3:15 – Wang Clan – II
The handwriting belonged to her father. But instead of Zhan Long’s determined and focused handwriting, the characters written were frantic and rushed. Even so, Xinxin was able to read it.
“Daughter. If you are reading this, then my plan has failed. I can only hope that you are safe with your Sifu, wherever you two may have gone. Forgive your foolish father for his selfishness.”
That was it. Only a short paragraph.
Xinxin clenched the parchment, causing wrinkles to form on it. “Daddy, you idiot. Hiding things from me even after you’re gone…”
Xinxin’s vision blurred, but she took a slow breath and calmed down. After that, she released the parchment and carefully smoothed it before setting it aside.
There was another piece of parchment. Like the former, it was short and she recognized the handwriting. But unlike her father’s, the handwriting was neat and meticulous.
Xinxin grasped the parchment and began reading it.
“You are weak. If you want to know what happened, become strong. Strong enough to kill the four guardian beasts. Strong enough to slay the Yellow Dragon. Use the manual to gain strength, and wear the clothing to defend yourself. Seize the heavens, usurp the order.”
When she reached the end of the parchment, Xinxin narrowed her eyes. “Too weak?”
After all the training she did, she was still too weak? And what was that nonsense about becoming strong enough to kill the four guardian beasts? Even Saints would have a hard time fighting them all! Her Sifu might have been a true immortal from a higher realm, but being able to combat them in this world… and then there was that part about the Yellow Dragon.
Did Sifu want her to rebel against the Emperor himself? The one who served as the pillar of the Xia Dynasty? That Emperor that was said to be half a step into true immortality after founding the Xia Dynasty and disseminating the first cultivation techniques? That Emperor who had consolidated his strength over millennia and was the living embodiment of the sun, able to turn into a dragon himself? The one who held the heavenly mandate?
Xinxin shook her head. “Sifu… just what are you thinking? No, what are you doing?”
Was he really responsible for her clan’s massacre? Or was this his way of protecting her, encouraging her?
And what about her father? What ‘plan’ did he pursue? And why was his handwriting so hurried?
Too many questions filled Xinxin’s mind and she didn’t have any answers.
Xinxin let out a sigh and closed her eyes for a bit to think.
Her father had a plan, and he hoped she was safe. From the sound of it, the plan must have been important and going on for a while now. Her father wasn’t a rash man… as far as Xinxin knew. Then… was the betrothal contract to Wang Tian a means to protect her? Not to tie their clans together?
“No, that can’t be.”
Xinxin didn’t believe it. Her father did it out of necessity! Selfishness! There was no way he did it with her best interests at heart… right?
But… that explained Wang Tian’s demeanor towards her. And his presence. She never asked why he was there since she was upset, but if it was part of her father’s plan and to protect her, his actions fell into place.
“Does it have to do with mom?”
Xinxin remembered the dream she had. Foreign looking men in metal armor took her mother away while her father was powerless to resist.
And then there was the fact that she had encountered foreigners on the way back to the Zhan Clan as well.
She still didn’t have any answers, but she was beginning to see the picture.
A powerful enemy from another land or world. Her father making a plan to gain the means to pursue or defeat them. Her Sifu returning to the clan and either encountering the clan in the midst of combat or joining in on the enemy’s side… or perhaps acting as an opportunist to devour the qi in any corpses left behind, like how Xinxin could do now if she wanted to.
And with the hints her Sifu left, was it a conspiracy involving the Xia Empire itself?
“Seize the heavens, usurp the order…” Xinxin muttered the words to herself.
The words resonated with her.
Since Xinxin had been born, her fate had never been in her hands. Possessing a heaven-defying beauty that could bewitch gods and devils but lacking strength to resist those that wanted to possess her. Losing her mother to mysterious forces at a young age. Having to rely on her father’s name and her betrothal contract to protect herself.
Her fate had been set in stone. The heavens had already decreed her role in life.
But that had changed when she met her Sifu. When she made a decision to get involved with him, to gamble her life and try to heal him.
“Seize the heavens, usurp the order.” Xinxin repeated the words with conviction. “I understand, Sifu.”
She lowered her covers and got out of her bed. Afterwards, she picked up the bundle of clothes.
Her Sifu was thoughtful enough to make her another set of dresses similar to the one he gave her earlier, but tailored to fit her changed form.
As Xinxin slipped one on and felt the silky black threads against her skin, she couldn’t help but wonder if her Sifu had been expecting that events would turn out that way. That her body would change and adapt in response to battling against the foreigners.
“No. That doesn’t matter.”
Even if her Sifu knew, or even if her Sifu orchestrated everything, what Xinxin had to do didn’t change. As always…
“I just have to get stronger.”
Seize the heavens, usurp the order.
Only then would she be qualified to learn what happened to her clan.
Only then would her Sifu answer her questions.
Xinxin adjusted the last bit of her dress and then picked up the book from the package. After that, she sat back down on her bed and began reading.
“From nothing, one emerged. From one, two formed. From two, three descended and from those three all of creation was attained…”
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