Warning NSFL - Violence
Background: Demon Hunter, Pei Wende comes upon a beauty accosted in the woods. Like a wuxia hero from the oral stories/tales, he saves this prickly white rose. However, not all is what it seems, because all roses possess thorns. If one is not careful, it may prick his very soul
He should have stayed in his prison, he should have kept his promise. It was only a curiosity. A momentary weakness to explore another world beyond the one he knew. Zhao Yunlan could do it, why couldn’t he? Ye Zun wasn’t going to leave for long. Even if short-lived the time may be, he just wanted to breathe.
Ye Zun never believed in karma, because if he did, then karma owed him ten fold for this lifetime. Still, his penalty for leaving his cage, the consequences for withdrawing his words, turned out to be his own nightmare!
Lost, disoriented, Ye Zun arrived in this world with barely enough energy to stand. Within the mystic dark forest, most would expect demons are the predators behind the shadows. But since the dawn of time, the real monster has always been men.
Only a few hours past his arrival, did he encounter hunters of the night. Leering and ogling, these men looked like they had not been laid in years. Lecherous men with no morality or decency, they wasted no time giving chase and capturing their precious prey. Fighting with all his might, the weakened Ye Zun couldn’t defeat them all. The three vile beings did not care he was a man himself.
The smells, the sweat, they were all too familiar from the distant past. His stomach churned, his skin crawled. This was not the first time, his self preservation instinct reminded him. Maybe Ye Zun should pretend it’s another episode of “ghost pressing”? But he couldn’t, he wouldn’t. Ye Zun would rather die than endure another of this kind of violation. This humiliation.
How many times have monsters like these used him for their pleasure? How many times had he suffered because he looked like his twin? The ones who hated Black Cloak Envoy, the ones who lusted after his brother. They all used Ye Zun as his replacement for their wicked desire. To have the power to overcome their enemy. Ye Zun could neither acknowledge nor accept it, because the truth was more painful than the invasion of his body.
Clawing, kicking, biting….Ye Zun shouted with all his might. But the men above laughed at his attempts. Tearing his clothes, they smeared his body with their filthy hands. The unbearable weight, which always made him suffocate. Like a disturbing canvas comes to life, the horrid dreams appeared before his sight.
Ye Zun wanted to disappear…to die. Tears fallen, spirit shattered....He shut his eyes. Clenched from the bitterness of his reality. Ye Zun bit his tongue for what may come.
Yet, by a one in a million chance, the heavens must have given him a glance. And for once...Fate had intervened. The insufferable weights were gone. Dissipated like thin air, followed by splattered thick warm liquid. Blood?
Unnerved, Ye’s eyes shot open. His body rose cautiously, with an uncontrollable quiver he had long wished to forget, but never could. Silly he was, to think he could erased what his body still remembered. Before his eyes, the battle ensued, but the victor was as clear as night and day. The Swordsman cut down the last two men within seconds. Their bodies dropped, like sacks of rocks.
With a touch of fluttering leaves,
The night air sung,
Upon the whispering breeze,
Everlasting solstice hung.
With the blade in hand, the Swordsman approached.
“Miss, are you alright?” the distinctive voice broke through the darkness of night. “Don’t be afraid, they’re dead. You’re safe now. Miss?”
Ye Zun raised his head towards the Swordsman who saved his life. Startled, he gasped, “Zhao Yunlan? Why are you here?”
“I think you’re mistaken, My Lady,” the familiar voice spoke, but there was no edge or quipped tone from that Wild Wolf. “My name is Pei Wende.”
“Pei Wende?” Ye Zun whispered, barely believing his eyes. The Swordsman’s features were an exact replica of his nemesis’. Except for the lack of facial hair, he was every inch the same. But this man was built to fight, to slaughter with the blade in his hand. Exuding a killer’s aura, he was devoid of Zhao’s carefree charms. With no light in his eyes, Ye Zun was sure this must be another version of Zhao Yunlan in this world.
“Miss?” Pei Wende repeated again. His face grim.
Confused by the strange address from the man, Ye Zun’s body moved on it’s own. Unaware his tattered clothes had shifted, revealing his exposed skin to the night air. The Swordsman’s eyes caught as they swept over his body.
Suddenly, Pei Wende laid his bloodied sword on the forest floor. Wordlessly, he began to undress. Ye’s world instantly turned cold. His body froze. All men are the same. No one is kind. No one is honorable. Shaken from the horror that was his life, the paralyzed Ye Zun could barely make a sound. Until the glimmer of the blade caught his eye. Gazing at the sword by Pei’s feet, if he was quick enough, he could kill him before...
The thought barely left him, when a garment was thrown at Ye’s feet.
“Cover yourself,” the Swordsman instructed gruffly.
“Co-Cover?” the baffled Ye Zun stammered at Pei Wende, who by now averted his eyes.
“Your garments are torn,” Pei Wende explained uncomfortably, “Please cover yourself, so I can escort you home.”
“Home?” Ye Zun echoed the foreign word.
His expression remained sullen as Pei asked, “You have a home, don’t you?”
“No, I have no home…,” Ye Zun revealed the honest truth as tears stung his eyes.
After a lengthy pause of indecision, the man had reached a conclusion. The Swordsman approached again. Kneeling down before him, the patient Pei wrapped his outer garment over Ye Zun.
“You must still be in shock,” he said. “My place is not far. Would you like to stay with me, for the time being?” Pei Wende asked. Though he tried to sound detached, the Swordsman’s gentleness was evident in his voice.
“We only just met. Why are you being kind to me?” the baffled Ye Zun questioned, staring him right in the eyes.
In his reality, only the strongest can survive. Why would this man waste time on a weakling at such a time? This was no modern world. Dark, musky, and covered in the stench of blood. This place was no different from 10,000 years ago.
“Why would there be a motive?” Pei asked. Sincere words, without a hint of deception behind those unwavering eyes.
Shaking his head bitterly, Ye Zun hugged himself tighter. His words choked, “Even in this world, you’re still you.”
Author's Note: Once in a while, my mind would wander. If Ye Zun could have a second chance, what would he do? His character, though memorable, but underdeveloped. If he could have a chance to meet a righteous person, would he change for him? If he was allowed to love, to be love, would he still be an antagonist we've known today?
I apologize my Christmas Bonus Chapter took a darker tone. As I said, once the images appear, I could only do what the voice in my head tell me, which is to paint the stories. Writing is most exciting when the characters take over their writers, and I relished every time it happens.