DomiSotto Posted August 4, 2016 Share Posted August 4, 2016 1. A Cliff-plunger. Yes, I too would have loved to start this story from the very beginning, except I can’t. I don’t know where or when I was born, because my parents presumably dropped me off at the Hongmoon Monastery as soon as they could swaddle me and stuff the resulting bundle into that old basket they did not really need, but did not feel like throwing away either. Who could blame them? A baby boy is no joy in our world where it’s impossible for a man to get ahead. Look at Yun. They did away with men altogether, and I doubt the Three Races will be far behind. Women, they have it all, those bouncy bosoms, insane killing powers and they don’t even have to spend gold on dressing up, because it’s apparently improper for us to go without pants, but for them… eh…. Hey, I’d be rich too if I did not have to buy pants, and wash them all the time. As it happens, when it all started, I was just getting into my slightly wet uniform. The spring nights were still dump and cold, and the laundry did not quite dry out. You think Master Hong would spare two uniforms per student? Ah, no, no. They've barely had enough fabric and already had to make do with only three bows per.... Master Hong, by the way, is the head of the Monastery, and the benefactor who found the basket my parents did not want all that much. Yours truly, whom they did not want at all, included. He ran a tight school for kids with no prospects except to maybe hire out as mercenaries later in life. Hence, the creative moniker, the Hongmoon Monastery. Of course it was all prettied up with a Hongmoon Code of Honor and the like, as if we were destined for something other than cannon fodder for the rich and powerful. Need I add “women”? Empresses, princesses, sorceresses, bandit queens… I don’t think I’ve managed to dodge a single hot babe that aimed to grind anyone who opposed her into dust in the course of my certain to be tragically short life. But I digress. Do strain your imagination and short-term memory once more. The Hongmoon Monastery on a spring morning, dump uniforms right off the clothesline, idyllic landscape all around. I, a lanky young man, with dark hair of the length and style that just hints at rebellion, and troubled eyes, was on my way to get thrashed by Lusung, the star pupil, as instructed. That’s what we’ve called training in the ancient and noble martial arts. Why Master Hong wanted me to spar with Lusung, I am not certain, but he was not feeling well (Hong, not the smug brute Lusung), so might be he (again, Hong, not Lusung) mistook me for someone else (Lusung won’t know me from the next training dummy. That’s why he calls everyone ‘cricket’ pretending it’s an endearing moniker). Actually, the more I think on it, the more I believe my Master was confused in his dotage because he also told me that I was chosen to inherit the Hongmoon School’s Secret (as well as noble and ancient) Arts from him. But that was before breakfast, so my mind mostly grappled with the training with Lusung part. In a short while, Lusung beat me up, and sent me right back with an insufferable smirk and congratulations on my being the Chosen Hongmoon Student. I comforted myself with a fantasy that I might have heard his nail break while we were sparring. For the Master Hong's knowledge transfer part, I've decided that his spell of sudden affection for me would pass (seeing I am no killing machine or a woman), and I could return the dusty scroll case (empty) that he’d bestowed upon me after supper or thereabouts. A single bronze coin would have been more useful than the scroll-case, but... well, it does not matter now. The slow progress and reflections were rudely interrupted by a cacophony of violence. The explosions and fire-lightning-instant-painful-death sort of flashy stuff was provided by two dames of magnificent proportions with predisposition for world domination and an apparent personal hatred for Master Hong thrown in. I gleaned that from the fact he was dead. I guess the hatred ran deep, because then the witches went after my fellows. They’ve all effortlessly flowed through their very best blocks and parries, and did a bunch of planting face first in the dirt for their efforts. The buildings collapsed and went up in flames. The birds shut up and the butterflies flap-flick-flapped away. I’ve straightened up from a very respectable defensive crouch and resolutely awaited my turn to chew mud. If you are me, you don’t get to eat dirt and choke on ashes when two bitches bursting out of the skin-tight black whatever-you-call-its burn down your home. No, no, you get to drown. You also get a curse chasing you down the cliffs towards the roaring waves. In a form of a purple flower with leaves and a stem and some sort of a sickly bud. An overkill, but what can I say? I am just that lucky. Take it from me, the vast quantities of cold salty water rushing down your gasping mouth towards your burning lungs, tend to make the details hazy. But I remembered the eyes of the curse-caster. Cold, light purple, elongated pupils, not entirely of this world. Definitely not the baby blue ones, rounded in a permanent astonishment that stared down at me as I came to. A narrow cot. The astonished eyes. Another girl. Trouble. Lots of trouble…. I thought the wisest course of action would be to pass out again, but she shook my shoulder quite expertly, and said: “Hello, I am Namsoyoo.” The way she annunciated it, she was used to men going unfocused at the sight of her. Like I’ve said, trouble. Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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