|Chor Lau Heung (Michael Miu) vs Wong Yung (Barbara Yung)|
What if Wong Yung meets Chor Lau Heung? This fanfiction takes place before the Peach Blossom Island massacre which eventually led to Yeung Hong's (Yang Kang) death. I wasn’t going to post this today, but after watching Yeung Hong’s death this afternoon, I feel like I need something to cheer myself up (yes, I cried a bucket when YK died, despite him being a creature full of mistakes...). Legend of Condor Heroes 1982 and the New Adventures of Chor Lau Heung 1984 are the properties of Louis Cha, Gu Long and TVB Hong Kong, no copyright infringement intended. Dedicated to Michael Miu and Barbara Yung. Romanisation are mainly Yale Cantonese. Click this to read this fan-fiction at my new Jianghu blog.
Wong Yung screamed as she felt her body crashed with the large mirror. She was expecting a sharp hit, followed by a headache. However, unexpectedly, she felt like she hit a giant block of tofu, which later sucked her even deeper. Panic, she stretched her arms toward Kwok Ching who was blocking Lama Ling Zhi's continuous attacks. She saw Ching gor-gor's utter concern as she was sucked into a golden vortex. A weird, golden vortex with tofu-like consistency. The consistency became more liquid-like, then suddenly she felt like swimming in a golden liquid. The next thing she knew, she tumbled over the mirror and crashed to the hard cold floor, back first.
Gasping, she used her arms to wobbly rise from the floor and checked the surroundings. The room was totally different from the dilapidated temple room she, Kwok Ching, North Beggar Hung Tsat Kung, and Old Imp Chow Pak Tung were trapped a while ago. This room was well-kept and was full of weapons and antiquities. Still wobbly, she stood and turned back to the golden mirror that just ejected her. She saw herself, Wong Yung, in the pink floral tunic she donned this morning. Her voluminous hair was a bit messy, but that was to be expected from a fight with Yeung Hong and his cronies. She then realised that she wasn't the only person in the room. Two men were standing behind her with incredulous looks on their countenance. She gasped when she realised who one of them was. She turned to see Yeung Hong looking flabbergasted. She was agog too, for she just realised that Mr Luk Sing Fung, the Lord of the Cloud Manor was standing next to the wretched Yeung Hong. Had her Peach Blossom Island senior sided with the Jurchens now?? Yet, she didn't feel like asking. Instead, she attacked Yeung Hong with the Carefree Fist Style Hung Tsat Kung taught her. Yet, to her utter surprise, Yeung Hong easily defeated her. He blocked her strikes, and four moves later immobilised her.
"Siu Ching, are you mad?!" Yeung Hong glared at her in disbelief.
"What Siu Ching?!" Wong Yung glared back at Yeung Hong. "We've been enemies for so long, but you can't even remember my name?!" Yeung Hong frowned, but as he opened his mouth to retort, a familiar voice called from the door.
"Chor tai-gor, did you just call me?"
Although immobilised, Wong Yung was still able to turn her head slightly. She did so, and received the shock of her life when she saw an exact copy of hers entering the room. As her exact copy's big eyes widened in disbelief to see her, Wong Yung felt the floor dissolving quickly. The last thing she remembered before fainting was Yeung Hong running to catch her while uttering that strange name again.
"Siu Ching! What is happening here? Siu Ching!"
"Okay, let's do a recap here." A few hours later, Chor Lau Heung slowly circled the bedroom, ignoring the strange Siu Ching-lookalike who obviously detested him so much, she didn't even deign to look at him. The girl, who later introduced herself as Wong Yung, only regained her consciousness about an hour ago just around dusk. She opened her eyes, sat up and saw her practical twin standing next to her bed. Then, upon realising that Lingering Fragrance was standing next to Siu Ching, Wong Yung flared. Screaming that name again ('Yeung Hong!!!') with such hatred, she defeated Siu Ching and So Yung Yung easily (the latter girl ran to aid Siu Ching). Wong Yung then proceeded to attacked Chor Lau Heung viciously, such that he wondered what this Yeung Hong guy did to this girl that made her hate him so much.
Still, the King of Thieves dismantled Wong Yung's defence and immobilised her in about the same time it took him to immobilise her during their first fight. Ignoring her hateful glares, he promised that he'd let her go if she stopped attacking him and cooperated with them. Although disgruntled, Wong Yung finally agreed, thus Lingering Fragrance released her blocked accupoints.
Li Hung Chao then examined her and declared her to be physically fit, yet more rest would be wise. Song Siu Ching brought her some porridge, but since the strange girl kept glaring at the Princess, the latter shrugged and gave the porridge to So Yung Yung, who later helped the newcomer. After eating, Wong Yung slowly narrated a very unbelievable story that was so difficult to digest, such that Chor Lau Heung was wondering if it wasn't another prank that Dr Cheong was orchestrating, the way he helped Sit Yan et al with their love stories years ago. Sadly, he didn't think that was the case.
"Your name is Wong Yung. You and your husband -"
" - we're not yet married," Wong Yung immediately corrected Lingering Fragrance.
" - lover, were fighting this guy called Yeung Hong -"
" - which is actually you, so cut the crap!"
Siu Ching rolled her eyes heavenwards. "Will you just let him finish?! Otherwise we won't be done till tomorrow morning!"
Wong Yung turned toward the girl and snapped, "And you! I don't know how he got a twin of mine to play you, cos my mother never gave birth to a twin! But don't you think you'll get away with this drama!"
Song Siu Ching and Chor Lau Heung exchanged look and sighed. "We're not going to solve this mystery if you don't cooperate, Miss Wong," Chor Lau Heung calmly responded. "Suppose I'm truly your archenemy Yeung Hong. Wouldn't you want to know how I pulled all these things to fool you before you continue battling me?"
"I..." Wong Yung stuttered.
"From what you told me, it seems that this Yeung Hong, or myself as you repeatedly said, was cruel and smart, but perhaps not as smart as to be able to erect a totally different room in a few minutes' time." The King of Thieves looked out of the window, absentmindedly studying the mauve evening sky, his mind working as he said those words. He then turned back to face Wong Yung, who immediately whipped her head towards another direction. "If I were Yeung Hong, aren't you at least curious how I fooled you into entering the mirror and emerging again moments later in a totally different room? Or that I haven't killed you by now despite you being my nemesis?"
Wong Yung had to turn to face Lau Heung; she did find those facts baffling. Also, she just realised that this Yeung Hong look-alike styled his hair very differently from Yeung Hong's one-knot hair. Overall, his appearance and demeanour made this man looked different to Yeung Hong despite having very similar facial features. Could it be that this person was truly not Yeung Hong? "Then..."
"Then let's revisit the facts again," this time, Sit Yi Yan, the owner of the Sword Villa they were currently staying at, spoke up. He'd been sitting in the far corner of the bedroom so far, observing the weird exchange. "Chor tai-hap, if you please?"
Ignoring Wong Yung who snorted when the older master called him "tai-hap" (noble swordsman), Chor Lau Heung resumed his fact wrap up.
"Wong Yung, her lover Kwok Ching and two other heroes called Hung Tsat Kung and Chow Pak Tung had been battling Yeung Hong and his cronies inside a worn out manor. They arrived at a storage room with a large mirror in it. Wong Yung deflected an energy strike from Lama Ling Zhi, which caused her to hit the mirror. And -" he lifted one finger to emphasise, "not just hitting the mirror, Wong Yung also felt like being sucked into the mirror. She doesn't recall how long that sensation was, but she later felt ejected out of the mirror. That's when Master Sit and I can continue, for that was the first time we saw her."
"Could you explain what you actually saw, Chor tai-gor?" Siu Ching asked for Wong Yung's benefit, despite the latter girl's hostility towards the Princess' husband, for Chor Lau Heung had actually explained what he experienced inside the weaponry room to Siu Ching earlier.
"We first heard a strange hum, then we turned to see the mirror rippling and liquidised. Then Miss Wong suddenly fell out of the mirror. Then the mirror solidified again. Later after Miss Wong fainted, I checked the mirror, but it was as solid as any other mirrors. Any other common mirror, I should say."
"Is there a secret room at the back of the mirror?" Siu Ching asked.
"The mirror is a standing mirror, standing a few steps from the wall," explained Sit Yi Yan. "It's definitely not standing against the wall. It's a Han antique mirror which I obtained about a month ago from an old friend, and I put it there because I haven't decided where to put it. As for any secret rooms, I know all secret rooms in this manor. Trust me, there is nothing behind the mirror. It was just an empty space behind the mirror."
"The same with the mirror that I smashed into earlier," said Wong Yung, almost to herself. For the first time, she wasn't hostile towards her surrounding, for she slowly realised the mysterious nature of her current situation. "Ching gor-gor and I checked the room before Yeung Hong and his minions barged in. That mirror was a standing mirror, standing a good few steps away from the nearest wall."
"Chor tai-gor, do you think that the mirror is magical?" Sung Tim Yi asked tentatively. She had been standing next to Master Sit, totally unsure of what to do.
"That remains to be seen," Lau Heung replied. "There's one thing that I'd like to know though, for it wasn't clear enough. Miss Wong, what is the nature of your enmity with Yeung Hong?"
Wong Yung didn't need coercing to answer that part. With utmost hatred and despise, she narrated all despicable misconducts of Yeung Hong, from assisting Mui Chiu Fung in her killing spree, refusing to marry Mok Nim Chi in the first place ("Well, he did finally marry her, but still!!"), refusing to acknowledge Yeung Tit Sam as his birth father, causing the death of Mr and Mrs Yeung, throwing a knife at Ching gor-gor in an attempt to kill him (despite Ching gor-gor being super patience with Yeung Hong's antics), attempting to take over the Beggar Clan, and foremost: siding with the Jurchens to attack the Song Empire. Listening to the last information, Chor Lau Heung's eyes lit in surprise.
"Hold on, Miss Wong, that last bit. What country did you say Yeung Hong attack?"
Wong Yung sighed. This is getting sillier... "Our country of course! Or rather, my country, cos you don't acknowledge your birth land. The Song Empire!"
A weird silence descended into the room as all people there except for Wong Yung exchanged incredulous looks.
"Miss Wong..." Chor Lau Heung slowly sat on the empty stool next to Wong Yung's bed, more for his own benefit than Wong Yung's. "Do you mean the Song Dynasty?"
Wong Yung impatiently tsk-ed. "Haiyaaah! What is your game, actually? Of course it's the Song Dynasty! Also, I know that a war is imminent between your Jin Empire and the Genghis Khan's Mongolian army!"
Lau Heung flashed a totally surprised look. He turned to Siu Ching who slowly nodded.
"Miss Wong, although you think that I collude with this enemy of yours Yeung Hong, let me tell you the truth here. I'm Princess Wing Ching, the daughter of Emperor Yan Hin Tai of the Ming Dynasty. Alongside the Cental Plains citizens and the communities of Rivers and Lakes, my ancestors fought and expelled the Mongols almost 200 years ago, during Toghun Temur's reign, long after Genghis Khan passed away."
"It seems, Miss..." Chor Lau Heung added slowly, "...you fell out of the mirror into a wrong era."
Wong Yung blinked and opened her mouth to retort, but not a single word was out.
"Where's Chor Lau Heung?" Wong Yung asked Tim Yi, who was helping Li Hung Chao gathering some herbs. They had invited one Dr Cheong to stay at the Manor a few days ago. Dr Cheong had re-examined Wong Yung and concluded that she was healthy enough to roam the Central Plains on her own, if she wished to. Yet that was exactly the point: without anyone - Wong Yung included - knowing where she should go next, she had to resign herself to staying at the Sword Villa for the foreseeable future. Meanwhile, Miss Li and Miss Sung had assigned themselves in helping the good doctor collecting some medicinal plants.
"Ah, you have stopped calling him Yeung Hong, eh?" Tim Yi couldn't stop her mouth, nor that she wanted to. Wong Yung had irked her to no end due to her illogical hostility towards Chor tai-gor, who had been very patient with her so far.
The wilful girl snorted. "I'll call him what I wish, but if I call him Yeung Hong, you don't want to answer my questions." That is true; none of the people there, including Wah Jan Jan and Wu Tit Fa who arrived a few days ago, wanted to indulge in her sarcastic and hostile attitude towards Chor Lau Heung. They basically ignored her until she addressed him with his real name. Tim Yi shrugged. Wong Yung tried again. "So where is he now?"
"Don't know," Hung Chao decided to answer. "He and Siu Ching went out early just after sunrise. They said they'd be back before dinner."
Wong Yung left them at that. Over one week of her unexpected stay at the Sword Villa, she had learned more than enough about this Chor Lau Heung. He slowly introduced himself and everyone else as she digested, to no avail, that she had emerged in the Ming Dynasty instead of the Song Dynasty. This character Chor had three adopted sisters who adored him to no end and who always followed him around. He just wedded Song Siu Ching, the only princess of the Ming Empire, which made him effectively the Fuma or the Prince Consort. Yet he and Siu Ching had decided to roam the Realm of Rivers and Lakes carefree. They just visited the Emperor a month ago after getting married. Later, they visited Master Sit Yi Yan (who looked very much like Master Luk Sing Fung of the Cloud Manor) when the latter decided to show Lau Heung a sword called "the Viper Sword". That was when she fell out of the mysterious mirror and landed herself in, apparently, the Ming Era.
Chor Lau Heung had a horde of friends (including the Drunkard Wu) who often visited him now that he decided to temporarily reside at Sit Yi Yan's residence due to Wong Yung's inexplicable case. None of these friends looked hostile or two-faced, which was a far cry from the minions who often accompanied Yeung Hong.
To add to Wong Yung's confusion, this Chor Lau Heung was obviously in love with Song Siu Ching, the girl who was basically her exact replica, despite looking and conducting herself in a more mature manner, and despite having a lower level of kungfu than herself. And the girl Siu Ching loved and adored Chor Lau Heung. Not that she agreed with everything he said; she was a smart, opinionated girl, and oftentimes she did argue with her Chor tai-gor. However, he was very patience and always won her back through gentle logical arguments or by showering her with attention. Once, two days after her "arrival", Wong Yung actually caught Siu Ching sulking in front of Chor Lau Heung. After some coaxing, the Princess admitted that she felt a bit jealous to have practically another version of herself in this world. Would Chor tai-gor love the new girl instead of her now? Listening to her fear, Chor Lau Heung flashed a sincere smile. He hugged this Siu Ching, telling her that although Wong Yung looked very much like her, he married Song Siu Ching not just because of her looks, but also her ability to listen, grow up and care for other people. And with so much that had happened between them, he'd not just cast those memories away just because a replica of Siu Ching suddenly appeared before them. To Wong Yung's utter disgust, they then kissed passionately, and only stopped when the guy called Wu Tit Fa announced his presence with a very loud cough.
Still, Wong Yung couldn't get it. Was it true that this Chor Lau Heung was real? That Siu Ching and others were real? That she was now in the Ming Dynasty? To prove her that they weren't telling lies, Master Sit and Chor Lau Heung brought her into the manor's library where many Ming Dynasty manuscripts were displayed. They also showed her some Yuan Dynasty poems, definitely dated post Genghis Khan's demise. The girls then took her to the city where she saw some signs of Ming Era, e.g. different coinage and notes. Yeung Hong wouldn't go that far to model a city after a hypothetical dynasty... Why would he do that?
Only one aspect of this Ming Era wasn't confusing or becoming a displease for Wong Yung. Just yesterday she met an old man who looked exactly like Old Imp Chow Pak Tung. This old man Sit Siu Yan was the deranged little brother of Sit Yi Yan. Siu Yan's madness was not dangerous. Rather, Wong Yung felt like facing an even more childish version of Chow Pak Tung. In fact, Sit Siu Yan was the only person Wong Yung let in, perhaps because of his similarity with Chow Pak Tung. She even started to call him "Old Imp", a moniker that Siu Yan actually liked.
Three days after her "arrival", Chor Lau Heung et al. concluded that Wong Yung wasn't playing a prank with them. Wong Yung herself started to believe that she somehow indeed had landed in the wrong era in the future. That thought scared her so much that Chor Lau Heung sensed that and moved into action. He and Master Sit practically buried themselves inside some books in the library for the whole day. He sent Wu Tit Fa to Shaolin (she recognised that place!), Quanzhen Sect (she was delighted to know that Quanzhen still existed) and a place called "Wutang" (she only knew that Mt. Wutang existed, but why going there?). And now, today he went out with Siu Ching and wouldn't return before dinner. Wong Yung disliked being left in the dark. She decided to interrogate Chor on his plans. She started to believe that this Chor person was a good person; yet she still wanted to be in charge of her fate.
Yet, when Chor Lau Heung and Song Siu Ching returned just before dinner, it was Lau Heung who asked if she could discuss something with them without waiting for dinner. Perplexed by his urgent tone, Wong Yung followed him into the library, when he laid out a parchment containing a weird table. Sit Siu Yan followed suit, carrying two rabbits he'd been meaning to show Wong Yung.
"Miss Wong," Chor started without beating around the bush after coaxing Sit Siu Yan to play with his pets outside the library, "we went out today to see the Palace astronomer. He gave us this table, containing some events happening on Earth and in Heaven recently. And what I mean by Heaven is the sky above us, not the Heaven where our ancestors live. Are you following?"
"Don't insult my intelligence!" Wong Yung snapped. "My father taught me how to read stars since when I was a kid!"
"Good," Lau Heung wasn't even offended. "Then you can perhaps tell me, what was the sun like the morning before your fight with Yeung Hong?"
Wong Yung blinked. She was about to retort that she was too busy to pay attention to the sky when she suddenly realised that she did look up to the sky. Ching gor-gor had commented that the sun was very strong that day, and she looked upwards to see the sun being very bright.
"It was... very bright," she said tentatively. "So bright that we had to rest under a big tree by a river."
"Did you try to look at the sun somehow, via a water body perhaps?" Siu Ching asked, rather urgently.
Wong Yung turned towards her practical twin. She frowned, trying to remember. "I did," she eventually said. "I saw the Sun’s reflection on the river. And I remembered... It seemed that the Sun had a weird dragon tail. A long outburst of a weird golden dragon's tail." She said those words almost to herself, but then she was surprised to see a knowing look on Chor Lau Heung and Miss Song. "What happened?"
"You might have seen a pao-chi, or a sun flare, Miss Wong," explained Chor Lau Heung. "Sometimes the Sun expelled some golden tails that looked like a dragon's tail. The palace astronomer believed it was a natural phenomenon on the Sun, but he hasn't been able to explain why. Our astronomers have been observing and taking notes of those, as you put it, golden dragon tails for hundreds of years. The last bit was..." Lau Heung pointed to a date on the parchment. " – the date when you suddenly appeared in the secret weaponry room."
Wong Yung shook her head, causing her voluminous hair to bob with it. "Still, it can be just a coincidence."
"Try this then," Lau Heung opened up the second parchment. "These are the dates of the sun dragon tails during the late Song Dynasty. Around the same time the Jurchens clashed with Genghis Khan." He turned the parchment to face Wong Yung. "Can you recognise any dates?"
Wong Yung's fore finger traced the dates for several minutes before she went pale-faced. Her finger stopped at a particular date: the day the last fight she had with Yeung Hong. The day she crashed into the magic mirror and emerged in this era. Chor Lau Heung didn't need to look to realise that his hunch might be correct. The solar flares might be related to Wong Yung's mysterious appearance.
"Impossible..." Wong Yung staggered back. "How can that be...?"
"But this is the only lead we have so far, Miss Wong," Siu Ching argued. "And there's one more." She nodded to Chor, who nodded back and resumed, "The sun dragon tail has been known to disturb the north-south directions of our South-pointer and cause strange green light in the north, way in the snowy areas beyond Mongolia. If combined with some other factors, like a magic mirror perhaps -" he glanced at the famous Han Dynasty mirror that was now installed in the library so they could better examine it, "then perhaps a distortion of time could be created."
"That's a mad man's theory!" Wong Yung snapped.
"Then I challenge you to come up with a better explanation," Lau Heung calmly responded. "If you can't find any, we better try this one first before calling me mad." Since the Song Dynasty girl couldn't find a better riposte, he continued. "The next day this event, this sun dragon tail, happens again will be about six weeks from now. If my hunch is correct, if we can collect as many factors that are related to your coming here before this next sun dragon tail, we might be able to return you to your era."
Returning back to her era. To her Ching gor-gor. Away from this weird and kind Yeung Hong lookalike. After battling her doubts, Wong Yung eventually nodded. "Let's try then. What should I do?"
"You don't need to do anything. Instead, I will need the help of my friends." Chor Lau Heung then turned to address his friends who had gathered around the table. He assigned So Yung Yung, Sung Tim Yi, Li Hung Chao and Wah Jan Jan to depart to Tibet. Four horses would be provided from the Palace for their travel tomorrow. Dr Cheong would depart with them and made his own way to return to his clinic. As Lingering Fragrance was about to give more instruction, Wu Tit Fa arrived, looking so tired.
"They don't have it at Wutang, Quanzhen and Shaolin," he said cryptically to Lau Heung, who then nodded seriously. "Tibet it is then," Lau Heung whispered to himself.
"Why Tibet?" Wong Yung couldn't contain her curiosity. "Why do the girls have to go to Tibet?"
Lau Heung studied her intently before replying. "I suspect another main factor of your coming here, other than the sun dragon tail and the magic mirror, was you being hit by an energy vortex. And not just any energy vortex; an energy vortex produced by a Tibetan Lama."
"Lama Ling Zhi..." Wong Yung whispered.
Lau Heung nodded. "I'm not sure what kind of kungfu that priest used, but we can ask around in Tibet, and if we're lucky, we can have one Lama coming here. Yung Yung - " he turned to address the wisest girl in the group. "In Tibet, go to Lhasa. Ask for Lobsang Ramten. He's a good friend of mine, and he'd certainly want to help."
So Yung Yung nodded. They then continued their discussions over dinner. It was the first time Wong Yung felt hungry and ate a lot. This Chor Lau Heung was indeed helping her to go home. She was going home!
Yet, the waiting part of going home could be very difficult. Wong Yung was worried that she'd be reduced to counting steps or doing nothing during the wait. Hence, when Chor Lau Heung started to involve her in their lives, she slowly welcomed it. First, they just talked about the situations surrounding the fight, particularly of Lama Ling Zhi. Chor Lau Heung asked about his fighting styles, what strikes he used, any signature moves, any signs that he'd use the signature moves. Wong Yung frowned as she thought about the last question.
"I don't remember him using this strike that often," she later admitted. "In fact, I hadn't seen him for a good few months before I met him again that day. Do you think he actually went away to learn about a new fighting style?" Receiving a "perhaps" shrug from Lingering Fragrance, she continued. "I do remember one thing though. He tried hitting Ching gor-gor with that new strike just moments before he hit me. Ching gor-gor dodged the strike, but I heard a weird humming coming from Ling Zhi's palm."
"A hum?" Siu Ching asked, folding her arms in front of her chest as her head tilted in wonder. "Never heard of a strike producing a hum before."
"I know, right?" Wong Yung got excited.
"Ah yes, Chor tai-gor," Siu Ching suddenly remembered, "didn't you say that you first heard a hum from the mirror before Wong Yung appeared here?" Lau Heung nodded absentmindedly but he didn’t say anything.
Wong Yung tilted head, remembering another thing, "I thought it was the sound of a gong that I heard from the Palm strike, but there was no gong in that room."
"A gong..." Chor Lau Heung rose from his chair. He took his snuff bottle out and snuffed the vapour. Then he massaged his nose bridge as he looked towards the afternoon sky (Wong Yung had identified these nose-related gestures as a signature movement of Chor Lau Heung). Then he turned swiftly to face the girls and exclaimed, "Tim Yi should've been here!"
He then left the room and came back a while later with Wu Tit Fa who was ready for travel. Replying to Siu Ching's perplexed questions, he said that Wu Tit Fa was leaving for some monasteries to collect something called "singing bowls". Chor Lau Heung then asked if Wong Yung was willing to explore the closer monasteries with him and Siu Ching.
"The humming of the palm strike might be another factor we need to have," he explained later as the three of them went out to the nearest temple. Upon arrival at the temple, he made up a story about Wong Yung ("my wife's twin sister") wanting to recall her childhood where she grew up nearby a temple, so "is that okay for venerated priests to ring the gong, for memory's sake?".
They stayed at the temple for a good half hour, listening to various gongs inside the temple. They then proceeded with other local temples for the next few days (Sit Siu Yan tried to tail them around, but he gave up after two temple visits). When they finally wrapped up their temple visit with ringing ears, Wong Yung reported that none of the gongs sounded like the humming of Ling Zhi's palm strike.
That was the investigative part that Chor Lau Heung let Wong Yung in. He also involved Wong Yung into their mundane daily life. He'd ask about Wong Yung's life: her love life with Kwok Ching, how they first met, what was the Peach Blossom Island like?
Since Chor Lau Heung liked playing chess, he'd alternate between playing against Siu Ching and Wong Yung. The latter played better than the former, but Wong Yung was also quick to throw tantrums when she lost. Finally deciding to combine forces, the two girls eventually played two against one with Chor Lau Heung. They beat him alright, but not without Lau Heung chasing Siu Ching around the pavilion for trying to cheat, and then tickling her until she begged for mercy in laughter. Wong Yung just sat there smiling, wondering how come someone who looked like Yeung Hong could have such an interesting, compassionate character. She realised that Chor Lau Heung wanted to help her returning to her own era because he was a kind and emphatic person. Lingering Fragrance realised that Wong Yung would be much happier surrounded by her intended Kwok Ching and her old friends, despite the Song's gloomy future against the Jins and the Mongols (Wong Yung was heart-broken to learn that the Songs would eventually be defeated, despite all their efforts to expel the Mongols). Thus, despite her initial reluctance, Wong Yung slowly found herself getting comfortable around Chor Lau Heung. Her hostile attitude towards him was slowly replaced with camaraderie between them.
Wong Yung also bonded with Siu Ching in a weird way. Almost like having a long-lost twin, as Siu Ching called it. After overcoming their initial reluctance, both girls then told each other their childhood and teenage stories. The fact that they were both motherless and were raised in practical isolation bonded them further. Later, Wong Yung asked Siu Ching why she loved Chor Lau Heung. Listening to her honest narratives of Chor's myriad golden qualities, Wong Yung then asked if there's anything about Chor that Siu Ching disliked.
"Perhaps it was his indecision," said Siu Ching after some thoughts. "It took him a good while to decide that we could be together, after I promised him that I'd leave my status behind."
"So he is really against Royal status?" Wong Yung was perplexed.
"One thing Chor tai-gor finds very cumbersome is the palace decorum and bureaucracy," said Siu Ching. After studying Wong Yung's expressions, she added, "Look, I know you despise Yeung Hong a lot. But Chor tai-gor is definitely not that person. He actually left me in the Palace once because I couldn't make myself leave the Palace with him. He is so immune to power and wealth."
Wong Yung looked at her practical twin for a while. "Perhaps I'm too deep in my hatred towards Yeung Hong." She sighed. "It's a pity, actually. He's Kwok Ching's sworn brother, which made him effectively my brother in-law, of sort. Had he been half your Chor tai-gor, we would've been friends."
Siu Ching nodded in empathy. "Is there no way for you two to be friends?"
"Only if he leaves the Jurchens and helps us the Songs. Sadly, it will never happen. Yeung Hong thinks the Songs are too corrupt to rescue, hence might as well just have the Jurchens ruling the country for a better government."
Siu Ching had learned enough history at the Palace to know that the late Song rulers were too incompetent to even manage a chicken farm. She nodded sadly. "What do you think about that opinion of his?"
"I don't like that opinion," Wong Yung turned to study the Ming Princess with a sombre expression. "Yet at times I do wonder if the Songs are beyond rescue. Thus, I do see a little grain of truth in his twisted argument. "
"A little grain of truth," Siu Ching's right thumb and index fingers formed a minuscule invisible capsule in front of Wong Yung's serious face in an attempt to make a joke. Siu Ching had grown to like this ample-haired Song Dynasty girl like her own sister, such that she disliked to see her looking dejected. Given the task the girl had (i.e., aiding an incompetent Song government), it would be a miracle if the grown up Wong Yung would still be able to maintain this cheerfulness.
On her part, Wong Yung appreciated this attempt to cheer her up. She grinned and made the same gesture with her fingers. "Yes, a little, tiny grain of truth."
Wu Tit Fa came back two weeks later with a big bundle containing several singing bowls. He handed over one bowl to Chor Lau Heung, claiming he couldn't get the hang of it. Smiling, Chor Lau Heung touched the bronze bowl with the accompanying stick. A strange low hum was heard emanating from the bowl as he circled the bowl outer wall with the stick. Wong Yung craned her neck and closed her eyes, absorbing the tones. "It's very similar," she said later with a smile.
Chor Lau Heung smiled back and took the bowl collection into the library where the magic mirror was. As of late, they had been examining the Han Dynasty mirror and concluded that it looked very much like common bronze mirrors many rich households had. Yet there was a touch of gold on its sheen. Some crystals also dotted the frames. Chor Lau Heung had deducted that the combination of the gold, the crystals and the usual physical properties of the bronze mirror might have aided in the opening of the "time gate", as he called it. Therefore, they didn't dare to change the composition of the crystals. They even forbid Sit Siu Yan to enter the library for he might unintentionally play with the mirror.
Inside the library, Chor Lau Heung rang the bowls one by one in front of the mirror. Nothing happened. He frowned as he looked at the surroundings. Then, with the permission of Master Sit, he moved the mirror back into the secret weaponry room. There, he repeated his experiments. To the amazement of everyone else around him, the mirror rippled slightly.
"It works!" Wong Yung ran towards the mirror, touching it in a venerated way. "It rippled just now. I can go home!"
"Not yet Miss Wong," Chor Lau Heung also touched the mirror. "It just rippled, but it didn't liquidise the mirror. I think we found the correct tune, but we still needed the energy from the Lama strike. And apparently the acoustics of one room also determine the result. The walls inside this basement basically echoed the bowl vibrations, which then caused it to ripple."
"So now we wait?" Wong Yung couldn't hide her disappointment.
"We wait. But we can also practice ringing the bowls together. I suspect we do need more than one bowl to produce a significant ripple."
And that was what they did as they waited for a few more weeks: changing the weaponry room into practically a Tibetan singing bowl room. That day, Sit Yi Yan rolled his eyes as he migrated his weapon collections elsewhere for he didn't want to risk his weapons being transported back into the Song Era by mistake. Yet, he wasn't truly complaining. He and Chor Lau Heung had read enough since the last few weeks to realise Wong Yung's importance in the Song struggle against the Mongols and the Jurchens. He knew the girl had to return to her own era to secure the future, which was his current present.
Several weeks passed before So Yung Yung and her sisters returned to the Sword Villa. During that time, Wong Yung and Siu Ching got the hang of ringing the singing bowls (Wu Tit Fa gave up on that already). During their practices, they'd see the mirror rippling. One day, they even made a loud enough vibration, such that the mirror rippled and liquidised for a few seconds. The girls stopped at that, for fear that both of them might be sucked into a totally unrecognisable era. Wong Yung even took a few steps back and whispered that she was actually afraid to go through the mirror again, for who knows which era she'd be returning to?
That was when Chor Lau Heung had a heart-to-heart talk with her. He had learnt enough from history to know that Wong Yung and Kwok Ching were very crucial in rescuing Xiangyang from a Mongol attack. Despite the inevitable fall of the Song Dynasty later, the pair still played a very important role in shaping up the Mongol resistance during the Yuan Dynasty, which later gave birth to the Ming Era. He wasn’t sure whether he should share this knowledge with her, but he did anyway a few days ago. The girl had actually gone silent for half a day because of this knowledge.
"I understand you're scared," Chor Lau Heung gently said, tentatively held Wong Yung's hand to support her. "I would too, given the uncertainty. If your role isn't that important, we'd welcome you to stay here with us." He glanced at Siu Ching who nodded solemnly. "You're like a sister to us now; such that Siu Ching and I would like you to stay with us."
Despite all her previous hostility towards him, this Chor Lau Heung still cared for her. He even invited her to stay with them. Wong Yung wasn't sure what to make of it. She only knew that a moment later, she looked up and, with tears welling, she found herself saying, "Chor tai-gor... I -"
Chor Lau Heung said a ‘hmmmm?’ in a very brotherly way. He didn't even register that it was the first time the willful girl called him ‘Chor tai-gor’.
"I... Thank you." She swallowed. "For being very kind to me."
Lingering Fragrance smiled and patted Wong Yung's hand. "It's us who should thank you, Wong Yung." That was the first time he didn't address her as ‘Miss Wong’. "You helped shaping our future, courageously I should say."
Three days before the next solar flare, So Yung Yung et al returned with an elderly Tibetan Lama and three of his assistants. The Lama had a stocky built and a jovial face. His bald head and clean chin made his age rather difficult to guess, but he was actually almost 70 years old. Lobsang Ramten flashed a very wide smile when he saw Chor Lau Heung entering the welcome hall with the others. After exchanging some genuine pleasantries, Chor Lau Heung asked whether the journey was smooth. Upon receiving a confirmation from Yung Yung, he introduced Lobsang Ramten to everyone. Lobsang Ramten introduced himself before openly looked at Wong Yung.
"Amazing..." He said later. "I have heard of astral body travel or even travel between time. We in Tibet have the habit of being visited by the astral bodies of old Lamas who usually visited us from the future or from another dimension. But never have I heard of a human body being transported across a few hundred years into the future."
"Well, now you have," said Wong Yung without meaning to be rude, though it could come across like that.
"Indeed," Lobsang Ramten didn't even take an offence. "You're very brave to try to return to your era, Miss Wong. Surely you know there's a risk that we couldn't return you to the right moment before your arrival here?"
Wong Yung felt her throat dry. She numbly nodded. Sensing the girl's fear, Lobsang Ramten patted her back, not unlike the way North Beggar Hung Tsat Kung patted her back. This simple gesture gave Wong Yung some comfort that she then smiled. Smiling back, Lobsang Ramten asked for the access to the mirror. Upon arriving inside the weaponry room, he studied the mirror for a good few minutes with fascination. Chor Lau Heung told him that they'd tried ringing the singing bowls and the mirror rippled. Once, they also caused the mirror to liquidise. They stopped at that for fear of unknown ramifications. Lobsang Ramten nodded.
"You'd still need the palm strike though," he spoke later. "You need to transfer the energy to the body of the traveller such that she could travel across time. At least, that's what I've gathered from your sisters' stories."
"So you'll imitate that strike?" Wong Yung guessed.
"Pretty much, although perhaps not as exact. You see -" Lobsang Ramten further explained, "the technique that Lama Ling Zhi used was very ancient and almost forgotten. It was considered cruel, hence we were not encouraged to study it. I only knew how to do it after consulting some ancient documents. Five hundred years old of ancient manuscripts I should say. Therefore..." He reached for one singing bowl, "we need some of these, to amplify the strength of the strike I'm going to hit you with. We brought some bowls ourselves just in case."
"So..." Wong Yung tentatively asked, "I can go home soon?"
Lobsang Ramten smiled. "In three days, as the solar flares happen again. Meanwhile, we better check that all factors needed to return you to your time are already here. We have the mirror. Pao-chi or sun flare is coming up, if the prediction is right. We have the palm strike assisted with singing bowls. I'd say we're ready."
Chor Lau Heung looked at Wong Yung, who later smiled. He smiled back. "Let's do it."
Three days later, the morning sun was particularly strong. Sung Tim Yi saw the Sun’s reflection on a pond and declared that she could see vague dragon tails bursting from the sun. Chor Lau Heung check the Sun’s reflection as well and nodded. They waited for a few hours until before lunch time to send Wong Yung home. They purposely tried to get as close as possible to the hour of Wong Yung's arrival, for it was apparently the approximate hour she disappeared from the Song Dynasty as well. When the time came, the ample-haired girl said goodbye or hugged almost everyone, including Sit Siu Yan who was confused because she kept crying. Wong Yung didn't hug Chor Lau Heung and Song Siu Ching yet, though. She saved the best for last. As the four girls rang the singing bowls and Lobsang Ramten and his assistants chanted some Tibetan chants, Wong Yung slowly approached the King of Thieves and the Princess, who looked dead serious compared to their usual jovial attitudes.
"Chor tai-gor, thank you for your help, and also your presence."
"You mean 'patience'," commented Siu Ching tongue-in-cheek, yet with a smile.
Wong Yung grinned. "That too. But I do mean 'presence' as well, for you have made me believe that two people can be so different despite them being physical carbon copies to each other. And that this other person can be as kind as you are."
Chor Lau Heung smiled as he realised that they had come a long way since Wong Yung called him ‘Yeung Hong’ with hatred. "My gratitude to you too, Yung-yi, and to Kwok-heng. We know you're going to be very important in the Song struggle, hence you do need to return." She nodded; trying not to think about the Xiangyang struggle she and Kwok Ching would assist. Chor Lau Heung resumed tentatively, "I'm not sure if you will remember all these when you return; my guess is you will forget so that history doesn’t change. But I still hope that you will give the benefits of doubts for repenting people. If Yeung Hong doesn't repent, he doesn't deserve your trust. But if he does, please give him the nth chance."
"I will. If he repents, I promise to be more lenient towards him." Then suddenly, with misty eyes she hugged Chor Lau Heung. "Chor tai-gor... thank you..."
Chor Lau Heung nodded as he returned her embrace and caressed Wong Yung's hair. Both of them said nothing as they soaked on the friendship they had created. Then Wong Yung wiped her tears and hugged Siu Ching too, whispering to take care of Chor tai-gor, for it is a fortune to have such a good man as a confidant. Then she gasped.
"Oh! I forgot, I'm wearing your clothes!" Both girls looked at the pink scallop-hemmed tunic that Wong Yung wore. It was actually Siu Ching's; she gave the tunic to Wong Yung a few days ago because the latter had to have her clothes washed. Siu Ching smiled. "Keep it, for keepsake." They grinned and hugged again.
"Thank you again, Yung-yi, for everything you've done and will be doing for us," Chor Lau Heung solemnly said. Wong Yung nodded with tears once more streaming down her cheeks. She positioned herself right in front of the mirror. Siu Ching glanced at the mirror; it was massively rippling as the girls rung the singing bowls. She smiled to her practical twin and received the same smile in return. Lobsang Ramten made some moves and hit Wong Yung. The girl slammed to the mirror and, as expected, instead of bounced back in pain, she felt her body being sucked into a tofu-like material. She saw Chor Lau Heung looking at her with an utmost concern. She smiled to her new friend as she closed her eyes and let the vortex claimed her.
Wong Yung screamed as she felt like being kicked out of the mirror. She almost clashed with Kwok Ching, who almost had a heart attack to see her emerging out of the mirror in such a fashion. Ignoring the merry exclamation from North Beggar and Old Imp that Wong Yung was back, he helped her stand and handed her the Kaypang Jade Staff. He was about to interrogate her when the mirror behind them cracked and fell into pieces. Kwok Ching gasped and dragged Wong Yung away from the crumbling mirror.
"Yung-yi, where have you been?? I was worried sick about you!"
Wong Yung blinked, trying to assess her situation. She felt like just emerging from a dream where she met a very kind Yeung Hong. There was a girl who looked like her standing next to Yeung Hong, but she was certain it wasn't her, for she actually conversed with them. In a friendly manner.
"I..." She struggled to say something. "I had a weird dream..."
"Dream?!" Kwok Ching exclaimed incredulously. "More like you were gone for a few minutes! We managed to fight them off and lock the room, just so we could look around for you just now."
"Who are they?" She asked, still in daze. "The ones you fought off?"
"Who?" Kwok Ching got more worried. "Yeung Hong and his minions, of course!"
"Yeung Hong..." Wong Yung whispered. "Right...sometimes he isn't that bad..."
"Wong Yung, are you alright?" Kwok Ching checked her temperature. Normal, but the girl was the mortal enemy of Yeung Hong, hence what she said just now was totally out of character. "Where did you go, actually? How come the mirror shattered?! And what's with the new clothes?"
Wong Yung looked at her own clothes and frowned. She wore a totally different clothing from what she wore a few minutes ago before slamming into the mirror. She looked at the pink scallop-hemmed tunic she wore, trying to remember where she saw it the last time. She shook her head in desperation. "I don't remember..."
“Hey, you two!” North Beggar Hung Tsat Kung suddenly intervened. “Can we talk about fashion later? Yeung Hong’s minions almost break the door here!”
Kwok Ching and Wong Yung looked at the strong wooden door. A crack in the middle of the door told them that Yeung Hong would attack again very shortly. Wong Yung smirked.
“Let them come,” she said as she readied her Jade Staff. Kwok Ching lifted his sword in an attacking stance. Then he whispered.
“When you said that Yeung Hong is sometimes not that bad, what do you mean by that?”
“Oh?” Wong Yung glanced at him in confusion. “Did I say that? I don’t know. I must be delusional. Perhaps I wish that there’s someone out there that looks like him, but noble and kind. Or perhaps sometimes I wish he was half as worthy as you are, just so that we three can be friends.”
“Can we?” Kwok Ching wondered as he watched as the door almost breaking in two.
“Perhaps in another life, when he is a noble swordsman instead of an evil coward and a liar. There’s always that possibility, no matter how dim it is.” Wong Yung lifted her Jade Staff. “Doesn’t matter now, they’re coming.”
When the door broke and Yeung Hong showed his handsome but evil head, the girl from the Peach Blossom Island screamed her battle cry.
Inside the Sword Villa weaponry room, the Han Dynasty mirror cracked and crumbled in front of everyone. Chor Lau Heung exchanged look with everyone, who seemed to have the same thought as his.
"Wong Yung has arrived safely, it seems," he said slowly. "Thank Heaven for that."
It broke my heart to see how evil Yeung Hong (Yang Kang) was. Yet it also broke my heart to see how much he and Mok Nim Chi (Mu Nianci) loved each other. It saddens me that he and Wong Yung were not at least friends, but I understand that Yeung Hong’s character only can be tamed by Mok Nim Chi. I also understand that Wong Yung is very compatible with Kwok Ching (Guo Jing). However, I also believe that someone like Michael Miu’s Chor Lau Heung could actually tame Wong Yung, or at least be her best friend. When I discussed this idea with Tammy and Anon, we agreed that it would be fun to watch CLH/WY interactions. Yet, Anon said that WY might not want to have someone smarter than her to be her husband, and I understand her points too. Thus, I purposely chose friendship than amorous love between CLH and WY, for I think it’s more achievable for this type of interaction. Despite its weird premise, I hope you like it.
There’s also a problem with two different stories (Jin Yong’s and Gu Long’s) at two different eras (Song and Ming). Hence the solution to me is time travel, which wouldn’t affect the history at all, for in the end, Wong Yung forgot what she experienced in the Ming Dynasty.
I’ve never read/watched time travel between ancient dynasties where they practically had the same ancient technology, hence I just created a crazy guess here. I chose solar flares as a physical factor required to send Wong Yung into the future (Ming Dynasty). Solar flares are known to disturb the Earth’s geomagnetic field, yet some sci-fi (e.g., Stargate) postulated that solar flares could also facilitate time travel. Yeah, I know...the good thing about fan-fictions is that it doesn’t have to make sense, really. Plus, this is the first time I wrote about time travel, which in itself is more like fiction than science, really.
I didn’t know what the ancient Chinese astronomers call ‘solar flares’ in the past, so I just called them ‘sun dragon tail’. But this article (Wang and Siscoe 1980, page 191) indicated that ‘dragons’ might actually be attributed to solar flares [“Jin Fan also mentioned a way of aiding the eye to observe the ‘dragons’ beside the Sun...” and “diligent solar observers might have witnessed an occasional flare this way”]. Then I found the term ‘pao-chi’ from the same article, which might relate to solar prominence or solar flares. I used the term ‘pao-chi’ for the latter, but feel free to correct me.