She was cloaked in dark red furs that wrapped around her slim body. A tight red tunic with only mid length sleeves rested tightly against her skin. A short fur skirt that was cut on the side for easy movement rustled against her legs. And a pair of long fur boots ran up from her small feet and didn’t quite reach her knees.
She stared at the court without a hint fear, and it was mesmerizing.
“The court of the Hyang do not accept women.” A man on the far side of room finally boomed, his loud voice echoing off the walls of the hall.
They were in a large room, the Emperor’s court. The place was largely furnished with deep red and golden pillars sculpted into the shape of flying dragons. A long scaly body that wrapped itself around the pole, it’s menacing head staring down at the court as if it knew what you had done. And the fact that you got away with it. And that it was ready to shoot you down.
The floor was made of lovely white marble, polished and re-polished everyday. The walls were painted with bright colors of wars fought and wars won. At the far end with a large throne, made of jade, carved into a dragon spouting fire.
It was simply grand.
“I never said you had to accept me. I only came to give advice.”
The girl took a step forward, her bright green eyes focused brightly on the Emperor.
The man on the throne chuckled, looking to his advisors beside him.
“Do you hear that? A girl wishes to give advice to the Hyang Emperor! I haven’t seen anyone so brave yet. Do you think she’s gone crazy?”
An advisor next to him bowed slightly.
“My emperor, this girl surely must be crazy.”
The man laughed again. The girl’s eyes began burning with annoyance.
“If you do not need advice, then tell me, what are you going to do about HeiLi?”
The man stopped chuckling and suddenly squinted at her suspiciously.
“Woman, how do you know of this?”
The girl smiled, laughing lightly.
“How do I know? If I am crazy enough to come and give you advice, then I should at least know something useful. If I’m right, you’ll be out of grain within a month if the situation at HeiLi doesn’t get resolved. Correct?”
The man’s face paled a little. He paused for a moment, thinking. This woman, could he trust her? Could he trust a woman?
“Hesitant?” The girl asked again, mockingly. “How about the situation at ChanYi? Or the one at GanFang?”
“You know too much.” He growled trying to shut her up. “You know that I may kill you.”
“But you need my help. Or else they’ll win.”
That seemed to have struck a soft spot and the Emperor closed his eyes and leaned backwards, trying to calm himself. An advisor leaned in to whisper something in his ear.
“My Emperor, I say, why don’t we set her up for a challenge?”
“Yes. Maybe a duel of some sorts. With someone she would not be able to defeat.”
“Oh? And the consequences?”
“If she wins, we’ll take her. But if she loses...” The advisor drew a line across his throat. The Emperor nodded.
“Very well, we’ll her duel my son then.” He said turning back to the girl, still waiting for his response.
“Have you decided?”
“We’ve decided to give you a... test of worthiness. If you pass, I will consider taking you in. If you fail though... Let us just say, that this maybe the last time you see the sun.”
The girl raised her eyebrow.
“And the test is...”
“Defeat my son.”
The girl paled a little and her fearless eyes began to show a little emotion.
God, I’m dead.