A Deceptive Mind: Chapter 2.5

Thus did the war at HeiLi end.

Of the hundred men that escaped via the mountains, less then half survived the climb. But that was better than nothing. They escaped with barely enough rations. If only they had left a couple days earlier, maybe everything would have been better.

After retreating, the Hyang troops left the area immediately. Everything was cleaned up and packed within an hour, the plain was just as empty as before with no traces that an army had once set their camp there.

The news of victory (somewhat) rose the hopes of the citizens of the Hyang Empire and a victory celebration was held in honor of all the men who fought bravely in the war and of all the men who made it over the mountains. Hanto was congratulated for his bravery in war, but Charlotte’s input in the entire plan was all but kept silent. No one knew of this mysterious woman who showed up out of no where to give advice to the Emperor. No one but the Emperor’s closest advisors.

Hanto believed that this was the perfect way to end this war. He was one step closer to his goal of kicking Charlotte out. But there was still one thing that bother him night after night.

Who was that mysterious man who came and saved him?

A Deceptive Mind: Chapter 2.4

AN: Not the best writing, but here you go.

Charlotte watched the sun set in silence outside of her tent. Since that afternoon, Charlotte had been avoiding the Emperor. Not because she was afraid, of course, but simply because she knew better than to aggravate a man of great power moments before he went into battle. Oftentimes, the results were not good.

The couple times she passed Hanto. she saw the same “screw you” expression every time with a little smirk after he found out about her little mishap with his father.

Charlotte stared off into the distance, gazing steadily at the troops standing tall off on the horizon…

<—~~~|~*+.-.+*~|~~~—>

The Emperor’s horse’s hooves clattered as he paced back and forth.

“Your Majesty, the last troops have arrived.”

The Emperor nodded, stopping his. “Then we shall attack.”

“Men!” He shouted, his voice booming across the field. “Tonight, we take no prisoners. But the moment I declare retreat, you will listen and retreat! We are following a carefully thought out plan and any hesitation on your part will result in immediate death.”

The sounds of horns echoed after his voice.

“For the Hyang!” He raised his sword. “Charge!”

Row after rows of men began striding forward, some on horses, some on foot, towards the Choung encampment right on the outskirts of the city. Hanto led a group of men to the right and Captain Gana led a group to the left. Soon enough they surrounded the entire Choung camp. But the Choung had been expecting them and the moment they came in range, arrow’s began raining down. Men fell right and left, but the Hyang continued to plow on.

“Charge!” The Emperor shouted again, waving his sword around deflecting that arrows that came to him. Things were not looking so good anymore.

<—~~~|~*+.-.+*~|~~~—>

As Charlotte watched the battle intensify she realized that she owed a letter to her teacher. She was about to turn back into her tent when she heard the horn again. And this time, it was blowing the distress signal.

“You can’t be serious…” Charlotte cursed, rushing onto her horse. Who the heck was going to answer this except for the few men left to guard the camp?

“Men! Your Emperor’s in distress.” She shouted. “We have to go help them.”

Only wary eyes met her command.

“Well if you’re not going than so be it.” She spat, disgusted at the cowardice of these men and then she bounded towards the battle.

<—~~~|~*+.-.+*~|~~~—>

Hanto was stuck in the middle, completely surrounded by the Choung. His father was still well protected but he had ran too far in too fast for any of his men to have followed. Who knew the Choung had been so well prepared?

The distress horn sounded once more. Who was going to come though?

At that moment, he saw a man fall down in front of him with an arrow in his back. Everyone froze for a moment. And then another went down. And another.

“Over there!” They shouted and there Hanto saw a dark figure, bow in hand riding through the swarms of men. His face was covered and he was wearing all black. He rode over the Hanto and extended a hand.

“You need to get out of here.” He whispered, his voice rather high and feminine, but too raspy to be one of a woman. Hanto grabbed his hand and swung onto the horse.

“Retreat!” He shouted to his men. This had been enough of a divergence for those in the city to get away. There was no need to continue fighting. This had been a fight they weren’t going to win in the first place.

They galloped away until they had broken free of the surrounding Choung. The man promptly pushed Hanto off the horse and disappeared into the night before he could say another word.

<—~~~|~*+.-.+*~|~~~—>

The first guard landed on the ground dead soundlessly with an arrow in his left eye. A line of soldiers, not much more than 50 followed their leader silently along the mountain path. The second guard went down with a thud louder than hoped. The third guard raised the alarm, but it was too late.

A Deceptive Mind: Chapter 2.3

(AN: Sorry about shortness. Needed a scene in the castle, but needed it brief. I promise a long battle scene next week to make up for this.)

In the distance, inside a deeply surrounded city, a tall man stood outside on the edges of the city walls, gazing in the distance, hiding the worry that darkened his heavy eyes. A high pitched screech drew his attention to an eagle that glided down to his arm, a message attach to its leg.

“Let’s see if you bring good or bad news.” He said with a small smile, unscrolled the message and scanned it quickly. His dark eyes lightened a little with hope. “Its good news alright.”

He quickly scrawled out a return message and stepped off the city wall, throwing the letter into a fire on his way.

“Gather the men!” He shouted. “We move at nightfall.”

A Deceptive Mind: Chapter 2.2

They stopped right outside the valley and set their camp there. Charlotte stared up at those looming mountains in awe and realized that they were much bigger than she had thought they were to be. If the Emperor wanted his men inside in the valley to survive, they were going to have to set their plan in motion a little earlier than planned.

Tents were scattered throughout the grassy plain and the sound of men shuffling about echoed throughout the camp. The atmosphere of the camp was deeply intense. There was a tent set up separately from everyone else just for Charlotte. She didn’t complain though. As highly as she thought of herself, she still didn’t think she would be able to tolerate sharing a tent with 5 other sweaty, smelly, and very possibly perverted men.

Her tent was furnished simply with a cot, a table to write on and a chair. There was a single lamp to illuminate the entire tent, which was not very big to begin with. The tent seemed to be rather old and gave off a slightly musty smell. Thankfully, Charlotte was able to solve that problem with a quick sprinkle of perfume which she always had on her (though she never used it on herself – to her it was always more of a short term tracking device).

Happy with the way her tent was, she took a step out and approached the Emperor’s tent. There were some things that she needed to tell him.

“The Emperor is currently not accepting visitors.” One of the guards blocked her off rudely as she neared the tent.

“Will you send him a message that Charlotte wishes to see him.” She beckoned. The guard gave her a sideways glance before striding into the tent. Moment later he stepped out and let her in.

“The Emperor will be waiting inside.”

Charlotte nodded and walked in.

“You were looking for me?” The Emperor was sitting down in front of a table, reading messages of some sort. He sounded conversational, unlike the formal speech he usually used with his advisors.

“I have two tactical errors to point out in my plan.”

“Oh?” The Emperor didn’t quite sound surprised. “I saw some myself. I think that took you long enough to realize.”

Charlotte tried hard not to blush. He knew already? Was he trying to play games with her?

“I didn’t realize the size and height of either mountains. I believe we must launch the attack earlier than as planned.”

The Emperor nodded silently, putting the message in his hands down.

“And you’re second point?”

“Forgive me for forgetting to mention this, but the Choung aren’t stupid. They may very well expect your men to attack. There will be need to watch for ambush from behind. There’s no good in saving a couple of men if the rest of your army dies for it.”

The Emperor nodded once again.

“This is good advice, but I believe you may be too inexperienced. Don’t underestimate the strength of Hyang men.”

“But, my Emperor, if your troops get ambushed, there may be greater losses and needed.” Charlotte glanced at him frantically, getting quite upset at the rejection of her ideas. These were all lives that could be saved! “Are you willing to sacrifice your men like that?”

“I am not sacrificing any of my men.”

“How can this not be sacrificing when these deaths can be very well avoided?”

“Do not question me!”He slammed a fist down on the table. “Because I agree to your plan in does not mean your are a part of the Hyang. You are a woman and an outsider. I have tolerated you up until now, but if you continue to act in such a manner, I will not hesitate to execute you and have your body displayed as an example to all other arrogant fools who think they can best the Emperor.”

He paused for a moment to calm himself down.

“You are dismissed.” He said with a tired wave. Charlotte turned and ran out without a word.

A Deceptive Mind: Chapter 2.1

Two weeks later, the Emperor was ready to set out with his troops. Hanto was not asked to come along to everyone’s surprise, but after persistent bothering the Emperor finally gave in, under the circumstances that he only stay as a spectator. When asked why, he refused to explain.

But Hanto had a bad feeling that it might have something to do with Advisor Chur.

Charlotte was not required to come along, it was completely up to her, but from the way the Emperor phrased himself, Charlotte could tell he’d rather her not go. Standing on the outskirts of the capital city, the Emperor glanced at her once more.

“I insist.” She said. “I was the creator of this strategy. No one knows it better than I do. Even though I’ve told you all that I can, there will always be the unpredictable.”

“Do not underestimate the knights of the Hyang.”

Charlotte shook her head.

“I must come.”

“If you insist them.” The Emperor sighed. “But the battlefield is no place for a women.”

“I am no ordinary women.”

“Well then,” He nodded turning to his servants, “Prepare a carriage for our-”

Charlotte cut him short.

“I don’t need a carriage.”

“You can’t walk there.”  The Emperor frowned.

“I can ride just as well as anyone else.”

“Are you sure you don’t need a carriage?”

Charlotte was sure.

“I rode here myself. Do you think I walked all the way to the capital or hired some carriagemen?”

She whistled loudly and moments later, a white dot appeared on the horizon and slowly began getting bigger and bigger until everyone could see that it was a lovely white stallion flew across the plane as if it were flying. It stopped right in front of Charlotte and she stroked him softly.

“Long time no see, big boy.” She whisper to him with a smile before hopping on. “I’m ready. Let’s go.”

A Deceptive Mind: Chapter 1.10

The last part of Chapter 1! Chapter 2 starts next week. 

Charlotte was walking back from a stroll around the palace when she stopped abruptly at the sound of footsteps in front of her. She looked up and studied the angry prince’s face for a moment.

“You’re blocking my way.” She replied flatly. Hanto crossed his arms.

“You can walk around me.”

“You can also stop blocking my way.”

Hanto shoved her backwards against the wall in rage, his face red with anger.

“Listen girl, I don’t care what my father thinks of you, but you have no right to be roaming in the Hyang palace. I want you to stay out of my way. Or else…” The hinted idea was obvious. “You know what will happen.”

Hanto almost half-expected Charlotte to gulp, but her face remained as stony as before, pushing his loosening grip away.

“It’s good to know that the Prince of the Hyang Empire likes to give out empty threats.”

Hanto reached up to grab her again, but she dodged his hand and slipped around him.

“It’s not nice the grab people.” She sneered before she ran off, too quick for Hanto to catch.

A Deceptive Mind: Chapter 1.9

You could say that the advisor was having a very busy afternoon. Just as he had left the Prince’s headquarters, a messenger came over and told him that the Emperor had summoned him.

Tucking the pouch that the Prince had given him safely away, he arrived at the Grand Hall.

The Emperor was leaning over his table, writing something, reading something, not noticing Advisor Chur’s entrance. It wasn’t until a servant nearby notified the Emperor did he look up to see the advisor standing there.

“Ah! You’re here.” The Emperor smiled, setting down his pen. “Wonderful.”

Advisor Chur bowed.

“Why does the Emperor seek for my presence?”

“I would like you to elaborate from what you said this morning.” He watched the advisor intently. “The girl’s idea is certainly good, but I see holes in them myself.”

Advisor Chur heart began pounding. This couldn’t be true. He looked up at the Emperor, with his eyes shining.

“My Emperor, the girl’s plan is completely crazy. It’s a suicide mission and in the end, no one will come out alive. How can we be sure she isn’t working for the Choung?”

The Emperor nodded.

“That it quite precisely what I had in mind.”

Advisor Chur looked up to him in surprise.

“But, my Emperor, why have you agreed to this plan?”

The Emperor sighed as he rest a heavy forehand on his hand.

“Because we have no other choice. If it had been anyone else stranded in HeiLi, I might be able to let them go, but this is my brother.” The Emperor shook his head, looking as if he had aged years in just a few minutes. “I can’t just let him die without trying.”

Advisor Chur went quiet for a moment. The Emperor finally rose his head and waved him off.

“You are dismissed.”

Advisor Chur bowed and left quietly.

The Emperor watched his receding figure, eyes staring intently at the money pouch that now stuck out from the advisor’s belt. A cold smile formed on his face as he muttered to himself.

“So son, is this truly what you think, or are you just trying to get revenge?”

A Deceptive Mind: Chapter 1.8

Advisor Chur arrived at the Prince’s lodging that afternoon with mixed feelings. He wasn’t sure why the Prince was so into the girl, but he seemed to share the same uneasiness and that was all that really mattered.

He knocked gingerly at the door and a servant opened up.

“Please inform the Prince that Advisor Chur has arrived.” He said. The servant nodded.

“One moment please.” He closed the door and left Advisor Chur waiting outside. A few moments later the door creaked open once again. “Come in please. The Prince is waiting for you.”

Advisor Chur nodded and followed the servant, taking a step into the Prince’s living quarters for the first time. It was a great honor to be invited to the Prince’s quarters.

Hanto’s quarters consisted of a broad gardened courtyard that lead to a small house. The garden was decorated with plenty of small trees and a single pond that rested on the far corner. The courtyard itself was surrounded by walls that enclosed that entire place. They were tall smooth walls that were unscalable. If any one tried to kill him, at least there was only one way in and one way out.

Yes, the Hyang were very paranoid if you were wondering.

The servant led Advisor Chur to the room. It was a small room, but heavily furnished with the most expensive furniture. In the center of the room, there stood a wall that hid the other half of the room, probably the prince’s private quarters. Against the wall sat a heavy redwood table and two matching redwood chairs, intricately carved by the most prestigious carpenters of the country. Paintings furnished the walls. But what stood out the most was the Prince’s large collection of weapons, anything from spears to throwing knives, bows and arrows to swords. They lined the walls menacingly.

“Do you like the swords?”

Advisor Chur was caught off guard for a moment as Hanto enter the room, catching him staring at the swords on the walls.

“They’re wonderful. Perfectly crafted.” He said with admiration. Hanto nodded with a smile.

“Would you like one?” He offered. The Advisor shook his head.

“It would be too grand of a sword for a lowly Advisor.”

Hanto reached up and picked out a light sword, craftly simply but quite precisely.

“Take this one.”

“No no no, my prince, I cannot possibly accept this.”Advisor Chur pushed the sword back. “This is too much of an honor.”

Hanto looked at him one more time before resting the sword on the table.

“If you want, it will always be available.”

Advisor Chur nodded, somewhat bewildered. Hanto motioned for him to sit and the Advisor moved to sit in the chair across from him.

“Now, to business.” The Prince leaned back slightly. “Do you know the reason why I called you here?”

Advisor Chur shook his head.

“The motives of my Prince are unknown to me, but allow me to guess that it is about the girl.”

“You’re right. I’d like to hear her entire plan.”

Advisor Chur glanced up at him.

“It is a crazy plan my Prince. I don’t know why you would like to hear such blasphemy.”

“Tell me the plan.” Hanto repeated, not without a hint of annoyance. Advisor Chur finally submitted. He repeated what had happened in the room, trying to recall what the girl had said word for word. The whole time, the Prince’s face was expressionless.

“And that was the plan.” Advisor Chur finished. Hanto was silent for a moment, thinking.

“Good.” He finally said. “I want you to report here every time you have a meeting with the girl. I want to hear everything that she says, but I want you to keep our meetings secret.”

He took out a small pouch of money and handed over to Advisor Chur.

“In there is one Jiin. Next time, I’ll make it two.”

The Advisor nodded with a quick smile and left the quarters.

A Deceptive Mind: Chapter 1.7

“This is impossible!” Advisor Chur looked up at the Emperor. “This is absolute suicide! There is no way that our men will be able to survive the harsh land of the mountains, especially when food is low.”

The girl, Charlotte stared at him coolly.

“Well then would you like to suggest a plan that would prevent all your troops in HeiLi from certain death?”

Advisor Chur was wordless for a moment.

“But, but, this is madness!”

“Madness is the only way out. What is war? War is taking risks. If you’re not willing to take risks,” The girl paused for a moment and looked deeply into the advisor’s eyes. “Winning will only ever happen in here.”

She tapped her head mockingly, leaving Advisor Chur once again completely lost for words. The Emperor, happy that there were no more issues ended the meeting promptly and everyone dispersed from the room.

Advisor Chur rushed out among them, a deep frown written across his face. He paced out of the building, head down and thinking. In fact he was concentrating so hard that he almost ran into an information hungry Hanto.

“I’m very sorry my Prince.” He quickly apologized, cursing at himself for being so mindless. Hanto was well known for his short temper and arrogance, but today, he seemed to have just simply brushed it off.

“What happened?” He demanded. “What did the girl say?”

Adviser Chur was surprised at the prince’s intensity, but he responded promptly.

“The girl speaks complete blasphemy! She is advising that we bait the Choung away from the mountains and have our troops escape via the KenZi mountains.”

Hanto’s face darkened just as well, though not because he thought that the idea was completely ridiculous, but the fact that he realized the pure genius behind it. The fact that girl actually knew something meant that getting rid of her would only get harder and right now, there was nothing better than an ally, especially one that wasn’t so bright.

“What do you think of the girl?” He asked in a low voice. “I want you to be honest.”

Advisor Chur was taken aback for a moment.

“Well I-”

“I want the truth.”

Advisor Chur sighed.

“My Prince, do you have any power in persuading your father to release the girl? I have a rather uneasy feeling about her and I don’t like her crazy tactics. She’s too arrogant for a woman and it really is disrespectful.”

Hanto nodded in agreement. Perfect. This was exactly what he was searching for, but this was not the place to discuss plans.

“Meet me at my quarters this afternoon. I have something I wish to discuss with you.”

“Yes, my Prince.”

Hanto smiled.

“Good.”