Excerpt: Princess Anyu Returns (Enter Anyu Wen)

Princess Anyu Returns digital cover web

It’s finally here!  The final chapter to the Peers of Beinan Series!  Released on 1st February, 2015, Princess Anyu Returns tells the story of Princess Anyu’s exile on D425E25 Tertius and of her return home to Beinan to face the murderous and very treacherous Lord Yelu.  In this scene from chapter two, Enter Anyu Wen, you are treated to a Firefly-influenced opening followed by the introduction of a very dangerous alien.

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Music filled Anyu’s ears as she wandered the mall, light, rhythmic and sweet with the familiar sound of shawms and flutes.  As if in a dream of the home she knew existed no more, Anyu drifted towards the sound.  In the center of a large open space near an escalator, a small troop of performers dressed very much like Beinarians danced and played the sweet music.  Recognizing the dance, Anyu put everything down and joined the forming circle.  Memories swelled.  Her feet knew the steps, transporting her and surprising the performers while the crowd of shoppers applauded.  As the song ended, she disappeared, collecting her belongings once more.  One of the dancers, a man with brown eyes, jet black hair, and apricot skin followed her, “Who are you?”

Anyu turned and faced him, “I beg your pardon?”

“You appeared and disappeared as if from nowhere.  I have never seen you before, yet you knew the steps to our dance.”

“Everyone knows that dance,” remarked Anyu casually.

“Not in this time and place, they do not,” countered the man.

Comprehension filled Anyu, “Ah!  You must be of this Society for Creative Anachronism that people told me about!”

“I am.  My name is Seo-jun.”

“Strange name.”

“It suffices. So what are you doing here?”

“Shopping.  New dress,” motioned Anyu at the fabric of her dress.

Seo-jun raised an eyebrow, “With a heavy pack like that and a basket of food?”

“Sure, why not?”

Seo-jun’s eyes changed from brown to metallic blue, his voice lowering, “You are not from around here.  As a matter of fact, you are not from anywhere near here – not even this galaxy.”

Anyu tensed and instinctively raised her hand to her hip, forgetting for the xiao-shir that her sword was buried in her pack, “Who are you?”

Seo-jun grabbed her arm, “Let us take a walk, Princess!”

 

Seo-jun dragged Anyu to the parking lot outside of the mall.  Forcing her onto the back seat of his black two door Ford Fiesta sedan, he threw her belongings into the car hastily, spilling out one of the kolaches from its basket.   Suddenly a dark-haired and grey-eyed man wearing white trousers, a white t-shirt, and white linen blazer leapt out from behind a nearby station wagon, his laser épée humming fiercely, “Let her go!”

Seo-jun laughed, “Why?  You cannot harm me!” To prove his point, Seo-jun concentrated; the doors on the sedan locked with a loud click.  Anyu tried to pry open the locks; they would not budge.

Understanding her life was in danger she quickly found her sword and drew it from her pack as the man stepped towards Seo-jun with his laser épée.  Closing his eyes and controlling his breath, the locks flew open.  Anyu rolled onto the ground to safety. Lifting a finger, the stranger threw all of Anyu belongings out of the car including the stray kolache which rolled in its protective plastic sandwich bag until it hit Anyu’s pack as Anyu found her feet.

The man with the épée advanced on Seo-jun, “You will leave this world, Seo-jun.”

Seo-jun sneered, “And who will make me?  You?”

“If I must,” confirmed the man, raising his épée and planting his feet firmly to attack.

“Your powers of mind are limited.  Your powers of flesh are even more limited.  When can your kind ever defeat us?” guffawed Seo-jun.

“Perhaps I will die trying,” offered the man.

Anyu raised her sword, taking a defensive position with her strange benefactor, “If he dies, he does not die alone!”

“I did not come here for you, Princess.  But if you wish to die too, I can arrange that.  Pity though; you are worth so much more to me alive – unlike your friend here,” frowned Seo-jun.

“Come now, what would Lady Laela think if she heard you talk that way?  You cannot simply dispose of her favourite pet without provoking her wrath!” cried the stranger sarcastically, his feet instinctively falling into the ritualized martial arts forms of the knights of Gurun.  Anyu smiled, recognizing the steps from countless lessons by Lady Knight Aldris of the knights of Gurun, her feet gliding into complimentary forms in accord with the Gurun style of fighting.  Their two swords – one heritage and one modern – seemed to dance joyfully as they met each other’s eyes.  Two complete strangers yet suddenly comrades in arms.

Undaunted, Seo-jun rolled his eyes, half amused at the irony of a man from the past wielding the modern weapon while the adolescent daughter of Beinan’s conquered queen wielded a heritage sword. It was, from a larger perspective, downright comical while being, from another point of view, rather heroic. “You both surely must realize how useless both your weapons are against me.”

“That has yet to be seen,” challenged the stranger.  “I have never actually attacked one of your species before – but since you obviously are intent on taking one or both of us to Lord Yelu, I see little incentive to not at least try.”  In affirmation, the stranger lunged at Seo-jun with his blade, much to Seo-jun’s annoyance.

Seo-jun deflected the blade with a wave of just one finger, “I am no longer amused.”  Anyu, unaffected by Seo-jun’s telekinesis, glided closer, cutting her blade down and slicing ever so slightly into his shoulder. A few drops of black blood spilled onto the ground, sizzling against the payment acidly.  Seo-jun faced her, his eyes like blue flames, “Unwise!”

Just as Seo-jun was about to throw Anyu into a nearby car with his mind, he observed several native humans approaching their position, obviously attracted by the noise.  A man wearing the navy blue uniform of the State College police department approached cautiously, his firearm drawn.  Seo-jun’s eyes changed back to their brown disguise.  Stepping back towards his sedan, he opened the door, “Very well then, since this place is far too crowded for my taste, let us defer this conversation for another beinor.  I trust you will make peace with your goddesses by then.  I would hate to see your soul trapped around this world.”  Sitting down in the sedan, Seo-jun closed the door, engaged the internal combustion engine, and drove away.

Relieved, the stranger stepped out around a car to turn off his laser épée out of sight of the police officer.  Anyu pulled her sword sheath out of her pack, “What just happened?”

“I would think that would be obvious,” answered the stranger as the police officer reached them.

“State College police,” announced the officer.  “Are you okay?”

Anyu looked at the officer and offered a respective bow, “Yes!  Yes we are – thanks to you!”  The police officer tipped his cap politely before turning back, unwilling to get more involved than absolutely necessary.  Anyu turned once more to the stranger, “Well, now that’s over – did you know that Seo-jun creature?”

‘I do; I did,” admitted the stranger as he re-joined Anyu.

“Who is he?  Perhaps more importantly who are you?”

“That is a long story – to both questions.  I am not entirely certain I know who you are – except that you are not of this world. Why did he call you ‘princess?’”

“I do not know how you know I am not of this world – but he called me ‘princess’ because I am the daughter of my people’s reigning sovereign queen.”

The stranger took off his watch, “This looks like an ordinary multi-function time piece such as local men of wealth wear – but it is not.”  Demonstrating, he tapped the surface of the timepiece rapidly three times.  The display changed. “As I hope you know, all life on this world is kol-based, not silizium-based like we are.  This function scans for silizium-based life.  That is how I found both Seo-jun and you, actually.  All three of us are silizium-based.  But beyond that – all I can tell is that Seo-jun appears to be after both of us – not just me.”

“That name – Lady Laela – sounds familiar. Who is she?”

“Assuming these readings are correct and you come from B345A15 Quartus, also known as planet Beinan?”

“Yes, that is my home world.”

“Mine as well.  Have you ever been to the castle temple of Abka Biya overlooking the Amba Mederi Ocean in Bira Hecen?”

“Yes.

“Do you remember a strange woman with metallic blue eyes who takes care of the temple’s observatory?”

“Vaguely – she did something – scanned me perhaps?  I came to the temple to seek refuge from strange dreams I was having.  She said I was seeing someone I knew in another life – someone named Janus who I later came to recognize as the same soul as this Lord Yelu the Bastard who has no doubt overthrown the Gurun dynasty.”

“Precisely.  That is Lady Laela.”

“You know her?”

“Better than you do – and so does Seo-jun.”

“Who is he?”

“A very dangerous person from an ancient race – Lady Laela’s race actually.  We first met them – we call them ‘The Amur’ – during the Great Migration.  Woe to all Beinarians that beinor ever came.”

“My name is Anyu – Lady Engineer Anyu.”

“You are both a princess and an engineer?”

“Yes.  You find that strange lord…”

“The locals call me ‘Christopher.’”

“That is not your name.”

“No.”

“Why give me an alias?”

“I will tell you my birth name – in time.  This is hardly the place to discuss our world.”

“Agreed.”

“I have a home in town where we can talk more privately – it is not far from here.”

“Lead the way!”

 

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