Yang Jie was always a man who went by the book. He preferred rules and orders unlike his counterpart, the-one-he-shall-not-mention, who liked to break them like a morning tea session. General Yang, on the other hand, abhorred unpredictability. Without control, life would be problematic, especially among the newly arrived Suitors from the day before. Yang Jie had made it his mission to host with utmost care, primarily because the reputation of Ghost Tribe was on the line. Although General Yang did not enjoy the number of outsiders in the mix for his Queen, he would tolerate even the vilest personalities. Yang Jie was not surprised when he found out about the banquet brawl, which had broken out the night before.
However, what was done, was done. Today was another day, and this time General Zhao Yan would be in charge of the Horse Race Competition, leaving Yang Jie the opportunity to focus on other important tasks that required his attention. Tasks that were ignored by his unreliable partner, Hu Wan. While everyone was busy making preparations since dawn, General Hu was still enjoying his massive morning breakfast, which had not ceased. It didn’t matter. Yang Jie was used to picking up after General Hu.
The Guests had all selected the most prized, well-bred horses of the Ghost Realm as their mount. As the Suitors left their stations to inspect their horses at the starting point, the Ghost Queen had also left her royal throne with her weapon. Her red dress magically transformed into riding gear as she reached the bottom of the steps.
“Xiu Tao, bring me my horse,” the Ghost Queen ordered her right-hand warrior.
“Yes, Your Majesty,” Xiu Tao bowed.
“Your Majesty,” Yang Jie called out, as he left his seat and rushed to her side, “where are you going?”
“It’s first competition, isn’t it?” the Ghost Queen asked in a matter of fact tone.
As the understanding dawned upon hin, General Yang felt a shudder beginning to rise. “Your Majesty, you… you’re competing?”
“I didn’t see any regulation that said that I couldn’t compete,” Her Majesty answered with a shrug. The mischief in her eyes was undeniable.
“But...but this is for your hand...,” General Yang stammered.
“I have to choose a man in the end, right? The competition has no regard as to who wins or loses. How do I know that they will play fair, if I am not in the field?” the Ghost Queen asked.
“But General Zhao is overseeing the competition. As the Baize Beast, the man has nine eyes. There’s no reason for you to join the suitors,” Yang Jie tried to reason, as dread coursed through his body. “Please, Your Majesty! This is unseemly.”
“Now you sound like a Celestial, General Yang,” Her Majesty smiled at him teasingly, before adding another stab. “Have you changed your tune about them recently?”
Speechless, the desperate General Yang turned to General Hu for help, but he should have known that the man would not be reliable, when the sudden change of the wind could entertain him.
“The Queen would like to observe the competition first hand,” General Hu responded from his seat. “As Her Majesty said, there are no rules against her actions.”
“Are you serious?” General Yang ground the words under his breath.
“What more can I say? We are a warrior Tribe, with a warrior Queen. Do you expect her to sit prettily at the finish line like the royals from other realms?” General Hu asked the fuming Yang Jie before directing his attention toward the Ghost Queen. “However, Your Majesty, may I advise that you leave a few souls alive at the finish line? We still have several more acts to play. An empty stage will scare off other clans.”
“I’ll keep that in mind, General Hu,” Her Majesty chuckled as she mounted her horse.
Yang Jie was mute as he stared at the Ghost Queen heading straight for the crowd of suitors, who, he guessed, would have the same expression as himself. Their Queen would compete for her hand in marriage! Was there such a practice in the history of the four realms?
Heavens above! Please don’t let another brawl occur today.
Author's Note: I know I've been distracted by Guardian fanfics lately...it's a strange addiction, worst than my Peach days! I'll get back to writing all my original works this week. To be honest, I do need to change up stories and characters once in a while whenever I hit a writer's block. For readers who know me well, I am a writer with a severe case of ADD. My mind continually invents new characters, scenes, and storylines. Hence why I appreciate your patience while I deliver the stories that are worthwhile to tell.