Chapter 1

ShaoMao perched on a swaying willow branch, eyes and ears keen, as she watched her brother CheengLong circle around a secure hazel bush and slept, wrapped in the fern and moss blanket ShaoMao had woven for him. The thirteen year-old dragon was, as he told her, her cousin. He was tall and powerful, with wise, dark eyes and thick long hair that was let down with two thin wisps beside his head. Seven-year old ShaoMao was the opposite. She was gentle and small-framed, and terribly flexible with the skill to hide in small places. With her cat skills she is fast and can climb to the highest places she can go. But the most of all, she can foresee the future, and listen and see things from faraway. ShaoMao can prod into other's minds and know how they think and feel.

Now, ShaoMao focused her mind on CheenLong. He was the only person she trusted, for he protected her from anyone who was to harm her. He was also the only dragon that she was able to read. ShaoMao took in a deep breath as her thoughts probed through the strong chi radiating from her brother. His breathing was slowed, and ShaoMao knew that he was asleep. Under her feet, grass appeared, CheengLong was dreaming.

His arms outstretched, ShaoMao saw him forming a dragon fist and training with a boy looking exactly alike him. Their kicks and punches were perfectly skilled. ShaoMao watched as CheengLong jumped up high with a flying kick towards the boy's temple, which was blocked by a dragon fist. The other dragon held on to CheengLong's right leg and twisted his body to the right, following CheengLong's momentum. At the last minute, ShaoMao saw CheengLong turn 180 degrees so that his back hit the ground and did a back-flip, pulling his leg away from his opponent. ShaoMao cocked her head to the right. When did CheengLong have a twin?

"HuaFeng," Startled, ShaoMao turned and saw CheengLong walking towards her, his twin following quietly, eyes narrowed to slits. "GumLong, Vora said that I had to ring HuaFeng to her for training. I'll be right back, okay?" GumLong nodded and walked away, whipping his head away from ShaoMao with disgust. ShaoMao started to probe into GumLong's mind and saw flashes of blood, a painful shriek, and a dead baby thrown into the sea. "ShaoMao," CheengLong hissed, bringing her back to reality. ShaoMao turned and followed CheengLong into a bush with thick foliage. CheengLong turned and whispered softly, "naughty cat, visiting my dreams again?"

ShaoMao lowered her head and shuffled her feet, "I'm sorry CheengLong." She looked up, "but why did you call me HuaFeng? Isn't that my sister's name?"

"Yes, indeed," CheengLong placed his large hand on her lean shoulder, "as you can see, my dreams continue as if each day passes on the same. When we sleep, the people in my dream wakes, and vice versa. The other dragon is GumLong. He, too, was also abandoned because of various reasons. I bet he's having the same dream as me. "


"I will explain to you when we wake up, dear." CheengLong knelt down and gave her a hug. "Now, have a nice dream of your own." He switched charms with her and kissed her on the cheek, and walked away.

ShaoMao woke up as a bird-a dove, according to her extraordinary hearing-called and broke the silence of dawn. ShaoMao felt at her neck and let CheengLong's charm rest on her palm. The cook jade dragon sparkled and shone to the heart under the light as ShaoMao placed it against the slowly right sun. Just like CheengLong. ShaoMao sat, easing her self into a sitting position and pressing her strength on the trunk of the tree. The scent of the willow tree surrounded her, and she crossed her legs, expertly balancing on the thin branch of the tree and started meditating. ChingYoo and PeiShang nimbly clawed their way up the trunk and curled up on her, clearly tired of the night's hunt on mice. ShaoMao slowed down her breathing and placed her hand on the two cats, feeling their chi intertwine with hers.

At the back of her mind, ShaoMao heard leaves rustle. She returned her breathing back to normal. Slowly, she opened her eyes and peered through the swaying willow leaves. CheengLong stood up from among the bushed with the moss blanket folded neatly in this hands. ShaoMao smiled as she saw a blue crystal carving of a sitting cat on top of the blanked which shone like a raindrop.