Yu Zhu (Photo Courtesy of Baidu)
So I have some work I got to get to, but what then I decided that i had to get this chapter out first. Thank you guys so much for all the love, I LOVE the comments and will reply once I get my work stuff done. Thanks for reading, I love it!
The Land Between Realms
There was no time in the barren white land, only hordes upon hordes of monsters for her to kill. Yu Zhu didn’t know how long she had been fighting, only that had she been her old self she would have collapsed long before now. It felt as if she’d been fight for years, her hands were becoming numb.
She had killed enough to make a mountain, and every time the grotesque monsters died, she could feel their cleansed souls leave the world. She was getting tired, if she didn’t find a way to rest, she would be consumed.
A spell jumped in her mind, barriers. she realized as she took another swipe, her thousands of swords forcing the hordes back a step. She closed her eyes, and gripped her magic in her mind. Crystal lights appeared in the air and came together, encircling the girl in a wide circle. It grew larger and larger, with strange markings on each piece of the barrier, Yu Zhu frowned and could swear that her barrier looked like a tortoise shell. Yu Zhu shook her head and knelt down, her legs no longer supporting her. Yu Zhu knew that she couldn’t holding the swords spell and the strange barrier spell at the same time, not after all these days of fighting. Carefully, she gestured to the swords, they entered her barrier.
The black masses of creatures came at the white barrier, their heads viciously butting the white shield. Everywhere they touched, they howled in pain, some turned into white ash in an instant. Yu Zhu let out a sigh of relief, and sat to mediate. She searched her mind and grinned, it took her a few moments but in a flash a cup of water appeared in her hands. Nu Wa had told her that she now had the power and knowledge to pull objects from other places as long as it was in the same realm she was in. She sipped, it was clear and sweet. Even if she didn’t need sustenance now, in this new body, the cool liquid still provided her with some feeling of being real.
Yu Zhu closed her eyes, she looked as if she was sleeping but in reality she was searching furiously for a way to tell Lin Yu that she was alright. The hordes of monsters rushed at her barrier, covering the white light until they engulfed the barrier, howling at their frustration that they couldn’t get in.
Yu Zhu clenched her fists, annoyed at the interruption. She thought carefully and began to speak three other spells, her hands making the movements of the spells. She said them slowly, loudly, afraid that she would get it wrong and the barrier would shatter. In a flash the clamoring sounds ceased and the hordes were thrown off the barrier with a strong pulse. They got up, disoriented and looked around. Yu Zhu watched curiously, she wasn’t strong enough to kill them, but perhaps her spell was strong enough to hide her presence.
The closest shadow monsters sniffed the air, and frowned, they looked at each other and searched, some of them inches from her barrier. After a long while, they seemed to give up and without a sound, the massive armies of black shadows retreated, howling in anger and confusion.
Yu Zhu smiled triumphantly and closed her eyes again. She would find a way to tell Lin Yu, and then she would kill all of these pesky monsters so that she could go home. The shell barrier spell came from a curious book, Yu Zhu’s lips curved in a small smile, Tortoise barrier, Lightning Dragon Claws, Ice Pheonix Tears, and, Snake God Venom, Tiger Fire. These were spells from legends, only creation gods were able to master them, she would learn them all.
Yu Zhu searched her mind for a moment more, when she opened her eyes they shown with white fire, she looked at the sky. There, five miles above, was a tiny black dot. That must be the small crack that she had been pulled from one realm to the other.
Yu Zhu thought for a moment, even if she wanted to she didn’t think she had the strength and skill to fly through the crack without endangering the barrier. Yu Zhu looked at the barrier, she looked around and at herself, she pulled at her ear and felt a small, hard object. Yu Zhu pulled off a small, pink earring. With a grin she infused the earring with her magic, spoke a spell and watch the earring soar towards the black dot, in a moment it was gone. It was such a tiny bit of magic, no one would notice it except the reciever.
Lin Yu sat the the calm lake, her eyes looking far into the distance of the crystal water. She was absentmindedly humming a tune, her mind a thousand miles away. In her hand was a slightly glowing pink dot. The day they burned Yu Zhu’s body, the day she thought her sister had died, all Lin Yu wanted to do was to kill Hua Er.
But at that moment, small pink earring appeared in her hand, it was so small that she didn’t realize what was in her hand, until a wave of familiarity washed over her. This was one of the earrings that she had given Yu Zhu as a gift when they were little. She had seen it melt in the fire, how could it be in her hands? She ignored the group that had gathered, and walked to a quiet place by her self, hardly believing what was in her hands.
“Wait.” The voice was definitely Yu Zhu’s it was hardly more than a whisper and so far away that Lin Yu thought she had heard wrong. Again, the voice said, “Wait.”
Lin Yu felt her heart swell, relief flooded through her system, she knew Yu Zhu wouldn’t die that easily. Even if her body was destroyed, she was a demi-god, she would come back.
Lin Yu could see the light on the earring and knew that Yu Zhu had sent it from where ever she was. If Yu Zhu asked her to wait. She would wait. She scattered Yu Zhu’s ashes into the lake, quietly. Every day, the little pink light seemed to get a tiny bit brighter, and every day Lin Yu could feel the connection get stronger. Her sister would come back soon.
It had been two months since Yu Zhu had told her to wait, Lin Yu sat at the lake every night, hoping to catch a glimpse of her sister.
The grass behind her rustled and Lin Yu sighed, “Come out, Zhu Zhan Ye.”
A man in black silk strode out, his handsome face half hidden by the shadows. He sat down silently beside her, they rarely talked and treated each other polite coldness.
Lin Yu looked at him curiously, this handsome stranger was a mystery. Since the first night she showed up at the lake he had been here, as if he knew that Yu Zhu would come back here too.
“Why are you here again?” Lin Yu finally asked the question that had been in her mind since the first night.
“Because she’s here.” Zhu Zhan Ye said simply. His eyes were like two black oceans, ready to engulf everything in the world. When he had first heard of the midnight thief, he knew that this masked figure was going to be a headache. When they first fought, he had been in complete disbelief, he was one of the best swordsman in the nation, and yet the black clothed waif defeated him soundly. A bit of admiration had crept into his heart at that point. If he hadn’t been a prince of the realm he was sure he could have been friends with the midnight thief.
When he had met Yu Zhu, her beauty and wit made him look at her twice. She was so different from the women he knew, the ones that threw themselves on him at every opportunity. But she distanced herself from him, tried everything to make him notice her less. She wasn’t like any other woman, who did everything to make themselves shine, she radiated brilliance even when she tried to hide.
A feeling he never had before sank into this heart before he knew he had been beaten. He had never care enough for any woman to wonder what she was doing, he had never wanted to see someone every day like he did with her. He was always prepared for every scenario, always two steps ahead, but he never planned for her.
When he found out that she was the midnight thief, he felt anger, frustration at his own stupidity, but he couldn’t feel hate for the midnight thief anymore. He just wanted to protect her. When she died that fragile feeling, the one that he though he could control broke like glass and splintered into his flesh.
As he watched her body burn, he still didn’t understand it, why did he fall so fast and sink so far without having known it. When did he start feeling this way about someone? He knew that he might have loved her. But she had been gone for months now, almost half a year, he thought the feeling would fade. Why did he miss her like crazy, as if she had taken a part of him with her?
He didn’t know why, but he didn’t want to leave the last place she had been alive. He wanted to search his heart for an answer, until he found one, he would not leave.
They sat quietly, each lost in thought, one who was full of hope and other with despair, waiting… waiting…waiting…
The Land Between Realms
In the cold barren land, a young woman in midnight blue flew high in the sky. Beneath her on the white cracked earth was a sea of shadow monsters, snarling at the impossible girl floating in the white sky. There were more than the eyes could see, their black bodies writhing like snakes as they tried to reach the girl.
Her eyes sparkled in the silvery light, like two stars flickering in the night sky. Her face like carved white jade, only no master could make such perfection. In her hands were long, white hot lights. She laughed and waved her hand. The white lightning crackled and became a barrier. She closed her long, slender hands together and the barrier curved and turn into a massive bowl, it’s edges seemed to stretch larger and larger.
Her long lashes quivered as she forced the clear bowl like barrier down, in an instant, it separated a sea of the shadow monsters inside, like an invisible prison. In a flash all the shadow monsters became white ash inside. The girl’s lips curved into a smile, the white ash flowed within the barrier, trying to escape. Yu Zhu looked down at the other shadow monsters outside of her barrier, “The rest of you can strengthen the outer magics of this realm.”
With a flick of her finger, she sent thousands of fireballs in ever direction, the balls transformed in air and roared into life, they became large, flaming tigers. Hundreds of these massive fire tigers pounced down and the sky turned red from their flames. The heat was unbearable, as if ten volcanos had suddenly explode, the waves upon waves of black monsters suddenly felt very, very afraid. Chaos reigned as the shadow monsters began to flee in all directions, trying to throw their comrades at the oncoming red terror.
Yu Zhu smiled satisfactorily, this was a spell that had taken her a long, long time to master. The first time she tried, fire kittens had come out, causing the shadow monsters fall down with laughter, some turned to white dust there and then because they had laughed so hard.
Yu Zhu’s fire tigers roared and began chasing their prey, leaving eye smarting red trails in their wake, their golden eyes glowing with embers from hell. Yu Zhu gracefully floated down from the sky, she looked at the glass prison that held the newly captured spirits. There were at least three hundred thousand, more than enough for her purposes.
With a wave of her sleeve, a wooden table and futon appeared on the barren earth. A delicately carved Gu Qin, her new favorite instrument appeared. It was carved out of the heavenly wu tong tree, and treated in the phenix pond for thousands of years until it was full of godly power. Nu Wa had told it that it had the power to heal or kill, depending on the player’s skill.
Yu Zhu landed lightly onto the futon, like a falling petal landing on grass. Her blue sleeves billowed in the wind like thunderclouds as her fingers plucked at the Gu Qin’s strings. The zither seemed to know that it’s master was in a good mood and warmed quickly to her touch. The string quivered and out flowed notes that seemed to cover the lonely sky drowning out the roar of the fire tigers, each note was rich and full, reverberating in the still air then reluctantly fading like that of a lover’s hand forced to let go. Every note was like honey, and every drop seemed to calm the firey white ash that had been fighting the prison. The ash began to glow and the glowing ash melted together into a firery white ball.
The ghosts of the notes were still dancing in the air when Yu Zhu lifted a finger. The barrier disappeared, and the white, shinning ball flew towards her. She smiled and opened a small bag, inside eight other light balls flew lazily inside.
“So you’ve mastered 2 spells of the 5 legendary Guardian magics. Not even the Emperor of Heaven has been able to do that.” It was true, each creation god only learned one type of magic, even if they wanted to learn more, no one had the strength or ability.
Nu Wa appeared, her bright red dress fluttered as she walked to Yu Zhu, her feet not even touching the ground.
Yu Zhu smiled without bothering to confirm or deny it, she handed the bag of cleansed souls to Nu Wa, “These will strengthen the inner barriers.” The bag appeared in Nu Wa’s palm, Nu Wa’s face was emotionless but there was a glimmer of delight in her eyes, this girl’s talent was without a doubt the strongest she’d ever seen. In here she had created magics that had taken gods hundreds of years to accomplish. With these cleansed souls, her barriers would be impervious even to the Emperor of Heaven.
Yu Zhu waved her sleeve, the table elongated and two teacups and a teapot appeared. The Gu Qin rose high in the air, Nu Wa sat down as well.
It was an awe inspiring scene. One woman whose flame red clothes billowed like fire and the other whose deep saphire robes pooled like water sat in the middle of a vast white earth, looking more like a painting than reality.
“I understand that time barely moves here, but how much time has passed in the human realms?” Yu Zhu asked as she sipped the dragon well tea. Nu Wa touched her forefinger and thumb together and closed her eyes, “If I am correct, then six months.”
Yu Zhu’s eyes shone with slight disbelief, she had been burning dark shadows and monsters non-stop since she had been here. It felt as if sixty thousand years had passed, but had it only been six months?
Nu Wa saw her expression and smiled, “This god-forsaken place is not good for much, except to quickly increase a God’s powers. You have Lei Zu’s power, but if you went back to the human realms without understanding how to control it, you would’ve be burning into nothing within a day. Time moves differently here, you’re alive because of it.”
Yu Zhu looked at her hands, “Am I a god?” Her heart felt empty. She didn’t want others to choose her fate, all her life, people made decisions for her.
Yu Zhu frowned in surprise, “But I’m different. I don’t feel as if I am still human.”
“You’re not.” Nu Wa answered simply. Seeing the normally calm Yu Zhu look dumbstruck, Nu Wa sighed.
“To be a god, you have to be able to let go of the past. To put your emotions away and forget those you loved or hated.” Yu Zhu couldn’t look at Nu Wa, she understood. There was so much that she couldn’t, didn’t want to let go.
“What am I?”
Nu Wa smiled, “You are the first of your kind. Not a god and not a human, yet more powerful than a creation god. If you go back now, no one in any of the realms would detect your presence.”
Yu Zhu frowned, “Not even the Emperor of Heaven?”
Nu Wa nodded, “In this new body of yours, even I couldn’t find you. It’s only because I helped you create it, that I was able to recognized that you are entirely something different.”
Yu Zhu did know what to say, “Then can I still die?”
Nu Wa nodded, “Your body is still somewhat human, but you will live for much much longer and you will be a lot harder to kill. You will still be able to decide to stay mortal or become immortal”
“Yes. This state you are in, is unique. But I think” Nu Wa took a hold of Yu Zhu’s wrist and listened carefully, “Yes, if you wanted to, you could be able to choose between mortality and immortality, perhaps when Lei Zu’s powers in your body calm down completely.”
“How long would that be?” Yu Zhu asked,
Nu Wa shook her head, “I don’t know.”
Yu Zhu smiled, “There are things that even the all powerful Nu Wa isn’t sure off.”
Nu Wa looked at the young girl, when Yu Zhu had come here, she had been cold, a little closed off. But it was as if the longer she stayed, the more she smiled. The coldness was still there, but there was now a trace of warmth in Yu Zhu’s eyes.
Nu Wa smiled a little exasperatedly, “You are in the same class of gods as me. Little half-goddess.”
Yu Zhu shrugged and changed the topic, “The monsters, they’re getting less and less every day.”
“What do you plan to do when you leave this place?” Nu Wa asked her, she could never guess what Yu Zhu was thinking.
“Help my brother.” Her voice was firm, her eyes direct, “Then I will go see an old friend.” She had wanted to see him long before this, but never had the power to do so.
“Wei Yun?” Nu Wa asked softly.
Yu Zhu blinked, “You know him?”
Nu Wa’s sighed, “The battle god who has the heart of Pan Gu’s name has been spread far and wide. Chang ‘e told me that the Emperor of Heaven has heard of the chaos in the demon realms. Right now Wei Yun is a guest of the Emperor’s hospitality.”
Yu Zhu’s face turned ash white, “What?” She whispered, the hand holding the cup of tea shook a little, a splash of tea dropped on the dark table.
Nu Wa looked at the girl’s reaction in surprise, “They won’t kill him. He has Pan Gu’s heart, they have to weaken him first, enough so that they can take it out. They’ll slowly cut him up, piece by piece letting out a little bit of blood and magic each day.”
“How long does he have?” Yu Zhu’s mouth was a thin white line. Her eyes were closed and her voice was colder than frost.
“He has absorbed the powers of hundreds of millions of demons. A god with the heart of a creation god and the powers of half of the demon realm is a frightening thing. It would take three hundred earth years for them to weaken him.”
“If he was so powerful how did they capture him?” A single stab of pain passed through her heart, so fast that Yu Zhu wasn’t even sure what it was, she didn’t dare think about it.
Nu Wa shook her head, “Chang ‘e said that the Emperor of Heaven personally went into battle with him. Wei Yun heavily injured the Emperor and fought the entire heavenly army by himself. But the Emperor is also a creation God, and he has millions of years of power. They finally trapped him after three months of ceaseless battle.”
Yu Zhu’s fingernails sank into the wood, she didn’t need to know why Wei Yun did this. She had already guessed. If he made enough noise in heaven and the demon realms, distracted everyone’s attention from her, she would live in peace and anonymity for the rest of her life. As long as she became a goddess, as long as she passed through the first hundred years or so, she could learn to hide herself from the Emperor of Heaven, she would be safe. He not only injured the Emperor, but made sure that for the next few hundred years or so, their attention would be mainly on how to destroy him.
Yu Zhu didn’t know what strange emotion was in her heart. For her he would turn realms of gods and demons in his enemies, to go from a highly feared warrior god into a half god, half demon monster. For her he would endure the pain of having his powers sucked away and for his heart to be dug out.
To help him, she would have to become stronger.
Suddenly, Yu Zhu rose into the air. She looked around, in the distance, a fresh sea of shadow demons was closing in. Her eyes shown with anger, frustration, and something that Nu Wa was concerned to see. The aura around Yu Zhu seemed to be filled with deadly intent, the pressure that came off the girl seemed to turn the air solid. It was earth destroying anger.
Yu Zhu opened her hands, “Goddess, today I am going home. I will rid your realms of all traces of evil.”
In one hand rose blue light, roaring into a a beam. Large, ice wings spread into the sky, covering half of the sky and overshadowing Yu Zhu by a thousand times. The blue wings glinted and flashed in the air as the legendary guardian roared. In the distance, mountains shook from the roar and large rocks tumbled down. The icy air from the phoenix seemed to come from the heart of a glacier, if the barriers hadn’t protect Nu Wa, she would have felt the instant, death rendering chill.
Nu Wa stared, slightly stunned. It was the magic of the Ice Phoenix, magic that even she had a hard time mastering. This was her magic, in all minds, it was impossible for a creation god to master one, let alone 3 creation god magics. Nu Wa quickly smiled and calmly sipped her tea, this little girl was not just talented, she was a genius with immeasurable power.
In Yu Zhu’s other hand came a earth shaking roar. Nu Wa felt her eyes widened, her fingers turned slightly white. It wasn’t possible, it was absolutely not possible. But in Yu Zhu’s other hand, a light that threatened to engulf the earth shook and shown. An gold dragon covered in lightening roared as if being called awake for the first time in thousands of years, it’s body crawling with white hot sparks thicker than palace pillars. It’s body swam in the air, radiating light like the sun.
Millions of massive tigers exploded the sky underneath Yu Zhu’s flying figure, they were created from soul cleansing fire, fire that could not be put out by ordinary means. Nu Wa’s eyes flashed, and she thought of the time the five gods worked together, that was the last time, millions of years ago, so many of these legendary creatures and appeared in the same place.
“Go.” Yu Zhu commanded, “Cleanse this land. Annihilate any that stands in your way.”
The massive creatures bowed their heads respectfully to the tiny dot of a figure, even the dragon’s scales were bigger than the girl who flew in the air. Nu Wa thought that it would be over, that Yu Zhu would faint exhaustedly and drop onto the ground.
But the other girl merely closed her eyes, and began muttering. Nu Wa stood up, hardly able to believe her eyes.
Yu Zhu made a shallow cut on her hand. A thin string of red flowed out and seemed to glide in air, like a ribbon dancing wildly in the wind.
Yu Zhu nodded, and the red blood glowed and transformed into a snake so beautiful and graceful that it seemed more like a waving scarf than animal. But Nu Wa knew, this was Lei Zu’s magic. It was the legendary guardian snake, one touch of its scales and any creature, god, or spirit would shatter instantly. Right now the snake wrapped itself around Yu Zhu in adoration.
Yu Zhu smiled and patted its head, “Find the place where these souls are coming from, poison the land around it. Make sure that they moment they step onto the land, they turn to ash. The snake nodded, rubbed it’s head on Yu Zhu’s palm and flew to do her bidding.
Yu Zhu floated down, her face was ashen. Nu Wa caught her by the elbow, “You’ve never done that before, have you?”
Yu Zhu shook her head, “I never felt the need to use the guardians to kill my practice targets.” But her eyes shown with the same anger, “But I figured that it’s time I ended it. After all, I need to go have a long, good talk with the Emperor of Heaven after helping my brother.”
Nu Wa looked at the barren land, she knew that from today onwards, there would be no evil spirits to disturb the peace.”Once you rested, I will show you how to get home.” Yu Zhu smiled, “Thank you.”
Yu Zhu took an hour. By the time she opened her eyes, the power she had released came back to her. Nu Wa handed her a gold pill, “This is a precaution, I don’t think your god aura will show through and even if there is a problem, all of heaven is paying attention to Wei Yun, they won’t be looking for you.”
Yu Zhu nodded, and suddenly she grabbed Nu Wa’s hand, “I know you helped me for Lei Zu’s sake, but is there anything I can do to help you?”
Nu Wa sighed, “There is. But don’t have much hope that it can be done.”
Yu Zhu looked at her intently. Nu Wa smiled, “Fu Xi’s son, I think he’s on earth somewhere. He is my nephew, I want to know that he’s safe.”
Yu Zhu frowned slightly, “You think I can find his presence.”
Nu Wa’s eyes were slightly conflicted, “He’s also like you, half human, half god and more powerful than you can imagine. Fu Xi was the strongest of us all and he gave all that power to the child. Long ago, Fu Xi’s son vowed that he would have nothing to do with his god relatives.” She sighed. “That child hated Fu Xi and I, we caused his human mother’s death, he vowed that he would never forgive us. That he would never interfere in the affairs of gods.” Nu Wa patted her hand, “All I want to know that he’s alright. I don’t need to know anything else, as long as he’s safe.”
Yu Zhu nodded, “I’ll let you know if I find him.”
Nu Wa smiled, “Thank you.” She handed Yu Zhu a strange gold disk full of ancient text. “This will see you safely through. It will hide your aura from any wary eyes.”
Yu Zhu looked at the tiny crack in the sky. “Someday, you and your people will live without this barrier, I promise.”
Nu Wa smiled, “If only I had my old powers, I would help destroy that old bastard.” She sighed, even cross through once in her spirit form had exhausted her for days. But her millions of years of magic had gone to protect her daughter, her heart twisted in pain as she thought of her daughter.
Yu Zhu flew away, “Thank you.”
Chang ‘e and the Jade rabbit quietly looked at sword that hung in mid-air. The shield was black as ink, embossed in gold, it shone with a powerful aura. A few days ago, a few servants who had been curious about the activity in the furnace room had crept in to see the sword hanging in mid-air.
Attracted by the sheer beauty, one of them was foolish enough to try and grab the scabbard, only to discover that his hand had been burned away before he came within a foot. Before his friends were able to pull him away, he was nothing but a pile of ash.
“No one has been able to come close to it?’ Chang’e asked the Jade Rabbit. The other woman sighed and shook her head, she looked at the silver hilt covered with graceful swoops and waves, the design seemed to be dancing in the firelight, “No. I was able to seal the memories of the other two. But they screamed that it was a cursed sword before I got to them.”
Chang ‘e walked a step closer. And the scabbard seemed to shake, a wave of power exploded from it, Chang ‘e quickly stepped back. She knew a warning when she saw one.
She smiled wryly, “The last time a weapon warned me off was Hou Yi’s bow.” She remembered her husband laughing at it and telling the bow that she was his wife, no one was allowed to be rude to her, not even a legendary weapon.
“This weapon will kill gods and demons alike.” She said and turned around. They went towards the great hall. Chang ‘e’s step halted. The air felt a little warm to her, she knew what it meant. “Close off the great hall. We need to create the barriers and keep the Empress’s spies out.” She said, and hurried to the room.
In the empty white hall, a graceful figure floated out out of a black crevice that appeared in the center of the room.
Chang’e felt her breathe catch in her throat. It was a strange feeling, she had never seen any woman with such moving beauty. The world had once said that she, Chang’e was the most beautiful woman in the world. But that was before this person had stepped through into the realm.
Lashes, heavy and thick touched the gentle curve of her white jade cheeks. They fluttered to reveal two black eyes that sparkled like falling stars. Lips tilted upward to reveal a heartrending smile that threatened to force every person to stand up only to fall at her feet. This woman was too beautiful to exist.
But more than that, it was the air, the aura around her that made Chang’e shake to her very core. This was the power of a ruler, the aura of someone whose authority was absolute. Those who questioned her would die. She was without a doubt someone who did not need to demand attention but already commanded it in the palm of her hand by merely standing there.
Chang ‘e wavered for a moment and then knelt down, beside her, she felt the Jade Rabbit to do the same. Yu Zhu had changed into someone that they would follow without reservation. She was their hope.