Fox Fire-Chapter 3: Meeting Lady Sun
Note from OC: Come on, do I have to do this? Disclaimer. ReinaBlaka only owns me, Warriors Orochi goes to KOEI.
Ever since I came to Shu—and for that matter, the human world—I've been doing millions of things for the first time.
First time playing hide and seek (Zhao Yun had a pretty hard time finding me), first time stealing food (I think I love meat buns too much), first bath (Oh my, that was real torture!), first time going on the roof (I don't know, I just got there), first hug (I think Zhao Yun actually likes me!), first time running for my life (I somehow angered Liu Bei's horse, Hex Mark, and it chased me), first time stealing someone's hat ( Liu Bei's hat is just so pretty and shiny)…the list goes on and on. I really think I've lost count of all this! ( Oh, and here's another one: first time losing count of something.)
As you can see from some of my little side comments on these things, I've already gotten into a lot of trouble. This has led to many things. For one, Zhang Fei doesn't like me as much. He keeps glaring at me whenever I walk pass him, but I don't mind that as long as Zhao Yun or Liu Bei is with me.
For another, though, it has raised considerable attention towards me among the forces of Shu, and now I'm forever being visited by curious officers who want to see the new, foxy troublemaker their Lord has brought in. I was introduced to people with names like Mi Zhu, Li Dian, Fa Zheng and such; along with the occasional female lieutenant. But then four of the five warriors who passed me on the day I arrived in Cheng Du decided to pay me a visit, and I was finally offered a chance to identify them.
Zhang Fei's daughter—or the girl with the scary pitchfork—was named Xing Cai. Naturally, I expected her to be as scary as her weapon. But she wasn't scary at all when she came to see me! In fact, she was pretty, and caring. Not the least bit like her brash father. Which makes me wonder as to why she carries a pitchfork, but I clearly recall what she said when she saw me. She took one look at me and said, "She doesn't look like Da Ji at all."
The warrior who wore a strange thing on his head was called Ma Chao. I learned that he was a renowned general in the Shu army, and a good friend to Zhao Yun. The thing on his head was called a helmet, a hat which is supposed to protect you in a fight. Ma Chao even let me play with it for awhile, watching me run my hands through the white hair crest. He was smiling, and saying to Zhao Yun, "She's too innocent to be brought to justice like her sister deserved."
The third warrior to come was the not-so-nice looking one, the one who wore a mask and barbaric armor. He looked at me closely, making me somewhat uncomfortable. Then he stepped back and turned to Liu Bei, who was present. "She…is…new…fox…?" he grunted.
He turned back to squint at me. "No…like…Da Ji…"
He spoke weird. And then I realized that his speech was impaired. Which reminded me of myself…
And last, but not least, the man whose beard I pulled—Liu Bei's second brother, who was called Guan Yu. Said to be the mightiest warrior in the land, and leader of the Five Tigers—a group of five fearsome generals in the Shu army of which Zhao Yun, Ma Chao and Zhang Fei are also members.
At first, his tall figure put me in the shadows, but then he kneeled down to take a better look at me. I stared at his stout countenance, and his fierce eyes. Eyes that reflected years and years of battle. His long, lush beard hung from his chin, inviting me to play with it, but I didn't. I simply kept a fearful gaze on him, not knowing what he would do to me for what I did to him.
Several long, suspenseful minutes passed before he stood up, his hands on his hips, turning to Liu Bei.
"I don't get it," he said, frowning. "First someone tells me she's the little devil who pulled my beard, and the next moment I find her looking absolutely innocent? I don't understand. Is she really Da Ji's sister, as the others say?"
Liu Bei paused for a moment, looking at me before his attention shifted back to his brother. With all the attention I was getting, as well as all the visits, he was sure to have heard of the little incident that happened on the day I arrived here.
"Why, Guan Yu, she is Da Ji's sister. You're right on that. But…" he sighed and leaned closer to him. "…you really should forgive her. She is a pure soul who has done nothing wrong, and it was fate that had been so cruel to her. Know that she has been isolated from civilization for pretty much her entire life, and she absolutely knows nothing about the way we live, let alone the way we are. You should not punish her; it would be simply wrong."
The words slowly processed through Guan Yu's mind, as well as mine. Another several minutes ticked by, and then he nodded, his hand absent-mindedly tugging the end of his beard.
"…I understand now," he said, casting a glance in my direction. "But, if you are to keep her here, brother, what do you plan to do with her?"
"Good question." Liu Bei crossed his arms, half-descending into a train of thought as he looked at me. "...she'll need to learn everything necessary to fit into our world, and this environment. She'll need training. This means she'll need a teacher."
"You mean, she'll learn to be like us, learn how to fight, and then join our forces?"
"…I think that's the best possible way."
I listened silently to their conversation as they talked about my future. Fighting. Training. Joining their forces. Everything necessary to fit into their world. What could this mean for me? I tried to figure, but with my limited knowledge about the humans, I didn't get really far.
Four of the five warriors who passed me on the day I arrived at Cheng Du have visited me. Four of the total five. Which leaves the fifth and final warrior, the red-clad girl with the bladed wheels and green eyes. She has yet to see me.
Just who is she? I kept asking myself this question. Her attire and bearing made it clear that she was not of Shu, but if that was so, where was she from? What was her name? I suddenly began to feel frustrated about my inability to speak. If I could, I would've immediately asked Zhao Yun or Liu Bei. They should know…
I was thinking about this, one bright morning, staring at the ceiling of my room in Zhao Yun's house when I heard the sound of approaching footsteps. I turned my head towards the doorway, just in time for a familiar, armored figure to appear.
"My lady!" (All these days I've been with him, and he still treats me so formally? Ugh.) He called to me, louder than usual. I jolted up, looking at him. What was up?
"You've got to hurry," he said. "Lord Liu Bei wants us to be out at the entrance as quickly as possible. He wants to take us somewhere! Quick!" and he turned around, vanishing out of my sight.
Whatever it was, the call was urgent. At least I understood that from my brief stay. I rolled out of bed, pulled my new cloak over my shoulder, snatched my hat and hurriedly rushed out into the hallway, slapping it onto my head without much thought.
In a few moments I was at the entrance, stumbling as I got pass the guards and almost falling facedown into the ground. Pausing to catch my breath, I looked up to see Zhao Yun, standing alongside his Lord. Both of them were smiling. Chuckling. Seeing my confused expression, Liu Bei raised his hand, pointing at my head.
"You've got it on the wrong way," he said.
Gingerly touching my hat, I realized he was right. A wave of embarrassment washed over me as I realized that it was positioned horizontally, just like my evil sister. I flushed as I quickly turned it around, into its proper vertical angle, the tassels flying as I did so.
After a fit of manly-sounding laughter, both warrior and lord calmed down. Zhao Yun walked over to me and took my hand, as he always did, and began to lead me towards his Lord. As soon as we caught up to him, he started to walk in front of us, obviously taking us somewhere.
"What did you tell our little lady back there, Zhao Yun?" Liu Bei asked as he walked. "She obviously looked like she was in a rush when I saw her."
"I just said that you wanted us at the entrance as quickly as possible, my Lord, and she came bounding out."
Liu Bei gave a little sigh. "I didn't say it was that urgent, Zhao Yun. I only wanted you to be a little swifter in your moves, and you took it too seriously…"
"My Lord, if you tell me that something must be done quickly, I will do it quickly."
"Please, Zhao Yun, know that there are rarely wars in this world now, and there is no need to strain your nerves. Also…" he turned his head to look at me. "You've caused our little lady to do quite a thing with her hat."
Zhao Yun rolled his eyes. "Come on, my Lord; please stop it with the bad jokes."
"I don't think they're bad!" Liu Bei chuckled, "Have you ever met a lord without humor?"
"Of course not…"
"Then stop complaining!" Liu Bei laughed as he turned his head back to the front.
I looked up at Zhao Yun and smiled. Even if he didn't quite like it, I was really fond of his Lord's "bad humor".
With the conversation ended, we continued the walk in silence. And moment later, we arrived at our destination. I recognized it. The building I first came to on the day I arrived, but never entered.
Liu Bei's house.
Liu Bei led us towards it, and eventually we all stepped over the threshold of the doorway. I looked around. It was virtually the clone of Zhao Yun's house! Same stone courtyard, same wooden buildings on all sides. I couldn't see anything different, except that the tiles on the roof were a shade of dark green, not the black color back at Zhao Yun's abode.
At this point, Liu Bei turned to us, the morning sun making his green armor shine.
"Would you please wait here for a moment, Zhao Yun?" he said. "My lady is waiting to meet you two inside, and I need to inform her that the two of you have arrived."
"Of course, my Lord." Zhao Yun nodded, squeezing my hand.
Liu Bei turned and disappeared into the building opposite the entrance. I looked up at Zhao Yun with curiosity in my eyes. Lady? Who was Liu Bei's lady?
But before he could answer, Liu Bei reappeared, a welcoming smile on his face.
"My lady is very happy to hear that you two have come," he said. "Please, come inside. She would dearly love to meet our little friend."
The green-armored lord then led us into the building, and into a room that seemed to be a guest room. There was a table, and on either side were two large chairs. Hanging above the table was a huge painting that depicted a dragon soaring among the clouds, and a tiger prowling the lands below. Both creatures were keeping their gaze on one another. I frowned. What was that supposed to mean?
But then I noticed the figure seated in one of the chairs. And my jaw dropped.
A young woman, clad in red, with short, brown hair and bright, green eyes. Green eyes who saw me on the day of my arrival. Here was the very warrior that I had been wondering about these few days. The mysterious girl who didn't look like she came from Shu.
I stood there, dumbstruck, and simply stared as her eyes turned to me for the second time. They were like shining like little green jewels, as green as Liu Bei's armor, their gaze boring into me. Reminding of the day when I was discovered in Koshi Castle, when Liu Bei was scrutinizing me.
Now two pairs of eyes have drilled holes in me. One pair a plain brown, and now a pair that was a shimmering green.
The red-clad maiden smiled pleasantly as her gaze met mine. She stood up, gesturing for me to walk over to her. But I didn't move. I felt that I had grown roots on the spot.
I was utterly surprised.
Liu Bei saw the state I was in. He stepped in between us, and simply started the introductions.
"Lady Da Li," he began, as polite as always. "This here is my lover, Lady Sun Shang Xiang. My Lady, this is Da Li, the little fox I picked up at Koshi Castle, and the sister of Da Ji."
As if on cue, Zhao Yun pushed me gently forward, giving me a look that said, "Go ahead, and don't be shy." I immediately found myself walking towards her, and before I knew it, I was before her, besieged by her outstretched arms.
"Sister of Da Ji?" The maiden called Sun Shang Xiang echoed as she smothered me with her hands. She felt my pale arms, and studied my face, making me quite uncomfortable. "No. She doesn't look one bit like her."
It was the same comment from almost all my visitors. "She is so innocent", and " She doesn't look a bit like her sister". Everybody said that, in one way or another.
Shang Xiang turned to her Lord after she brushed a strand of hair out of my face.
"My Lord," she asked. "You found her all alone in Koshi Castle? What did you make of her when you saw her?"
"Well, it wasn't me who found her. Zhang Fei heard her and found her first, but he mistook her for Da Ji. It was I who confirmed her true identity. As for what I make of her…" He looked at me. "…I deduced that she was Da Ji's sister from her appearance."
"Yes. Frankly she was in a terrible state when she was found. And she couldn't speak. I knew at once that she had suffered isolation because of her sister's name, and I just had to take her back with me."
"…I see," Said Shang Xiang, continuing to embrace me, "She's such a sweet girl, my Lord."
"Of course she is." Liu Bei smiled. "And she's adorable, too. She almost always steals my hat."
Silence reigned for a brief moment before Shang Xiang spoke up again, while looking at me closely.
"My Lord, what do you want to do with her, and why have you specially arranged for me to see her today?"
"…That is just what I was going to tell you," said Liu Bei. He walked over to his lady's side. "I've been thinking about it those days, and I've decided to let someone teach her about our world, and our ways; and most importantly, how to defend herself."
Shang Xiang looked up at her Lord. "And who is that?"
A pause. "You, my lady."