Here’s a question. Is it possible to fall in love with your own fictional character? Perhaps we can. As I’m writing this chapter, I realized that I have more love and respect for a character than when I had her down for my outline.
I guess this stemmed from the fact that even though I have an idea of what kind of person I want her to be and already know of the ins and outs of the things that would happen to her and the choices she made, she wasn’t a person to me until I finally put her down into writing.
In a few hours, I’ve learned more about her than I did the last two years she’d been dancing in my head. The funny part is, she seem to be the one telling me what she should be doing instead of me telling her what to do. It’s as if she came alive and was bashing me in the head whenever I plot the chapter in a different direction. Amazing, isn’t it? 😀
Anyway, I really had fun writing this chapter. While it didn’t bring much into the story, the chapter itself is exciting. I had my heart in my throat as I wrote because I really didn’t know what would happen. I started off with the characters going out on a journey and the next thing I knew, BAMN!, the chapter plotted itself out. The chapter was meant to go in an entirely different direction, I promised. Unfortunately, our heroine is thick-skinned and refused to work with me. >.<
Xue Hua and I are in a disagreement of how to proceed with this chapter. Let me know if you agree with her. LOL. 😀
Dragon, Phoenix, and Flower is a period fiction that revolved around a girl named He Yu Ting and her romance with the two men who loved her unconditionally. Both men are possessive in their love for her and it’s up to Yu Ting to find her one true soulmate.
Please visit Synopsis & Character List for more detailed information.
There will be three major story arches, thus the novel will be divided into three volumes.
NOTE: Regarding the post picture, I cannot find a better fit for this chapter so I’m stuck with this one. If after reading the chapter and you could find a better one, let me know.
February 21st, 2016: I made changes to the characters’s name. Bai Xue Hua is now He Yu Ting and her sister Bei Xue Feng is now He Xue Zhen. For more information, see this post.
Volume One: Dragon
Chapter One: Bandits
The outskirts of Fort Wang, 76 miles southwest of Liu Yang
Hard sunlight shone upon a group of travelers as they climbed the path up the mountainside. Some were driving a proceeding of fifteen horse-drawn wagons overflowed with supplies while other were on horsebacks alongside the wagons. Atop of a wagon at the very front of the group, two young ladies sat side-by-side fanning themselves with their sleeves, allowing the driver to drive the horses along the narrow path.
The older of the two tried to ignore the heat as she wondered why she let her sister talked her into leaving the carriage back at the inn. The day was uncomfortably warm and her light peach robe did nothing to alleviate the hot rays. She decided then and there that she won’t be going anywhere without the shelter of her carriage again. She gazed ahead and wondered how much longer to reach their destination.
“It’s only a few more miles till we reach the fort. Father said it’s just on the other side of this mountain,” her sister said, guessing her older sister’s thought even without looking at her. She opened her eyes as she turned her face away from the sun and looked at her sister. “Jie jie, we can stop for a little while if you want.”
“No” the older one said. “We’re behind schedule because of that broken wheel. Making another stop will give us even more setbacks. Father would be angry.”
The younger sister agreed and turned to look at the wagons behind her. She noted that the men were not faring much better than she did. The day was hot and the men had been traveling non-stop since this morning. Except for two hours they were forced to stop and fix the broken wheel, none of them had had any rest save the quick nap and refreshments from the supplies she and her sister had packed for them. She can’t help but feel proud of her father’s men. Despite the long and tiring journey, they showed no sign of exhaustion.
Suddenly, a sharp whistle was sounded from the trees and the horses went into instant panic. While the wagon drivers tried to calm the frightened horses, the guards on horsebacks quickly controlled theirs and scanned the trees surround the narrow path. Quietly, they pulled out their weapons. Just in case.
Without warning, a score of men dressed in black robes, with faces covered in black masks, leapt from the trees and started attacking the men guarding the wagons.
“Bandits! Protect the wagons! Don’t let them get near the supplies!” the younger girl called her guards, pushing away the fear that leapt into her throat. She turned to her driver. “Uncle Lai, hurry and drive this wagon ahead. We’re close to the fort. Hurry and get some reinforcements!”
The uncle nodded as the young girl leapt off the wagon. “Yu Ting! What are you doing?!” her older sister yelled from atop the wagon.
Yu Ting didn’t bother to stop as she ran towards the wagon driver behind them. She yelled over her shoulder. “Jie jie, go with Uncle Lai and get reinforcements! We cannot let these bandits rob us! There are soldiers depending on us for these supplies. I’ll try to help the guards. Hurry and go!”
As soon as she approached the next wagon, she screamed to the driver. “Hurry and head to the fort. Full speed ahead! Don’t let the bandits get you! Hurry!”
Sounds of metal against metal echoed in her ears as she dodged the fights between her guards and the bandits. She was grateful that she listened to her father and doubled the guards for this delivery. While the bandits seemed to be strong and powerful, her guards outnumbered them three to one at the moment.
A few of the guards noticed her running down the row of wagons. They followed her closely, slashing away at any enemies that were coming too close to her. Noticing this, Yu Ting paused and called out to them. “Don’t protect me. You are faster. Quickly! Grab a horse and hurry to the fort for reinforcement. I also need another to go tell the rest of the drivers behind us to proceed ahead. Tell them not to be afraid and that reinforcements are coming! Hurry!”
“But what about you, Miss Bai?”
“I’ll be okay! But if the bandits succeed in robbing us, our lives will be in danger. These supplies are for the troops. If we fail, our heads will be cut off!”
Hearing this, the two guards quickly ran off to do as they were ordered.
Yu Ting scanned the surrounding and noticed that many men were dead. Unfortunately, many of them were her men. She growled in frustration. These bandits were powerful. “Jie jie, please hurry. They’re overpowering us.”
Using the wagons as cover, Yu Ting maneuvered her way from the bandits’ sight and helped some of the her guards who were injured by the bandits. “Miss He, hurry and hide! We’re loosing ground,” one of the wounded guard said to her as she tried to help him stand up. “Don’t worry about me. If you run now, you still have a chance to escape.”
“I’m not leaving any of us behind,” Yu Ting said, determined that they would survive through this. She was the daughter of He Fu You, a renown-trading merchant. He was well known not only for high quality supplies but also for having never fail to deliver the goods. She will not shame her father by allowing these greedy bandits steal from them.
“Yu Ting! Help! Help!” Yu Ting chest turned cold. That was her sister’s screams.
“Jie jie!” she said, panicked. Anger suffused her. Those bandits better not touch her sister. She’ll make them if they dare touch a hair on her head.
“Go! I’ll be all right,” the guard said, managing to stand up and grabbed hold of his sword again.
Nodding, she quickly retraced her path back to her sister. Fear crept into her stomach as she noticed that there are suddenly more bandits. They must have called in help as well.
Damn it. At this rate, even if her reinforcement arrived, it would be too late.
When Yu Ting reached her sister’s carriage, she sighed in relief when she noted that her sister was okay. Some of the guards were with her, fending a few bandits that were trying to get to the wagon. While they fought, her sister and Uncle Lai were trying to retie the knots to the supplies that were cut loose by the bandits.
She hurried over to her sister side to help secure the supplies on the wagon. “Jie jie. Take the horse and go get help! I’ll take care of this.”
“No!” her sister replied vehemently. “I’m not going to leave you.”
Yu Ting glared at her sister and quickly helped her secured the rest. When done, she quickly glanced at the guards who were still fending off the bandits. The sound of clashing weapons continued to echo. “Jie jie, get on the wagon. We’ll leave now to get help. The guards won’t be able to fend them off for long if help don’t come.”
Xue Zhen nodded and climbed onto the seat by Uncle Lai. Yu Ting climbed in next to her. But when the driver signaled the horse to go, the carriage wouldn’t budge.
“Why isn’t it going?” Xue Zhen asked.
Without answering, Yu Ting jumped from the carriage. As she thought, there was something wedged under one of the wheel. “There’s a rock under the wheel. Let me get it first!” She leaned down to pry it loose.
Unfortunately, Uncle Lai couldn’t hear her over the sounds of men fighting, so he didn’t stop the horse in time. The carriage dashed forward, causing Uncle Lai and Xue Zhen to fall back in momentum. Furthermore, unable to catch his balance, Uncle Lai accidentally whipped the horse’s bum with too much force, causing it to run faster in fright.
Seeing this, Yu Ting’s heart almost stopped. There was the cliff up ahead. At the speed the wagon is going, Uncle Lai won’t be able to stop the horse in time. They will fall over the edge!
With renewed strength, she chased the carriage, screaming for them to jump off the wagon. As she got closer, she noticed there was a very long rope that had gotten loose and was dangling behind the wagon. Quickly, she tried to grab the rope as it was flown beside her. After missing a few times, she managed to grab onto it and wrapped it around her arm. Then with all the force she could muster, she firmly root her feet onto the ground, hoping the friction would help slow the carriage down.
All hope see futile, however. She was still dragged along with the carriage. By some miracle, she somehow managed to maintain her balance. She could hear her sister screaming her name, yelling at her to let go of the rope. Determined not to see her sister fall off the cliff, she closed her eyes and pulled harder against the rope with all the strength she had left, screaming as she rope cut into her skin, drawing blood.
In the midst of her focus, it took her a long time to realize that she was no longer dragged behind the wagon and that there was a commotion in front of her. Quickly opening her eyes, she saw the back of a man, draped in a red cape standing a few feet in front of her. She cannot see his face, but she noted that he was wearing a golden armor, his black hair pulled atop of his head and held together in golden coronet. With his legs planted firmly on the ground and his arms wrapped tightly with the rope like her, he called to her over his shoulder. “I got this! Let go!”
She shook her head and tightened her hold on the rope, her arm stinging with every small movement of her arm. Then, realizing that he won’t hear her, she quickly said, “No. I’m not going to let go until my sister is safe.”
There was a chuckle from the man. At least, she though she heard it. She couldn’t tell with all the noises around her.
That was when she noticed that there were more movement behind her and the fighting noises had increased. She looked back quickly and saw that men wearing similar armor as the man in front of her now joined her guards. Soldiers?
Yes. It’s the soldiers. They are saved at last!
She looked over the man’s shoulder to the wagon, and saw that it was almost to the cliff. “Jie jie!”
The man pulled harder on the rope, spurring Yu Ting into action. She pulled it again with all her might, hissing at the pain as she rope dug even further into her wound.
She heard, more than saw, that carriage slowing down to a stop. The sounds of wheels against the ground were slowing down and she heard her uncle soothing the frightened horses.
Hearing her sister called her name again, Yu Ting dropped the rope and ran toward the wagon. She knew now that there was no point in helping the man. Her strength was not comparable to the powerful man who managed to stop the carriage in just a few moments.
Pure horror greeted Yu Ting as the scene unfurled before her. Although the wagon had stopped just at the edge of the cliff, her sister was falling out of her seat and into the open cliff. Time slowed and Yu Ting could see the fear and astonishment in her sister’s beautiful black eyes.
“Jie jie!” Yu Ting couldn’t run fast enough. The wagon seemed miles away and with her depleted strength, she somehow slipped on a rock and tripped, falling onto the ground. With tears in her eyes, Yu Ting could only manage to lift herself on her arms and watched as her sister disappeared down the open cliff. “JIE JIIIEEE!!”
Like lightning, a flash of dark blue flew pass her and disappeared down the cliff’s edge where her sister had fallen. Yu Ting blinked. Did someone just jumped? Scrambling to her feet, she rushed towards the cliff. Just as she was getting closed, she noticed that the wagon was wobbling. Is it going to fall over too?
But that’s not possible. The wagon was now safely grounded and Uncle Lai had managed to maneuver it away from the edge of the cliff.
Through her tears, she looked at the wagon. And that was when she saw the second rope. It was also another rope that had gotten loose during the ambush. However, the tautness of the rope told her that there was something tied to the other end of it. Instantly, she heard a grunt and a flash of blue suddenly leapt from the cliff ledge where her sister had fallen and landed a few feet in front of her.
Yu Ting almost dropped to her knees as she saw that the blue flash was a man. He looked to be a few years older than her, well dressed, and have a kind face. On his left, there was a rope wrapped securely around his forewarn. On his right, he had his arm around her sister’s waist, holding her securely to his side.
Tears of relief streamed down her face. Her sister didn’t fall to her death. She was here. Safe.