The Ninth Dragon 2
California, end of fall season 2008 AD.
Finding out about Grandpa’s death was not the worse part, but the circumstances were just so dark and sinister. He was a man who more than anyone deserved a quiet, gentle passing. Never in a million years would I guess he would be victimized in arson. The firefighters could successfully rescue him from the burning house, but unfortunately he didn’t resist to the intoxication. The house was destroyed, most of his personal belongings and books were consumed by the flames.
My grandfather was a doctor, a Professor, a loving husband and father, he did not deserve such a horrible death, to make things even worse, after months of investigation the police had no clue about the arsonist, there was nothing left for they to investigate and my grandpa had no enemies, it was just a mystery that consumed my heart and soul.
Grandpa always felt very strongly that he should be cremated, and albeit the morbid consequences, my family decided that we should follow his will, but I guess it was too hard for me, especially because I was the one who should keep the urn with his ashes.
The remembrances of that weird afternoon where Grandpa showed up haunted me. I felt he really had more to say than he actually did, mostly because I was being too selfish to notice that he needed me more than ever, and I failed him.
Fortunately, Jack was there for me, he tried to encourage me to get out of the bed and go train, study hard to keep my grades high. At first, I just didn’t care for anything I’d waste my days drinking and ditching my earned conquests down the drain.
Until the day Jack came home and found me lying in the couch, with a five day beard, stinking like a street dog, looking at some stupid daytime TV show. My shorter friend just shut it down and grabbed me by the collar.
“Listen up, Shan…you are NOT wasting your life, your grandfather would never allow you to do so! You don’t show up in classes, got kicked of the swimming team, your parents are freaking out because you simply shoved them out of your life, the finals are not far away man, I am not letting you fail on yourself!” Jack shook me, it was a bit funny because I'm so much taller and heavier, but the little man had the strength of determination on his side.”
“Fuck you!” Not even the horrible smell of my breath seemed to bother Jack. I just pushed him and stood up grabbing my car keys. “You have no right to tell me what to do!”
But before I could slam the door, I felt his hands grabbing my long arm. Jack was serious when he reached for my face, caressing my cheekbones.
“Shan, you’ve lost your grandfather, I know how it feels. Most of my life I’ve been a loner, even with two brothers and a big family. Then, when I lost my parents last year, I was so close of drop everything, I had no hope in myself, and you were the one who supported me, I can’t let you do the same to you…” Jack said as he held my hands.
“I…feel so angry! My grandpa deserved better! He was my hero, Jack!” I’ve finally let go the weight inside my heart, started sobbing like a boy, hugging my smaller friend so tight, I allowed my eyes to cry the tears for my grandpa, but most especially I told my best friend the real reason for my angst – I honestly blamed myself for my grandpa’s death, if I had been more patient and careful about his feelings, maybe he could tell me what really afflicted him to come all the way to talk about death, last will and all the rest, including the weird events that took place in the same night of his assassination.
Jack listened to everything very calmly, and then he hugged me once more.
“You know better than anyone your grandfather loved you too much to have you suffering for something that isn’t even true.”
“And what about those attacks? Isn’t it too much of a coincidence? Maybe I should tell this to the police!”
“We could do this, but frankly…your grandpa lives very far from here. Maybe it was just a horrible coincidence. The most important is you to understand that the Professor didn’t come here to tell you he felt his life was being threatened. He was an aged man, Shan, on top of being an experienced doctor, perhaps he felt his time was coming, but it has nothing to do with that horrible felony. You have to move on with your life!” Jack said as caressed my bearded face.
I sighed, feeling indeed relieved. “Thanks man, sorry for being such a dick on you. You know I love you, bro…right?” I said hugging his smaller frame.
“I love you too…bro” Jack replied as he hugged me back, and we both knew we meant more than we just said, but the timing was awful, I had to get my life back on track, and I knew Jack felt the same way.
Xianyang – Capital of the Qin Empire, 209 BC.
The Empire was falling apart. Despite the conspiracy to make Huhai into Qin Er Shi, the ascension of the Second Emperor didn’t have the effects wished by Li Si and his accomplice General Zhang Gao. After decades of tyranny, the death of the feared Shin Huangdi triggered a series of civil revolts, unrest and rebellion ceased the new Emperor’s weakness to spread chaos among the reigns.
The not so feared Er Shi was hiding in the most protected rooms of the castle, where Li Si planned along his loyal generals how to suffocate the rebellion riots over the surrounding cities, when the eunuch announced that someone wanted an audience with the Emperor.
“The Emperor sees no one! Now get out of here before I order you to be killed!” The royal advisor exploded as he threw his cup at the servant.
“Your honor…it’s…it’s very important…That man claims to be Xu Fu!” The eunuch wined as he kept facing the ground.
Li Si and Gao exchanged looks. “This can only be a trick! No one sent has ever returned, and now just when the Emperor is dead…” The general pondered.
“The Emperor is ALIVE!” The young man said as he stood up. “Bring this man to my presence.”
Li Si sighed “Ruler-of-the-Stars-in-the-Sky, please consider that your deceased father was very sick when he sent those hundreds of people to search for the Mount Penglai in Zihfu Islands, which no one had ever seen before. He is obviously an enemy of the Empire!”
Huhai was indeed a very curious man “That’s why I have my soldiers with me; they have to protect their god. Now bring this man at once!” The new Emperor’s voice was high and pitchy, still it carried the desires of their supreme ruler, so the guards got prepared as the one who claimed to be Xu Fu was escorted inside, while the Second Emperor was strategically hidden into a private chamber until he was sure about his own safety.
The First Emperor sentenced a meek medicine man named Xu Fu into exile since he could only come back once he located a powerful secret that only existed in his sick delusions of grandeur, however, someone now who now returned years later claiming to be the one Huangdi sent into Zihfu Islands.
And Li Si has his own reasons to be more than suspicious, after all he was the one who ordered years ago that his navy forces should kill anyone who ever claimed to be coming back from Mount Penglai, but if that man now wanted an audience with the emperor it certainly meant his guards failed.
The man in question was not really big, but his face carried the wisdom of an educated one, Xu Fu was a prestigious medicine man, who many actually believed to have the gift of healing, but if that was true then he certainly did not use it on himself, because his thin frail body was very pale.
“Royal Counselor Li Si, I have returned from the task our ruler has given me, it took me several years but I have found Mount Penglai and the place where the Eight Immortals inhabit.” The man spoke firmly and respectfully, although his stance was not glad at all.
“It…it can’t be possible, not after all these years!” Li Si whispered, noticing the commotion the mere presence of such unusual visitor provoked on his personal guard.
The one who claimed to be Xu Fu just nodded his head in agreement.
“Yes, your honor, I know it is hard to believe after so many years, and my quest was indeed not a possible one, I was sentenced to look for the Sorcerer Anqi Sheng and the Home of the Dragons, but I could as well spend the rest of my lifetime looking and I would never find it.” His voice was soothing and yet very powerful, which contrasted with such small sized figure, but even Li Si could feel that man possessed something that made him look powerful, and that thing was knowledge.
“So how come you affirm to have accomplished such impossible mission?” Li Si spoke like he was indeed the one authority to be respected in the room
The stranger remained calm, despite the fact everyone doubted of him. “It was the Sorcerer Anqi Sheng the one who came to me to reveal me that The Eight Dragons decided to let me find their celestial home, because they had a mission of their own for me to accomplish!”
“So you leave with a mission and return because of another? This seems very unusual, to me, but I’ll momentarily consider it true for the sake of the argument. So, if you claim to be here in the name of The Eight Dragons what is that mission they gave you, after all?” Li Si asked very carefully, knowing his guards were ready to strike at any sign of violence.
Xu Fu took a deep breath, and then from the interior of his silky vests, he retrieved a hexagonal box made out green jade.
“The Dragons have heard Huangdi’s plead, and I have brought their answer for them.”
Everybody in the room suddenly could only wonder about the contents of that tiny jade box that Xu Fu so respectfully carried.
“The answer for The First Emperor’s plead? Are you telling me that Anqi Sheng gave you the Elixir?” Li Si repeated, his dark mind already considered that tiny box to contain the ancient immortality formula in which Huangdi so strongly believed, and now, although for a different reason, the Royal Advisor started to believe on the legend as well.
“Huangdi begged for the Eight to help him on keeping the Kingdoms united, and they will comply with such request, but it couldn’t be done until the First Emperor was dead.” The emissary declared coldly.
“What kind of blasphemy is this? Conspiring against Huangdi’s memory is a felony!” Li Si yelled, but his tone didn’t seem to scare the enormous Xu Fu.
“Shin Huangdi was once a man of great potential and a determined leader, who brought together everything above the Earth and Underneath the Skies, but his greed took the best of him, he disrespected tradition and killed the wisdom carriers in a cruel manner. In the end, his own mind made him sick and desperate for a power which was not his to claim, and therefore his ruling was sentenced to ruin just like it was written in the Prophecy from the Skies.” Xu Fu’s voice assumed a different tone; which was like he spoke with the voice of the Mountains and the Power of the Storm.
“How dare you?” Li Si thought, but he didn’t have the courage to voice it out to that simple little man who spoke so courageously, so Xu Fu continued.
“The people need a new ruler, and the Dynasty shall keep them united even after such dark periods of fear and anger; the havoc triggered by Huangdi’s life sins. The Lands are devastated by riots and treason; this is a far too dangerous time for any normal man to become Emperor, so the Eight have sent me back to Er Shi with the gifts to make him strong enough to endure the journey back to Mount Penglai, where they will make the Ninth Dragon out of him.”
“Then, you shall fulfill your destiny, Xu Fu! Give me the POWER and I’ll go there to meet my brothers!” Although General Zhen Gao was right at the side of Huhai, he was too slow to stop the frail bodied Emperor who simply slipped through the guards, so fascinated he was by the amazing stories told by the enormous man who wanted to make a Dragon of him.
The guards promptly surrounded the feeble minded Emperor, but it was Xu Fu the one who seemed more shocked with the revelation of the new Emperor’s identity.
“You are not Qin Er Shi!” The man’s voice was powerful like the thunder, and Huhai immediately felt scared like the coward he had always been.
“H-how dare you? I am the Ruler of the Skies!” The forged Emperor said as hide behind his guards.
“What happened to your brother? Tell me now where he is!” Xu Fu demanded to know, his looks got very serious.
“Crown Prince Fu Su is dead; he followed the will of his father and killed himself. He was a traitor of the Empire and not worthy of becoming Er Shi!”
Li Si spoke coldly as usual, whatever happened to that strange man in the Islands, it was indeed powerful and very, very dangerous to their plans, but at the same time, Xu Fu could be carrying the answer for all their troubles.
“You all reek, disgraced traitors!” Xu Fu’s eyes seemed to glow in red, and then his frail body started changing right in front of their eyes, the gentle silk fabric that hugged the small figure of Xu Fu suddenly looked much, much tighter as the muscles grew underneath them, the pressure of the growing body quickly ripped the black robes unleashing bulging growing mounds of muscles that grew constantly bigger and more powerful.
The Second Emperor, Zhao Gao and Li Si were stunned, right before them the meek Xu Fu changed very fast into the most powerful creature they have ever seen. The flaring look on Xu Fu’s eyes seemed to feed his amazing muscular growth, even his dark hair grew longer as his body changed within the seconds, unfolding into a fortress of powerful muscle.
The arms thickened and exploded with size while they simply shredded the sleeves on the robes, the shoulders augmented and widened, while the growing deltoids joined the fibers of the thickening neck to built a reinforced muscular structure that melted along the impossible thick shoulders to create powerful mounds of huge muscle that stood at least a whole foot higher than Xu Fu’s head.
The once weak flat chest grew massively powerful in just a few seconds, the manly hairy fortress of humongous powerful muscle, the two hemispheres of pectoral mighty jutted from the growing man’s physique and they flexed harder as Xu Fu seemed to be growing even faster now, his frame filled the entire room and his aura of strength just sent a direct message of fear into the hearts of the little witness.
Xu Fu’s legs also grew much thicker and longer, his silk slacks couldn’t contain the sinuous dance of the growing fibers fighting for more space into such expanding and yet very cramped space, the thighs augmented while the calves engorged within each moment the monumental being remained in the room. His transformation was so phenomenal it just dazzled all the onlookers, the thick layers of hard rugged veined muscles bulged underneath a flimsy layer of thin skin.
The once meek little man now gained an unearthed masculinity, his features changed to match the rest of his glorious growing figure, his jaw got much squarer and the lines readjusted to make him not just more handsome, but also much more intimidating.
Complementing the amazing growth on Xu Fu’s body the fury of his growing cock and balls also joined the glorious apotheosis of the medicine man who now claimed to be the ambassador of the Eight Dragons of Zihfu Islands. The monumental manhood grew thicker and longer, destroying the underwear fabric which could not hold such insanely power, the hairy balls also looked bigger and heavier by the second – the veined surface of the uncut head also increased the girth of the bestial form in which Zu Fu’s body had transformed
From the original 5’2” 110 pounds, Xu Fu boomed into an eight feet five, 2700 pounds of super massive muscular power, his shoulders standing at least 7 feet across and each of his humongous arms was much thicker than the biggest man’s chest. He had the long flowing dark hair so luscious and brilliant, his features now irradiated with the power he carried from the Eight Dragons
That powerful stranger was much taller than the tallest guard in the castle, and despite his fearsome presence, he had a noble portliness framed by long dark hair, his muscles bulged and flexed even thicker as the immense emissary finally assumed his glorious stance, towering over the scared audience, Xu Fu just picked the frail Er Shi decoy and shook him as gently as he could, but still provoking the little Huhai to cry like the mediocre coward he was.
“You, why have betrayed your own brother Fusu? Why did you follow the lousy promises of these rats?” the statement forced Huhai to realize just how deep his guilty was according to the humongous Xu Fu, and the coward emperor sang like a canary.
“P-please….have mercy! I didn’t do anything, it was Li Si, he forged the whole thing, he said I would be Emperor if I played along, I had nohing to do with it!” Huhai cried like a baby in the massive arms of the augmented Xu Fu, who just seemed nauseated with those revelations, he just dropped Huhai and turned towards Li Si and General Zao.
“Prince Fu Su was the rightful ruler, it was written in the Prophecy Anqi Sheng has sent, he was the thoughtful, righteous leader who would bring the Kingdoms united under a prosperity era that would last for ten thousand generations. This forged Emperor is just an impostor who sent the Kingdom into disgrace!”
Li Si realized that the massive man not only endangered his plans, he actually the very end of his life, but he couldn’t take his eyes out of the jade box which still remained in his huge hands.
The deceased Emperor’s description perfectly matched the object in the hands of the unearthed man named Xu Fu, and since all that madness was actually happening, the contents of that tiny box could change the course of events once and for all!
The power Xu Fu displayed could only be in the formula Shin Huangdi described, they would bring back the First Emperor in all his past glory and the Kingdoms would be forever united but not by Huangdi or any one of his cursed sons, with that power Li Si would become the Ultimate Emperor himself and start his own Ten Thousand Generation Ruling!
“Guards, kill the monster, kill him now!” Li Si shouted and the several soldiers immediately attacked Xu Fu, but it soon proved to be a wrong decision, because the enormous body of the messenger simply moved graciously like the Tiger, his powerful limbs easily blew the guards away, and even the few blades which managed to hit him, instantly shattered they merely touched the impervious muscles of the long haired man.
The giant man suddenly grabbed Li Si and General Zhang Gao by their throats, lifting them over the ground with the strength of a Dragon.
“You must pay for your crimes, I’ll make sure Anqi Sheng’s wrath fall over your miserable lives!” Xu Fu announced as he easily threw the men against the wall and broke out from the palace, disappearing in a fog of bluish smoke.
The guards searched the entire castle, but there was no sign of the humongous man who almost killed the Emperor and his main advisors, although they didn’t remain alive for much longer.
According to history, in 209, BC The Emperor, Li Si and Zhang Gao were killed during the uprising led by General Wu Gang.
Years later, Confucius’ teachings were once again permitted and the new scholars have compiled the book named “Ten Crimes of Qin” in which philosophers described the acts of heresy committed by the horrible tyrant who sentenced thinkers to be buried alive under the foundations of the great wall and burnt the precious books, preventing wisdom and knowledge to be passed forward to the younger generations.
In the end, the scholars concluded that the Qin Empire disintegrated because its leader failed to display humanity and righteousness or to realize there is a difference between the power to attack and the power to consolidate.
And no one has ever seen Xu Fu again.
California, the Summer of 2009, AD.
It was not easy to get my life back on track, but with the help of my friend and the Professors I was able to recover my grades and all my other academic achievements, I was even offered the position on the swimming team, but I thought I couldn’t fully dedicate until certain issues were properly dealt with, starting with my grandpa’s will, which took several months to be located, apparently he had kept it in another country for several years.
When the lawyer opened my grandpa’s will I was still very sad, although I had to admit that he was a man who literally saw ahead in time. He had made sure his daughters and granddaughters would live comfortably, then he left me an absurd amount of money that I would fully get when I turned 25.
I never thought Grandpa was rich, he certainly never paraded his wealth, not even my mom and my aunts knew he had so much money. He also left clear instructions that his body was to be cremated and the ashes given to me so I would fulfill his last will by myself, which was bringing his ashes back to his beloved motherland.
A few days later, however, grandpa’s lawyer contacted me once again to say that my grandpa still wanted me to receive one last document in private, so the lawyer gave me a bank key ant the account number where I would find retrieve it.
That was certainly a fancy place, I felt really weird to be surrounded by such heavily armed security just to open a metal box that only contained one envelope and an old sealed scroll tube.
In the envelope I could recognize the beautiful ideograms, one of my grandpa’s passions was the art of Chinese calligraphy, and he spent daily hours working with the brush and the ink to write the complex ideograms in the most delicate forms. Grandpa made sure I was taught several different dialects spoken in China; he also taught me how to write in proper and formal rules, to the point that reading that letter was a proof of his dedication to me.
I felt my heart filled with joy when I read the envelope’s content.
“My dear grandson
I write this letter in the day of our meeting, my heart still basking in the happiness of such blessed moment. I’ve had a long life, much longer than I really deserved and I have had a few glorious moments, but none of them compared to the joy of realizing that you’ve became such a decent, honorable young man, back from where I come from this is the greatest honor a man could be given.
The purpose of this last message is to give you the instructions you will need to follow strictly.
The urn with my ashes must be retrieved to the one known as Anqi Sheng at an exact location in China: Mount Penglai in the Zihfu Islands. There’s a nice amount of money I’ve especially assigned for your travel, so that shouldn’t be an inconvenient.
The sealed scroll tube contains two documents: one is the map you will need to reach Mount Penglai, and I tell you in advance that it is not an easy place to reach, so you’d better go prepared.
The second document is the answer to all the questions you’ve had about all the unusual details of our peculiar family, it is the truth about us, and the most powerful weapon you will ever receive, make sure to take each word very, very seriously.
You have a very important role to fulfill in the upcoming future Shan Li, and I know you would preferred to have me at your side, but believe me when I say that you will have all the support you need in your friend Jack, I could tell the moment I shook his hand that he is one noble young man with great feelings for you, feelings that I know to be corresponded even if you still haven’t realized.
We must part now, the purpose of my long journey has been fulfilled and I fear nothing else, my fool adversaries won’t be able to ruin the glory of this victorious day, my beloved son.
I will be watching over you forever,
Needless to say that I felt both touched and shocked with the contents of that letter, because it was the proof I needed to prove my grandpa was being threatened by someone. I wanted to take the letter to the authorities and have his case reopened, but that was not grandpa’s will.
I looked to the sealed tube and took a deep breath, because I knew that whatever the truth it carried, I had to be prepared.
To be continued