Yu Zhu ran back to the cottage, using qi to speed along her travel. She ran into the courtyard without acknowledging Lin Yu. Yu Zhu ran into her room and grabbed her bow and arrow. She tucked three daggers into her belt and hung her quiver full of arrows around her pale purple robe.
“Yu Zhu, what’s wrong?” Lin Yu asked as she ran up and grabbed Yu Zhu’s arm, her warm brown eyes filled with worry. Yu Zhu shook her head, “I’ve lost something, I need to go into the forest.”
Lin Yu grabbed Yu Zhu, “You’re not serious.”
Yu Zhu looked at Lin Yu. “He has our friends. Or at least he sent someone to kidnap them.”
Lin Yu was more confused than ever, “Who? What are you talking about.”
Yu Zhu adjusted the sword on her belt, ” When we were coming back, a black crow demon attacked us. The crows the the ruling demons of the Xin Meng kingdom, the kidnapper was powerful and he gave me something that’s Wei Yun’s. I’m going to get them back.”
Lin Yu let go of her arm and sprinted into her room. Yu Zhu blinked as Lin Yu ran back outside, her sword in her hands. “I’m going with you. Hurry, before grandfather and elder brother come back, they’ll try and stop us.” She threw on a jade green robe with her favorite daggers hidden on the inside.
Yu Zhu opened her mouth to protest, but Lin Yu shook her head, “You are merely mortal. He is a god. I’m trying to balance the scales. Trust me, when you go to war with a god, at least bring a demon.”
“I don’t want to get you killed.”
Lin Yu shrugged, “I don’t want to die either. But where you go, I go. We are sisters.”
There was a funny feeling of warmth in Yu Zhu’s chest as Lin Yu said that. Her eyes stung but she forced herself to calm down as they leapt into the night.
If wandering demons looked up at the moon this night, they would see two slender figures flying though the air. One girl’s shining black hair spread out around her unforgettable face like crows’ wings and glide like unspun black silk on her purple robes. The other moved through the air like a green snake moved through water, graceful yet deadly. They disappeared towards the forest as quickly as they appeared.
Yu Zhu and Lin Yu landed outside the forest, Lin Yu looked at Yu Zhu, “where do we go?”
Yu Zhu dug for the small acorn and threw the seed into the air, “Find your master.”
The seed glowed sliver and zoomed towards the clearing. Yu Zhu and Lin Yu chased after it.
The dark trees thinned as they got closer and closer, Yu Zhu could see the little clearing in the distance.
Suddenly, a black shadow zoomed and rammed into Lin Yu. She was thrown violently towards a giant ash tree. Lin Yu flipped in the air and kicked off the bark, drawing her sword as she rushed at the shadow.
The shadow laughed and turned into a young man. His black robes contrasted with his pale face, his eyes flashing in the moonlight. The handsome man drew his sword and metal clanged as they exchanged blows. Yu Zhu recognized him as the kidnapper.
“You!” She yelled, “Where did you take them?” Yu Zhu grabbed a dagger and flicked at the crow man, he held up a hand and it turned into a white feather.
“Pretty.” He laughed as he fought Lin Yu with one hand and waved his arm in the general direction of clearing, “I’ll keep your friend occupied, you go and get those two kids.” Yu Zhu jumped into the air and unsheathed her sword, she couldn’t just leave Lin Yu with a powerful crow demon. The Crow threw out an arm, Yu Zhu tried to bring up her shield but against a full fledge demon, the magic a human could learn was laughable. Yu Zhu was thrown into soft earth, her breath knocked from her lungs. Above her the two demons battled.
Lin Yu nearly screamed with anger as he chuckled, “I’ll give you this much, little snake, you’re even better than most generals at my father’s court.”
Lin Yu’s eyes glinted with rage and recklessness as she grabbed the Crow Man’s sword. The jagged sword cut into her flesh instantaneously as she pulled the surprised youth to her. She opened her mouth and unsheathed her fangs. Lin Yu chomped down on his hand as he yelled in surprise. He brought down his hand to push her away, but she was already far from him, his blood on her lips.
The man sank down to the ground, his eyes began to un-focus as he stared at the snake girl with disbelief. “You….little…” He tried to talk but fell face first into a puddle of mud. Lin Yu laughed as she leapt down from the tree. She flew down to Yu Zhu, “are you hurt?” She helped Yu Zhu to sit up, blood still dripping from her hand. Yu Zhu shook her head as she cut bandages from her skirt for Lin Yu’s hand, “I realize that this is a fool’s errand. You should go home.”
Lin Yu was a hard person to anger, but now she glared at Yu Zhu and plopped down to face her. “Yes. You are fool if you think I would leave you now.”
She winced as Yu Zhu poured medicine on the deep cuts, she continued to talk as Yu Zhu worked, “For the five hundred years I’ve wished and wished to have a sister, someone I could trust with my secrets. No matter how hard you’ve pushed me away all these years, do you know how happy I was just being near you? You never hurt me, never hated me, or found me disgusting. All the other kids called my mother a human loving whore, they laughed at my family, their parents used my mother and my aunt as examples of what happens to demons when…” Lin Yu stopped talking, there was a horrified look in her eyes as she realized she had said too much.
Lin Yu stood up and walked towards the clearing, “You always ignored the talk, and for that I’ll follow you where ever you go. Let’s find that god.”
Yu Zhu felt a little stunned, she got up and walked with Lin Yu into the clearing. Beneath the oak tree was Wan Tu and Si Min, they waved to the girls. No one else was in sight. Lin Yu looked as Yu Zhu approached the boys. Si Min ran towards her, his eyes full of happiness. He hugged her legs and yelled, “Yu Zhu! I like…tree!” Wan Tu ran up next to her, “The crow..thing dropped us here and told us to stay put.”
Yu Zhu was confused, “Did you see anyone else?” The two of them shook their heads.
Si Min smiled, “The tree gave me acorns!” he opened his hand and in it were acorns that shone like the moon.
Lin Yu ran to them. “My poison won’t keep a crow demon asleep for long. Let’s leave.”
A glowing acorn flew to the little group. Yu Zhu frown as she looked at the oak. It rustled gently in the wind. She hardened her heart and turned away, “Let’s go.”
Huang Wu sat up in the forest and found himself half blind. He touched his face and his pristine fingers sank into thick black mud. He growled and spat out, “Stupid little snake. I’m going to make you into a belt.” He nearly died with anger as mud dripped into his mouth as he spoke.
Huang Wu got up and winced as he moved his right hand. As a prince of the ruling family, he’s never suffered such indignity. He trudged into the clearing.
“You know, you are some some kind of idiot!” He yelled at the giant oak as he wiped the dirt from his black robes, wincing as it smudged on his hand. “I practically bring the girl to your door and you don’t even have the decency to acknowledge my troubles and talk to her. You know you want to.”
The tree said nothing. Lu Huang Wu’s scowl turned into a smirk. “You’re angry that I went behind your back, aren’t you? That I did all of this without telling you?”
Huang Wu barked a laugh and continued, “I even tried separating her friend so you can have some alone time. And I got this” He held up his hand with a swollen bite mark, “I’m the prince of one of the most powerful demon kingdoms on earth. A little snake marked me. Marked me!”
Huang Wu sighed and tried to wipe the last remaining bit of mud from his face, “Wei Yun, I did this for your own good. The last time you left that tree was ten thousand years ago. And that was to save my father’s kingdom. We owe you, that’s why I’m the guardian of this grove. And as your closest friend, I say that you need to meet that girl. In your actual form”
An echoing voice came from the tree, there was a hint of annoyance in its voice, “Don’t help me, little prince.”
Huang Wu smiled, “God, when it comes to women, you can hardly blame me for trying to help. You are a bit…how do I say…out of touch. Granted at least you talk to me sometimes, but I’m hardly what you call practice material. And I only come every five hundred years.”
There was no reply. Lu Huang Wu felt a little foolish.
Huang Wu waited until he became impatient, he jumped into the air as he called back. “Fine, this isn’t over.” With that he flew away.