༺ XXIV ༻

78 14 3

꧁༺࿅ིཽ• -- •❈• -- •࿅ིཽ༻꧂

⊹⊱ Liwei ⊰⊹

     Shangzihua became drenched in thick miasma, its purple smog snaked around every house and crawled up the paths like a demon's claw. Anguished cries echoed into the distance, a sign that things were quickly turning for the worse. Various ominous, smoky orbs of violet blanketed the ground before they were assimilated into the dark miasmic cloud.

Green light flickered across the darkened skies and there was a loud rumble powerful enough to shake the trees to their very roots. Powerful gusts of wind whipped against the huts, as leaves, twigs, and dirt flew up into the air.

"Liwei!" someone called my name.

I turned around with a hand held up to my face to prevent dust from blowing into my eyes. A flash of blue feathers crossed my vision and for a moment, I felt some relief wash over me. "Jing-Wei! What are you doing here? You should have flown ahead to Echodia with Guanyu and the rest of the guard!" I hollered over the harsh winds.

"The dragons are safe in Echodia. Guanyu and the King's Guard are just ten flaps behind me! You really should get better guards; they cannot keep up with a small bird like me!" The corners of her lips turned up in her usual playful smile. It was not uncharacteristic of her to find amusement in the moments as strenuous as this.

"I suppose I should have a word with Guanyu!" I replied, returning her humor. Looking past the huts and into the mountains, I added, "Mingxia's parents aren't here! I fear that there are greater demons just past Húlí Falls and this attack is nothing more than just a distraction."

Jing-Wei cocked her head to the side, as if listening for something. I knew then that she was trying to ignore the noise directly around her and listen further off into the distance. Her right ear slightly twitched, presumably from picking something up.

"What is it?"

"You must hurry! The kitsune may not be able to hold off the demons for long! The ones who were sealed within Xesal have been released and now they wreak havoc among the peaceful yaoguai."

"I will leave you to it then! Tell Guanyu that we will meet once again in Echodia."

"At your command," she replied with a proud smile and bow. She turned around and removed the katana that was sheathed at her waist. The blade emitted a bright light, forcing the displeased spirits back for a moment. Was she intending to purify all of Shangzihua?

Turning around, I flew up in the air in the opposite direction, heading directly towards Húlí Falls. The scent of iron filled the air, I drove myself to fly faster, harder, so I could reach them in time. I could only hope that I could get there before anyone got injured.

Amongst the pine trees was the malevolent Tiger. His orange pelt was stained with the blood of the kitsune, appearing like passionfruit. Weighing at 300 kilograms, he was the largest of his kind. His muscles rippled against his pelt as he stalked down the last of his prey.

I swooped low, attempting to strike him with my talons but he swiftly dodged out of the way. He bared his canines at me, growling low in warning. "If it isn't the wyrmling Emperor. How nice of you to join us."

"How are you here, Tiger?" I snarled at him. "Last I checked, my Father left you to rot in Xesal."

"And as I told your father, there is no cage strong enough to hold Tiger. You will have to do better than your old man if you wish to defeat me. And you best do it quickly because I am still quite famished despite feasting upon these wretched nogitsune."

A Celestial Requiem (Book 1, The Secrets of Tarot series) ✔Where stories live. Discover now