Writing Challenge 2015-11-17
The story takes place twenty years into the future. During the story, a relative shows up. A character becomes tense during the story.
Characters: Wufei & Lita
“My Lord! My Lord!” A man cried bursting into the room. Professor Chang looked up from where he was playing with his son on the floor.
“The ship just exploded!”
“The Jupiter Colony ship had barely left port when it exploded.”
Professor Chang sat his son on the floor. “Wufei, stay here.” Moving to the desk he looked down at the contract still lying there. A few short hours ago it had been signed in brilliant green ink. Now the signatures were a dull black.
The ink was magical, created for the royal houses using the signer’s own blood. As long as their blood still flowed the ink would retain its color. It was all he needed to confirm the deaths of his allies.
He sat down hard, so many years of negotiation, so many lives lost to reach this peace and it was all gone. The royal family and their infant daughter had been standing in this very room, proud and happy, their entire future before them. Blankly he stared at the Betrothal agreement, despair washing over him. How could it end like this?
Then he noticed a hint of green on the document. A single name still shined.
“The princess is still alive.”
“Lord,” the servant said, “the ship was completely destroyed.”
Prof. Chang looked at his son innocently playing on the floor. “She is alive, somewhere and we have to find her.”
Fifteen Years Later
Professor Chang looked at his son with pride. He had grown into a fine young man. Standing at attention before the desk, looking fit and trim in his uniform. Long black hair pulled tightly back, dark eyes intense and serious, lips in a rigid line.
“At ease,” Prof. Chang said with a slight smile. “You know you don’t have to do that every time I call you into the office.”
Wufei looked at his father with cool eyes. “You are the leader of our people and my Chief Commander.”
“Yes, well, I am also your father. No matter how good your posture, I still see you crawling in diapers.”
With a grimace, Wufei took a seat before the desk. “I know, and you don’t have to tell me every time you see me.”
He did his best to smother a smile. Wufei was a brilliant soldier and would make a great leader, but he did take himself a little too seriously. As his father, he took it as a personal mission to force some light-heartedness into his son’s life.
“You didn’t call me into reminisce about my days before potty training, did you?” Wufei asked with long sufferance.
“No, I am saving that for dinner.”
“Okay, okay,” Raising his hand in surrender. “To business. You are aware that we have been assisting with the rule of Jupiter Colony for the past 15 years.”
“We have been doing this in proxy for their Rulers who died. They have allowed this since we signed a betrothal contract just before the King’s death.”
Wufei frowned, “I thought the entire royal family was lost in the explosion.”
Prof. Chang shook his head. “No, we have allowed everyone to think that to protect the princess.”
“Where is she?”
“We don’t know. For the last 15 years we have been searching, with no sign of her.” He handed Wufei a sheet of paper. “I want you to take over the search.”
Wufei looked down at the Betrothal contract in his hand. ‘Makoto Hino’ glowed bright green from the page and just below it in brilliant red ‘Wufei Chang’.
“Go find your bride.”
5 Years later
Wufei sat in the first stool he found and slumped over the bar.
Five frustrating years spent searching and nothing. Whoever had taken the princess left no trace. No ransom had ever been requested. Now the Jupiter Colony was pushing for the removal of the Changs from the governing body.
How was he going to face his father? The capital was less than a half day ride away, but he chose to stop in this little back-water town. Returning home in disgrace could be put off for one more day. Ohtori was a town known for collecting misfits, loners, and orphans. It was a long shot, but he had started checking orphanages in case the princess had been abandoned or rescued. Any straw was better than giving up, but with the betrothal contract about to expire, he had no choice but to return home.
“Oooh, what’s the matter?” said a high pitched voice behind the bar. Wufei glanced up and found himself staring at a pair of large breasts trying to escape a blouse. The poor buttons were holding on for dear-life. He forced his eyes to look up and up, till finally met pink eyes smiling at him. “What brings you here stranger?” she asked.
Reluctantly he sat up, “I’m looking for someone.”
“The Princess?” she asked.
Wufei looked at her sharply, suddenly completely alert. “Yes, actually.”
“Don’t worry, she’s here.” She tossed a sheaf of pink hair over her shoulder and pointed over to a small stage. “She should be out any moment.” The girl moved off to help another customer and he turned his attention to the stage.
Sure enough a young woman with brown curls stepped on to the stage. She began to sing, her voice was nice enough, but he doubted the men gathered near the stage were there for the song. Her long legs were encased in pink spandex, topped with a short purple skirt. A pink halter top barely covered another set of breasts trying to escape. The girl danced and flirted with the crowd, they obligingly covered the stage in coins.
Wufei waved the bartender back over. “That is the princess?”
“Mmm Hmm,” she nodded. “Princess of the Blades”
She giggled, “Just watch.”
He turned back to the stage. A girl with a bouncy ponytail placed a chair on the stage. She then move to the audience and picked a quiet man near the back and brought him on stage. Once the volunteer was seated, the princess drew a blade from between her breasts and proceeded to cut the man’s clothes off as she danced around him. She also “accidentally” cut her assistance outfit from neck to navel, exposing a large portion of skin. This was met with wild cheers from the crowd.
He didn’t see what started it, but suddenly there was a brawl going on in front of the stage. Before he could decide what he should do about it, the bartender acted.
“LITA!!” she called, then blew a whistle.
Both the girls on stage were armed with knives. The bartender pulled a sword and from the kitchen came an Amazon in an apron.
“Momoi, get the door,” she called over her shoulder. The bartender ran for the door holding it wide.
Lita wadded into the brawl. Most of the patrons had moved away at the sound of the whistle, but some were still going at it. She grabbed the combatants and bodies started flying.
Soon the troublemakers were gone and the bar went back to business, like nothing had happened.
“It looks like you all know how you handle yourselves.” Wufei said to Momoi.
“Kazuma Sensei made sure we all know how to defend ourselves.” Momoi said, putting her sword back beneath the bar. “He used to say knowing how to count coins is useless if someone steals them.”
“Does this kind of thing happen often?” He asked.
“Sure,” she said with a shrug. “They’re a rowdy bunch, but great tippers.”
“As long as they don’t break anything, I don’t mind the exercise.” A voice said beside him.
He turned to see Lita seated beside him. She was long and lean, well defined muscles showed on her bare arms. She had moved with grace and strength, acting quickly and confidently. He liked his women strong; the damsel in distress type had never impressed him.
Wufei held out his hand, “Good to meet you, my friends call me Wu.”
He watched her eyes widen slightly as she got her first good look at him. For a moment he wondered if she recognized him, but her hesitation was very brief and she took his hand. “Lita,” she said.
Her hand was dry, firm and electric. He felt awareness shoot up his arm from everywhere their skin touched. As he watched her pupils dilate and she resisted the urge pull away quickly. Very deliberately they broke the contact. Lita stepped back, watching him warily. With a nod, she turned and left without another word.
Wufei watched her go, curious and glad for the distraction. He turned his attention back Momoi, she seemed eager to chat.
A couple hours later, Wufei stretched out on his bed, in a room above the bar, thinking over what he had learned. Lita was the owner/cook of Thunder-Struck Bar. All of the girls who worked there, were alone in the world and had been adopted by Lita. They called themselves ‘The Sisters’.
Momoi seemed light and bubbly, but there was a very quick brain behind those pink eyes. She tended the bar and managed the money. Catherine, ‘Princess of the Blades’ was the entertainer and publicity generator. Wakabi was assistant, waitress, and all round need filler.
Kazuma sensei was Lita’s father, he used to be a teacher in the capital and his wife had been a nurse. After moving to Ohtori he had started teaching the local children and becoming a part-time foster home for orphaned kids.
There were still a few weeks left until the Betrothal contract ran out, Wufei calculated he could spend a few days here checking the backgrounds of the females matching the princess’ approximate age. It would also give him time to get to know Lita a bit better.
Two days later Wufei found himself confronting Kazuma and his wife at their home.
“Kazuma Sensei,” Wufei bowed respectfully.
“General Chang,” Kazuma said politely.
“I see you know who I am.”
Kazuma nodded. “We are only on the edges of the capital, but I know the members of our governing family.”
“Yes, but you gained your knowledge first hand didn’t you?” Wufei asked.
“I don’t know what you mean.”
The man had a good poker face, Wufei would give him that. Nothing flickered across the sensei’s face, but his wife flinched.
“I know that you worked in capital till your daughter was born.” He had checked the hospital records. Their daughter had been only weeks younger than the princess.
“Your wife was a nurse who had close ties with the staff in my own home. She was once even summoned to assist my mother when I was sick.” Wufei said. “She went by a different name then and disappeared approximately 20 years ago.”
Kazuma’s compressed into a firm line. “What do you want?”
“I want to know what she did with the Princess.” Wufei demanded.
If he had harbored any doubts about her guilt, they were eliminated when she burst into tears. Kazuma put his arm around his wife comforting her.
Wufei watched her for a time, but she showed no signs of stopping. He was just about to repeat his demand when the front door burst open. Lita came charging inside.
“What is going on here?!” She looked at Wufei accusingly.
“It’s okay,” her mother said between sobs, “I knew this day would come.”
“Mother,” Lita moved to take her hand.
She gripped Lita’s hand tightly and pulled herself together. “I will answer your questions General Chang.”
Lita glared at him, but said nothing more.
“I was working at the palace when I over-heard a conversation. The princess’ nursemaid was speaking to a member of our council. He gave her a vial, saying it would render the child unconscious, so she could take the baby on board the ship early and get herself off the ship before it was destroyed.” Tears resumed streaming down her face. “I couldn’t let the little girl die, but I didn’t know who to trust. So, I stole her. We intended to return her once the attackers were caught, but no one was ever accused of the bombing.”
“Where is she now?”
Kazuma pulled his wife close. “When she was old enough to understand, we told her the truth and let her decide what she would do.”
That was not an answer he had been expecting. “I need to find her. Will you tell me where she is?”
Kazuma shook his head. “She knows you are looking for her. If she wants you to know, she’ll find you.”
“Kazuma sensei,” Wufei began calmly. “Our relations with Jupiter Colony are breaking down. The only thing keeping us from going back to war is a betrothal contract between myself and the princess.”
Lita and her mother gasped at this and even Kazuma looked shocked. He appeared to hesitate, but his expression firmed. “I’m sorry, I can’t. I will let her know what you have said, but the decision has to be hers.”
“I’m sorry you feel that way.” Wufei said gravely, “I am putting you under arrest for the kidnapping of Makoto Kino princess of Jupiter Colony.”
Lita stepped forward putting herself between him and her parents. “No you’re not.” She looked him in the eye bristling with aggression. “They saved her life.”
“Yes,” he replied. “And when she hears they are being sent to prison, she will present herself.”
“I won’t let you take them. I don’t care if it does start a war.”
Wufei had seen her fight and knew they would be evenly matched. He could easily call in soldiers to arrest them all, but he didn’t want to see Lita man-handled and thrown in jail. Because she would fight tooth and nail, he admired that in her.
“It doesn’t have to be like this.” Wufei said. “Would you bring her to me?”
Wufei saw that her parents were staring at her intently, waiting almost breathlessly for her response. Lita had emotions flickering across her face, indecision clear to see.
Then suddenly, he knew. The answer had been staring at him the entire time. Hospital records say they had a daughter, but if that were true, her mother should have been home with a new baby, not working at the palace.
“It’s you.” He said. Everyone flinched.
“I am not princess material.” Lita said looking away.
“The only thing you need to be a princess is blood. To be a ruler you need responsibility and loyalty.” Wufei said. “I’ve only known you a couple days, but from what everyone says about you and what I have observed, you have that in spades.”
Lita looked back at her parents, her mother smiled encouragingly and Kazuma nodded. She looked back at him with a sigh.
“Fine, I’ll go.” She said and then narrowed her eyes at him. “But my sisters are coming with me.”
Wufei bit back a grown.