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    Always the Bridesmaid... bulmabriefs144's Avatar
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    Apr 2007


    Chapter 11

    (And now for someone completely different. Xingese/Chinese is in italics)

    May fussed with her hair. Or rather, her servants did. Ling Yao had beaten her, but not disgraced her. A gracious winner, he'd let her keep her land and her title. Having been beaten was nothing to cheer about, but at the end of the day, having people to comb her hair and give her food to eat was still a long way from begging for scraps of rice or wearing rags.

    May's black hair had grown into long tiny ringlets, framing her face nicely. She couldn't wear the palace red, but her long green silk dress was nothing to sneeze at. Her matching green shoes has gold trim and lining, and so although she wasn't allowed to dress as well as the Emperor, she at least could boast a better sense of fashion than him.

    No sooner had she gotten ready than she heard a sound outside. She rushed outside to see what the commotion was, but her maidservants Ming and Zhao were faster, stopping her in the door. "Lady. It is not proper to be outside without an escort," the women told her, despite the fact that she'd traveled all the way to Amestris without one. "At least take Xiao Mei."

    Xiao Mei was her panda. Most people seeing her assumed she was young, but actually during her early years as a panda, she developed a disease that stunted her growth. She was the size of a housecat, but her muscles had not stopped growing, and her teeth were strong.

    "Very well. Ming, will you go with Xiao Mei and me?" Nodding, she opened the door for May, and they stepped outside together. Following the crowd to its source, she saw that someone was trying to enter the gate to the Sealed Land. The royal family built the Sealed Land in the center of their capitol city (it's the Forbidden City), and in general commoners were not allowed to enter without official papers stamped by at least a governer. For that matter, commoners were not even allowed to see inside, and it was a crime punishable by imprisonment, or worse.

    This wasn't merely to protect royals from the influence of commoners. It was also to protect commoners from that of royals. Court intrigue, plus the knowledge of Alkahestry was a bad combination, and while Xing did not engage in "experiments" plenty of creatures had been made for purposes of revenge, power, or defending oneself from other nobles. There were the Dragons, ancient creatures made by methods now lost, who healed quickly and had apparent immunity to most forms of direct Alkahestry. The were Golems and Elementals, creatures formed from common materials or from the Five Elements. And there were the Sacred Beasts, beings like the Qilin and Feng Huang, that seemed to be composites of two or more different beasts, much like what Edward and Alphonse called Chimeras. These thick walls were not so much to keep people out, as they were to keep these things in. Understandably, her maidservants comment about propriety was really an offhanded reminder that wandering outside could catch her off guard.

    At the gate she heard a man in a loud voice called out "Let me in! I need to see May Chang!" He wasn't speaking in Xingese, so he must be a foreigner. It sounded like he was traveling with someone who spoke fluently though, and she was repeating everything he said. If he didn't have the proper papers, a foreigner was often treated even worse than a commoner. "Open the door. Let me see who it is," she said in Xingese.

    She blurted out "You should know that foreigners and commoners are not..." looking up at the person she talked to she was surprised to see a familiar face. The boy was older now, and he had lost his metal plating but it was definitely him. "Alphonse!" lunging toward you with arms outstretched she reached up and kissed him. It had been awhile...

    Looking around she noticed a girl, not more than 15 or so from her physical development and her face, standing nearby. And yet, something was odd about her besides the obvious white hair and eyes which changed to match hers. Her skin, her hair, her nails all looked brand new without a trace of dirt or grime. She was dressed in tattered rags, but it was almost like these came out this way from a store, for they had none of the frays or cuts of clothing that had been worn from use. This woman was too perfect, something was wrong. "...Alphonse, who is this girl?"
    Last edited by bulmabriefs144; 28th October 2012 at 03:33 AM.

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