Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Fiction: The Princess Who Cannot Marry (Chapter 8)



  I confess that I was motivated to finish up Chapter 8 faster because of an anonymous comment describing the little bits she liked from the three male leads. It really touched me! And this is an important chapter for one of those male leads! 

  We return to the palace and Yu An realises that things are never the same again.

Chapter 8: Secrets Revealed


(i)

     Hu Zi and Drifter were waiting outside the cave when Yu An and Qing exited. Hu Zi immediately knelt down and greeted Uncle Qing, "Captain Hu Zi pays his humble greetings to Grand Prince Qing."

   Qing gestured for him to rise and shook his head, "No need for formalities, I am only a monk. I do not recognise the title you greet me."

  Drifter remained aloof on his steed. Qing gave a whistle and his horse sprinted towards him. The quartet made a smooth and silent ride back to the Mo Tribe headquarters.

  "Aunt Mo and Uncle Lang," Qing nodded his respects to Grandmother Mo and Master Lang upon reaching the Mo Tribe camp. 

   No further words were said under the deep veil of the stars. It seemed like all was finally at peace. 

(ii) 

  The return journey was without any obstacles. Hu Zi was much more willing to be trained by Master Lang on the way back and Drifter remained his silent self. Qing seemed to enjoy the silence and he often went aside by himself to meditate. Sometimes, Yu An and Qing would converse about her childhood and her younger brother, the Crown Prince Hsiao Yang. Yu An remembered Qing's face when she informed him that her brother was a reluctant prince and his dream was to wander the cities as an artist. Qing had a face of wistfulness before he said, "Like his father."

  The night before they returned to the Capital, as usual, Qing had went off to meditate, Master Lang and Hu Zi went away to duel, and there was only Drifter and Yu An left at the campsite.

  As Yu An fed the camp fire with more firewood, the only sound was the flickering of the fiery tongues of the flames. No, she realised, there was also her heartbeat. Faint but pulsating. She turned to look at Drifter, who was sitting on top of one of the tree branches, as if he was a bird, longing to be released to the sky.

  "Drifter," she called out. Her voice wasn't loud but she knew he could hear her. 

  "Thank you for accompanying me on this journey," Yu An said sincerely. She paused then continued, "I don't know why you called yourself a sinner, but the fact that you hold whatever past sins so close to your heart tells me that you are definitely not heartless."

  "And in fact," Yu An said with an almost wondering voice, "You probably have the most gentle heart of all." She thought of Drifter always silently waiting in the background - not because he didn't care, she was sure, but because he wanted no credit in his protection.

  Drifter didn't reply, and Yu An didn't need him to. For someone who loved to make music, she found herself comfortable listening to the flames and her heartbeat in the silence. 

(iii)

   Yu An calculated that it had been about twenty three days since they left the Yan Kingdom on the third day of the Grand Yan Emperor's funeral. Thus, when they finally returned to the Yan Kingdom, it was already the twenty-sixth day.   

At the city gates of the Capital of the Yan Kingdom, Master Lang and Drifter remained outside as if indicating that this was where they stopped. 

   Qing nodded his appreciation to Master Lang and Drifter then turned to Yu An, "Tell your father I will meet him tonight at our garden." With that, Qing rode off. 

  Yu An rode her horse closer and whispered towards Master Lang, "I just have one last thing to say, Master Lang. My grandmother goes to the main temple in the Capital twice a month to pray, on the eighth and on the twenty-eighth. She has done this for every month since I've known her. I followed her once and it was strange, for on the twenty-eighth, she prays while looking very far away. As if the person she prays for does not belong in the Yan Kingdom."

  Yu An moved her horse back, her eyes twinkling, and then she bowed low on her horse before Master Lang, "If fate decrees, we will meet again."

  She gave a smile and quick nod towards Drifter, and then turned towards the city gates with Hu Zi. Master Lang and Drifter watched as their backs disappeared into the gates, into the crowd, no longer to be seen. 

  Master Lang inclined his head towards Drifter, "Now that you have met the princess you were supposed to be betrothed to, would you like to return to your real identity?"

  Drifter's face remained impassive and Master Lang shook his head, "Your cold expressions don't fool me." Master Lang pointed to afar, "Your brother has arrived as representative for the final ceremony of the Grand Yan Emperor's funeral. Go see him. You can't run from your past forever. I will see you again on the final day." 





(iv)

   Hu Zi escorted Yu An right to Hsiao's palace before indicating that he will be returning to his household to see his parents. Yu An smiled at Hu Zi, "I will find you after everything settles. Don't escape to the sea before I find you!"

  When Yu An entered Hsiao's study, before Yu An could even bow to greet her father, Hsiao had already rushed towards Yu An and grabbed her hands in deep happiness and concern. "Yu An, how have you been?" Hsiao asked with deeper emotion than Yu An had usually seen from her always composed father. "Did you suffer on the journey?"

  Yu An shook her head and laughed, "It was wonderful, father. So wonderful!" 

  Yu An pressed her palms into her father's and smiled, "Uncle Qing agreed to return. He said he would meet you tonight at the garden belonging to both of you."

  Yu An felt her father's hands tremble. Yu An looked steadfastly into her father's eyes as she nodded with greater intensity, "Uncle Qing has returned."

  Hsiao didn't utter an additional word as he pulled his daughter into his embrace in wordless gratitude. 

  Thus, Yu An returned to her own palace with a very satisfied smile on her lips. She also missed her mother and siblings dearly, but decided to freshen up her attire before paying her greetings to them. She had never left the Royal Palace for such a long period before. 

  Yu An was happily humming to herself when she was met with ecstatic glee from her personal maidservant, Xiao Qing, "Princess! Princess! You are finally home. Your humble servant has missed you so dearly!"

  Yu An took a step back to avoid Xiao Qing's over exuberant greeting. Yu An look curiously when she saw a beautiful woven box on the table in her bedchambers. 

  "What is this?" Yu An asked as her hands traced the intricate embroidered patterns on the box. 

  "Didn't you send this home?" Xiao Qing asked confused, "It arrived about ten days after you left." 

  Yu An looked curiously as she carefully opened the box. When she saw the delicate scroll inside, her heart started to race. Even before she carried it up to examine it before her eyes, she seemed to already appreciate the monumental significance of what was before her. Holding in her breath, as if she was afraid all of these was just a dream, she slowly unravelled the scroll before her - it was the musical scroll for the legendary guzheng piece, the Heartbreak Song, played most famously by the Royal Princess of Wu. 

  She was stunned - dazed beyond comprehension. Her brain stuttered -- then bits and pieces started to form inside her mind, but... but she only told this to Drifter? 

   Her grip tightened ever so lightly on the scroll - could it? Could he? 

(v)

   When Yu An went to the residence of her mother, Empress Yue, she was still in deep thought. Her mother smiled warmly at her, as if she had already anticipated Yu An's arrival and was not surprised. 

   Empress Yue gestured excitedly towards Yu An to come forward to where her younger brother, Hsiao Yang, was sitting. Hsiao Yang raised his head from his painting when he heard Yu An's arrival, "Elder sister! You finally came back. How mean of you to leave without even saying goodbye to me."

  Yu An smiled apologetically, "Father had me leave in a rush and I had no time to say goodbye." Yu An frowned as she bent down towards the parchment Hsiao Yang had been painting.

  Yu An gasped, "Is this me?"

  Hsiao Yang nodded innocently, "Mother has been asking me to paint you."

 Empress Yue gave a hearty shameless chuckle, "Since you were not around, I had to find some way to show all the single royals what a beautiful daughter I had right?"

  "Mother!" Yu An cried in genuine horror. 

  But Empress Yue turned serious as she looked in deep contemplation at Yu An's heart. She turned with a gentle smile at Yu An, "Yu An, mother has her reasons. Anyway, what is wrong with your mother proudly showing off her beautiful daughter?"

  Yu An knew that it was impossible for her to win an argument with her mother, for Empress Yue, never argued with logic. 

(vi) 

   The Yan Emperor had specially designated residences in the Capital for the foreign royals who had came from afar. As there were too many royals, it was not possible to situate them all in the Royal Palace and there were several security difficulties. However, these residences were as grand as the Royal Palace and were guarded by the foreign royalties' own private contingent. 

  A tall solitary figure landed in front of one of these special residences. He was masked and the shocked guards quickly and fiercely unsheathed their swords towards him. The lone figure coolly removed his mask and immediately all the guards knelt down on the floor, their heads downcast, their swords on the ground. 

  "First Prince," they chorused. 

  Drifter gave a cold "rise" and entered the residence almost in reluctance. His younger brother, the Second Prince of the Xue Mountain Tribe, Bai Yan (烟 (yan) meaning smoke), had already rushed towards the entrance when he heard his guards. 

  "Older brother," Bai Yan called in delight. 

  Drifter raised up a hand as if to indicate that Bai Yan was not to come closer. 

  "Father and Mother will be so happy to hear that you are here," Bai Yan rejoiced as he welcomed his older brother towards the table where he was having tea, "They were worried since you had not sent back any letters for a year."

  Drifter did not make any response as his eyes fell onto the unrolled parchment on the table. 

  Bai Yan sensing unexpected interest from Drifter happily commented, "That's a drawing of the Yan Royal Princess Yu An." Bai Yan quickly added, "She's the oldest daughter of Mother's sworn sister and..." Bai Yan swallowed, your originally betrothed wife.

  Bai Yan swallowed his words not because he was hesitant but he had been stunned at the wisp of a smile on his brother's lips as he said, "It does not look like her."




The Princess Who Cannot Marry
Chapters: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14

Author's note: Finally! Finally I get to reveal Drifter's real identity. The original title of this chapter was "Unmasked" but I thought that it might be too revealing so I changed it. Haha. With the unveiling of Drifter's real identity, we can see him stepping to the forefront of the role of one of the three male leads - or will he?

Plus, oh gosh, I love Yue. Hahaha. She's such a sassy Empress. 




34 comments:

  1. Yay!!! New chapter :) I wonder how yu will react when she sees drifter in his real role as the prince!!! XD can't wait! Is it bad of me to want these guys to fight for her hand?

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    1. Dear Hanakoxiao, no it's not bad at all hahaha. The battlefield is being set. I can't wait to write about their meeting

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    2. I can't wait till the third guy shows up, the most bloodthirsty one. LOL I wonder how the other two will match up against a deity! Cant wait. >.<

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    3. Me too!!!! I am working so hard to reach An Hun

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  2. I am very excited to see how the characters and plot will develope! Does anyone know the total chapters of this story? A countdown to the finale will be very much appreciated!

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    1. Dear Kenna, thank you!!! I've been so excited to finish fleshing out the background and setting the stage. I should finish Arc 1 in one or two chapters. I previously estimated 24 chapters but I might over run a little. I usually write in 3 arcs. You can see from my previous fictions my usual lengths ♡

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  3. Thank you for the chapter! Story is getting really exciting now!

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    1. Thanks for reading!!! Yes, I really wrote furiously in one stretch to make up for the hiatus and lost time. Can't wait to end the first arc!

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  4. Thank you decembi! Someone is on fire!!!

    Drifter!!!! I am sorry but can I board his ship now?! I know the third lead has yet to show up and that Hu Zi is pretty neat, but Drifter... is so mysterious! and he sounds so yummy! haha

    Great new chapters but I am waiting for Yu An to experience some character building experiences, show some form of flaws or throw us a fit as a curveball... I find her a bit too perfect and well-tempered at the moment. Does it make sense?

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    1. Absolutely! I'm really happy with your observation of Yu An. She's very protected and in her comfort zone now. I won't reveal more but the end of the first arc will be my first major point for her! Very excited to share it. I will see if i can make a big combined chpt 9 to end it off.

      Awww really happy you like Drifter. The silent killer haha.

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  5. Thank you..^^...You did a great job! I like your handwriting story. Looking forward to read your new post soon..

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  6. Thank you, can't wait for the next chapter :)

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  7. Tq for your update. Now i just thinking why drifter brorther said that yu an is originally betrothed wife. What happen

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    1. It will be more fully explained in the next chapter. Though if you click the link from "First Prince" there are already some hints.

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  8. Originally means not anymore? All right looking forward to who's the real winner .But can't decided who's better. Thanks decembi for your fascinating plot.≧﹏≦

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    1. Hahaha who is the real winner! All's fair in love and war. Thank you so much for reading! Their "bethrothal" will be more clearly explained in the next chapter.

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  9. Hi Decembi, hope you're well there in Singapore! Is the haze as bad as it was when I left a week ago?

    Yesss, finally Drifter reveals himself! And he is betrothed to her, aww how cute is that, with the small curve of lips he just said that the image does not look like her. Somehow, I'm leaning towards Drifter more, until the third male character appears, that is.

    I don't know about Hu Zi, but he really gives me the vibe of a guy whose feelings is one-sided. He is like the type that watches the girl from afar, acts as her guardian, older brother, best friend figure. Hu Zi kind of reminds me to XL from Lost You Forever (I'm a Jing shipper btw ;) ), but while XL is more... unpredictable (he's like the wind, always disappearing but comes back whenever XY needs someone the most), Hu Zi is very solid and unshakeable. His resolution and devotion to her is something I find very admirable and adorable. Maybe it's just me, as much as I adore Hu Zi, I still see him as a second-male-lead-material.

    As for Yu An, I am completely fine with her character. I don't expect you to suddenly throw in like a tangled mess for her to solve, because that would be weird. She is a sheltered princess, and some people DO live a so-called "perfect" life like that. I think Yu An is bored, though, because her life in the palace might be somewhat "caged". Hope to see you throw in more spices to the palace life. Woottt, can't wait to see Mama Yue in action :D

    I want to say more about Drifter, but so far, I am liking this mystery side of him. It adds to the charm, I guess.

    I am patiently (okay, patiently is not really the right word, it's like anxiously, but patiently) waiting for your next update on this wonderful story. Thank you for updating! See you on the next chapter!

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    1. Dear MrsDo EXO,

      The haze is horrid. It really is. I can feel my body really falling ill from all the hazardous air particles. >_< What has happened to our beautiful island?

      Drifter "used to" be bethrothed to Yu An hahaha. But the context of it will be more clearly explained in the next chapter. Did you read Little Moon? He is Bai Ying's first son! Hahahahhaa. If you ever wondered what would Bai Ying and General Tie's son will be like, now you know.

      I try not to show my preference for any of the three male leads so as not to appear like Yu An's fate is pre-determined. Although I've planned out her whole story, I will admit that I'm not too sure between two male leads which will be her final choice and I'm just going to write naturally where the characters goes.

      I was pretty surprised to hear you compare Hu Zi to Xiang Liu - because Xiang Liu is so damn cool, and wild, and aggressive which sounds like the anthithesis of Hu Zi. But then I totally agree with how they both have that quiet thoughtfulness and a bit of that sacrificial spirit.

      I really liked your description of Yu An. The description of a "cage" is perfect - and that kind of links Yu An and the Grand Yan Empress, her grandmother Yu. I feel like Yu An inherits the souls of An Chi and Grandmother Yu and both of their unresolved loves and its like she has to pursue this happiness for even more than herself. I can't wait to reveal to you where the end of the first arc will lead us!

      Thank you so much for your support! It's huge fuel for me in writing. <3

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  10. Aww, you're really spoiling us now Decembi!! Thanks a ton!
    Drifter really touched my heartstrings this chapter, what with him being a silent and selfless protector, and secretly making sure Yu An gets something so meaningful to her. He's loneliness, his mysterious air, the glimpses we get of a kind heart under his cold/heartless exterior gives me Xiang Liu vibes and makes me swoon and sigh. I just, just, just want him to be happy!
    Hu Zi on the other hand, reminds of Jing, sweet, dependable, and warm. He's such a sweet boy, but he doesn't evoke romantic feelings at all. To be fair though, I've never been a sucker for the childhood 青梅竹马 thing so I rarely ship childhood besties.
    I'm really excited to see where this all goes and whether everyone will be happy XD

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    1. Dear Anonymous,

      Hahaha! I try my best. I'm trying to finish the first arc because I have a lot to finally say at the end.

      I think it's really interesting that you find that Drifter reminds you of Xiang Liu whilst MrsDO EXO finds Hu Zi similar to Xiang Liu. Haha. I totally get what you mean about you just want him to be happy. I really liked how you described him as a silent and selfless protector <3

      I never actually thought consciously of the three legendary male leads in Lost You Forever, because what Tong Hua did was amazing and not replicable at all. It's interesting that you equate Hu Zi with Jing - must be the sweetness. Hee. Cos childhood besties is more Zhuan Xu's thing haha.

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    2. Hehe, I think different readers may associate XL with different traits or emphasise other parts of his character :3
      Haha, I think it's just easy to categorize other male leads with those in Lost You Forever, because they are quite different, distinct, and wellknown in the C-novelverse. Yeah, the sweetness and dependability. Gosh, I forgot all about Zhuan Xu whilst writing that, have really mixed feelings about him (he's the one LYF guy I never shipped XD).
      Btw, I'm Ivy and I'm really looking forward to the end of the 1st arc

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    3. Haha! Me too!!! I was a Jing shipper who had a soft spot for Xiang Liu but almost disliked Zhuan Xu from start to end. But, I suspect Zhuan Xu is a character that reads better if you read the story a second time and see all the nuances of him loving someone that he can't quite confess to.

      Thank you, Ivy! Love reading your comments and can't wait to hear what you think when we reach the end! I'm working hard on chpt 9 now and trying my best to combine chpt 9+10.

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    4. Thanks for replying to all my comments decembi! I feel very honoured XD I've actually been following your translations and reading your original fiction for ages (I loved Hsiao, I had epic giggle and swoon-fits over him), but been shy about commenting because my brain usually turns to mush :3

      Hmm, that sounds spot-on, poor guy deserves a second chance from readers at least :P

      Yay!!

      - Ivy

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    5. Dear Ivy,

      Awww!!! I'm more honoured to have readers actually. Teehee, the thought of someone having giggle and swoon fits over Hsiao (like I internally do) makes me super happy!!!

      Please don't be shy about commenting ;) am working on positing Chpt 9 hee.

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  11. I cried at the last scene in the last chapter. You are a great storyteller to be able to make me tear out. The story has a bittersweet feelings to it and I like those the best (as long as the ending is HAPPY, especially with lots and lots of chubby babies!). Thank you so much! Will be looking forward to the next installment!

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    1. Harley, thank you so much for your sincere comment for chapter 7. It really means a lot to me. I wrote Chapter 7 with lots of my heart - I felt so much for Qing, even though he was a 'smaller' character from Little Moon. I guess I just want all my characters to find peace.

      Chubby babies! HAHAHAH. Love that. I did give Yue four babies ;)

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  12. Dear Decembi tq for the update.
    Oww i'm extremely curious abt Drifter past, what would be the reason he shut himself from the world. When i read the link, wasn't it state that the 1st prince had a weak body / sick, how could he become tall, sturdy, not to mention skillful swordman? N i'm almost die from happiness with just his slight smile.
    I really appreciate your effort to create Hu zi character different fr usual childhood friend who typically watch n protect his lady from afar. He does struggle to be a better man n an appropriate match for the princess, n he works really hard to go out from frenzone Yu an made him. N i see its not effortless, coz he manage to tiny sway her heart.
    N of course my dear An hun , whom i already felt deeply when he was just a supporting character. A loveless bigbro with tender n genuine care for his sis. Cant wait for his appear. What is lovesick An hun would be? N abt the dark lord "heart indicator" wine, i think that wine wont be tasteless anymore after him fall for her hehe
    I can tell u write these 3 character with full affection n care. Your effort to create them with their flaws n strength but stand in an equal ground for their love competition, reach my heart. Salute to your effort for being fair towards those three, even one of them is a deity.
    Thanks again Decembi, be blessed

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    1. Dear anonymous,

      Thank you for your lovely comment! Haha. I wish I could answer you now but it would be too spoilery. But I'm glad you are interested in Drifter's past ;)

      Indeed, I really do admire Hu Zi's character and pride which really influences his decisions. He wants to be his own man with his own achievements even as he wants to be with Yu An and all of what that entails.

      Love your description of An Hun as loveless brother with genuine care for his sister! Love the fact that you remembered the wine. AWWWW you know my stories so well.

      <3

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  13. how can i get translated copy of "He Has Come, Please Close Your Eyes"

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    1. Hmm I am not sure, maybe check the links on shusheng bar?

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