Petals of Feathers

Chapter 3: New Faces, Circus of Qimiao

By Arecus. Conberma

Just FYI, incase you get confuse by the names.

**Zen = Shen**


Tian Shen Village, a mysterious village that not showed on the map of China. NO, they said it was a myth, a fantasy that appeared in children's stories or ancient Chinese folk-tales.

At first, when Shen heard the name "Tian Shen Village" out form the peahen's mouth, he thought she was making fun of him or mocking him because he was injured. But when he looked around, he could understand that the peahen wasn't joking at all. This place was entirely harvested and cultivated.

Suddenly, Shen felt something light beneath his robes,...no swords. "Where are my swords?" Shen snapped.

"Oh, you mean your daggers? I sent them to our blacksmith of this village. He's good, but only the long repairing process made us impatient. But he's our ONLY blacksmith around here, what can we do?" Meng said in an obvious tone as she shrugged her shoulders.

"I swear to Gods I will shred you into-" Shen clenched his teeth as he hissed threatened at Meng.

"Now, don't give me that, will you!" Meng chided, "We're just trying to help."

"The more you help, the more troubles you give."

"If we didn't help you, you would have died in the river in the first place!" Meng angrily argued.

Shen silenced for a moment, and he hated to admit the truth, they did save his life. And he needed to survive to get his revenge on the so-called Dragon Warrior and the kung fu masters. In the meantime, he could used his recovery time to plan on a nasty scheme of his revenge. While he was speculating deeply, he felt something on his trains.

Shen looked back, and he figured out that something, or someone was nuzzling his long train feathers; it was the mute cat.

Before Shen pulled the kitten off his trains, Meng cut in, "Cai, sweetie. Don't mess up his feathers." the peahen kidded gently as she picked up the kitten and carried her along the way.

They walked a while, and Shen could feel uncomfortable gazes on him, the albino peacock felt unease at this. The yellow canary, Wong if Shen recalled, flew beside him and assured, "Don't worry, it's been a while to have a new guy around here, they will get used to you." he gestured with a warm smile. Shen blinked at this; it's been a mere hour, and he hadn't questioned about his 'omen' coloration.

Soon, they approached to an enormous carriage and a huge tent as it could contain an army. There, he met many different species of animal, such as, alligator, gorilla, baboon, horse, even a komodo dragon was included in the party. With a range of animals gathered in a camp, that could only meant one thing, that this...

"Well, here we are. Welcome to the magnificent Circus of Qimiao!" Meng proudly presented it. Wong and Cai flew and ran over to greet the members of the circus and told them about the news of their new arrival.

"Here," Meng helped Shen to sit on a long log gently, and she softly told him, "I'll get you something to eat."

With the peahen, the others immediately asked the albino peacock. Surprisingly, to Shen, they were asking not about his color for once in his lifetime. No, they were asking eagerly some random questions. Like...

"Where are you from?"

"Do you have a huge pain in your head?"

"Do you know your name?"

"Do you have friends, or family?"

All these questions came at once, and Shen was panicked as he never approached to this kind of situation. And when he said never, he meant NEVER EVER!

When he tried to look for Meng, he saw her talking to the vary species in the tent; he couldn't heard what they were talking about. And then she pointed at him with a him, and so as the other animals followed her direction. And at that point, Shen was grabbed by those 'friends' of the peahen, and what's next was getting introduced by the animals.

"Keung, the acrobat performer of the crew, also the greatest Prank Master in the world!" The baboon introduced with pride.

"Yao, the martial art performer." The komondo dragon introduced cooly.

"Zhong, the illusional painter." the old fox introduced mysteriously.

"Xiao, the entertainer." the warthog with Mongolia style clothing introduced eagerly.

"And you know me, Wong, the composer or the musician of the circus!" Wong, the yellow canary enthusiastically introduced himself.

There was an awkward silence after the introduction, the crews stared at the albino peacock expectedly, Shen couldn't help to ask, "What?"

"Aren't you going to introduce yourself to us?"

"I thought you have already acknowledged my name." Shen said in an obvious tone.

"Yes," Wong started. "But it would be polite that we can hear it from you."

Shen groaned a bit, "Fine, my name is...Zen." Shen reluctantly said.

"What is your specialty?" Yao asked curiously.

"I'm actually a sword master." Shen replied.

"Cool..." Keung stared at Shen in admiring way. "I wish I could do the swords, I can't swallow that long!"

"Wait! What!" Shen began hysterical.

"Well, you can swallow a sword, right? Why don't you show us, then?" Yao suggested as he handed the peacock a large, and pointy sword.

"No, when I say I'm a sword master. I MEANT in martial arts!" Shen yelled.

The komondo dragon immediately threw away the sword, without caring who got hit by it anyway. He sheepishly scratched the back of his head, chuckling, "Ooooohhhh...Sorry. Our mistake."

"'Our' mistake?" the rest of the circus crew frowned in unison, staring all at the komondo dragon.

"Okay, MY mistake! So, maybe you could be partner with me for the performance. What do you say?" Yao eagerly asked Shen, Zen, to him.

Shen was still bewildered at this, as there was still no questions about his coloration or his origin. He was lost in track when Wong and Yao both waved their paws and wings at the dazed peacock, "Hello? Earth call to Zen!" Wong shouted.

Finally, Shen had snapped as he shouted back, "You don't need to shout at me, idiot! I'm not deaf!"

"Well, I'm sorry." Wong sarcastically replied.

"So, what do you say, again?" Yao asked again.

Shen stuttered, "I...I don't know. It's so sudden..."

Suddenly, he was greeted by a warm bowl of congee with a peahen holding it. "Here you go!" Meng smiled at him.

Without a word, Shen was pulled yet gently to sit on the log where there was a campfire in the centre. Shen was beyond speechless, he was petrified! Probably he was rarely treated well as a normal peacock before in his pathetic childhood life, even in teenage and adultery. So, what he was feeling, was an entirely new level and approaching.

While he was in contemplation, he was interrupted by an annoying chant from the yellow canary.

"Oh! Let me feed him! Please! Please! Please!" Wong begged for volunteering.

The canary had completely out of his mind, what word would be suitable for him? Stupid? Naive? Or crazy? Maybe all three of them. Meng was hesitated about it, but she gave the congee to Wong nevertheless, not worrying about him getting any chance of being killed by former warlord which they did not know about it, it was the fact the small body of Wong carrying the congee and trying to feed Shen.

On the other hand, Shen tried to send his message telepathically to the canary, which was also an impossible act! But if the canary dared to touch any of his feathers, he would be the first thing he'd kill on his blacklist.

When Wong approached him, he was having a difficulty of holding the bowl, but he had gone through it. He picked up a spoonful of congee and placed it beside Shen's beak. Shen glared at Wong in disgust, and yet the canary seemed don't mind at all, or ignored the deadly glare from the peacock.

"I'll help to blow it until it's cool." Wong said in caring tone, or was he trying to be his nanny? The only one who would ever treat him like this was his Nana - the soothsayer! Shen ferociously corrected himself in his conscious.

As the canary gently blew and blew, the liquid in the spoon had started to cool down. Seeing it as a chance, Shen 'accidentally' sneezed at the spoon which caused the spoonful of congee splashed all over Wong's face!

Laughter bursted out from Meng and the circus crews, the mute kitten just showed her brightest smile. Although Shen hated to admit, it was mildly amusing. He was expecting an angry face from the canary, but instead, he wore a goofy face and laughed with the others.

"Hehe, I can't blow as good as you do." Wong joked.

"Come on, Wong." Meng interjected, "Why don't you go clean yourself and I'll take it from here?" she gently insisted.

"Okay. See you later, Zen!" With that, Wong cheerfully flew.

"He is quite optimistic for a canary himself." Shen marked.

"Yea, well, that's what makes him special." Meng replied with a smile. "He's...like light, a candle in the dark. And so is everyone around here too. Together, we are one lantern."

'One lantern...' Shen thought deeply. But swiped it away quickly and snapped back into reality, he shook the thoughts away from his head. 'NO! Don't think of that! The only person who thinks of that is... her...' the thought grimed him slightly. He missed her, after all those years, frankly.

"Hey, what's with all the racking?" a new voice came behind the crowd.

"Han!" the others exclaimed happily.

"Oh, Zen. This is our last member of the circus crew, Han." Meng introduced the last member of the crew. What Shen saw the final member of the circus, his eyes widened at the figure. Everything froze around him.

Impossible...

A panda...?

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Shen's POV:

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Impossible! I could have sworn I had killed every single stupid panda in that stupid village! Although, that 'so-called' Dragon Warrior had proven me wrong in that theory. Some pandas might have survived from that massacre.

When the panda stared at me, his reaction wasn't what I imagined. He was smiling at me, as he was greeting me. I was expecting of horrid and a rage panda charging at me. But there wasn't...

The Giant Panda suddenly hugged me, no sign of rage or glaring eyes upon me but gentle glance and welcome embrace. He might not be frightened at me, but I was horrid!

Perhaps this panda survived from the massacre at such young as that 'Dragon Warrior' as he was an infant back then.

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Normal POV:

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"Welcome to Tian Shen Village! I'm Han, as you can see, I'm a panda! Also a wrestler and a performer in the circus crew!" this panda was also as talkative as Wong.

The panda clutched Shen too tight, the peacock couldn't speak properly. "...Y...ght..."

"What did you say?" Han asked.

"Uh...Han, maybe you could loosen him a bit." Wong suggested.

"Oh!" Han realized as he immediately let go of Shen, who gasped for fresh air, "Sorry about that!"

Shen was panting, not from the hug. But something was bad with his lungs as he coughed hoarsely. The others began worry, the yellow canary was the first to break in.

"Zen! Zen! What's wrong with you, man!" Wong worriedly asked.

Meng was the second to react as she ordered, "Quick! Gte him back to my cabin!"

And so they acted as they gently carried the ill albino peacock to Meng's resident. Shen heard a whisper from the peahen before he slipped into the darkness.

"You'll be fine...I promise..."

Shen closed his eyes once more...


To be continued...

"Zen" means meditation.

"Mui" means one of the species of the peony blossoms.

"Cai" means rainbow, or colorful.

"Keung" means strong, powerful, or vigorous.

"Yao" means "to shine", or "to boast".

"Zhong" means centre, or the first letter of the chinese characters of "China"="Zhong Guo"

"Wong" means, actually, it is one of the family names.

"Han" means an adult male (informal), or one of the names of dynasties, or the Chinese people (specifically the Han).