Photos Courtesy of Baidu
In the dark night, the flicker of starlight were the only way that lead home.
She was was dressed in the silks made from the silkworms of the moon, incomparable material that flowed and moved without the wind, adding gossamer lightness to her alabaster skin. Yu Zhu paused in mid air as she looked down at the peaceful world. Her dark, long hair flowed behind her, a black waterfall cascading in rhythmic motion of the wind.
She wore a mask made of silver, forged in the heart of the moon. On it were delicately engraved magnolias, their petals glimmered in the starlight. Only her eyes and mouth were visible. Black eyes like augite, sparkling in their depths with hints of gold. Around her waist she wore a sword engraved with delicate vines, hung with five flowers of different colors, red, blue, gold, brown, and green.
Yu Zhu looked at the earth, the half mask hiding her expression. She remembered Chang’e’s and the Jade Rabbit’s parting words.
“Yu Zhu, you are enormously powerful. Minor gods would be nothing compared to you but don’t underestimate the Dragon Emperor. He is old and treacherous. Even Nu Wa a creation goddess could not defeat him. Even Wei Yun, whose powers come from the creation gods fell into his hands. He has many treasures that could bring your destruction. Don’t act too rashly.”
Chang’e had looked at the new goddess with respect and slight apprehension, but Yu Zhu merely nodded. “I understand. But he was the one who started this with me. I won’t rage against the heavens, but he can’t have Wei Yun. I owe Wei Yun that much.”
The jade rabbit looked at Yu Zhu, “Will you war against the heavens for one god. A fallen monster who has killed so many?”
For a moment there was an eery silence between the three women and Yu Zhu spoke, her voice soft, “He sacrificed himself for me. If not for him then I would be in the Emperor’s claws, the Emperor would be using whatever powers he had to drain me of my Creation powers.”
The Jade Rabbit sighed, “I had wondered why you trained so hard.”
Yu Zhu’s hands clenched a little, “Wei Yun made so much noise that the Emperor never dreamed that there was a Half-God from the prophesy growing up in the human realms. He made himself a monster so that I could grow up safe. I… I can’t let him die. Not when so many already have for me…”
Chang’e sighed, “They say that our lives are like strings that fate ties together. Perhaps one day fate will unravel the knots that keep you from living a peaceful life.”
Yu Zhu shrugged, looking into the distance, “Since I was young, all I’ve dreamed of was to sit underneath the peach blossom tree, playing a song for the man that I loved.” The thousands of years of solitude, heartbreak, and betrayal had turned her heart cold, “I no longer know if that is possible. But perhaps if I bring peace to these lands, then someone else will have that chance instead.”
Yu Zhu frowned a little as she looked at the beautiful sword and scabbard in her hands.
Yu Zhu gripped the sword in her hands with renewed strength, “Before now, I always felt as if I had no choice in how I lived my life. But I have power now, and I will make the choices. My life, my rules. And if the Emperor even thinks about provoking me.” Her eyes glittered dangerously, “Then neither heaven nor earth will stop me from destroying him.”
She had left the Moon Palace without a glance back, the sword in her hands gave off warmth that kept her company in the cold journey back.
Yu Zhu looked once again to the earth, she could feel the lives of all people now. Their sorrows and joys, troubles and victories. The ice in her eyes seemed to melt ever so slightly, it was good to feel all those things again after so long.
“Isn’t their existence pathetic? I feel like destroying it too.” A cold voice drawled a few feet from her distance. Yu Zhu looked up, her hand that gripped the weapon tightened slightly. She hadn’t heard him come, at her level of power, not many could do that.
A man in blood red robes, a color most sane people shied away from, laid on his side on top of a cloud. His gold eyes glittered as he smiled at her crookedly. Dark black hair tied with a silk red string, a red mask that glittered in the night, on a face with sharp yet graceful features looked back at her as she stared at him.
She frowned, “Who are you?”
The man sat up and stretched, “That’s ironic, coming from someone who herself is wearing a mask” he touched his, Yu Zhu’s eyes narrowed as she saw the pattern change to copy hers.
He raised his hands and a deep purple light lit up, forming a thousand tiny daggers. With a flick of the wrist, the daggers headed straight for Yu Zhu’s heart.
Yu Zhu’s face darkened slightly but she gently tapped on the scabbard of her sword. A sound like the drop of rain on a leaf reverberated in the air, soft like a whisper, yet the power of the ripple destroyed the flying weapons
The man in the red mask smiled impishly, “No bad.” Suddenly the air around them shifted and became hard. He had created a massive air shield that cut them off from the outside world.
Yu Zhu frowned, what was this man up to now? He pointed in the direction of the emperor of Heavens, “When we fight, I prefer not to let the old man up there know.”
Yu Zhu looked at him questioningly, “You know the Emperor of Heaven?” The man in the red mask shrugged, “Who doesn’t?”
“Now” He said as he raised both arms, the power in his hands causing his wide sleeves to flap around, “Let me see just how powerful you really are.” With a roar that shook the air shield, a massive creature rose from his hands.
Yu Zhu’s frown deepened slightly. It was the mystical creature Qi Lin, it’s dragon head roared as its golden hooves stamped the air.
Yu Zhu was not to be outdone, she whistled a note and on the scabbard a flower flared bright red, a Phoenix soared into the sky, leaving a trail of fire behind its wings.
The man in the red mask smiled, “How nice, you have one too. We’re practically best friends already.” His grin widened, “Or, if you want, we could be something more.”
Yu Zhu shook her head, with a slightly mocking smile of her own “No interest.”
The Qi Lin and the Fire Phoenix charged at each other, the Qi Lin’s incredible leap into the air bringing to the Fire Phoenix’s neck, the phoenix flipped and shot a stream of flame at the Qi Lin.
The man in the red mask took at a fan and opened it, Yu Zhu could see the silver tipped edge, with its deadly glint of malice.
The man charged at her, a wicked gleam in his eyes.
Yu Zhu made no move until he came within an arm’s length, his fan aimed straight at her neck. With lightening speed the hilt of her sword crashed into the fan as her other hand, with a dagger aimed for the man’s chest.
In a blink of an eye, he was 10 feet away from her again. She hadn’t touched him, and he couldn’t hurt her.
The Phoenix and Qi Lin charged at each other again as Yu Zhu dashed forward in the air, her body a white streak in the night sky.
The figure in red and white danced in the sky, every time they got close, lightening sparked from the clash of their weapons. Neither could gain the upper hand, neither seemed to want to show their true strength to each other.
The man in red finally held up a hand, and the Qi Lin went back to his body. Yu Zhu nodded and the Fire Phoenix flew back into the scabbard. He looked at her with a new light in his eyes, “You’re stronger than I imagined.” As he fanned himself, a slow, wicked smile spread across his face, “The old guards of heaven are going to shit themselves, if they knew that someone like you exists.” Then he thought for a moment, “So might the Emperor.” He grinned “No, no that’s an exaggeration.”
He looked at her again with a slight nod, “But he might pee himself just a little.”
He looked at her eagerly, reminding her of a curious puppy, “So who’s your teacher. Your fighting style is something I’ve never seen before.”
Yu Zhu looked at him questioningly. “Did I hit you too hard on the head?”
The man in red looked at her puzzled, “No, but I’m told I have a really hard head.”
Yu Zhu raised an eyebrow, as he continued, “But really, what’s your secret? How did you get this strong without anyone knowing.”
Yu Zhu shook her head, “I don’t know what you mean.”
The man in the mask rolled his eyes, “I don’t know you, and I’m familiar with everyone in heaven. No one in that past 300,000 years has achieved your level of Godhood.”
Yu Zhu answered her voice slightly chilly, “I’m not from the heavens.”
“Not… from the heavens.” The man in the mask said slowly, as if he was turning the phrase over and over again in his head.
He looked at her quizzically, “Here you are a fresh Lady of Gods, a level of Godhood that takes half a million years to achieve. Just out of the blue. I know those geezers in heaven, they’re too wary and vicious to let fresh upstarts with talent live long enough to take over their spots.” he chuckled a little, “I have to see their expressions if they hear about you.”
“What did you call me?” Yu Zhu queried, “What do you mean Levels of Godhood?”
“Haven’t you checked just what level of god you are yet?.”
Yu Zhu didn’t answer. In reality, she didn’t know. Her powers were so differently given to her that she didn’t now just how normal gods compared to her in power.
The man in the red mask sighed, “Well.” His voice the sudden tone of a serious teacher, “Gods’ powers are separated into seven elements, Light, Dark, Metal, Water, Fire, Earth, Wood. They usually specialize in one, and some very gifted ones specialize in two.” He grinned at her, “Of course, I am very, very gifted, so I have three.” He raised his hands, Blue, Black and White showed up. “Water, Darkness, and Light are my specialties.” He looked at Yu ZHu approvingly. “You just used Fire so you must be just a fire goddess. It’s okay, most gods and goddesses only have one.”
Yu ZHu didn’t correct him and tell him that she had mastered five of the elements he spoke of. She didn’t want his jaw to drop out of the sky and onto earth.
Yu ZHu frowned, “Are all gods like this?”
The man in the red mask nodded, “Gods and humans become powerful the same way. A human who wants to become a god, takes hundreds of years to develop powers which sustains their longevity. Their bodies go through the transformations and their powers must increase with the coming of years.”
He shook his head dramatically, “Sadly, not many can survive. It’s very hard for humans to become Gods. And even when they do they must work hard to keep their godhood.”
He looked at her, “Gods have different levels of power, it’s how they decide the power and hierarchy of the Gods in heaven.” He grinned, “there are 33 levels of heaven, and all gods want to live on the top level, where true immortality lies.” Yu Zhu looked at him questioningly and he rolled his eyes, “Even gods die, if they aren’t powerful enough. To keep prolonging their immortality, they have to grow in power, which are known as the Levels of Power. They have climb from Minor Gods to Normal Gods, to Grand Gods, to War Gods, to Upper Gods, to Lord of Gods, to Titans.” He paused and thought for a minute, “It can take 10,000 years for a god to go from one level to another. And the higher level, the longer it takes to cross into the next.”
Yu Zhu’s head swam with all the information. She looked at the man in the red mask, “What are you?”
He shrugged, “Like you, a Lord of Gods.” He grinned at her, a smile brighter than sunflowers, “It was nice meeting you, Lady of Gods. I think you and I are going to be the greatest of friends.” He thought for a moment, “Or the best of enemies.”
Yu Zhu’s hands tighted on her sword and her eyes narrowed dangerously. If what he said was true, then she wasn’t a match for the Emperor. She couldn’t afford having him know about her just yet.
The man in the mask seemed to feel the dangerous air around her. He waved at her nonchalantly, “Don’t worry, I won’t say a word to anyone. I’m too lazy to get involved like that.”
With that he turned around, and left the air shield up around her.
Yu Zhu saw him grin wickedly, “You’re powerful enough to kill me, so I have to make sure that you don’t get your wish. The air shield will disappear in a minute. Until next time, Lady of Gods.”
He dissipated into thin air.
Yu Zhu looked at the air bubble, this man was on equal strength to her. She gripped her sword and pulled it out of her shield, it sang as if slashed at the strong shield the man in the red mask had placed around her.
The air shield broke into a million pieces. Yu Zhu closed her eyes spoke three spells. If what the man said was true, then she needed stronger protection spells to hide her tracks. She quickly threw up protection barriers of her own and proceeded to search the vast storage of knowledge that Nu Wa had bequeathed to her.
Finally she frowned a little as she read the information. He was right, the levels of godhood existed. Nu Wa had never mentioned it. Yu Zhu thought and realized that Nu Wa was one of the first Creation Gods, she would have no need for any levels, she was already the strongest.
Yu Zhu was puzzled, she had inherited the Creation Powers, but she wasn’t a Titan like Nu Wa. Quickly she searched for the answer and found it.
The creation powers are too strong to be absorbed at once. Yu Zhu had only received 3/4th s of it, before her body automatically locked the rest of the power away lest it destroyed her. This was something that Lei Zhu, Yu Zhu’s ancestress had done to protect her progeny.
Nu Wa had no idea, and in her own weakened state, she truly thought that Yu Zhu was ready. Would she have let Yu Zhu go out into the world has she known?
Yu Zhu felt for her power, she knew that with her Creation powers, she was stronger maybe than any Lord or Lady of Gods. Her hands tightened, she must become stronger for Wei Yun. I will, she promised herself, I will get him out of there.