.

    Unwilling to give up easily, Lun hooks his foot around Fei's leg and trips him. Just as Fei stands back up, Lun somersaults in the air and kicks him in the chest. The battle ensues for another ten minutes. Finally, unable to see and hear well, Lun begins to lose the upper hand. Taking advantage of this, Fei forcefully palms Lun on the shoulders, sending him crashing backward into a tree. Lun spits out a mouthful of blood.

    Fei approaches the injured Lun, his sword raised with the intent to kill. "Prepare to die, hero…"

    MEANWHILE…
    ON LAM YIK WAH'S SIDE OF THE FOREST

    Wah remains locked in an inner strength contest with Keung. For twenty excruciatingly long minutes, the two men remain stationary with their palms connected. In the background, Suk Yu and Chi Chi engage in combat with the four Sun Moon Sect members.

    Suddenly, for some odd reason, Wah feels his inner strength draining. The trees start to blur together and his vision grays. Sensing victory, Keung smiles slyly as he pushes forward forcefully, sending Wah flying backwards several feet before crashing to the ground.

    Suk Yu and Chi Chi yells in unison. "Second Brother!" Both sisters run toward Wah, but they are thwarted by the four Sun Moon Sect members, who attack them from behind.

    Keung approaches the injured Wah, who writhes on the forest ground, clutching his heart painfully. Blood trickles out the side of Wah’s mouth.

    Keung chuckles wickedly and speaks in a taunting voice. "Nothing like a little love potion to bring a hero to his knees." Keung picks up Wah's sword from the ground and then stares straight into Wah's eyes. "Prepare to die by your own sword."

    Keung raises the sword and throws it straight at Wah.

    Suk Yu turns toward Wah's direction and calls out frantically, "Second Brother!" She sends her jade flute twirling into the air, in an attempt to block the advance of the sword heading straight at her second brother.

    Unfortunately, Keung quickly responds by flinging two small knives at the flute, knocking it down. Meanwhile, Wah's sword continues to shoot through the air toward him. Suk Yu and Chi Chi, with too little time to halt the sword's progress, watch in horrified silence.

    MEANWHILE…
    ON LAM YIK LUN'S SIDE OF THE FOREST

    Fei approaches the injured Lun, his sword raised with the intent to kill. "Prepare to die, hero…"

    Just as Fei's sword is about to stab into Lun, a figure, clothed in black from head to toe with face covered with a black cloth, flies out from the depths of the woodland. The mysterious person flings three silver needles at Fei's sword, knocking it to the ground. Taken by surprise, Fei jerks around and flies toward Lun's savior. The two meet halfway in the air, their palms clashing, causing the trees to quiver and the earth to rumble. Both execute air-borne back flips away from each other. Fei lands on the ground and stares up his new adversary, who twirls gracefully in the air to land on a low-hanging tree branch.

    Fei demands in a cold voice. "Who are you?"

    The mysterious rescuer lounges calmly on the tree branch, ignoring Fei's question. After staring silently at Fei for a few minutes, the person throws multiple silver needles at him. While Fei twists in the air trying to dodge the onslaught of needles, the person flies down from the tree branch, and grabbing Lun's arm, flies off with him. As they flash by, Fei catches a glimpse of a piece of heart-shaped jade hanging from the rescuer's waist.

    Grandmother Fa and the rest of the Sun Moon Sect members chase after Lun and his rescuer, but Fei raises his arm to halt their pursuit.

    Fei commands, "Let them go."

    Fei takes a few steps forward and looks thoughtfully in the direction in which Lam Yik Lun and the rescuer have disappeared, his eyes narrowing with rage…

    MEANWHILE…
    BACK ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE FOREST

    Suk Yu and Chi Chi watch helplessly as the sword shoots through the air straight toward their Second Brother's heart.

    One split second before the blade pierces Wah's heart, Mok Yee San leaps out from her hiding place behind the trees and flings herself in front of her Second Young Master, thereby shielding him. As the weapon stabs into her back, blood spurts out of her mouth and splatters onto Wah's dark blue gown, quickly saturating the dark fabric with a thick crimson stain.

    Wah, shocked at Yee San's appearance, holds her in his arms and shakes her limp body. "Yee San! Yee San!"

    Yee San chokes on her blood and tries to speak in breathless spurts. "Second…Second Young Master… I am… I am sorry. I was the one who put… who put the love potion in your wine. I did not…" She coughs up some more blood, her voice becoming weaker and weaker with each word. "I did not realize it was poison." Yee San sobs softly, tears rolling down her cheeks. "I only wanted you to love me…"

    Wah wipes the tears from her face. "Yee San…"

    Yee San gulps in large breaths as it becomes harder and harder for her to breathe. "Good-bye, Second Young Master…" Her voice trails off, and her head falls forward onto his chest.

    Wah shakes her lifeless body. "Yee San!!! Yee San!!!" He leans his forehead against hers, his heart heavy with guilt for not loving her the way she wanted him to.

    While Wah holds Yee San's lifeless body in his arms, Suk Yu and Chi Chi manage to kill two of the four men in black, leaving only Chau Mo and Lau Dong.

    Keung charges at Wah, intent on killing him. Swiftly, Wah sets aside Yee San's body and staggers up to a standing position. Unfortunately, in his weakened state, Keung easily strikes him down again.

    Seeing her Second Brother in danger, Suk Yu delivers a strong kick to Lau Dong and flies over to Wah's side. She blocks the blow Keung is about to deliver to Wah with her flute. Suk Yu and Keung engage in a fierce hand-to-hand combat. Keung charges at Wah with every opportunity he gets, while Suk Yu tries her best to thwart his advances.

    A few feet away, Chi Chi slashes Chau Mo's arm with her sword blade and palms him in the shoulders, causing him to collide backward into Lau Dong.
    Both Sun Moon Sect members crash to the ground in an unconscious heap.
    Chi Chi races over to Wah and quickly sits him up. Sitting crossed-legged behind him, she places both palms on his back, channeling her internal energy toward him in an attempt to halt the progression of the poison.

    Wah coughs and spits out blood. "Chi Chi… It is useless…"

    Chi Chi shouts in frustration. "No!!! Don't give up, Second Brother!"

    Wah starts to hyperventilate as the world spins uncontrollably. "Listen to me!" He painfully takes in a deep breath. "If you still consider me as your Second Brother, then do as I say."

    Chi Chi holds her brother in her arms, crying softly while nodding her head. Second Brother, what do you want me to do?"

    Wah tries to focus on Chi Chi's face. "Go find Eldest Brother. We need his help. Suk Yu is no match for that masked man in black. Hurry! Hurry!"

    Chi Chi begins to sob uncontrollably. "I am not leaving you here! Besides, I don't know where Eldest Brother is! He rushed off earlier this evening without letting us know where he is going!"

    As Wah and Chi Chi are arguing, Keung kicks Suk Yu in the stomach, and she crashes backward into a tree trunk. Ignoring her pain, she swiftly stands back up and flies toward Keung again.

    Wah screams at Chi Chi urgently. "Try your best to locate Eldest Brother, or else we will all die tonight! GO!!!"

    With her Second Brother's urging, Chi Chi nods quickly and runs off into the depths of the forest, away from Suk Yu and Wah, with tears streaming down her cheeks as she prays to the heavens to watch over her siblings while she searches for her eldest brother…

  12. #12
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    I like the poster at wingi you should post it here! <IMG SRC="smilies/biggrin.gif" border="0">nice story!! is there a part II?

  13. #13
    Senior Member Melanie's Avatar
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    Hi Danielle,
    Wow! Aside from Hannah, you are the second reader I know of from SPCNET. Since I have been posting my story here for so long and have not been receiving any comments, I thought everyone is ignoring my story or just hate it in general. Thank you so much for coming forward and letting me know that you are reading it. That means a lot to me. I have taken your advice and have posted the story's poster here. Thank you for complimenting the poster. All credit for the poster goes to Hannah(HMT), who has been kind enough to make Legendary Book a marvelous poster. As for a part 2 - well, part 1 is still a long way from being finished. Therefore, if there is a part 2, then it will not be written any time soon. Please continue to leave me comments to let me know you are reading. Thanks. <IMG SRC="smilies/biggrin.gif" border="0">

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    Melanie! I bet u there are plenty of people that reads your story!! there are just probabaly silent readers! <IMG SRC="smilies/biggrin.gif" border="0">on't get discouraged! can wait for your next update your fan <IMG SRC="smilies/biggrin.gif" border="0"> cant wait to till part II! <IMG SRC="smilies/clap.gif" border="0">

  15. #15
    Senior Member Melanie's Avatar
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    Hi Danielle,
    Thanks for the encouragement and support! I hope more readers will drop me a short message to cheer me on. Please continue checking the winglin fan fiction forum for more current updates, as my chapter postings here at SPCNET lag behind by several chapters. Once again, thank you and I hope to hear more from you in the future!
    http://www.winglin.net/fanfic/legendarybook/

  16. #16
    Senior Member Goofy's Avatar
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    Cool

    a promising story with some interesting dialogues. <IMG SRC="smilies/clap.gif" border="0"> <IMG SRC="smilies/biggrin.gif" border="0">

    Probably a bit more description on setting, maybe to make the story flow better.

    Anyhow, interesting cast. BTW, who is the actor in that blue robe next to Annie Man?
    "History's third dimension is always fiction."
    -- The Glass Bead Game, Hermann Hesse

  17. #17
    Senior Member Melanie's Avatar
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    Hi Goofy,
    Thank you for reading my story. I feel very honored that you, an established, veteran author of ancient fan fictions, have given my amateur story a glance. Thank you for your advice about the setting. Sadly, I lack sufficient knowledge about Chinese history and geography to elaborate on the setting in my story. <IMG SRC="smilies/frown.gif" border="0"> Hopefully, you and everyone else will overlook this major flaw and the many other shortcomings in my story and continue to support it. <IMG SRC="smilies/biggrin.gif" border="0">

    The actor in the blue robe next to Annie is Gilbert Lam Wai Sun. He used to be with ATV and has starred with Annie in ATV's Heroine of the Yangs 1998. Since then, he has switched over to TVB and has appeared as supporting characters in various dramas, such as Where the Legend Begins, Burning Flame 2, and Doomed to Oblivion.

    If you have any suggestions, please do not hesitate to let me know, as I am a fumbling novice. I would greatly appreciate guidance from a master like you. <IMG SRC="smilies/biggrin.gif" border="0">

    Once again, thank you for reading my story, and I hope to hear from you again in the future.

  18. #18
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    Red face

    sorry i have not been updating comments! <IMG SRC="smilies/frown.gif" border="0"> Wow I read the updates on wingli!! cant wait to find out what happens to ching ching! <IMG SRC="smilies/wink.gif" border="0">its kinda annoying though why does everyone like annie??? ooh! i was hoping she'll fall in love with the 'da sui ye' but she already likes the other dude:crying <IMG SRC="smilies/redface.gif" border="0">k ok its you story i will butt out of it!! cant wait for an update <IMG SRC="smilies/clap.gif" border="0"> -danielle-

  19. #19
    Senior Member Melanie's Avatar
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    CHAPTER 10 -- THE BLACK VOID

    Characters appearing in this chapter:
    Gilbert Lam Wai Sun---Lam Yik Lun
    Annie Man Chung Han---So Sui Han
    Frankie Lam Mun Lung---Lam Yik Wah
    Kristy Yeung Gong Yu---Lam Suk Yu
    Gigi Lai Chi---Lam Chi Chi
    Benny Chan Ho Man---Koo Yat Keung
    Louis Koo Tin Lok---Koo Yat Fei
    Helena Law Lan---Grandmother Fa

    THAT SAME EVENING
    INSIDE A CAVE A FEW MILES FROM THE FOREST

    A campfire burns strong and hot, its licking flames crackling furiously, reaching upward like fiery hands fighting to ward off the chill inside the dark, drafty cave. His face bathed in the soft firelight, Lam Yik Lun lies unconscious on the makeshift straw bed on the floor of the cave. Sui Han sits beside him, gently cleaning the caked blood at the corner of his mouth with a damp cloth.

    Lun mumbles in his sleep. "Sui Han… Sui Han… Don't be mad at me…" He shifts around restlessly, his hands grabbing Sui Han's in his slumber. "I'm sorry, whatever I did. Sui Han…"

    Sui Han tries to extricate her hand from his grasp, but he holds on tightly. Finally, she gives up trying to yank her hand away and sighs with exasperation. “First Young Master? First Young Master?" She shakes him gently at first and then with a little more force. "Wake up, First Young Master."

    Lun begins to waken as he hears Sui Han's voice at the edge of his consciousness. "Sui Han?" He blinks several times, trying unsuccessfully to focus on Sui Han's blurry image. His eyes feel gritty, as if he had not slept for several days.

    Sui Han smiles as she stares down at Lun. "You are finally awake! How do you feel?"

    Lun confused, he reaches up to rub his eyes. "My eyes…"

    Sui Han grabs his hand to stop him. "Don't rub your eyes. Someone threw sand and some sort of powder into your eyes. I cleaned it off, but your eyes will still feel gritty and your vision will still be out of focus for some time."

    Lun tries to sit up, and Sui Han immediately scoots closer to him to prop him up against her side. Looking around the cave in confusion, hee asks, "Where are we? Why am I here?"

    Sui Han tries to support his heavy weight against her. "I am not sure what happened. I walked by your room earlier tonight and found it empty with the door gaping open. When I went inside, I saw a note on the floor. Sensing something was wrong, I read it and immediately knew that you were somehow in danger, since I never sent you such a note. I wandered around searching for you. Finally, I found you unconscious by the edge of the forest, so I lugged you back here."

    Lun stares at Sui Han questioningly. "You never left me a note asking me to meet you in the forest?"

    Sui Han shakes her head, her eyes wide with surprise. "Why would I do that?"

    Without answering her question, Lun looks down at his hands glumly and sighs. "I just thought that you…" He shakes his head. "Never mind." He sits there in silence, while Sui Han looks at him strangely. Suddenly, he jerks his head up as a new thought occurs to him. "What happened to that hero who rescued me?"

    Sui Han looks confused. "What hero?"

    Lun stumbles up from his straw bed with Sui Han's support. "I was ambushed in the forest and a hero saved me. I couldn't see at the time and therefore do not know his identity."

    Sui Han asks doubtfully. "Are you sure you remember correctly? When I found you at the edge of the forest, you were alone on the ground. Why would this person save you and then leave you alone so that you would be vulnerable to attack again?"

    Lun shakes his head as he staggers unsteadily. "No. I specifically remember someone rescuing me!"

    Sui Han replies soothingly. "Okay, okay, First Young Master. I believe you. You are injured and should not overtax yourself. Why don't you lie down and get some rest?"

    Stubbornly, Lun starts heading unsteadily towards the entrance of the cave, his footsteps faltering slightly as his vision remains hazy. "No, for some reason, I have a bad premonition. I want to return to Lam Mansion as soon as possible to make sure everything is in order."

    Sui Han rushes toward him to help guide him out of the cave. "Be careful, First Young Master!"

    The two leave the cave, with Lun stumbling drunkenly, as Sui Han struggles to prevent both of them from collapsing to the ground.

    MEANWHILE…
    NEAR THE EDGE OF THE FOREST

    Chi Chi tears through the thick shrubbery, half running and half flying as she tries to sprint back to Lam Mansion as quickly as possible to see if her Eldest Brother has returned yet. Her vision blurred by tears, she trips on a root and falls forward, scraping her palms. Too frightened and worried to be aware of the stinging pain, she scrambles back up and charges blindly ahead, her mind only thinking of bringing reinforcements to rescue Yik Wah and Suk Yu. Preoccupied, Chi Chi does not realize that she is no longer alone, until it is too late…

    MEANWHILE…
    BACK IN DEPTHS OF THE FOREST

    Keung dodges the swipe of Suk Yu's jade flute, and with a strong kick, he knocks her weapon into the dark bottomless canyon situated dangerously close to their battleground. Improvising, Suk Yu somersaults through the air to where Wah's sword is lying on the ground. She grabs the sword and uses it to evade the onslaught of flying knives.

    As Suk Yu tries to ward off Keung's attack, Wah pulls himself upright and settles himself into a cross-legged sitting position on the ground, as he uses his internal energy in an attempt to force some of the poison out. After much effort, he manages to spit out a mouthful of blood, which congeals rapidly into a viscous puddle of black substance. Gulping in a tortured breath of air, he leans against the tree behind him, his arms and legs feeling like rubber and his head throbbing painfully. He tries to crawl over to his sister to lend her a hand, but his severely injured body refuses to cooperate.

    A few feet away, the fatigued Suk Yu flies toward Keung, who easily grabs and yanks on her foot, causing her to crash to the ground as she clutches her abdomen in agony. Her sword clatters a few feet away from her. Suk Yu crawls slowly over to the weapon, but her enemy flips through the air and kicks it over the canyon.

    Keung speaks tauntingly. "Give up, you two. You will die tonight, and nothing will change that."

    He approaches brother and sister threateningly…

    MEANWHILE…
    AT THE EDGE OF THE FOREST

    Chi Chi continues dashing through the thick woodland, sobbing as she runs. In her haste, she again trips over a root.

    Chi Chi, sprawled on the ground, her hands clenched in tight fists, shouts loudly, "ELDEST BROTHER!!! ELDEST BROTHER!!! WHERE ARE YOU?""

    Her cry for help echoes hollowly through the dark forest. The leaves quiver around her and footsteps pound on the dirt ground, signaling the presence of others in the forest. Suddenly, from the dark night, ten men in black flip out and surround Chi Chi, who quickly scrambles up to a standing position, her sword raised as she readies for attack.

    The ten men in black part away, revealing a tall, dark man, his eyes emotionless, his hands linked loosely behind his back.

    Koo Yat Fei smiles calculatingly. "Why don't I bring you to your Eldest Brother?"

    Chi Chi takes a step backward, as she looks at him suspiciously. "Who are you? What have you done to my Eldest Brother?"

    Fei snorts mockingly. "Your Eldest Brother, the coward, is already dead. Why don't I do you a favor and hasten your journey to the Underworld to meet up with him?"

    Chi Chi screams in anger. "You are lying! My Eldest Brother is undefeatable!"

    She charges at Fei, who expertly knocks the sword from her hand and kicks her hard in the abdomen. Undaunted, Chi Chi flies toward him and immediately crashes backward into a tree trunk as Fei palms her shoulder. She knocks her head forcefully on the rough bark and loses consciousness.

    Grandmother Fa turns to Fei. "First Young Master, should we finish her off?"

    Fei stares unsympathetically at Chi Chi. "No. Bring her with us. She may be useful as a hostage."

    Fei leads the way out of the forest and calmly walks back toward the city of Lam On. The others follow behind, carrying the unconscious Chi Chi with them, as the group makes their way back to the hotel to wait for Keung.

    Shortly after Fei and the Sun Moon Sect's departure, Lun and Sui Han wander onto the scene on their way back to Lam Mansion. Lun, his vision still extremely blurry, walks carefully so as to not trip over the potholes on the forest ground. Sui Han walks beside him, her hand on his arm, just in case he stumbles.

    Sui Han spies a metallic object a few feet away. "First Young Master, be careful. There seems to be a sharp piece of metal a few feet ahead of us."

    Lun blinks several times in an attempt to clear his vision. He ventures closer to the piece of metal, suspecting that it may be a sword.

    Lun crouches down on the ground and picks up the sword as he concentrates to bring the inscription on the hilt into focus. "It's Chi Chi's sword!" He points to the Chinese character, "Lam," which is engraved on the sword hilt.

    Sui Han hunches down beside him, her brow furrowed with worry.
    Sui Han asks worriedly. "Why would Fourth Young Mistress' sword be out here? Isn't she supposed to be back at Lam Mansion?"

    MEANWHILE…
    BACK IN THE DEPTHS OF THE FOREST

    Keung approaches Wah, his palm raised, prepared to strike a fatal blow to his head. Suk Yu swiftly crawls over, ignoring her intense pain, and grabs tightly onto Keung's leg, trying to halt his advance toward Keung, who lies helplessly on the ground.

    Suk Yu screams, "NO!!!"

    Keung looks coldly down on Suk Yu before flinging her away with one forceful shrug of his leg. She rolls away, but crawls back again, determined to sacrifice her own life to save her Second Brother. Irritated by her pesky attempts to stop him, Keung kicks her hard in the head, sending her flying off into the hollow, black depths of the canyon.

    Suk Yu screams, her arms and legs flailing the air helplessly as her body rapidly descends into the black void. "AHHHHHHHH!!!"

    MEANWHILE…
    BACK AT THE EDGE OF THE FOREST

    Lun and Sui Han stare at Chi Chi's sword with concern. Before Lun could speculate on the whereabouts of his youngest sister, they hear an ear-piercing bellow reverberate through the woodland, the agony in the scream sending an ominous chill shooting down Sui Han and Lun's spines.

    Sui Han anxiously looks around. "What is that?" She looks around frantically, trying to see through the thick foliage.

    Lun quickly drags Sui Han up with him. "I don't know, but we'll find out soon."

    They rush into the depths of the forest, toward the direction of the scream…

  20. #20
    Senior Member Melanie's Avatar
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    Sep 2002
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    Talking

    CHAPTER 11 -- THE DAWN OF A NEW DAY

    Characters appearing in this chapter:
    Andy Lau Tak Wah---Lam Siu Tin
    Idy Chan Yuk Lin---Chan Yin Yuk a.k.a. Sui Yuk
    Gilbert Lam Wai Sun---Lam Yik Lun
    Annie Man Chung Han---So Sui Han
    Frankie Lam Mun Lung---Lam Yik Wah
    Kristy Yeung Gong Yu---Lam Suk Yu
    Louis Koo Tin Lok---Koo Yat Fei
    Benny Chan Ho Man---Koo Yat Keung
    Joe Ma Tuk Chung---Lau Dong
    Vincent Jiao Enjun---Chau Mo

    FIVE MILES FROM THE CITY OF LAM ON
    BACK IN THE DEPTHS OF THE FOREST
    NEAR THE MOUTH OF THE CANYON

    Wah watches in horror as Suk Yu catapults over the edge of the canyon. Hollering in emotional and physical pain, he cries out, "SUK YU!!!"

    Wah drags himself over to the edge, overlooking the bottomless pit, which has swallowed his sister whole. Unsympathetic, Keung calmly strolls over to Wah and raises his palm, ready to strike a deathblow.

    Suddenly, a sword twists through the air, heading straight for Keung, and slashes at his hand. He executes five back flips to avoid further injury. From the darkness, Lun flies out and grabs his twirling sword mid-air. Hooking his arm around a high tree branch, he swings himself around and heads straight back toward Keung, who shoots three small knives at him. Lun knocks them down like pesky flies, as he continues flying toward his adversary. As he sweeps by Keung, his sword slashes a gash across Keung's chest. Keung twists sideways in the air from the impact and lands hard on the ground. Lun lands behind the severely injured Wah. Quickly, he sits his brother up and places his palms against his back, his expression fierce with concentration.
    Seeing this as a good opportunity to attack Lun while he is preoccupied with healing his brother, Keung charges at Lun. Keeping his left palm against his brother's back, Lun wards off Keung's blows with his right arm.

    At that moment, Chau Mo and Lau Dong awaken from their bout of unconsciousness and stumble unsteadily to their feet. They scan the area in confusion before focusing in on Keung fighting with Lun several feet away. Immediately, the two Sun Moon Sect members fly over to lend Keung a hand.

    As all three attack Lun, who tries to keep one of his palms on Wah's back while dodging the enemies' blows, twin swords shoot out and pierce Lau Dong through the heart while injuring Chau Mo. A long sash of white fabric whips out from somewhere within the depths of the forest and wraps around Chau Mo, flinging him through the air before dropping him abruptly, causing him to crash against a tree, the impact killing him immediately.

    From the behind a large tree, hidden from view, Sui Han watches the impressive display of martial arts with wide eyes. Only two people in the martial arts world have the ability to kill without actually being physically present - the Martial Arts World Chancellor, Lam Siu Tin, and his wife, Chan Yin Yuk.

    Sensing grave danger for himself, Keung abandons his attack on Lun and flies off. Without Keung's distraction, Lun is able to concentrate fully on reviving his younger brother.

    Wah coughs and speaks in a weakened voice. "Eldest Brother, you are finally here." He tries to turn around to face Lun. "Suk Yu… Suk Yu…" He gasps as tears fill his eyes. "She went over the cliff. Find her… Find her…"

    Lun nods. "Don't waste your energy speaking. We need to concentrate on healing you first. Mother and Father are back. We will find Suk Yu. She will be all right."

    Sui Han walks out from behind the tree and runs toward Lun and Wah. Kneeling down next to the brothers, she begins guiltily, "Second Young Master…"

    She is interrupted as a handsome couple in their forties flip out from the depths of the woodland and land a few feet away. The woman is stunningly beautiful, despite her age, in a long flowing white gown with a hint of pale blue flowers at the hem, sleeves, and collar. The man beside her, also dressed in white, cuts a dashing figure with his twin swords strapped behind his back. Upon seeing Wah injured and sprawled on the ground, the woman swiftly runs over to her sons, while the man follows closely behind.

    Chan Yin Yuk kneels down on the ground next to Wah and tenderly cups his cheek with her hand. "Yik Wah, honey, you are hurt." She looks over at Lun questioningly. "How badly is he injured?"

    Wah responds in weak voice. "Mother, it is poison. We don't know what kind, unfortunately."

    Lam Siu Tin crouches down to examine Chau Mo's body. He discovers the metal disc hanging from his waist with the engraved Sun Moon Sect emblem. His eyes darken with worry as he heads over to his wife and sons' side.

    Siu Tin shows the metal disc to his wife. "After twenty-five years, he is back." He sighs. "I fear the martial arts world will face blood shed again."

    Yin Yuk takes the metal disc from her husband and stares at it with a hopeful look. "If it really is him, then there is hope for Yik Wah! I could seek him out and beg him for the antidote!"

    Siu Tin shakes his head sadly as he takes his wife's hand. "Sui Yuk, you are dreaming. Do you think that after all those years of hatred, he would simply hand over the antidote?"

    Yin Yuk, with tears forming in her eyes, cries, "But we can't just let Yik Wah die!"

    Wah grabs his mother's hand. "Don't worry about me, mother. What will happen, will happen. You and father must help Suk Yu!" For the first time, he notices Chi Chi's absence. He quickly turns to Lun. "Eldest Brother, where is Chi Chi? Did she go back to Lam Mansion first?"

    Lun regards Mun Lung with confusion. "Chi Chi? I did not see her tonight since leaving Lam Mansion." He suddenly recalls finding Chi Chi's abandoned sword. "Oh no! I found her sword abandoned on the forest ground! Where could she be?"

    Siu Tin looks from one son to the other. "What are you two talking about? What happened to Suk Yu and Chi Chi?"

    Wah takes in a tortured breath before explaining the situation to his parents and older brother.

    Yin Yuk rushes over to the edge of the canyon after hearing Wah's explanation. "Suk Yu! Suk Yu!" Loose rocks scatter and cascade down into the bottomless pit as Yin Yuk steps closer and closer to the edge, peering desperately down.

    Siu Tin hurries to his wife's side, and with his arm protectively around her, guides her back to safer ground. "Sui Yuk, don't worry, we will send a search party down to look once there is enough daylight."

    Yin Yuk looks to Siu Tin worriedly. "But what about Chi Chi? Where could she be? She has never been away from home!"

    Lun tries to reassure his mother. "I will go and look for her now. Why don't you and father bring Wah back to Lam Mansion?"

    Sui Han, who has been up to this point a quiet observer in the background, steps forward upon hearing that Lun is planning to search for Chi Chi at this time of night.

    Sui Han places her hand on Lun's arm. "But First Young Master, you are injured and your vision has not completely recovered, yet!"

    Noticing Sui Han for the first time since their arrival, Lam Siu Tin and Chan Yin Yuk glance at her with curiosity.

    Yin Yuk looks at the young woman questioningly. "This Miss is…?"

    Lun explains, "This is Sui Han. She is our newly hired servant."

    Sui Han chimes in helpfully. "Why don't I go look for Fourth Young Mistress? I am not injured and therefore would have a better chance of finding her." She rushes off before anyone has a chance to answer.

    Lun chases after her. "Sui Han, no! You shouldn't be wandering around the woods by yourself at this time of night!"

    Siu Tin interrupts before Sui Han has an opportunity to reply. "I think the best plan of action now is for us to all return to Lam Mansion and get some rest. It is impossible to conduct a search at this time of night. Plus, we need to find a way to halt the progression of Wah's poison."

    With Lun and Sui Han supporting Wah from both sides, the group begins to head home.

    MUCH LATER THAT SAME NIGHT
    AT THE BOTTOM OF THE CANYON

    Suk Yu sprawls on her side, her right leg bent at an awkward angle, a purple bruise on her forehead discoloring her flawless porcelain complexion. The long stalks of weed undulate in the soft breeze, brushing back and forth against her face, as if trying to rouse her from her deep slumber. Yet, she remains still and unconscious.

    A few feet away, footsteps approach Suk Yu hesitantly.

    The person bends down to gently shake Suk Yu's arm. "Miss? Miss? Are you all right?" He finds a weak, thready carotid pulse.

    Receiving no response from her, the person picks her up in his arms and carries her away.

    MEANWHILE…
    LAM MANSION
    YIK WAH'S CHAMBER

    Lam Yik Wah sleeps fitfully in bed, as Lam Siu Tin sits by his side. He feels his son's weak radial pulse, his brow furrowed in concentration and worry. Yin Yuk hovers anxiously by the bedside as she awaits her husband's verdict on their second son's condition.

    Yin Yuk asks worriedly, "How is he?"

    Siu Tin sighs. "The poison is strong. In addition, his condition is worsened because he used his internal energy, which accelerated the circulation of the venom throughout his body."

    Yin Yuk, her voice hoarse with tears, laments, "There must be a way. We can't lose him, now that Suk Yu and Chi Chi are missing, too!"

    Siu Tin stands up and hugs his wife comfortingly. "Don't worry. We will find Suk Yu and Chi Chi. As for Yik Wah…" He sighs deeply. "I will prolong his life with my internal energy each day. Meanwhile, I am afraid we must venture to the Sun Moon Sect headquarters quickly and steal the antidote."

    Yin Yuk delicately sniffs back her tears. "I will go immediately tomorrow."

    Siu Tin shakes his head. "No, you must stay here. Yik Wah needs both of our combined internal energy in order to maintain his life."

    Yin Yuk sighs with frustration. "But that leaves only Yik Lun free to go steal the poison. He is injured…"

    AN HOUR LATER…
    LAM MANSION
    YIK LUN'S CHAMBER

    Lun sits on his bed with his legs crossed and his eyes closed as he concentrates on using his internal energy to heal his injuries. He hears soft footsteps outside his room, and he smiles and opens his eyes.

    Lun calls out happily just as the door to his room opens. "Sui Han…" However, instead of Sui Han, he sees his mother enter his room, carrying a tray of desserts. A damp cloth lies to the side of the tray. Lun tries to smile at his mother, but his disappointment is apparent to Yin Yuk. "Oh…it's you, Mother." He gets off the bed to help her with the tray, as she sits down on one of his chairs.

    Yin Yuk jests. "How quickly my darling son trades me in for a pretty girl. I guess he has completely forgotten who has brought him into this world and has raised him for twenty-five years." She sighs dramatically, a teasing expression on her face.

    Lun's face reddens. "I just thought you were Sui Han because she promised to bring me a cool towel for my eyes."

    Yin Yuk gives her son the damp towel lying on the side of the tray. "Here's your towel."

    Lun stares at the towel with a crestfallen look on his face. "You mean Sui Han is not coming?"

    Yin Yuk smiles knowingly. "I am sure you would rather that she bring you the towel. I saw her outside, and since I was gong to bring you some desserts, I volunteered to also bring you the towel so that she could get some rest."

    Lun glumly takes the towel from her. "How is Wah?"

    At the mention of Wah, a sad expression replaces Yin Yuk's teasing look. "His condition is serious. Your father and I need to stay here to prolong his life with our combined internal energy. Yik Lun…" She turns to her oldest son as she takes his hands in hers. "We need someone to travel to the Sun Moon Sect headquarters and steal the antidote."

    Lun hears this and replies without a single thought to his own injuries, "Then I shall go."

    Yin Yuk frowns. "But you are injured…"

    Lun pats his mother's hand as he laughs amusingly. "Don't worry about me, Mother. A little injury won't stop me. But…ummm…" He looks down at his hands, his face flaming red. "Since I AM injured, I am wondering if someone could…could…"

    Yin Yuk studies her son with an amusing look as she finishes her son's thoughts. "If someone could come along with you to take care of you on this journey? Someone like Sui Han?" Lun remains silent, his face beet-red. Yin Yuk laughs as she pats his hands. "I will ask Sui Han tomorrow to accompany you on your trip. It is late. Get some rest. You have a long journey ahead of you."

    DAWN THE FOLLOWING MORNING
    FIVE MILES FROM LAM MANSION
    IN THE FOREST

    In the distance, the sun barely peaks above the horizon, its early rays painting the sky the faintest shade of pink. The clouds glide aimlessly across the heavens, like wispy swirls of cotton candy. Morning dew glisten like translucent pearls on the forest green, as fat droplets plop loudly onto the ground. Birds chirp busily and hop from treetop to treetop, their activity signaling the dawn of a new day. Gradually, squirrels emerge, running around nature's playground chasing after various nuts. Little by little, the forest begins to awaken after witnessing a long night of conflict.

    Human footsteps, long purposeful strides, intrude upon the teeming activity of nature. Several miles into the depths of the woodland, those footsteps stop a few feet behind another person, who stands silent and still, waiting in the weak light of dawn.

    Fei walks to stand directly behind the person who waits in the forest for him. "I miss you."

    The person remains silent as she gently touches the delicate wings of a butterfly resting on a nearby leaf. The creature, disturbed by her action, flutters away, its bright, multi-hued wings a colorful contrast to the solid green of the forest. She smiles fleetingly as she turns around and walks directly into Fei's waiting embrace, her movements causing the heart-shaped jade to swing loosely by her miniscule waist. Fei looks tenderly down into her face, memorizing the fragile bone structure and drowning in the deep, deep inky pools of her eyes.

    Fei tenderly brushes aside her bangs. "Why did you save him last night?"

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