Chapter V, The Letter of Change
Disclaimer: I own Lu Shao, Cao Shen and Ying Seiyu.
Author's Note: This is technically Chapter VI as I morphed two chapters into one in the previous chapter. In the last chapter, I lacked the inclusion of Lu Shao and Lu Lingqi because of storyline, so I've brought them back here. The story, like other stories I've written, are purposely written about the storyline and may cause me to forget to include characters in the chapter.
"Hey, Xing," Lingqi called out, "What are you doing?"
"Just reading something," he replied, as he stuck his head out of the window. "You know how early in the morning it is?"
"Sorry, just wanted to check up on you," she answered, shyly turning her head away.
"Well, I'm fine," he said, looking down at her.
Lingqi nodded her head as he returned through the window and rushed downstairs. He proceded the open the door for her however, as he moved towards the door, he noticed that she was already inside the house, sitting on a chair by the table.
"Come in," he sardonically said, before turning to her. "Lingqi, are you alright? You look..."
"I'm fine," she interrupted. "I just wanted to check up on you."
Lingqi scratched her cheek before breaking into tears on the table, causing Xing to rush to her side and hug her. He held her in his arms for a small number of seconds before he quickly jumped back and widened his eyes. Lingqi was still in tears, so he slowly reapproached her and took her hands. He then gently pulled her arms so that she would look up at him. When she looked up eventually, he gently stoked her back.
"What's with the tears?" he asked, wiping them away one by one before looking deep into her eyes. "Why are you upset?"
"It's nothing," she whispered, leaning onto him.
"Nothing doesn't bring a girl to tears, Lingqi," he stroked her hair as he said these words. "Just talk to me."
"It's Dong Zhuo," Lingqi wept. "Everytime I see him, he tries to touch me. He disgusts me, I mean, my father doesn't even see it. I miss my grandfather, Xing, I don't want him."
"If I could help you," Xing saaid quietly, while stroking her hair, "I would help. But..."
"You can't help me," she cried, sitting up. "You don't understand anything! You don't even know what he'd do."
She leaped up and stormed out of the house, as if he had said something rude to her. As she slammed the door, he proceded to chase her, however, he decided against it and instead headed up the stairs. As he turned into his bedroom window and glared out the window, his heart melted. Lingqi had taken her horse and rode away from the house. Xing turned around and lifted the thin piece of paper in front of him in order to read it. His eyes observed the letter, and slowly, a small smile creased onto his lips eventually turning into a bizarre laugh. Xing rolled up the letter and raced down the stairs and out of the door to catch up with Lingqi. Shao had found his way to the home of one of the ladies accompanying him the night before. He had fallen asleep there after they had cooked him a delicious meal, and he had not been bothered to wake for another twelve hours. The lady who had accompanied him was the daughter of Cai Yong, one of the loyalists who served Dong Zhuo. As he knocked on the daughter's door, she opened it and eyed him. He smiled at her before moving into her embrace. After cuddling her for a few seconds, he took her by her waist and kissed her. Then, she looked up at him.
"Why are you so happy?" she asked, a smile creeping on her face.
"I've missed you," he answered, kissing her on her cheek and gently pushing her through the door. "I've missed you so much."
"I bet you say that to all the girls," she smirked, as he kissed her once more.
Shao pushed the door closed but a hand caught it and the door was pushed open. Shao turned his head to see his sister burst through the door in tears, surprised more by the tears than by her storming into the house.
"What are you doing here?" Lingqi asked her brother, before rushing to Wenji's coach and crying.
"What happened?" Shao asked, immediately concerned.
Wenji rushed to Lingqi, who was one of her closest friends, and hugged her. Lingqi began to weep in her lap while Shao stood there, annoyed that his sister had prevented him from being alone with Wenji. Then, Xing's fists pounded on the door and Shao opened it.
"Where is she?" Xing asked, before spotting her and rushing to her. "Lingqi, listen to me!"
"What happened to her?" Shao asked.
"You say anything and I'll stab you!" Lingqi shouted at Xing, her hands clenching tightly, before she burst into tears again.
"She's just upset," Xing nodded at Shao before heading towards Lingqi but was stopped in his tracks by Shao, who grabbed in pushed him onto the wall.
"What happened to her?" Shao shouted, tightening his fists.
Xing remained silent, squeezing his eyes close, as Shao hovered his fists around his face. Then Lingqi suddenly stopped crying and began sniffing while Wenji held her in her arms. She opened her mouth to speak but words didn't come out. Lingqi stood up and looked at Shao before shaking her head, encouraging Shao to release his grip on Xing.
"We had a fight," Lingqi lied. "It's nothing, really."
"Alright," Shao nodded, believing his sister, before turning to Xing and blinking. "Why did you come here?
"I wanted to talk to Wenji," she spoke, sniffing again.
"What is it Ling?" Wenji asked.
As Lingqi and Wenji began speaking, Shao frustratedly thrust his hand into the wall. Then, Xing lifted the letter and rushed towards Wenji waving the letter in the air. He began to read the letter before noticing Shao observing from the corner of the room, hushing him on the fourth word. Then, Wenji began to laugh as Lingqi whispered something in her ear. Shao and Xing watched keenly to see what they were speaking about but neither of them managed to hear anything.
"Lingqi, I need to talk to you," Xing said, a smile on his lips.
"Whatever you need to say, you can say it here," Lingqi glared at Xing, her heart pounding heavy.
"I really need to speak to you in private," Xing told her.
Lingqi looked to Wenji for advise, so she nodded her head. Lingqi rose and followed Xing out into the kitchen. Wenji then ensured they were both out of the way before moving towards Shao again, who immediately took her in his arms and kissed her.
"Lingqi, listen," Xing began.
"If you can't help me then I don't want to hear it," she hissed.
"But I can help you, Lingqi," Xing grinned. "If you just listened to me. Let me read it to you."
"I can read, Xing," Lingqi blurted, tugging the letter out of his hands and carefully observed each word. "What could possibly help you help me in this letter?"
I have written this letter to be delivered into the hands of Cao Xing, the son of the 16th Lieutenant of Luoyang Cao Shen, and his wife Lady Ying Seiyu.
If this is not Xing reading this letter, I ask the reader to send this letter back to me immediately in order that I can resend it. This letter is of utmost importance and I hope that Xing holds this with high regards. In case you still do not know who is attempting to contact you, it is I, the son of your father's brother, and his wife, the cousin of your mother. My name is Cao Cao Mengde. I hope that you remember me for I haven't seen you since you were a small child, for I have been busy as of the last decade, settling our relatives' debts and buying new acres to feed my men.
You may be unsure of why I truly wish to contact you. Although I would enjoy meeting you again, this is not why I have contacted you. The true reason is down to the tyrant who has occupied the Imperial throne, Dong Zhuo. As you share the same bloodline as I do, I can not bear to allow you to be placed into any danger, however, approximately twice a week, I would like updates on events occurring in Luoyang and I want you to spy on Dong Zhuo. If you learn that Dong Zhuo has learnt anything of any opposing movement, please send a letter. I appreciate your assistance and hope that you hold the same bravery as your father before you.
Lingqi had re-read the letter twice to ensure she was seeing right before turning to Xing, a large grin on her face. Xing's eyes gleamed with excitement – he was looking forwards to performing for his cousin and possibly help his cousin crush Dong Zhuo. It was difficult growing up in a city governed by a man who you hated, especially if your father was one of their generals.
"When are you going to start?" Lingqi asked, seeing his nervous face. "You are going to do it, right?"
"Yes, of course," Xing spoke, raising his brow.
"So what's with the long face?"
"Shao..." Xing winced. "Your father. How the hell am I meant to escape their wraths if they discover me to be a traitor?"
"I'll recommend you," Lingqi suggested, smiling.
The door opened, a tall man with a thin beard and moustache walked in – he was the typical strategist of an evil, cunning man – his hat was about twelve inches high. The man glanced down at Xing, eyeing him suspiciously, before noticing Lingqi and smiling.
"Lingqi," he greeted.
Cai Yong, Wenji's father and Dong Zhuo's advisor, nodded at her as he walked into his kitchen. Lingqi smiled in greeting as Shao and Wenji entered the room. Shao had his arms around her waist and was kissing her cheek when he spotted the advisor. However, he did not stop kissing Wenji, and when Cai Yong heard them, he glared at them.
"What?" he shouted, clenching his fists. "Get off my daughter at this moment! If you touch her again, I swear I'll kill you!"
Cai Yong grabbed Shao by his throat and swung him through the room, slamming his face onto the table, pulling him back up and holding his head under the washing basin. Shao quickly pulled himself back out and smashed Cai Yong in his face twice before twisting between his legs and flipping him upside down into the washing basin, soaking his clothes.
"Get out of my house, all of you!" Cai Yong screamed, climbing out of the basin, angered and soaked. "I'll kill you."
Shao leaned to Wenji and kissed her, his tongue entwining with hers, before Cai Yong stood up and pushed him off her. Shao quickly backed out of the kitchen before walking out of the front door, followed by Xing and then Lingqi. Wenji then moved to close the door, but Cai Yong immediately took his hand and smacked his daughter in her face, throwing her onto the floor.
"You dare treat me in this way?" Cai Yong growled. "Since your birth it has been a struggle to look after you! I have been constantly battling the Chancellor to allow you to even remain in this house and this is the way you repay me?"
"Then send me away then if I cause so much strife!" she cried out.
"In fact, I will," Cai Yong glared at her. "Dong Zhuo would very much like for you to be one of his personal concubines. I'm sure you'd be delighted to be one of his whores, seeing as you've started so early."
"Father?" Wenji pleaded her father to stop, this was hurting him as much as it was hurting her. "Please..."
"You have disappointed me, Wenji," he told her, fighting tears. "I have to send you away."
Wenji broke into tears and clenched to her father's leg. "Please, father, I love him."
"I'm sorry," Cai Yong calmed down, sighed, and sat on a chair, leaving his daughter to weep on the floor by his feet.