Friend or Foe

The Calm after the Battle

"Da Qiao? Da Qiao?" A young voice called out through the final of the screams and yells. A battle had just rage through-out He Fei and Wu were called forward in the defence. The sky had turned blood red, similar to the colour of the ground. Bodies covered the once emerald green grass and blood travelled in to the flooded farmlands. The thick black clouds had dispersed, ridding the rain along with it.

A young girl was shivering slightly, after being drenched with the rain from earlier. She looked around and saw her sister, Xiao Qiao running toward her. Blood was splattered across her clothes and she seemed closed to tears.

"I thought you were…You didn't reply…!"

Da Qiao smiled weakly and embraced her sister. "It's okay. I'm fine…" She said, though there was a deep gash in her arm from where one of the Lieutenant Generals had ambushed her. Blood was still shining on her clothes as she searched for the other members of Wu. The Sun, which had only just burst through the clouds, was setting, casting an even deeper red across the horizon.

A man covered in tattoos was walking stiffly towards them. He was the one who had saved Da from the ambush. She hurried towards him noticing, even from a distance, that he was hurt.

"You're hurt!" She said almost immediately, whilst Xiao Qiao whimpered beside her, glancing everywhere for a sign of some others.

Gan Ning gave a little laugh.
"I'll…Be…Fine…" He said, taking short intakes of breath between every word.

Da shook her dark head.
"You're not!" She said, holding his arm as he collapsed beside her. He muttered something but Da Qiao shoved it aside. "We need help. Now!" She said, glancing up at her sister.

Xiao Qiao nodded and took off to get some help at a sprint, her turquoise fans flying along at her sides. Gan Ning glanced up in to her pale but pretty face.

"Thank you…For saving me. I must repay you. I will not leave you." She exasperated.

Gan Ning smiled weakly, and with her help, managed to get to his feet.

"You don't repay…Pirates." Ning said quietly in her ear. She looked at him and their eyes met. Something strange happened to her navel as they did. She opened her mouth to speak but nothing would come out…She was speechless. Then, the moment passed. She looked forward and saw a dark shadowy figure approaching them on the back of a horse.

Da Qiao sighed with relief and looked up at the helping hand. Taishi Ci looked down upon them, surveying the damaged body of Gan Ning.

"Here." He said, holding out a muscular arm.

She pushed him towards Ci and gave him his body, placing him on the back of the horse carefully.
"You should go back to the barracks…It will be nightfall soon." He said, glancing at the horizon once again. Da Qiao nodded to know that she understood and he rode off. Xiao Qiao was walking behind Ci and she was gasping for breath.

"Xiao, we need to get back to camp. We do not know how many of the enemies survived…Come." She said, holding her sisters arm and dragging her forward.

They arrived 30 minutes later. Rain had started to fall once again and they were grateful that they could enter the General's Tent, where it would at least be dry. Many faces turned to look at them when they entered. Gan Ning looked a little better. He had many bandaged wrapped round him, making him look similar to a Mummy. Taishi Ci and Zhou Tai were quickly discussing in the corner and had stopped abruptly to see who had entered and Lu Xun, the lead Strategist of the battle, walked quickly forward.

"Are you hurt?" He said, surveying them both, holding bandages and some herbs.

They both shook their heads.

"We just wanted to know that we are both safe…unhurt." Da said clearly. She turned back around and headed for her own tent. There were murmurs and chattering but she ignored it. That was until she was stopped from going inside by a tattooed arm.

"I just wanted to say…" Gan Ning started, "That I am grateful that you helped me." He said. Da Qiao turned to face him, too look into those dark handsome eyes. Once again, the same butterfly feeling erupted through-out her stomach. They both smiled and Da Qiao nodded.

"Not as much…as I am." She said calmly, looking down at the grass to stop the strange feeling. "I…You saved my life. I could have died in that ambush, yet you risked your life to say my own? Why would you take that risk?" She said quietly, not wanting to see the reaction playing on his face.

Ning cleared his throat.

"Because…" He began, but he could not find the rest of his words.

Da Qiao stared up at him, she saw him struggling to find his words and she sighed.
"I do not know why you would risk your own life to save mine. But I appreciate it all the same…I must rest. I do believe we have a long journey ahead of us tomorrow. Rest well Gan Ning." She said, moving aside and walking by him.

"Because I love you!" He spluttered, his words seemed crystal clear however.

Da Qiao stopped walking and turned to face him. Her cheeks, though not visible in the darkness, had turned scarlet. Gan Ning stepped closer to her but she didn't or couldn't seem to move away.

"I couldn't leave you Da. I…" Ning started but was cut off by Xiao loud yells.

"Da? Da? There you are. Why did you go off?" She looked from Ning to Da.

Da Qiao turned to face the tent.
"I was tired. We had a long day Xiao. Gan Ning was here to thank me for staying with him when he was injured." She explained quickly.

Ning nodded and started to walk away. Inside Da's mind she wanted to run after him, to stop and talk to him. But she just watched him go whilst Xiao's curious face leapt in front of her.

"Come Xiao. We need sleep." She said heavily, entering her tent finally.