Fanfic Fanfare!

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Sun Fin
Librarian of Shen Zhou
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Re: Fanfic Fanfare!

Unread post by Sun Fin »

Thank you for sharing with us! Its an interesting crossover!
Have a question about a book or academic article before you buy it? Maybe I have it!
Check out my library here for a list of Chinese history resources I have on hand and my tumblr to see if I have reviewed it!
Rivvy Elf
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Joined: Sat Apr 07, 2007 11:17 pm

Re: Fanfic Fanfare!

Unread post by Rivvy Elf »

Sun Fin wrote: Tue Jan 17, 2023 8:26 am Thank you for sharing with us! Its an interesting crossover!
Thanks Sun Fin! I already have 18 chapters and over 100K words written, so I hope y'all enjoy what I've been working on since last summer.


Chapter 1 link:
Chapter 2 link:


Author's Notes: This is a crossover of Water Margin and the works of JRR Tolkien (basically Water Margin in a Middle-Earth setting). I will be posting the censored version of my fanfiction here to comply with the PG-13 rules of the Scholars of Shen Zhou. After all, Water Margin is not PG-13 ( :pika: ). I will be... changing a lot of the characters in Water Margin so even if you know the events of that novel, prepare to be surprised and amused by some of the twists and turns I'll be taking. The major events will still occur though, worry not! Feedback, questions, and criticism is more than encouraged.

For the uncensored version of my fanfic, here's the links to the version of my work. ... Inland-Sea


Chapter 3: The Rise of Gao- The Power of Football (the Football that Involves Mostly Kicking) Part 1

Dongjing, Third Age Year 1924

"Speak! What exactly happened here."

For a moment, Wang Jin looked like a caught goldfish.

"Uh-guh-erm. (cough)" she responded. Blinking a few times she closed her mouth, lifted her chin, and walked over with confident strides towards the constable.

The constable tightened his hand around his truncheon.

She stopped momentarily and stated with head held high, "self-defense."

"Self-defense?" the Constable asked, raising his eyebrows.

Wang Jin unfastened her bag on her right hip and walked closer until she was within an arm's reach of the constable.

"Self-defense," Wang Jin stated more firmly, taking out a roll of iron coins, holding aloft the money. The constable held out his free hand, letting the roll fall into his fingers.

"Self..." the Constable's eyes shifted toward Gao holding trying to sit up. Then the constable looked at Yanny/Laurel (bloody mouth and all) vainly trying to put her two teeth back in. Nearby, the ruffian that was on his back was clutching his chest, struggling to get up. The constable's eyes shifted next to the collapsed peddler stall where a ruffian was trying to get out of the debris.

"...defense?" scoffed the Constable with disgust, as if Wang Jin just made a joke regarding disembowelment.

Wang Jin's mouth twitched for a second, but she retained her plain expression.

"Self..." she placed another roll of iron coins into the constable's palm.

"de-..." another roll was placed.

"-fense." Finally, a third roll was placed. The constable closed his palm with the three rolls of coins, placing them within a pouch attached to his belt.

"Aaah," the constable's eyes widened as if suddenly understanding, "self-defense," the constable repeated with an affirming tone, nodding at Wang Jin, who averted her eyes to the side with the barest hint of a smile, "off you go then."

And off she went, walking with long strides and a quickened pace.

Her tale of how she passed the Arms Instructor examination with flying colors, her first few years roaming from village to village training warriors, her rise to become Head Arms Instructor of the 80,000 Imperial soldiers, and how she trained the likes of Lin Chong, Shi Wengong, and Lu Junyi, shall not be told right now.

Instead, our focus shall move towards the person named Gao, as it was now his turn to answer the constable.


Gao gritted his teeth, salty tears blinding his eyes. There wasn't any reprieve at all! When he could finally breathe without hurting his midsection, the migraine would return. When the migraine went, his eyes burned. And when he could move again, stabs of pain continued to strike between his legs. It felt like he ran into a wall and the wall decided to tear off his jewels for good measure.

It was only intimidation! That street performer encroached on their territory so, of course, they were going to beat him up! They would've stopped... eventually. It wasn't as if they were going to kill him; they didn't have enough money to bribe themselves out of that. All the fighting his gang knew was from watching the staged fights outside of the brothels. Of course, Gao knew a little more about the martial arts, but why would he get his hands dirty when he had people to do his work? Everything went wrong once that tanned green-clothed woman ambushed his group. By the time Gao fully realized what was going on, his niece Yanny had bravely fallen trying to charge at the wild beast.

Needle-like stabs struck his groin again. Ugh, he was going to feel this for days.

The rest were disposable. But hitting his niece...that pissed Gao off. What kind of monster would hit a little girl, his niece in particular? That woman was probably a country bumpkin based on her tanned skin. Probably got kicked out for being a stupid, illiterate ruffian and decided to enlist in the army or something. She only beat Gao because he was enraged and didn't think straight. Dirty fighter too, no honor at all to kick someone's jewels. To be beaten like that in front of the entire crowd too. She ruined everything!

By the time Gao finally was able to wobble up, wincing in pain, the constable had begun interrogating Yanny.

"You there. Girl, speak, what happened here?" ordered the constable, bending over to better talk with her.

"They... that... that tanned animal... They punched me! My-my, it hurts talking... so much," Yanny blubbered, nasally snorting her snot in between placing her face on her pink sleeves.

The constable shook his head, "they, they, they? Who is they? What did you expect when you attack someone? That they let you beat them up?"

She shook her head vigorously, tears flying out of the corners of her eyes, "No no, that woman did it. They started-"

"Niece, let me talk to the nice fellow here- ugh" Gao cut her off, wincing in pain as he limped towards the pair.

The constable cast an annoyed sideways glare, then turned towards Gao. "I did not ask you to speak," he said flatly.

"Oh but kind sir, you want to ask me to speak," Gao, said, fishing out a roll of copper coins.

The constable mulled it over. Then, he gave a quick nod, taking the coins.

Gesturing towards Gao, the constable stated, "I want you to speak, what happened here?"


And now he was bankrupt. Great.

Gao could not let Yanny say that it was that Country Bumpkin's fault, as the latter was officially cleared of all wrongdoing due to "self-defense." Gao could always file the paperwork for an appeal for the magistrate to see, of course, but that costed more money than he had. So, he "convinced" the constable that Yanny and his beatdowns were punishment enough for the crime of attacking another person.

Then came the challenge of covering up the other members of his crew.

So Gao had to "convince" the constable that he was not responsible for the concussion his fellow member had ('tripped on a rock and fell backwards'), the cracked rib suffered by another member ('stunt mishap with a staff'), the property damage from his crew member being thrown into a peddler's stand ('practiced a cartwheel, three backflips, two front somersaults trick and botched the landing'), the strained arms from the two useless idiots who did not take the opportunity to leave the scene! ('I have nothing to do with them')

Then he had to hunt down the various artists that had, by this time, drawn a rendition of his private parts being punted like a football. They took most of his money as artists were well-respected. But Gao would rather be strangled by his intestines than be famous for Hero teaches Gangster Gao a Lesson in Football or Self-Defense Technique: The Ball Destroyer.

Finally, there were those gamblers he had to pay off to stop badgering him ("You threw the fight!" "You were favored by -4000 and a lock, screw you!"). He had to give them his favorite football along with the rest of his money.

His crew disbanded. Yanny wanted to stick by Gao but he flat out told her to not associate with him anymore, for her sake, and to get an apprenticeship with an herbalist due to her knowledge of flowers. Yanny cried so much that Gao wept as well. They cried so much that they were kicked out of the homeless shelter they resided in for disturbing the peace.

Thus began his search for a job...


He asked his father for a job. His father reported him to Dongjing's magistrate for being a non-government endorsed gang leader and Gao got logged 20 times (being hit on the back by log-like staves). Oh, and he was banished from the capital too. That jerk!


Dongjing, Third Age Year 1927

Gao spent the next three years in a gambling house. By that time The Emperor issued a general amnesty for everyone. Thus, Gao returned to Dongjing, finding himself surrounded by an overflow of unemployed people that would return back to jail (some voluntarily) within the next few years. Somehow, he found himself in a tougher situation than he was three years ago. But he decided to try his hand at an interesting job he heard of...


"I'm sorry, but after seeing you eat for ten days, you're not fit to be a competitive eater," Gao's now former employer concluded.

Seeing the absolute devastation on Gao's face caused the employer to hurriedly add, "but you are a good groveler. Here's a letter of recommendation to somebody I know."

Gao's face lit up in happiness. Then the grin quickly turned into a frown as he processed what his former employer said.



Su "Dongpo" Shi would become a household name in a thousand years. He had quite a resume: Poet, essayist, journalist, economist, statesman, and possible inventor of Dongpo Pork, a luscious dish that would tempt many a vegetarian for years to come (even though he himself was a vegetarian). He had nothing to do with fish.

At this point in time, he was a disgraced ex-politician who was recently amnestied. Given that "common household work" was not on his resume, he was offering employment for the vacant "servant" job: Gao Qiu was among the applicants on this list.

The interview began; pleasantries were made. Then Su Shi asked,

"...and what do you think of Moriism, the School of Morinehtar that asserts the existence of a Central Path for both Elves and Men?"

"...Huh?" responded Gao in confusion, "I am afraid I am not an expert on foreign-sounding religions, master."

A silence followed.

Breaking the silence, Su Shi said, "...I would like you to write an essay analyzing a poem that I wrote. If you do well then you may stay as my servant, learning to be a scholar at the same time. If you do not do well, you may stay for a night and leave when the sun rises and the rooster crows."

With that, Su Shi handed the poem; along with a calligraphy set containing paper, brushes, an inkstick, an inkstone, red ink, a brush holder, a little water pot, a pot of sand, and a little spoon; to Gao. This is what the poem said:





This is what it said in Westron:

"What compares to humanity's life?

Migrating geese rest on snow,

Leave fleeting claw prints and

All fly away, some East, some West.

The old monk has passed away;

A gravestone was made for them.

The crumbling wall of their hut

Shows not our inscriptions there.

The road went ever on and on,

All of us tired, our limping steeds braying."

(trans. Shaohai Guo)

Gao spent some time digesting the poem, then put brush to ink and began writing his essay. As the ink was not easy to erase, he put his thought into every logogram, ensuring each character was pristine. Every stroke was precise yet reflected the language's beauty; even the periods were perfectly round. After he was done, he lightly poured sand on the essay to dry the ink. Once the ink dried, he blew the particles away.

Handing it to Su Shi, the ex-government scholar inspected the work. Every so often the scholar would briefly nod, as if in affirmation. His eyes would focus on certain terms, and he would pause at points as if to ponder a specific phrase or sentence.

Soon enough, Gao was handed back the essay. Noticing that there were no markings on the work, he looked at the scholar, awaiting the evaluation.

"Your work is quite beautiful and technically sound. Each stroke showed your attention to detail, I can see you put an ethereal amount of effort into this. Every character is clear and you created a fine work of art. I will not let this talent go to waste."

The praise filled Gao with joy as he respectfully focused his eyes on the floor, smiling.

However, Su Shi was not done speaking.

"I shall write a letter of recommendation for you to gain employment with an artist I know at a well-known brothel called the Brothel of the Wise. I wish you luck in your future endeavors, Gao."

Gao grinned, and he bowed towards the scholar in gratitude. But just as he was about to utter his thanks, he realized the full meaning of what Su Shi said, and he frowned, undoing his bow and looking at the scholar in disbelief.



At least he finally got a job after that disaster of his essay-writing abilities, becoming an artist's apprentice at the Brothel of the Wise. Brothels were the center of music, dancing, culture, and wrestling. Not that Gao could really enjoy that in his workplace. It was a living, though not as glamorous as he thought it was going to be. He could not even use the money to obtain the premium services of the courtesans, let alone get an audience with the immortal beauty Li Shishi, whose artistic and musical abilities drew even The Emperor and the royal family to visit. The brothel banned relations between apprentices and courtesans for understandable reasons. It still continually bothered him though, in more ways than one.

His current job involved engraving words on stones, both precious and common ('My pet rock needs a name!'). As pretty as the final result was, the process was... more befitting for a dwarf laborer than Gao. Hammer and chisel lacked the fine elegance of the brush, after all.

Then one day...

"Well well Gao, my boy! I daresay it's your lucky day," boomed Gao's Master Artist. But Gao did not bother looking up, focusing on engraving the word for "rock" on a pet rock.

"Every day is my lucky day..." droned Gao, "what is it now, master? Another seal to mark?"

"Nonono, my boy! It's the Imperial Court!"

"Huh?" responded Gao in fright, "did I make a mistake?"

"Ha! If that meant retaining you then I wish it was. Buuuut," the Master Artist then moved closer, whispering the next words in his ear, "they like your engravings. They want you working in the court."

Gao gasped, chisel and rock dropped on the floor, "really?" he responded in utter delight, beaming ear-to-ear with eyes open wide.

"Yes! The next great court official! The next great eunuch."

"YES! YES! Ye- huh?"


There were three main ways one could join the Eastern Empire's Imperial Court. The first was being directly chosen by the royal family (this also included marriage, concubines, etc.). The second was through the rigorous Civil Service Examination, a long series of written tests on everything from history to economics to new policy suggestions/criticism (the few elves that chose this path mostly became scribes and court historians; the human Su Shi also took this test.)

The third was by removing your jewelry.

In the days before the reconciliation between Men and Elves, before the First Emperor of the Eastern Empire, the ruling kings had quite a few concubines (mostly female and occasionally male) most of the time, and they needed servants who supposedly would not be tempted by said concubines or by the ruler themselves. The kings concluded that reproductive organs caused lust, and so the eunuch was born. As the seeded fruit was on the outside, people with them were eligible to become eunuchs. Often times, criminals were punished with castration as well, except that the branch holding the fruit was removed too. People with internal jewels (the organ associated with most women) were ineligible as nobody survived the removal ordeal. Female servants did exist in the imperial court, but quite a few times they became concubines themselves.

The reconciliation between Men and Elves almost reversed due to the eunuch practice. This tradition survived the unification of the Eastern Empire and was still in place, though its actual practice depended on The Emperor. Elves abhorred castration, refusing to aid in any way towards the practice. Civil war almost broke out until a compromise was reached: only The Emperor could have eunuchs. Jewel removal became a capital punishment for everyone outside of The Emperor. Neither The Emperor, nor the consort, nor the concubines, if they had eunuchs, could not call upon an elven midwife to help with childbirth. This appeased most elves as they could simply ignore the imperial court and go about their business in and outside the capital. The realm was big, after all. As for why the empire made this concession...

Elves were just too good for the economy. Their skills as midwives and healers helped boom the population. More population meant more taxes. Also, they helped prevent anyone from poisoning themselves trying to drink mercury, lead, or arsenic to obtain immortality. Elves could spend days/weeks on end recounting all of their grief of every lost pet animal, pet grass, pet leaf, pet potted plant, pet tree, pet fungus, pet bow, pet anything-that-could-rust, pet mountain (erosion, likely made up), family member, friend, friendly rival, acquaintance, etc. in only 200 years. This sobered most emperors. The exceptions, unfortunately, were lost causes.

At this time the only elves in the imperial court were the scribes and historians. They had their own subtle ways to express their disgust, and perhaps their words would outlast them all.

Not that Gao knew much of the historical context, of course. He already lost his favorite football; he did not want to lose his euphemistic ones.

So, like someone accepting their execution, Gao made his way to the imperial palace. He went up the stairs, with the guards inspecting the recommendation letter, shaking their heads in pity, to enter the dwarven-made first gate. Then he climbed up another set of stairs to enter the stony second gate, with guards giving him more looks of pity. Then he crossed the Courtyard of Heavenly Trees and Flowers, ignoring all the butterflies and bees floating about, to reach the marble third gate where there was a single clean-shaven person garbed in the customary red government official dress in between two stone lion-dog statues.

"Aah~ You must be Gao! Come in, come in," the official with a high-pitched voice stated without even checking his papers. A little unnerved, Gao entered the gate looking at his surroundings.

In front of him was a walled palace having royal yellow sweeping gabled roofs. The corners of the roof each had an open-mouthed dragon. Trees, bushes, and other foliage hung out on the sides of the cobblestone pathways. The sound of running water could be heard as Gao imagined pools and rivers with royal fish swimming about. Birds sung their songs on the branches around them. In the distance, he could also hear some festivity going on.

The official spoke, interrupting Gao's surveying, "I am the Chief Eunuch. I see you're going to become one of us now. Ohohohoho~. Let us walk."

Gao's face lost all its color, remembering again what he was here for. Seeing no other way out, he reluctantly followed the Chief Eunuch.

"I have to be honest. It is a rather painful process, Gao," he continued, "we allow you a blindfold of course. The instruments are quite... unseemly. We cleanse them before the operation, naturally. No need for another one's dried blood inside of you, am I right~? Naturally, we put a gag or piece of wood in your mouth to prevent you from biting your tongue off or grinding your teeth. You would be surprised how strong teeth are! No need to lose your chompers as well~!"

Gao felt a little bit more lightheaded with each sentence he heard. He tried focusing instead on the birds tweeting, the wind blowing through the trees, the water running alongside like a river, the eunuch commenting about possible disgusting infections and quarantining, along with the growing sound of a football being kicked? The pair continued walking across a columned pathway next to a giant courtyard where a group of people were kicking around a ball. On either side of the courtyard were two raised hoops with fishing nets attached. Almost everyone had a green shirt on, with the exception of one person:

That person was clad in purple, having a dragon embroidered across the outfit. A grin appeared on his face each time he dribbled the ball, bouncing it up-and-down on his legs occasionally. He did not pout when the ball was intercepted, instead giving a soft chuckle as he gave chase. He appeared less than 20 years, having a thin body. His clothing appeared fresh, but his shoes had dried stains.

"...of course, we will reimburse your family should you die from the process; we do not have elven hands, unfortunately. Oh~, what a pity that they despise such a practice. Aah~, it seems you have seen the Crown Prince. Let us greet them."

Gao gulped, then he walked behind the Chief Eunuch. The group, noticing that new people had entered the courtyard, stopped their playing and waved at the newcomers. The person clad in purple waved as well.

"My Prince," the eunuch started, bowing deeply to the person in purple, "your servant would like to introduce, Gao, a soon-to-be eunuch."

The Crown Prince turned his gaze towards a certain part of the palace, muttering something under his breath, a momentary shadow on his face.

His countenance brightened, however, as he turned to greet Gao.

"Well met, Gao, it is a pleasure to meet you."

Gao immediately prostrated himself before the Crown Prince, touching his forehead upon the ground in obeisance (ketou or kowtow).

"Your insignificant servant does not deserve to be greeted by your Highness. Your servant begs forgiveness-"

"Hmm," interrupted the Crown Prince with a look of disappointment, "halfway there to enslavement already..." he promptly then turned around and picked up the football with his hands, as if finding a sudden interest in it.

Gao was unsure of what that cryptic comment and the actions meant, so he did what he thought any normal person would do in front of the second most powerful person in the East:

Slap himself.

"Your servant-ow! has erred-ow! and begs-ow! mercy!"

The Chief Eunuch, who had his eyes closed with an open smile, then opened his eyes and tried to stop Gao from hitting himself.

"Now now, the Crown Prince means that you are doing your job well already. Already becoming one of us; you learn so quick!" praised the Chief Eunuch, "now please, stop hitting yourself..."

At this point, the Crown Prince interjected, "Oh? The fault is not of yours, no. I was pondering a matter and deep in thought, you see," he turned around, seeing Gao still with his head touching the ground but no longer hitting himself, "you may rise, Gao."

After he rose, the Crown Prince, holding the football in his hands, continued, "When you were in the vicinity I could not help but notice you seemed interested in the game we were playing. Are you familiar with this sport?"

The Crown Prince raised the football with one of his hands. At this, Gao bowed, responding, "your servant has heard of and played this sport, but your Highness' knowledge is far greater than your servant's."

"Mmm," the Crown Prince nodded, then lobbed the football in the air directly towards Gao.

In a split-second, Gao considered his options. He could let the ball hit him, fall down and proclaim how strong the Crown Prince was. Then he would most likely be whisked away for castration. Or, he could...

What did Gao do? What would his choice be? To find out, read the next chapter...
Rivvy Elf
Posts: 10
Joined: Sat Apr 07, 2007 11:17 pm

Re: Fanfic Fanfare!

Unread post by Rivvy Elf »

Chapter 1 link:
Chapter 2 link:
Chapter 3 link: ... 46#p623946


Author's Notes: This is a crossover of Water Margin and the works of JRR Tolkien (basically Water Margin in a Middle-Earth setting). I will be posting the censored version of my fanfiction here to comply with the PG-13 rules of the Scholars of Shen Zhou. After all, Water Margin is not PG-13 ( :pika: ). I will be... changing a lot of the characters in Water Margin so even if you know the events of that novel, prepare to be surprised and amused by some of the twists and turns I'll be taking. The major events will still occur though, worry not! Feedback, questions, and criticism is more than encouraged.

For the uncensored version of my fanfic, here's the link to the version of my work. ... Inland-Sea


Chapter 4: The Rise of Gao- The Power of Football (the Football that involves mostly kicking) Part II

Dongjing, Third Age Year 1927

In a split second, Gao considered his options. He could let the ball hit him, fall down and proclaim how strong the Crown Prince was. Then he would most likely be whisked away for castration. Or, he could...

With the spot between his foot and his ankle, he caught the ball as if his left ankle were a hand. Quickly lifting his left foot in the air, the ball rose airwards again. This time he moved his body as he headbutted vertically on the falling ball. The ball moved up again, its rotation slowing, and Gao angled his body so that it would flow down his back towards his right heel, like a marble rolling down a hook-shaped slope. Amidst the 'oohs' and 'aahs', once the ball reached his heel, he kicked vertically with his right heel, sending the ball skyward again. Timing the impact with precision, Gao spun 180 degrees and kicked the falling ball straight into the raised hoop's net.

Not once did the football hit the ground. Stunned silence greeted a very happy Gao… who became unhappier and more panicked with each quiet second.

He was about to prostrate himself on the ground and beg for forgiveness when the Crown Prince began clapping, a wide grin on his face. The football club also began clapping, and the Chief Eunuch himself clapped with the same grin, though his eyes were closed.

"Good... Very good! I am pleased to have met such a talented football player. It seems the realm has been blessed with your ability, Gao."

"My Lord praises me too much, for you are much greater than I," responded Gao, bowing again.

"Ha ha ha!" laughed the Crown Prince, and his facial expression became a little more serious, "though I do not think you are fit to be one of The Emperor's eunuchs... Stay your ketou! Before you ask for forgiveness let me continue.

"A eunuch would have let the ball hit them; you did not. Instead, you showed your supreme talent for football. I am impressed. So impressed that I would like for you, Gao, to be my retainer."

At once, Gao prostrated on the ground, forehead touching the floor, saying, "your servant is not worthy. Not worthy of this honor. For you are-"

"Please stand up and do not assert that I am generous and wise. We are not holding court right now and you do not need to practice the official decorum. The formalities can be ignored for what I would hope to be a prosperous friendship."

"Then what would you like your servant to do, my lord?" responded Gao, bowing.

"It is a simple action, really, one you can easily do," the Crown Prince said, "just say yes."

"Your servant accepts your gracious offer. Your highness is generous and wise," Gao squeaked, bowing again, "your servant accepts your lordship's offer, your highness."

"Excellent! (Though we do have to get you out of that practice.)" said the Crown Prince, clapping once. Everybody else clapped multiple times, including the Chief Eunuch, who still had a grin on his face but his eyes were still closed.

"There is one more thing," the Crown Prince said once the clapping stopped, "I wish to bestow upon you a new name. A given name, to signify the glorious day of our meeting that will be recorded in the annals of time."

Gao prostrated himself again, stating, "your servant will accept any name that your lordship grants me."

"That is settled then! Henceforth, your name shall be Gao Qiu. Your family name will be Gao, and your given name will be Qiu."

"Thank you, my Lord. Thank-"

It was at that point that Gao looked at some of the group who were trying to hide their sniggers, the Chief Eunuch who had his eyes closed but a twitching smile on his face, the smiling Crown Prince, seemingly unaware of the... entendre of the name, then the football itself.

Qiu (球) meant "ball."

Gao Qiu... Gao the Ball.



After successfully convincing the Crown Prince to keep the name "Qiu," but to change the written character from 球 ("the character 'ball' has the word for king on the left.") to 俅 ("since your servant is a mere man, please use this written character, as the left part means 'man."), Gao Qiu felt vindicated by his new position. It took much longer than he wanted, three years since that bumpkin ruffian illiterate scumbag ruined his life, but finally, he had a job he deserved in the Eastern Empire. Though he knew that he was in the pit of snakes known as the Imperial Court, he was quickly understanding what to do and how to navigate the politics of the Eastern Empire.

His new residence was inside said Court, between the first and second gates. Perhaps one day he would obtain enough influence to become a magistrate, minister, or even the Prime Minister. No need to take the Civil Service Examination, so long as the Crown Prince was healthy. Much of his time was spent in the Imperial Football Club with the Crown Prince, which vied for contention among other Football Clubs in the Champions League of the Realm. There was no conflict of interest in having the Crown Prince as a Club member because The Emperor (when he was not coughing) said so. In Gao's spare time, he would converse with the Crown Prince on art and poetry, sharing ideas and opinions on their respective works.

Still, he could hear people on the outside, those insipid gossipers and urban riff-raff, whisper and call him "Gao the Ball." Eventually, this led to a most fortunate reunion...

"*muffle muffle* in! *muffle muffle muffle*" a high-pitched voice said.

"I said *muffle muffle muffle*, Gao said *muffle muffle* you *muffle muffle muffle*" Gate Guard 1 responded.

"Yeah, what that guy said!" reiterated Gate Guard 2.

"*Loud screeching muffle* *muffle muffle*."

At this point, tired of not being able to understand what was going on, Gao slid the door open and exited his residence. A commotion was occurring outside the gate, interrupting his analysis of the scouting report on the Cangzhou Iron Lions Football Club. As he walked closer to the gate, he could discern more of the noise.

"You're the 5th person this week claiming relation to Gao Qiu. Nice try 'Lau-rel.' Now scram before we use force!"

"But I ammm related to Gao! I'm the real Yanny!" responded a very familiar high-pitched voice, "No! Unhand me; let go! Don't touch me!"

At that, Gao Qiu sprinted towards the gate, pushing it open, seeing two guards each holding on to one arm of a person he had not seen in over three years. It seemed the group did not perceive the gate opening. Yanny, his niece, had grown taller, losing much of the baby fat (malnourishment?) and appearing slimmer. Her hair was now in an elaborate bun with pink and white flowers attached to it. She had curled eyebrows and wore bright pink, her favorite color. Gao also happened to notice two missing teeth in her mouth as she was shouting.

So it wasn't baby teeth then! That bumpkin ruffian illiterate scumbag street peasant permanently mutilated his niece! If he had known then he would have told the gate guards to check for missing teeth (who now had Yanny pinned to the ground)!

"Enough!" yelled Gao before they could truncheon Yanny, "I will determine who this person is."

Of course, Gao knew who she was. He did not want to discourage the gate guards, though, as he also gave them each a copper coin for doing their job. He had other reasons though to not identify this person as his niece yet.

The pair walked through the gate, with Yanny catching up behind him, turning around to blow a raspberry at the guards, sleeves billowing as she ran with arms out.

"It's really-"

"No talking until we get to my house," stated Gao as his steps quickened. There was a pause, but he heard her follow him as they entered his residence.

Once he slid the door closed, he saw a pouting Yanny saying, "mmmph, don't you recognize your niece, Uncle?"

Gao folded his arms on his chest. "What are you doing here? How did you find me?" he bemusedly asked.

"Well, I was in the outlying farms, milking cows, picking herbs, and I heard a rumor of a person named 'Gao the Ball' entering the Imperial Court as their new football player. I knew of only one Gao who could-"

"Why are you dressed like this?" Gao asked, changing the subject and not wanting to be reminded of his new nickname.


"Do you know that there have been so many men and women dressed as low-level courtesans waiting outside the Imperial Court?"

"Huh? What?"

"You could've been used up and thrown out like a rag after the officials were done with you. Seen it happen more than once."

"But... I just-"

Gao interrupted again, "this isn't the Imperial Court of children's tales, Yanny. There are wicked people here. Not as wicked as that country bumpkin (you know who I'm talking about), but selfish and greedy ones."

Yanny's mood instantly soured as she clenched her fists, "I'll remember that bumpkin for the rest of my life! We should go out and-"

"This isn't a safe place for you!" Gao barked as he slapped a desk with his hand, causing Yanny to step back. Gao closed his eyes, sighing, then he spoke with a little less haste, "I told you not to associate with me anymore. You will be in more danger the more you hang around here."

At this, she grew more animated, gesturing to her torso, "I'm not a kid anymore, uncle! I can take care of myself; I have been taking care of myself. It'll be like the old days but better since we have actual guards and soldiers now! Now everybody can and will listen to us. I will have all the shark fin soup and roasted geese that I could ever desire!"

"But Yanny, weren't you doing well for yourself in these 3 years?" Gao asked.

She looked at him as if he said the Earth was flat, "NO!"

"shhh, the walls have ears."

"No!" Yanny screeched more quietly, sounding like a bird, "I mean just look at me!"

"You look a lot healthier and hale than last I saw you," he commented. Yanny's cheeks were more angular, her torso a little bigger, and he could see good angles from her waist to her hips, "I daresay we can get a matchmaker for you now in a year or two."

"No no no!" quietly yelled Yanny, closing her eyes and getting redder in the face, "my fingernails! My hands! I still have blister scars on my feet! I'm tired of milking cows and grabbing up weeds, getting kicked by goats and pecked by mother hens. Why is it so hard for them to let me have their eggs?! Why do cats always ignore me! Why are cows never in the mood to give out milk? Why does it always rain when I don't want it to rain and it doesn't rain when I want it to? Why is it so cold in the winter and so hot in the summer?

"I'm tired of working in the fields, Uncle! I need to stay with you. Uh… huh… *sniff* uhooohooohooo."

With that, Yanny began audibly weeping, got on her knees, and ketoued towards Gao Qiu, "I'll *hic* do anything *sniff*."

Gao Qiu sighed, rubbing his temples. He turned around, pacing a little as he thought of what to do.

"There is a way," began Gao Qiu.

"What is it *hic*, Uncle?"

"You are to become my adoptive daughter. You shall be named Gao Yannei, and I can petition the Crown Prince to have you under my protection for the foreseeable future. What do you think?"

Yanny (soon to be named Gao Yannei) gasped, crawling towards her uncle (soon to be her new father), hugging his ankles.

"Yes! Of course, Uncle... I mean, Dad. Screw that other Dad anyways, loafing about, drinking all day..."

"Yes yes," responded Gao. There were tax advantages too for this, but he was not going to let her know that lest she misunderstood.

"Now... Gao Yannei, let me begin by telling you what to say to the Crown Prince. You must do..."


"It is good that you are adopting this Gao Yannei, Gao Qiu," the Crown Prince said, his focus on the Minister of the Treasury's report on the economic ramifications of paper money. The Dwarven minister (Dwarves were perfectly fine with the whole Eunuch situation as they hid their women and understood that not every human palace has a hidden cave system) had handed it to him for review before it would be sent to The Emperor.

"Your servant thanks you for your praise, Your Highness."

"Yet I was wondering why you have not sired any biological children of your own. There are more tax advantages to this, my retainer, as you may or may not know."

"Your servant sees that your wisdom is high indeed, Your Highness. But if you permit me to say that due to, and I apologize for my language, an attack from a dastardly... bumpkin... ruffian... illiterate... scumbag... troll-headed...maggot infested... stinky... street... peasant has rendered me infertile."

"Sad," commented the Crown Prince with a frown, who was circling the terms 'hyperinflation,' 'legal tender,' 'banks,' 'fiat,' and 'backed by valuable metals.' He paused and looked Gao in the eyes, stating, "well I do hope that you bring this person to justice eventually."

"Your servant humbly thanks you, Your Highness."

"And when will you speak to me like a normal person? Why not call me Zhao Ji, my birth name? Are we not friends?"

"Your servant wishes to do so, but the walls have ears."

"Indeed they do, indeed they do," conceded the Crown Prince.


Dongjing, Third Age Year 1934

And so seven years passed. The Emperor died at the age of 23 of an unknown and fell respiratory disease. Rumors were that he forgot to send the Birthday Gifts to the Agricultural (and thus, Calendar) God Mairon.

That deceased Emperor's name became Emperor Zhezong. Emperors only got their official names after their reign. After all, since there was only one Emperor, that meant that their name didn't really matter until a new one came along. He will no longer appear in this work. The Emperor is dead.

There was much sorrow. Everyone in Dongjing wore white, as white symbolized death. The streets were filled with weeping. the economy went down temporarily, and all labor ceased in order to observe the proper morning period for the ruler. It is said that the most remembered thing about him was that he coughed all day, was bedridden most of the time, and ultimately did not really do anything of note that was not done before.

The Crown Prince now became The New Emperor. Long live The Emperor. Everything went back to normal, laughter returned to the streets, and the Eastern Empire avoided a recession.

The Crown Prince's first decrees were the following:


"The Emperor has arrived!" proclaimed the Chief Eunuch towards the massive assembly.

Every important minister, general, and government figure prostrated themselves and touched their foreheads on the floor. They wore the traditional red outfit for the government official. Their red hats were shaped like miniature thrones on a cylinder, with rigid flaps extending from each side. The Emperor meanwhile, wore the traditional red and yellow embroidered outfit befitting an Emperor. His hat was similar, but the rigid flaps were longer.

To a person who never saw those hats before... they could also be used to distance themselves from other people.

"May the Emperor live up to 10,000 years... 10,000 years... Ten thousand 10,000s of years," the government chorused.

As always, the Elven scribe twitched.

"Please be seated," the New Emperor commanded.

"Thank you, your highness," the government chorused, each person taking their respective seats in the Imperial Assembly Hall.

"The Emperor has proclaimed," the Chief Eunuch said, pulling out a woodblock scroll, and reading directly from it, "that from today forward, so long as our ruling family remains on the Eastern Empire's throne, there will be no more new eunuchs."

Silence ensued in the hall as only the frenzied scribbles of the Elven scribe were heard, a smile appearing on her face.

"The Emperor has also proclaimed," continued the Chief Eunuch, whose expression was stony, "that due to the untimely death of our previous Grand Marshal. The Emperor has appointed Gao Qiu as the new Grand Marshal."

There was silence for a few seconds. Then immediately, there were whispers among the government officials. Among them, one of them stood up and walked briskly until he stopped at a distance directly from the New Emperor and prostrated himself, forehead to the floor. His beard was graying; wrinkles were appearing near his eyes.

"You may rise," the New Emperor said.

"Your highness, your servant would like to know the qualifications of this 'Gao Qiu' and why that person is now our new Grand Marshal."

"Objection!" shouted a fellow with a long beard, "you dare question our Emperor?"

"Now now," responded the New Emperor, "we will answer General Huyan Zhuo's question. Within only seven years since Sir Gao has been in my employ, Gao Qiu has proved their worth fighting corruption. Your new Grand Marshal discovered that the Champions League, the realm's football league, had a conspiracy of high corruption within all the clubs besides the Imperial Court's Club, which had none. They accordingly arrested each of the club's owners; along with every single player; seized all of their wealth, boomed our economy, and executed all the offenders combined with their families. After all, football, being a military sport originally, falls under military law.

"Does that answer your questions, General?"

"Your highness... this," began Huyan Zhuo, his graying eyebrows furrowing in confusion.

"Out of order! You dare disagree with The Emperor?" shouted the fellow with a long beard.

"Tong Guan, the military is a grave affair of the state. Decisions should not-!"

The New Emperor, nonplussed by the pair's disagreement, gave a friendly wave at the objecting general, "we understand your reservations, General Huyan. The affairs of the military are indeed the affairs of the state, but perhaps you may discuss this matter outside of this meeting. For we will begin our next item on the agenda.

"Chief Eunuch, please continue."

Huyan Zhuo hesitated as he stood up. Then he briskly walked back to his assigned seat.

"Ahem. The next item on our list is the economics report from the Minister of the Treasury," stated the Chief Eunuch.

"Please rise," the New Emperor stated, "and detail to us the current inflation rate and the updates on the value and collection of our various taxes..."


Thus began Gao Qiu's time as Grand Marshal, the head of all military forces in the Eastern Empire. He was answerable only to the New Emperor himself. His first action was to use his influence to have Gao Yannei be appointed as the Minister of Flowers.

His second...

"Give this man 20 log strikes to the back!" Gao Qiu ordered as the guards seized an older man who vaguely resembled him.

"Un...grateful... Un... ugh... filial... whelp! No... son... of mine," Gao Qiu's Father uttered, spewing out words after every strike. Soon enough, blood began soaking the back of his shirt and a red drool started pooling onto the ground below.

"I agree! Make that 40 strikes!"

The Elven scribe recording the judgment shook her head.


"You like food huh? Well, I command you to eat this mantou that may or may not be poisoned!" Gao decreed towards the person who rejected his competitive eating application.

The Elven scribe recording the judgment shook her head.


An old man with a cane, his hair and beard white as snow had appeared before the summons. It was Su "Dongpo" Shi, who once again got in trouble with the government and served time in jail. Time did him no favors, and the scholar was nearing the end of his life.

"Master Su Shi, time has not treated you well," Gao said, shaking his head in pity, "but I remember how you focused on the beauty of my essay, though the content may not have been to your liking.

"I will ensure you and the rest of your line will have every need paid for, and your family will never be in poverty. The Empire thanks you for your service."

Su Shi dropped his cane, and at once, shaking, went to his knees and did his best to prostrate before Gao Qiu.

"Lord... Lord Gao. This honor... I cannot repay," the former statesman said, bowing toward the Grand Marshal. Gao Qiu motioned for his guards to help him up (and return his cane too).

"The honor is the Eastern Empire's. Farewell!"

The Elven scribe had a quizzical expression on her face, unsure what to make of this.


"Old Boss. I order you to make me a family seal, made out of whatever material suits a Grand Marshal. You shall be compensated accordingly."

The Elven scribe recorded the proceedings without much of an expression.


Soon enough came the first mass military assembly meeting introducing the new Grand Marshal. The military had its own Assembly Hall fashioned in similar architecture to the Imperial Court's. It was on an artificially elevated part of the city where officials needed to climb multiple flights of stairs. Two lion statues, each crushing a baby lion in one paw and a football in the other, greeted the visitors as they entered the building. There was not much of a line queue as there were three entranceways. The only people allowed to carry weapons inside were the Grand Marshal and the guards.

Gao Qiu awaited all of the generals, army instructors, and head constables. Many of the generals had ridden in from abroad, so the new Grand Marshal was eager to make a good first impression. In particular, he wanted to meet with the Head Arms Instructor, Wang Jin, as that person's handwriting was quite deplorable and he could barely understand her reports. Regardless, she was widely respected so that was yet another person he needed to make a good impression on.

Gao Qiu was no fool. The military was not one he could bully about. For, even though the New Emperor was on his side, nothing exactly prevented an unfortunate "accident" requiring a new Grand Marshal.

Those thoughts went out the window when he saw her enter the building.

The back fist to the face… The hit in the solar plexus… The slaps to the face… The punting of his crotch… All the pain, the years of suffering and disappointment, rushed back to his brain in an instant.

He saw red.

Rising and pointing towards the middle entranceway at a wide-eyed Wang Jin, he yelled, "EXECUTE THEM!"

Will Wang Jin be executed? The answer lies in the next chapter.
Rivvy Elf
Posts: 10
Joined: Sat Apr 07, 2007 11:17 pm

Re: Fanfic Fanfare!

Unread post by Rivvy Elf »

Chapter 1 link: viewtopic.php?p=623764#p623764
Chapter 2 link: viewtopic.php?p=623877#p623877
Chapter 3 link: ... 46#p623946
Chapter 4 link: viewtopic.php?p=624127#p624127


Author's Notes: This is a crossover of Water Margin and the works of JRR Tolkien (basically Water Margin in a Middle-Earth setting). I will be posting the censored version of my fanfiction here to comply with the PG-13 rules of the Scholars of Shen Zhou. After all, Water Margin is not PG-13 ( :pika: ). I will be... changing a lot of the characters in Water Margin so even if you know the events of that novel, prepare to be surprised and amused by some of the twists and turns I'll be taking. The major events will still occur though, worry not! Feedback, questions, and criticism is more than encouraged.

For the uncensored version of my fanfic, here's the link to the version of my work. ... Inland-Sea


Chapter 5: Lin Chong and Shi Wengong

Dongjing, Third Age Year 1934

He yelled, "EXECUTE THEM!"

Unfortunately for Gao Qiu, there were multiple people in that entranceway, some of whom tried to unsheathe their weapons from their sides and back... only to awkwardly realize that they already turned in their weapons at the bottom of the stairs. As a result, it looked like they were patting their hip or back. The guards, unsure who they were supposed to target, shrugged and continued to look imposing guarding the Grand Marshal and the entranceways. The people grouping up at the other openings were quickly looking back and forth between the new Grand Marshal and the center entranceway. As for those who were already seated inside the hall, quite a few of them spat out their drinks or began choking on their food. Others within were making sure they did not die such an embarrassing death (Food and drink were incentives for people to come before the meeting started.)

A few seconds of "what?" "huh?" "who?" "ACK GUH-" "Achoo!" passed. Wang Jin stood still, her eyes wide open and with mouth agape. Finally, an official, carefully but decisively, stepped in front of her.

"The Head Arms Instructor of Dongjing's 80,000 has done nothing wrong! You dare try to murder them?!" the tall official yelled, pointing at Gao Qiu.

She was tall with high cheekbones and slightly sunken cheeks. Her eyes were sharp; her voice hinted at great strength and will. She was Lin Chong, the Lance Instructor of Dongjing's 80,000 soldiers.

"Lin Chong! You dare question the Grand Marshal?" General Tong Guan cried, already at his assigned seat, pointing at her.

"ACK! GRAH! Ohh, that's better... Orders can be questioned when given no reason, General Tong!" General Huyan Zhuo immediately retorted, still recovering from almost dying to a bean.

"... Mmm!" echoed a regal voice from the back of Wang Jin. A multitude of responses from "yes" to "indeed" to "arf!" was muttered by most of the instructors and generals. A few simply remained silent though, including an official with a slightly curved nose.

Gao Qiu was speechless, perhaps realizing that this may not have been a good way to earn respect from the military. His eyes darted back and forth everywhere, then settled on glaring and pointing at Wang Jin again (and by proxy, Lin Chong), as if blaming her for everything.

"Y-y-you!" Gao sputtered.

"Me?" Wang Jin calmly said as she stepped in front of Lin Chong, giving the Lance Instructor a brief look. The latter backed away slowly.

"Grand Marshal, you weren't very clear. Did you mean 'them' (他, ta) as in General Guan Sheng?"

"Mmm?" regally intoned General Guan Sheng as he stroked his exceptionally long beard.

"Did you mean 'them' (牠, ta) as in Constable Pubu?"

"Arf arf!" barked Pubu, the dog constable responsible for guarding the "dog gate" to Dongjing (each city had a much smaller gate where pets could enter and exit the city). The dog wore a miniature official outfit with a specially designed hat to comfortably fit on its head.

Wang Jin continued, "surely you didn't mean 'them' (祂, ta), the Gods of Agriculture and Destruction?"

The God of Agriculture, Mairon, and the God of Destruction, Sauron, stood on opposite corners of each other. The heavily portly Agricultural God, Mairon, looked carefree, bearded, half-naked, with the body of an extremely well-fed person (a very big belly), smiling ear to ear, holding aloft money in hand and a grain bag in the other. The God of Destruction, Sauron, in contrast, was tall and in full black armor with a menacing tower-like helm. He carried an obsidian mace. It seemed like even the Destruction God was glaring menacingly at Grand Marshal Gao Qiu.

The Elven scribe twitched as she was recording the conversation.

"But I see you meant me when you said 'them' (她, ta)," Wang Jin calmly concluded as if she were solving a mystery over a cup of tea, "why should I be executed again?"

"You... you beat me up."

"Half the people in this room have that in common, yet my head's still here."

Quite a few of the instructors and generals coughed as if trying to hide their laughter.

"That was before you were in the army!"

"Does not narrow it down much. Former suitor? You're still not my type."

"You... it was that time when... when..."

"When what, Grand Marshal?" Huyan Zhuo asked.

Tong Guan, who remained silent this whole time, looked at Gao Qiu with raised eyebrows.

Lin Chong looked at Gao Qiu expectantly.

Guan Sheng stopped stroking his exceptionally long beard.

Pubu wagged its tail excitedly.

The Elven scribe also looked at Gao Qiu in anticipation.

The statue of the Destruction God seemed to appear a little more menacing.

"Yes, remind me please, and say it clearly," Wang Jin asked with the same plain expression on her face, as if she was watching a very boring wrestling match, "I may be in my early thirties, but as they say, 'the hearing goes out first.'"

"...You mock me... I am your Grand Marshal! You are nothing more than an Instructor you dastardly... bumpkin... ruff-"

"Former Instructor," corrected Wang Jin.

"Former Instructor! You dastardly... bump- wait, huh?" Gao said in absolute surprise.

Silence reigned in the hall. Then immediately came the whisperings and utterings from nearly everyone inside as well as those who were waiting outside to come in.

"...WHAT?" yelled Lin Chong.

"Ruuu... ruuuuu..." whined Pubu.

"Mmmm-what?!" uttered Guan Sheng.

"... getting too old for this," muttered Huyan Zhuo.

The Elven scribe dropped her thin brush.

The God of Destruction's shadow appeared to loom larger.

"Why?" barked Tong Guan, "you're the best one we've had in years."

Wang Jin cast her eyes downward, her eyes dulling. Wrinkles were beginning to form near her brow and a saddened expression appeared. She waited for the din to quiet down, and then she spoke, "I was hoping to save this until later in the meeting but I might as well do it now.

My mother is in her last years and is close to passing away. I will do my filial duty and take care of her until that time comes. Until then, I officially resign my position as Head Arms Instructor of Dongjing's 80,000 soldiers."

Caring for the family was, at least among the upper class, a pivotal part of the Eastern Empire's culture. Just as good parents would care for and protect their children, it was the children's responsibility later in life to care for their ailing parents. To ease the pain of a family member's upcoming death, potential caregivers could immediately quit their employment and care for their dying family member. They would then be exempt from mandatory military service and labor for up to three years depending on their choice, as the grieving usually led to lower production rates and less military discipline. Unfortunately, these provisions did not apply to the frontier villages and rural communities.

"You can't just- You're doing this to spite me!" Gao Qiu exclaimed.

Wang Jin paused, then rolled her eyes at the Grand Marshal, "looks like you're getting older as well," she quipped. Gao Qiu turned even redder, beginning to open his mouth. But he shook his head vigorously, sitting down, muttering curse words to himself, and looked away, glaring at a wall.

With that Wang Jin turned his back on him, loudly speaking as she began exiting, her voice echoing through the hall "well! it looks like I'm retired! No need for me to delay the meeting. Keep up your training everyone and remember to get enough food and sleep! I don't want any of the 80,000 soldiers to slack off just because I'm gone! You never know..."

Quite a few of the seated generals and instructors stood up and rushed as best as they could toward Wang Jin, who had gathered a crowd of red-hatted officials surrounding her. Gao Qiu had promptly rested his face on his desk, still muttering obscenities.

Some said "Instructor, be well!" others cried "Master...Master... Don't leave us!" Another howled "aroooooo!"

"Oh come now, I'm not dying, you brats!" yelled an annoyed Wang Jin, her fists clenched, "now let me out of the Assembly Hall and attend your meeting before I give you one final painful lesson!"

A pause ensued. Then scattered mutterings of "yes, instructor," and "yes, master," were heard as people went back into their seats. More and more officials entered the hall through the other two entranceways, giving her enough space to leave through the central path.

All except Lin Chong, standing at the doorway with a grieved expression on her face.

"You too, Instructor Lin."

She too moved aside. Thus, the former Head Arms Instructor Wang Jin left the Military Assembly Building.

The Lance Instructor sighed, took a second to compose herself, and walked into the building, sitting in her assigned seat.

"... finally!" muttered Gao Qiu, "now we can start this meeting."

"I am still curious..." Huyan Zhuo pondered.

"What's past is past!" Gao Qiu quickly retorted, then cleared his throat, "I shall call upon your rank and you are to tell us any reports and updates. First, we'll start with me. I am your new Grand Marshal, Gao…"


… After she gave her report on the soldiers' progress with both horseback riding and the lance, Lin Chong seemed distracted, as if deep in thought. She did not like the new Grand Marshal for obvious reasons, but what could she really do about it? Lin Chong focused her attention on her desk, blinking and only pretending to hear and nod as the other generals and instructors gave their reports.

At least until Pubu gave their report. Such a cute little thing! Brave and loyal! Best constable! Best dog!

"Arf arf arf ruff!" Pubu reported, unveiling the current morale of the guard dogs at the dog gates.

"The children keep on bribing us with meat." the Elven scribe spoke aloud in a monotone, translating in an almost bored tone.

"Ruff ruff arf!"

"Delicious delicious meat."

"Arf arf aroo! Arooooooo!"

"They tempt us so. Raise our food salary. Aroo."

"... uhh, complaint noted," Gao Qiu said, "I will discuss this with the Minister of the Treasury. You may... return to your seat, Pubu."

With that, the dog constable walked back to their cushion, gnawing on the meat bone in front of them.

Lin Chong eyed the untouched food in front of her. Food was provided at every important meeting, as generals came from afar to attend.

"If you don't eat it, somebody else will take your muscles." lectured an annoyed Wang Jin.

A smile appeared on her face, remembering her days as a child, as she aimed to grab her chopsticks.

"Next up is a report from our Archer Instructor, Shi Wengong. Please make your report," said Gao Qiu.

The smile receded, and Lin Chong lost her appetite again. There was one conversation she needed to have after the meeting, and she dreaded it.


"Wengong! Wait up!" yelled Lin Chong after the meeting ended. raising the hem of her government official robes as she ran down the stairs. She was not going to fall down again like on her first day as an instructor.

That first day was memorable for all the wrong reasons. The drills went fine, albeit there were some awkward moments when she realized that she needed to slow her movements down and simplify them. There was also the matter of correcting stances and not taking too long for those who actually knew what they were doing. At the end of the day, her husband had waited for her. So, when she saw him, she tripped on the hem of her robes running down the stairs, tried an impromptu front handspring, realized that the stairs were a horrible place to do that, fell flat on her back on the stairs, and tumbled down until her body finally stopped at a landing. If she wasn't trained by Wang Jin on how to fall... that could have been her last day as an instructor. Her husband rushed over with a surprising speed, sputtering stuff and feeling guilty for some reason, and she had to persuade him that it was just a couple of stairs. Master Wang looked exasperated, Junyi looked concerned, and Wengong looked irate. Wengong spent some time lecturing about the number of people that were killed by stairs last month alone. Quite enlightening and quite annoying.

She missed those days. They were a real family back then. Her husband was still there of course, as he always was. But now Junyi left the capital, Master Wang had retired (for now), and Wengong… became a completely different person.

"Shi Wengong! I said to wait!" Lin Chong shouted, reaching the bottom of the stairs and running towards her, still raising the hem of her robes. The other people around them looked briefly at the pair, then went about their business not really caring.

Shi Wengong stopped. On her back was a longbow diagonally strapped, but instead of a quiver, a sabre was next to it. She looked around with eyes that were red in the corners. She was as tall as Lin Chong, but even under the hat one could see that her hair was more unkempt. The archer instructor's skin was pale and though she was still considered young, it seemed a shadow took all the light from her eyes, as traces of bags could be seen underneath. Her nose was slightly curved, as if not fully healed from being broken.

Lin Chong knew exactly why Shi Wengong looked this way, and it was not the news of their master's sudden retirement.

"Instructor Lin," she acknowledged, giving her pursuer a wearied look.

The Lance Instructor paused as if considering what to say, "I was wondering what gift we should give our Master for their years instructing us."

"Our roles are our gift. Students becoming instructors," she responded quietly, eyes averting Lin's, "what better way to thank a teacher?

"If that is all..."

"Maybe a weapon then," Lin Chong continued, trying to keep the conversation going, "oh, we can browse the weapon and blacksmith shops! See what they're selling. I hear they're trying to create some sort of 'fire lance.'"

Shi Wengong looked a bit more annoyed, "Our Master ends up selling those gifts. They already have their fair share. Might as well give some money."

"Or maybe some alcohol then."

"Since when are they ever out of it?"

"A matchmaker then!"

And as soon as those words left Lin Chong's lips, she knew she made a mistake. Shi Wengong's annoyed expression flared, a sudden fire lighting her eyes as her gaze became murderous. The way she glared at Lin Chong… Lin Chong recognized the expression, the look of someone willing to... as if any more wrong words would lead to...

But soon the fire left, and Lin Chong exhaled as she saw her friend's eyes relax back to their dull state. Without saying goodbye, Wengong turned her back to leave.

"Wait. We haven't really talked since...well... How about... we go to the tavern and drink our hearts out like old times? Eat some... good meat, drink some... good wine... reminisce... please don't leave," Lin Chong said, her words getting quieter with each departing footstep.

But Lin Chong heard words coming from her friend's lips as she walked away,

"The old days are gone... You're married; I see your husband in the distance waiting for you. Master Wang has to be with their mother now. And... well," at this point Shi Wengong's face turned around so that water could be seen gathering in her eyes, "fate happened."


"Well," Lin Chong mumbled in the middle of eating a baozi. The meat bun was still steaming on the inside, filled with minced pork that melted in her mouth. The oil within was not wet enough to seep through the white bun, but not dry enough to just be an empty filling. It sauced the meat perfectly with an added aroma that was both slightly sweet and slightly salty. Oh, it was quite a distraction, a lovely one to help Lin Chong not think more about the awkward conversation she just had.

This was a tradition that she had with her husband ever since they were children. He would wait outside, usually bearing some food, for Lin Chong to finish her training, sparring, drilling, instructional, and meeting sessions. They would talk together, eat snacks, and then go to their separate homes. But when they became older and had the same home, they would usually walk home, eat dinner, and then do... other things.

She took a few more bites out of the meat bun.

"I sh-till wonder how you 'eep this so 'arm. Even in the winter 'ime?" Lin Chong commented, mouth full of food.

"Magic, as usual," responded Lin Chong's Husband, who was carrying a double-decked container with both hands. The bottom contained water while the top contained the buns.

"I'm just 'lad to not get oil 'rippings on my clothes. 'ard to get off," she said, continuing to talk with her mouth full. It was an odd sight to see for a first-time observer: a government official in her red outfit and rigid red hat walking alongside a normal resident. But they got used to it when it happened every single day.

"Honey, you'll choke if you talk while eating." Lin Chong's Husband chided.

Lin Chong pouted, "mrmm frfr budemmph," she muttered. A minute or two passed as she comfortably finished eating the meat bun.

"Speaking of choking, General Huyan almost died today."

"What?! How? Why?"

"To a bean, no less. Almost choked to death."

"Ah... of course," said Lin Chong's Husband in a relieved tone, "you scared me, honey. General Huyan is one of the best generals in the Empire; even I know that."

"Of course you do, of course, you do. My egghead knows all," Lin Chong teased. In the old days, she would've then hugged him and dug one of her cheeks into one of his soft shoulders as they slowly walked to wherever they were going. But she was a part of the government now, as Wang Jin would say, and she needed to observe some propriety at the very least in public. That disappointed the Lance Instructor when she first heard it, and to be honest, she did not quite understand. She could beat most people up; her husband was scary with cleavers. But she heeded the words of her mentor. Wang Jin was right more often than not.

The key term was in public, of course. They could do whatever they wanted to in private.

Lin Chong's Husband then asked, "so how is Sister Wengong? I saw you two talking after the meeting."

"It wasn't really a good... conversation," Lin Chong responded, glad she already finished the meat bun, otherwise it would've gone cold by the time she felt like eating it again, "they are still the same. Hasn't gotten any better."

Lin Chong's Husband sighed, "Hard to imagine. Don't want to be in Wengong's shoes."

Lin Chong was glad he did not elaborate any further, lest someone was eavesdropping. Wengong made it perfectly clear that what happened to her was not to be spoken of in public. Even in private, as a matter of fact, such as when Lin Chong almost got too close to the subject.

"Pubu was the best today, though," Lin Chong said, changing the subject, "gave the most thrilling report about attempted bribery of dogs by children."

"Is that so? Always amazes me that a dog can join the government while most of us can't."

"Well if they're loyal, do their jobs, wag their tail, and look cute while doing it, who wouldn't be able to join the government?"


"Master Wang also retired today."

"What?! But why? Wait... Instructor Wang's mother..."

"...I guess so. Parent reasons."

For being a non-scholar, Lin Chong's Husband was quite perceptive. Hence why she enjoyed calling him, "egghead." It also fitted with his real name.

Lin Chong added, "oh and we got a new Grand Marshal today. Seemed to have a history with Master Wang."

"What type of history?"

"The history that gets you beat up."

"Mmm, could not take rejection well, perhaps?" asked Lin Chong's Husband, as he narrowed his eyebrows to think.

"Maybe. Maybe they stole Master's cow when Master was a peasant or something."

"That would make sense."

The pair continued to talk as they walked near a tavern, where someone was waving at them.

"Instructor Lin!" shouted someone with the standard topknot and black clothing. She did not wear a black constable hat, which meant that she was not working at this time. The off-duty constable was sitting outside a tavern with a bowl of wine in front of her.

"Deputy Constable Lu Qian!" greeted Lin Chong. Lu Qian and Lu Junyi were not related. Lu Qian had been a former aspiring actor before hard times fell upon her. One day, she and Lin Chong met, had a couple of drinks, and became merry friends. As a result, Lu Qian was recommended to be a Deputy Constable. Wang Jin had commented at the time that she needed to work on her off-hand in order to become a full constable.

"I heard the news," Lu Qian said out loud with a saddened expression, "I hope she comes back."

Lin Chong and Lin Chong's Husband stopped as they both walked closer to the Deputy Constable.

"I hope so too," responded the Lance Instructor.

"Mmm," Lu Qian said as she lifted her bowl of wine, "to the former Head Arms Instructor of Dongjing's 80,000 soldiers!"

Lin Chong pretended to raise her own imaginary bowl as nearby onlookers sniggered. Lin Chong ignored them; her mentor was worth 10,000 imaginary toasts!

"*gulp* *gulp* *gulp*, aah! Refreshing," commented Lu Qian as she downed the bowl, "why not join me for some drinks, you two?"

"Oh, but we were walking home, maybe browsing the weapon and armor store along the way, and we're going to eat dinner," Lin Chong said with an air of disappointment, "my apologies, friend."

"Oh, no offense taken!" Lu Qian said, waving off the declined invitation.

"Actually," commented Lin Chong's Husband, "that would give me enough time to make a nice quality dinner. You should drink and catch up. That'll save us plenty of time for later."

"Aww, my egghead," Lin Chong cooed, no longer caring for public propriety, as she enveloped him in a hug, "you go off then. I won't take long." With that Lin Chong's Husband walked off alone back to their home.

Lu Qian looked as if she saw two tortoises mating in public.

"I wish my previous marriage worked out this well," she muttered then spoke louder, "need to drink more to wipe that memory away. Attendant!"

"Mmm, sorry you had to remember that," Lin Chong said in response.

"Ditching me for some male courtesan. Hmph! What did they see in them that my husband couldn't see in me?" Lu Qian muttered.

"Wrestlers are good at talking, are strong, and are quite flexible," responded Lin Chong, "they didn't even want the tax advantage?"

"Oh, I ended the marriage. Signed the divorce papers first. Not going to share," Lu Qian responded flatly.

"But enough about that (a container of wine please and an extra bowl for my friend)," Lu Qian continued, changing the subject, "with Wang Jin gone, who's going to be the next Head Arms Instructor?"

This was a topic Lin Chong did not want to think about.

"I don't know," Lin Chong responded.

"It's such a high-paying job. Everyone's going to want it. I would kill to have that position," commented the Deputy Constable, "yeah, a lot of work, but the money helps a lot."

"Master Wang did always complain about the job though (thank you! Here's a coin for your trouble)," responded Lin Chong.

"Complain and kept the job for years! Wait, let me pour that wine for you."

When the wine was poured into their bowls, they drank. A minute or so passed, and then Lu Qian said, "why don't you become Head Arms Instructor, Lin Chong? You've mastered quite a few of the weapons already..."

"Ugh, what was it? 18 weapon masteries to qualify as Head Arms Instructor? If Junyi were still around, then maybe they could. Wengong would make an excellent Head Arms Instructor if they felt like it. But me? Not yet."

"Oh, you doubt yourself too much, Instructor Lin. Why just the other day I heard from Xu Ning that..."


A few bowls later, and after saying goodbye to Lu Qian, Lin Chong walked home only slightly tipsy. Lin Chong was still very hungry and was not going to skip out on dinner. But as she walked closer to her home, Lin Chong noticed someone sitting on a chair right next to her residence.

"Well look who's finally back. I've been waiting for you, Instructor Lin."

Her eyes widened, for she saw someone that will be revealed in the next chapter.
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Re: Fanfic Fanfare!

Unread post by DragonAtma »

I did some writing while SoSZ was down, and I considered linking to them, even though they're not Three Kingdoms and not fanfics. So why not? You may enjoy them.

Grent's Fall (Darroverse, fictional medieval, ~7500 words) Seven years after Osbert Grent overthrew the Stanley Dynasty, he faces his biggest rebellion yet.
Electro-Portals (sci-fi, ~1000 words) Eighteen years after the offworld invasions of 2067, a sci-fi society faces another threat.
Checkmate! (semi-historical, ~1000 words) Merlin, in the eighth century. Yes, that Merlin.
Skeledoom (Stripeverse, high fantasy, ~1500 words) A wizard travels north to stop a rogue necromancer.
Delzanna's Test (Stripeverse, high fantasy, ~2500 words) An apprentice wizard takes her final test to become a full-fledged mage.

Darroverse and Stripeverse are two continuities (I have two Darroverse projects I'm working on: a RoTK2 mod and a full-length work that's up to 25,000 words, The Annandale Anomaly). I'm not David Eddings or J. R. R. Tolkien (or Chen Lin, for that matter!), but comments would be great.
Unless I specifically say otherwise, assume I am talking about historical Three Kingdoms, and not the novel.

In memory of my beloved cats, Anastasia (9/30/06-9/18/17, illness), Josephine (1/19/06-9/23/17, cancer), Polgar (4/8/07-3/22/23, illness), and Ivan (2008-7/4/23, cancer).
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Re: Fanfic Fanfare!

Unread post by Daolun »

I've been dabbling with the idea of doing a bit of creative writing based on the time period, even though I've quite litereally never done any. I used to just not show up to English class so was never forced into doing this. But hey. I'm an old man now. I can venture out and do new things.

This is a brief adaptation of Guanqiu Jian and Wen Qin's Rebellion, based around Wen Chu's assault. Some creative liberties taken with some actions and words but I tried my best to keep it grounded in the historical records.

Criticism is more than welcome.

For what hope was a forward advance ever possible? They were met with no battle by the usurpers and their route of retreat was seemingly sealed by those they had attempted to plead for help from. Deserters left and right! Men from high houses to their lowly soldiers would break in the night, fleeing into the hills in hopes that their surrenders could be accepted. It was only the farmers of the Huáinán, those who were but only recent recruits to their cause, who would remain faithful.

With all this supposed bravery and battlefield experienced, none of these seasoned veterans who claimed to fight for the Throne would propose a plan. None but the youth of Eighteen, young Wén Chù. “Father,” He said “If we were to take them by surprise in the night, we should surely see victory”! Thus the father followed the plannings of the son, splitting the army and making use of a plantoon bridge that had been previously constructed to cross the rapid river.

Like crashing waves on rocks, Wén Chù with his brave companions made their attack. Drums were beating, banners were high. “Long live Wèi! Death to the Traitors!” They all proclaimed. The usurpers were so taken by surprise that their lines faltered and so a path was open. All the horse needed was a feint squeeze by his thighs and Chù set forth toward the center of the camp, aiming for the tent under the banner of Sīmǎ where he wait.

Sīmǎ Shī. He who sought to end the world. The Usurper. He who slays his wife and brother by marriage. Generations were snuffed out by him not even five years prior, and now he had the temerity to dethrone an Emperor! Those loyal sons of Wèi, born from the boon of Emperor Wén, were not to let this villain go unpunished. Chù’s father owed everything to the royal family, and he would not forget this.

“Oathbreaker! Betrayer! Usurper!” With each cry a man fell, never to get up again. “Oathbreaker! Betrayer! Usurper!” It grew louder and louder. Those who were previously in front of Sīmǎ Shī were growing ever fewer. It was then that he felt those words like a cold chill on bare skin. “Oathbreaker! Betrayer! Usurper!”Above him was a youth atop a mare, coated in the blood of his men. Wén Chù. His blade rose high, it’s metallic surface glimmering in the moonlight as if the Heavens themselves were to guide this strike. Sīmǎ Shī fell back to the ground. He was a man of four and seven and his body already wrought with illness. This was a campaign he never should have taken.

His vision had broken in his left eye and what was thought to be a sensation of choking on words ended up being blood, strewn forth from his mouth. It was as if he was dead before the blade could ever fall. And yet he wasn’t. Close, yet far. What was this? He could see the youth above him, yet also the Earth below without moving his head? What providence! As the glimmering blade of loyalty came down upon his position there was only an instant to act, and with all his might a handful of dirt was taken up by Sīmǎ Shī and cast forth. For a brief moment the vision of Wén Chù was taken long enough for Sīmǎ Bān’s arrow to strike the mare Young Chù sat atop, sending him crashing below to the ground.

“Make way for General-In-Chief! Make way!” Men frantically shouted as two came upon Sīmǎ Shī, taking him beneath both arms to quickly rush him away.

What is that..? It was only but for a moment that Wén Chù could make out a distinct wound. An eye protruding from its socket. Heaven has cursed the Usurper this day!

And yet not all had gone as planned. Where was his father? The sun was beginning to rise over the hills and yet there were no signs of Wén Qīn’s banner anywhere. Had he been held up? And to make matters worse the appearance of Sīmǎ Bān and his soldiers had bolstered the enemies ranks, and Chù’s own were beginning to falter. His bravery was a match for their army and yet he did not wish to lose the lives of those so loyal. Raising from the ground he would begin to make his sprint back toward his men. The youth gave the signal. Retreat was their only recourse now.

His foot perched in an empty stirrup and his body was now ahorse. Taking the reigns firmly the youth cried. “Withdraw for now! The Usurper is wounded!”

The drums began and at the head of eight thousand men in pursuit, Sīmǎ Bān came. He whose arrow stood between saving the world or ending it.

How Wén Chù hated that man.

A break-off from the Loyalist forces came with the youth leading the charge. They were ten against eight thousand. On they pushed, these Dare-To Die Troops lead by this boy. What fear they struck into their foes. Their cries of war shook the world around them and the Usurpers front line faltered. Men attempted to reign their mounts left or ride to escape the oncoming storm, but they they only crashed into their fellow soldiers. These ten hit with a power unseen since age of great heroes in the Warring States. Each of these ten was worth three of theirs

There he was! That fool with his the accursed bow. It must have all happened in a flash as no one had seen the blow until the aftermath came. An arm with a firm grasp upon a bow fell to the ground. From collar bone to navel, Sīmǎ Bān was empty. Cleaved in two by the very blade meant for the head of the Usurper. All of the rage poured into that strike and nay a sound came from either man. Only the crash of a grown human to the ground.

The chasers were shaken but not smashed. Though they will be. These brave ten would withdraw and smash into the faltering front lines again and again, and with this effort the remainder of their army was allowed to withdraw.

“Let the Usurper ever quake in fear at the name Wén Chù! Woe unto him should he survive the morning, as I will hunt him till this world’s ending!”

He was the greatest on that day. The finest warrior to ever grace the battlefield.
To refute my principle with one's own principle is like throwing an egg against a boulder. The eggs in the world would be exhausted without doing any harm to the boulder.
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