2: The Fox

Chatter echoed throughout the palace. The emperor – dressed in the finest gold robes –furiously stormed to the Divine Gate. He helplessly gasped at the reason for commotion, slightly trembling in fear. Pinned by an arrow on the door was his doom. A small, wooden fox carving swayed in the breeze. On the back was the message: Did you miss me?

“It can't be possible,” Hong Weishan, the emperor, murmured. “It cannot be.”

“What does it mean, your highness?” Zhao Qiaolian, the emperor's only concubine, asked.

In the far back of the gathering crowd, Liu Disung closed his hand into a tight fist. Ten years passed but he still recalled the blood smeared on his father’s face and the assassin standing over him, a mask hiding his expression. The blade in the murderer’s hand shone in the sunlight and even in memory, the glare hurt Disung’s eyes. That assassin disappeared after that. Until now. The message meant Disung could finally have his revenge.

The emperor continued to remain solemnly silent. No one dared to speak aloud their single, united thought.

The Fox had returned.