This chapter is a replacement of the old one. This is the direction that I had originally intended the story to take. For those who liked the old chapter, I did save it and may use it in another story. However this is how it was supposed to go.
I do not own any of the DW characters; they belong to Koei or whoever. I do own the OC and some minor characters that might pop up.
I must have fallen asleep at some point. It was a deep and dark sleep; I was thankful. My father and I ate breakfast together. By midmorning, a moving van was in our driveway along with two men my father had hired to help us move. We spent most of the day loading at the house. By evening, our family home was barren. I stood in the front door and stared at the walls for one last time. My father called to me, he was ready to leave. I took one more look around, saying good-bye to my home, my memories, to my brother and mother, to my childhood. With a heavy heart, I closed the door and got into the car. We had to drop Bay off at the ranch and then we would go to the town house. As we pulled out of the driveway, I felt the tears well up in my eyes but I forced them back. I turned to face out the windshield when my father patted my hand.
"They were not in that house anymore, Koa. We have to carry them in our hearts from now on." I knew he spoke of our lost family but I felt his words meant more, even more than he knew. Once we had dropped Bay at the ranch and got him into his stall, he was not happy with us leaving him, and made it into the city it was late. The moving truck had been parked in front of the new house. My father had given the movers a key and they had already unloaded about half of the truck on their own. My father pulled our car into the driveway and went to help them. He told me to take Rascal into my new room and let her explore. He asked if I could sort through the boxes and move the ones, I could lift, to their proper places. One am came and the truck was finally empty. The front room of the tiny house, however, was almost bursting with boxes and furniture. The movers left the mess to us to handle on our own. My father and I agreed that we would sleep on the couches and worry about the mess in the morning. I fed Rascal and flopped down on the smaller of the two couches. I fell asleep nearly instantly.
Again, I dreamed of the battle. This time I was racing toward Zhao Yun on foot. The man was bringing down his weapon. This time a flash of metal stopped the strike. Zhao Yun laid on the ground staring up at me as I held an ornate sword over him. The other man had been pushed a step back by my parry. His face contorted with anger. I moved to defend Zhao Yun from the man while he regained his feet. Soon the two of us stood side by side in battle. We exchanged glances and charged forward together.
A gentle nudge on my arm followed by a hushed apology woke me. I looked up to see my father standing over me with one of the boxes labeled 'kitchen'. With a groan, I sat up. The couch had done a number on my back. I followed my father into the kitchen of our much smaller home. He was unpacking the box he had carried in, searching for his coffee pot. Upon finding it, he realized that he had to find the coffee and filters that were packed away as well. I helped him as we pulled out everything in every kitchen labeled box. As it normally goes, the sought after items were in the very last box we had to open. We stood back and laughed at ourselves.
"Well, at least the kitchen is unpacked now. I'm going to make a pot and while it's brewing you and I can find place for all of this," My father offered. I gave him a nod in agreement. When we finished putting away the kitchen, we moved our table into the connected dining area and sat down. Today I joined my father in his morning coffee. Not one of my normal habits but I knew that I was headed for a day of work and needed the pick-me-up. We had to figure out how to fit twenty plus years of things in a house half the size of our former one. We both knew that there were things we would have to get rid of but we would keep from saying it until the time came.
Noon found the living room and laundry rooms unpacked and set up. I was in the upstairs bathroom that would be my own when my father came to offer me to go out for lunch. I realized that I had not eaten that morning. My stomach accepted his offer for me. As we made our way to the front door, the two books on top of some of the boxes in my room caught my attention. I stopped to grab them. My father eyed me.
"If you wouldn't mind I would like to go somewhere after lunch." I said. He did not ask about it, only nodded in agreement. We chose to walk instead of driving, one of the beauties of living in the city I suppose. We found a small restaurant with an outdoor area and decided to try it. As we enjoyed our lunch, we began to talk more than we had in the last six months or so. I let the feeling of happiness wash over me, my father and I seemed to be more like the family we once were.
We spent nearly two hours on our lunch. Afterwards he chose to return to the house and continue to unpack. I offered to put off my errand to join him but he insisted that I explored the city. We hugged in parting before turning and walking in opposite directions. After wandering aimlessly and getting hopelessly lost, I gave in and bought a map of the city at a little convenience store. Opening it, I scanned it for the street name where my destination was located. I wanted to slap myself when I noticed that I had walked past it at least three times. With the map, I found myself standing in front of the little shop in a matter of minutes. I stood staring at the front of the establishment for several minutes. I was unsure if I really wanted to go in and ask the question that circled in my mind. The image of Zhao Yun's face as I tried to reach him flashed in my mind's eye and I pushed the door open.
The air in the place was heavy with a potent scent that almost made me gag as my eyes danced over the trinkets and whatnots that adorned the walls. Slowly, I made my way toward the counter that ran along the back wall and stopped. I heard a man's voice call out that he would be there in just a moment. I took the time to look over the items once again. The sound of a bead curtain shifting brought my attention back to the counter. The man now stood on the other side of the divider with a kind smile on his wrinkled face. I shifted while I searched for the right words to say when his eyes flicked down to the books in my arms. His aged brow raised in curiosity when his gaze returned to my face.
"Is there something wrong with your books, miss?" His voice did not seem to fit his appearance, as if it was too young for his body.
I glanced down to the tomes I carried them back to him as I placed them on the counter between us. I opened the one with the changed tale of Shu to the paragraph and gently pushed it toward him. "I remember this being different," was all I said.
His brow still raised he reached over and turned the book around so that he could read the words himself. When he finished he glanced back up at me, closed the cover, and slid it back to me.
"It seems to be right to me. Why would you think I would know otherwise?" I could tell by his tone that he was trying to get more information from me. His eyes shifted to the other book and then to my face.
I took that as my queue to open the other one to the entry that had sent me on this path. I offered it for him to read as well. His eyes danced over the page and a coy smile came to his face. He repeated the same gesture that he had with the first book.
"Now why would you want to know about that?"
"Because it's my fault and I have to fix it." His eyes went wide at my confession. He then let out a slight chuckle as he shook his head.
"I knew something had happened. I just had not expected this. You must be the daughter of Nu Wa." My confusion must have been visible on my face because he motioned for me to wait a moment before he disappeared back behind the bead curtain. A minute later, he returned with a large, worn tome in his arms. I slid my books to the side so he could place his between us. "The spirits said that I should be expecting someone important today," he said as he flipped through the aged pages covered characters that I had never seen before. "But as I said. I was not expecting you."
He stopped on a page and turned the book around for me to read. I glanced at the page, expecting not to be abled understand any of it. Yet every symbol made complete sense to me. They told of the legend of a daughter of Nu Wa, a girl who fell into the arms of the Shu general Zhao Yun during a battle between his forces and the army of Wei. As I read the page, I realized that I was reading of the time I had spent in the past. I got to the battle of Chi Bi. I frowned when I read the section. It told of how I had not only saved Zhao Yun but also fought beside him and the others to help to overcome Cao Cao's forces. I paused there and looked back to the man. His eyes relayed that he understood.
"What can I do to fix this?" My hand went to the mysticism book as I spoke, "Will this help at all?"
He crossed his arms over his chest and was quiet for a long moment. He was pondering over the situation; maybe he wanted to know if I was serious in wanting to right my wrong. I opened my mouth to try to convince him that I was when his voice cut me off, "Yes, I know of the ritual that book mentions. However, there may be a heavy price to pay for performing it. Nu Wa is protective of her timeline. She put her faith in you and you have proved yourself incapable of completing her task once already. If you attempt to return, she may destroy your body and your soul. You may not get the chance to try to save him again at all."
My blood ran cold at his words. He reached over and gently took his tome from me. His eyes were soft, and his voice mimicked them, "You go, take some time to think about it. If you decide you wish to go through with this then come back and I will help you." I nodded and collected my books.
Once outside I let out a heavy sigh, could I really take that risk? What would happen if I could not return to my father once I went back? We were just starting to reconnect. He would lose all the family he had left. I took out my map and planned my route back home. My mind went over all of the information that I had gathered as I walked. My choices tore at each other. Should I go and try to save Zhao Yun and face a possible death at the hands of Nu Wa? On the other hand, should I just forget that any of it happened and go on with my life? I was so lost in my thoughts that I did not realize I was standing in front of the house until my father spoke to me.
I shook off his question and went into the house. I went up to my room to finish unpacking. When I walked through the door, I noticed that my father had put my bed together while I was away. I shouted my thanks down the hall and received a laugh in response. Audibly silent and mentally having a conversation with myself, I went about empting the boxes that had been piled in my room. It seemed as though everything I pulled out of a box would have me looking back on the day it was given to me. A porcelain horse my parents gave me on my sixth birthday. A book of fairy tales my mother used to read to me when I was young. A picture my brother had drawn of Bay when he was a colt. One of my grandmother's necklaces that she had left me in her will. I found myself sitting in the middle of the floor, crying from the memories. How could I leave this? How could I even consider leaving my father?
A hand on my shoulder drew my attention to my father as he knelt beside me. I quickly wiped away my tears trying to act as if they had never happened. He gave me a half smile and motioned me to follow him. He had made dinner and wanted me to eat with him. The meal was worlds away from the joyful lunch we had shared earlier. We ate in silence occasionally we would glance at each other. I could not help fidgeting in my chair. I was finding the situation very uncomfortable and began searching for a way to escape. Thankfully, he gave me an out, telling that he had put away the linen and left out some stuff for me to make my bed up. I thanked him and quickly finished my meal. He took my plate telling me that he would do the dishes. I moved to get the bedding and set about putting together my bed for the night.
I had no more than finished making up my bed and my father called to me. He told me that he was going to sleep. I wished him a goodnight and decided that I might as well call it a night myself. I changed into some sleeping clothes, shut off the light and crawled into my bed. For a while, I laid awake. My mind still finding reasons I should consider taking my chances in going back then immediately contradicting itself with a reason to stay. Sleep did not come easy to me this time. When I did fall in my dreams, I again saw myself saving Zhao Yun. The two of us as a team, tearing through the enemy ranks. His face had a smile of pride as we seemingly danced together on the field. We came close to one another and he placed his arm around my waist and leaned his face close to mine.
It was too sudden, my eyes shot open and I sat upright in my bed. The light pouring through the window signaled morning. I rubbed my face, why was I dreaming these things. I gave a groan as I stood and stretched out my body. I shook my head to rid myself of the lingering thoughts of my dream. Shuffling along I headed for the bathroom to wake myself up with a nice cold shower. Clean and wrapped in a towel I returned to the room to locate some clothes, most of which were still packed away. I dumped out one of the boxes and shifted through the mess before settling on jeans and a tank top. I dressed and jogged down to the kitchen with a smile on my face.
My father was sitting at the table, his cup of coffee, and a piece of paper on the table in front of him. His face had a troubled look to it that wiped my smile away in a glance. His eyes met mine and he spoke.
"We need to talk."
PS- Please R&R the reviews would help me greatly in writing, I would like to know what you think of the story so far.