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[Mainland Chinese Drama 2019] Heavenly Sword Dragon Slaying Saber 倚天屠龙记

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1 hour ago, kur4p1k4 said:

Don't ever watch episode 40 with a tired mind  orz

I wanted to throw everyone especially ZR and Ming sect, except YX, ZSF, YL, YBH and RYW (maybe), inside a volcano.

All of them are ar******, ZM really suffered too much, I just want to hide her and put a blanket on her and give her hot chocolate

 

Even WJ is insufferable in here

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Is that the episode right after the break up? Yeah, I was so furious with WJ in this episode. He was just so lovey-dovey with ZR at Wudang. URGH. And ZR was so two faced here too. That's why, I still insist that she got away too easy. She lied and lied and lied to everyone about what happened and everyone is so okie-dokie about it. Such hypocrites. 

 

One scene that stood out for me in this episode (if I got it right) is the ZM and her father scene. That is so heart wrenching. Yukee did a good job here. I look forward to seeing more of her acting in the future. 

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For Vietnamese fans, I combined all parts of Vô Kỵ and Triệu Mẫn chatting and drinking together at the restaurant. As you can see, my HSDS captures are biased toward Wuji and Zhao Min scenes. ;)

 

Spoiler

 

 

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Watched tvb version for the first time last night 

 

Skipped to the last part to wait for minmin 

 

I understand Cantonese very well and it's my favourite dialect but omg the voice over totally put me off from continuing to watch. They all sound v stagnant. Wuji sound abit cartoon? 

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29 minutes ago, LaurenPanna said:

Watched tvb version for the first time last night 

 

Skipped to the last part to wait for minmin 

 

I understand Cantonese very well and it's my favourite dialect but omg the voice over totally put me off from continuing to watch. They all sound v stagnant. Wuji sound abit cartoon? 

 

Is the mandarin technically dubbed too because it's not their original voices? I know sometimes the actors have different accents depending on where they live, Taiwan vs China etc.

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25 minutes ago, kimmortal said:

Is the mandarin technically dubbed too because it's not their original voices? I know sometimes the actors have different accents depending on where they live, Taiwan vs China etc.

 

Technically yes for most the younger actors I think. I know ZWJ - ZM - ZZR are all dubbed with voice actors.

However for some of the older actors I think it's their original voice like ZCS - XX - YX

 

Depends on the popularity of the actors also. Zhou Xun, the actress in Ru Yi's Palace, her voice is so special she never get dubbed I think.

 

Dubbing is also mostly done if they couldn't get a clean sound of conversation when they shot the scene. So might as well just dub everybody to make sure the conversation is consistent and clear

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28 minutes ago, kur4p1k4 said:

 

Technically yes for most the younger actors I think. I know ZWJ - ZM - ZZR are all dubbed with voice actors.

However for some of the older actors I think it's their original voice like ZCS - XX - YX

 

Depends on the popularity of the actors also. Zhou Xun, the actress in Ru Yi's Palace, her voice is so special she never get dubbed I think.

 

Dubbing is also mostly done if they couldn't get a clean sound of conversation when they shot the scene. So might as well just dub everybody to make sure the conversation is consistent and clear

 

Yes, even if it's original voices it's still dubbing - just that the original actors go back to the studio to dub their own lines.  For Mainland dramas, I think they arrange voice actors for everyone but if the original actor has a suitable voice and is willing to commit extra time, then they can go back and dub as well.  I saw an interview with Zhang Binbin once and he said he's not used to watching himself on screen with a different person's voice, so he always tries to dub his own dramas even though it's hard to fit into his schedule.

 

1 hour ago, LaurenPanna said:

Watched tvb version for the first time last night 

 

Skipped to the last part to wait for minmin 

 

I understand Cantonese very well and it's my favourite dialect but omg the voice over totally put me off from continuing to watch. They all sound v stagnant. Wuji sound abit cartoon? 

 

Agree!  TVB is never good at dubbing.  Everyone sounds "off", especially WJ.

 

Do you watch HK dramas in their original voices then?  I recall when we lived in SG, all TVB dramas were dubbed in Mandarin until we figured out how to convert back to Cantonese on the TV box, haha.

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BTW, just read that due to the popularity of the latest remake of "The Heaven Sword and Dragon Sabre", China is going to remake “The Flying Fox of Snowy Mountain” <雪山飛狐> and there are rumors on casting Lin Yushen (林雨申) as Hu Fei’s father.

 

Full article here - https://www.jaynestars.com/news/china-to-remake-the-flying-fox-of-snowy-mountain/

 

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1 hour ago, achng said:

BTW, just read that due to the popularity of the latest remake of "The Heaven Sword and Dragon Sabre", China is going to remake “The Flying Fox of Snowy Mountain” <雪山飛狐> and there are rumors on casting Lin Yushen (林雨申) as Hu Fei’s father.

 

Full article here - https://www.jaynestars.com/news/china-to-remake-the-flying-fox-of-snowy-mountain/

 

 

If this is true, I’d be very happy. I’ve been waiting for a decent remake of Flying Fox. I liked TVB’s 1999 version with Sunny Chan, even if it strayed very far from source material. It also starred like half the cast of HSDS 2000. :lol:

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2 hours ago, achng said:

 

Yes, even if it's original voices it's still dubbing - just that the original actors go back to the studio to dub their own lines.  For Mainland dramas, I think they arrange voice actors for everyone but if the original actor has a suitable voice and is willing to commit extra time, then they can go back and dub as well.  I saw an interview with Zhang Binbin once and he said he's not used to watching himself on screen with a different person's voice, so he always tries to dub his own dramas even though it's hard to fit into his schedule.

 

 

Agree!  TVB is never good at dubbing.  Everyone sounds "off", especially WJ.

 

Do you watch HK dramas in their original voices then?  I recall when we lived in SG, all TVB dramas were dubbed in Mandarin until we figured out how to convert back to Cantonese on the TV box, haha.

 

Yes, I always watch the Cantonese undubbed version of tvb dramas and I love it. So Cantonese is one of my favourite dialect. But this voice over for HSDS really sound off. 

 

Yeah!!!! I am happy that they finally remake Flying fox. My favourite character is Cheng Lingsu, one of the most intelligent girl in Jinyong universe. Hope they cast a suitable actress for her role. I thought lin shen is more suitable to be miao ren feng instead of Hu Yidao. My personal opinion 

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@PutriSing It's not even about the "lovey-dovey" part. ZR always act like 'Woe is me' 'Shifu ordered me this ordered me that, I don't know what to do' f*** you! Nobody cares, grow up! ZR doesn't earn the tortured soul bulls*** Even Hamlet was not this insufferable.

 

Even remembering all the bad things she did she never even acknowledge it's a bad thing that she CHOSE to do. Just because YL is not dead it's still attempted murder, you still go to jail for that. She only always remember the oath she made to MJST, what will happen to her, it's always about her, what a psychopath.

Also in eps 40 my god when WJ wants to tell ZR that he met ZM, she still dare to say I'll get angry if I want to or not, jfc, what a pyschopath b***

 

Yes, that scene was good, but the WBB scene was weird I think there should be more explanation how it happen that WBB want to trap ZM. Yukee is a good actress surprisingly. I would say 41-42 is one her best, she got a few scenes alone no talking but somehow I don't want to fast forward it and when she was talking with FY was interesting  how they bait each other.

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I like the Cantonese voices for Wuji and Zhao Min, just from this short clip. Some people said that Wuji's voice sounds flat? I haven't seen emotional scenes so I can't say, but it's good that the Cantonese showing has finally introduced Zhao Min. I know in Hong Kong her character is very popular.

 

https://www.weibo.com/tv/v/Huqxd5nnD?fid=1034:4372517536909080

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43 minutes ago, kimmortal said:

I like the Cantonese voices for Wuji and Zhao Min, just from this short clip. Some people said that Wuji's voice sounds flat? I haven't seen emotional scenes so I can't say, but it's good that the Cantonese showing has finally introduced Zhao Min. I know in Hong Kong her character is very popular.

 

https://www.weibo.com/tv/v/Huqxd5nnD?fid=1034:4372517536909080

 

I like ZM voice, not so much for WJ. Everytime I saw this ep I always think that ZM fan is a concealed boomerang. It came back to her after she throw it away.

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1 hour ago, penforella said:

Don't you guys think that in ep 41 when FY said MM name WJ almost immediately looked like he lost his soul. Superb acting from JZ :wub:

Yes, his superb acting.  I love repeating this scene.

LOL....all his subordinates knew about his feelings for ZM, their reactions are to die for specially YX.

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Wow guys, I am so behind! I came back and it was like 4 more pages to get through. I love it :) The love is still alive, and yay for more analyses and Joseph's new drama and Viet/Canto dubbed versions to share with our international fans. The dubbing is still a little jarring to me because I had rewatched HSDS19 version's episodes and FMVs so many times now that their voices are engraved in my mind. The Mandarin voice actors did so fantastically that it now embodies who Wu Ji and Zhao Min are to me. Epic lines in those voices just can't be beat by any other versions haha.

 

 

--

 

 

And so sorry for taking so long on this chapter. Life and work and everything has been chaotic and busy and fun, and I couldn't sit down long enough to properly finish the half chapter I had typed up a few weeks ago lol. Probably was the hardest chapter for me to get through writing-wise. I've also already started Chapter 7, so hopefully can post that a little more quickly than this one. I am on vacation right now, but wanted to post while I'm still at the hotel.

 

Title: Fortunately

 

Chapter 6:

 

妳便是我 命運安排的人

You are the one fate has arranged for me.

 

He doesn’t know how long they must fight until one side or the other gives out, and Wu Ji doesn’t intend for it to be him. Besides, the longer the fight persists, the more people he will have to hurt. Wu Ji hasn’t felt this wash of imminent danger since he left Wu Lin, and he notes that he does not miss it at all.

 

Spoiler

Wu Ji decides today is the day he must go.

 

He has been a guest in da shum and da ye’s residence for a little under twenty days, and he has not seen any traces of other people besides the encounter in the forest.

 

Wu Ji has also slowly and successfully remedied da ye’s cough, and he has picked enough herbals for them along with penning a prescription that the elders can easily prepare. The animals are cared for, the couple’s supplies are stocked, and Wu Ji feels at ease that he is leaving them in a good place.

 

If he hopes to find her, he must go.

 

Da shum and da ye are reluctant to let him leave, especially da shum who gives Wu Ji every reason under the sun on why he should stay: he has a roof over his head, there is a clean bed and washed clothes and he and Ping On are well-fed at every meal; most importantly, Wu Ji has some semblance of a life here where he has good people as company and daily routines that bring him a form of joy he hasn’t felt in a long time. If he leaves, he is back to being unaided with his horse in the middle of a foreign landscape that is both treacherous and lonely.

 

But Wu Ji doesn’t mind. As tempting as it may be, he still knows that even the most enticing of reasons won’t make him stay.

 

He only has one reason to leave, and that reason will always eclipse every other reason.

 

Wu Ji thanks them an innumerous amount of times and bids farewell to da ye and his teary-eyed da shum, who ply him with enough food, water, and a handmade coat that could last him for three winters. With a final wave, Wu Ji sets out northbound continuing his search with renewed vigor.

 

After the streak of good luck he’s had, Wu Ji thinks he might be on the right side of fortune.

 

 

--

 

 

Wu Ji makes it about ten lis with Ping On when an arrow appears from within the thickness of Birch and Poplar, flying straight for his chest.

 

He catches it with his hand before its sharpened end could do any damage, but he is now on high alert. Wu Ji and Ping On’s pace had not been slow, and he deduces the perpetrator must be a highly skilled marksman.

 

He pulls on Ping On’s harness to steady and calm the aggravated horse; the silence around them is eerie, but then Wu Ji picks up on the increasing footsteps and horse hooves rapidly approaching them. Whoever is coming has been lying in wait.

 

From the shadows of thick trees and brushes lining the trail Wu Ji has taken, armored men and horses rush forward, and Wu Ji makes the quick decision to jump off of Ping On and whip the horse in the direction they had just come from.

 

He hopes that like its name, Ping On can make it back to da shum and da ye in one piece.

 

Wu Ji takes an immediate right into the lushness of the forest, hoping to conceal himself from the people giving chase.

 

He has a feeling he knows exactly whose arrow it belongs to.

 

More arrows fly towards his direction, and as Wu Ji dodges and strikes each one, he knows there is no hiding from the opponent.

 

He uses qing gong to jump out into the clearing, hoping to shake them off, but more soldiers rapidly appear from behind lines of Birchwood.

 

They quickly form a circular line around Wu Ji, and as he looks around at the faces of these men, he notices the shift in the center of the formation, creating an opening for the stately man sauntering in proudly on his stallion.

 

The only heir to the Temür clan with his piercing eyes and unsettling smirk. “Zhang Wu Ji, I’ve finally caught you.”

 

Wu Ji remains silent. He has tried his hardest for the last three years to stay out of Wang Bao Bao’s way, to lay low and not draw any attention to himself lest he tips off any of the General’s eyes and ears in Mongolia. When Wu Ji felt compromised, he fled. His goal wasn’t another fight, but it seems her brother has other plans.

 

“You have the audacity to set foot in Northern Yuan after what you did to us?” He taunts, eyes boring down on Wu Ji with a hatred that goes beyond war and country. For Wang Bao Bao, this is personal. “You may have evaded me for the last few years, but today your luck has run out.”

 

What ensues is another massive number of troops appearing from the brushes behind him and Wu Ji is surrounded and sorely outnumbered.

 

Wang Bao Bao’s smirk doesn’t leave his face.

 

Everything freezes for Wu Ji as the silence drags on in his consciousness. Wu Ji slows, taking long, measured breaths and concentrates on every movement in his line of sight.

 

Wang Bao Bao knows Wu Ji is highly skilled, and he has come prepared. He looks over to one of his troops and the man notes the flicker in his General’s eyes.

 

“Release the arrows!” The Yuan Commander raises his hand in signal, and suddenly a line of twenty men come forward.

 

Their precision nearly awes Wu Ji when they kneel in formation, bows stretched and strings pulled taut from every direction.

 

The Prince’s men let go of their strings in unison, and the release is deafening as a rain of arrows lance through the air.

 

Wu Ji readies himself, feeling the energy swiftly build in the depths of his stomach, surging forward through every strand of nerves and veins in his body. The mix of adrenaline and internal energy releases with a blast, and everything in Wu Ji’s line of sight flies outward, creating a streamlined pathway straight for the Yuan soldiers. The energy discharges, and a mix of bows and arrows and men fall to the ground.

 

This doesn't impede them. More men continue to come forth, firing arrows after arrows that all militantly intend to take Wu Ji’s life.

 

Wu Ji hears the swoosh of metal brush directly past his ear. He blocks as many as he can before pushing off the ground in a spin aided by his qing gong, using the force of his internal energy to bend and break sharp steel and shaved wood.

 

He then focuses on gathering them with his bare hands, eyes lasering in on every batch that comes his way. He grabs them easily like they are paintbrushes instead of arrows, then throws the sharp ends back in a circular path, knocking out the front row of men surrounding him. He repeats this until he is sure the men are tired and hesitant, worried they will end up like their brethren.

 

When it slows, Wu Ji breathes hard and takes in the field now littered with the remains of spearheads and men. Their blood dyes the brown of the earth with a dark crimson.

 

But Wang Bao Bao is determined to capture Wu Ji, dead or alive.

 

Wu Ji barely has a moment to catch his breath, then hears, “FIRE!”

 

The soldiers begin to use stealth daggers, hurling the deadly weapons straight at the lone fighter.

 

Wu Ji deflects the first round seamlessly and uses his nei gong 內功 to revert them back at his enemies. They drop to the ground writhing in pain.

 

He spins his body in the air and precisely catches the next series of blades with both hands, eyes sharp as he looks out at them mid-spin and launches the daggers at the next set of soldiers, injuring most and killing some.

 

Wu Ji lands solidly on the gravel, then leaps back up to avoid a third round of steel as they narrowly miss him.

 

The General is livid. He looks around at his fallen men, but his fury bypasses the reality before him, and all he wants is Wu Ji’s decapitated head to satisfy the hot, burning red in his gut.

 

“Zhang Wu Ji, you won’t be leaving here alive today.”

 

Wu Ji is silent as he steels himself, arms up and positioned much like his Tai Shi Fu as he focuses on Wang Bao Bao perched on top of his horse.

 

“You don’t want to do this.”

 

He scoffs menacingly, voice raw with pure hatred. “This has been everything I’ve wanted for the last three years. My arrows piercing through your worthless body. You'll die exactly how my father did. It should be an honor for you.”

 

His princely arrogance replaces the anger on his face as he turns to his men. “Kill him.”

 

There is another flurry of formation and Wu Ji begins to worry. He can defeat them one on one, but Wang Bao Bao is relentless and his troops are innumerable. Though Wu Ji knows he is capable, the amount of soldiers present is hundreds to one.

 

He doesn’t know how long they must fight until one side or the other gives out, and Wu Ji doesn’t intend for it to be him. Besides, the longer the fight persists, the more people he will have to hurt. Wu Ji hasn’t felt this wash of imminent danger since he left Wu Lin, and he notes that he does not miss it at all.

 

The men start charging towards him with swords and armor in a deathly flood, eager to kill the former leader of Ming Sect. As he is fending off the rush of people, the arrows join, too. Every skilled marksman has their eyes and weapons on him, and they are shooting at an even more rapid pace. He kicks away a group of arrows, then lands a palm strike on two more men charging at him.

 

The intensity of the fight grows with each passing second, and Wu Ji accelerates his blows, using even more force than before to fight back. A group of soldiers come down on him at once, and Wu Ji crosses his arms to block the men’s sword-bearing hands. As he pushes off on the weapons, he finds a second set of men charging at him in unison with militaristic precision.

 

Wu Ji narrowly avoids them by gliding backwards using the tips of his feet in a snaking formation.

 

From behind, he hears a few of them soar through the air, hoping to ambush Wu Ji, but his nei gong wards off the attack, propelling the men backwards immediately when their palms graze him.

 

The battle is chaotic and Wu Ji focuses on every sound, every sudden movement and directs his mind to calm and feel out the fight, the energy surging beneath his fingertips, eager to release. Wu Ji hones his focus.

 

He feels the pressure build within the depths of his core, moving up through his sternum, and with the slowing of his breath, he paces his heart, closes his eyes, and channels Qian Kun Da Nuo Yi 乾坤大挪移 at the center of his body. His hands guide the energy as Wu Ji feels a finite surge of adrenaline and conserved forces course through his veins, and with the outward push of his arms, a burst of power throws every patriot within his radius into the air and towards the barks of aged Birch.

 

When Wu Ji resets, his eyes slowly open to sharpened amber. He had not used this much force since leaving the Central Plains and suddenly he feels as alive as when he had first learned wu gong from a discreet manual inside a secluded cave.

 

The Mongolian soldiers around Wu Ji are restless, but hesitant. They hadn’t missed the sound of spines and bones breaking, flesh and blood colliding with the strength of nature.

 

Wu Ji sees a storm of emotions on Wang Bao Bao’s face.

 

He realizes the other man will not back down, but as Wu Ji looks around at the men littered on the ground, he thinks of da ye's son, these Mongolian sons and husbands and brothers who are sacrificing their lives not for their country's cause, but for Wang Bao Bao's insatiable need for revenge.

 

Wu Ji doesn’t want to keep fighting. He turns around to walk away, hoping this is enough between them.

 

But Wang Bao Bao won’t let him go.

 

The General suddenly sends another signal, and one single man leaps out from among the crowds.

 

The man lands in front of Wu Ji, and he recognizes him as the person the maiden in white had injured.

 

“It’s you…” Wu Ji pauses and he senses the man is more foe than friend.

 

He raises palm to fist and slightly bows to Wu Ji as way of introduction. “My name is Batu Boko. Zhang Wu Ji, I owe you my life.”

 

Wu Ji notices the Prince giving his soldiers the gesture to halt and stand back.

 

“You’re one of Wang Bao Bao’s men.”

 

“Yes, I am the one that led us to you.” Batu’s voice does not waver. “Seems like it can’t be helped that you and I face off today. General Köke Temür has saved my entire family, and I am indebted to him.”

 

Wu Ji may not want to fight, but the fight seems to keep beckoning him. He thinks at least he is fighting one man and will not have to injure many more. In the back of Wu Ji's mind, he is already pondering about his best escape route once he defeats Batu Boko.

 

He affirms Batu with a nod and readies his body into a dueling position.

 

“I will allow you fifteen moves without counterattacking as my repayment for you saving my life.”

 

It surprises Wu Ji that Batu is so self-assured. The other man had been injured and could have lost his life had Wu Ji not stepped in, but he sounds confident of a victory even with the concession. Wu Ji wonders if there may be more than meets the eyes.

 

Wu Ji prepares his first attack, and immediately springs into opened palms and stiffened forearms. He is striking the other man with every extension of his elbow, but Batu is alert and strong, easily dodging Wu Ji’s first, second, and even third attempt with nothing but speed and lightness of feet.

 

With moves four through eight, Wu Ji uses Qian Kun Da Nuo Yi and conducts the energy like a refined whip that could snap the other person in half, but Batu is able to split the force with the spread of his arms, creating two energy waves that knock down a row of trees on both sides.

 

The other man has no expression on his face. He projects a calmness that rivals even Wu Ji’s Tai Shi Fu, and there is something admirable in the other man’s ability to keep his word and competently defend against Wu Ji.

 

By the thirteenth strike, Wu Ji still has not grazed him. Batu’s qing gong now is immensely more powerful than when he was with the maiden in the forest. Wu Ji recalls the other man had only defended against her then as well.

 

Finally, on move fifteen, Wu Ji is able to land a palm strike on the man’s right shoulder, but he feels Batu’s nei gong flow the energy Wu Ji just transmitted back through his meridians and outward, creating a counter-force that propels both men in opposite directions.

 

They land with the sliding of heels on gravel as they plant their feet firmly. The two men regain their composure by controlling their breathing and readjusting their nei gong, eyes never leaving their opponent’s.

 

Wu Ji thinks he may have found his Mongolian match.

 

Wang Bao Bao’s voice interrupts the battle. “Zhang Wu Ji, fifteen moves are up. It’s time for your defeat.”

 

With his commander’s indication, Batu unflinchingly charges forward towards Wu Ji, and the man’s movement is faster than any martial arts skills Wu Ji has learned exists. Every strike is barely discernible until skin contact occurs, and when Wu Ji is able to feel its force, he hardly has a chance to counterattack. His eyes are fixed on Batu’s strikes, but even Wu Ji is having a difficult time detecting them.

 

When Wu Ji himself is able to strike his opponent, the man uses his entire body to shift his weight as well as Wu Ji’s, dancing and dodging in a mock wrestling match Wu Ji has only seen Mongolian men engage in as he traveled the country.

 

But this unique combination of wrestling agility, muscled force, and immense internal energy piques Wu Ji. He doesn’t understand Batu’s wu gong, but there is something esteemed about the other man’s ability.

 

Foreign lands bring foreign skills, and Wu Ji can admit he has never seen this happen through all of his encounters in Wu Lin. He is briefly reminded of the Persians but is pulled from his musings when Batu slides in feet first, hoping to take out Wu Ji’s legs.

 

Wu Ji narrowly avoids the attack as he leaps upward, spinning to gain better ground and find his footing.

 

When Wu Ji is mid-spin, concentrated on Batu and his next move, he feels a flash of brutalizing pain on his right shoulder.

 

Wu Ji lands clumsily and staggers backwards, clutching the crafty arrow that pierced straight through his collarbone. He looks down at the blood now freely flowing, soaking the clothes da shum had just made for him and notes the color is a darker tinge than usual. There is a numbness that is spreading along his arm and neck far too quickly for a normal injury.

 

Wu Ji’s eyes fly up to Wang Bao Bao, who puts down his bow slowly, his own eyes firm on Wu Ji. He remains seated on his warhorse with a hardened expression. If he feels any trace of remorse, Wu Ji can’t see it.

 

Even Batu Boko looks marginally shocked at the underhanded tactic his revered General just applied.

 

But Wu Ji isn’t surprised. He is far too familiar with how much vengeance changes a person.

 

Wu Ji grits his teeth and bears down, letting out a slight wince as he breaks the arrow in half. He grips the wooden end and pulls, eyes piercing Wang Bao Bao as metal rips its way back out of his torn flesh. The tip of the spearhead is completely blackened.

 

He tosses the broken pieces to the ground and immediately uses his middle and forefinger to firmly hit two points encasing the wound, hoping to slow his bloodstream and impede the spread of the poison. The jolt of nerves freezing has Wu Ji clutching onto his numbed limb.

 

Maybe it is the toxin constricting his rationality, but he doesn’t understand why he feels a twinge in his heart for Wang Bao Bao. For Wu Ji, there is a feeling of defeat; that her brother, her only kin left, is the one who did this to him.

 

Absurdly, Wu Ji wonders if she hates him just as much.

 

His vision begins to blur, but Wu Ji tries to shake himself out of it.

 

Nothing moves around him except Wu Ji. The soldiers lift their weapons, but don’t act.

 

Wu Ji is so tired of fighting. He closes his eyes and suddenly lets out a choked laugh.

 

So this is how this ends.

 

When his eyes open, Wu Ji has already turned away from Wang Bao Bao and his men, and his feet are unsteadily taking him away from them.

 

He stumbles past Batu Boko and thinks maybe he hears Wang Bao Bao’s voice telling him to stop. If the man wants to fight fairly, Wu Ji will fight with him, but he doesn’t want to have to see her brother kill him in this way.

 

Wu Ji can hear Wang Bao Bao increasingly becoming more agitated the more Wu Ji walks away, and he can sense the moment her brother leaps off his horse, the sound of steel whipping through the air, echoing from behind.

 

Maybe this is how I will die. Min Min ah, will you cry for me like I did for you?

 

Wu Ji is mid-step and stumble when his world comes to a complete and grinding halt.

 

“STOP!”

 

Wu Ji feels a jolt in his body that both surges life back into him, but also fuses his feet to the dirt and gravel beneath him. His mouth parts, but no words come out.

 

He knows this voice distinctly, can recognize it even in the slightest lift and fall of her sigh.

 

The familiar sound of someone’s qing gong rustling through the air behind him and the clinkclinkclink of metal on metal is dulled out.

 

For a moment, Wu Ji wonders if the stiffness that has overtaken him is due to the poison flowing into his bloodstream.

 

All he hears is her voice ringing in his head as a flood of memories washes over him.

 

A flash of regal red in a grand manor.

 

“I am Zhao Min and have waited here in anticipation.”

 

The scent of sweet perfume wafting from a ceramic wine cup, an enticing pink crescent dotting the rim.

 

“Zhang cong zi, by this point, I’m sure you know who I am. My father is Ru Yang Wong, esteemed commander of the Imperial Army. I am of Mongolian descent, and my real name is Min Min Temür. The Emperor pronounced me to be Zhao Min Jun Zhu, referring to the Han name I gave myself.”

 

An icy gaze paired with the fire and defiance in her tone, admonishing all of Wu Ji’s accusations.

 

“I, Min Min Temür, am capable of admitting to anything I do, but if I haven’t done it, even if you cast me into the eighteen levels of hell for eternity, I will still refuse to accept the blame.”

 

The very last glimpse he catches of her before the ensuing separation Wu Ji has endured for the past three years.

 

“Back then, I was able to risk everything to follow you. Now, I am also able to do everything in my power to stay away from you. I, Min Min Temür, can do exactly as I say. The only thing I regret is that the price I had to pay was with my father’s life.”

 

The clarity of her tone slices through him sharper and deeper than any metal.

 

Min Min.

 

It must be the poison, because even as the flurry of movement dies down, Wu Ji still cannot move.

 

Min Min.

 

He hears the clashing of swords behind him pick up again. Wu Ji wills himself to turn around.

 

He recognizes the long, cocooned veil of white, the maiden in the forest, but her voice. Her voice was Zhao Min’s.

 

Wu Ji feels his own voice shake when he speaks, throat tight and watery in a mix of fear and anticipation.

 

“Min Min… is that—”

 

Before he could finish, Wang Bao Bao takes the moment of distraction to rush past the figure in white and land a blow on Wu Ji’s chest, and they both expel in opposite directions from the force of Jiu Yang Shen Gong 九陽神功.

 

Wu Ji is driven back, but she is there to catch him, one hand around his shoulder as she steadies him. The misty veil conceals her face, but Wu Ji is certain he has his answer.

 

He considers the smile on his face to be foolish, but it doesn’t last very long as he tastes viscous iron instead of the salty lump lodged in his throat before.

 

Wu Ji tries to bear down on his teeth to staunch the blood, but to no avail. He feels a cold, crimson trail flow from the corner of his lips, erupting from the internal wound in his chest.

 

His legs give in and he buckles to the ground, but she is still there to catch him, a small, but immovable force ready for Wu Ji to lean on. When they both reach the ground, he lets the weight of his body fall into her, and she gently lays his head on her arm. Wu Ji tries to smile even as more blood spews from his lips.

 

Her hand comes up to wipe it from his face, and he tries to speak, to assure her, only to choke on the dense fluids blocking his airway. But he tries anyways; he wants to be able to tell her I’m okay. It’s okay…

 

It doesn’t come out.

 

The pain is there, muted and faded in the abstract of Wu Ji’s miasma, but everything seems to pale in comparison to the only two words repeating like a tantric mantra in his haziness.

 

Min Min.

 

Wu Ji thinks it is silly of him to be scared of blinking, but he would rather be the silliest person in the world than live out his worst fear. He fights back the murky shroud threatening to invade his vision of her, to take the sight of her away from him.

 

His eyes burn more than the wounds, and Wu Ji grabs on tightly to her sleeve.

 

He can’t let her go again.

 

A gust of wind breezes by them, picking up a little more of the fabric, and Wu Ji is able to catch a glimpse of her face.

 

He assumes if he dies now, he would die happy.

 

“It’s okay, Wu Ji ah.” Zhao Min tries to smile for him, too, but the moment is short-lived. She sighs unevenly, and Wu Ji knows she is steeling herself. Her expression hardens as she turns to her brother.

 

When Zhao Min speaks again, it is laced with contempt. “This is how you win now? By using poison and cheap shots? A righteous man would never do this.”

 

Wang Bao Bao scoffs, his breathing labored as he holds onto the arm that had just wounded Wu Ji, feeling pain blossom through the limb. “You are the last person who should be lecturing me. This debt owed in blood has no regard for your righteous ways.”

 

The General’s eyes dim with rage and anguish, and Wu Ji knows the memories must have surged back, the sight of Ru Yang Wong’s bloodied armor pierced with the arrows his Ming Sect had left behind. “You think your Zhang Jiao Zhu is defenseless? Look at all of my men he has killed. Look at how he killed my Father!”

 

“It wasn’t him!” Zhao Min interrupts, and she holds Wu Ji just a little bit tighter. Her voice is softer now, tired, as she looks down at the man in her arms. “It wasn’t him, and you and I both know that.”

 

“It doesn’t matter who it was! They all need to pay!” Wang Bao Bao’s knuckles go white while his expression emits the same darkness he feels within.

 

Wu Ji can understand the fury and loathing; he knows what it’s like to lose a parent.

 

“I understand your pain.” Wu Ji pictures Zhao Min’s brows furrowing in grief, but he knows she is determined. “I know you’re angry. I know you want to seek retribution for what happened to… your Father, but this is not the way. Hurting him, hurting yourself… you think he would want this? If you want to honor the late General, then live in his footsteps. Defeat Zhu Yuan Zhang on the battlefield!”

 

Wu Ji sees the moment her words rattle Wang Bao Bao, the slight faltering of his legs giving him away. His eyes momentarily shift, becoming unfocused, but he regains himself quickly and the hatred they possess return.

 

“Say whatever you want, but your Zhang Jiao Zhu will not be leaving here until I watch him take his last breath.”

 

She draws a shaky breath just as Wu Ji does, too, and slowly moves to get up, leaving Wu Ji sitting on the ground. Wu Ji instantly feels the loss of warmth when she extracts herself from him.

 

Zhao Min moves forward, one foot in front of the other, and in the middle of this battlefield littered with the remnants of a lethal combat, she exudes serenity in her trail of white.

 

The silence that stretches between Zhao Min and Wang Bao Bao is solemnly tense. For a moment, it feels like there are no soldiers around them. No blood, no sound, nothing but a pair of sibling bond hanging by a thread.

 

Zhao Min stands before Wang Bao Bao, whose eyes are pouring into hers in a mix of resentment and pain, and Wu Ji watches her hand come up to cup his face as she leans in to whisper something indistinguishable in the General’s ear.

 

Wu Ji’s vision is blurred, but he notes the stunned expression on Wang Bao Bao’s face as Zhao Min pulls away and makes her return back to Wu Ji.

 

“We need to go.” She gently sits him up and swings his good arm over her shoulder, lifting Wu Ji. He admires her strength for how small she is, and he remembers how perfectly she molded into his body while in his arms.

 

He wishes he had the strength to hug her right now.

 

“Can you walk?” He feels her other hand gently press against the wound on his shoulder, and when it comes back stained in sable and crimson, Wu Ji winces, but doesn’t miss the tightened grip she has on his waist.

 

His lips tilt up slightly from her concern, and he slowly shakes his head I’m fine.

 

Zhao Min nods, satisfied. “Let’s go.” She holds onto him and steadies them to leave.

 

He expects Wang Bao Bao to stop them, prepared for another ambush, but to his surprise, the General and his troops remain immobile as they watch Wu Ji and Zhao Min walk away.

 

 

--


 

Wu Ji endures the pain long enough until both him and Zhao Min are beyond her brother’s line of sight, and as they near da shum’s and da ye’s residence, he fuzzily wonders how she knew her way back just as his world falls into darkness.

 

 

Link: https://archiveofourown.org/works/18594964/chapters/44733871

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