Wisdom of the Dragon (Prologue)
Note: I was going to just write this on Google Drive, but it's been a really long time since I worked on this story, and I'm still on the beginning. So, I decided to just move the story on Hubpages for now. It's sequel to a steampunk, sci-fi, supernatural story I published a while back, mostly aimed toward a younger audience. Enjoy.
Prologue (In Which the Story Truly Begins)
While it had only been a few months since she last saw her daughter, to the owner of the rural farmland, with a rather impressive two-story house whose grandness was no easy feat for her now-departed husband, it had seemed like years. Since she had first heard rumors that her daughter had been forced out of the Imperial Palaces for a crime that she was, only a few days later, cleared of, she had been worried.
How would her daughter survive outside of the palace, where she was sure to have had a comfortable living? These questions continued to plague her while she tended to the crops and livestock, along with her other duties of keeping the house pristine.
When she received a call from her daughter, finally, saying that she would be coming, she was both relieved and angry at the same time. How dare her daughter take so long to call back?How dare she make her mother worry so? The farmer's widow was really going to chastise her daughter for being rash as always. However, just as she was about to do just that, she was interrupted.
"Mother," her daughter whispered. There was sorrow in her voice unlike anything that the widow had ever heard. Not even the widow, herself, spoke with such a pathetic and helpless nature.
"What?" asked the woman. "What is it?"
"It's nothing," her daughter replied. "I will meet you soon."
The next day, true to her word, the widow's daughter came. She looked clean and well-fed enough that the widow guessed that her daughter was adjusting to life well outside of palace life. To the widow's surprise, her daughter had in her arms an infant quietly sleeping and at peace.
"Wha-?" went the widow, wide-eyed with a tightening heart.
The silly girl gave her mother an apologetic smile.
"Sorry," she said. "I would have come sooner, but I was delayed at that last village. You can thank this child for that."
The widow had a lot of questions that she was afraid of the answers to. But seeing her daughter's pale and sunken face, she decided that questions would wait after they came inside. Her daughter actually looked older than the widow was.
Inside, her daughter explained what had happened after she had fled the palace. It wasn't because of the accusations that she had left permanently.
Following her childhood dream, the widow's daughter had come to associate with the Imperial Scholars, working for them when they needed help, and was even accepted into their department, albeit on probation. During her time with the scholars, she had come across ancient secrets, the kind that could change the world should it resurface. Just the sort of thing that people were willing to do horrible things to acquire. There wasn't much else about the secret that she could find other than that it was hidden somewhere by the ancients, so she kept it to herself. Scholars at the Imperial Capital were obsessed more with results and would have thought pursuing the secret was a fool's errand if that was all they could go on. Eventually, she forgot about it.
Soon fate would reunite her with that secret.
After having left the palace, the widow's daughter was able to find work as a scholar's assistant. The arrangement was meant to be temporary for until the day she was certain her name would be cleared. During that time, once again, the secret she discovered, of an ancient facility hidden away in a well-known location, came back to haunt her.
Asked to further research on it, the widow's daughter foolishly pursued answers as she was hired to do. What she found both fascinated her and disturbed her. She found that this was a secret she could not share. In the wrong hands, it would prove disastrous, something far worse than the Mandate of Heaven that destroyed the Xia Dynasty that reigned for nearly a thousand years. There was no way she was going to share something like that to a bunch of people of money and status that just seeks to further their wealth.
When she lied about her success and told them that she had failed to find anything, her employers were neither pleased or convinced of the lie. And when they started showing her just how displeased they were, she feared for the children about to enter this world.
So, she fled once again.
"Please," she implored to her mother, "you must take this child. Her father will come for me one day. When he does, he cannot know whose child this is. It is for both their sake. No one can know of her relation to me."
The widow took the child, then looked to her daughter. Mother and daughter did not meet eyes. Shaking her head, the elder woman didn't know what to make of her daughter's story. So many more questions came to mind that she didn't know where to start. She made her decision then.
"Who is the child's father?"
For the first time that night, her daughter smiled.
"A kind, but somewhat unique man," she cryptically answered. "I don't know how much he will change after what happened at the Imperial Palace, but he will come here. I just know it."
The clock began to chime.
"I'm sorry, I shan't stay long," the widow's daughter said. "But before I leave, could I trouble you further for another favor."
The widow's daughter requested for a private burial. It was then that the widow had noticed her daughter's straw box that she had slung to her back. She did not say anything for her daughter's sunken eyes were glazed with incredible sadness again. And she was beginning to feel that sadness in her heart too.
"How will you survive?" the widow, instead asked. "You cannot run away forever."
"I will hide," her daughter answered. "I have friends who will help me. One of the scholars I worked with will take me out of the country, disguise me, and then we would both bide our time for when the time finally comes that we may return."
The next day, the widow found her daughter gone, with a note that explained that the grave was taken care of and whose grave it was. It was hard to tell which twisted the old woman's stomach more. Her daughter's leaving again, or the identity of the buried.
Her granddaughter, in her carriage, began to wail for her mother. She would wail for naught.
- Wisdom of the Dragon (Chapter One)
A reunion takes place.
Check out the Prequel
- Country Of Dragons by Victor Kwok
In a world of supernatural powers, robots, and animal people, follow a young girl on a journey to save her family and meet new people, some with familiar faces and names, but are completely different.