Mystery in the Mist- Preview

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Invasion of the Green Mist

The beating of traditional drums along with chatterings welcomed the glorious Chang’an back. The suffering only lasted three weeks before everything returned to normal. The cure was distributed out to everyone last day. It seems like an event of the past, and people are greeting for a fresh start by celebrating the Lantern Festival. Every single element that makes Chang’an flourish are reappearing. Shops and restaurants are just as full as before, streets are lively with all kinds of interesting interactions. The energy suppressed in these people is all about to unleash today. As early as early morning, people were already marching on the streets of Chang’an. Decorations were put on just in time on every building visible. And people did not forget the most important factor, the lanterns. Every two steps there will be either a lantern hanging on above or beside. The cheerful atmosphere influenced all people, a face of unhappiness would be abnormal. It seems like everything is in great shape, but what people do not know is everything is far from over yet.

The mists that existed for the past few days cooperatively left themself, it would be a bummer if the buildings were covered up.

As time shifted towards midday more and more people are out there embracing the sunshine. The festival would officially start at this time. The emperor seated on her golden sedan chair, being carried around the whole city. Every building she passes through would be granted with good fortune. In other parts of the city, there will be endless amounts of shows hosted, with endless amounts of variety. From the famous lion dance to magic performances, to traditional dramas. It’s hard to not find this day interesting. Towards nighttime there would be even more events hosted, the tradition of placing the lanterns in rivers or sending them up to the skies would occur then.

Around the emperor are swarms of people, from officials to bodyguards. Shun, Yuchi, and Ke are in fact a part of them. Sent out by Dee to protect the emperor’s safety from the Yu’s. However, no sight of Dee is to be seen near the emperor.

“Creek.” The sound of a door being pushed opened. Two men completely covered up snuck into a room. They kept their sound to a minimum, alerting for any threats. They blended into the shadow, stepping slowly towards their target.

“Leteilo,” A man spoke in a foreign tone. The two walked out of the shadow, exposing themselves to the bright sun.

“Lezo lal mi to yu le ti wu.” Another series of unknown languages rushed out. The man seemed to be doing some weird hand gestures, like some cursed ritual. His volume raised higher and higher.

“Ceku,” The man shouted. The weird ritual appears to be over from here. The two jumped up, grasping onto the roots of the holy flower. Slowly climbing up from the bottom. Yesterday there were three flowers but apparently, the making of the cure used up two. As they got close enough to the remaining flower, they proceeded to cut it off with a knife. With one hand grasping onto the root, while the other doing a seesaw action.

Suddenly, an arrow shot right into the man’s legs. The man ached in misery, his hand slipped while the unexpected pain struck him. The man fell back-first onto the ground, leaving his fellow shook.

On the left side of the building, Xun appeared from the dark, holding a hunting bow. Dee as well poked out behind the wooden pillar. The uninjured man quickly jumped down, running as fast as he could to the entrance. However, Xun glided through the air and got in front. Xun easily landed on his feet, displaying expertise in Kung-Fu. Dee hopped over the fence, landed on the roots of the flower, before bouncing down to the ground. The man got caught right in the middle of the two.

Xun withdrew his bow and pulled out his sword. He and Dee both walked forward at the same time, leaving the man at a loss. Xun and Dee both slashed out their swords, but a simple bounce was able to avoid it. The man then used his momentum and charged towards Dee like a wild horse. Dee ducked down and the man flew right past.

Although Dee dodged the strike, it left the man all alone with a free lane to escape. But the man stood absolutely still, taunting the two with hand gestures. The fear on his face switched to a grin of confidence. It was really obvious that the man had a plan, Dee and Xun stood their ground not wanting to move any bit closer. The taunting continued as the man shouted out, “Cowards.”

To Dee’s expectancy, another three foes dropped down from the hollow ceiling. Each pulling their weapons out, a fight was inevitable. Dee and Xun gave each other a look, despite numbers advantage, they became the ones to strike first. The collisions of weapons echoed in the room, as an intense fight is in the making.

It was completely level at first, with neither side on top. Because of the number differential, one man has got to take on two. Xun and Dee fought back against back, leaving no chance for the enemies to strike from behind. A sudden change of targets would catch Dee off guard, as Dee was the besieged target. Dee launched four steps back, a sword pierced right through his undershirt, missing his skin by a sliver.

Their formation got completely torn apart, Xun and Dee separated from each other by miles. The two enemies chased after Dee who leaped up to the second floor. Using the brief second of breathing room, Dee threw his sword onto the ground and drew out a specially-forged weapon given by the emperor days before. It’s known as one of the most powerful weapons, forged by the most knowledgeable blacksmiths.

A standoff between the three happened, as the enemies noticed a difference in weapons. Dee holds on to the baton-shaped sword with both hands. Made out of pure rare metals, the thing is ten times heavier than a real sword. Dee’s one hand gripped onto the handle while using force to pluck the blade of the sword. Unlike a real sword, the blade is super dull, with moveable square blocks replacing the sharpness of the blade. One simple flick got those blocks all spinning around. The sound of its friction ripped through the air, distorting the space around Dee. A visible sound wave chased after those enemies.

The attack would’ve worked if it wasn’t for the enemy’s incredible swiftness. Rather than saying it’s an attack, it’s more like generating fear in the enemies instead. A flash of fear moved across their faces, as their eyes scanned around cluelessly. They were too scared to move first, as the weapon in Dee’s hand seemed awfully powerful.

Dee grinned, he taunted back those enemies, indicating them to attack him in any way they could. After playing a short game of chess, finally, a move was made. Each on one side, the enemies synced as they leaped into the air, swinging their swords above their heads and hacking them downwards. Dee held his weapon above his chest, with two hands forming a parallel line.

Both swords collide with Dee’s weapon. If it was any other weapon, it would’ve broken into pieces instantly. The blade of the swords touched the square block, which made it spin in rapid succession. A sound wave formed in point black range, exploding out in all directions. All three people fell backward, the eerie loud sound still piercing in Dee’s ears. A piece of iron flake hit Dee in the waist, as both swords crumbled into pieces.

Dee held on to his breath as he pulled out the flake, which had his blood painted all over it. Dee approached the enemies who are stuck in a corner. With no weapon in hand, they pose no threat to Dee. As they tried to make their last attempt of escape, Dee punched both of them into unconsciousness.

Looking downstairs, it appeared Xun also won his own fight. The mix of blood and sweat dripped down his forehead. The two’s eyes met, Dee smiled and so did Xun.

Dee and Xun took out ropes, tying those enemies against the wooden pillars. They made sure there are no chances for them to break free. When the works were all completed, they gave each other a high five of victory.

The smile and relief wouldn’t last long as bad news would go into Dee’s ears. Rushing into the room is Baozi, his chubby self running miles to find Dee. Painting out of breath, Baozi blurted out, “Green mist….. green mist.”

“What’s happening?” Dee’s very anxious to know what’s going on.

“The emperor, and…..and green mists.”

Minutes ago in another part of the city, the emperor along with her followers marched around the city streets like usual. This year everyone seemed more enthusiastic. Cheers and praises for the emperor are the most common voices. Firecrackers are exploded in alleyways, fireworks already being sent to the sky. Nothing was extraordinarily weird, and the event kept running smoothly.

“I wish you all good fortune for the rest of the year.” The emperor shouted to the crowded civilians. They bowed down and cheered, honoring their ruler. As the emperor moved further away, these people went back to doing their own thing.

Everything looked fine until a swarm of people sprinted from the opposite way, right past the emperor, not giving her any respect. A loud horn suddenly appeared from far away, as the fireworks completely vanished. The guards had to stop a random person and inquire about the situation.

“People, people are dying,” The man cried out. “Just run!!!”

The man pushed away from the guard, chasing after the crowded people. As seconds went by, more and more people ran past, yelling for everyone to flee. Confusion wrote on everyone’s face, but instinct told them to run away.

“Let’s turn back,” The emperor ordered. Just as they are turning, a peak of the monster is revealed. A wave of green mist is flooding the city, like a tsunami. Slowly, the seemingly poisonous mist moved closer and closer in. People unable to escape the mist fell down, their bodies drained in the waves.

“Quickly.” Ke hurried everyone up. “Run from that thing!”

Comparing the velocities, if they keep their pace relatively normal, the mist would probably fall behind pretty soon.

Only two steps into the escape, they were forced to stop. A bad outlook is in front of them, and behind them chase the deadly wolf. A group of people blocked their only pathway to escape. From their masks, it’s clear that they are in fact the Yu’s. And their sudden appearance is definitely not granted.

All the guards pulled their weapons out, they must rapidly win the fight before the mist can get to them. Before neither side made a move yet, something unexpected happened.

“Clang.” Yuchi’s sword tips stabbed right on Shun’s blade. Shun all of a sudden, charged back right in Yuchi’s face, slashing his sword across. Yuchi leaned back, the sword glided past the tip of his nose. The two came down at the same time, separated with a margin of space. The Yu’s and the guards also clashed with each other, as the streets of Chang’an turned into a chaotic battlefield.

“What are you doing?” Yuchi scolded Shun.

“You betrayer,” Shun said while recharging against him.

Yuchi sidestepped, dodging the initial charge. Shun hacked his sword down in rapid succession, but every attack was handled perfectly in Yuchi’s end. Yuchi used his sword, blocking everything, while continuously moving backward to create separation.

“I didn’t betray nobody.” Yuchi put on an evil grin.

As the fight progressed, Yuchi found himself closer to the emperor, while Shun was on the outer side further away. Shun clearly did not realize he had fallen unnoticeably in Yuchi’s masterpiece of a plan. “That’s the number one swordsmen?” Yuchi taunted. This was enough to get Shun fired off to the maximum. Just as he thought Yuchi was going after him, he realized that Yuchi’s target was actually the emperor. Fortunately, it wasn’t too late when Shun reacted. As Yuchi’s sword tip reached closer near the emperor, Shun used all his power to throw out his sword. The trajectory of the sword will hit Yuchi first before he reaches the emperor.

Yuchi’s plan was paused, as he had to block the flying missile with his own weapon. However, the strength and power which Shun used were so great that Yuchi twisted in the air and landed awkwardly on the ground. Shun almost instantly charged towards him, despite not having a weapon in hand he prevented Yuchi from climbing back up. Shun gripped his hand around Yuchi’s sword, the two of them fighting over it. Each using tremendous amounts of strength, the sword flew out of both people’s hands. Shun was able to retain it, as Yuchi struggled on the ground. Shun, without any hesitation, stabbed his sword around his waist area. The stab was not fatal enough to take his life away, but Yuchi certainly cannot fight anymore.

Master Yao and the emperor tried to sneakily escape, while around them blood splattered all over the ground. But the Yu’s won’t let her escape easily. Taking an overview, the Yu’s have already lost this fight, as Shun beat Yuchi in a fair duel. However, the fight lasted just long enough for the green mist to catch on. It completely surrounded all the people, hovering above their heads. The mist kept extending in all directions, it would only take some minutes before it went through everyone’s nose. The Yu’s however, do not have any fear in them, using their remaining bodies to block the only way towards survival. If they want to live, they must go through the Yu’s first.

“Watch out for the smoke,” Shun yelled. “Do not inhale it.”

Shun along with the others all charged towards the Yu’s, the emperor used this time to slip through the defense. Yet, it might be too late. The green mist floated freely at eye level, the emperor covered her nose and mouth with her hand. Looking at the far end of the street, the mist just kept growing. To the side, some bodies are dropping despite being fully aware of the poisonous mist. The yu’s seemingly unaffected by it. At any second, this could mark the end of Wu Zetian’s ruling over the dynasty.

Dee and Xun both rode on horses, passing from street to street. In opposite directions, a crowd chaotically running by, pushing and shoving each other. All of which had a look of horror on their face. Screams and cries made the street sound like a massacre had happened. Children are dragged by their parents, old bags limping behind the line. Their shabby shoes made contact with the ground, bringing dust into the air with every step. As the swarm rushed by, a dust storm was created, particles of it ran into Dee’s eyes. Dee rubbed it off, waving his hand in the air to clear the view.

From a few blocks away, a storm is engulfing everything it passes through. People and buildings are submerged in the green particles. It moved closer every second and blocked away all the sunshine, as the city again lost its brightness. This is obviously the green mist Baozi was mentioning, the demon people are running away from. Dee has successfully predicted every step of Yu’s plan, except this storm they’ve created.

Simultaneously, both horses refused to run any bit forward, even though Dee ordered them to do so. The mist is not completely unable to see through, focusing on the more transparent parts, Dee recognizes the emperor being stuck inside the stomach of the monster. He also saw Shun, and the hurting Yuchi all trapped inside the mist as well. Luckily, it seemed the mist hadn’t got into their noses yet.

Dee and Xun had to hop off their horse, on Dee’s back carried a bag. They ran faster than they ever did, every second might be the deciding factor. Very soon, they reached the territory of the mist. Hovering above their heads, they seem to be safe for now. Inside, it felt like a whole new world, dark and ghastly. Frigidity climbed up Dee’s back, as clumps of ice frozen inside his body. Dee grabbed the back off of his back, unraveling the cloth. Place in his hand is the holy flower. Dee yanked the cloth away, his eyes full of determination and courage, fire igniting in his heart.

There are still yards before Dee can get to the emperor. Seeing the emperor still standing alive gave Dee hopes and motivation, as he accelerated even faster. The enemies did not notice Dee coming from behind, yet, Dee did not pull out his weapon. He leaped into the air, throwing the flower up into the green mist. The flower spun as it pierced right through the mist, the mist magically fading away. As the altitude got higher, the flower grew larger, a palace-sized flower just sitting above everyone’s head.

Like the sun, a luminous aura surrounded the magical flower, rays of dazzling light shot out from every direction. Everyone miraculously paused their fighting, weapons being dropped down. Every eyesight was drawn to the blossoming flower.

The flower reached maximum height, the spinning stopped, instead it sat silently still. The petals opened towards the side, showing its stamen, the flower blossomed. The colour gradually turned from a bright red to a pale white. Seconds later, human-sized petals fell one by one, softly touching everyone’s head. The flower popped, as the smell of fragrance intruded Dee’s nose. Like rainfall, the petals fell from the sky. As it contacts the ground it marvelously disappears, only leaving some golden particles.

The stamen released huge amounts of pollen before the whole flower evaporated in the air. The golden particles shinned in the green mist, it spread out with each second passing by. The pollen dominated the green mist, eating them alive. Slowly but surely, the green mist decayed away from the crowd, as the golden particles conquered the air. The holy flower of YuXian may have just saved thousands of lives and it’s all credit to Dee.

Dee watched as the mist gradually disappeared into the void, he couldn’t believe his unthoughtful decision actually paid off. Funny enough, YuXian’s holy flower was the key factor that defeated Yu’s mastermind plan. At first, when Dee heard about the mist, he was in complete despair. Too shocked to even move his fingers. At the time, there was no time to think. Dee made the decision to try if the holy flower can help any bit. The mist was probably a poisonous one, as Baozi claimed people went unconscious. So, maybe this cure of an object can be the solution to this massive crisis.

Dee didn’t put too much hope into it, but the results could not be better.

Now with the mist being gone, the Yu’s lost an important factor towards winning. With sword tips pointed at their faces, both hands were raised up. They have surrendered.

“Oh, thank you, Dee.” The emperor walked by. She reached both arms out, wanting to give Dee a big hug, but quickly realizing her manners.

“It’s my duty,” Dee said. He then approached Yuchi, who fainted on the ground.

“Arrest these people,” Xun ordered. “The others go check for any who were affected by the green mist.”

Dee started at Yuchi, sighed with disappointment. Today would’ve gotten even worse if Dee hadn’t suspected Yuchi. Dee never thought the Yu’s would be so desperate, that they had to harm even innocents.

As the sky is completely clear, the sun appeared on the surface. What lied behind the green mist was a scary sight that now is revealed. There are people face down on the street, completely unconscious. Lanterns are ripped into pieces, dangling on their strings. Tangled on the roof of buildings are long strips of vines. Razor-sharp thorns pierced in the wooden materials. It connected between buildings, like a huge web. But as the golden particles grazed past, they instantly rotten into waste carried away by the wind.

The wind slowly dried Dee’s sweats, his hair dancing in air. The golden particles slowly landed on every part of his body, gently nudging him. Looking at the far north, he wondered if everything went as expected.

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