Story Two | Lekranian – A New Friend, A New Ally (ii)
Slowly creeping up to the boulder. The closer she got, the louder it sounded. Coming from behind slowly, she stuck her head out that made her soft bun plop to the right. Grinning from ear to ear she was excited - she finally found him!!
She jumped out from behind the boulder. “Haaaaa!” She screamed with a smile on her face. The man who was sitting down and applying pressure to his wound on his right shoulder felt his heart tremble. Looking at her wide-eyed. ”Fuck, I’ve been caught!" he cursed to himself.
She was standing in front of him with the bloodied sword smiling from ear to ear. Pointing the sword at him she said, “Didn’t I tell you to stay put, why do you listen?”
The man looked up at her while trembling. Grabbing onto what he could, he struggled to stand up almost falling over but she caught him holding onto his shoulder with one hand and the sword in her other no longer pointing it at him. Looking at the man’s shoulder and legs that were wounded she felt conflicted, looking at him confused she asked, “How is it that you can still walk?”
The man who was beginning to lose his composure due to fatigue and the huge amount of blood loss started breathing heavily and caught the dizzy spell. His legs gave in making him fall to his knees along with the youth beside him.
The sword dropped while she tried grabbing onto him. His eyes started closing but she smacked him awake! “If you fall asleep now you will die.” She warned him in a calm voice.
“I can’t treat your wounds here, let’s return to the tree, I have herbs that can help you,” she said, not waiting for an answer. Lifting him up onto her back she pulled him up and picked up her sword.
His hands hung over her shoulders while his legs dragged behind them. Yue Mian was shorter than him so the full length of his body couldn’t be lifted onto her. She took big strides rushing to the tree where her sack was quickening her steps.
The man on her back had his head against hers with his nose between her hair. The dense smell of jasmine infused with a distant hint of mint engulfed his nose, putting him to ease but this wasn’t enough due to the sheer pain coming from his wounds. His hands were hanging over her shoulders hitting the lumps on her chest.
He started frowning while thinking of a few things concluding that from the smell of flowers in her hair and the lumps his hands kept hitting against. With what he matched it with, this youth had what the women in his land had on their chests.
Turning his head to look to the side, he saw that they were all alone in the forest and the animals kept making noises. He wondered what happened to that young mountain tiger and if she killed it. Thinking further in this directing he was surprised that she was able to carry him wondering if she was these peoples warrior because the women on his land were weak.
They arrived at the tree where her belongings were and the mountain tiger who was knocked out before was up looking at them. She gently put the man down against the tree. She looked at the tiger and smiled, “I’ll deal with you later,” she said as she pointed a finger at it.
Grabbing her sack she pulled out a box opening it. She took out three vials and walked over to the man. Handing him a vial she said, “Drink this so it can alleviate the pain, this one is for blood growth and the third to rub on your wounds while we dress them.”
Looking up at her, he reached for the first vial, taking off the cork he said, “You know, you have been speaking to me the whole time and I still don’t understand what you are saying. The language of your tongue and my tongue are different.” He downed the vial and reached for the next while looking at her who had a speechless expression on her face.
YuMi just now realized that it was not just his attire that was different but the way he looked and the language he spoke. This person in front of her caught her interest.
She handed him the second vial and dressed his wounds while he chewed on a bitter leaf that she handed him to keep him awake. Once the wounds were dressed she checked his temperature and cleaned him off. Looking at him she said, “There’s a cave up ahead that we can stay in, you need to get somewhere warm and safe away from danger... do you understand?” she asked hoping he could - he didn’t but got up anyways and let her move him.
The cave was too far of a distance, leaving them to settle down in it. After making him comfortable, she ran out to get wood and made a fire within the cave to keep it and him warm. Leaving again she went to gather her things then moved over to the river not far away to get some water.
She passed the mountain tiger a few times and teased it every time. Dragging its parents away out of sight she cut one of them up and covered the meat in cloth for them to eat later on. Jogging back to the mountain tiger, she handed it a piece of the meat but it refused. “Now stay there and starve!” she cursed at its ungratefulness.
When she arrived back at the cave the man was sleeping. She covered him with a robe of hers and sat opposite him while she watched the fire dance and the man sleep. It was still morning and eating meat was not healthy for either of them so she opted to go back into town to buy some rice porridge and fruits for him to eat.
Arriving in town she bought the rice porridge and fruits then went to a medicine store to replace the medicine she used up and also to buy others.
Returning to the cave, she saw that his forehead was beaded with sweat droplets. Wiping off and applying a damped cold cloth on his forehead to lower the temperature of his body. When his breathing evened out she took this as a sign of him feeling slightly better.
She went outside and started a new fire to cook the meat. Adding a few condiments she made a mountain tiger meat stew with rice and for her friend in the cave, she cooked up the fruits and added it to the porridge.
Afternoon came and she was already bored. She was supposed to be on her way to Jilei but was caught up in this mess. Shrugging she placed the bowl down and walked over to the mountain tiger. Surprisingly it ate the meat. Looking at her approaching it backed into the tree scared of her.
She crouched down in front of it looking it over. ”Ah, it’s male.” She thought; looking into its eyes she said, “I don’t like mountain tigers but because you are young and it seemed as though your parents were teaching you to hunt, let me tell you something. People aren’t meant to be hunted but we are a source of food for animals such as yourself. You should be hunting animals and not people but then again, if you are hungry, you should eat. In this world, its the survival of the strong and the weak shall be the pray but that’s bullshit, those that think they are strong and bully the weak are the prey and you should eat them!”
Holding her hand out in front of her as if to shake hands she was waiting for an answer, “Join me in taking down those idiots and you’ll feast until you roll on your fat stomach and eat more, and don’t worry, I will find a woman for you to pacify your beastly instincts.” The mountain tiger looked down at her and then up at her. It turned its head refusing her offer.
Her mouth twitched. This wasn’t the first time that an animal rejected her and she hated it, maybe there was something about her that they didn’t like about her. She stood up, folded her arms saying, “Fine be like that!” and walked off back to the cave.
Evening came and he still did not wake up but his condition was getting better. She fell asleep listening to the dancing fire and dreamt of the day when Yu Sheng made her his. Her dream stopped in the middle and she woke up. The fire was out and the man was still asleep.
She gathered the wood that was sitting in a pile not too far from her and set it alight to warm up the cave again. This time while watching the fire dance, she thought of Yu Sheng and all that happened after that night. Their relationship was no longer the same and they were intimate bringing on a new danger that she didn’t know she was going to face in the future.
Thinking of him actually made her feel sad because she was no longer by his side. She was beginning to worry for his sake, whether or not he was dressed warmly at night, if he was eating well and if he missed her.
“Silly,” she thought. She never guessed that someone like her would find that someone special nor did she think she was capable of loving someone but was proved wrong after meeting her son Ye Xinxi Yue - this further proved her wrong when after that night the two of them spent together in each other’s arms.
She was also not convinced that Yu Sheng was happy with her because he was with a man before and who knows who else in the time that she had been gone. Five years was a long time and the two of them have only spent two years after that together as a couple, yet now they were separated again.
Doubt was in her for long but Yu Sheng proved her wrong time and time again - maybe he did love her. His loyalty towards her she trusted but because she was who she is, she did not trust herself.
A tear slid down her cheek. Her self-consciousness about this topic made her angry. She hated being away from him now and hoped that time would pass by sooner so that the two of them could be together again.
The warmth from his hold, the nonsense that he spoke, the heat that rose from his kisses, his gentleness when combed her hair. All of this made her miss him more and more, regretting being born this princess with ambition, this princess he worshipped and protected - “If I knew that I’d feel this way, I would have never sought my path has the princess of Jilei. If I knew back then that we’d be together, I would have chased after you and never left your side...Fuck I hate this!”
This time she didn’t dream of the two of them and instead slept peacefully. Morning came and the man was the first to wake up. Looking around, he couldn’t remember when they arrived here.
Trying to sit up he grunted from the pain in his shoulder. His grunt woke up the sleeping YuMi making them both frown in displeasure.
Looking over at him she quickly got up to help him sit up. Sitting against the cave’s wall, the fire that was about to burn out had more wood added to it and was given a third life.
Looking at him she asked, “Has the pain gone down by a bit?” The man looked at her with a questioning gaze not answering her. Snapping her fingers she said, “Ah, I forgot, we don’t speak the same language!”
Settling down on a rock near him she thought for a moment. Turning to him she pointed to herself, “Yoooou Mi! I am called YuMi.”
Still, he did not answer her. She pointed to her mouth and said it again, “Yoooou Mi.” Looking at the man with expectation and a smile. He looked at her deeply and mimicked her, “Yooou Me.”
She clapped her hands from excitement. “No, say it like me, Yoooou Mi, not Yooou Me, Yoooou Mi!”
Tilting his head to the side he said again, “Yoooou Mi?” She clapped her hands again, repeated the pronunciation of her name and so did he. “What’s your name?” she asked him, hoping he would understand her.
He was silent for a while but said, “YuMi, I am called A-ro.” Pausing she looked at him confused. He pointed to himself repeating his name, “A-ro.”
Mimicking him she asked, “Are you called A-ro?” The man smiled. He struggled to say her name but she got it right the first time. She warmed up the rice porridge for him and helped feed him while the two sat in silence.
By noon he was feeling much better although in pain but could still walk, with the help from her. She cooked up some of yesterdays meat not forgetting to give her pet some too although he was still full of nonsense.
After lunch she tried speaking with A-ro again, “A-ro, where are you from?” “I’m from here!” She said as she stomped her foot. A-ro too a while because he was guessing what she actually meant, answering her, “If what you are asking is where I am from, I’m from Lekrania, Leka is my home.”
She stood up from her seat and pointed at him, “You are a Lekranian, those people that are said to be barbarians?” He looked up at her and nodded, “Lekrania.” She sat down again and looked at him from top to bottom, a well-built man, who can run fast - interesting.
Sitting across him, she thought about what she knew about his people. According to the researchers, the Lekranians emperor was called Namba and the empress was called Naleu, this was more of their titles. Their land had no buildings but they had tents that were made from the animals they hunted, their clothes were too.
Their land was called Lekra and the people lived separately more like clans than families, and the women would marry into different clans, similar to the nobles and royals way of life but different in their own way. The children mainly females weren’t allowed to marry back into their mother’s families for at least the next ten generations because crossbreeding brought on weak warriors.
Unlike the other empires, the emperor and empress didn’t sit in a palace like tent only slept in it. They spent most of their time with different tribesmen and women and did not have to deal with any conflict. When there was conflict then they would just kill the two parties involved. They were also known for being merciless and when they had celebrations, they killed each other too but not many died because of the rules they lived by. Most said that if you meet a Lekranian, run the other direction or die.
Looking at him again, she thought of herself lucky, maybe saving him was fate and if he was someone who’d bite their benefactor by the hand then she could just kill him.
She went over to feed the mountain tiger. Placing the meat down in front of it she stepped back and crouched down, glaring at him.
The mountain tiger looked at her then looked down at the meat.
MT, “Ah, I want to eat it so bad, why is she looking at me and not leaving?”
YuMi, “Eat it.”
MT, “Go away then I will.”
YuMi, “Eat it.”
MT looks away ignoring her.
YuMi gets frustrated with its stubbornness, picks up the meat and walks away.
Poor MT regrets his decision and starts whining in self-pity.
YuMi on the other hand, “I too wouldn’t want to eat my parents in front of someone.”