The Statue

A PsychicGenealogy Reading for Sara

Chapter Five

The journey for Yun Tai, Zhen Juan and Chen was much easier. Along the way Yun Tai gathered information about the Lord Tian Wang Su from the numerous merchants coming and going. Apparently, all of the roads leading to Tian Wang Su’s various palace retreats were designed by the very best engineers and well kept. The Lord Tian Wang Su was, indeed, the “Master of Merchants,” just as Yun Tai had been told.

Before she became The Artist’s helper, Yun Tai had belonged to a very prosperous silk merchant. In his service, she overheard many stories of the Great Lord Tian’s wealth and generosity. Where the magistrate in her town was a miserly collector of riches and fine art, the Lord Tian was said to have a cheerful character and a generous purse to those who did not try to cheat him. Yun Tai heard the warning within those words but chose not to heed them. Yun Tai had a great deal of confidence in her ability to fool people. Her intent, when she got to Lord Tian’s palace, was to first impress him with the statue’s artistic beauty, and then to bewitch him with its magical power.

She had all the details worked out except one. Zhen Juan had refused to move a muscle or speak a word ever since she realized she had been captured, rather than helped, by Yun Tai. No matter what happened along the way, she just lay there glaring at Yun Tai every time she tried to make her speak.

“You’ll do as I say!” Yun Tai made another halfhearted attempt, knowing she really had no leverage, ‘unless…’ she thought as they rounded the last curve of the mountain to their destination, ‘unless she believes I know where her lover is….’

“It’s a very good thing I didn’t rely on you alone to accomplish this task!” Yun Tai suddenly began with another dose of complaints against Chen. “You think you’re the only slave I purchased? Heh?!” She poked him with the cane’s tip as he breathlessly loped alongside the ox. He had no idea what she was talking about.

“No…” Yun Tai continued to pretended to reminisce about the fictitious event, “I knew from the beginning you would be no match for this job! So, I hired a second assassin before I left the village to follow up on your stupid mistakes! And I paid much more too!! By now, I’m sure he has the other lover, and proof of the artist’s demise.” With that Yun Tai laughed cruelly, vigorously pulled up the ox and spun around, delighted to see the disheartened expression on Zhen Juan’s face.

“So! When I tell you to stand and bow before the Great Tian Wang Su, you will do as you are told or…” she turned back around and snapped Chen and the ox with her cruel cane, “you will never see your beloved Chang Juan again!”

Zhen Juan was devastated by this news and she wept softly into her uncomfortable covering as they finished the last leg of their journey. If what she had just heard was true how could she hold on to any hope of seeing her beloved again?

They reached the main square of the city where Tian Wang Su lived, which was busy with activities of all kinds, and found the elegant walkway leading to the palace. Yun Tai stopped the cart and pulled out the beautiful silk coat with the brocade hood, the prize souvenir from her encounter with the young man she had killed on the road.

“Aggha!” Chen cried with delight upon seeing the coat again. He ran back to the driver’s seat and impulsively reached for it. He fantasized it should be his as a reward for all his efforts. His coat was so old, torn, and dirty, and he was cold!

Yun Tai couldn’t help but taunt him, “Oh, you like this coat, Chen?”

“AggHaaH!” Chen’s hopes were soaring! He smiled a wide toothless grin and bowed repeatedly thanking Yun Tai with each bow. “Tagu! Tagu! Tagu!”

Yun Tai found his groveling irresistibly funny, but as soon as Chen realized she was not serious about rewarding him with the wonderful coat, he grabbed at it and caught the hood in his filthy fat fingers. Yun Tai stopped laughing and foolishly pulled back on the coat in a childish burst of rage. Chen held tight and the seam broke. Much to their mutual horror, he ended up with the hood and she, the coat. As unintelligent as Chen seemed he was smart enough to realize there was no turning back from such a mistake with a mistress like Yun Tai! He was hungry, tired and cold and simply not able to face another caning so he pulled the hood on over his sweaty balding head, screamed his ugliest sound at Yun Tai, and ran off into the crowd growing around them.

“Stop him! Stop that thief!” Yun Tai shouted, but it was no use, Chen was gone and so was the beautiful hood. She could not leave the cart to go after him, so she stuffed the coat back into her bag and led the ox herself over to the official guarding the palace gates. “Please, sir,” she bowed deeply, “I must see the honorable Tian Wang Su!”

“Go away, foolish woman. The Lord Tian Wang Su has no time for the likes of you!” He waved her away with his hand.

“Please, sir, “ Yun Tai bowed deeper still and begged more emphatically, “the Lord Tian will be very pleased to see the fine work of art I have brought him from very far away.”

“You…a merchant of fine art? The official laughed rudely.

Yun Tai fell on her knees this time. “Oh, you must have pity on me, sir. I have traveled so very far for I know the wise Lord Tian Wang Su has the most refined tastes in art. I’m sure he will be very happy with you for helping to bring this work to his attention!”

She understood how power worked with government officials so, when the officer still ignored her and turned his back to walk away Yun Tai dramatically fell on her face to continue her campaign; “You are a very important man! A gatekeeper to the grand Tian Wang Su! He will surely reward you for bringing forth this amazing work!”

The officer was so pleased to be recognized as important, and also very enticed by the possibility of a reward, so he told Yun Tai to wait and he would see what he could do. In a state of excited anticipation, Yun Tai took the silk coat out of her bag and quickly pulled the bare threads from the ripped seam and put it on over her own meager drab clothing. It was clearly much too large for her; however, she felt very special wearing such a fine silk, so she kept it on and enjoyed feeling especially arrogant.

The official returned with the good news she had been hoping for; the Lord Tian Wang Su would see what she had in her cart. As she untied the rope and pulled back the cover, she hissed at Zhen Juan, “Remember what I told you! And if you try to make a fool of me I will have your beloved Chang Juan crushed!”

The threat was just too much for Zhen Chang. She began to cry angry tears as Yun Tai picked her up and started up the palace steps. Her tears were hot as they rolled down her sad stone cheeks and when the steaming tears touched Yun Tai’s hands, she screamed, “Ahh!” The tears were scalding and she was forced to drop Zhen Chang. “What have you done?” She growled grasping at Zhen Juan, but suddenly the earth beneath the palace began to rumble and then to shake…they were having an earthquake!

Yun Tai reached again for the statue but it was rattling away from her, back down the palace steps. The quake grew in intensity; pieces of the building began coming down, people were yelling and running in every direction. Chaos set in and yet Yun Tai was still obsessed with her greedy plan, ‘I’m not giving up!’ She was determined and in a foolish attempt to take advantage during the crisis, Yun Tai made her way further inside the palace while most others were panicking to get out.

The shaking grew more intense. Three people running near her were struck down by a huge bamboo pole. “Help us!” One woman called to Yun Tai, but ahead she saw soldiers hurrying to protect someone, ‘That must be the Lord Tian!’ She was thrilled, and so ignoring the injured around her, and despite the soldiers’ rush to get their ruler to safety, Yun Tai ran towards them calling, “Lord Tian, Lord Tian!”

Tian Wang Su heard the cries and looked quickly over his shoulder and much to the surprise of his men, he said, “Bring her to me!” And so amidst walls crashing down, floors splitting apart and ceilings falling in, Yun Tai was assisted out of the palace by two of the king’s men.

Zhen Juan was completely at the mercy of the quake itself. She could not stand up and run; she was too small to retain balance in such severe circumstances. So, she went with it, stone on stone, rolling this way then that as the plates of the Earth shifted back and forth. She experienced many close calls and near misses from falling boulders, crumbling buildings and broken trees. She was kicked and trampled and she rolled and toppled down a steep and overgrown road that was rarely traveled any more, even by the locals. However, now, every possible route down the mountain was being used by frightened people fleeing for their lives. And in the crush of people pushing and shouting, many fell to their deaths before the shaking finally stopped.

Yun Tai, the Lord Tian Wang Su and his men made it safely out of the palace and just before an enormous aftershock hit and completed the total destruction of his mountaintop realm, the Lord Tian turned to Yun Tai and asked, “Where did you get that coat?” The intensity with which he asked the question was alarming.

“Uh, I… it was a gift, your majesty. If you please,” Yun Tai hoped to push past the odd inquiry to get to the business of the statue. “I know this is a difficult time — with the earthquake and all, your majesty…but…”

“Where’s the hood?” The Lord Tian interrupted.

“Hood?” Yun Tai felt her face flush.

“The brocade hood…” His eyes were smoldering. He held out his right hand, those terrifying black eyes never leaving Yun Tai’s. His captain drew his sword and placed it in Lord Tian’s open hand.

“I…” Yun Tai was speechless and in one powerful stroke, her head was cut from her body.

“It was my son’s coat!” Tian Wang Su screeched at Yun Tai’s head as it flew off her shoulders. And as it hit the ground, it was as if it landed on the aftershock’s trigger; anything previously left standing, was instantly flattened. The entire geological landscape of the Western mountain region was dramatically changed.


End of Chapter Four


Iris Colored Dreams...In Your Inbox!

Iris Colored Dreams...In Your Inbox!

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