"And today, as our glorious Emperor passes, we welcome our new leader. The one who travelled west and tasted immortality. A savior of this world alongside his vassal and youngest sibling. We pass on the Imperial seal, the symbol of Heaven's command to our new Emperor. Who shall lead this country into a prosperous future." A high priest moved closer to Emperor Ling while presenting a diamond encrusted crown. Its gems shined from the beautiful day above whose sun's radiance burned with passion. Almost as if the heaven's were in attendance themselves. The massive crowd that gathered roared joyously towards their new emperor. Different clans who once battled one another peacefully stood near one another; Actually proud for their sibling. Among them was the potential ruler from the Feng household. Feng Wudang stood with an an unrivaled serenity. Despite losing both parents in a single week alongside his purpose of life, the Feng Prince held a tranquil presence. He almost appeared transparent; A phantom watching the ending of his life approach...
Has it been three years already?
"Your sister has failed us." The Feng households head scolded. He wore his traditional robes that signified a high stature in the royal court. But he spoke words filled with venom. "Even after eliminating the Xi household, the Yao end up securing the throne for this generation. Shit." He scowled at the young Wu, obviously disappointed in the turn of events. "That was supposed to be you today. Your talent in Alkahestry is unrivaled. And you possess the tranquility of an enlightened one. Yet your heart is weak! Two siblings who cannot see beyond their own existences. You were born to become the Emperor-To bring this household the throne. But you failed." The patriarch took a sip of wine, leading to slurred words and drowsy eyes. "I knew your mother was good for nothing. That weak heart of hers....Pathetic!" His words impacted Wu on a level beyond physical. It struck deep within his soul, almost shaping it into a tool. A lifeless, mindless sword meant to claim lives. "We'll have to prepare for the next generation. Your half sister shall serve as the offering for Emperor Ling." Those words almost burned the Patriarch's tongue. "And you'll serve as her vassal as punishment for your failure. Begone!"
Three years since....light was taken away from me...
Wudang sat atop a large purification circle that engulfed his room entirely. Ancient scrolls littered the Xingese Prince's floor, each covered from top to bottom in ancient characters. Wudang studied these scrolls religiously throughout the entirety of his lifetime. It drove Wudang's extensive usage of a meditation and detachment based philosophy. He explored the ideas of separating oneself from the suffering of pain. The pain suffered from lost, hatred, and negligence. A famous philosopher stated that humans were reborn in a continuous cycle in order to reach a state of Enlightenment. However, the human soul must suffer and understand what it means to realize such an existence. Wudang, whose current life he could no longer bear, wished to accelerate the process. He desired to utilize Chi as a pathway to enlightenment, abandoning the suffering, attachment and negative karma found in one's aura from his being. And upon the activation, he started to feel a certain warmth. An embrace that filled his heart...Until he stood in an empty void. A never ending white emptiness with only a grey gate behind him. Before Wudang stood a completely transparent being with only a black outline who appeared similar to Wudang.
"Who am I? I've multiple names. The World. The Universe. I've even been labelled God. Which also makes me the Truth. I'm one that is everything and everything that is one. Which means I'm you...Now...Let's see how much you can take..." The world darkened around Wudang as obsidian tendrils enveloped the young Alkahestris and pulled him through the now open gate. He saw horrid images of suffering throughout the ages. People of all ages tormented without discrimination. He witnessed death, rape, murder, and every other sin written in the universal laws. However, beyond these atrocities were meaning. Every moment represented something gained and something lost. A lesson learned and a lesson forgotten. It became the elevating sphere that was the circle of reincarnation. And before him, a wheel appeared floating above peacefully in the heavens. But it quickly disintegrated when Wudang began to reach for it.
"I....saw it...I saw the cycle...I'm so close to breaking free of it..You...You have to send me back!" Wu started. But the truth quickly hushed the prince with a devious smile. Almost hinting at a secret that he knew but would tease Wu with.
"Ha! You paid your price and received your reward. The exchange has occurred. Though I must admit the irony...Feng Wudang...For your name to be the first step of your goal."
The Law of Equivalent Exchange was satisfied.
Wu sat in a bright moonlight that illuminated the dull golden eyes that once shined. The young prince, however, saw only a thick darkness that consumed him. The price for that knowledge... Wu pondered. Now, he could never see her warming smile and beautiful eyes. But Wu sat in a lotus position and meditated peacefully throughout the night. And when the sun rose, Wu understood the significance of the lost of his sight. For he could manipulate and command Qi found internally and externally without a necessity for purification circles. Instead, his mind became the necessary runes and points required to manipulate the energy. This free control also refined the extraordinary sensory given to him at birth. Wu not only felt the living organisms in his immediate vicinity, but understood them at a level beyond physical. Their emotions, dreams, hopes and intentions. It became clearer that he indeed took the first step required to achieve enlightenment.
If i stay here...It'll be for nothing...I must leave....Find her...And acquire enough power to find that final piece..
Wu had trouble maneuvering throughout his manor that early morning. He constantly tripped, banged his foot and damaged other limbs against furniture. It was only when Wu grabbed a wooden sword that he could travel throughout his home by using it as a guiding stick. He moved with memory; Essentially taking the secret stash of coins he hid, a few priceless books, and a picture of his sister. He effortlessly snuck out the manor with the help of his new refined senses as a method of avoiding maidens and servants masterfully. Soon, Wu sat on a train that would take him to Amestris. The last place the patriarch said Zetian might have escaped. However, blindness caused the prince to take a train heading in a completely different direction. Eventually, Wu managed to get on a different train that took him to his destination.
A Trail Set Ablaze
Birds were singing a pleasant Good Morning to the young Alkahestris who sat at the edge of his bed. The nightmares were frequent but constant reminders of his goals. They served as teachers who led Wu towards his ultimate desire. He stood up and walked towards the bathroom. Effectively tripping over a pair of shoes and banging his head against the wall. Blood dripped slowly for a few minutes. Until Wu managed to close the wound with a touch of his finger. He attempted to dress himself using familiar sensations created by the senses he had remaining. He wore a plain t-shirt under a black jacket alongside some comfortable shoes. Wu also tied his signature eyepatch over the empty socket in his skull.
The door closed quietly behind Wu in hopes of not wakening his surrounding neighbors. He used a sheathed blade as a guiding stick to avoid objects that he could not perceive with his four senses and sixth sense. "No one has seen her." Wu pondered. Showing the only picture he possessed of her was seemingly useless. No one has seen the phantom known as Zetian. But Wu knew she would have most likely changed her appearance. He simply hoped to find a lead; Someone she trusted enough to let loose her secret. However, Wu recently heard of a Xing based foreign language class being held by a Xingese professor. "Although Emperor Ling has smoothed relationships between our two countries, finding naturally born citizens from Xing is rare. Maybe she might know something."
--- The classroom ---
Nine-twenty was always the time that she casually strolled into class, tying her long brunette hair into a ponytail, chucking out the last bit of cigarette from her mouth into the trashcan, and finishing whatever she had in her hand for breakfast. To her students, she was only the professor was consistently late to being twenty minutes late to class. However, most refused to complain; she was the only xinganese professor in the entire institute that was personally from Xing. What she offered about the country from their language, and culture to their military and government was worth whatever trouble she caused. When she arrived, her students were truly educated, and they knew that. It was the reason why many would attempt to discuss further topics with her after class was over, and it was the reason why she was some of their favorite teachers....or well, it was part of the reason. Aside from her unprofessional behavior, she wore a black tank-top that reveals her abdomen and belly button, daisy-duke shorts, combat boots, and black fingerless gloves. Some days, she wore even less revealing outfits. That, of course, was another reason some of her students preferred her over the other professors.
"Alright," she spoke, munching and swallowing the last bit of granola bar that she had left. "Someone want to tell me what you read for homework last night?" The classroom was unusually silent. One student raised his hand.
"Yes, um..." she snapped her fingers continuously as she thought, "Um.."
"Yes, Jeffrey! That's your name."
"Um, okay. But, about the homework."
"Yes, the homework," she interrupted, "What was it about?"
"That's sort of the problem, I don't know, becau"
"I give you twenty minutes until class starts and you don't know what the homework is about? You didn't even try to figure out did you?" She interrupted again. Her tone was somewhat annoyed. "Kid, at least cheat if you won't do the work. I'd prefer that."
"No, it's not that I didn't read it. It's just that there was none, professor," Jeffrey hesitantly mumbled.
"Oh...phew," she seemed relieved, "I thought I had just forgot what it was about. That's good. Load off my back." The professor smiled and picked up a piece of chalk from the board. She began inscribing what seemed to be random text across the green surface.
"Okay, well then, today we'll learn about conjugations. Everyone is familiar with them, yes?" She picked up a meter stick and tapped the board a few times. "Come on, someone tell me what this means. Don't be shy."
It seemed surreal, almost stolen from Wu's wildest fantasy. The ending of this yearly quest stood before him. Although he could not see her current appearance, Wu knew for sure that the aura before him belonged to her. He also recognized her voice; But was ultimately shocked by her sudden laidbackness. The Zetian who raised Wu arrived five minutes before summoning. And she rarely joke or forgot a crucial detail. Either way, the warmth Wu felt from this women embraced Wu. There's no doubt about it. He thought quietly. Sitting with enough anticipation to almost interrupt the class. But he kept the serene atmosphere that earned the former prince infamy. Instead, he simply watched her aura dance about the classroom, strutting elegantly before her students.
Zetian's students left hurridly after her class ended. They of course said their pleasantries, from thanking her in their native tongue to actually giving compliments on todays lessons. Soon, her class was completely empty except for one person. A boy who looked similar to the phantom of her past. Someone who she could have easily forgotten. However, the boy appeared greatly aged or matured. As if life pushed him through the toughest trials as a child. But he walked with a tranquility found only in Xing's highest mountain. "Hey, Zetian Feng."
It took her only one look to pull her into the past.
She had about enough time to wipe the blood from her hands and change her clothes before departing. Her father stood at the bathroom door simply watching in silence. She poised the first question, "He'll be safe....right?" Her sentence was a little hesitant as if her inquiry could change something. "If you did everything we told you to do, then he'll be safe," he responded. His tone asserted a dominance that, in most occasions, would assure the inquirer. However, Zetian found it hard to believe him, especially under the consideration that she was the one restoring the control that he once had. Before all else, she trusted herself for providing her brother with safety, and it was why she had taken up this mission personally.
Regardless, her tone did not betray her emotions; "Are you sure?" Her dad gave a pointed look, and Zetian understood that it might have been better to just stay quiet after that. Though, she didn't care. "I asked a question," she dominantly retorted, "Being the oh so wise patriarch of the Feng, I expect that you know how easily one can loose their power. It happened to you." That last sentence was a tad bittersweet. The patriarch turned away from his daughter; it was to her understanding that he was simply ignoring her, however the small drippy stains on the floor suggested something different. It confused her, somewhat worried her, but before all else it sent her into a rage.
He didn't respond to her question.
"I said why!," her amplitude exponentially increased in size as her emotions boiled. "You've always hated me! You tried to kill me, yet now, you shed tears? After all this?" She felt betrayed, and saddened. "I mean, who the fuck do you think you are?" He left no time between her last question and his answer. Simultaneous with his recomposure, physically and mentally, he projected, "Your Father." It sent Zetian into a silent hush. He took her silence as an invitation to continue. "A man's heart is his daughter, just with feet, walking out in the world. That heart..." he took a slight paused as he turned to face her, "I chose to sacrifice for thousands, and everyday that I stuck a sword through it, it reflected in my own. You're my mistake, and it's unfortunate that you were born to her you were, but I want you to know that you, Zetian, are my greatest inspiration. I'm proud."
Her response was that of a silent warrior. She simply nodded, and within an instance, she was gone.
He stood a little taller, his voice grew a bit deeper, and his hair was slightly longer. But, before all else, what she noticed were the shades he wore over his eyes. Nevertheless, he was her brother, and she would never find herself unable to identify him. It troubled her to know that he was here, because it meant she failed in her mission. "I can't believe you're here, Wu." Regardless of her internal strife and conclusions, Zetian couldn't help but smile at the sight of her brother. "I really can't believe you came all this way just to visit your dear sister."
Wu took his shades off, revealing an eyepatch over an empty socket and his remaining golden eye that lost its infamous shine. Forgoteen feelings rushed over Wu's perceivably indomitable spirit. Within Wu was a dam attempting to restrain a wild tsunami of emotions that rushed forward. A thunderous storm slowly overwhelmed Wu's serene soul. But the former prince remained as composed as a towering tree casting its vast shadow across the world. Unmoving to the wind's beckoning. He sat on a desk while looking in her general direction. Wu's newly acquired blade hung loosely from his side. "Well, with father and mother gone...I need all the family I can get." He joked. Wu hoped that his calm snippet would lighten the mood after he noticed a slight transition in her aura; Resulting in him seing sadness infect her life energy.
"And besides, I really missed you sister. Ever since you left, I felt like my life was no longer complete. But standing here...Well...I'm happy." But Wu's happiness meant nothing for he could not meet her gaze. Not in the manner of avoidance, but actually being unable to find her eyes. "Sorry if i'm imposing."
Zetian's smile contorted into an array of mixed emotions; she was happy to see him, that was no doubt, yet his eyes spoke a tale of struggle, and failure. "Wu..." she attempted, but her emotions overcame her voice. She took a second try. "What-happened......your eyes?" The words spooled out of her mouth in a random assortment that made it difficult for her inquiry to be understood. Finally, she roared. "What did you do!?" Zetian reached to his collar and clenched it, lifting her younger sibling into the air. Her eyes were a maelstrom of fury and rage, yet as they looked into Wu's, they almost looked directly through him, as if she was speaking to another. "Answer me!"
The raging storm that was an elder sibling's love actually comforted Wu. For it had been the first ounce of love felt by the former prince in years. So while others would hush in fear, Wu only smiled. Dangling both feet loosely as she held him high. But how could one explain breaking a law of nature? How did Zetian expect Wu to demonstrate his spiritual weakness so easily? An impossible thought honestly. But Wu managed to forge a blind smile; Gently embracing her hands in a warm hold. "They were taken for me...As a price." Wu spoke mysteriously. "And in exchange, I was given something greater." An actual warmth transferred from Wu's grasp into Zetian's person. Almost slithering through her arms and into her very core. An ancient chi technique meant to calm wild beast. Although masters required purification circles, Wu managed to used it without one. Creating a glowing formation upon his wrist. "Lets talk more over dinner, your treat."
Something entered her body, throwing her mind into disarray.
The crimson sands—a desert renown for being so dry and destructive that two nations were forever separated from one another—was worst than she expected. The scorching sun turned the red sand into a tinted glass with a dark red hue, and it only made her walk that more unbearable. Her shoes had devoured gallons of sand within the first hour; the blisters from the heat on her feet boiled and pop with each step. Suddenly, she collapsed under the weight of her insecurities, responsibilities, worries, dreams, and the cruelty of the desert. Unable to stand, she closed her eyes and fell asleep.
-- End Flashback --
It was without a doubt that she went through hell, yet, she would do it all again. Suddenly, she couldn't help but forgive him. With a smile, she released him from her hold. "Of course, let's talk more over dinner."