Hong Bo…

 Feng Tian having received the bracelet from Sung Wu decides to find Zhang Yu to finish getting the needed supplies. He sees Zhang Yu down a busy street buying some herbs from a vendor.

     Feng Tian walks over and recognizes the man selling the herbs is his friend Hong Bo’s father. He hasn’t seen Hong Bo since he accompanied Feng Li to The Purple Dragon Kingdom to meet the King’s daughter for an arranged marriage.

     “Hong Daan”

     The man sorting herbs perks his ears up when he hears Feng Tian’s voice, “Feng Tian!”

     He raises a tanned muscular arm and grabs Feng Tian into his embrace holding Feng Tian’s head in a headlock, rubbing his hair. “How long has it been? The last time I saw you, you were running down the street with my son Bo. He lets out a hearty laugh, “Your scorched robes ..flying, drunk, boasting you had a Dragon tooth from that Old Dragon”, He doubles over in laughter picturing the scene still holding Feng Tian.

     Feng Tian struggles and slides out from the hold Hong Daan had around his neck. “Age hasn’t lessened your strength at all”. He massages his neck. “How is Hong Bo? Let’s all go have a round at the Drunken Dragon Court.”

     Hong Daan’s eyes cloud over thinking of his son. “I guess you didn’t hear.”

     “Hear what? Did he marry that girl from that scholar’s house and reform?” Feng Tian laughs remembering his friend chasing that pretty red headed girl. Hong Bo was wild but he would act very noble and restrained when he courted her.

     Hong Bo would pick rare Crystal Gold Roses from in between the jagged crevices on the Celestial Cloud Cliffs for her so he could watch her eyes light up. Zhao Hua didn’t know several times he almost fell to his death for one rose.

      Hong Daan sits on a stool suddenly looking much older, begins coughing to choke back his tears. Hong Bo was his only son, his mother had died when he was three so for all the years it was just father and son. They had a closer bond than most.

      “He disappeared about a year ago.”

     When Zhang Yu realized this could be a personal matter for these two men, he interrupted for a moment, “Feng Tian while you two talk I will go to the next street over and get the prices for the horses we will need.

     Feng Tian nods in his direction and tosses him a pouch filled with gold.

     Feng Tian lightly grabs Hong Daan’s arm. “What do you mean disappeared? He wouldn’t leave Zhao Hua or you!”

     “He went to the island to cultivate, he said he wanted to reach the next stage before he married Zhao Hua. Bo wanted to be a shadow guard for your brother Feng Che. You grew up with him, you know how he was. He loved fighting and that girl.

     Bo told him he thought it would pay well, he got along well with the Chen brothers, the other shadow guards. I’m just an herb merchant, her father looked down on Bo because he wasn’t a scholar. Although I do well in my business I am just a merchant in that arrogant scholar’s eyes.

     My business was too boring for Bo, he loves adventure, he didn’t want to run the herb business. He felt being one of your brother’s people, Zhao Ge would have to accept him.”

     “ He does love danger and adventure,I know that well!” Feng Tian recalls their times with that ugly One Eyed Falcon of Bo’s that was huge and fast as the wind. How many times did he hold on for his life when he slid off, grabbing a talon.

     Bo laughing that deep laugh of his and pulling him up.

     “Didn’t he take the One Eyed Falcon with him when he went to protect him while he was cultivating?”

     “He did but the Falcon returned four days later without Bo. He was missing half a wing and his talons were stripped off one of his feet. His one good eye was almost swollen shut.”

    “I gathered up some friends of his,you were in the Purple Dragon Kingdom at the time, went to search for him at the cave beyond the Mystical Plains. His friend Chen Jue said he used when he went there to cultivate.

     “Chen Jue? “Why didn’t he tell me when I saw him, he knows Bo is my good friend.

    “We couldn’t find a trace of him. No signs he had even been there.”

    “Since then I have even hired men to go search for him, I believed I would only hinder the search. Every time they came back shaking their heads with nothing to report.

     “Zhao Hua’s father forced her to forget about Bo and marry a man who came in first in the civil examinations, you might know him, Peng Yihong.”

     Feng Tian didn’t want to disturb Hong Daan anymore than he was, he knew he cared for that girl like his own daughter. Peng Yihong was notorious for being a womanizer, he was devious like a snake.

     Why didn’t Zhao Hua come to me before she married that disgusting man, I could have convinced her I would find Bo. At the very least,I could have found one of my noble friends for her to marry.

     Feng Tian looks at Hong Daan, Feng Tian’s green eyes turn red with rage,his internal energy crushes the table he is leaning on at the thought of Zhao Hua being withPeng Yihong

     “I have business on that island and I will find out what happened to Bo, he is like my own brother. I swear to you, I will find him or bring whoever harmed him, their head to you! I swear that on all my ancestors!”

     Hong Daan stands and bows to Feng Tian, then hugs him, “Thank you!”

     Feng Tian can’t quiet the rage in his heart. Hong Bo is like a brother to him. How could this have happened. He was skilled in martial arts and his cultivation was only a stage below Chen Jue’s.

     Chen Jue what do you know about this!

     Feng Tian knows he can’t take the time to find Chen Jue right now, he needs to see the horses. He is having trouble controlling the rage he is feeling, he takes a moment to control his breathing and regain a peaceful demeanor, before walking over to Zhang Yu

     “Zhang Yu how do the horses look?”

     Zhang Yu points to the horses he has selected and Feng Tian is surprised. They are all the finest quality Xingjuan horses. They are brought here from The Still Water Kingdom, and are the best horses you will find in Four Kingdoms.

     The only better horses are in the Far Northern Kingdoms,too far away to bring to Myriad Cloud City. These Xingjuan horse’s hooves can withstand all conditions and they are very fast. The horses are so silent you can’t hear them approaching which might be very useful if there are enemies along the way.

     “Zhang Yu, you know about horses?

     “Yes on one of my assignments I had to befriend a horse trader who was dealing in Mystical Horse Hearts”. Don’t ask me about it”, he shivers.

     “It looks like we have acquired most of the supplies we need. Oh, what herbs were you getting from Hong Daan? Should we go back?”

     “No, I had purchased them before you arrived. You said we will be going through a Forest of Illusions and three of those herbs when blended together can calm the mind into being able to see through illusions.

     It’s effects are temporary but might help. Your friend had many exotic herbs, I also got some for healing potions we might need.”

     “It’s almost three we should go to the restaurant to meet Ling Ling”

     Ling Ling was seated on the top level overlooking a stage. She had ordered tea which had just been served when Feng Tian and Zhang Yu arrived.

     “Perfect timing, the tea is your favorite Hibiscus tea, Feng Tian”, she delicately pours the tea.

     She notices he is distracted and looks towards Zhang Yu. “Did you pick up all the supplies you need?”

     Zhang Yu tells her he thinks they might need a few more items the boat will only be able to transport five of the horses they have to return to transport other five

     LingLing thinks ten horses, who all is going?

     Feng Tian is starting to worry about XiXi, he wants to go get the servant girl Huiqing and start back, but Zhang Yu must be hungry.

     “Zhang Yu all the dishes here are delicacies, please choose whatever you would like. Feng Tian swirls the tea in his cup looking into it. Hong Bo missing, XiXi unconscious, I feel helpless.

     I am going to discuss with Feng Che allowing me to use my abilities, I don’t like this feeling of being unable to help the people I care about.

     He looks up to see Zhang Yu and LingLing looking at his cup of tea that is bubbling and boiling as he turns the cup. He immediately cools it down with his palms and smiles at them. “It’s a little trick I learned from Feng Che. So what looks good on the menu Zhang Yu?”

     While Zhang Yu is ordering, Feng Tian asks LingLing is she had the seamstresses make the clothes for XiXi and when they will be finished. He can pick them up when he comes back for the horses in two days.

     LingLing has her hands under the table clenched, but sweetly tells him that would be fine.

     Feng Tian and LingLing talk about Yun Pei Shan and her Sect business. LingLing is thinking finally I have a chance to just sit with Feng Tian without the pest, her father is engrossed in eating.

     “ LingLing do you mind keeping Zhang Yu company for awhile?I need to go to the palace and get Huiqing to come with us so she can take care of XiXi.”

     LingLing looks at Feng Tian trying to control the fire rising to her eyes. She doesn’t need Feng Tian see her eyes turn to silver with anger. Huiqing is not only talented in martial arts but has an ethereal beauty.{didn’t you like to flirt with her when you lived in the palace}.

     “Why would you take Huiqing, what about that {ugly}Rong? Her martial arts are far superior to Huiqing.”

“You have a point, but she… how should I put this,Rong is so.. manly! How will she relate to XiXi on a daily basis?”, Feng Tian pictures Rong… she..she..{is an eyesore}.

     “XiXi appears to be the friendly sort {too friendly} I’m sure it will be fine. Don’t you want the stronger of the two servant girls protecting XiXi?”

     LingLing thinks if she lives to go on that trip, I am not letting you take that slut Huiqing.

     “LingLing I’m glad I mentioned it to you, yes, I will ask father if I can take Rong.” Rong is still a woman she can help XiXi watch her bathe and dress in the wilderness.

     “I will return in a bit, enjoy the show, the woman who plays the Qin here is renowned throughout Cloud Kingdom.

     I heard she is beautiful and extremely talented.”

     Feng Tian leaps down over the railing and heads to the palace. Feng Che should be finished with The High Council if LingLing met him earlier. I am going to ask him what he knows about Hong Bo too.

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