My Daughter's Crown

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Volume Two – Story One | Shen Fei Rue

Sitting on the tree the peach stealing monkey took many more and stuffed them in her bag.

Jumping off the tree she headed upstream to the boarder’s check-in point.

Reaching the check-in point, she was stopped by the border patrol and asked, “Where are you from?”

Yue Mian, “I’m from the Xiěyè Empire, I am visiting my aunt who sent a letter asking me to come help out with her stall at the market because she became ill.”

The guard looked at her, sizing her up and asked for her passport. “What does your aunt sell?”

Yue Mian, “She has a medical herb stall.”

“Mn, alright, you may pass and remember to head to the central office and notify them that you will be staying here for the time being.”

Yue Mian, “Hi hi~”

She accepted the passport and walked behind the others who entered before her. Along the way, she heard them talking about various things, for instance, scandals relating to the Naiad Empires royals and nobles. Those who you should be wary of and those that are useless eating all the tax money instead of helping the poor.

Yue Mian decided to walk with them till they reached the capital so that she could register then run away, she did this mostly because she did not know how things work and needed to be one hundred per cent sure before she did what she wanted to.
Yue Mian traveled for three days with the merchants and other travelers. They took breaks at night and lunch breaks when the sun shone bright high in the sky.

She managed to gain much information from the merchants.

On the fourth morning around dusk, they arrived at the capital of Naiad called Riviera. Riviera was beautiful, the dew drops that hung all over on the leaves, rooftops and verandas of the stores in the capital.

The merchants she traveled with voluntarily took her too where she needed to register. They left after telling her to wait for the man and then she could head out; they also told her that she would be told to pay money so she shouldn’t be surprised.

Two hours later a man wearing light blue silk robes and a government sash arrived. He looked at Yue Mian who stood in front of his office with a listless expression.

He opened his door without greeting her making her smile, [So no matter where you go, a monkey adorned in a government sash will always raise its nose at those below it.]

She followed him in and waited for him to sit down. The man acted as if he did not see Yue Mian and flipped through a book on his desk. A male servant brought tea to his side and poured two cups. One for his boss and the other for Yue Mian.

Handing the cup of tea to her he smiled and asked her to wait for some time until the capital’s magistrate is ready for her.

He led her out of the office into a small garden and said she could rest on the chair.

After drinking the tea finished she sat there looking at the garden and felt angry. Something she hated most was to be placed in a garden especially the one in the Imperial Palace of the Xiěyè Empire.

Swallowing her anger down she closed her eyes and started thinking of the events that took place before she got here.

Feeling a tug on her sleeve she opened her eyes and looked up. The male servant came over to notify her that the magistrate was ready to see her now. Nodding her head she followed the male servant back to the magistrate’s office.

Looking around her, specifically at the sun rays shining in, she noticed that she had been waiting for an hour and a half, almost two hours.

She finally looked down at the man who seemed uninterested in why she was here so she didn’t speak, waiting for him.

One thing Yue Mian was great at and that was being patient.

The magistrate was still reading his book and thought that she would state her reason for being here but she did not, she just stood there and looked at him.

Finally, after some time he put the book down and picked up a brush and opened a records book, he looked up at her and asked, “This fellow, what is your reason for being here today?”

Answering with a neutral expression she said, “Permanent living.”

The magistrate raised a brow, “So you are here to apply for residence and citizenship am I correct?”

Yue Mian answered, “Mn” and nothing else.

The magistrate frowned but didn’t say anything. Getting out two books from the shelf behind him he opened the first one and said, “Name please.”

Yue Mian, “Xian Yue Mian.”

Before writing this down, he looked at her and asked, “Are you from Jilei?”

Yue Mian, “Yes.”

Nodding his head he asked while writing, “Date of birth?”

Yue Mian, “Sixteen years, seventh term, twelfth day.”

Magistrate, “How long will you be staying?”

Yue Mian, “Five years.”

The magistrate looked up at her then smirked. Looking back down, he recorded her information further then opened the second book.

The total cost of your citizenship will be one hundred and seven silver. She handed the silver over to him, throwing a sack on the desk.

The man opened the sack and immediately started counting the money. Satisfied with the amount he looked back at his books and started again. “Will you be renting a house from the capital?”

Yue Mian, “No.”

Magistrate, “Staying with someone?”

Yue Mian, “Maybe.”

Looking up at her he shrugged. He told her that she needed to come back and pay the one hundred and seven silver coins again next year at this time.

Taking a badge from him she left with a few documents and stepped out of his office.

Walking along the road where the stalls were set up, Yue Mian bought a few apples and other food and something to drink.

She went into an ally and sat down because she felt tired and wanted to sleep. Resting her back against the wall of one of the buildings she slid down and chewed on the apple. Finishing it she threw it away and closed her eyes.

Not long before she closed her eyes, she was hit on the shoulder, “Child, child wake up!! This is not a place for you to sleep.”

Yue Mian opened her eyes and looked up at the old lady who yelled at her. The lady had a hunched back and was carrying a grocery bag with stuff in it and there were two young children with her. One girl, one boy.

Yue Mian’s red eyes looked at the old woman as she said, “But I am tired.”

Old woman, “Now get up and come with me.”

Yue Mian, “Why?”

Old woman, “Now stay here and wait to be taken away by the government.”

Yue Mian, “Get taken away?”

The old woman walked away with the two children by her side. With reluctance, Yue Mian got up and followed the old woman and the kids.
Yue Mian followed the old lady to a small house on the outside of the woods not to far from the capital.

The small house had a small garden with a small selection of flowers. Next to the garden was a small patch of potatoes growing.

Around the small house and garden was a botched up fence that was just barely stable enough to hold up.

Walking closer towards the small house, Yue Mian could hear the sound of children laughing.

The little girl and boy who were together with the old woman started smiling and ran through the only entrance of the unstable fence, running towards the small house, the two of them were full of life all of a sudden when before they were wary of Yue Mian and continuously looked back behind them while on their way home, watching her every move.

The two children disappeared into the house while the old woman followed behind them.

With respect still in her, Yue Mian stopped walking when she reached the entrance. Not realizing that Yue Mian stopped following her, the old woman continued on till she reached the door of the small house.

Turning around to let Yue Mian she paused. No one was behind her. She looked up and around then finally saw Yue Mian at the end of the walkway beside the entrance looking in the direction of the garden.

The old woman smiled, she walked towards Yue Mian. Turning her attention towards the old woman, Yue Mian gazed at her with tired eyes.

Old woman, “Do you plan on standing here whole day and not sleep inside?”

Smiling wearily and dazed, Yue Mian said, “Aunty, you haven’t told me your name.”

Old woman, “All you need to do is ask. I am Fei Rue, Shen Fei Rue but you can call me aunty Fei. This is my home and the children with me are all orphans.”

Yue Mian, “I am not an orphan.”

Old woman, “If that is so, why were you sleeping on the road?”

Yue Mian, “I just entered Naiad from Xieye.”

Old woman, “This does not mean you should sleep in the road, in Naiad there is a group of people taking young men away who are on the street and have no home.”

Yue Mian, “I’m female, aunty.”

The old woman looked at Yue Mian from top to bottom, Shaking her head she said, “It’s illegal to dress like a man, if you get caught you could go to prison, worse case you would be sold off.”

Yue Mian shook her head, “Aunty I have my reasons, I am also not weak.”

Old woman, “Alright alright, come inside and sleep, we can talk some more about this after you wake up.”

Following aunty Fei into the small house, Yue Mian couldn’t help but think about what aunty Fei just mentioned, “In Naiad there is a group of people taking young men away who are on the street and have no home.”

Bending her head and walking through the door, Yue Mian paused at the sight of five children looking at her a bit frightened.

Straightening her body she stood at attention and looked at the five mini humans. Aunty Fei put down the grocery bags and introduced her to all the children.

Aunty Fei, “Little ones, this is your new sister meimei. Meimei, the little one on the left is only two years old, her name is Mica. The boy next to her is Teno, he is four years of age. This is Rishu, I believe the two of you have met already is six years old… the little boy behind Azia Haneul, he is almost two years old and Azia who you have met before is the eldest, she is eight years old.”

After being introduced to all of them, aunty Fei took her to the spare room.

Aunty Fei, “If you want, you can stay here with us, it’s not for free and I am not asking you to pay, I need the extra help around here so you will need to work hard if you want to eat the food prepared by me. For now, you can rest up till tomorrow but when the sun rises will have to work.”

Not waiting for Yue Mian to say anything, aunty Fei left. Looking down at the dull pink blanket placed on a mat with a white pillow beside it. The room was small but just right for her.

Placing the sword in her hand down and the sack on her back on the ground, she unfolded the blanket and placed the pillow at the top of the mat. Taking off her outer layer of clothing, she sat down on the mat and took off her shoes.

Unfolding the blanket she laid back, fixing the pillow beneath her head and looked up at the ceiling. “I am really lucky to have come by aunty Fei…who knows, maybe I would still be on the streets right now.”

Turning onto her side, she placed her left hand under her head. Looking at the drywall for a minute, her eyes closed.

With her eyes closed, Yue Mian’s mind was all over the place, thinking about her mother, Yu Sheng, the royal family of Xieye and the royal family of Jilei.

She wondered if her brothers and sisters knew about her because she knew about them - if they didn’t know about her, then “I will just have to make them know who I am.”

Wanting to smile but to lazy to move her face. Drifting off further into the distance her body gave off a buzz while her mind dulled out from the chaotic scenes going through her mind.

Feeling the fatigue sink in and take over her body, she finally fell asleep.

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