Yu Zhu didn’t know what to say as she followed Lin Yu out of the city. Lin Yu was too furious to notice that people turned their heads to follow them as they walked out of the town. Claws and fangs slide out of the human disguises as the demons sensed that something, someone human was in their midst.
Yu Zhu put a hand on Lin Yu’s shoulder as they walked on the fine dirt path to their cottage. Lin Yu turned around and hugged Yu Zhu. She howled in great gasps as Yu Zhu patted her back. Lin Yu usually brushed insults about her mother as like flies, but it was Ho Pa Lai’s insults that was the feather that broke the camel’s back. Yu Zhu resolved to go back and punch him more when she got the chance.
Suddenly, Lin Yu sniffed Yu Zhu and yanked her back her eyes troubles, she sniffed Yu Zhu again and frowned.
“What wrong?” Yu Zhu asked as Lin Yu.
“You.” Lin Yu frowned, “you smell…” her eyes widened and her face lost its color. “Human. And if I smell it. Everyone will smell it.” Lin Yu grabbed Yu Zhu’s hand. “We have to get to the cottage. Grandfather will know what to do”
Yu Zhu felt around her sash and her heart dropped into her stomach, “The pendant. I must’ve dropped it when we were fighting.” She tried to go back, but Lin Yu was much stronger, “There’s not much time. Demons will be after you!”
She halted. Three figures in grey stood between them and road to the cottage. Two of them were faceless while the other, a woman, spoke for the three.
“How is it, brothers dear, that we find someone who smells like a feast in this wayward town.” One of them hissed. “She smells of gods and humans, we will gain thousands of years of power if we eat her flesh and suck her marrow.”
Lin Yu and Yu Zhu drew their swords, but one of the grey figures shot out a hand. Grey silk webs flew through the sky and tore the girls’ swords out of their hands.
The demons laughed, “A human and a demon snake barely 900 years old wants to fight us? We are ten thousand years older than you” Yu Zhu wanted to cover her ears from that sound but she forced herself to remain calm.
“What? No words? Are you little girls too scared to look frightened?” Spier legs grew out of the demons’ bodies as they dropped the ground and began crawling towards their prey. “We will make this quick, I will tear you apart for my brothers and me.”
Lin Yu gathered her magic threw it at them, but the grey things blew it away like clouds.
Lin Yu shielded Yu Zhu with her body and muttered, “I can hold them off. Run.” Yu Zhu shook her head, “No, I’m not leaving without you.”
One of the grey things sprang, only to be bitten in half mid jump by the pincers of a six foot centipede. “Mine…” the shiny red centipede hissed, one of the grey spiders came to bite off a chunk of the centipede’s body.
Yu Zhu and Lin Yu backed away quickly as more beasts roared and circled them. Yu Zhu and Lin Yu were surrounded by demons of all shapes and sizes their red eyes gleaming as they calculated their chances of eating the human girl. Wolf demons howled, boar demons grunted, giant spiders, centipedes, cockroaches salivated over the two girls in the circle. There was nowhere to run.
Yu Zhu and Lin Yu drew their daggers and threw them at their closest targets. The daggers were useless against metal claws and ivory fangs. Yu Zhu took out her last dagger and threw it at the demon running at Lin Yu. It rolled sides ways to avoid it.
Yu Zhu barely had time to smile before being thrown onto the ground by a giant black wolf demon, its claws had ripped into her clothes and tore the flesh on her shoulder. Yu Zhu bit her lip from crying from the pain out as she quickly rolled away from the claws. Lin Yu tried to help but a spider had grabbed her with silk webs, she struggled helplessly.
The wolf leapt again. And all Yu Zhu could think of was to try and grab its jaws to keep it from snapping her neck. But there was no impact.
She opened her eyes and to her greatest surprise, the wolf demon had disappeared in mid-air, the only thing left was smoldering ash. Silence followed, as other demons looked at the spot where the wolf demon had been.
A breeze blew through the air. To Yu Zhu it reminded her of the gentle breeze that kept her cool as she slept under the oak tree, full of green scents and softness. Lin Yu felt the binds loosen and she freed herself, she ran and held Yu Zhu’s hand, she looked around, as confused as Yu Zhu
To the circling demons, the breeze felt like a thousand blades tore into their flesh, skinning away each layer of their bodies as relentless as a fiery sandstorm in the desert. There was barely enough time to howl in pain until each demon was stripped away, not even a drop of blood left to mark where they stood. It happened in a blink of an eye, Yu Zhu and Lin Yu were the only ones left in the road.
A figure walked to them, in the daylight he was as pale as a moon in sunlight. Everything about him seemed to suggest that he wasn’t of this era, from his midnight hair and storm grey eyes, to his ink black brows and elegantly carved face. Lin Yu forgot to breathe, she had never seem a man so beautiful that it hurt to look at him.
The man knelt down by Yu Zhu and Lin Yu, “Let me help her.” Lin Yu wanted to say no, but one look at Yu Zhu and it was clear that if the wound was not seen immediately, Yu Zhu would die.
The man did not wait for Lin Yu’s answer, and instead gently held Yu Zhu in his arms. Yu Zhu felt was if she was leaning on her oak tree, breathing in the green scent. She closed her eyes. The man took a silver grass from his pocket and chewed it, he took the grass and gently applied it to Yu Zhu’s wounds.
To Lin Yu’s amazement, the bleeding stopped and the flesh closed. There was barely scars where the claw marks were. After a moment, Yu Zhu opened her eyes, the pain in her shoulder was gone. She looked at her clothes and at the man had her in her arms. She felt his cool palm holding her hands, her heart thundered like a heard of galloping deer. She realized that her bare skin was exposed and quickly got up. Her face felt hot.
The man smiled, he unfastened his silvery cloak with his elegant fingers and handed it to Yu Zhu. She took it silently.
“I will take you home.” He inclined his head to the girls in graceful acknowledgement, “The demons will not come after you, with me to see to your safety.”
Yu Zhu frowned, there was something familiar about him, the way he held himself, the way he walked, her eyes widened as she realized where she had seen him before.
“You, you’re Wei Yun”. She asked before she could stop herself. He looked at her, though his face was expressionless, there was a hint of surprised pleasure in his eyes. He nodded.
Lin Yu gasped and threw herself between her and Yu Zhu, “Follow the most evil thing around? You’re probably trying to take us to a quiet spot so you can snack on us.”
Wei Yun looked at Yu Zhu, “I would never harm you.” Yu Zhu didn’t know why, but she knew that he would never lie to her, it was as implicit as knowing how to breathe. She squeezed Lin Yu’s hand, “I trust him. If he wanted to do me harm, he would have done so all those times I went to visit his tree.”
Wei Yun said nothing, but his body relaxed just a little bit, as if he had been holding some sort of worry in his heart, but after hearing those words, that worry lessened. He inclined his head and walked in front of the girls.
Yu Zhu and Lin Yu followed, “I need that pendant. Grandfather told me long ago, it’s what masks my human-ness, and confuses the demons. I must’ve lost it during our alley fight.”
Lin Yu nodded, “Once night falls, Elder Brother and I will sneak into the city. I’ll find it.”
They arrived at the cottage. Wei Yu stopped at the edge of the bamboo gates. Suddenly, he raised his arm, Lin Yu and Yu Zhu felt Wei Yun’s magical shield raised in front of them.
Grandfather had come out of the cottage his face a thunderous expression. He struck his staff into the ground and giant blocks of granite flew at Wei Yun. Wei Yu waved his arm and the boulders broke into fine dust. Grandfather motioned the river and water came like iron ribbons aiming to spear Wei Yun through the heart.
Wei Yun jumped into the air twisted so that the water followed his body. He clapped and the water ribbons collected into a ball in the palm of his hand.
“Old General,” Wei Yun called, “Perhaps this is not the time to revisit our battles”
“Lord Wei Yun, you belong in the forest.” Grandfather was pale from exhaustion but his voice was clear, “You should not have left.”
“Your ward in in danger, she has lost her protection.” Wei Yun explain, still floating in the air.
“She is not of your concern.” The old man said coldly, “She is not Mei Yan. Do not mistake her from someone else.”
Wei Yun came down onto the ground, “But she is a human in the realm of demons. If you want to keep her safe, you need my help. Your power has weakened at great deal over the last century, and I am strong.”
The old man said nothing, he glared at the youthful god. “Until we find her protection, you may stay here.” He waved to the girls to get them inside. Wei Yu walked to the girls and took down the shield.
Lin Yun pulled Yu Zhu into the house. Yu Zhu gazed at Wei Yun, and he looked at her until she disappeared inside.
Grandfather glared at Wei Yu, “You can stay as near as you like. But, you may not take one step into this house.” And slammed the door.