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Uninvited guests from another realm

 

Zhaoming didn't want to look back at the battlefield.

But his curiosity overtook him as he turned ,expecting the worst,but hoping for the best and to his astonishment,no one was behind them.Zhide had done it.He brought them enough time to escape.

 

All his life,Zhaoming had been living under the shadow of Zhide,who was always a better son,a better warrior and a better general than him.He couldn't help but be jealous of Zhide but now,in the face of adversity,Zhide had sacrificed himself for them,for him.Zhaoming couldn't help but feel a swirl of regret in his chest."Should we go back for him?"Zhengli,his fellow general asked him.Zhaoming looked back again,where some of his men were injured and completely out of fighting shape.

 

"No.We can't,we must not.Zhide has already brought enough time for us to escape to fight another day,We must not waste his sacrifice."

 

 

 

 Back on the battlefield

 

Zhide's could not feel his legs,as far as he was concerned ,he did not even have the strength to stand.His shoulder was swallowed with scorching amounts of pain,but Zhide did not want to die with disgrace as he used the last of his strength to tighten the grip on his sword,unwilling to let it go.

 

The cowboy marched forward with the projectile weapon of his ,but instead of pointing it at Zhide,which he expected,the cowboy slid the weapons into his waist pocket and turned to the cowboy army:"Take him back.I want him alive."The cowboy bowed in respect as two of them walked forward and chained Zhide to a pair of cuffs before hauling him towards one of their battleships.

 

 

 

10 hours later.

 

Zhaoming had reported back to the Emperor.

Now,he was at the front gates of  Zhide's mansion,Wanlong ,his royal guard at the front gate lowering his blade and head as Xiangli,Zhide's wife walked towards the front gate,Emperor Kangxi was also present standing right beside Wanlong."I will do it."Zhengli tells Zhaoming,who nodded in agreement.The mood was heavy and Xiangli saw it.Her welcoming smile melted into a frown as her voice broke,asking softly:"Zhide...."

 

Zhengli walked forward and placed his hand of her shoulder."He brought the entire army enough time to escape."Xiangli turned her focus to Zhaoming,who forced himself to speak."I'm sorry sis in-law."

Zhaoming knew what was gonna happen,thus he walked out of the mansion where he saw hundreds of civilians gathered outside,some of them covering their eyes ,crying and all of them,their faces struck with concerned looks."Get me out of here."Zhaoming tells a royal guard who opened the carriage door for Zhaoming to enter.

 

"Zhaoming wait up!"Wanlong ran towards him."The Emperor wants you to know that you are now the highest ranking general and wants you to know that YOU are now in charge of defending the nation."Under normal circumstances,that sentence would send Zhaoming to cloud nine,But now,this came at a cost,a trade off Zhaoming wasn't sure he wanted.Zhaoming shut the carriage door and left.Emperor Kangxi hugged his daughter who tried her best to soften her cries as somewhere in the mansion,her children were still waiting for their father to return home.......

 

Zhengli grabbed his bow and arrow and lit the tip with fire,walking out of the mansion where Wanlong was addressing the crowd."In the name of General Zhide,one of the greatest warrior to ever grace this land and protect it,a moment of silence for the fallen general."Zhengli says as he fires the arrow into the air,signifying the journey from earth to heaven.....





Somewhere in a cowboy battleship.

Atlantic Ocean.


Zhide's arms were chained to the walls,broken scraps of his armour was sinking to his wounds,greatly enhancing the pain,but Zhide refused to show any signs of defeat as he kept a calm,emotionless face to the enemy which were in front of him.One of them was sharpening a blade as he raised the weapon and points it at Zhide ,asking:"So.....General Zhide.....the commanding general of the Chinese army.You should know alot about the strategies that your army has prepared right?"


The cowboy gently tapped Zhide's face with the edge of the blade,lightly scarring him but all Zhide did was to resume his emotionless stare."I think you know how this goes Zhide.You have already suffered enough injuries.Would you like more?"


"From the way you speak........you already show your blatant lack of honor."Zhide mutters."What was that?"the cowboy sarcastically barked."Oh so now you can't understand basic words.I thought you cowboys were smarter.....especially given that amazing strategy you just used against my army."

"You-"The cowboy raised his blade,prepared to strike when the door of Zhide's cell slammed open."Put your weapon down Oliver."


Another cowboy entered the cell,gently pushing Oliver backwards and as Zhide looked closer,he realized that this was the cowboy that brought him down."Unchain him."the cowboy ordered."But General Robiligo!He is a war criminal!He-"

"Do it!"the cowboy general commands as Oliver reluctantly grabbed a stack of keys and unchained Zhide,who fell onto the ground,unable to pick himself back up."I need a healer here.After his injuries are healed,bring him to me.Also Oliver.....I want NO harm to come to this man.Understood?"

Oliver lowered his head reluctantly and replies:"Yes General Robiligo."


The medics within the cowboy army was surprising fast and efficient as within an hour,Zhide had bandages all over his battle scars and wounds,but of course,he was still in no fighting shape.Zhide analyzed the structure of the ship,desperately trying to find an exit route but the ship was swarmed with cowboys,many of them armed with blades and crossbows.Zhide could fight his way through of course,but the best case scenario was he could only take a dozen warriors down before being swarmed.He needed more time to think of a way to escape.


Zhide was led into a large wooden structure at the core of the ship,which to Zhide's own amazement,the ship was at least half a kilometer long and at least half a dozen levels tall.It all seemed too impressive,Zhide himself couldn't help but admire the engineering of this masterpiece until he remembered that this was his enemy,it was what he was up against.Zhide was lead towards the very top of the wooden structure where the cowboy general was awaiting."Please,take a seat.You can relax,i don't wish to harm you."

 

With caution,Zhide scanned his surroundings and bit back a curse.The office had a balcony overseeing the decks of the ship and the exit was guarded by two cowboys,Zhide had little to no chance of escaping."I'm going to release you back to Guangzhou."The general spoke.Zhide thought he was hallucinating."What?"he blurted.The cowboy laid his weapons down on his desk,displaying complete trust towards Zhide,who was not restrained in any way."You had us completely defeated General Robiligo."Zhide recalled."Why are you releasing me with Intel of your army?I don't understand.Yes it may be foolish for me to question this but .......why?"


"First of all,just call me Jake.My name is Jake Robiligo.I am sure that you...like many others would like to end this war both of our men have fought for half a decade already and trust me,i would like to end this conflict as soon as possible."Zhide could not believe what he was hearing,something he would never expect in his lifetime but he was glad that the enemy had someone who was on the same frequency as he was."Do you even remember why this war began General Zhide?"Jake asked politely."To be completely honest,i am not sure.But i recall that your army destroyed our naval fleet and tried to conquer Guangzhou."


"What?No....you Chinese destroyed our naval fleet."Jake corrected."Since when?Our ships never crossed the Atlantic border!"Zhide contradicted."Then it seems that one of our source of information was false.Nevertheless,i do wish to participate in this pointless war anymore.The sole reason why i invented guns was to protect America,not attack."Jake says as he held up those weapons of his,which was apparently called guns."Then why did you attack Guangzhou last week?"Zhide asks."I was told that you guys were preparing for a naval attack against us."Jake answers."Something is definitely wrong here."Zhide says."But why do you trust me?"he added.


"A man who stood up against the full force of ten thousand soldiers and a naval fleet with no second thought whatsoever just to bring time for his men to escape?I think it's safe to call you a good man."Jake replies."Very well,I will provide you a vessel to return to the coast as well as a horse to help you journey back to your kingdom only in return of one favor.Make truce with your Emperor and stop this war for good."

"You have my word."Zhide promised.









The coast of Beijing.

Sun down.


A temporary camp was set up with about five thousand soldiers right at the coastline.It was a weak defense,but it could definitely warn the kingdom to prepare it's defenses in the event of an attack,at least they could slow the enemy down.Ansheng,the royal medic was present in the camp in the event of an attack and so far,the only defense mechanism they had against the cowboys were catapults to sink their ships,but as Zhaoming and Zhengli had witnessed,the ships had armour harder than what they had ever seen.


The army had constructed wooden spike walls around the coastline with hundreds of tents about 200 meters behind ,so the army could be ready to defend as quickly as possible.Zhengli could not rest,for the second he close his eyes,the image of Zhide being murdered by the enemy would surface in his head.Zhengli stood at the guard tower overlooking the coastline where the corpses of fallen warriors were being dragged back to camp for ritual burning."We were trained for this,to deal with the pain of losing someone but it still hurts."Zhengli mutters as he noticed Zhaoming approaching him."Have they not found his body yet?"Zhaoming asked."Apparently not.I guess he was blasted into ashes...They only found his sword,but nothing more."


Zhaoming tightened his grip on his spear as he tapped it against the tips of the spiky wooden walls."This is where i will display their heads.I will personally decapitate every one last of them."Zhaoming growls in a deep tone."You won't be alone.Zhide has always said to try not to kill them,for they are just men following orders.But i say it's time they have the brains and will to learn the hard way."Zhengli says."Is Zhide wrong though?"a voice interrupts them.

Ansheng stood behind them with nothing more than a small book."Don't you think of seeking for vengeance,we should honor Zhide's last wishes and beliefs?"


"Do you even know what you are speaking of old man?"Zhaoming hissed."What do you mean?"Zhengli questions."Simple.We carry on Zhide's legacy.We do not seek blood.We be the better men.We spare our enemies and have the morale they never had.Maybe that is how the war will end when the enemy realizes their own incompetency to understand their morale."

 

It was the most foolish yet wise thing Zhaoming had ever heard."I will think about it.But i will not hesitating ending them if it comes down to it."Zhengli answered."How about you Zhaoming.Don't you think you should honor your brother like this?"Zhaoming gritted his teeth."Fine."It was then when a loud booming horn echoed across the camp.A relief call.Ansheng asked the nearest guard:"What's the horn for."the guard bowed upon seeing the generals and replies:"A figure,walking towards camp unarmed.I think....it's General Zhide."

 "Excuse me?"Ansheng asked.

 

The Generals and Ansheng ran towards the gates where Zhide,limping and shivering with his full battle armor and a small coat around him."How...?"Zhaoming mutters as Zhengli ran forward and helped Zhide,who was about to stumble out of exhaustion."Bring him to my tent,i can heal him."Ansheng tells the guards who immediately followed his orders.Zhide,as he was being healed slowly explained what happened to him,revealing that Jake actually wanted peace between the two nations and wanted everybody to cease fire."What if it's a trick,they clearly have better weapons than us so maybe all they want us to do is to let our guards down and then,they will strike."

 "It's understandable."Zhengli backs up.

"But the way he spoke,there's no reason for him to lie to us.America is probably as resource-filled as China is."

"Maybe they are greedy?"Zhengli raised.

"Unlikely.War causes more losses than profit.Also if they wanted our resources there is no point in not chasing after us back then."Ansheng theorized.

"So he is most likely telling the truth."Zhide concluded.

Ansheng finished re-wrapping the last piece of bandage as he looked at the bandages the cowboys gave."They have good healers with them.I barely did any work."

"You have the skills of Hua Tuo."Zhengli complimented.

"You overrate me.Hua Tuo healed Guan Yu using surgery.The first one."

"But i thought the legend said he had indestructible skin?"Zhide asks.

"It's a legend,what did you expect."Ansheng joked.

 

 

Zhide finally managed to rest as he sat in Zhengli's tent where Zhengli was sharpening his arrows."You know,Zhaoming and I actually thought of destroying all of them."

"What's so surprising about that?" Zhide joked."It's probably want Zhaoming always wanted."

"True but you always told us to try and not to kill our enemies,give them mercy as they are only following orders.I didn't know what to do without your leadership."Zhengli confessed.

"You are a general yourself Zhengli.You have a reputation to maintain among the men."

"I just hope i will be as good as you are one day."

"You will."

 

A thunderous boom interrupted their conversation as the warning bell sounded.

"Zhaoming is right!They are attacking!"Zhengli yells as from within their tent,an orange light was lit up outside."No..."Zhide says as all his hope for a peaceful co-existing between the two nations has just been crushed.Zhide was not armed as he grabbed the nearest sword beside him and rushed outside with Zhengli.

 

A large hole formed in the wooden spike walls as the area was engulfed in infernos and in the center of them,just one smokey figure with nothing more than a long sword,about a meter long and .....horns...."What in the world is that?"Zhengli mutters as Zhide commanded:"ARCHERS FIRE!"

A dozen men rushed forward and aimed their weapons down on the figure.Swiftly,their drew their arrows and rained down the projectiles towards him."That guy doesn't look like a cowboy."Zhengli observed."Yea...I noticed."Zhide replies.The arrows were mere inches from hitting the figure when at blinding speeds,the figure spun his sword around himself and slicing the arrows down into dust.The figure suddenly has more smoke surrounding him as in the blink of an eye,the figure appeared right in front of the archers and with a clean strike,the archers fell.

 

"Warriors subdue him!"Zhengli yells as dozens of soldiers charged forward.But to Zhide's horror the figure was moving at lightning speeds,blocking and deflecting every strike the warriors put out and in less than a minute,the warriors fell.Zhaoming sprinted forward with a few dozen more soldiers as he asks Zhide:"Whats going on?"Zhaoming asked.Zhide slowly watched and noticed the black and gold armor of the figure,extremely well pieced and hardened and his eyes,pure glowing white,with a glowing gold horn on his helmet.It was a samurai."A Japanese?"Zhengli blurts.Before any of them could say anything,tents beside them began being crashed and an enormous figure about 2.5 meters tall was charging across the camp and slammed into Zhaoming and his troops,sending all of them flying backwards.

 

The second figure was extremely muscular,wearing nothing more than pants that were torn and tattered with a belt made of...bones.The being had a mask in the shape of a bucket with spikes and blood decorated all over him.He also has a chain slung across his shoulder and an extremely long and massive axe held by his right arm."That thing.....is definitely not human."Zhengli says as suddenly,another figure soared over their heads,a woman with wings that flapped like those of an insect and she was dressed in a red kimono.Zhide watched as she spat a ball of fire onto a tent,which burned down instantly.Zhaoming picked himself up as Zhide tells them:"I take the big one,Zhaoming,the flying woman and Zhengli,the samurai."he says with his best stern and confident voice.

 

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-Demons and Legends


Submitted: February 26, 2018

© Copyright 2022 Max Lkc. All rights reserved.

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