Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Fiction: The Princess Who Cannot Marry (Chapter 1)


    Dearest readers, I'm still editing the final chapter of The Sun's Dark Love. But, to satisfy some of your curiosities, I thought I would share the first chapter of Princess Yu An's story - "The Princess Who Cannot Marry". While planning the entire story arc of Princess Yu An, I actually got very immersed in her world and started to pen down the first few chapters. I think Yu An's story differs from Little Moon's Matchmaking Mission and The Sun's Dark Love because the previous two stories have very clear one true pairings and have two equal main characters, but Yu An's story is entirely hers. I always try to avoid writing about characters who are too perfect (though clearly since the romantic genre is all about escapism, we get dream-like fantasies), but I don't want to write about people who can do everything and always get things right. But, Yu An is a girl who is beautiful, intelligent, talented in music and also a princess. Gosh, I almost want to give her a defect, any defect, to make her seem real. But, strangely, she is so real to me because she is the lovechild of my first characters, Yue and Hsiao, and I hope you will enjoy her journey as she meets the most interesting characters, the most intriguing men, loses her heart along the way, and finds herself.

Chapter 1: Love & Loss


    Shen Suan, the mysterious oracle of the lands, boldly pronounced after the birth of the first daughter of the Great Yan Emperor, Royal Princess Yu An, that if she did not marry by her nineteenth birthday, she would never marry...

   - Recorded in the Grand Royal Annals of the Yan Kingdom, Year 2088




(i) 

    The Golden Peony Mansion was the grandest and most prestigious brothel in the Capital of the Yan Kingdom. To call it a brothel would also be too demeaning and simplistic, for it could more accurately be called an arts house, where the most beautiful and talented display their skills, and allow you to buy a dream, a most intoxicating dream for a night. 

  Tonight in the Golden Peony Mansion, it would not be an exaggeration to state that most of the gallant young men in the Capital were congregated here to watch the unveiling of the much rumored mythical great courtesan of the east. Yin Hua (吟花 - song of the flower), a legendary courtesan from the Wu Kingdom, known for its beautiful exotic women with their extraordinary musical talents, was said to be one of the best guzheng* players, second only to the Royal Princess of Wu herself. 

   Why would such a great courtesan travel to the Yan Kingdom? Was it for untold riches? Or was it, as rumoured, to find herself a true soulmate in music? 

  The grand hall of the Golden Peony Mansion fell silent - no more crunching of peanuts, no more boisterous cheering or jeering with the clinking of goblets and the sound of people finishing up vats and vats of alcohol. An absolutely ravishing vision in white appeared on stage, her steps soft and sultry, her face half-veiled with white silk, her eyes impossibly captivating. 

  The throng of men inwardly gasped as she sat down before her guzheng, seemed to smile below the white silk and started to play. It was a wild cascade of music, so passionate, so bold, like horses dashing through a desert storm - one felt one's senses being overwhelmed, then slowly, but inevitably sinking into the quicksand of her rhythm. 

  But, there was no peak to the music, her fingers seemed to slow down on the guzheng, as if disappointingly the horses running through the desert, could not find its proper homeland. It was all a mirage. When, suddenly, like a clash of thunder, a bolt straight through the heart, there was a sound of a rivaling guzheng from across the hall. 

  The heads turned away from the white goddess to a figure at the end of the hall. A young gentleman in simple light silverish-grey robes, seemingly unperturbed by the crowd, as his fingers entwined through the intercrossing tapestry of music from both Yin Hua and his guzheng. It was mesmerising - Yin Hua's horses became captive instead of the captor, as the world changed around them - no more the desert, there were the cascading of waterfalls, the deep bellows of mountains, the clarity of spring water... 

  The young gentleman's notes skipped tantalizingly deeper into a forest that Yin Hua had to follow - until she found herself in the middle of a clearing with peach blossom trees all in the thick of bloom. The duet reached the crescendo and Yin Hua found herself watching the peach blossom flowers fall, one by one, until they all rained upon her and she was swimming now in a sea of flowers. 

  The music stopped. Everyone held their breath as both players looked up. Yin Hua, her cheeks flushed, her eyes glittering. There was a stir when they saw the young gentleman's face - a heart-shaped face, like a young moon, luminescent, delicate, elegant. 

    The young gentleman was about to break into a smile when the main doors of the grand hall fell open. A troop of royal guards entered in steadily with the mistress of the mansion coquettishly batting her eyelids at the leader of the troop. 

   The crowd started to break into whispers - why it was the young Captain Hu Zi, son of the head of the Emperor's private elite army, Hu Jun. Captain Hu Zi was infamously reticent, cold and strict - was even the legendary stone moved by the great courtesan of the east? Some of the men inwardly groaned, with all these extraordinary competition, what chance would they stand in winning the hand of the beauty?
  
   During the commotion, the young gentleman had quickly made her escape. Yes, her escape. Yu An had failed to learn any of her father's great martial arts skills, but she did managed to learn one skill very successfully - qing gong (light martial arts) - to escape!

  Yu An had spent many nights playing in the Golden Peony Mansion so she was familiar with its internal structure. She quickly ran off to the side tower of the Golden Peony Mansion to try and escape from the less known side exit. But, she was startled to find that when she was about to jump out of the window of the side tower - there he was. 

   Hu Zi, annoyingly, already at the ground of the side exit. How could he? How fast could he be? 

    "Princess," Yu An heard Hu Zi's familiar call. They had done this dance a hundred times, she escaping and he calling her back. Even, after Hu Zi immersed himself in the royal army and rose up to the ranks to become a Captain, he always seemed to find the time to catch her back. There were truly not enough enemies for the Yan Kingdom's army!

   "Don't catch me back yet. I have not even gotten a chance to talk to Yin Hua!" Yu An cried back.

  But, there was something in Hu Zi's face that caused Yu An's voice to hesitate, something strong and hard, and almost dark. It was a foreign face. 

   Hu Zi's eyes did not turn away and he looked straight at Yu An, "Princess, the Grand Yan Emperor has just passed away."

  "Grandfather?" Yu An's body froze in shock. And, during that shock, she accidentally tripped and she felt herself falling...

  She closed her eyes but before her body hit the ground, she felt Hu Zi catch her in his arms. She hid her face in his chest. She did not see anything anymore as she heard Hu Zi coldly order the soldiers back as he carried her to the carriage. 

 So, Yu An did not see the startled looks on some of Hu Zi's new soldiers' faces. For they had never seen their cold Captain ever been so gentle to anyone.




(ii) 

   When Yu An returned to the Royal Palace, she quickly changed into proper royal garments and hastily made her way to the Grand Yan Empress' palace. As the "Yu" from Yu An's name came from the Grand Yan Empress, Yu An was always especially close to her beautiful and elegant grandmother. 

  The Grand Yan Empress' maids immediately brought Yu An to the Grand Yan Empress' private bedchambers the moment she arrived. When Yu An entered the Grand Yan' Empress' bedchambers, she was immediately struck by the strong smell of incense. Quietly, she stepped in and found her grandmother sitting thoughtfully by the windows, as if ruminating on secret messages in the sky.

  "Princess Yu An pays her greetings to the Grand Yan Empress," Yu An bowed down before her grandmother. 

  "Quick rise," The Grand Yan Empress softly ordered, her eyes looking kindly onto Yu An.

  As Yu An rose, her sensitive ears were pricked and she thought she heard the melodious playing of a flute. The style was similar to her father, but yet distinctly different - as if from a deeper well of stored up emotions, of a strong repression that she was only starting to hear its unravelling.

  "Yu An, Yu An," The Grand Yan Empress repeated her name as she held Yu An's hands in her own, "I once told Yue that she should not have named you after An Chi and me, two women who loved deeply but could not be with the man we love."

   The Grand Yan Empress gave a light mocking smile, "And, even the man I chose, still left me first in the end." 

  As if in a spell, the Grand Yan Empress suddenly stood up and started to sway. Yu An watched on with growing wonder as she realised her grandmother was... dancing. Yu An wasn't sure if her grandmother could also hear the very soft, almost indiscernible, flute playing, but somehow her grandmother was swaying in time with the invisible beats of a music that matched her soul.

  "Yu An, very long ago, I had a twin sister. She too bore a son to your grandfather. He was your father's older brother... he became a monk and travels freely between all the kingdoms. I came from a desert tribe in the farther ends of the Yan Kingdom... we had nothing, but we were known for our beauty and dance. My sister and I... we were the best dancers of the tribe. We dreamt of travelling throughout all the kingdoms in a dancing troupe... one night, we rescued a wanderer... a handsome wanderer. Both of us fell for him, but even before we could ascertain if this was love, we received a royal edict from the Kingdom, demanding for a tribute from our tribe. A female tribute to be the future consort of the Emperor. This was not really a surprise... the Yan Kingdom asked for a tribute every year, but the surprise was that the tribe chose my sister and I. I chose to go to the Royal Palace... to give my younger sister a choice. But, funnily enough... funnily enough, she chose to come to the Palace a year later."

  Grandmother fell silent then and her steps slowed down... as if she was tired, bogged down by time and its heaviness. She sat down and Yu An poured her a cup of tea. 

  "But, the funniest thing of all, Yu An," Grandmother said as she appeared to survey her destiny in the cup's tea leaves, "When I asked her why she came to the Royal Palace, she said, 'Because he loved you instead.'"

  The invisible flute music faded off then. Yu An was struck by its finishing note - a chord that brought up a memory, her father telling her that it was his shi fu (teacher) that taught him martial arts and how to play the flute, the shi fu that was the Grand Yan Empress' Shi Xiong (sworn brother)......

   Love, Yu An thought, this love that grandmother talks of, that her mother believes in, is so unfathomable. 


*A type of chinese stringed musical instrument.

Comments: In ancient china, it was common for the girls to marry from twelve upwards. Most princesses will probably marry by fifteen (and that may even be late). But, that would make for a very unpalatable love story. So, I have modified it for modern tastes - but I generally think that the women mature faster in the ancient china setting so when I think of someone who is sixteen in ancient china, I feel that their mentality may be closer to eighteen. 



The Princess Who Cannot Marry
Chapters: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14



Little Moon's Matchmaking Mission!
Chapters: Prologue + 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17


The Sun's Dark Love
Chapters: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19

46 comments:

  1. Now that's one way to celebrate the snow. Thanks for the story-gift!

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    1. Welcome ♡ thanks so much for reading!!!

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  2. very nice start! thanks decembi!

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    1. Aww thank you! Thanks for reading ♡

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  3. it´s so fasconatong and gripping. thank you. i am looking forward ... Karol

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    1. Karol, really glad you are enjoying it! Thanks for reading ♡

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  4. thanks new story and im already excited..marie

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    1. Hello marie, thank you! ♡ Been super excited about Yu An's story. She's really fun to write.

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  5. Nice! The story seems very interesting! I love your description of the music playing.

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    1. Aww thank you! ♡ I think the scope is slightly wider as it builds off the worlds already build up in the first two stories. I wrote it based on my imagination, but I think I will find actual music pieces for inspiration moving forward! ♡

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  6. so captivating... looking forward to read more... :)
    thank you so much decembi.

    -aimey

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    1. Lovely to hear from you, Aimey ♡ thanks so much for the support. I have the first few chapters written alrdy and I really like Yu An.

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  7. wow this is amazing. i thought this was a translation for some chinese fiction. tried searching it up on google. but to no avail until i realized the author was u urself! i love the story alrdy! really cant wait to read the next few chapters. its sounds beautiful yet possibly tragic. ugh i hope u wont wait too long to post the next chapter!

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    1. Oh wow that's an incredible compliment for me! Thank you so much. If you are interested, you can read Little Moon's Matchmaking Mission and The Sun's Dark Love - get to read abt Yu An's parents and young 12 year old Yu An. You get to see a younger Hu Zi and the impossibly cool An Hun.

      I plan to update more this week. I don't think it will be tragic but it's not really a romantic comedy as much as the earlier two have been. I'm keeping secret Yu An's final pairing ;)

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  8. Decembi thanks for the new story :) looking forward for the next chapter :D

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    1. Wonderful to hear from you, Hanny ♡ Working hard on everything :)

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  9. OMG YES <3
    another story~~~
    Aahhh I love Yu An, actually I loved all the characters.
    Can't wait for more ^.^

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    1. So lovely to hear from you ♡ AWWWW thanks for loving Yu An. I really want to update. Work, please stop coming!

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  10. Thank you! I have been waiting eagerly for this story!

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    1. Hello klutzyfeli, awww thank you so much!!! <3 I'm writing the ending of The Sun's Dark Love as I speak haha.

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  11. Awesomeness! Thank you for the new story! =) Im very excited.

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    1. Thank you Hanako <3 <3 <3 very grateful for the support!

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  12. Thank you for the new story.

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    1. Welcome ♡ thank you for the support!

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  13. hi decembi ! good n impressive work... i finished reading the sun;s dark love and love your novel. cant wait to read more of yu an's love adventure..at the moment i m a shipper of both hu zi and an hun. ha ha ha.. either one is ok with me for the moment.

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    1. Hello Irene ♡ thank you for your kind support. It encourages me alot! I'm really happy that both An Hun and Hu Zi are well liked! Can't wait to update again

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  14. I am hooked already... moar please :)
    Hu Zi sounds so romantically gentle and loving - sigh wish I had one too in my real life ;)
    Thank you very much for your spell binding stories. What a rich imagination you have been gifted with :)

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    1. Awww thank you! The meaning behind Hu Zi's name is protector. I really like how you describe him - gentle and loving is very apt. Thank you so much for your support and kind words, it motivates me to continue to work on my writing.

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  15. decembi... this is the best first chapter you've written! i like the dynamic of the characters already and i am intrigued by the relationship between Hu Zi and Yu An! just enough details to set the tone and to let the story breathe and unfold... excellent job and looking forward to reading the next chapters...

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    1. Awww Bella, thank you for your feedback. It means a lot! This story is far more ambitious than the previous two and I'm trying my best to live up to it ♡♡♡

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  16. jiayou decembi!!!!! omg. super looking forward to how yu an's story will pan out hehe. she sounds so much like xiao yue! I hope to hear more about yu an's brother too hehe. Thanks so much for all the wonderful stories. i find myself stalking ur blog >< anyway i saw that you are a lawyer as well?

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    1. Haha I think it's very interesting you say that Yu An sounds like Xiao Yue. Does she? Really? Because when I wrote it, I thought of Hsiao instead cos Yu An is supposed to be more like Hsiao hahaha. Thank you so much for the support. I'm going to try my best to update more often.

      Yes, I'm a lawyer :)

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    2. hahah. but yu an is a good blend of hsiao and yue, because she has hsiao's coolness and strength and love of music, but xiao hue's renxing and childishness.

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    3. Hahaha i love renxing. Yes, i totally agree ♡♡♡

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    4. hahah yup. actually i recently read gu fang bu zi shang haha. and i really love bai ping ting, how her beauty comes from her wit and talent haha. is yu an gonna be such a character?

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    5. I have heard many many people recommend gu fang bu zi shang! I hope to read it one day. My timing has been so tight lately.

      I would love if Yu An could be considered such a character :)

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  17. hello decembi,

    I havent commented...Read this via my mobile but mobile app dont allow me to comment (no idea).

    Love love the opening... so Hu Zi grew up fine (not weak like when young). Im still on the Yu An + An Hun side XD for now.

    Yu An is too "strong" in character (I think) for Hu Zi.. I want her to end up with someone that is strong too. So far An Hun looks stronger than Hu Zi.

    Looking forward to next chapter. Take your time.. :)

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    1. Hello fangorn,

      Wonderful to hear from you! :)

      Aww thank you so much. This makes me soooo happy. Haha, actually Hu ZI is not weak, he is just younger than Yu An, and like you said Yu An has a very strong character hahahaha. <3

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  18. Honestly, your stories are amazing! When I first started reading them I thought they were translations of published books! I finished Little Moon's Matchmaking Mission, and The Sun's Dark Love today and only started reading yesterday night! I can't wait for more chapters and works by you!

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    1. Hello jynxd3d, aww thank you so much, I'm really honoured by your words. Thank you so much for reading my stories ♡♡♡ I can't wait to share Yu An's story with you!

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  19. Hi Decembi,

    You are starting on a new story ! Congratulations!

    Actually I'm quite excited to follow Yu An's story. She seems like a spunky character - In the first chapter, grown up Yu An makes quite a memorable entrance.

    You mentioned previously that there would be three male leads? Since we already know about Hu Zi and An Hun, I wonder who the third lead would be and what kind of background and character would he possess.

    - Lemonsalt

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    1. Hello Lemonsalt,

      Heehee thank you! I hope to hear from you in this story as well. I see the stories as a trilogy and this as the last one (I hope hahaha).

      Yes, Yu An is spunky isn't she? Hahaha. I think she has had a strange upbringing hahaha.

      The third lead hahahaha. I shall keep that a secret for now.

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  21. wow...I am so excited just now I found your blog thank you for your hard work now I am off to read

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    1. Awww thank you ♡ i hope you enjoy the story! How did you find my blog :)?

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  22. I really like this article. It contains a lot of useful information.

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