Sen

この世は でっかい宝島
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[ eastern // romance // drama // historical fantasy // moffnat moffnat and Sen Sen ]

Dongfang Castle was quiet, and the only sounds one could be able to hear were the crickets chirping and the occasional shuffling of feet as the guards moved about. The moon was barely visible in the sky, the faintest of a crescent looming above their heads to showcase the beginning of a new lunar cycle. That was why the patrolling guards barely blinked when Panlong jumped the wall into one of the yards of the Castle - he simply blended into the darkness that the lack of the moon provided.

The garden was exquisitely beautiful, even in the dark. The sound of running water reached his ears, and the serene rhythm of the shishi-odoshi, a bamboo water fountain imported from the Land of the Rising Sun. From what the man could see, it was decorated with fine taste. But that was not what the man was here for. He had memorised a map of the castle prior to coming in, so he knew which way he had to go. Ducking into the smaller paths and alleyways of the Castle, he made his way downward towards the living quarters until he found the house of his client.

Hiding behind a stone wall, he inched his face forward to look around the corner. There was a lantern providing light for the owner inside, which he could see from the window. However, he could also sense that there were other people roaming about nearby. They seemed calm and not on alert, so Panlong assumed that they were the many maids that walked around these residences awaiting their master's orders.

With a hop he scaled the wall and onto the roof of the building he was hiding behind. Deftly he hopped onto the roof of his client and dislodged one of the panels he stood on, wriggling his way down into the attic of the house. After removing the loose panel of wood in the attic, he could now see the columns and pillars that held up the majority of the building's weight. And under the criss-cross of wood was a seated man writing a letter. Slipping through that as well, he dropped down into the room with grace - his footsteps were as soundless as a cat.

"You must be Mr. Panlong," said the man. He did not even spare the intruder a glance, keeping his concentration on his paper. "Thank you for answering my call, I half expected you not to even show up."

Panlong said nothing. There was no reason for him not to answer the call, not with the subject at hand. War was imminent soon, and the Emperor was dying. Soon they would have to name a new heir, and many of them had been sent here to Dongfang Castle to keep them safe. However, the knowledge of their presence here had been leaked, and surely many of their enemies would make their way here soon.

The man set down his brush and swivelled to meet the eye of the black-clad figure. "I don't mean to insult your honour, Mr. Panlong. Now, shall we get to the debrief...?"

---
As the sun rose and the maids busied themselves with their duties, two men were roaming the gardens. One appeared to be giving the other a tour. They were dressed plainly, one would say they were dressed quite casually, and the two men had their folded fans with them - a symbol of their social position.

A maid from the head palace had been sent down with documents for a certain somebody, and upon meeting him in the yard, she stopped and stared at his companion with unconcealed curiosity. "Good morning, General Wang. Pardon my nosiness, but who is this mister?"

The man she had spoken to had sharp features with long black hair. His eyes seemed to look into one's very soul. This was General Wang Zhiming, one of the vassals of 'the Lady'. He was the head strategist, and was the Lady's right-hand man when it came to dealing with things.

He greeted the maid in return and pointed to his companion. "This is my little brother, the staff had been told that he would be arriving from my residence, no?" Zhiming said.

"Oh! Mister Wang Tengfei, was it? It is an honour for me to meet you, I will serve you diligently. On behalf of all the maids, I welcome you to Dongfang Castle."

"The honour is mine," the man's companion responded with a charming smile. He looked very similar to the general, it was easy to see that they were related by blood. Long black hair with sharp features and sharp eyes, he had the same scholarly but warrior-esque look that the general had as well. Perhaps the only difference they really had was that Tengfei's hair appeared to be more on the 'wild' side.

After the maid excused herself to drop off the documents in the general's office, the two men were left alone to explore the castle once more. As they departed from the residences, they headed towards the main hall - the home of the Lady.
 
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moffnat

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"Come, princess. You must ready."

At the sight of dawn, Liling's eyes blinked open and she wished they would shut again. Her handmaiden's voice beside her was not quiet. "Princess, please. The new lord will be here soon."

Liling groaned. "Not another suitor, I hope." She sat upright and rubbed her tired eyes, letting her maids pull her out of bed and into a blue and white hanfu, long and flowing, signature to her status. Her hair was pinned with jade and flower combs. But while her handmaidens worked, Liling's mind was occupied with this new arrival and what he might be here for. Had her brother summoned him? Someone else, perhaps? She hoped it wasn't another lord who'd come to ask for her hand in exchange for a title as emperor. Men were foolish and greedy. No one would rule over her; she would make that very clear the day she inherited her father's throne.

Until then, she would play the part of the pretty little princess when necessary. Whatever it took until her goal was achieved.

"They are here for you, princess," said a servant through the thin wooden door.

"Thank you, Xiao May," said Liling with a sigh. "I will see them now."

Calling all her grace, Liling stood and entered the sitting room where her guests had arrived. General Wang? she thought in brief surprise. Still, she bowed respectfully to the pair of them; her general and a stranger. "Good morning to both of you," she said pleasantly. "We have been given a beautiful day. I hope your walk here was enjoyable."
 
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Sen

この世は でっかい宝島
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While not grand like a royal palace, her quarters were well-furnished. Just like the rest of the castle, it had been decorated with a good eye and with good taste. As he paced down the corridors with the general, Tengfei stole a glance at the roof. It was well protected, much more than the roof of the general himself. As to be expected with the home of the princess, she had to be protected at all costs, after all. Many of her soldiers had been ordered to die for her if necessary. Their lives were worth nothing when compared to the royal blood of the Emperor himself - that was how they were trained and that was how they operated. Fearless warriors who wouldn't hesitate to part his head from his neck if he were to slip up in his mission.

The two men bowed in response to hers, except theirs was even lower. "Quite indeed, princess. And to have been given such good weather is a good omen," the general murmured. He gestured to his male companion. "This is my little brother, Wang Tengfei. I recall that I have informed you some time ago that a family member of mine would be paying us a visit - he is a scholar and a warrior who wishes to see beyond the walls of his home town."

"Thank you for gracing us with your presence, princess." Tengfei offered the lady a small smile. "I will not intrude upon your affairs during my stay, I simply appreciated a change of scenery. I have great fortune to have such a brilliant brother to have offered me a place at his home here."

Now that he was seeing her for the first time in his life, he soaked in every detail of the princess mentioned only in hushed whispers. Many believed that she still resided in the castle, some believed she had ran away from her duties with some commoner. Not many knew the truth and even fewer knew what she looked like.

Tengfei couldn't help but notice how graceful and beautiful she was. She was young, but her face showed wisdom beyond her age. She was somewhat small, but radiated inner strength. Indeed the favoured child of the Emperor, even for a woman, there was an aura about her that was astounding even to someone like the Wandering Panlong, who had seen many people in his journey.

He realised that he had been staring at her for a few moments now, and quickly bowed his head. "Pardon my rudeness, princess. I was enraptured by your fairness. In all my days, I have never seen someone with such beauty." Tengfei remembered that she had many suitors, and scrambled to follow up with a line that she was less likely to have heard. "But it is as the rumor say, you are a warrior in your own right, princess. Your aura is as fierce as a tigress'."
 
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moffnat

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A soft chuckle passed Liling's lips. She'd heard the flattery before from countless suitors who'd come to curry favor, but Tengfei recovered with grace. "A tigress? Mm. You are clever to say so. I was born in the Year of the Tiger, you see. I have always been partial to them." So pleased was she with Tengfei's remark that a smile was etched upon her young face, her bright red lips. "I did not know you had a brother, General Wang, but I am honored to meet him. It would not disrupt me at all to see more of you both." She tapped her chin in thought. "Perhaps we shall dine together tonight? I would like to hear more about your family, General, and the circumstance through which your brother left your village. I would welcome the friendly company as well. Too much of my time has been spent in war councils and overlooking preparations from my father. I ache for a good story and a laugh."

While Liling was honest with her words, there was something strange about this newcomer. His physique seemed much too agile and strong for a simpleton. Was he a fighter, perhaps? Surely General Wang would not hide anything from her...
 
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Sen

この世は でっかい宝島
Original poster
Invitation Status
"For the princess to have taken such interest in me... I am honored," the man lied, though he showed a grateful smile, skillfully practised to hide his true thoughts. If it were the soldiers tailing him, wanting to spend time with him, they would be easy to avoid. But the princess? That would be difficult. If he was called upon by her then he had to go and see her with no excuses. Knowing her wisdom and intelligence, Tengfei feared that she might reveal his deception. However, being close to her would give him a reason to stick nearby the Lady of Dongfang Castle and keep an eye out on all the others that were always at her side - and see which one might be working against her.

However, getting the princess' trust and her friendship would be difficult in such a short amount of time. It would be bad to make it obvious that he wanted to get close to her.

The general laughed, "Indeed, my brother is not a household name. For he has been confined to our hometown since birth. If the princess' wishes, I will have the maids prepare a meal for us tonight."

"If I may be so bold, I would like to leave my brother here as I attend to my duties for now. It would be best to find some common ground before we dine together, no? It seems my brother does not know that much about the princess outside of what is passed down the words of the people."