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Golden Dynasty: Rise of the Phoenix

Shang Dysntast (AU of Ancient China)

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a part of Golden Dynasty: Rise of the Phoenix, by Arizona55.

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Arizona55 holds sovereignty over Shang Dysntast (AU of Ancient China), giving them the ability to make limited changes.

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Default Location for Golden Dynasty: Rise of the Phoenix
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Shang Dysntast (AU of Ancient China) is a part of Golden Dynasty: Rise of the Phoenix.

9 Characters Here

Wu Jian [0] Incarnation of the Dog
San Fu [0] Incarnation of the Boar
Zi-Yung Wong [0] Like a rat in the shadows, he lies in wait.
Empress Mei-Lien [0] Empress of the Golden Dynasty
Tyrone Lee [0] The Tiger reborn
kiwa [0] the incarnation of the rooster
Sun Wukong [0] Incarnation of the Monkey
Jun Li [0] Captain of the Guard and Incarnation of the Dragon
Mei-Li [0] Jade Empress and Phoenix reborn

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It was a rather chilly autumn afternoon, but that didn't seem to bother Mei-Li one bit. Sitting by the small pond in the Northwest Imperial Garden- one of many peaceful hiding spots the Princess chose to retreat to. Clothed in one of her many formal gowns she was forced to constantly dress in, even when simply in the confines of the palace, she let her bare feet soak in the cool water while coi swam in circles around her toes. Her hair, normally fashioned in one of the many glamorous styles by her ladies-in-waiting, was let loose. Her raven black hair fell in straight tossles down her back like a river, sprawled on the ground behind her. For once, she wore no make-up, despite what she knew her mother would say.

Leaning back, she held out her hand carefully when a small white nightengale landed gently on her finger. She smiled softly, petting the little bird, "At least you're in a chipper mood, Ming."

Truthfully, the Princess was supposed to be in session with one of her tutors, but it was hardly uncommon for her to skip. She even evaded her guards with quite some skill, she might add. She couldn't help it, but she enjoyed the solitude. Here in this garden, she felt at peace. Hidden away from her overbearing mother, her overprotective brother, there was a peace of mind she couldn't get anywhere else.

The leaves of the maple trees were already starting to change from green to red, the signs of a harsh winter were felt in her bones. Regardless, she savored the weather before the upcoming snow. From this view, she could see the mountains in the north. Mei-Li was never sure why, but she longed to see what was beyond those peaks.

(((OOC- A post from the Empress is coming soon))

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Kiwa sat in the garden pulling weeds while her pink hair flowed in the wind she wished for a moment she was back at home on the farm with her mother and father but remembered how lucky she was to be living in the palace with her husband who was one of the empresses most trusted samurai's when all of a sudden out of the corner of her eye she saw the princess "Your majesty! What are you doing in the garden you know how dangerous it is outside the palace!" She said hoping she was not out of line scolding the princess.

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Jun Li let out a rather irritated sigh as yet another one of the princess's guards ran by him, looking for the young woman without result. It wasn't helping that Jun had been pointing them in all the wrong directions on purpose since they'd begun. Though he couldn't help but enjoy the fact that he'd helped Mei-Li out of usual lessons, it did start to become quite a problem when it was one of his jobs to keep an eye on her, especially when she didn't bother telling him where she was running off to.

Pushing himself up, he decided he might as well find the princess before the others did, quickly thinking over Mei-Li's usual spots. He'd made sure none of his men had checked there, but he knew that they might check just out of curiosity. "She owes me for this," he muttered to himself, stretching his shoulders before he wandered off, leaving the other guards in a fluster.

It didn't take long for him to spot her, sitting in the Imperial Garden, casual as could be. Jun could tell, even from a distance, that the empress would have a fit if she saw the princess as she was now. He checked to see if any of the other guards were behind him before walking over to where she was, trying to look casual in case anyone was watching. Quiet as can be, he managed to sneak up behind her before putting on his best stern face, crossed his arms, and said, "You know, your mother isn't going to be too happy with me if you keep skipping on past me like this."

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"Your majesty! What are you doing in the garden you know how dangerous it is outside the palace!" Mei Li heard a familiar voice. Looking up, she saw Kiwa sitting a few yards away. Had she always been there? The princess wondered if her own mind was slipping for not spotting her.

"You fret too much, Kiwa, " Mei-Li giggled as Ming flew from her finger into the air, "Besides we're still technically in the Palace walls. Just not in the actual palace."

She had gotten to know Kiwa just recently to be honest. Her husband was one of her mother's personal guards so she wasn't too acquainted with him. Kiwa, on the other hand, was always near by. She was rather easy to talk to, especially considering how most people act around the Princess given her status.

Another voice surprised Mei-Li from behind, making her jump slightly, "You know, your mother isn't going to be too happy with me if you keep skipping on past me like this." The Princess turned around to see Jun Li standing behind her...his face showed he was seemingly unamused.

Mei-Li smiled sheepishly, scratching the back of her head, "Well, if it isn't the biggest worry-wart of them all! I was wondering how long it would take you to find me." Truth be told, Jun Li always knew where to find her. He was her closest friend in this prison. She still remembered when they first met. She was hardly five. The first time she saw him was in this very garden to be exact. It was spring, and the cherry blossoms were in bloom.

The princess rose to her feet and sighed, "It's not like I'm missing anything important. And the day was far too enjoyable to be spending indoors!"

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Jun Li couldn't hold his stern expression for long, cracking into a smile at her words. "Ah yes, your majesty, how very dull of me to rain on your parade. Perhaps I should just leave you to your royal lounging," he joked, rolling his eyes. His noticed for the briefest of moments the other girl there. He'd seen her before, but never actually had a conversation with her, sometimes hearing what she had to say to the princess when the two spoke.

He looked back at Mei-Li and chuckled lightly, a warm, comforting noise to his own ears. "Some days I wonder if you're just friends with me so you can get away with all this lounging. I had to send all your guards to the South Gardens and every other direction in the wind just so you could have a nice little evening. I'm sure they're exhausted by now, running around in that armor." His smile widened, his own rather plain apparel fluttering in the autumn breeze.

He uncrossed his arms, moving his hands behind his head and leaning back slightly. "On the other hand..." His eyes scan on the horizon, taking the sights in. "It really is a beautiful day..." He looks back at the princess, his expression as calm as could be now. "Alright, I'll let you get away with this one. This has to be one of the last good days before it starts getting cold out."

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Jun Li couldn't hold his stern expression for long, cracking into a smile at her words. "Ah yes, your majesty, how very dull of me to rain on your parade. Perhaps I should just leave you to your royal lounging," he joked, rolling his eyes. Mei-Li's smile widened. Jun Li was always there for her, and he was more than happy to cover for her in times like these.

"Some days I wonder if you're just friends with me so you can get away with all this lounging. I had to send all your guards to the South Gardens and every other direction in the wind just so you could have a nice little evening. I'm sure they're exhausted by now, running around in that armor." His smile widened, his own rather plain apparel fluttering in the autumn breeze.

The Princess laughed softly, "Well I would be lying if I said being such good friends with you didn't have its benefits."

Honestly their friendship was more than that. She could never think to use Jun Li for something so wreckless to get him into trouble. Any backlash from her antics and she took full responsibility. True her rather troublesome nature did give him a hard time, especially from her mother. But Mei-Li was always there to stand up for him and the other guards.

He uncrossed his arms, moving his hands behind his head and leaning back slightly. "On the other hand..." His eyes scan on the horizon, taking the sights in. "It really is a beautiful day..." He looks back at the princess, his expression as calm as could be now. "Alright, I'll let you get away with this one. This has to be one of the last good days before it starts getting cold out."

Her eyes softened as did her smile as she patted the ground next to her, "Then you should join me. Technically you would be doing your duty. And Kiwa and I could use some good company."

She looked forward at the pond once more and laughed suddenly, "You remember when we first met? I jumped out from behind a tree and startled you so badly you fell into this very pond."

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Jun Li sat down next Mei-Li, listening to her begin to talk about their childhood, leaning back while keeping himself propped up with his hands. "Oh, ya, that was a great day," he said, his voice thick with sarcasm. "On top a near heart attack, I nearly drowned to boot. You were just an evil little girl, weren't you?" He laughed warmly again, looking over at her. He noticed right away that her hair was down and she didn't have any of her make-up on. He felt his heart skip a beat for a moment. Though he never said it aloud, he thought she looked beautiful, every detail without flaw. He thought the layers of make-up and the elaborate hair designs hid her best features, but as she was...

The young man suddenly realized he must have been staring at her for at least a few seconds and quickly looked away, staring at the lake in front of them. "That was a nice day, though," he admitted, his tone calm and happy. "It's embarrassing to think of it, though. I'm a year older than you. Bigger than you, just starting to wield a sword. And I get scared by a little girl jumping out at me." He shook his head, chuckling aloud for a moment.

In the back of his mind, Jun was still thinking about Mei-Li. About how long they'd known each, about how close of friends they'd become, and about how they'd never be anything more. Deep in his subconscious, he knew the facts. It couldn't be. 'She's a princess. I'm not even a lord for a few more years. If she'd been anyone else...' This final thought haunted Jun more often than he'd wish it did. If she was anyone else...

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Jun Li took a seat next to her and leaned back while giving his account of their first meeting. Mei-Li giggled again, her heart warmed as she thought of that day, "Evil might be a strong word. I suppose I was still quite the handful."

Then again, who could blame her? She was the only one of her age in the whole castle. Her brother was a good ten years her senior. Seeing Jun Li that day made her feel like a normal kid with someone to actually play with. She was staring at the lilly pads on the pond quietly when she glanced up to see her friend staring at her carefully. Mei-Li felt her cheeks flush slightly as she looked back at the water the same time he did.

"That was a nice day, though," he admitted, his tone calm and happy. "It's embarrassing to think of it, though. I'm a year older than you. Bigger than you, just starting to wield a sword. And I get scared by a little girl jumping out at me." He shook his head, chuckling aloud for a moment.

Mei-Li laughed, leaning back like he was, "To be fair, I am very stealthy if I do say so my self."

She enjoyed her talks with Jun Li more than she could say. There were times spending time with him would be the highlight of her day. The Princess often found herself wondering if he enjoyed her company as much as she did his. She knew she gave him more trouble than she's worth, but he never seemed to mind. Her mother was wary of her strong bond with Jun Li, and had even warned her to refrain from getting to close. Mei-Li was no fool, she knew her mother meant they could be no more than friends. That thought made her numb inside for some reason, though she would never jeapordize their friendship nor his duty as Captain of the Guard by wishing on a dream that would never happen.

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Jun Li felt his face redden slightly when he saw that he'd met eyes with Mei-Li, though he wanted to laugh as they both looked away at the same time. He was eager to listen to whatever she had to say and speak himself. Anything to break up the rather unusual moment. "I think stealth would require you to be a little more quiet. Jumping out and shouting isn't exactly quiet. Just means you liked to scare people. And that would help to classify you as just a -bit- evil." He looked over at her in the corner of his eye, an impish grin pulling on the corner of his lips. One thing Jun enjoyed about Mei-Li was that she wasn't too feminine nor a tomboy. She had a special quality about her that just made her so agreeable, so hard to not adore one way or another.

"Your mother isn't going to be happy if she learns that you went missing during a class, especially with your record," he said, his eyes going back to the pond. "Of course, we could just do the usual bit and piece where neither of us mention it ever happening and I tell the other guards that it was just -another- drill that they failed. Mind you, if those were really drills that I'd evaluate, I'd have to dismiss every single one of them. They always look in the opposite directions. Oh, wait." He chuckled for a breathe. "That's my fault. Worries me they're so easy to convince," he stated, tilting his head slightly to the right. "At any rate, they don't bother you and they don't push me for details. I'd say that's a win/win for us both, no?" He moved his eyes to her again, looking rather silly with his tilted head and his glasses slowly sliding down his nose.

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Tyrone was at peace with the world. He was sitting in one of his favourite trees, hidden in the Northwest Imperial Garden, reading a book. He was surrounded by quiet and calm which he was thankful for, because the barracks usually got pretty rowdy at this time of day and it hurt his heightened sense of hearing. But when he was here, he could relax and calm down. Well, he was until the princess came. The talking between her, her guard and the girl was seriously distracting. Eventually he gave up trying to read and put down his book, closed his eyes and listened from across the garden. He laughed when they replayed the first time her and the captain of the guard had met. Tyrone wondered if the he knew his dad. Probably not, he was only a normal guard. Tyrone was so intent on listening he didn't feel the branch under him sliding until he suddenly fell off the edge. In midair he twisted like a snake and landed softly barely making any sound. He looked up saw the others staring at him so he bowed quickly and said "My princess, my apologies for interrupting."

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"I think stealth would require you to be a little more quiet. Jumping out and shouting isn't exactly quiet. Just means you liked to scare people. And that would help to classify you as just a -bit- evil." Jun Li said, making Mei-Li scoff a bit.

"Again, evil is too harsh a word," she said in mock-defense, "I simply like keeping people on their toes. Honestly it was more like I was preparing you for what was to come. I mean I am quite the handful, after all."

Perhaps her Captain had a point. She did scare people quite often, especially in her youth. Her favorite people to torment were definately her mother's advisors. So stoic and pompous, they were perfect targets for pranks. She remembered when she would hide up on the roof while they passed and toss down pillowcases stuffed with flour and feathers on their very heads. The punishment her mother gave her for such foolishness wasn't too bad, but it was worth the risk for a bit of fun.

"Your mother isn't going to be happy if she learns that you went missing during a class, especially with your record," he said, his eyes going back to the pond. "Of course, we could just do the usual bit and piece where neither of us mention it ever happening and I tell the other guards that it was just -another- drill that they failed. Mind you, if those were really drills that I'd evaluate, I'd have to dismiss every single one of them. They always look in the opposite directions. Oh, wait." He chuckled for a breathe. "That's my fault. Worries me they're so easy to convince," he stated, tilting his head slightly to the right. "At any rate, they don't bother you and they don't push me for details. I'd say that's a win/win for us both, no?" He moved his eyes to her again, looking rather silly with his tilted head and his glasses slowly sliding down his nose.

"After all this time I thought you'd know by now," Mei-Li mused. "My mother is never happy. I don't even remember the last time I saw her smile....except for one time when she was ordered an execution. Not her finest moment, I mind you. Though I agree, I think our little game of hide-and-seek with the guards it best kept from the Empress."

She noticed his glasses sliding off the tip of his nose. With a small laugh, she gently pushed them back to rest securely on his face, "You might want to invest in a pair that fits, Jun Li. Having them slide off in a fight might be troublesome."

Hearing the subtle creaking of a branch and the flutter of leaves, Mei-Li looked up as one of the guards landed before her from the tree above. Were they discovered, she wondered. But seeing the book in his hands and seeing his face, she relaxed.

"No need for apologies, Tyrone," she said with a smile. "I see you're slacking off as well. "

*******

Empress Mei-Lien stood quietly over the eerie pool of dark emerald waters in one of her many hidden chambers within the palace. This was her most cherished room of them all, for it contained the Pool of Shades, a small mirror-like well that showed the Empress whatever she chose. Of course to peer into the pool required most of her strength so it was not task she could do often. The room was pitch black, except for the green relflecting from the dark waters. What little could be seen were various bottles, charms, and other such paraphenalia that she used in her craft.

Looking into the pool, she saw her "daughter" in the Northwest Garden, speaking with the Captain of her Guard, Kiwa, and Tyrone. She knew them all by name for Mei-Li was close to them. It was not out of sentiment but necessity. Mei-Lien was more concerned with her growing friendship with Jun Li. Was there some advantage to be played there in the events to come? The time was coming for Mei-Lien to turn eighteen...thus bringing her close to the final step in the Empress's plans.

"Your Highness," she heard a raspy voice from behind, and knew it to be of one of her High Priests. Turning, she glared.

"I said not to interupt me," she practically growled. The priest bowed his head.

"I and my brethren were wondering when you wanted us to prepare?" he asked humbly. "The Princess's birthday is in less than a week."

The Empress was quiet for a moment, turning back to the pool. Everything was going according to plan, but there was still a final catch. If the ritual was to be a success, Mei-Li would have to do so willingly. Her good nature and morality was not Mei-Lien's to corrupt, but it was in her daughter's hands to knowingly toss aside. The problem was convincing her to do so. This last step was complicated, but seeing the Princess surrounded by her friends made the Empress realize there was still an opportunity.

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"Well", replied Tyrone' "if you want to be official about it, I'm not really a full part of the guard, I'm still a trainee, so if I don't run around like a headless chicken like my dad and everyone else is, I'm not technically slacking off. And, the reason everyones running around is to find you and here you are and here I am so, if you really think about it, I've done my job properly. Princess" He finished with sarcasm in his words and a smile on his lips. 'He did enjoy their little 'arguments'.

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Jun Li felt his heart skip a beat when Mei-Li pushed his glasses up again. It was another trait he cherished of the girl. She was caring, such an odd thing for the daughter of the cold-hearted empress to date. Of course, this little moment of caring between the two of them came to an abrupt halt when an all too familiar face and figure jumped down from the tree. Jun Li jumped a bit, wondering how he hadn't noticed the boy before. "Geez, whats with kids popping out at me all the time? Is it the glasses? Do they make me look meek?" In truth, the captain of the guard -did- look fairly meek. He didn't seem all the muscular, he was average height for his age, and the mix of his soft expression and glasses made it difficult to see him angry. It seemed the twin jian swords that clanged together on his back got passed over all together most days. An advantage, really.

He listened as the princess and the guard trainee had their back and forth about the latter being lazy. As the young man came to his defense, Jun Li couldn't help but shoot down his logic. "Well, by your logic you're not a guard and so you don't have a job. That means, technically, doing your job right would be impressing me and your father enough so that you can earn a promotion so you can -then- run around like a headless chicken. Of course..." He pushed his glasses up on his nose, a smile on his lips. "You would be doing -someones- job if you ratted us out. But you wouldn't do that to little old me and her, would you, kid?"

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Jun Li jumped a bit, wondering how he hadn't noticed the boy before. "Geez, whats with kids popping out at me all the time? Is it the glasses? Do they make me look meek?" Mei Li muffled a small laugh at his surprise. He was never truly one to take well to surprises, or at least she surmised from their first meeting. She could still recall his exact expression as he stood in the pond, soaking wet, a lilly pad clinging to his shoulders like his drenched clothing. It wasn't necessarily anger but more like bemusement. When she laughed, she remembered how his features softened, his cheeks flushed, and even he chuckled a little, if sheepishly.

"I wouldn't say meek," she spoke up, cocking her head to the side as she added, "I'd say it makes you appear more intelligent, maybe even pensive. Though I must say you are easy to sneak up on. At least for me."

In truth, Jun Li was one of the more observant guards she'd ever had. His skills were the precise reason he rose through the ranks so quickly. He must have been the youngest Captain the palace had ever seen, even though his exact title was Captain of the Princess's Royal Guard. It was his duty to protect her and to lead others to do the same. Mei-Li never saw a soldier more competent or passionate in his job. She wondered if he would be as diligent if he were guarding anyone else, but she secretely hoped it was all because of her. As selfish as that might seem, Jun Li meant more to her than she would publicly acknowledge.

Her attention turned to Jun Li and Tyrone. Looking from the Captain to Tyrone she looked at him with a hint of worry, "You won't tell my mother about this, right? Jun Li would get in a lot of trouble!"

Technically, so would she. But she always gets into trouble. She feared the reprucussions would be more severe for her friend. She couldn't imagine if he was punished for her sake. Especially if it ended with him being relieved of his duty or transferred elsewhere.

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It was a fairly average afternoon, or so Wu Jian thought as she sat alone in the a corner of the city tea house. Businesses in the bustling city markets were beginning to settle down and close up for the evening. Personally, she never enjoyed large crowds of people, but the prices of supplies were hard to beat given the large quantity most stores carried in stock.

Seated before a small table, Wu Jian appeared like most other people, yet the few customers in the store that actually noticed her seemed wary of her. Her emotionless, distant gaze made a few feel uncomfortable. It was as if her very aura was warding away anyone and everyone. Though she possessed an uncanny ability to be unnoticed unless she chose otherwise. Her former line of work made it necessary to blend in with a crowd with relative ease. To be seen and forgotten on a moment's notice.

Her dark hair was cropped in choppy short layers, a single butterfly berrett pinned above her ear. She wore red kimono that was cut short just above her nears with a black sash around her waist. Black fingerless leather gloves reached up to her elbows. Two fans were tucked away in the side of her sash. Before Wu Jian was a single vile of Huangjia liquor, and while it was not particularly potent for alchohol, it had a flavor that she enjoyed.

Glancing around the tea house non-chalantly, she wondered how much longer she was suffer this city before venturing out to more rural areas for work. Find a decent job here wasn't too hard, but the overcrowding atmosphere was far from enjoyable.

Taking a sip of her wine, she sighed to herself, "For a place so large, looking for work is much to difficult.

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"Don't worry, your secrets safe with me. After all, as Jun Li has so pointed out, I'm supposed to be trying to impress him and if I rat you two out, I'm guessing that will decrease my chances my getting a promotion" Tyrone smiled, he didn't really need to impress Jun Li, as he didn't really feel like becoming a full-on guard just yet. He enjoyed the freedom that being a guards son and a trainee gave to him. The idea of having to stand in full amour trying to watch over Mei Li didn't appeal to him. Just yet. Maybe when he was older he would enjoy but not right now.

Suddenly he heard a faint noise coming from the door at the far end of the garden, to far for an average person to hear. He sniffed and smelt flesh and sweat and metal. He turned he head slightly ans saw the faint shadow under the door and the handle begin to turn slightly. "Someones coming, quick, hide!" he whispered furiously, already springing up a nearby tree and crouching in its branches as the door opened slightly, Tyrone recognized the face and the uniform of the guard. "It's my dad", he whispered to the princess, "and he looks in a bad mood".

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San Fu


" The Lark flows by the glittering moon...*hiccup*...won't the nightingale be jealous. The ocean bird flies through the winding mountains....hiccup....won't the sparrow be jealous. The prettiest birds......are..*hiccup*..always the pettiest."

This song drifted across the wind as San Fu made his way through the town he had just entered. He was getting many looks, but most were trying to ignore him. He stumbled through the streets, singing his song, occasionally stopping to take a swig of wine. The only thing that was in San Fu's head at that moment was how good the wine tasted and how it felt going down. Until he corked it and then just kept singing his song, terribly, all the way down the streets.

He took another swig from his gourd, but nothing came out. "Oh.....well we can't *hiccup* have that, now can we." San Fu said to himself. He stumbled across the town until he found the local tea house. "This is a rather fine establishment. I believe this place is *hiccup* worthy of my patronage." he said with a slight slur. He entered the tea house and looked around. There were plenty of open tables, but San Fu had planned on drinking with someone, it didn't matter who. He then noticed a woman off in the corner, drinking Huangjia. Perfect.

He stumbled over to were her table was and stood there. "Mind if I sit, thanks!" He said without waiting for her to respond. It was obvious the owner of this tea house was rather greedy, for the second he sat down, a waitress was already there, waiting for his order. He flopped his gourds onto the table. "Fill these with Baiju and get me a bottle of it to drink to." he said. She took the gourds and was gone. San Fu looked her over and said "So....where you from, huh? You look like your from the eastern province, with that dress you got on there., am I right." She came back with the bottle. "Thank you." He took a rather large swig from it and slammed it back on the table. "Ah, I love tea house wine. They always ferment it themselves, so its fresh and potent. What about you? Usually women just drink tea at places like this. What's your trade, from the various bulges in your clothes and those fans ya got back there, it seems to me that your some sort of assassin." He said while tilting his head back to take another swig from his bottle. He then looked her in the eye with one of his and said. "Am i right?"

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Seated with her eyes closed to the small crowd of people within the tea shop, Wu Jian sipped her liquor in peace. However, it seemed that peace was short lived. She practically heard the stranger's voice from outside the shop, and she could tell by the very sound and vibrations of his steps that he was headed in this direction. Setting her drink on the table, she opened her eyes slightly.

She remained calm and collected, not even bothering to glance up when the stranger entered. She felt the hairs on her neck raise and she knew he was looking in her direction. Regardless, she remained stoic as always, sipping her drink nonchalantly. The only movement she made was when he stood before her table.

"Mind if I sit, thanks!" He said without waiting for her to respond. Stiill, Wu Jian remained as silent as ever. She took another sip as she sighed to herself, Well, haven't seen a town drunk in sometime. Guess it was overdue. The waitress waited patiently, if hesitantly, for his order.

He flopped his gourds onto the table. "Fill these with Baiju and get me a bottle of it to drink to." he said. She took the gourds and was gone. San Fu looked her over and said "So....where you from, huh? You look like your from the eastern province, with that dress you got on there., am I right." She came back with the bottle. "Thank you."

Whoever he was, though he may be a drunken fool, he was an observant fool. Wu Jian couldn't really deny that. Another sip and she simply replied with a single nod. She kept her gaze low, focused mainly on the table top instead of even looking into the stranger's eyes. She didn't sense malice from him...maybe wrecklessness and foolhardiness....but not malice. Whoever he was, he was not evil. Not in the sense that she had come to recognize at least. He took a swig from one of his jugs.

"Ah, I love tea house wine. They always ferment it themselves, so its fresh and potent. What about you? Usually women just drink tea at places like this. What's your trade, from the various bulges in your clothes and those fans ya got back there, it seems to me that your some sort of assassin." He said while tilting his head back to take another swig from his bottle. He then looked her in the eye with one of his and said. "Am i right?"

Wu Jian was silent for a moment, no hint of emotion were reflected from the delicate if cool features of her expression. Setting her tea down on the table, she finally looked up and met his gaze casually. Her eyes were a dark hazel hue, with a few flecks of jade near her irises. Such a unique color.

"So many questions," she mused aloud, a small hint of a smirk tugged at her lips. "You seem very curious for a drunk."

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Zi lean't against the street wall, hidden in the shadows, waiting for a potential 'customer' to come along. His quick eyes scanned the crowd, expertly taking in give-aways of wealth, a jeweled ring, gold bangles etc. His eyes locked on a target, a large, round man with several rings on each finger, a guard in disguise at his side. Zi's mind came up many options of exchange' and decided on one of his favorites. The 'I'm lost, can you be my dad'. He stood up and slowly walked to the man. Then suddenly he burst into tears and started babbling to him "Please, I'm lost. I don't know where my parents are. I lost them. Please help. Can you help me please", saying anything that came to mind. He suddenly stepped forward and grabbed the man around the waist, quite an achievement, and hugged him hard before the mans guard kicked him away. As Zi walked off, he opened his hand to check on the two large, ruby encrusted rings taken from the mans pudgy fingers. Zi doubted he would even notice they were gone. Zi headed for the direction of one of the better teahouses in town and said to one of the waitresses, "Can I get something to eat and some tea please, hot" She looked at him doubtfully but when he placed one of the rings in her hand she left in a hurry and brought back a steaming hot cup of tea and told him his food was on the way. While he was waiting he looked around, embarrassed a bit at the rags he was wearing compared to the other customers. His gaze was drawn most of all to a lone woman sitting in the corner and who was soon joined by a large, loud talking drunk. Zi smiled as the man sat at the womans table without even getting an answer and his sharp ears heard him ask if she was an assassin. Zi hoped not. He had met other assassins on the street before and he knew that they didn't like to be disturbed as this woman was clearly being by the man.

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"oh dear, I should probably say something right about now sorry I was kind of lost" niwa said sounding quite confused.

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"And you*hiccup* don't talk much for a woman." San Fu said while taking another swig from the bottle. "I didn't mean to intrude on any hush hush business ya got going on, but if you are trying to hide among the crowd, ya stick out like sore thumb. That's just my opinion though." He said leaning over the table. He looked at her again, she was still staring at him silently. "Under all that silent concentration, do you have a name. Mine is San Fu. In some places, I'm known as the drunk, others, the beggar. Don't you worry though, I *hiccup* won't be ditching you with the bill. It isn't right to do that to a *hiccup* lady." He looks at her strangely. "If you really are a lady." He was silent for a second and leaned all the way back in his chair and began laughing. While he was leaning back, he noticed a rather dirty looking boy sitting at a table behind him. The boy was almost as dirty as him.

He fell back in his chair, but he caught himself with his index finger and pushed off of it, causing the chair to spin. The chair stopped spinning and he was sitting in it reversed, but the chair was facing the same way. "Hey, you there, boy. Come here, sit with us! you look like you need a drink of wine!" That got some peoples attention. He knew some people frowned upon children drinking, but in these turbulent times, you should get joy whenever you can. He spun around in the chair. "Waitress,bring me a plate of meat buns and some miso soup." he dropped a small coin bag on the table. "And be quick about it!" He turned back to the silent women. "Now, how about that name. You can't toast with someone if you don't know there name."

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"And you*hiccup* don't talk much for a woman." San Fu said while taking another swig from the bottle. "I didn't mean to intrude on any hush hush business ya got going on, but if you are trying to hide among the crowd, ya stick out like sore thumb. That's just my opinion though." He said leaning over the table. He looked at her again, she was still staring at him silently.

Wu Jian smiled to herself as she took another sip. Her former career choice was no one else's business, but it cared little to her if others knew. Technically it even helped her get decent work.

. "Under all that silent concentration, do you have a name. Mine is San Fu. In some places, I'm known as the drunk, others, the beggar. Don't you worry though, I *hiccup* won't be ditching you with the bill. It isn't right to do that to a *hiccup* lady." He looks at her strangely. "If you really are a lady." He was silent for a second and leaned all the way back in his chair and began laughing. While he was leaning back, he noticed a rather dirty looking boy sitting at a table behind him. The boy was almost as dirty as him. He fell back in his chair, but he caught himself with his index finger and pushed off of it, causing the chair to spin. The chair stopped spinning and he was sitting in it reversed, but the chair was facing the same way. "Hey, you there, boy. Come here, sit with us! you look like you need a drink of wine!" That got some peoples attention. He knew some people frowned upon children drinking, but in these turbulent times, you should get joy whenever you can. He spun around in the chair. "Waitress,bring me a plate of meat buns and some miso soup." he dropped a small coin bag on the table. "And be quick about it!" He turned back to the silent women. "Now, how about that name. You can't toast with someone if you don't know there name."


She chuckled to herself and said quietly, "My name is Wu Jian." She too took notice of the boy, though she showed no indication. She simply sipped more. She waved silently to the waitress for more liquor, who silently oblidged once.

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Zi Turned around when he saw the man twirl his chair and call out to him. When he said "Hey, you there, boy. Come here, sit with us! you look like you need a drink of wine!" Zi stayed where he was but when he spoke to the waitress saying "Waitress,bring me a plate of meat buns and some miso soup." and drop a small bag of coins, enough to feed himself for weeks, he slowly, cautiously approached the table hoping to get some of the food the man ordered or at least steal the mans money bag. But as he sat down and the order of meat buns and miso soup came along he forgot all caution and dived in hungrily, tearing into the buns with his teeth and drinking the scalding soup in one gulp. After he had finished he looked up at the people in front of him. "The name's Zi-Yung Wong. But you can call me Zi. Is there anymore of the food?".