Chapter 1: Prologue
Pouring rain accompanied by the roar of the thunder and strong winds blew the broken window side to side, causing it to crackle noisily. At a side compound of a ruined temple, three young females wearing red bridal dresses were huddling together. This dark and sinister place couple with the stale air all around the temple made the scene looked especially eerie.
As there were no lights in room, the occasional lightning would illuminated the ruined temple. Each sword-like lightning flash seems to strike the ground emitting a glaring white light, and accompanied with the deafening sound of the thunder, seems to make the youngest female cower in fear.
Tugging her elder sister’s arm, Qing Mo whimpered, “Elder sister, what do we do now? I’m so scared!”
Eventually, after another flash of lightning, the females’ faces could be seen. All three are budding beauties with their own elegance, their left side of their faces are exceptionally beautiful, the kind that made all other female jealous and male adore. But unfortunately, there were two deep slashes on right side of their faces that nearly destroyed their cheeks, which amidst the lightning and thunder filled night, made it look hideous.
While patting her younger sister’s shoulder, a ghastly pale Qing Ling whispered, “After crossing this mountain, we will be out of Hao Yue kingdom. Do we truly have no way to escape the fate of becoming tributes?”
“I am not willing!” Qing Feng tensely bit her lower lip so hard that it was almost bleeding as she stared unwavering out of the ruined temple, into the thunderstorm.
Qing Mo, lifted her head slowly to lean on Qing Feng’s shoulder, softly comforted, “Second sister, don’t be afraid. I heard that you’ll be marrying Prime Minister Lou, who is a rarely seen modest gentleman, who is outstanding in political and military aspects. He shouldn’t ill-treat you.” Eldest sister is the most pitiful as she will be sent to the Imperial Palace. It is rumored that Qiong Yue’s ruler is a temperamental bloodthirsty tyrant. How would the gentle and refined Elder sister bear it!
Qing Feng scoffed, “Who cares!”
Qing Feng turned around, with one hand holding her elder sister’s hand and the other hand holding her younger sister’s hand, fiercely growled, “This is so hateful! On what basis can Qiong Yue’s ruler do whatever he pleases with just one sentence! On what basis does our Qing family have to shoulder our ruler’s incompetence?! Base on what did he kill our parents and made us tribute for him to fawn over Qiong Yue?! Base on what?!”
Qing Ling gently caressed Qing Feng, whose hatred cause her face to be contorted, and signed, “Base on Qiong Yue being the overlord of the six kingdoms, all other nations must submit. Base on the emperor being the sovereign, if the monarch wants his vassal to die, then his vassal must die. Who asked us to be such physically weak females?!” Fate have never rest in their hands before!
Flinging Qing Ling’s hand away, Qing Feng stood up quickly with her backed turned retaliated, “What about being a female?! I will not go to Qiong Yue!”
Looking at her second sister’s unbending back view and her eldest sister’s troubled features, Qing Mo timidly responded, “Even when we disfigured these faces that everyone adores, they still insisted on sending us to Qiong Yue! Second sister, we don’t even have any way to change anything, is it not?”
Qing Feng, gently touched her current cheeks in great pain, took a deep breath and through clenched teeth replied, “Even in death, I, Qing Feng, will absolutely not let anyone manipulate! Especially that person, that fatuous monarch with hands stained with our parents blood!”
Qing Ling startled, anxiously asked, “Feng-er, what are you planning to do?”
Qing Feng, slowly turned around, clenched both her fists and resolutely replied, “Elder sister, I want to stay at Hao Yue, to stay at our parents’ side, even if what was left is my corpse!”
As if dismissing Feng-er’s words, a glaring white lightning strike and as its bright light shone on Feng-er’s face, Qing Ling saw her insistence and resolution.
As Qing Ling clutched Qing Feng’s hand tightly, she suddenly felt relieved, “Alright! I will accompany you. Anyways, to me, there is no meaning to continue living.” Not needing to consider what future has installed is perhaps a form of relief!
Qing Mo, who was crouching on the floor, stood up quickly and grabbed their hand, exclaimed, “I will do whatever my elder sisters does. Whatever happens, Mo-er will not leave both of you!”
Qing Ling hesitated as she looked at Mo-er’s innocent face, perhaps she doesn’t understand the meaning of death. She is only fifteen!
Upon meeting Mo-er’s pair of pure doe eyes, Qing Feng felt as if there was a knife’s twisting her heart. But at the thought that she would be promised to that notoriously known to be a cold blooded ruthless murdering dictator on the battlefield, Qing Feng shivered and said, “Elder Sister, Mo-er is pure and innocent. She will only suffer hardships if she were to be left alone in this world. Today in this ruined temple, let our entire family reunite!”
As Qing Ling looked at the three pairs of intersecting hands, she felt trickles of warm at her heart. She nodded her head, seemingly to convince herself, replied, “Yes! A family reunion is the best!”
All three of them lifted their heads and took a look at the ceiling beams. A mutual understanding dawned to them as they smile at one another. This is the first time they smiled after their parents death. Because after today, they will no longer be separated!
After removing the bound red silk bands on their waist and stripping off their brilliant red dresses, they were wearing the plain white middle layer of clothes as they lightly tossed the silk bands over the beams. All three of them stood on the rickety table and without hesitation wrapped their necks with the bands of red silk.
Continued neat red silk waist belt, this brilliant red body chops down, only the one in plain white clothing, red silk throw light through beams, square table three people standing on top of the broken, the neck the inner sleeve into the red silk, and had no hesitation.
Qing Ling looked the her sisters standing at her side, closed her eyes and lightly spoke, “Feng-er, Mo-er, in the next lifetime, lets still be sisters!”
“En!” Both Qing Feng and Qing Mo firmly nodded their heads.
Three of them, with hands held together, proceeded to lightly kick the table away. With the sudden taut of the red silk bands, three youthful existence gradually diminished.
The soldiers who were escorting the sisters of the Qing family to Qiong Yue was resting at the main hall of the crumbling temple. Looking on as the rain was stopping, a sudden downpour occurred, coupled with the increasingly intense lightning and thunder, as if it were to level down the tottering ruined temple.
Among them, a low-ranked soldier winced his neck and thought that despite experience much, he not seen such a downpour during spring in his life! As he glance over the side compound where the Qing sister were at, the view he saw scare him half to death. A flash of lighting lit the scene, casting three straight shadows swaying in the air with clothes fluttering.
Oddly shrieking, the low-ranked soldier stumbled in front of Li Xu cried, “Ghost… There are ghosts!”
“What?!” Li Xu startled, he then turned to the soldier’s line of sight. He broke out in cold sweat upon seeing the three swaying shadows. The Qing sisters hung themselves?!
Li Xu quickly got up and kicked down the door of the side compound and saw a floor of red dresses and three pairs of red embroidered shoes pendulating in front of him. Li Xu retreated back a step in shock and frantically shouted, “Quick… Quick! Bring them down!”
The solders who were running round in circles were eventually able to bring the three females down. All three persons’ complexion had darken with their eyes tightly shut.
Li Xu stared at Qing Mo who was at his nearest left and anxiously questioned, “How is she?”
The low-ranked soldier carefully felt Qing Mo’s breath, swallowed before replying, “She’s… dead.”
Li Xu shuddered as he pointed at Qing Feng and pressingly asked, “And… This one?”
After finishing probing for a sign of breath, the soldier saw Superior Li’s pale white face, he was frightened to answer and could only nod lightly.
All were dead!? Li Xu continue to break out in cold sweat. The Qing sisters were specifically chosen by the Emperor of Qiong Yue as tribute candidates and now they are all dead! How could he continue to live?! Kingdom of Hao Yue’s doom is at hand! Just when Li Xu was completely disheartened, a soldier suddenly called out, “Superior, the eldest Miss Qing is still breathing!” Even though it is weak, she is definitely alive.
“Really?! This is great! Quickly get her into the carriage and call the doctor!” At least there is still one alive!
As per Li Xu commands, the bridal dress were draped over Qing Ling’s body in a bustle by the soldiers, completely not in the mood to care for the other two corpses.
The corpses on the ground looked even more miserable with the roaring thunder and flashes of lightning outside the ruined temple. The low-ranked soldier was afraid but he was unable to bear to look at the two pitiful female corpse, thus picked up the bridal dresses and carefully covered their bodies.
Just as he was about to get up and leave, a different red lightning flashed by and the eyes of the two completely lack of breath suddenly opened–
“AHHHHH—” The low-ranked soldier’s screams resonated through the ruined temple!
Li Xu, who was already out of the main hall, impatiently shouted, “What are you hollering again for?!”
“Th… They…” This time, the soldier could not even form a word and crawled out of the side compound in distress.
The two female corpses was able to scare him till like this?! Li Xu doubted so, thus entering the side compound again and found the chests of the two, who were motionless before, are raising and falling slightly. Although their eyes were still closed, their face were no longer as dark as before.
“Truly a blessing from the heavens, blessing from the heavens!” Li Xu is wild with joy as they did not die! Finally, his life is saved! “Quickly come and take them away!”
The solders carried two of them out of the ruined temple admit the wind and rain. Just as they reach the carriage, where Qing Ling was held, Li Xu suddenly ordered, “Wait.”
These three have disfigured themselves and attempted suicide. They were not dead this time but who knows what would happen next! From here to Qiong Yue, there was still more than ten days of travel! With a plan in mind, Li Xu ordered, “Separate them, each to a carriage and do not allow them to meet again. Furthermore lace their water with a weakening drug, they must live till we send them to Qiong Yue!”
“Yes!” The three of them were separated to three different carriages. Before arriving at Qiong Yue, they will not be able to have the opportunity to meet and will not be able to step out of the carriages.
Sisters of the Qing family, do not blame me. If you want to blame, then blame yourselves. Who asked you to look that devastatingly beautiful, who asked you to be that talented, who let you be that famous within the six kingdoms. To be the specifically requested ladies by Qiong Yue, not only your faces are disfigured, even in death, you must only die in Qiong Yue. Its all a predestined fate!