The Runaway Bride
She was alone, quiet, and calm. The dangers surrounding her was imminent. Her journey took her out of the House of Cao, barely escaped a doomed marriage bound by disaster. If it weren't for ‘that man' she saw before, her heart would not convince her to leave the Cao family.
She wonders where ‘that man' is now. The last she saw him was finishing a contract from Cao Cao on dealing with Lu Bu the scourge of the Han. What's so special about ‘that man' her heart throbbed earlier? She recapped the years before that day. He's from the same province as her. Although, he was mercenary and she was a noble. She often heard gossip from the folks of his selfless heroism, his classy charm, and bravery. There must be more than what the folks depicted him. She saw him across Zhongshan the day she suggests giving her family's grain to the people suffering the famine. He was kind enough to aid them. Her sisters were usually dazed by entertainment, but he was not there to show off. He wanted to support the relief. If her family rather leave the people getting ripped off in town without aid, he would not be there. She would never had known ‘that man' before until they met on the day of her betrothed to the Cao family.
"Could he be on this strange world? If only he were near…" Zhen Ji holds both of her arms together with the feelings of loneliness and discomfort. She ran away from the Cao family willing to search for ‘that man', to be with him. The weight she carried from the Zhen family became too heavy as she learned of who from the Cao family she's betrothed to. Her heart could not accept whom she's getting married to, but the appearance of ‘that man' continue to argue her to leave.
Tracing her previous trail after arriving this world, she ponders where to go. Lost, depressed, and alone, but those feelings within her heart it's the face of ‘that man' fuelled by her untapped courage to survive. However, she's no warrior. She was never raised as one, but her skills in arcane make up for her martial art. Summoning her chi, a blue aura illuminate her body and her left hand filled with watery pearl. As the danger approaches her, she stood firmly, sway from the loneliness in her fate to the hidden courage and will to survive, she prepares to fight.
Those strange monsters she saw earlier tried to track her down. How did she end up here? The last time that happened on her world, she ran away from her marriage to Cao Pi in pursuit of ‘that man'….
Two beasts gazed at her with lust for destruction. They're the filthy of this world she must purifier. Her water magic struck one of the beasts, freezing him. The other beast strife to the right and feint her, but she anticipates this attack by summoning a small pool at the ground which decrease the beast movement. Now widely vulnerable, she leaps to the air channelling all her might on her right leg and thrust him with a cold jump kick. She landed with elegance showing the power of her bare legs and watery aura.
After finishing off the beast she kicked to death, the former emerge out of the frozen ice of her magic fiercely.
"Believe me filthy, I'm just as mad as you are for trying to abduct an innocent girl at her puberty without knowing she's also dangerous! I live in a world just as chaotic as yours!" She prepares to execute her ultimatum.
However, the beast show no sign of insulation. He wants blood. Zhen Ji will drown him in a pool of cleanness. The ground trembles as water geysers and ice sheets shoot through and devoured the last hostile threat. The earth and the water of life rid the filthy. She felt victorious, but until the hollow of being the only human to witness this battle, she returns her pale face to sadness. Where is ‘that man' in her hour of need? The search results with no luck. She was no lady luck; was never a lucky young woman in all her life because of her marriage and her feelings towards ‘that man'. She feared Cao Cao might also be teleported on this world so his men would bring her back. Cao Pi wants her back, not out of love, but her secret inheritance.
Why did she get herself involve on a doomed marriage? She could never understand the true in her heart except meeting Cao Zhi and his mother during the wedding night. Finding ‘that man' was the root of the problem. The chaos, the Han Dynasty, the Cao family, and 'that man', too much weight to carry on her frost burnt heart.
Suddenly, she heard sounds coming towards her. She readied her stance. Could there be more monsters coming or Cao Cao's troops? She felt so guilty involving this chaos all for the sake of finding her true love.
"Who's there?! Show yourself!" Zhen Ji shouted.
A blue aqua haired woman with a strange staff appears. She must be someone who also ended up here. She was dressed in white fur, scantily and tribal judging by her headwear. Is she from the Xiongnu?
"Oh, thank the heavens, you're Han." The aqua haired woman revealed herself to Zhen Ji.
"I am and you don't dress like a Han. Are you Xiongnu?" Zhen Ji asked.
"I choose to marry into the Xiongnu to prevent them from invading the Han for his majesty. Those beasts I heard coming towards here, you fought them I assume?" the woman answered.
Suddenly, the clue gave it away, she did read about a woman who got married into the Xiongnu for the sake of preventing such grave invasion. It improved the relations between the Han Empire and the Xiongnu.
"Wang Zhaojun! I don't believe it! The Wang Zhaojun? The Beauty of Peace?!" Zhen Ji gasped.
"Indeed it is I. You've heard of me?" Wang Zhaojun gave a curious look at the younger lady.
"Everyone knows about you! I was briefly educated in the histories. I exist a few centuries after you passed away. These days, the Xiongnu became relentless.." Zhen Ji shot a frown face.
"So they're still pillaging the Han…" Wang Zhaojun sighed.
"About the Han, My Lady….." Zhen Ji couldn't bear to reopen the huge weight on her burden.
"What about the Han? Did the Xiongnu….?" Before Wang Zhaojun could finish her question, Zhen Ji quickly explained the Xiongnu in her time.
"They haven't conquered Han's soil…yet. But….., oh dear, how did I put myself into that terrible situation," Zhen Ji crossed her arms. She remembers seeing her groom's ambitious nature before she runaway.
"Heaven, forgive me! I was the one who found out about the true ambitions of the Cao family! Would Wang Zhaojun disregard me as a Lady of Han for destroying a nation of 400 years over a marriage?!" Zhen Ji thought.
Another figure who lived during the end of the Han scanned his surroundings. This isn't Jiangdong as he was preparing to burn Cao Cao's armies at Chi Bi. Where is here? And who's responsible for causing such sorcery upon him.
"My assumption could be arcane or something entirely new. Judging by this landscape, this world appeared fertile. Where am I? Who brought me here?" Zhou Yu, the hero of Chi Bi thought heavily to solve an uncharted mystery.
"Young man, are you also being send here by mysterious circumstance? I could use a thinking partner to describe where we're at. Judging from the way you're dressed, you appear oriental," the mysterious elder walked towards him and donned a bow.
Zhou Yu bowed back. He's not sure who this man is, but he's not the culprit that send him here. That would be inconvenience. There are so many questions both of them must find answers to.
"I'm Zhou Yu, my men refer me as Gongjin. Earlier I was preparing for a grand battle in the likes of which my world had never seen until flashes of light emerge and I was ‘here'," Zhou Yu explained how he got here to the elder man.
"I see, a battle. My Lord Liu would be interest to know this battle you speak of," The white haired man appear with a strange eye patch, wearing a black and gold suit with the white mantle on the back.
Suddenly, a name he's familiar with. If by Lord Liu, then Liu Bei must be here. However, he never seen this guy before. He's not Zhuge Liang as Kongming was standing by away from the preparations for the fire attack.
"You spoke of this Lord Liu. Are you from Liu Bei's staff?" Zhou Yu demanded an answer into revealing the mysterious man's affiliation and who he is.
He rubbed his chin looking abit surprised by the young man's response. There's a Liu, but not his Liu.
"I'm speaking of Liu Bang, who will bring peace to this troubled world that Huangdi plagued with his tyranny decades after he unified the middle kingdom," Zhang Liang clarified.
"Liu Bang?! Does that mean this man is….??" Zhou Yu slowly wide his gaze.
"I'm Zhang Liang. My lord calls me Zifeng. You're not one of Xiang Yu's warriors are you not?" Zhang Liang studied his soon to be advisery.
"No I'm not and weren't you supposed to be dead? Did this sorcery send me back four centuries during the Chu-Han contention?" Zhou Yu could no longer use logic to tell what is going on.
"Four centuries? That's a long time, I presume. So this Liu Bei could be one of my lord's descendants correct?" Zhang Liang raised his elbow showing signs of mischief approaching.
"Sigh…where in heaven's name are we…?" Zhou Yu shook his head.
"I'll take that as a yes," Zhang Liang smiled.
"So, the Han suffered from a great rebellion by the peasants. Did they do anything to resolve the people's anger," Wang Zhaojun been asking too many questions and Zhen Ji could not bear to give any easy answer.
"It was a massive rebellion. The Black Mountain Bandits joining them made things even worse. Because the Han Emperor that time put his trust on corrupted officials, everything went unstable until Zhang Jiao orchestrated the rebellion. People started worshipping him like he's a god, but the countless innocent blood, the starved peasants who just wanted fair treatment, and so on. I was just a little girl back then…," Zhen Ji sighed and lay on the grass viewing the strange world before her.
Wang Zhaojun joined with her and they share the same sadness; they barely have any power to change the troubled times.
"I was just a little girl. Noble men gazed at me with malicious interest. My clan's survival was also another thing. I was too young to understand the root of the problem in the chaos," Zhen Ji told her. She returned her eyes at Wang Zhaojun who shown great interest in learning about her life.
"I know the feeling, Lady Zhen. You want to understand the world outside," Wang Zhaojun nodded.
"I was getting married to the Son of Cao Cao, but my heart was not in it…" Wang Zhaojun could hear Lady Zhen choked voice.
"Does he appear handsome?" Wang Zhaojun grinned.
"He's handsome, but that hardly can draw my heart completely to him. Nevertheless, there's plenty of handsome men who sought this goddess body I was born with. He and his father praise my beauty and then there was something amiss…" Zhen Ji wiped the tear off her eyes.
"I see… I didn't marry into the Xiongnu out of love. My heart was with the Han," Wang Zhaojun stated.
This woman was a heroine, Zhen Ji dare not compare herself to Wang Zhaojun. She could not…
Cao Cao's men would be here now if they stayed here too long. She now has someone to talk with and share her difficulties. Zhen Ji got right up intermediately and took Wang Zhaojun's hand taking her by surprise.
"Come, we should leave this place and find a town of sorts or other people like us being put in this world," they both walked to the road throughout the cold terrain preparing an adventure that crosses over their eras.
At the dusky canyon…
He's been in this world for two hours and then get into a meaningless fight with the man he knows only as…
"Xiang Yu, I have no idea where Lady Yu at nor I've ever seen her since…she died! You died, both of you after Liu Bang unified the middle kingdom!" the blue mercenary dodged the ravaging warrior ‘s strikes who towers him in height and remarkable prowess.
"You said you were from Han! Did Liu Bang send you to kidnap Yu Mu to demoralize my army?!" Xiang Yu stopped shortly after the last attack the blue mailed flipped clockwise behind his attacker.
"I would never do such petty methods if I were the commander, Xiang Yu of Chu. I run a mercenary force, a philanthropy to help fight for the people. I'm Zhao Yun of Changshan," Zhao Yun turns around and stood face to face in a glaring contest with the one of the greatest warriors in the past.
"You're a merc. Your skills have some merit, Zhao Yun. So, if you did not take Yu Mu from me, then where could she have been taken?" Xiang Yu readied his long blade, never the one who would easily get acquaint with minions of Han and Liu Bang.
"As I urged earlier, Lord Xiang, I have no clue to the whereabouts of Lady Yu. Believe me, I would never do such a thing if I'm fighting my enemies with honour. Well…not many cared of honour in the battlefield if they use a woman as some sick tool for power…" Zhao Yun frowned.
"Very well, I'll take your word for it. But if you betray me.." Xiang Yu snarled.
"Why would I? We've just met, but I've known you by tales of your courage and bravery. You fought the best of the best including Zhang Liang, Fan Kaui, Cao Shen, Xiahou Ying, Han Xin.." But when the name Han Xian was mentioned, Xiang Yu's menacing glare turned into the look of regret. It's the face of a defeated warlord and not the face of the greatest warrior.
Han Xin had left Xiang Yu to join Liu Bang because Xiang Yu did not pay heed to his talents and advices. Once he joined Liu Bang, Xiang Yu was losing, losing until ‘the betrayal'.
"Enough…I do not wish to know the names of those I've condemned…." Xiang Yu turned around and decide to resume his search for his beloved.
"I know how you died, how you lost the will to fight because of a false cease fire," Zhao Yun sheath his spear on his back and continue watching Xiang Yu pacing left to right.
"I thought Liu Bang and I would finally understand the prolonged war had exhausted the people. It took me long enough to come to my sense. My men were exhausted…and soon…" Xiang Yu thrust his sword down to the ground hard.
"All forms of war require deception. Liu Bang took advantage of that to unify the land. But your merits were not forgotten," Zhao Yun urged.
"What's good of knowing a man Heaven had abandoned?! I'm nothing anymore…but I still have my beloved Yu. I must get her back!" Xiang Yu shot back at Zhao Yun.
Zhao Yun slowly came closer to the Chu warrior and bowed genuinely. Since this man had lost his love, the young man with the nickname Zilong is willing to help this warrior get her back.
"Please allow me to help you find Lady Yu?" Zhao Yun, the selfless hero of righteousness will do anything to help those that needed saving.
"Stand up. I'm no King. I will accept your offer to help," Xiang Yu crossed his arms starting at this man's plead.
Zhao Yun got up and showed him the troops in his mercenary company, "These men fought with me across the land helping the weak and hopeless."
Xiang Yu scanned the men in Zhao Yun's army, they were all mixed of peasants and former military officials. Some unmarried, some were. They are willing to sacrifice for the sake of the people.
"They're strong…" Xiang Yu whispered.
Later, Zhen Ji and Wang Zhaojun travel through the road they walked together, they talk about culture in their eras and the war during Zhen Ji's time. When Zhen Ji stopped the conversation, she thought about her marriage.
Wang Zhaojun looks at her with concerns. They've been getting more acquaint to the point of forming an unbreakable bond. But, there's one thing that still bothers Lady Zhen.
“This may come as preposterous, but I hate myself. I hate myself for being a lovesick fool. The man I married, my heart was not completely with it. He was never what I expect him out to be the first time I tried to unmask him…however, I took the burden of ‘loving' him until I ended up here,” Zhen Ji said.
Wang Zhaojun came closer and placed her hand on Zhen's shoulder, "Love can be a flaw."
"Everyone thinks I'm flawless due to my beauty, but I'm not. I sought after fool's gold and not seen through the mirror. I've misjudged a man for his words, but not his heart. There's such darkness in Cao Cao's son, I can't quite comprehend want I've just witnesses beyond that, but I did tell him,I would die for him. How foolish of me. Heaven has a way to make women fools in blind love. However, during my stay, I thought about another man. A man I could never have…" Zhen Ji whined.
“Oh?” Wang Zhaojun blinked.
"Lady Wang, have you seen a man in blue attire with a dragon's emblem on that mail's shoulder? He appears as handsome as the man I've married," Zhen Ji told her.
Wang Zhaojun shook her head, "No, I have not encountered this man you're referring to."
Zhen Ji gave a long exhaling breath from her depression. She still mutters to herself with words like ‘Luo, you're such lovesick fool' and ‘hopeless tramp'. She ended up falling in love with the wrong man. Now she's trying to escape from that terrible mistake...