Well, I’m here with the Prologue of the book. The Prologue itself is action-packed as there’s a war going on. So, hang in there tightly folks, because we’re going to begin a new ride! For those of you who haven’t read the Synopsis yet, please do read it here. Or you can continue without reading it either! Well, why wait anymore?! Let’s begin!
SONG OF THE DAY: Princess Monokone Theme Song by Joe Hisaishi – Princess Monokone OST. [Download]
Xue Xi Shi stood on the Watchtower of the Palace and stared at the blood-red sun that would set at any moment.
The Great Desert that separated the kingdoms of Xue Nong and Ming was waiting for the sun to become one with it. Xi Shi had heard much about the kingdom of Ming.
But she had never thought that they would come to wage a battle against her own Kingdom.
The Ming’s Crown Prince Ren Yu himself was leading the Imperial Armies against the Xue Nong Kingdom’s Lord Xue Xi Hong. The Crown Prince has a great reputation as a fierce warrior and an invincible opponent, but they were all only legends as not many from the Xue Nong had seen his battle prowess with their own eyes.
But, if he had single-handedly driven Lord Xue Xi Hong himself to the battlefield, then there must be more to him than what the legends speak about him.
The war must almost be over, she thought. But she had trouble in determining who the winner would be.
Unlike her namesake, the Xi Shi who was one of the Great Beauties of Ancient World, she was blessed with more brains than beauty. At least, she was not beautiful when compared to her father’s many wives.
The cool evening air that blew from the desert made the veil covering her face flutter.
She thought about her father, who must be fighting with all her brothers beside him. And also, General Chen He Sui and his only son, Chen He Shan must also be there with him.
Her heart tightened at the thought of Chen He Shan, surrounded by enemies. What scared her the most was not the possibility that he might die on the battlefield. The possibility that he might be crippled for the rest of his life scared her.
Please let him be safe, she prayed to the Gods.
She lived as the only princess in the Royal Family of Xue Nong for sixteen years, neglected by her father, who might have forgotten that he has a daughter. After all, it was because of giving birth to her that his most favored Concubine died.
Xi Shi touched the pendant that hung around her neck. It had once been gifted to her mother by her father. Life had been cruel to Xi Shi. But the people around her were extremely kind to her. Her brothers treated her very well. And Chen He Shan took her care of her every need.
She looked up at the fading skies, wondering when the battle will come to an end. She saw the hawks circling the skies, and wondered whose flesh would become their food tonight.
She closed her eyes and could imagine the gruesome sights of the battle. Swords clashing against each, the sound of the metal clanging, blood and bodies everywhere around, but the flags of the two kingdoms fluttering high in the air, facing off against each, tall and proud.
Suddenly, trumpets blared from the Kingdom’s border walls. The sound was such that everybody in the kingdom would hear it. It wasn’t a Call signaling Victory.
Wails erupted from the harem, and she saw that the guards were running around in panic. Confused, she turned around and saw that she’s not alone anymore.
Consort Mu, the only mother she’d ever known and the only childless concubine of Xi Shi’s Royal Father, was standing beside her with a solemn expression. Behind her, several Court Ladies stood with their head bowed and tears fell from their eyes.
“Your Majesty, may I know what is happening?” asked Xi Shi, confused.
Consort Mu smiled mysteriously, almost sadly. “The War is over, Princess,” she said, quietly.
Xi Shi frowned, looking at the desert. The blood-red sun has dipped lower into the horizon, letting darkness sweep over the World.
And Consort Mu finished, “We have surrendered.”
I love Xiao Li’s writings because they have strong female characters who refuse to lie down and take the kick. And I love Xi Shi and Consort Mu because they are precisely the kind of women who refuse to be cowed down by the situation around them. Why I am saying this? Well, you guys will get to know as we go down the chapters!
I and Xiao Li would love to have your take on this new Collaboration of ours. So please do comment and let us know your opinion!
And just for the record: This is a HE Novel.