Tribulations and Destiny
The Young Warrior stood inside the Private Chambers of The Duke. He had his Dagger-axe pointed at the head of Duke Wu Teng. Li Mai laid bloodied and nude on the bed at the end of the room with Wu Teng still on top of her.
“You can’t possibly be serious. You won’t make it out of this Palace alive.” Wu Teng said to the Young Warrior.
The Warrior then jammed his Weapon into the chest of the Duke.
“You watch your next words carefully. I already have my assumptions. Did you beat that girl like that and was planning to take her without her consent?” The Warrior said to the Duke.
Wu Teng then began laughing. “You must be some Peasant Boy. I give all permissions on this land. If I say so, it is done.” Wu Teng responded to the Warrior. Out of his mouth he began to drip blood.
The Warrior pulled the Weapon out of his Chest.
“Die Slowly, honestly, you deserve much worse.” The Warrior said going over to Li Mai.
“I’m going to untie you, is that okay?” The Warrior asked Li Mai, but she did not understand him.
He untied the bonds and Li Mai was freed. She then tried to attack the Warrior. He moved out of the way.
“Striking me would only hurt you, so it’s best that I don’t allow that.” The Young Warrior stood away from the bed.
Li Mai tried to get up but she was unable to.
“Let me help you.” The Warrior said, walking to grab Li Mai. Li Mai growled at him. “My apologies. I know you are scared.” He backed away from Li Mai. “My name is Xiong Ma, I am here under a Divine Mission.” He said to Li Mai.
She again did not understand what he was talking about. He paced in the room. He was unsure of what to do next. He then sat down and began to Meditate.
“Feng Shen, I request your wisdom. How do I handle this situation?” Xiong Ma continued to pray as Li Mai looked around, now freed from her bonds.
The Duke still laid on the ground. He was still alive but barely breathing. Li Mai looked over at Xiong Ma. He was praying with so much vigor it could be felt in the room.
A Gentle Breeze then entered the room. As Li Mai took a deep breath of this wind her Vitality seemed to have returned to her. She stood up using all of her strength.
Xiong Ma looked over at Li Mai. Her legs were shaking, and the blood from her face began to drip to the floor. Li Mai took another deep breath of the Breeze and continued to increase in her strength.
Xiong Ma went back to praying.
Li Mai walked over to Xiong Ma and grabbed his weapon. “Oh, no you can’t use that.” Xiong Ma tried to warn, but Li Mai took it anyway. The Weapon was heavy, she had to drag it along the ground. Xiong Ma watched her stumble her way to the Duke.
Once she got over to him she placed the Dagger-axe under her armpit and lifted it up by leaning back. She then dropped the pike into his heart.
Wu Teng was no more.
Li Mai dropped the Weapon and fell to her knees. “That wind…” The voice in Li Mai’s head said. Li Mai looked around quickly to see where it was coming from. She got up quickly and was about to fall once more.
Xiong Ma tore a pole from the bed and handed it to Li Mai. “Here, use this. It will help you maintain your balance.” He said to Her.
Li Mai grabbed the pole and continued her way out of the room. The Servant Girls who would attend the Room after the Duke was finished waited outside. They saw both Li Mai and Xiong Ma exit.
They rushed into the room and began screaming.
“Coat…” Li Mai struggled to say.
“You want a Coat? Here, you can use mine.” Xiong Ma said, trying to hand her his coat. Li Mai smacked it.
“No.” Li Mai said as she continued forward.
Xiong Ma followed behind her making sure that no one would try to strike her down. Li Mai sniffed the air trying to catch the scent of Baohu.
She detected it and went over to the smell. It had been placed in a trash pile.
Xiong Ma prayed as they were moving, hoping that the path remained without incident. Once they arrived at the disposal heap, Li Mai began to dig.
She quickly found her coat and placed it on her body. Xiong Ma felt it was a bit disgusting to place such a dirty article on her bare skin.
“Come on, we must leave now!” Xiong Ma said to Li Mai. She left the trash heap and followed behind Xiong Ma.
The both ran out an ancestral garden and out a hole that was made in its rear. Xiong Ma had prepared a horse to escape on. He jumped on the horse and offered Li Mai assistance to get up.
Li Mai refused. She began running in the direction of the forest. Xiong Ma couldn’t do anything but follow behind her.
After they had gotten some distance away from the palace Xiong Ma tried to strike a conversation with Li Mai. “So what is your name?” He asked.
Li Mai was silent.
“Not very talkative I guess. I suppose I can tell you about myself.” Xiong Ma suggested. Li Mai again was silent.
“A Breeze from the South, given by the Great Feng Shen, ordered me to travel deep into Wu and rescue the Daughter of the God of the Forest. That’s you, right?” Xiong Ma asked.
Li Mai did not answer.
“From your Tiger Coat and how comfortable you seem in the Forest, I suppose it’s safe to assume that you at least have some connection to the Wilderness.” Xiong Ma added.
Li Mai’s stomach roared loudly. She hadn’t eaten in weeks. After the stress of the situation died down she could finally feel the minor sensations of her body.
“Oh food. I got some for you. I was told to prepare a Kilogram of Boar, and Fruits.” Xiong Ma said, pulling out a sack from his pack on the horse. Li Mai looked up at it and grabbed the bag.
“It’s yours anyways, so I guess I don’t need a thank you.” Xiong Ma said to himself.
Li Mai ripped into the Boar meat. She shoved the fruits in her mouth immediately afterward. Xiong Ma looked around to make sure that they weren’t followed. Li Mai kept her gaze on Xiong Ma to make sure he didn’t try anything funny.
Once he returned, Li Mai had already finished.
“We have to make our way to Chu. It’s quite a bit of distance from here, but I think we will manage.” Xiong Ma said to Li Mai. She glared at him once again.
“Please Feng Shen, deliver me home safely.” Xiong Ma said before riding forward on his horse.
Li Mai followed behind him.
Several Days passed by. And Xiong Ma was writing his journey with ink he had stored and wooden strips. Li Mai who had always kept her distance from him was curious as to what he was doing.
She watched him write. “Oh this? Do you want to learn how to write?” Xiong Ma said to Li Mai as he tried to hand her the brush.
She grabbed it and tried to mimic what she saw Xiong Ma doing.
“That’s good, but try not to press on the sheet too hard.” Xiong Ma said slowly, grabbing Li Mai’s hand. She allowed him to touch her.
He helped her write his name on the sheet.
“This means, Xiong Ma. That’s me.” Xiong Ma said, pointing at himself.
“Xiong… Ma.” Li Mai said, repeating his words.
Xiong Ma was stunned. He nodded his head quickly. “Yes! Xiong Ma. You’re right.” He said to her with a smile on his face.
“Li… Mai.” Li Mai said, pointing at herself.
“What?” Xiong Ma asked.
“Li Mai.” She said again.
“Your name is Li Mai?” Xiong Ma asked her.
Li Mai then began to try and write on the sheet. She wrote Xiong Ma again. “No, that’s my name again. Li Mai would be written like this.” Xiong Ma said, as he grabbed her hand again and taught her how to write her name.
“There, that’s your name. Li Mai.” Xiong Ma said, showing her the sheet.
Li Mai looked at the Characters. She pointed at the Characters, then pointed at herself.
“Yes, that means you.” Xiong Ma nodded.
Li Mai then pointed at a tree.
“Oh, to write ‘Tree’ it looks like this.” Xiong Ma wrote the Characters for Tree. Li Mai watched as he wrote.
Over their journey to Chu, Li Mai had asked Xiong Ma how to write many things. She simply pointed at something and he showed her how it was written. She would copy what he wrote.
Li Mai was a quick learner, and she took it all seriously. After a few weeks of traveling Li Mai and Xiong Ma sat down in front of a fire.
They were silent as they usually were at night.
Li Mai then grabbed a piece of Charred Wood from the Fire and began to write on the stones along the ground.
Xiong Ma went over to see what Li Mai was writing.
“Me, Li Mai. I, together with Tiger, became Strong in the Forest. Humans shoot Tiger. Humans trapped Li Mai. Humans no Food Li Mai. Humans hit Li Mai. Li Mai no words. Li Mai…” Li Mai tried to write more but she did not know the Characters.
She looked over at Xiong Ma. She pointed at her mouth. She gestured by opening and closing her mouth.
“Eat?” Xiong Ma asked. Li Mai shook her head. She pointed at his mouth. “Lips?” Xiong Ma asked again.
Li Mai shook her head. She then tried to speak. “Sweet.” She said, but it was evident that she did not know how to control the amount of air that left her mouth.
“Speak?” Xiong Ma asked. Li Mai nodded her head.
“You write that like this.” Xiong Ma demonstrated. Li Mai understood.
“Li Mai can’t speak. Li Mai was small, not strong. Li Mai no Mom no Dad, only Tiger. Tiger…” Li Mai was writing then a tear came down from her eyes.
Xiong Ma grabbed her shoulders. “It’s okay. I understand.” Xiong Ma said to her. Li Mai wiped her tears and ran away from the Camp. Xiong Ma sat at the fire reading what Li Mai wrote again.
Li Mai climbed a tree then looked up at the Night Sky. She looked at the Bright Star that shined brightly after Baohu passed on.
Li Mai remained in the treetops through the night. The next morning she came down. Her and Xiong Ma began their walk.
Li Mai handed him a stone she had written on. “Who is Xiong Ma speaking to when, hands?” Li Mai wrote, she then put her hands together.
“Oh, I am praying to Feng Shen. A Deity who revealed themself to me to rescue you. They were Beautiful and Benevolent. They were at least this tall!” Xiong Ma tried to explain to Li Mai.
Li Mai pointed at herself, then she put her hands together.
“You want to learn how to pray?” Xiong Ma asked her.
Li Mai nodded her head. Xiong Ma went over and created a shrine for Feng Shen. He wrote Feng Shen’s name on the Shrine.
“Focus on the name of the Deity you want to speak to. Make sure to show proper respect or they will not answer. Calm your mind, Deities do not like noise…” Xiong Ma continued to speak but Li Mai already tuned him out.
She cleared her mind and tried to speak to Feng Shen.
“Finally.” Feng Shen said to Li Mai.
Li Mai stood in front of Feng Shen. “That was painful to watch, but I could not get in your way, I didn’t want to cause you not to achieve your Godhead. It seems that you went through most of the Tribulations that you needed to achieve. Now you need only to achieve your successes.” Feng Shen said to Li Mai.
“Who are you?” Li Mai asked Feng Shen. She started to hear her own voice so clearly.
“You already know who I am. But you just need to remember. Bring yourself back and remember what you are doing.” Feng Shen said to Li Mai.
“Remember what I am doing. But Baohu died and I was left with nothing, what am I supposed to be doing?” Li Mai asked Feng Shen.
“Aquar.” Feng Shen said before returning to look like Ventusr. “Remember why you are doing this.” Ventusr said to her.
“Aquar?” Li Mai said to herself.
“I think that is enough before I just end up having Li Mai think she is Aquar rather than Aquar actually waking up.” Ventusr thought before vanishing.
Li Mai then returned to consciousness and Xiong Ma was still explaining how to pray.
“Aquar…” Li Mai whispered to herself.
“Ah, no. Feng Shen.” Xiong Ma said.
“Sheesh.” Li Mai said to Xiong Ma. He went quiet. He did not know this side of Li Mai.
Li Mai sat down and took on her Cultivation posture. She breathed out slowly and breathed in slowly like she did in the dark room at the palace.
“I am Li Mai. Before I was Li Mai the world already existed. Where was I before, where will I be after?” Li Mai thought.
Li Mai felt a small spark. It was a quick prick of light emerging from her found. She knew that was her answer but she could not reach it.
“You need more Power.” The voice in her head said. Li Mai was then kicked out from her own mind.
She started breathing heavily. Xiong Ma ran over to her.
“Are you okay?” He asked Li Mai.
Li Mai tried to speak the same way she did to Feng Shen but no words came out. She simply nodded her head.
Li Mai stood up and the two continued their journey.
When the Sun was high above their heads, Li Mai and Xiong Ma rested. She looked over at Xiong Ma and his Dagger-axe.
She wrote on a stone and tossed it to him. It read ‘Fight Li Mai’.
Xiong Ma looked at Li Mai with a bit of confusion. “Fight you? Why?” Xiong Ma asked.
Li Mai then took her fighting stance and began to attack Xiong Ma. She presented a smile on her face to let him know that she was only sparring.
“Oh, fight as in Sparring. Sure, I can do that.” Xiong Ma said.
Xiong Ma struggled to keep up with Li Mai. She felt a small amount of joy but not as much as she wanted.
“Whoa, slow down. I’m not trying to kill you.” Xiong Ma said, trying to defend against Li Mai.
Li Mai smacked him to the ground. She was a bit disappointed.
Then a strong breeze came across the field. It entered Xiong Ma’s body. He stood up and readied his weapon.
Xiong Ma came to Li Mai with a much different fighting style than how he was fighting before. He was more elegant and swift. He strikes had a complete follow through with the intent to kill.
Li Mai matched his aggression, and also fought to kill.
“There you go, train as we do on Mako. Death is meaningless to us.” Xiong Ma said with a possessed voice.
Li Mai’s fighting style slowly changed as well. It mimicked the style that Xiong Ma was now using.
“Keep Fighting, this is what this reality would call the Style of the Gods.” Xiong Ma said to Li Mai.
Li Mai’s words were heard through her fighting. Their movement began to look like poetry in motion. Xiong Ma continued to turn up the intensity.
“You desire to be pushed to your limits and beyond. I will do that for you. Make sure to match me at every step.” Xiong Ma said to Li Mai. His speed once again increased.
Li Mai continued to keep up until her body finally broke down and tore. Li Mai collapsed on the ground.
Xiong Ma walked over to her. “Seems that you still have a while to go before you can actually emerge.” Xiong Ma said before he too collapsed to the ground.
When he came to, he screamed out in agony. “Why am I in so much pain!”
Li Mai and Xiong Ma stumbled their way to the South as they continued their journey. Xiong Ma looked at Li Mai. “I didn’t know you had fighting skills like that. You could easily become an Officer of Chu.” Xiong Ma complimented Li Mai.
Li Mai still was in pain from her fight with the Possessed Xiong Ma. She simply nodded her head.
A few days passed and their wounds became tolerable. While Xiong Ma was by the river getting water he was possessed again by Feng Shen. He walked over to Li Mai. She was down by the edge collecting flat stones to write on.
“It’s time to train again.” Xiong Ma said with a Possessed voice. Li Mai looked up at him and immediately knew who she was speaking with.
Li Mai readied her position and the two began fighting. And once again both Li Mai and Xiong Ma collapsed with injured bodies.
Xiong Ma after each session returned confused. He felt that he was present, but not in control, but his mind was still intact and felt like he told his body to act like that.
He was able to feel when he entered this zone now. Throughout the next weeks Li Mai and Xiong Ma would fight this way several more times.
Eventually the two of them entered the Kingdom of Chu.
“Here we are, my home.” Xiong Ma said to Li Mai.
Li Mai nodded her head. And she wrote on a stone. “I want to meet the Leader.” Li Mai wrote.
“The Leader? I guess I can do that. He is my Great Uncle.” Xiong Ma said to Li Mai.
Xiong Ma then brought Li Mai to the Castle of Xiong Xin.
An announcement was made to the court that Xiong Ma had returned.
“Rise for Officer Xiong Ma.” The Announcer said.
Xiong Ma walked forward with Li Mai following behind him. He fell to one knee and created King Xiong Xin.
“Rise.” Xiong Xin said to Xiong Ma.
“Greetings Uncle. I have returned from my travels. And I have brought with me a friend.” Xiong Ma began and he explained the journey he and Li Mai went through. He then allowed Li Mai to speak to Xiong Xin.
Li Mai was given a piece of tile to write on. The TIle was brought back to Xiong Xin.
“I want to destroy Wu.” The message said.
“Destroy Wu you say? That’s quite the statement. But I could hardly consider you someone worth me giving you a request. You are neither a citizen of my Kingdom, nor married to someone in my family. If anything I ought to consider you a spy.” Xiong Xin said to Li Mai.
“Uncle, she is an adept fighter, and could easily be equal to a dozen men in battle. If you want to test her you can send her out to the battlefields of Wu, if not as a General, but a lowly soldier.” Xiong Ma said to Xiong Xin.
“Nonsense. A woman with all those men. It would be better to simply make her your concubine if you want to secure her a life here in Chu.” Xiong Xin responded.
Li Mai wrote again. “I Must Fight.” The message said.
Xiong Xin placed his hand under his chin. “Okay, I will humour this. If you can bring me back the head of Marquis Ma Chou then I will drop my suspicions of you.” Xiong Xin said to Li Mai.
Li Mai nodded her head in agreement.
“Nephew, take her and brief her on the details.” Xiong Xin said to Xiong Ma.
“Of course, Uncle.” Xiong Ma bowed and turned away. Li Mai followed behind him.
During the briefing, Xiong Ma showed Li Mai the map of the area where Ma Chou resides. He explained the number of personnel watching his estate and the type of weaponry they were likely to have.
Li Mai nodded her head with each detail that was given.
“When do you plan on leaving?” Xiong Ma asked Li Mai.
“Now.” Li Mai wrote.
“Ah, can you reconsider? I would have loved to show you around my home.” Xiong Ma suggested to Li Mai.
Li Mai shook her head. She lifted the note again that she wrote that said ‘Now’.
“A solo mission is dangerous. Maybe it’s not such a bad idea for you to just stay here.” Xiong Ma then grabbed Li Mai’s hands. “I can get rightfully married to you, you wouldn’t be a concubine in that case, if that’s the reason you declined my Uncle’s Suggestion.” The fact that Li Mai was leaving became real for Xiong Ma after she stated she wanted to leave immediately.
Li Mai wrote more. “My Fate isn’t for a Simple Life. I must do this.”
Xiong Ma looked at the writing. “You declining my proposal isn’t because of something I did, right?” Xiong Ma asked.
Li Mai wrote more. “I don’t think Humans are attractive.”
Xiong Ma laughed looking at what was written. “Of course, of course. After everything that happened in your life. I can understand that.” Xiong Ma said to Li Mai.
Xiong Ma took out a seal from his pocket. He handed it to Li Mai.
“If you get captured by anyone from Chu, present this object. They should let you go with no questions asked.” Xiong Ma instructed her.
Li Mai nodded. She slid her arms into her sleeves and ran out of the building. She turned immediately towards the Forest and in the direction of Wu. Soon she was out of sight.
In the Canopy, Li Mai jumped from branch to branch. She had a single target in mind. The distance she needed to travel was about 800km.
When Li Mai needed to rest, she found a comfortable spot and meditated to cultivate her mind. Throughout her journey she saw Spirits below. Ones who were tasked with maintaining the balance of nature. Once every so often she would encounter evil beings which she removed from existence.
Growing up in the Forest for many years allowed Li Mai to live easily during her adventure to Wu. Her body grew stronger and her mind clearer.
After about a week Li Mai made it to the Castle of the Marquis.
It was sturdily built, being mostly made out of heavy stones. She watched the guards going about their routes.
Once she spotted a gap she entered the Castle. The Castle halls were wide. They seem to be made to allow many men to stand side by side as they walk down. Li Mai snuck her way through.
She found members of the estate in the fortified resistance but the way that they were addressed made it evident to Li Mai that they were not the Marquis.
She soon found someone in their study. She observed them from a high window they had in the room. She squeezed her way inside the small gap. Li Mai slowly moved across the room. Once she was directly behind him she placed her hands inside of her sleeves and brought out the claws of Baohu.
In one solid movement she tore into his neck and removed his head. No sound was made. His body fell onto the documents he was reading and they were all stained red.
Li Mai placed his head into her bag and she took the same path out of the building as she did when she went in.
Li Mai moved much faster on her way back, she knew where she was heading this time. She did not stop to cultivate and she hardly stopped for rest. Presenting the head of the Marquis would bring her a step closer to bringing down those who killed Baohu.
After a few days, Li Mai had returned to Chu. Li Mai scurried across the City and located Xiong Ma in his Study reading over Military Text. She entered the room without him knowing.
She jumped from the ceiling and into the middle of the room. She then dropped the head of the Marquis to his floor. Xiong Ma fell back in a panic.
“Whoa, don’t scare me like that!” He said recognizing the Tiger Coat she wore.
Li Mai pointed at the head on the floor. Xiong Ma bent over to look at it.
“It can’t be. You made it all the way there and back in less than 2 weeks? And killed the Marquis?” Xiong Ma was stunned.
Li Mai nodded her head.
“And you were able to sneak in here without me knowing…” Xiong Ma said to himself. “What kind of Monster are you?” Xiong Ma asked with a smile on his face. “We need to hurry and present this to my Uncle.” Xiong Ma said, placing the head of the Marquis back into the bag.
In the throne room an announcer ran quickly and made an urgent announcement.
“Marquis Xiong Ma requests an urgent audience with his Majesty King Xiong Xin of Chu!” They yelled out.
Xiong Ma entered the room with the bag in his hand, Li Mai followed behind him. Xiong Xin and the Advisors also entered the room.
Xiong Ma then bowed.
“What is this urgent matter? Is this girl ready for her mission to Wu?” Xiong Xin asked.
Xiong Ma then tossed the head to the floor for everyone in the room to see. It rolled across to Xiong Xin.
Everyone in the room was shocked. “That’s Marquis Ma Chou!” They said to one another. “That’s impossible, it hasn’t even been a month.” They also said, this feat was unheard of.
“Explain this, how is this possible? Was the Marquis found within our borders?” Xiong Xin asked.
“He was not. Li Mai returned his head to me earlier today. She has been gone since you have given her this mission. None of my subordinates were assisting her and she only knew of the location of the Marquis. Her locating him within our Borders without knowing how he looked would be even more impossible.” Xiong Ma said to Xiong Xin.
Xiong Xin looked at the Marquis’ head. “This is indeed him. I can only believe that you truly traveled this quickly and executed him without flaws.” Xiong Xin addressed Li Mai.
Li Mai nodded her head.
“Summon the Generals, we must not let this opportunity leave us. It is likely that those within neighboring Domains within Wu do not know of his death yet. We must take this chance to strike.” Xiong Xin said. The advisors left out to summon the Generals.
“You have proven your value, girl. What was it that you requested?” Xiong Xin asked Li Mai.
“She is unable to speak Uncle, may I borrow your pen and tablet?” Xiong Ma asked Xiong Xin.
Xiong Xin gestured, giving him permission.
Li Mai then began writing.
“I want to kill the Generals who are Loyal to Wu.” Li Mai wrote.
Xiong Xin got up from his seat. “Incredible! Outstanding!” He yelled out. “Yes! If you can perform like this every time then I will have you kill all of their Generals!” Xiong Xin said in excitement.
Xiong Ma bowed. He then gestured for Li Mai to bow as well.
“Nephew. Give her the list and domains of the Ruling Family of Wu.” Xiong Xin said to Xiong Ma.
“Of course, Uncle.” Xiong Ma responded.
“We are going to be very busy if she is able to repeat this feat.” Xiong Xin said before getting up and leaving the room in a laughter.
Xiong Ma then turned to Li Mai. “Seems that he recognized your value too.” Xiong Ma said to Li Mai.
He showed Li Mai the names and locations of the Royal Family of Wu.
“Make sure that when you eliminate them, bring their heads to our Generals camped out along the borders. They will be at HuangGu Pass, TaiLong Pass, ZhangYi Pass and HongHu Pass.” Xiong Ma explained to Li Mai. He looked at her and she seemed like she wasn’t listening.
Li Mai wrote on the Map. “Show me on the map, I don’t understand these Locations by name.” Li Mai wrote.
Xiong Ma laughed. “You are right, of course. You aren’t a General of Chu.” Xiong Ma said. He circled the Location for her to return the packages.
Li Mai nodded her head. She then got ready to leave.
“Wait, before you go.” Xiong Ma called out. He then looked at Li Mai. “Be safe, please.” Xiong Ma said to Li Mai.
Li Mai nodded as she always did and ran off into the Forest.
Xiong Ma put on his helmet. He readied himself for the invasion of the Marquis Ma Chou’s Domain.
Li Mai ran across the region and silently removed the Heads of the Nobles within Wu. As weeks passed so did the level of alertness across Wu. With each assassination Li Mai picked up a habit of praying to Feng Shen and Baohu to treat their deaths as an offering to them.
On one Mission to Eliminate Marquis Lu Po of Northern Wu, Li Mai snuck into his estate. Lu Po was exceptionally paranoid and armed his estate. He had effectively imprisoned himself and his family within.
Li Mai located his study but didn’t see anyone there. She tried to use her keen sense of smell to locate him, but the entire building smelled of oil and animal dung. She walked around the study to look for tracks he left behind. Then she felt that the floor felt weak.
It then shattered below her. The noise of the breaking floor could be heard throughout the building.
Li Mai grabbed onto the corner of the trap. Below here were pikes that were coated in animal feces.
The Guards then entered the room. And ran over to the trap. They found Li Mai hanging on the edge. “Capture her.” The Leader of the Guards said. They threw a net over Li Mai and pulled her up.
She tried to fight her way through it. They then pulled out their swords and pressed it against her to keep her from moving.
“Well, well. Look who we got.” A General within Wu entered the room. “Once I heard news of the Nobles being assassinated without any trace, and about Duke Wu Teng’s death at the Hands of a Tiger, I simply knew it was you.” The General said, looking at Li Mai. “The Girl protected by a Tiger. I remember you well.” He said to Li Mai.
Li Mai looked at his face and recalled him. She grew furious looking at him.
“We should have just killed you back then. You obviously were dangerous!” The General said, showing Li Mai his injured leg. “You remember this! Remember stabbing me in my leg way back when!” He said angrily at Li Mai.
Li Mai’s eyes grew red as anger swelled in her.
“Oh yes, I remember those eyes. But they aren’t so cute anymore are they? No, you are very dangerous now.” The General said to Li Mai. “Bring the Archers in here.” The General ordered.
Li Mai tried to wrestle out of the net. The Swords that were surrounding her pierced her skin, but she did not care.
The Archers then ran into the room. “Aim them all at her, and shoot when I tell you.” The General said.
Li Mai continued to wrestle as the blade went further into her skin.
The General enjoyed the pain she was going through as the edges went further into her.
Suddenly Li Mai got into a suitable pounding position and jumped out at the General. The net ripped open and she landed on top of him.
The General began yelling. “Get her off of me!” He yelled out. The men around Li Mai tried to pull her off, but Li Mai tore into the skin of the General. She yelled out at him.
Li Mai picked the general up and threw him against the wall. His blood made an imprint of his body on it.
The Soldiers around Li Mai continued to try and attack her but she easily was able to deal with them. She pushed them into the pit that was set up in the room.
The others around realized that they were better off leaving the room. They did not want to die in such a manner.
Li Mai walked over to the General who was losing blood through his chest.
The General tried to cough out his last words. “You really have become a Tiger.” He said. Li Mai then tore into his neck and ended his existence.
Li Mai continued through the Estate, and heard people outside addressing Marquis Lu Po. She ran outside to meet them. Li Mai stood in front of them covered in Blood. Baohu’s coat made her look wide and tall like a standing Tiger.
Before the Guards of the Marquis could get ready she pounced and removed his head. She then threw it in her back and escaped into the Forest.
Li Mai returned to HongHu Pass and delivered the Head to the Generals of Chu. She then collapsed in a mess of her own blood. She was taken to be healed.
Several days passed along her recovery and Li Mai finally awoke.
Xiong Ma was in the room waiting for Li Mai to return to consciousness.
Li Mai got up and felt pain coming from her wounds. She looked over and saw Xiong Ma resting close to her. Xiong Ma soon woke up.
“You’re awake. I am so glad. You nearly didn’t make it.” Xiong Ma said to Li Mai. Li Mai looked around the room.
“When you came back you lost so much blood. I don’t know how you managed to travel all the way back to the Pass with your wounds.” Xiong Ma said to Li Mai.
Li Mai grabbed the piece of wood that was set next to her bed. She then wrote on it. “I’m recovered. I need to go back out and finish my tasks.” Li Mai wrote.
“I admire your dedication but you are injured. I doubt you would be able to continue the way you have before. You’ve done enough, I think it’s time you settle down.” Xiong Ma said to Li Mai.
Li Mai shook her head. “I need to continue.” Li Mai wrote.
“Please, your wounds will only get worse if you continue. I can take care of you. You don’t need to put yourself in danger anymore.” Xiong Ma said to Li Mai.
Li Mai then tried to get up from the bed.
“Please, Li Mai.” Xiong Ma tried to hold Li Mai down. Li Mai glared at him angrily.
“My apologies. I know you don’t like to be restricted.” Xiong Ma lifted up his hands.
Li Mai got out of bed and onto her feet. “I’m finishing up.” Li Mai wrote.
“What places do you have left?” Xiong Ma asked.
“Former Duke Wu Teng’s Domain.” Li Mai wrote.
“You were captured there before, are you sure you want to go there despite being so injured?” Xiong Ma asked.
“I need to.” Li Mai wrote. She then exited the room and headed into the forest.
Li Mai’s wound stung as she ran. She had to take breaks to keep herself from passing out from pain.
As she rested she focused on Cultivating her Mind. “I must complete my goal.” Li Mai thought to herself. She then prayed to Feng Shen for strength so that she would not die before finishing her mission. Her wounds opened back up and her blood began to stain her clothes again.
“What a mess.” Feng Shen said to Li Mai. “But it’s good to see that you still push yourself beyond your limits to achieve your goal.”
“I’m about to die, Feng Shen. Please help me.” Li Mai asked.
“That’s a solid no. I already helped you enough. Your true self will be able to handle the rest. Try and Remember.” Feng Shen said to Li Mai.
“Remember, I need to Remember.” Li Mai repeated to herself, but she still felt the same block she always had.
Feng Shen looked at her feeling unsure how to help her out. They then walked over closer to Li Mai and whispered in her ear.
“After this, we can have a little sparring match.” Feng Shen whispered.
“Really!?” Li Mai said in a tone unnatural to her.
Feng Shen smiled. “Of course. When have I ever let you down?” Feng Shen said to Li Mai as if they were close to one another.
Li Mai then awoke from her prayer. Her wounds had stopped bleeding but they were not healed. She continued her journey.
She soon made it to the camp near the Forest where she grew up. She slowly entered it from the back. She heard the men inside laughing to one another as they drank wine.
“I thought I felt your bloodlust around…” The Guard that fought Li Mai at this camp found her again.
Li Mai looked at him. She then turned away.
“I don’t want to kill you, but you’ve been causing a lot of trouble. And I can see that you are injured. If you don’t surrender, you will not make it out alive.” The Guard said to Li Mai.
She turned towards him and slid her arms into her sleeves.
Her eyes were communicating to him that if he stepped closer to her, his life would end before he could blink.
He glared down at her. He took a deep breath. “The Girl Protected by the Tiger is in the Camp!” he yelled out.
Li Mai jumped forward and the Guard swiped his blade.
They both paused after their strikes. They were facing away from one another.
Then the Guard collapsed, his neck had been sliced open. Li Mai stood up and looked at him. That Fight was not as fun as it was before.
The soldiers on the Camp came to the location of the yelling and they found Li Mai. Li Mai recognized the faces of the men who jumped on her before. She quickly went and attacked them.
The Commander of the Camp then exited his tent. Li Mai smelled his funky musk as he exposed himself to the outside air. She quickly dashed away from the soldiers and directly to him.
In an instant the Commander caught sight of Li Mai in front of him. Time seemed to slow down as Li Mai pivoted on her foot. He was too slow to react to her. She pounced forward and all in a split second she removed his head.
She grabbed his body then tossed it out into the Forest for the Wild Animals to find. And she threw his head into the bag she carried. And escaped the camp.
Li Mai quickly ran through the Forest. She could feel her body running strictly on adrenaline. She had lost so much blood that any moment of rest would be the end of her life.
She made it to HongHu Pass and dropped the Head of the Commander in the Strategy Room. The Officers around nodded their heads in approval.
Li Mai exited the Room and headed towards the bed to recover.
A Soldier then ran to find Li Mai. “Li Mai, you have been summoned by King Xiong Xin of Chu upon the completion of your mission.” The Soldier said.
Li Mai felt dizzy and simply followed him. The journey back to the Castle would take about 2 Weeks. If Li Mai ran there she could return in about a day and a half. But her body was already feeling cold.
Xiong Ma then ran to the injured Li Mai. “Knew that you would at least return, even if it was in a bloody mess. Let me take you to be healed.” Xiong Ma said to Li Mai.
“Sir, Li Mai has been summoned by King Xiong Xin, she must return immediately.” The Soldier said to Xiong Ma.
“Don’t you see she is injured. She will return when she is healed.” Xiong Ma yelled at the Soldier.
The Soldier bowed and left the two alone.
Xiong Ma helped Li Mai walk by placing half of her body on his shoulder.
“The first time I met you, you were in a bloody mess, and now you are in a bloody mess again. I really wish your life wasn’t so difficult.” Xiong Ma said feeling Li Mai’s body grow colder.
Li Mai didn’t say anything.
“I’m sure if it wasn’t because of these circumstances I probably would have never met you, but it pains me to know how badly you were treated.” Xiong Xin said to Li Mai. Her body grew weaker and weaker.
“Let me… sit…” Li Mai asked Xiong Ma with her words.
Xiong Ma let go of Li Mai’s arm and she sat down. She was barely able to keep her eyes open.
“I… think I remember…” Li Mai was saying.
“What do you remember?” Xiong Ma asked.
“This world… It’s a test.” Li Mai said to Xiong Ma. Xiong Ma looked at her face. Li Mai then smiled for the first time.
“No, Li Mai. Don’t… you can’t.” Xiong Ma said knowing that she was about to say her final words.
“I passed.” Li Mai said. As she sat in a meditating position and Baohu’s hood fell over her face. Li Mai then closed her eyes and completely faded.
Li Mai opened her eyes and stood in front of Feng Shen. “Well, Li Mai. How was your life?” Feng Shen asked her.
“Well first off, it sucked. But second off, did you see that. I was able to gain my consciousness during my last moments! So that means I did it right!” Li Mai said.
“Hmm, I’m not convinced yet. Prove to me that you actually have.” Feng Shen said to Li Mai.
Li Mai then returned to the Camp in her Godly Form and turned her Mortal Body into Solid Stone. Xiong Ma who was witnessing it could only state that this was the will of Heaven. That Li Mai through her contributions and life have achieved immortality and thus could not be buried.
Feng Shen nodded their head.
“Oh and.” Li Mai then changed her body back to Aquar. “Doesn’t this look better, Ventusr? I don’t have to be trapped in that lower life form.” Aquar said to Feng Shen.
Feng Shen then became Ventusr. “I guess you have achieved your first Godhead. Now I can trust that you will be able to recognize yourself even if you are sent to another Reality.”
“There was no doubt in my mind I could achieve this time. Though I do feel bad for that Tiger. What did you do with it?” Aquar asked Ventusr.
“I made Baohu into the Guardian Spirit of that Forest. It was him that made sure the wounds did not bleed out until you returned. He must have cared for you a lot.” Ventusr said to Aquar.
“That’s good. If anyone deserved Immortality in this reality it was Baohu.” Aquar said.
“Well now let’s return. We have some sparring to do.” Ventusr said to Aquar.
“Yes! Going through this almost seems worth it now!” Aquar responded.
Ventusr and Aquar then opened a hole in Reality and stepped through it back to their Reality. They both emerged.
“Congratulations Aquar. You have now become a God.” Axil said to her.