|A vessel of power such as she
He who claims her, powerful he shall be
Gain her love, this catch be
Or dead in the currents he shall be
- Roselind, The Shadow Lore Vol 1
As ChunLi rode silently in the carriage she could feel something in the distance, laughing, dancing and joyful for all the wrong reasons. With her were Urien and Legrene. Gill was on horseback at Urien insistence.
Somehow ChunLi felt that Urien was up to something. He was different from his brother, less eager more calculating. Somehow it seems to her that he was trying to gain her trust. Well at least somebody was keeping Gill away from her.
< And Legrene…..
Heretic and outcast for the mistreatment of her familiar. The poor little
thing survived but its powers had been badly misuse that it would rather
break the link forcefully to save its sanity. And now Legrene wants my
familiar? > On that her thoughts drifted back to Ryu.
“Seriously why waste your affections on one man when a woman like you could have as many as she pleases?” Urien took an interest in conversation when Legrene decided ride on horseback instead.
“I doubt you will
understand.” ChunLi mumbled as Urien removed all bonds except for the choker.
It was enough to keep her from any tricks. Observing the runes of squiggly
lines she know that it’s not a language she knew. Nothing Asian for that
“Oh colour me curious. Has it anything to do with the Dragonlord? I heard a lot from Legrene. I would believe it has. Being the Dragonlord, dragons at your beck and call if need be. Power at your fingertips? What with your lineage, your heritage, your training and by association. You were born into power. Yes?”
“Yet all it takes
is one man to hold you back from following your father’s footsteps. Somehow
I wonder who holds the reins of power indeed.” Urien had started to talk
But still ChunLi’s guard remains up. Every step they took seems to have some sort of an implied meaning. The way the sky kept darkening as they headed southeast. Which seems to ChunLi like hope dying at every step. Taking her farther and farther away from Ryu. This damn choker had muted more than her spells. Her mindlink with Ryu seemed down for that matter.
“Cut the act. What
do you want from me.”
“You will have time
to consider.” He gestured to two maids. Who accompanied ChunLi into a tent
where hot bath water and a fresh change of clothes await.
During the hour ChunLi was bath in the scented water and anointed with essential oils. As for her hair, the maids took extra care to wash it gently and rubbed more essential oil on her. Essential oils that was jasmine based. Somehow she felt like she was being prepared like pig to be roasted.
Her hair was coiled into a single braid and decorated with flowers. They made her wear a sleeveless embroidered black soft silk dress at which the long skirts’ sides were slit thigh-high. To keep the night chill away, She was given a thick cape that was trimmed with gold. The fabric whispered in silent at her every step, flowing gently in the wind.
> she thought as she was escorted unwillingly to Urien’s tent. He was impressed
but made no other move but to have her join the table. Legrene was simmering
in jealousy while Gill’s eyes were filled with lust. But still at Urien’s
threat he did nothing to upset ChunLi further.
Seeing the food on
the table ChunLi wondered about the wisdom sharing food with one’s enemy,
but as Ryu would say:
<< Ryu… you and your stomach…. One of these days I’m going to talk to you about the wisdom in that line… Ryu… you lousy jerk. If you can hear me…. I miss you damn it. >> She shouted through the silent Mindlink they shared hoping that by some pure luck he could hear her.
Or that one of her wards could sense where she was and inform Ryu. But this choker seems to be doing its job well. Grudgingly ChunLi joined them at the table. Automatically she reaches up to scratch the itch the choker caused
But the moment ChunLi touches it, a freezing pain shot up her mind and a grimace of pain on her face, until Urien came around and pulled her hand away.
“I have to apologize for that minor inconvenience. But it was necessary. This was meant to be used against your wards’ uncanny senses.”
She shot him a cold
look and turned silent. From the corner of her eye she could see a smug
look of victory on Legrene’s face. Escape seems almost impossible now.
Edge of the forest
by the river (4 days ride away from ChunLi)
Ryu watches Rimururu
as she fell asleep after healing his right leg. Only Nakaruru remained
with them. Ryu returned to staring into the fire. The others were combing
the forest in vain for any clues to where ChunLi. But Ryu knew, he knew
that she was no longer there, for he felt her moving, moving away from
Zannah and the others returned, from the look on their faces he knew they had no good news, he knew and expected that to happen.
“Ryu. We have to
talk.” Zannah received no answers. All Ryu did was to stare at the fire.
“WHY?! Weren’t we suppose to find Li?! Why are you all abandoning her in her hour of need?! Then why bother with me than? Why not just put me on a horse and let me get her back myself?” His eyes were locked intensely on hers.
“Because we can’t
help her if we do not know what we are dealing with.” Haohmaru came over
shoving his wine gourd in Ryu’s face, Ryu slapped it aside, it contents
wasted as it liquid seeps away in to the ground.
Haohmaru grabbed Ryu by the collar and pulled him up shoving him up against a tree. His eyes glared intensely into Ryu, partly angry for the waste of such good wine.
“Get it into your
thick head. If we didn’t care we won’t even had bothered with you! We could
be dealing with a mad man for all we know. And things like this happening
so near to the time of a Gathering calls for extreme caution.” Haohmaru
almost shouted, he let Ryu down.
“Yes. Extreme caution indeed. I suggest you head down to Kamui Kuten to seek out the elder I mention.” A male voice came from the woods. Leaves rustled and swirled around as he made his entrance. Kyo with sword in hand again.
“Stand down young Kusanagi. I’m not here to fight.” Geonitz said as he tosses a wine gourd to Haohmaru. Geonitz squatted down in front of Ryu.
“Your mate is in
no danger for now. But Tianzai has awaken once more.” patting Ryu
on the shoulder
“I do not know exactly but it is older than my master and almost as primal as the Chaos Mother herself. Master worries that if Tianzai is fully awaken, he and four other gods would be assimilated by the Chaos Mother. And that would be a tragedy to humankind” he had their attention now.
“What I do know is that Tianzai, my master, the four other gods and possibly your young wards came from the same source of power. Seek out the elder in Kamui Kuten and understand what you are dealing with. Else you will fail for sure Dragonlord, then all shall be lost.”
“Do take care. Aiko.
And beware the proud young Godling to be.“ Geonitz got up and faded away
back into forest the strong winds died down as he was gone.
“So what is your choice now?” Zannah asked, knowing that she would either force Ryu to go or have him go willingly.
“Kamui Kuten…” he said softly, he didn’t like it but he had no choice. If ChunLi’s dreams were and indication of some kind, then things are not going in her favour. Something had gone all out to block the Mindlink they shared. Their wards were unable to trace her somehow.
<< Li if you can hear me somehow. Please hold on, I’m coming. >> He called out, hoping by luck that he could get through.
In his frustration Ryu punched the tree, the tree shook and a couple of squirrels fell out. Running around and chattering in panic, Ryu sighed things are not looking good.