It took her two years to learn this era’s language and writing.
Everything had changed too much.
This was a noisy, prosperous era. Its highly developed culture left no room for alchemists, and its vast population served as her shield. Living quietly among the bustling crowds, she was sometimes overcome by loneliness. Yes, there were many intelligent people here. They knew so much, even more than her king had ever known, and yet she always thought they were missing something. She never found anyone like her king.
From a book called Records of the Grand Historian, she learned of her king’s fate: demotion, house arrest, murder, the execution of his entire clan afterwards. His crime was conspiring with Chen Xi to rebel.
She was too enraged for tears. She knew he’d never had any connection with Chen Xi, and knew that no conspirator would be so stupid as to arrange such actions in the middle of the capital city. But history was always written by the victors. Time often turned lies to fact.
Now, in this world, only she knew the real reason for his immortal talent, his willing sacrifice. She sat in front of her desk, spread out a sheet of paper, picked up a pen-- she was still unaccustomed to holding a pen this way-- and collected her thoughts. She’d lived a while here, carefully, without revealing her identity. No matter how long had passed, people remained as avaricious as they’d been in the past, if not more so. Once they learned of her identity, they’d swarm her for a thousand motives. She would never live in peace again.
But she had to begin.
Perhaps Longxi still waited in some dark corner of this world, watching for new prey with hungry eyes. Perhaps, in some place she couldn’t see, a new bargain had been agreed upon, and another talented but unsuccessful youth was being lured with fame and fortune into the trap...
She had to begin. For the safety of civilization, for the sake of the duty placed upon her by her wronged, murdered king.
She started writing: The day was grimly cold, without a trace of impending spring.
A young man sat alone on the banks of the river, fishing rod in hand. The cold cut through his thin clothes; he was curled up tight, legs pulled to his chest, knees tucked against his chin. He seemed to be gazing fixedly at the fishing float bobbing on the water, but at the same time, seemed to be gazing at nothing.
Distantly, from the shadowy cover of the woods, a black-robed man inspected him with icy eyes...