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[x] Early Spring 190, Battle of Hu Lao Gate
Meiling slides the door open, and you're blasted by a cold wind. There's even a little bit of snow.
“Meiling!” you shout. “You didn't say anything about needing winter clothes!”
She turns to you and smiles. “It's bracing! Cold wind builds character.”
You step through the doorway, and behind you it closes shut. Except, instead of the small, sliding door closing shut, it's a loud whumpf as two extremely heavy, twenty-foot gate doors close behind you. “Where are we?” you ask Meiling.
“Just in front of Hu Lao Gate,” she replies. “Not the largest battle, or the most important, but it always seems to be fairly popular.” She scratches her head. “Never been entirely sure why, though...” She points off into the distance. Past the rows of infantry, past the hastily erected timber siegeworks, lay another gate- smaller, but no less imposing. “Over there is Sishui Gate. About ten li away.”
“Half a kilometer or so. We're looking at about three miles' separation.”
“Oh.” You think for a moment, something feels off. “Weren't Hu Lao and Sishui the same place?”
Meiling shrugs. “Yeah, but nobody told Luo Guanzhong that. I sure as shit wasn't going to help him with the editing after he badmouthed me. Anyway,” she continues, “the Coalition Forces are on the other side of Sishui. Probably fighting Li Jue or Guo Si right now, actually.”
“S-so what you're telling me is that Liu Bei, his brothers, and all the rest of them are on the other side of that gate over there?”
“And very likely going to be trying to kill us, yes.” She smiles at the prospect. “I'm starting to get excited!”
You, however, are getting nothing of the sort. Sure, you're functionally immortal, but dying still hurts. And then, a pungent scent, one of onions and garlic, wafts over you. It's got to be horrifyingly strong if you can still smell it in this biting cold.
“Finally!” a deep voice booms, behind the two of you. Meiling sighs heavily, and turns around. “Where have you been, Lu Bu?”
You turn to face what may have been a man at one point. Now, he's a whale on two legs. “Zhuo. I went to go and get a look at the other side of Sishui,” Meiling lies smoothly.
“Just Zhuo?” He grins widely, lecherously. You can't help but cringe. “Aren't we getting familiar.” His beady eyes alight on you. “Who's she? A present for me, Lu Bu? It's not even my birthday. But you're too kind.” He holds out a hand to you. You instinctively recoil back away from it. He smiles even wider. “Oh, I like it when they struggle.”
“I don't think you want to do that,” Meiling says.
“Oh? And why's that?”
“Because that's Xi Wangmu.”
Dong Zhuo freezes in place for a moment, and his grin melts off his face so quickly, it's gratifying. He turns back to Meiling, and the smile creeps back onto his face. “You're having me on, Lu Bu. Xi Wangmu is an immortal goddess.” Oh. Oh God no. You can already see where this is going.
You're going to put a very pre-emptive stop to that. “Meiling, I swear to God, if you're thinking of doing what I think you're thinking of, don't. Just. Don't.” She doesn't look at you, but you can see her smile.
“Meiling?” Dong Zhuo asks.
“Just a style name,” she replies. “So, yeah, Xi Wangmu, immortal goddess and all that, don't fuck with, isn't for you.”
Dong Zhuo just folds his arms over his massive gut and frowns.
“Fine,” Meiling says, kicking the shaft of her halberd, moving it up into a fighting stance, “I'll prove it to you.”
You start to protest, raising your hands up to protect yourself. “Oh no you do-” you say, but you're abruptly cut off. Literally. At the neck. Well, you think, at least it was fast enough to not hurt. Your head hits the ground, and rolls around in the dirt and snow. Your body collapses, a massive spurt of blood spraying from the neck.
“What the hell, Lu Bu?!” Dong Zhuo shouts.
Meiling holds up one finger. “Wait for it.”
And then... your body reverses itself. It uncrumples, your head rolls back across the ground, and flies through the air, through a backwards blood spray, and after all of the blood flows back into your neck, your head seats itself back upon your now-standing body, and all of your hair re-attaches itself to roughly where it was, when Meiling's halberd cleaved you cleanly in twain.
You stomp your foot furiously and shout at Meiling. “God damn it, Meiling! Now I'm going to have split ends for weeks! You know that!”
While Meiling is uncontrollably laughing at your verbal assault, leaning on the shaft of her halberd for support, Dong Zhuo is just looking at you, slack-jawed.
Your berating of Meiling just makes her laugh even harder, and sometime during that, Dong Zhuo left the two of you alone, nowhere to be seen.
Meiling wipes the tears from her eyes, and is still clutching her midsection with her other hand, from laughing so hard. “At... at least Dong Zhuo... is gone,” she manages to gasp out. He's... well. You kind of wish you'd had a better first impression to the 'heroes of the Three Kingdoms'. Though, calling Dong Zhuo a hero is a bit of a stretch.
Speaking of stretching, Meiling yawns and stretches, raising her halberd above her head. “So. Whatcha wanna do, Kaguya?”
[ ] We could go find Diaochan.
[ ] Roll on up to Sishui Gate and get the party started early.
[ ] Stay here and wait for them to come to us. The story's already written, so why deviate?
[ ] Write-in.