|Tribute to Zu
Author: xxsewnlipsxx PM
Ten little stories in tribute to Sagacious Zu. Zu/Jen Zi, Jen Zi/Lian, slight Sky/Jen ZiRated: Fiction T - English - Romance/Tragedy - Words: 2,149 - Reviews: 4 - Favs: 2 - Published: 02-04-11 - Status: Complete - id: 6715783
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Title: Tribute to Zu
Summary: Ten little stories in tribute to Sagacious Zu. Zu/Jen Zi, Jen Zi/Lian
A/N: Thanks for reading. Review please.
Tribute to Zu
Flowers for a Ghost- Thriving Ivory
He found her resting just outside of their camp, head leaning against the crumbling white walls, broken arm resting on her stomach that rose and fell with each breath. Fortune's Favorite was clasped in her other, wrapped hand, and she did not stir as he approached. Behind, Dawn Star's shadow flickered as she peeked out around from their camp and then ducked back as though not wanting to be seen. Goats bleated sleepily as they chewed their sweet grass in the dark, barely noticing him as he sidled up beside her and kneeled.
From up close she hardly seemed the type to condemn a village to ruins by pulling out a jade heart. She didn't seem capable of taking care of both a fox spirit and a greater demon in one day. The bruises around her face and neck, the broken arm in a sling, and the wrappings around her leg were a testament that she was just barely able to do such things. Her breath came shallow as lungs brushed against broken ribs. Only in sleep was her face not contorted with pain.
Shaking his head and standing up to leave, he caught Sky watching him uneasily. Despite what the others thought, she was only human.
Circles- Hollywood Undead
She emerged from the arena with her clothes torn and panting, nearly collapsing against Qui as he rushed to see to her. The poison ran deep, the smell of it sickeningly and deceptively sweet. He knew the exact flower they had used, but he stuck to the shadows as Dawn Star rushed over to her and tried to help her up. It would be no use. She stumbled, tongue thick, as lethargic as a drunken Whirlwind. Finally, a little light came into her eyes as she snapped at Qui that the wards had been broken. She needed medical attention.
Members of the arena came to take her away, and he trailed them in the shadows, trying to ignore the prickling feeling that he got whenever Sky was watching him with distrust. The blind doctor barely got there in time to save her life. She had to spend the night at the arena. The poison would spread if she were moved, and she was in so much pain with the fever that it would be murder to try. That night when the doctor left to fetch more wet towels, he snuck in to wipe sweaty strands of hair out of her face. Gripping her fingers in the dark, he wished he was capable of more than killing.
Soldier Girl- Cymphonique
At first he didn't expect her to last very long at all. For her size, she was all quick steps and cuts, painfully strong when it came to combat. As for mental ability, he had pegged her as vulnerable to the assassin's agenda as everyone in the world. When he watched from the shadows though, the sure way in which she carried herself, the way she avoided the initial indoctrination with a show of power and skill, he wondered if he had misjudged her entirely after all. She didn't fall for Guang's tricks. She didn't get wrapped up in their power games, and she killed anyone in her way. For once, she didn't even pause to help the helpless in their cages. That cold, unwavering view of her target didn't waver for a moment.
His warnings fell on deaf ears. She was so focused that for a moment, he was afraid she wouldn't even fall for his test in the mines. He was wrong. Still, she proved herself again. No one could knock her down. Whatever had happened in the arena or on her quest for the inquisitors, it had hardened her already. Despite however much she thought she was resisting them, the assassins had already changed her.
Jen Zi kneeled as she wiped the dust away from the sarcophagus, laying a single frozen lily on the brown lid on top of it. The guards stood on either side of her, awaiting her orders. Silk Fox had scoffed at such a formality, but a single look had shut her up fast. Zu deserved a grave, if he deserved nothing else. The others hadn't seen what he'd done to save her in the end. Without him, she'd never have escaped Master Li's talons and saved the empire. With a smile, she ran her fingers over the inscription buried in the wood. My friend…my savior…
Zu probably wouldn't have liked the location, but his loyalty to the Empire had earned him a burial place in the palace itself. Besides, his ghost could have done anything to sway her influence anyway. She was the Empress. His loyalty was well placed. The Empire thrived, and the wheel turned again. Silently, she wished him all the happiness in his next life that he was denied in his previous one.
Permanent- David Cook
She stood on the balcony overlooking the empire, her shawl falling from her shoulders as the sweet night air blew her hair. Lian slept curled up beneath the silk sheets that were too rich for Jen Zi's callused skin. She leaned forward, glancing down. The lights flickered as lanterns were lit. Below, the guards paced over the city grounds. Zu was on her mind again, and she couldn't sleep for the nightmares of his ghost. Even with everything set right, she felt as though she'd failed him somehow.
Smooth fingers came up over her shoulders, kneading the tense flesh there. She leaned into the touch. "You have to let him go," the princess whispered, hot breath on her ear.
"Sometimes I wish I could have taken his place," Zi murmured back. "He deserved more than an anonymous death in that damned tomb."
Sighing, the princess took her hand and laced their fingers, forcing her to go back to bed and silencing any talk with her cool mouth.
Where I Stood- Missy Higgins
He wasn't sure if he liked what he had done. Sky was a thief and couldn't be trusted, but he was the lesser of two evils. The princess had her own agenda, and though she pursued Zi, there was little passion or understanding. Surely Zi could never be happy with someone who though only of herself. He watched from the shadows as Sky flirted shamelessly, making her laugh and blush. Anger made him clench his fists, but he kept his face stony and kept himself hidden. He had no right to scare him off. Whereas Sky was the lesser of two evils, Zu wasn't even an option. The girl's heart was searching, and he made sure that it never rested on him for more than a heartbeat.
Maybe it was just his training, but something told him to run from her. She was too good, too pure to be involved with the darkness that consumed him. He found himself listening more and more. Yet he didn't want to be far from her. For some reason, he didn't know who he was without her anymore. He also didn't know if he could stand Sky's hand on her shoulder or the look in his eyes that was hardly of pure thoughts. Snarling softly at his lack of control, he snuck away from the fire and into the shadows.
Exit Wounds- The Script
He hadn't expected to find them at the river. During his walk in the darkness, he'd heard noises, but he'd never even fathomed that it could be the princess and Zi. His embarrassment and ignorance burned, and he was sure that Zi had caught his eye from across the clearing. The princess had seen nothing. Maybe that was for the best. By the fire, he was alone. The rest of the gang were gone on errands, sent by Zi while she dallied with the fox in the forest.
A stick broke behind him, and he tensed visibly. When she sat down on the log perpendicular to him, her hair was wet, and she was wearing a silk blanket around her shoulders; it was a gift from the princess, of fine make and worthy of such a beautiful creature. Her wet skin had sucked it to her, the red, angry scars and wounds of their adventure glaring in the scarce light.
"I didn't mean for you to find out that way," she whispered. Something in her voice let him know she knew he didn't want to talk about it. Maybe that was why she didn't press when he replied with such a simple, casual thing.
"Dry your hair," he said softly. "You'll catch a cold." With a sad smile, she moved closer to the fire and didn't say anything more.
When it Rains- Maria Mena
Zu liked the rain.
She often lingered in the doorway to the garden of the Celestial Palace, watching him play with his mother, giggling as the water slid down his face and made even the most graceful of women—Lian herself if she were asked—stumble in the mud. It was strange to see such a happy child graced with the name of a man who only ever had a countenance of pain and sorrow. Sometimes she felt the same energy she had when near Sagacious Zu when their son touched her hand. The Wheel of Life turned, and though Lian didn't like the thought of it, she had suggested several times that maybe he had been reborn.
Zi had liked the idea of that. If she couldn't grant Zu a happy life as his lover, maybe she could as his mother in another life. Smiling at the strangeness of the situation, she descended the steps quickly and scooped Zu up into her arms, laughing as the rain drenched them both. He wasn't the only one that liked it.
Weapon- Matthew Good
Zi stood with her hand on the rail, water pouring out of the mouth of the palace. Sky was at one shoulder, Lian at the other. They made quite the triple threat, and she smirked as most of the citizens looked up in fear. She was their new empress, the prize of the water god's power coursing through her veins. The aura that surrounded her was pure energy, tugging at her hair with some sort of invisible force. By tossing Master Li's corpse down the steps, she'd secured the loyalty of the assassins. They worked behind her to rebuild the palace to its former glory. Sky's resolve was resolute as he gave a bow and retreated from the civilian's view, the new Death's Hand in a whole new skin.
"It's all ours," Lian whispered in her ear. "Your claws will reach out to shape a new empire thanks to Zu." Her fingers covered Zi's.
"Yes," Zi murmured, "after all, it was Zu that taught me how to be a weapon in the first place."
Broken Strings- James Morrison
"What are we doing here, Zu?" she asked, kneeling just beyond the tents at Dirge. The memories lurking in the stone sang out to be saved, but she ignored it all. Her assassin's ghost had been difficult to call, but he was there. She'd felt his presence since his death in the Necropolis.
"The wheel must turn," he answered simply, darkly as his dead eyes stared out at the sunset. Pinks and golds splashed the sky, a myriad of beautiful color that cast beauty on the dilapidated ruins.
"Does it hurt?" she asked with concern, taking her eyes off nothing to take in his countenance, the forever bleeding wound in his chest, and his incorporeal form.
The scars on his face twisted into a mockery of a smile. "My wound or my death?"
"Both," she whispered.
"No," he replied. "I feel nothing, and I think that is where the madness stems. I don't feel called. I have no purpose. I can affect nothing."
Standing up, she turned to face him, eyes searching. Walking past so that they were shoulder to shoulder, she squeezed his hand, the cold nearly painful. "I'm sorry, my friend," she said before letting him go. When he disappeared on the wind, it only ruffled her hair a bit. With nowhere to go, his presence weighed on her.
Bought this for PC because my xbox has crashed. I've always loved Zu, and the graphics are lovely on PC. Thanks for reading. Review please.