(Zhu Zhi Xiao as Huang Wu) (Yang Rong as Lin Yu) （Lin Geng Xin as Zhuo Hao)
*actors I would like to play the characters of my novel
Lin Yu walked out the little room, carefully closing paper screen door quietly so as not to disturb the sleeping Yu Zhu. She sighed as she looked up at the sky, where was elder brother and grandfather? She had always wanted to go on a grand adventure, but now that she was on one, there was an ache in her heart for those she loved. She wondered wistfully. Tonight she wanted to leap into the air and fly until she reached the moon, there was wild restlessness in her blood.
But she was forbidden to use magic in the human realms. Instead she took a deep breath of the heavy orange blossom scent of the summer air. Autumn was coming, the spicy air of change called to her spirit.
“You look like an idiot. Gaping at the moon like you’re going to swallow it.” A haughty voice sneered at her. Lin Yu ignored the remark, “What do you want, Huang Wu? I’m in a good mood tonight, but you shouldn’t push me.”
Huang Wu glowered, “How dare you, little snake! You forget that I am the Prince of–.”
“Of Idiots.” Lin Yu muttered, as she walked out of the little courtyard ignoring his outraged glare.
Huang Wu leaped down from the roof, “Where are you going?”
“What’s it matter to you?” She asked and strolled down the quiet street.
“I’m suppose to be protecting you and the little mortal. So I drop in from time to time.” He said quietly, “As the rest of my clan battles for survival.”
Lin Yu’s step faltered, “what do you mean?” She had no idea what was going on, “Does this have something to do with why we left the demons realms?”
Huang Wu opened his mouth as if he wanted to say something, but closed it, “No.”
For a moment the haughty mask slipped off his handsome face, and there was fear and anxiety in his eyes. Lin Yu looked at him and took out a hand to touch his shoulder. He jerked back, there was something akin to accusation in his eyes, something that he blamed her for. Lin Yu felt like he slapped her. They stood silently, awkwardly not knowing what to do, where to go. Lin Yu turned around, intent on never speaking to him again.
“Wait.” Huang Wu said, “You must feel pretty cooped up here. Come with me.” He grabbed her wrist. Lin Yu’s eyes flashed jade green, “Let go, crow boy. I’m not someone you can manhandle.” Huang Wu opened his mouth to taunt her, but remember the bite scars on his pure white hand, he quickly let go.
“I’m of the royal house of crows, no priest will detect my magic, unless they’re reaching god status.” He said with his usual arrogance, “So. I’m offering you a night where you don’t have to be human.” He offered her his hand, “You must be dying to fly.”
Lin Yu looked at the hand and looked at him, there was confusion in her heart. Wasn’t he shying away from her touch a moment ago? But, her greedy self told her, when will you have another chance to fly again? Lin Yu grinned and grabbed his hand, “fine.” Then she looked at him suspiciously “But if you drop me, I will put enough snake venom in your system that you’ll be paralyzed for the next thousand years.”
Huang Wu rolled his eyes, and transformed into a giant crow before her very eyes, Lin Yu found herself holding onto a giant black wing twice the length of her arm. “Can you be any less inconspicuous?” Lin Yu asked sarcastically, “You don’t need to be a taoist priest or a monk to see a giant black crow rampaging through the skies.” Huang Wu glared at her
“Hop on” he told her, “I’ll hide us.” She grinned and jumped on his back. He winced, “Have you been eating more recently? You weigh more than the Pig of the Zodiac.”
Lin Yu kicked him and dugged her fingers into his glossy black feathers, “Unless you want to be bald by the end of this trip, you better shut up.”
“Still won’t change the fact you weigh more than a house”
Lin Yu rolled her eyes, “If we’re not leaving. I’ll go on my walk.” She made the motion to jump off his back. But at the same time, the black crow swooped into the air.
Lin Yu felt the ice coolness hit her in full force, the higher they climbed, the less homesick she felt. She dug her hands into the warm down on Huang Wu’s neck, holding on tighter as he flew higher. He seemed to share her exhilaration and shot up like an arrow, spiraling higher and higher.
In the air, Huang Wu felt alive again. The warm arms around his neck made him feel reckless and protective at the same time. He grinned and climbed so high that even the clouds were far below them.
“Catch me!” Lin Yu said with a laugh, and she let go, plummeting towards the earth like a bright jade comet. He grinned a wicked crow grin, folded his wings and dropped after her. As he caught up to her, he changed back into his human form and grabbed her hand, “caught you.” He shouted, “If we continue to fall and I don’t change back, we’ll die. You should beg me to save your life. And say it nicely.”
Lin Yu looked surprised for a moment and then laughed, “Are you trying play a game of chicken with me, crow boy?”
Huang Wu shrugged, “You should treat me like the prince I am.”
Lin Yu laughed as she fell, there was no fear in her eyes as the ground came closer, “How about this instead, I’lll dance for you when we reach the ground instead. I’ve been working on something new.”
Huang Wu sighed, “I’ll never win with you, will I?” He switched back to his crow form at the last moment and swooped Lin Yu onto his back inches from the ground. He gently landed them in an open field. Lin Yu hopped off and answered, “No. Why even bother trying?” She pointed to the ground, “Sit and enjoy.”
Huang Wu smiled, it was the first moment of happiness he’s had in months. He sat as Lin Yu danced.
The whispering of reeds and the gentle chiming of the brook accompanied each of Lin Yu’s graceful movies. Huang Wu was mesmerized, the girl in light jade clothes was heartrendingly beautiful. But it wasn’t her beauty that crashed over him like the unrelenting waves of the eastern sea. It was the wild grace of her dancing, there were no words to describe the sweet sadness in her movements. It was carefree at one moment elegantly muted at the next. Her movements pulled at his soul, her airy grace trapped his heart.
Huang Wu felt the fears and sorrows that weighed on him lift with each of her movement, and for a brief moment, he didn’t care what happened in the demon world. All he felt was the unbridled joy of her dance. When it ended, he closed his eyes, intent on imprinting it forever in his memory. He didn’t want to share the sight of Lin Yu dancing with anyone.
Lin Yu squat down and poked Huang Wu, her face eager, “So what do you think? Will people like it? Why did you close your eyes?”
Huang Wu shrugged, “I closed my eyes because it was painful to watch.” He told her, “You looked like a country chicken waddling to and fro.” Lin Yu’s eyes narrowed, “What did you say?”
Huang Wu knew he was probably going to pay for it in some extremely painful way but he continued coldy, “You should never dance that dance for anyone, except for me.” Lin Yu’s eyes were icy daggers, and she asked, “Why?” It was more of a hiss than a question.
Huang Wu looked at her, “Because only someone as brave as me will be able to withstand the pain of that performance.”
She stood and looked as if she was was going to bite him. Instead she turned around, “Take me home.”
Huang Wu grinned behind her back, relieved that she didn’t bite him again. He transformed into a crow and Lin Yu hopped on. She pulled back her sleeves as he flew, “I guess you really don’t value your feathers that much.”
If anyone looked up at the clear summer night, they would’ve only seen thousands of stars. But for some reason, there was a trail of black feathers that floated all the way down to the city gates.
“That stupid crow.” Lin Yu seethed as she cooked rice porridge. It was the only thing Yu Zhu allowed her to make, as Lin Yu had nearly burned down half the kitchen the last time she tried some thing more complicated.
There was a gentle knock on the door. Zhuo Hao stood there, a grin on his face. Lin Yu took a look at him and tried to hide her smile, “Are you hungry? Stay for breakfast!”
“Okay.” Zhuo Hao stepped in and looked around, “Yu Zhu’s not cooking today?” He asked he watch Lin Yu haphazardly crack a few eggs into the wok, the shells were mixed right in. He was just glad to spend a few moments alone with Lin Yu.
“Yu Zhu stayed up late last night, she made some kind of a bet with a new lord in town.” Lin Yu smiled, “He’s arrogant and rich, if Yu Zhu think’s he’s corrupt, I’d like to rob him blind.” Zhuo Hao couldn’t help but grin, “You and Yu Zhu are so different all the other girls I know.”
Lin Yu raised and eye brow, “And just how many girls do you know?.” Zhuo Hao quickly backtracked, “I don’t know many. Not many.” Lin Yu laughed and shrugged, “You’re lucky I’m not the jealous kind.” Zhuo Hao grinned abashedly, “Not many are as great as you, anyways.”
Lin Yu’s face turned bright red, distracted she handed a ladle to him. “help me.”
She regretted the words as soon as they came out of her mouth. Zhuo Hao’s eyes lighted up eagerly as he washed his hands, “of course! I can’t always live off of your generosity. I’ve been told I’m useless in the kitchen by too many people, today i’ll prove them wrong.”
He laughed and took a raw egg and threw the whole thing into the wok, shell and all, “They never let me cook at the monastery.” He grabbed the knife and was about to chop the scallions when Lin Yu hurriedly took it away, “go do something that won’t cause you to lose a limb.”
The acrid smell of burnt food reached Yu Zhu even before she entered the battleground she once knew as a kitchen.
“Dear gods, who did I anger in heaven?” Lin Yu breathed as she walked into the tiny kitchen . Half of it was covered in flour and the other half seemed to be covered in a yellow gooey substance. In the middle of it stood two people holding a plate of something entirely inedible.
They grinned at her like eager puppies. Yu Zhu forced herself to take the plate from Zhuo Hao’s hands, “Perhaps I’ll go buy some buns from Wu Ma.”
“Zhuo Hao and I can go.” Lin Yu volunteered, “Wu Ma has a soft spot for Zhuo Hao, on the account that she finds him handsome and all.”
Zhuo Hao grinned shamelessly, “And I’m not above using that to my advantage.” His happiness was infectious, Lin Yu caught herself smiling as her anger at Huang Wu was forgotten.
Yu Zhu nodded, “Yes, that might be best. I’ll try and clean this place up. It’s a good thing I’ve finished all the scarves, god know how long cleaning this will take” She shook her head as she looked at Zhuo Hao, “I’m banning you from my kitchen.”
Zhuo Hao nodded apologetically as Lin Yu pulled him out. Yu Zhu sighed, “They’re like children when they’re together.” She began picking up the broken plates with a smile.
Zhuo Hao gently picked little white egg shells out of Lin Yu’s hair as they walked onto the street, careful not to cause her any pain. Lin Yu turned to him, “Do you think Yu Zhu liked what we made?”
Zhuo Hao didn’t want to lie to Lin Yu, instead he pointed to Wu Ma, “I think she has pork buns. I’m starved for some of that. All I eat are vegetables at the monastery.”
Lin Yu laughed, “Aren’t you suppose to be a novice monk? You aren’t allowed to eat meat.”
Zhuo Hao grinned at her, “No, that’s just those who already took the vows. I’m more a less just a guest at the monastery, even if I do wear the monks clothing.”
Lin Yu looked at him curiously, “And before that? what did you use to be?”
Zhuo Hao looked as if he was remembering something. Finally he spoke hesitantly “I use to be miserable. I had to pretend a lot, I had a to fear a lot of people. I hated it.” He looked at her, his face was full of happiness, “But when I left and came here, I may have left everyone I knew, but I was free.”
Lin Yu looked at Zhuo Hao put a hand on his arm, “You have us, we’ll be your family.”
There was an indescribable feeling in Zhuo Hao’s heart as he looked at the slender hand on his arm. He felt as if the years of wandering were over. The moment Lin Yu came into his life, he knew that he would never be alone again.
Lin Yu grinned at him, “I had a bad night last night, and someone told me that my dancing was terrible. Even though I am the best dancer of the city.” Zhuo Hao looked at her curiously and Lin Yu realized, “You’ve never seen me dance, have you?”
Zhuo Hao shook his head and Lin Yu looked at him excitedly, “If you promise to not laugh, I’ll dance it for you later.” Zhuo Hao grinned, his entire face to seem to light up. Lin Yu looked at him sternly, “You can only say good things about me.”
Zhuo Hao laughed, “I wouldn’t dream of saying anything else.”
The Dian Kingdom
Hong Yan Su knelt in the grand hall of the Dian Emperors. Behind him, rows of officials bowed to their emperor, resplendent in gold and black.
“Your majesty. The agreement has been made.” Hong Yan Su smiled cooly, “We are to give one of the realm’s first ranked princess as a sign of good faith to the 1st Prince of Yue. I have a few suggestions.” He handed a eunuch a pouch, “among them are the four daughters of a few of the ducal houses left.”
Xu Long Hui opened the pouch, “I see you have included your sister Hong Min Si as a viable candidate. What honor it would bring to the Hong house if she was chosen” his coldness matching his generals, “Thank you for your troubles, I do admit that these princesses are very worthy, but I have made my decision. None of these women will go to the Yue Kingdom.”
The entire court murmured, this was news they had not expected. Xu Long Hui looked at the assembly with no emotion, “Six years ago, my father adopted Xue Lan Hua, the most faithful attendant of the beloved late princess Yu Zhu. Hua Er’s father was the late Duke of Hai Shan. She is more than royal enough. I have decided that she is to travel to Yue and marry the First Prince”
Hong Yan Su’s smile dropped, “The late Duke of Hai Shan was a disgraced criminal, executed for his crimes. His family was slaughtered as well.”
Xu Long Hui was not perturbed, “Never the less, she survived. Since then, my father has elevated her status back to that of a first ranked princess.” Xu Long Hui leaned foward, though there was no trace of anger in his voice as he said, ” Are you questioning the late emperor’s will?” The entire assembly tensed, to question the late emperor could result them losing their heads. Xu Long Hui might be dying, was still their powerful emperor.
Hong Yan Su’s jaw convulsed and for a moment there was nothing but deadly silence between the two men. Hong Yan Su bowed and uttered, “No, your majesty.” The emperor nodded and dismissed the entire court with a wave of the hand.
Xu Long Hui sat in the empy hall and looked at the princess pavilion, “Forgive me, Hua Er. But this is the only way to get out away safely and protect you from Hong Yan Su. I am too weak to use anymore magic.”
Hong Yan Su walked out of the great hall, there was murderous rage in his heart. Xu Long Hui made the wrong move today. By trying to limit his power, the war between them has officially begun.
One way or another, he thought as he walked away, Hua Er would die before she marries the Prince of Yue.