A/N: Hiya! This is another Fanfiction (all the other ones came to huge writer's blocks and I never got past the third chapter, but I promise this one will be different!)
Now, for a full summary: This will start out in Wu, but later Shu and Wei will join the Prank War. Also: This Fanfiction will contain LOTS of love triangles that will eventually be resolved but I'm not telling what the final pairings are! I think you'll be able to guess a few, though!
New Note: Hey, I've been MIA for quite a while (more than half a year!) but I dug this out, looked it over, and thought "This is so lame. Why did I even post this?"
So now, I've looked it over a bit, taken out a few things, revised a few things, and put the names into the same format as the other chapters. That is, I'll write the full name the first time they're mentioned in the chapter. After that, it'll be the second name (first name in Chinese) that I'll use only.
Anyway, I hope this is better (I still suck at writing, but at this point, I think this is the best I can do). All reviews are welcome except for flames. Constructive criticism is wonderful, but please, no "You suck" or 2-word things like that.
Disclaimer: The characters in this story were real people during the Three Kingdoms Period. Koei holds copyright over costumes, weapons, items, et cetera. It does NOT have a copyright on anything else because the horses were real, the characters were real, and the places were real. The plot belongs to me.
Note2: Just so everyone knows, italics mean either 'thoughts' or EMPHASIS. Usually, if only one or two words are italicized, it's emphasis in speaking. Sentences in italics are thoughts, and unitalicized words in thought are emphasis in thoughts. My goal is to write imitation of speech, so I included emphasis, and thoughts help give characters some detail, I thought. Anyway, this is for future reference, and applies to all other chapters.
Chapter 1: Prologue
Xiao Qiao sighed as she watched the robins flit around the trees. It was a perfect day, and she wanted to be outside climbing trees. No such luck. Instead, she and her best friend Sun Shang Xiang were stuck inside learning their lessons of arithmetic, strategy, calligraphy and other "useless nonsense" as Xiao liked to phrase it.
Apparently, Lord Sun Jian, the ruler of Wu, had finally decided that something had to be done.
Xiao and Shang Xiang were two of the few pranksters of Wu and were so alike, they'd started wondering if they were long lost twin sisters. The result was that ever since Xiao Qiao and her sister Da Qiao had come to Wu, the entire palace had been turned topsy-turvy with their little jokes, especially since the original pranksters, Gan Ning, Lu Xun, and Ling Tong, had only needed a little more encouragement for some of their more daring tricks.
Ning was a former pirate and an "ally" of Shang Xiang and Xiao whenever they wanted to pull a prank. Ning was all about fun and lazing off and was always willing to help plan any trick that Xiao or Shang Xiang thought up. Of course, that usually spelled Trouble with a capital T for everyone else in Wu.
Xun, on the other hand, was also the apprentice of Zhou Yu and Lu Meng, and, consequently, was much more serious. Always one to find faults with Yu, Xiao constantly maintained that Xun, or Xunie as she liked to call him, might be much more fun if he didn't study so much with Yu. By that, she meant that Xun might be more daring where pranks were concerned if only he didn't concentrate on "strategist stuff" half the time. Usually, it was Xun who pointed out that this prank or that plan wouldn't work due to this problem or that it was too dangerous.
Tong's arrival in Wu tipped the Prank Balance from mild to wild. Prior to his arrival, most of Ning's stranger or more dangerous pranks had been stopped by Xun's logical refutation. After his arrival, everything changed.
Of the three men, Ning came up with the outrageous ideas, Xun would shoot them down, and Tong would pick them up, change them around, and present the group with a perfectly plausible, and perfectly wicked, plan. Xiao and Shang Xiang, when they weren't planning their own tricks, often added creative ideas or odd twists.
Of course, the happy pranksters didn't get their way all the time, even when they agreed.
Although Sun Jian was the ruler of Wu, his wife ,the Lady Wu, ruled the palace with an iron fist. Jian occasionally did approve of pranks because he knew everyone needed to relax once in a while, but Lady Wu could shut them down faster than Red Hare. Many of the generals joked that the couple's only daughter, Shang Xiang, had inherited her temper from Lady Wu. But of course, this was always mentioned outside Lady Wu or Shang Xiang's hearing range.
The other damper was Da Qiao, Xiao's only and older sister. Xiao and Da ran on a "check and balance" system. Whenever Xiao got too carried away in battle, Da would call her back. Whenever Wu was attacked, Xiao would encourage Da and remind her that both Qiao's had come a long way from being helpless ladies since their arrival in Wu. Although Xiao knew they couldn't live without each other, Da's calm and quiet ways sometimes irritated her, especially when Da took Xun's side when arguing against a prank.
Anyway, the reason Xiao was currently stuck inside was because Lady Wu, although she usually sided with her daughter against what she called "male chauvinism", had finally found that she and Shang Xiang had not been learning arithmetic and calligraphy like they was supposed to.
Instead, Shang Xiang had ordered their assigned teachers to have class outside, where they'd then ditched the hapless instructors and go spar with the other generals. When said instructors were asked why they had not reported the two girls, Shang Xiang had admitted to threatening them, scolding them, and thoroughly intimidating them at ever chance.
Unfortunately for Xiao, Qiao Xuan, Da and Xiao's father, had insisted that both learn with Shang Xiang. Since Shang Xiang and Xiao usually rendered class futile, Da ended up studying on her own in the library, although she did sometimes go out to spar.
Now, however, it had come to the attention of Lady Wu that her daughter was skipping lessons. She had given Shang Xiang and Xiao a stern, concise, and short lecture on the uses of learning arithmetic.
Xiao had thought it rather unfair that Lady Wu had also scolded her since she wasn't her mother, but Shang Xiang pointed out that Xiao's father would probably make both Qiao's return home if he learned that they were shirking lessons. The least Xiao deserved was a lecture and they'd been lucky a letter hadn't been sent to Lord Qiao.
Sun Jian had readily agreed to his wife's proposal to place Zhou Yu and Lu Meng as the girls' teachers. After all, they were already teaching Xun; three more students couldn't possibly hurt.
So, Shang Xiang, Da, and Xiao were stuck inside with Xun, Meng, and, to Xiao Qiao's dismay, Yu. They were to continue their old lesson and begin learning with Xun about defense against ambush, fire, flood, and so on. Unfortunately for Xun, Da, Meng, and Shang Xiang, Yu and Xiao weren't on the best of terms due to recent history.
"Lady Xiao, would you kindly stop staring at the robins and continue copying down the rules of strategy?" Yu demanded exasperatedly. This was perhaps the third time Xiao had to be reminded to not let her mind wander out the window.
Xiao scowled. "Lady" was a title that she preferred omitted, and, really, prefixes were usually left out among the Wu generals. After all, they lived in the same building, and calling everyone by their titles got old really fast. "But the rules of strategy are so boring! Isn't it common sense to fall back to the rear if I'm injured? Who needs an old dead guy to tell me that?"
Da mentally groaned. Here they go again… "Xiao, please just do it! You can go outside after you're done, but you'll need to finish first. The faster you work, the sooner you can go outside!"
Shang Xiang stifled a sigh. "Da, she's right. We've been stuck in here since breakfast! Why can't we take a break? And who needs the rules of strategy anyway? It's not like we're every going to use them."
Meng stopped them from bickering further with a wave of his hand and a sigh. "Ladies, please. You may take a break and walk outside after you finish copying the rules down. I'm sorry, Xiao, Shang Xiang, but you do need to learn them, and Lady Wu won't believe you did unless she sees written proof."
Yu rolled his eyes and decided to make a point. "Besides, Lady Xiao, the 'old dead guy' you so bluntly referred to is an ancestor Lord Sun Jian. And did you ever think that maybe the rules were made for people like you who rush into a fight without thinking?"
Xiao glared at him hotly. "That guy must have been a lot like you then. I bet he never went onto the battlefield; he probably stayed in the back just like you do! I've never seen you on the front line!"
Before Yu could retaliate, Xun abruptly stood up. "I'm done!"
Meng sighed gratefully. "Thank you, Xun. You are dismissed for today." As Xun strode to the door, Meng made sure he caught the meaningful look Xun sent Xiao before turning back to the rest of the class. "Yu, kindly refrain from arguing with a student. Xiao, please hurry and finish copying down the rules."
Yu raised an eyebrow. "Arguing? I have no idea what you mean! It was a heated conversation."
Xiao stifled a snort. "Heated conversation. Of course."
Shang Xiang giggled quietly and Da rolled her eyes. "I'm done, too." Da rose and left. Before closing the door, however, she did give Xiao a pleading glance. She knew Xiao and Shang Xiang along with Yu in a room was not good. It was a good thing Meng was also present or there would be quite a few black eyes by the end of the lesson.
Ten minutes later, Xiao and Shang Xiang were finally dismissed and out the door. Meng gave a sigh of relief. "That went quite well. Although," Here he gave Yu a reprimanding glare, "if you're trying to court Xiao, I'd say it's quite the opposite."
Yu chuckled, "Court Lady Xiao? Are you out of your mind?"
Meng raised an eyebrow skeptically. "I don't know…but I don't think it was just me who thought you two were pretty friendly when she and her sister first came here. What happened?"
Yu's expression stiffened almost imperceptibly. Cautiously, he replied, "Nothing. She was just too immature for us to really get along well. Honestly, she and Shang Xiang are always off on some strange adventure. She's going to get herself killed one day."
Yeah…sure…liar…Meng refrained from rolling his eyes. Sighing sympathetically, he opted instead to clap Yu on the back instead of pushing the issue. "I've no doubt that you and Xiao will make a lovely couple. Even better than Ce and Da, if my instincts are correct and if that's even possible."
It was common knowledge in Wu that Ce and Da had something going on and that the two couldn't be happier.
Yu laughed, relieved at the change of subject. "Yeah right. The only way Xiao and I could become a couple is if we have an arranged marriage, and that is not going to happen. My father's dead, in case you haven't noticed."
Meng winked, "I don't know… Jian has been hoping for a double marriage. Both Qiao's married off so that Lord Qiao Xuan won't have to worry about someone like Dong Zhuo or proposals from Cao Cao anymore. And you know Da and Ce will get married. It's obvious for everyone with eyes, no matter how much they try to hide it. And guess who Xiao's probably going to have to marry?"
Yu shrugged, "Sun Quan? It's the most obvious choice."
Lu Meng shuddered. "Quan? I'm sorry, but that wouldn't work out. Lord Sun Jian isn't stupid. Xiao and Quan don't even talk on a regular basis."
"Well, it's going to be the same situation, if not worse, between Xiao and me!" Yu snapped.
Realizing that he was getting nowhere, Meng sighed. "It was just a thought, because you two do have a lot of chemistry with the whole 'friendship to hatred' relationship. And if you really feel that way, I would lay off the staring at her, if I were you."
Yu started slightly. "I don't stare at her!"
"Of course you don't," drawled a voice Yu knew all too well. Sun Ce was leaning on the doorframe. "Just like you're not an accomplished liar who can mask facial expressions like a chameleon. Pointing out that you haven't given any signs won't work, Yu. You're a politician; if you didn't know how to hide your emotions, you'd be dead."
Yu glowered, but added firmly, "I do not stare at the Lady Qiao."
"Whatever you say," Ce smirked.
Yu glared at his two friends. "I'm leaving. The stupidity level in this room is suffocating." And with that, he marched out the door.
Meng looked at Ce, "He's in denial, isn't he?"
Ce winked, "You bet!"
Yep. So, anyway, that's the first chapter! Next chapter: the Prank War is introduced! And then Chapter 3 will be the First Day of the Prank War, but in Wu. Chapter 4 will be the First Day of the Prank War in Shu. Chapter 5: First Day in Wei. And then Second Day for each kingdom and so on and so forth! So expect this to have a LOT of chapters!
Also: beginning means nothing; I'll admit that this chapter does intro a few pairings, but not all of them. There is pretty much no one with a simple pairing. And I think that's it! 'Til next time!