Sky picked up the chess piece, using his free hand to push his heavy sleeve to the side, so as not to disturb the other pieces already on the board.
After his recovery from the 'injuries' he had suffered at the hands of Nameless, the legendary warrior had lain low. It was not his place to reveal that he had, in fact, not died in the historic battle with Nameless, late Prefect of Leng Meung County.
Sky set down the piece on the board, sitting back to let his opponent make his move.
All of China was reunited. A massive construction was being built, an hour outside of Beijing, to protect Qin Shihuang's lands against the northern tribes. All of China wrote and read one language. All of China measured using one set of measurements. All of China adhered to one law.
In other words, Nameless had failed.
What had happened? Sky would never know, because Nameless was dead. So were Broken Sword and Flying Snow.
Eleven years ago, he had stormed the Forbidden Palace with the intent of assassinating the Qin king, the same man who now ruled over all of China. He had not succeeded.
Fast forward seven years. Flying Snow and Broken Sword had tried it. It was no secret that it had been a disaster. Broken Sword had abandoned the plan just when he could have killed the king. Why? Why had he come so close to fulfilling all three's ultimate desire only to stop, inflicting a mere cut instead of a clean beheading?
Sky's attention came back to the game. Even though he had his eyes closed, he knew where the piece had been placed. In turn, he picked up another black piece and placed it on a spot he deemed appropriate.
Word had been that Broken Sword had, somehow or another, discovered that the Qin king's death was not in the interest of Zhou, or any of the six kingdoms. Through his calligraphy, perhaps.
Sky had to admit that Broken Sword had been right. If the Qin king had not united the six kingdoms, what would have happened? China would have most likely brought about its own downfall; the peasants would have suffered, the governments would have run out of money to fund their armies, and then each of the six would have crumbled into nothing.
Nameless' failure had become a triumph for Broken Sword.
Sky sighed again. He had been consumed by his revenge and, unlike his late friend, had not seen the possible repercussions on the kingdoms.
He'd laid down his sword upon hearing of his friend's deaths. At first he had been angry at Nameless for not doing what he should have done, but now he saw the wisdom in his friend's actions.
Just like Nameless had said, so many years ago, when they had played chess together. He'd never been able to look too far into the future consequences of his actions.
Sky opened his eyes and placed another piece on the chessboard.
He was glad that he was no longer in the giant chess-game of life.
A rather pointless piece I did right after watching Ying Xiong (or Hero to non-Chinese speaking folks). It's been almost three years since it was released, but I only just rented the dvd, and trust me, you have to go watch it. It's a genius of a movie. And Sky is the coolest of the three assasins. (And no, I'm not biased. Honest! ;) )