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|More from Sep0815||Adventure||PG-13||None yet||~fortnightly|
|Of Peasants and Royals|
Of Peasants and Royals is the twenty-ninth chapter of's .
Previously in A Tale of Rebels
Senqok, Kabura, Ranju and Kanyzon, and Noki, Skado, Zoruka and Shizon, respectively, decide to bring down Yi Ming once and for all. Anyang advances on the Southern Air Temple. Kanyzon denies a peace dictated by Yi Ming. The Avatar, at last, takes action and frees the aforementioned, minus Kanyzon, who is taken to a trial before Yi Ming's tribunal.
Chapter 29: Of Peasants and Royals
"Wait, hold on a second, stop, shut up, what is going on?" All of sudden, Noki stopped in her tracks. For a good hour or more had they tunnelled through the underground of the Fire Nation Capital, and long since resigned from light.
"Huh? What do you mean?" inquired Skado, halting only millimetres before running into her.
"There's a mass of people above, running about and—" Noki felt the earth around her, and thus came to her conclusion. However, at the same time, Shizon was about to ram into Skado, thus she exclaimed, "WATCH IT, BASTARD! Oh, wait. Heh."
"Very funny, Noki," responded Shizon the very second he would've impaled himself with Senqok's sword, had it not been sheathed, for its pommel touched Skado's back, thus ramming the scabbard into Shizon's stomach. He fell, his knees catching him, and grunted, once he had enough air for it again, "Dammit..."
"You're not as clumsy in—" began Zoruka to state, stopping her advance when she heard his grunt. "Nevermind."
"SHUT UP YOU BASTARDS!" Noki effectively silenced them all. She kicked the ground with her bare heel and, after a few seconds, declared, "'Tis the square. Masses of people gathered there, we ought to be careful."
She spun around and walked over and past her two fallen and one standing companions, and, after a few metres, came to yet another unexpected halt. She struck upwards, vanishing with a rock pillar, only to re-emerge when she struck part of the tunnel's ceiling down, and revealed herself on the outside. The little light the hole, circular in form and perhaps a metre across, let in blinded the three still inside. Skado was the only one somewhat used to such, and thus adapted quickly, and also was quick to approach Noki, who aided him on his way up. When he, carrying his own notes and contraptions as well as equipment, original and additional, for their other companions, had arrived on the surface, the others had not as much as moved, Noki took it for a sign and caved in yet another part of the tunnel, sending more light into it. Finally, the two stirred, and came, to be aided upwards. Zoruka, in her armour, now also accompanied by fitting gauntlets, to hide the burnt ruin her hands were, and a cloak, was first to ascend, while Shizon took longer, and was the only one to voice concerns.
"Won't we be seen? And executed, eventually? I mean, we can't just waltz in the open and think ourselves invincible and—"
"Yes, yes we can do so, we did so, and we will do so again. Especially since this is an abandoned house," Noki explained passively-aggressively, then demanding, "Now come up you lazy bastard."
Shizon complied and, even though carrying weaponry and alike equipment for their other companions, made it up, though taking considerably longer than Skado, earning himself several insults, meant playfully, but spoken seriously.
"Now what?" he inquired, short of breath.
"Now, we, or better even, us two— " Noki yanked Skado's arm free of his burdens, and his other arm " —search for the others while you wait. And no shagging in the meantime."
"Won't we stand out and be thrown right back into the dungeons?" Kabura was insecure about the way the Avatar urged them to take.
"I couldn't think of a better rendezvous point than the square in the little time I had," he defended himself.
"Rendezvous point. Guess why it's called a point." Ranju earned herself a slight chuckle, but herself didn't move her lips but to speak. "So, we, what now, search them on the second biggest paved square in existence? While, may I add, being under the imminent danger of recapture, or death."
"My plan was thrown together hastily, not planned, I must apologise, but I doubt a few more prisoners will stand out." He waved over the entire area. "See."
Simple tunics and alike were worn everywhere, all in a state that would suggest either poverty, or imprisonment, even without the imprinted characters saying "prisoner" on their backs. Prisoners mingled with soldiers still in uniform, though the distinction was difficult at times, people of all four nations mingled and gathered in the square. All four taking a deep breath, Ranju, Senqok, Kabura and the Avatar stepped outside the alley they had been hiding in and hurried into the massive area, one single plain of dark, volcanic rock, which could cook those standing upon it, figuratively of course. They hurried to get to the other side, an endeavour which, even without a mass of people in their way, would've taken them about ten minutes. With the masses, it was near impossible to make one's way anywhere, anywhere but the centre of the square, where a platform had its place, the flags of the Fire Nation and the Earth Empire flying high, lower the flags of both Water Tribes. And in their midst, Senqok glimpsed gallows, and around, tents being built to shelter the platform, seats and tables brought there. Kabura had to drag him with her as to get forward. They wound through between the people, no Earth Empire soldier as much as wasting a thought on them, and saw that the soldiers and prisoners only formed the core of the crowd, indeed, the once evacuated inhabitants of the City had come back, forced back, or howsoever found their way back to their home. They were already well past the centre, the other side seeming within their grasp, when all of sudden, they were sunk into the stone beneath them, their entire feet submerged. When not even the Avatar could free himself from the rocky grasp, only one thought ran through Senqok's mind, Fuck.
"There you are!" These words would've sent shivers down his spine, and make his heart burn with hatred, had they been spoken by an Earth Empire soldier instead of Noki. "C'mon, follow us. We've got some gifts for you."
"A greeting would've been nice," marked Senqok, and once released of the grasp, asked her, "Also, do you mean gifts or merely returning us our own property?"
"Both." Skado was nervous to show himself, and rightly so, for he wore his Liberation Alliance armour, but not because their faces were already widely known in half the world, especially amongst the Earth Empire army.
"Shall we go now or negotiate?" urged them Ranju, her expression seemingly turning even the almost melting stone of the square cold. After only a second, it had made even Noki, despite her lack of sight, uncomfortable, thus making her lead them through the ever growing crowd, each and every one in it standing, transfixed by what was going to occur in the square's centre. Noki's and Ranju's subtle bending moves cleared a way for them in no time, and within a few minutes, they had arrived at the abandoned house. Noki, Skado, Ranju, Senqok and Kabura entered, before the latter slammed the door shut, right into the Avatar's face.
"Bastards! How I despise seeing you again!" proclaimed Zoruka with a hint of sarcasm, before she handed each of the three their respective garments, plus additional ones – Kabura received a brigandine, Senqok armour for his knees, shoulders and elbows, made from boiled leather, and a light hauberk for Ranju. Quickly and skilfully, the three disrobed and donned the aforementioned, before Shizon handed Senqok his sword and water skin, the latter, only twice, also to Kabura, and her staff to Ranju.
"Now, does anyone have dire need of healing?" Kabura looked around and waited, and when no one raised their voice, she made her way to the door.
"Wait, Zoruka— " began Shizon, when the woman he spoke of cut him off.
Kabura took the obvious hint, and ordered, "Senqok, Noki, take Zoruka. I need to know—"
"Fine!" surrendered Zoruka, casting her gauntlets before herself, revealing the dry, reddish, and partially black ruin of her hands. "Here you go. Good luck with that."
Everyone turned away from the sight, except Kabura, and curiosity made the others look as well, though in disgust, and close to retching. Kabura approached Zoruka and took her right hand, examining it closely. Her brows furrowed as she took the other hand with the same intention, and laid both of them down. Finally, she diagnosed, "These are the heaviest burns I've ever seen on a survivor." She gave Zoruka her gauntlets back. "What did you do?"
"I was a human meteorite," answered her Zoruka, truthfully in fact. She felt slight shame, and didn't contain it, not in front of her friends.
"Well... I'd have to remove the burnt layers, all of them, and heal then, and the blood loss during it would likely kill you, or, if you were to survive, you likely couldn't move your fingers, at the very least." She left a pause, and continued only after she knew everyone had comprehended it. "Thus, if you can move your fingers without pain, and it doesn't rub off, I'll let it be the way it is."
"All right." Zoruka was relieved, she found, especially since they had things of greater importance to attend to. She stood up again from her sitting position, and suddenly, a scroll caught her eye. She took it from the pile of clothes Senqok had worn, and opened it. "Oh, dear spirits! Would you look at that!"
"Huh?" Senqok and Shizon shared their reaction, while the others gathered around. Senqok was about to dismiss the matter, when he noticed what scroll it was. "Shizon! You do realise you are Kanyzon's brother? No? Well, you are. If not by blood, then by law. Also, you're his sole heir now. In other words, you'll be Fire Lord in a few hours."
"What." Shizon's face was blank, his jaw dropped. "You. What. Mate?"
"You heard correctly," affirmed him Zoruka, who nodded with a reassuring smile, and then led him by his hand. "Now come, we may yet delay your coronation."
And with that, they stepped outside, armoured and armed, determined to attempt a rescue, and an assassination.
The hungry, loathing, disgusted looks they received was by far not all that made Anyang nervous. There was also the growing doubt his own followers had in him, and also, of course, possibility of being attacked at any time. His brother's followers were dozens, hundreds, if not thousands. None were missing, Anyang was sure. And none attacked, which surprised him, but then again, considering his brother's logic, it didn't. Step by step, he got closer to the confrontation that might've ended this reign of terror that divided his people, closer to a confrontation he was unsure whether he'd survive it. He brushed the thought aside and focussed on his surroundings, where the rocky, uneven path hewn into the mountainside had long since become a cobbled one, even and broad, and lined by people who despised him and his followers. Their hatred he didn't mind, but their constant, following gazes were another story. As if to complete his uneasiness, his discomfort, he glimpsed his brother, a man whom fit the designation mad tyrant far better, awaiting his arrival at the entrance to a hallway beyond which was something of such importance that his sole presence was an insult to their traditions.
"Welcome, dear brother!" The words were warm, but the voice colder than any ice as Dalit approached his younger brother, and even attempted to lay his hand on Anyang's shoulder, but it was held off. "I've been awaiting you since our last meeting, and I must say I'm glad you came thus early!"
"Do yourself a favour and make this quick." Anyang narrowed his eyes at the madman, who only grinned and turned away.
"Always so direct, brother, it seems father's earthbending side is showing." He stopped his slight chuckling, grinning, and pacing around, and turned to Anyang. "That, or you spent too much time with earthbending traitors and rebels."
"Says the greatest traitor of our time." When he felt all looks on him, he continued, without any expression. "You did not only forsake our traditions and way of life for a more... fitting one, but also did you take them, and cast them into mud, only to kick them. You spit, shit, piss on them. And someone like you stands on the entrance to the sanctum, or near enough."
"Oh, come on, you know our traditions made this nation weak, vulnerable, and limited it in every possible way." The tyrant sighed. "They were hindrance, and hindrances are nought to take pride in. You yourself, dear brother, forsook this way of life in exchange for another one."
"Yes," admitted Anyang. "I killed, I kill, and I likely will kill again. But I do it for its my duty to kill. I take no joy in it, every time makes me wish I wouldn't have to do it." He paused. "Whereas you, Dalit, kill for the joy you feel, for the power it gives you. You love killing, I despise it. The difference is made by the motivation. It stays unethical, yes, but not as unethical."
Rolling his eyes, Dalit took his time preparing for his comeback. "You see what my ambition has given me? What my power has given me? Air is the supreme element, all have to breathe, and you want not to acknowledge that and use our bending for some petty sports and spiritual shite? No, dear brother, NO!"
"Air? Supreme element?" For a split second, Anyang's act of being positively surprised was believed, but then, the audience took his meaning. "As is water, for all must drink. And earth, for all must walk. And fire, for it is always available. There is a reason for balance between the nations, and it does have to prolong, or rather, be restored. And in a world of balance, you have no place."
"I see. So you want me to believe there is meant to be balance?" Dalit shook his head with a playful smile. "You want me to believe in restricting morals? In highly obsolete traditions which would throw away the gift of bending?" His smile vanished. "NO!"
"I came here to do my duty. I fight, like you, for what I believe in. My duty is what I believe in, my duty to the world, to my people. I am not one of them, merely one who takes their burden." Anyang extended his index finger and pointed it at Dalit. "YOU – now, you only seek power, joy, nothing in any way selfless. You see, I came here to talk to you, in the misplaced hope I could still somehow convince you. But alas, I must do my duty, like many times before. I will take no joy in it."
"Kill me? Ha!" Dalit's cackling laughter echoed through the entire temple. "You don't stand a chance!"
"I've seen more battles than you. I've fought airbenders, I've fought waterbenders, earthbenders, and I've fought firebenders, and I picked up a thing or two. Don't underestimate me," warned him Anyang. "I challenge you to a duel, Dalit. To the death. Right now, right here, just us two. For the sake of the Air Nomads."
"Aye then." Something about the smile Dalit donned made Anyang doubt his statement.
"Please, Your Majesty, for your own and your nation's sake, confess." The Fire Sage tugged Kanyzon's robes, and the latter merely shot him a disapproving look. "Confess, and accept his peace."
"A flame flickers, it goes out, but it does not bow. I will not confess a crime I did not commit, I will not accept a peace I did not have a word in." Kanyzon walked past the man he once would've become, and up on the platform. The Fire Sages, minus the one who had confronted him and who had yet to take his seat, sat in a semi-circle, as judges, at either end of their table, the seats of the defendant and the prosecutor, respectively. With a sigh as loud as possible, Kanyzon took his seat, and narrowed his eyes when he saw Yi Ming was present already. And here goes my life... was all Kanyzon thought, cynically, when he had seen the Earth Emperor.
The Fire Sage whose advice Kanyzon had refused took his seat, only to stand up once more, obviously to his dislike, and murmured a few words no one seemed to hear or understand, and sat down again. After the entire crowd, Fire Nation citizens, prisoners of war, Earth Empire soldiers all alike, had fallen silent, which took several minutes, Yi Ming stood suddenly. Cheers met him, but with a swipe of his hand they died down.
"I have come here before you, O Fire Sages, to accuse this man, His Majesty the Fire Lord, by the name of Kanyzon, of one of the most grievous crime known to the civilised world – treason. Betrayal. Treachery." His ancient body shook, and for a brief moment, Kanyzon smiled, after all, it showed Yi Ming, too, was aging. The previously factual tone of Yi Ming's all too slowly shifted into an emotional, theatrical one. "Many years back, when the armies of Ba Sing Se, under my banner, conquered the rebels of Taku, the rightful Fire Lord, then of the Liang Dynasty, sent an envoy to my camp, requesting an alliance, so that no rebel may take what was rightfully his. The decade-long revolt of Gaoling I put down too, and the alliance remained. Omashu I returned to the fold of the Empire, and if anything, the alliance not only remained, it became stronger, it became a bond. With each new Fire Lord, the alliance was renewed. As the Empire saw its first golden age, and thus, prosperity, wealth, peace, the Fire Nation shrunk, despite our best diplomatic efforts. But then, the Fire Lord made a minor mistake – making this man the second most powerful man in the Fire Nation! And what did this man, Kanyzon, do with his newly found power?" He paused. In the crowd's centre, a stir began – too much had Kanyzon done for them for them to accept such insults. "He extended his reign of terror over the entire Fire Nation, over this entire archipelago! That would have been enough reason to attack, but I am a generous man, and offered him to renew the alliance his rightful predecessors had forged, but the fool refused, and instead, insolent as he had always been, and vile, he aligned himself with the terrorists of Omashu, Taku, Gaoling, and invaded our great Empire! We defeated them multiple times, yes, but the crimes he committed are not paid for!" He turned to the Fire Sages and suddenly returned to his factual tone, "Thus, I would like to accuse him of treason of his own overlord, breach of alliance and treaty, treason of his own nation."
"What does the defendant say of these accusations?" The first time the Fire Sage could be heard clear and loud was one time too much, in fact, especially with the croaky voice he possessed.
With a sigh, Kanyzon stood, put his right hand behind his back, and clenched a fist with the other, which he held up. "A flame flickers, a flame may go out, but a flame never bows. Just so that is clear," he began, "Your accusations, er, are based on the assumption that your treaty was with the nation, which, uh, was more or less non-existent at the time the treaty was signed. Indeed, the treaty was, as you yourself spoke, Your Majesty, one between you and the de jure Fire Lords of the Liang Dynasty. A dynasty I am not part of." He paused to gather his thoughts. "Your other accusation is based on their rightfulness as Fire Lords. In fact, I am part of an older dynasty, through an uninterrupted female line. I am part of the dynasty that founded my nation, unlike you, Your Majesty, who you are a mere peasant's son." The way he spoke these words, almost casual, made them almost unheard. Almost, anyway. "I was appointed to my office as the Lord of Huang March for the same reason you were made General, Your Majesty, minus the accompanying intrigue – competence. I fought for a united Fire Nation, but saw the current Fire Lord was a fool, and decided to use my claim, a stronger one than his, for his is based on a usurper. Thus, a righteous rebellion, so to say." He paused to wipe the sweat from his forehead. For the first time in his life, he felt truly hot. "I did not break any treaty, for I had none with you. I did not rebel against my overlord, I defended my rightful claim."
"And about the accusation of treason of the Fire Nation?" inquired one of the Fire Sages.
"Well, uh... " Kanyzon scratched his head, when he glimpsed a few familiar faces. "When Your Majesty believes I committed this crime escapes me. All I did was reunite it, nothing different from what you did, except I was willingly joined by many, and was not forced to commit atrocities such as the Wedding of Omashu."
"I was referring to your refusal of my generous peace," Yi Ming stated matter-of-factly.
"Euphemisms, euphemisms everywhere," stated Kanyzon, shaking his head. "I refuse my country peace as long as these are the conditions. Status quo ante bellum is the least we would accept. Why? A flame flickers, goes out, but does not bow."
"In other words, you are a mere fool," uttered Yi Ming, earning disapproval from the crowd. His soldiers separated themselves from the rest and surrounded them.
"In other words, you have no right to rule your country, tyrant, peasant, fool," shot Kanyzon back, standing up.
"I don't have to take this." Yi Ming, too stood up, and turned to walk away. "This is taking too long. Soldiers, hang him."
"You dare, tyrant, YOU DARE!?" Kanyzon walked up to Yi Ming, or almost anyway, and pointed at him. "I CHALLENGE YOU TO A DUEL! RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW! STAY AND FIGHT LIKE THE SOLDIER THEY ALL SAY YOU ARE!"
Yi Ming turned around. "All right then." He cracked his knuckled and shifted into bending stance. "Fuck the trial, I'll do it myself."
"BRING IT ON!" Kanyzon charged.
With the upwards thrust of his arms, Yi Ming brought up the ground, replacing the wood planks of the platform with scorching hot rock. Kanyzon charged at him, not unlike a meteor, and alike was his impact in Yi Ming's wall, risen with the rest of the ground. The Fire Lord burst through with a beastly roar of flame, something that took Yi Ming by surprise. So I am getting old, after all... was all the Earth Emperor thought as he struck forward with his fist, meeting Kanyzon's flaming arm with a rock gauntlet, from the sound and look of it breaking bones of the former, or at least contusing some of the joints. Kanyzon's arm retreated instantly, as did the Fire Lord overall, leaping on Yi Ming's wall backwards. Yi Ming, starting his counter-offensive, raised columns and cut them into slabs, knocking one of the fleeing Fire Sages over in the process. The slabs he then sent flying towards wherever he suspected Kanyzon, but to no avail, for the Fire Lord produced from his palms a stream of flame that made the rocks burst, which proved too exhausting for him to continue.
Using the time his opponent required to raise pillars and break them, Kanyzon changed his position, and began circling his arms, index and middle finger outstretched, separating energies, tracing electricity after his fingers. Finally, after a mere second of preparation, he shot the bolt at Yi Ming. Unintendedly well-timed was Yi Ming's first strike of slabs, for the lightning struck a rock slab instead of him. Kanyzon used the smoke and dust from the exploding slab to launch himself atop one of Yi Ming's pillars, and shot another lightning. Yi Ming, however, had registered his movement too early, and collapsed the pillar. The bolt of electricity shot into the clear sky, making, for a split second, the sun seem dark, and the sounds of the previous day's battle silent. Kanyzon was still agile, other than Yi Ming, and jumped on his feet to dance between the Earth Emperor's further strikes with the grace of an airbender. The Fire Lord's opponent, however, was tired of shooting rock slabs at the alleged rebel and traitor, and sent an earth line of a speed not seen before, indeed sending Kanyzon to the ground.
Grunting, the Fire Lord rose to his feet again, and formed fists. Punching forward constantly, he sent a fiery rain upon his opponent, which made the wall the latter put up to fend these off start melting, when Yi Ming tunnelled himself out of harm's way. He reemerged with an earth armour, and although sweating heavily, approached Kanyzon and, by simply forcing him to the ground, simply by grasping his hands and forcing them down palms up. Yi Ming let go of his armour and prepared for his final strike, when a stream of fire hit him in the chest. Like a dragon, the Fire Lord breathed fire, not only setting his adversary's garments on fire, but also releasing him for his iron grip. Free once more, Kanyzon used the time Yi Ming used to extinguish the flames to get as much distance between the two of them as possible. Yi Ming rose again, dusting himself off and turned as he heard a strange crackling he knew he had heard in this duel already, but it was too late – this time, the lightning struck him.
Kanyzon approached the fallen body as, after initial cheers from the crowd, the utter silence deafened him. To be sure of his foe's demise, once more he let sparks dance from his fingertips. During this, he saw Yi Ming's eyes flash open, but it was too late – with an upwards strike of his fist, a rock column impaled him, from his arse upwards, jutting out of his chest. The electricity already built up escaped into the ground through his ruined body, and Yi Ming rose, seemingly unharmed. He dusted himself off, and readjusted his now messy, white hair. Had his alleged, and mayhaps actual death only seconds prior silenced the entire square, the atrocious impalement made previous stirs a riot. Prisoners and Fire Nation citizens fought Yi Ming's soldiers, trampled them and each other, and after a split second, it all was chaos. Well done, was all the impaler could think of his action, bloody well done, bastard.
"What did you say about delaying it?" was Zoruka asked by Noki, out of all.
Answer, she received none – too drawn in were her comrades by the gruesome scenery. Expressions went blank and jaws dropped, disbelief, fury and pain took the place of the briefly restored hope. It was not long before the masses stirred, panicked, begin to riot. It was shocking for them, and unacceptable, but it didn't strike them like it did Noki, Zoruka, Shizon, Senqok, Ranju and Kabura, for they had known the man, and not only what he stood for. The riot took them by surprise. The surge of people of all nations and stations was something that tore them apart from each other, like the surge of waves in a rough wind. Then, at last, they began to sense their surroundings again.
"Kabura! Shizon! Noki! Zoruka! Ranju! Skado!" Senqok's voice could be heard calling over many cries of horror and insults.
"SENQOK!?" called out Noki, just to find out his position. When he answered with an unarticulated grunt, she tunnelled right to him. "And now?"
"I've no idea!" cried the Water Tribesman back. "KABURA! SHIZON! ZORUKA! RAN—" his voice dropped to an ordinary one rather than a cry, "—Ranju?"
"Don't wonder, I could take off before I was trampled," was all the answer she delivered before whispering something into Noki's ear, to which the earthbender nodded. The latter stomped her foot repeatedly to find their comrade's locations, and bound them to the ground as she found them, while Ranju picked them up and carried them to Senqok and Noki. After two full minutes, which felt like hours, they all had gathered, even the Avatar had found his way.
"And now?" inquired a visibly despairing Zoruka.
"We need to stop Yi Ming, or better even, eliminate him," thought the Avatar aloud, and pondered on, but silently, as his speech was interrupted.
"Oh, you don't say," came Shizon's sarcastic comment.
"Huh? Oh, why, yes." The comment had also ripped the Avatar from his thoughts. "But his army is staunchly loyal to him, not their country, and we'll be dead in no time, and nothing saved. We need to eliminate them too."
In these seconds, a plan took form in Senqok's still somewhat naive mind. "You get out of here and organise a defence, sink their fleet when they take to the sea or something. I stay back and take him down."
"Oh no, you don't." Kabura was more worried about him, and angrier with him than she had ever been before, even though her choice of words let only her anger shine through.
"Why not? It's a suicide mission either way," Senqok stated, knowing he was not entirely wrong.
"You think I want to live without you? You think I'd rather choose knowing of your death and living with it if I can live out the rest of my short life with you?" Kabura had a feeling what she spoke wouldn't make any sense to the others, but indeed, she was met understanding. Although visibly disapproving, Senqok nodded.
When she moved to join him and they parted from the others, however, a hand on her shoulder held her back. To her surprise, she saw Ranju. "Don't go. You are needed elsewhere." The airbender shot her a consoling glance, and continued, "You wouldn't want Senqok to die without achieving anything, just because of his rage over harm done to you." Ranju hurried after Senqok, through the slowly clearing square, "You few can take care of yourselves, but he is too fickle, and I won't leave any of you to die."
And so, the rebels parted, for one last time.
Notes and Trivia
- And in this chapter, ladies and gentlemen, we see the slightly obvious influence of Vlad III. the Impaler, Prince of Wallachia on the character of Yi Ming.
For the collective works of the author, go here.