Prologue – Fall of Jian Ling Ya

Would the snow ever cease to fall? Flake by flake, each crystallized water drop descends; flake after flake, one atop the other.

In the midst of winter, a former pasture of fertile land – now frozen beneath sheets of snow. All life shielded, hidden and forgotten in this vast plain of snow.

All life, that is, apart from two men.

Two men. One aged, the latter a toddler.

The aged man appeared to be of forty years of age, yet his true years was into the centuries. His hair was mostly black, though wafts of grey streaks trailed across the hair. His eyes though ancient, were sharp; sharp but in apparent pain and hurt. This aged man stood atop a silver slim blade. And this blade, though seemingly fragile and even more brittle than a twig, did wonders by carrying the weight of not only the man but that of the toddler's as well.

The toddler, cuddling in the arms of the aged man, was sound asleep.

Together, toddler and the man, the two traveled and sped across the white plain of snow, fleeing from an unseen enemy, by the means of the thin silver blade which sliced through the harsh cold air of the wintry land.

It would be an abnormal sight if any mortal were present to witness – that of the blade soaring hundreds of yards into the freezing air and above the lifeless ground, with two men riding it.

Miles and miles, the duo flew across the plain of snow. The aged man knew deep in his heart, that there would be no town for days to come, yet he prayed solemnly even for a glimmer of hope. Perhaps, there would be a village somewhere …

He glimpsed down at the two year old toddler in his hands.

A hall.

Though not having as much great grandeur as the Ancestral Halls of the other Sects, this hall of Jian Ling Ya Sect possessed as much, if not even more so, the solemnity of that of the other Sects. In the midst of the hall, positioned before fifteen smart neat rows of white tablets ( each crafted delicately from the ashes of the hundred and thirty eight Sect Masters which preceded the current Sect Master; each engraved with the Sect Master's name and his period of reign ) was a dark ebony throne which an old man sat himself on.

And lining both sides of the hall, all the way till the entrance of the hall, were two straight rows of men clothed in purple robes, each with a sword wielded in his right hand. They stood silently facing the old man, their eyes attentively locking onto his face with utmost respect.

There was one exception– one man, his purple robe trimmed with silver linings, was before this old man, in between the two rows of men. He knelt down before the throne and once the old man signaled for him to speak with a wave of his hand, this man brought his hands together before his chest and began his report.

"Jiao Zhu ( Sect Master ), Fu Jiao Zhu ( Vice – Sect Master ) has finally emerged from seclusion and has sent word of his impending arrival in our Residence."

Seclusion – ( Bi Guan ) training that most cultivators undergo to cultivate their chi and "mind" ( Xin Xing )

"Gu … Gu Ling Zi is …. finally returning?"

"Yes, Jiao Zhu. He speaks of a surprise that he has prepared for you."

"A – a surprise? That's very much like Gu Ling Zi …" The old man laughed, his beady eyes twinkling with delight. His fingers sifted through his silvery white beard as he continued. "I wonder what he has to offer this time round."

"Shao – Shao Ye …" The aged man moaned softly.

Shao Ye – Young Master

"Shao – Shao Ye …. Don't die … you are the last … the last …" The aged man moaned once more, his eyes staring down at the toddler, whose body was turning pale swiftly from the bitter cold of the winter. The duo were still making their flee on the slim sword. The man did not dare to rest even a bit.

Flee. Hurry. Flee, he had to.

After all, he had to make sure that the survival of the Jian Ling Ya Sect was seen to.

With the swift almost-instantaneous execution of three sword stances, Gu Ling Zi quickly massacred another Sect Guardian.

"Four down … three to go …" Gu Ling Zi whispered softly to himself. And with the raising of his arms, he brought his sword above his head only to smite down the fifth Sect Guardian.

He promptly ignored the futile attempts to decapitate him by the lowly disciples of the Jian Ling Ya Sect, easily dodging the attacks with his impressive agility. The disciples glanced desperately to the Jiao Zhu for help, while in the midst of fencing their swords urgently to protect the two remaining Sect Guardians by shielding them.

All the Jiao Zhu could do … was to sit.

Sit gasping for breath.

He was poisoned. Poisoned by Gu Ling Zi.

"Lan Ling Zi …." The Jiao Zhu called out as he sat cross-legged in a lotus position, half in meditation to keep the poison at bay. He knew it was futile … he knew that the poison would nevertheless creep up his veins and to his heart … he knew that his heart would fail … Yet he needed whatever time he could garner.

One of the two last Sect Guardians leaped to the Jiao Zhu's side. "Lan Ling Zi awaits the orders of the Jiao Zhu."

"Get … get Bei Ming and leave here at once. The fall of Jian Ling Ya is inevitable."

A huge strong gust of wind knocked the air out of the aged man's lungs and threw him off his sword. The frail frame of the aged man was seen plummeting dangerously fast down to the snowy grounds ( toddler in arms ) until at the very moment when he was only a few metres away from collision, the sword, as if it had a life of its own, streamed down and broke his fall with its blunt hilt.

The duo landed safely.

They, however, were not safe. Not in a blizzard.

Okay, first chapter down. No, chapters will not be this short - the prologue is only an exception. For those who have been waiting for weeks for me to update Doppelganger, I'm pretty sorry but I've decided to put it on hiatus for the moment. Got a writer's block on that plot already and I really had this huge urge to start on a new story ( which is this story, basically ). Anyway, readers may find that I have been using various chinese terms frequently in my story and that my writing style may be very much different from that of the other writers on Fictionpress.

For those who have read my previous stories, you may notice that I had used Japanese names and the plots were very similar to that of cliche mangas -

However, I plan to change and most probably have already began changing my style in this story. For those who have been wondering what I have been doing in the past month, here's my answer. I was getting myself off game addiction, watching Jdrama, reading chinese online novels. One thing I realized was that the Chinese Online Writing Community is amazingly huge with a very large pool of readers ... I was going ... "whoa". And the style of these chinese authors is ... wow, what can i say ... it's just amazing.

It's mostly due to the differences between the English and Chinese language. Chinese is much more complex and very more sentimental. An English word can be replaced by half a dozen of different Chinese terms - each with a different sentiment. In addition, the norm English novel would involve adventure, soul-searching, friendship and stuff, tapping onto the adrenaline of the readers to spur them on. But the norm Chinese novel would seek, however, to unmask the world and show you how unfeeling the word actually is.

Whoa, this is getting long. Have fun reading the prologue and hope you guys review. The next chapter will be up soon, I don't know when. I'm pretty busy lately P )