Chapter 9 – Nightmares Old

Ling Chang opens her eyes and screams of pain “Arhhhh” when she suddenly remember where she is and stops instantly. She looks down and except for some big holes in her clothes, there are luckily no blood and she are not covered in snow. She looks around on the white snow while her teeth starts chattered wildly.”What happened, first I am walking alone before suddenly hearing Jun Chen’s voice and in the next I am here at the foot of a mountain with snow everywhere… If I don’t find a place to get warm soon, I will die” she thinks to herself but still her voice sings in her ears. She tries to get up and it goes fine, without much pain and she starts walking around aimlessly as the whole world is white from snow. Her teeth chatter more and more “Keep quiet” she thinks to herself while trying to keep her mouth closed and stop the chattering. Suddenly a warmth light appears in the horizon and Ling Chang is not sure if it is fireplace or what the source is but she decide to walk against it. “Please be a fireplace” she starts praying inside her head while she gets closer and closer to it. Suddenly the snow below her give in and she falls deep inside the snow, making all dark for a moment but her fight will is not dead yet and she keeps her awaking, making her fight herself back to the surface and the continue sight of the warm light, makes her marsh on without much thought about injuries. The light get brighter and brighter for every steps she takes and suddenly the snow is more or less disappeared and green grass appears on the ground instead. “What is this place?” She thinks to herself as she notice that her teeth is not chattering as much as before as the wind is heating up. She reach the source of the light and it is a fireplace like she wanted it to be. The warmth is pleasing her but her mind is still confused about where she is or how the place can give so much light. She looks around and notice that the snow is still falling in the edge of the place but she is too tried to argue about why and as her eyes gets heavy, she closes them with a smile on her face and a thought “I made it” 

Ling Chang opens her eyes with a set and is very confused in her head. “Did I fall asleep?” She asks herself while trying to force herself to yarn but nothing happens and instead she hears birds singing and watch them flying around in the edge of the place. She follows them with her eyes when they suddenly flies past a dark shadow, which makes her heart beat faster but before she can figure out how to react, the shadow becomes humanlike and starts walking against her. The shadow becomes more and more human until an old man appears in front of her, handing out an hand, making Ling Chang unsure to take it or to scream but without any words a smile appears on the old man’s lips.

Ling Chang looks at the hand and the smile and back to the hand again before finally reaching out her own hand and takes the old man’s hand. In the next, she starts screaming of pain as the silence is replaced by yelling voices and in an attempt to keep the voices out of her head, she closes her eyes hard and lets go of the old man’s hand before falling back into the ground which is now wet cold snow. The voices stops screaming and instead Ling Chang is the only one screaming because of the cold. She opens her eyes and the green grass is gone, replace by the snow and her teeth has started to chatter again. ”WHY AM I HERE?” Ling Chang yells while trying to figure out what just have happened. Her voice starts repeating between the mountains but no answer returns. She looks around and her heart starts racing when she suddenly see two dark shadows walking closer to her. “Stay away from me” She yells while trying to get away but the snow turns into slippy ice making it impossible for her to escape. As the shadows comes closer, she finally manages to get standing but as she starts to move the ice becomes snow again and the change makes Ling Chang falls to the ground once more, slowly turning the snow red. “WHY ARE YOU HURTING ME?” Ling Chang manage to yell while the pain is pumping around in her body together with the adrenaline. She tries to yell again but a hidden force prevents her form open her mouth and a sweet voice whispers inside her ear. “Be quiet and stay calm” and before Ling Chang can try to reply the voice she falls asleep, giving in to the snow and cold. 

Ling Chang opened her heavy eyes and felt the warmth in her body. The first thing she noticed was that the snow was gone again and she were her savour was gone too, leaving her all alone. Suddenly the shadow appear again and divides, making Ling Chang fear the worst and she tries to stand up but has to bite her teeth hard together of pain. She looks down and notices that her legs are all bleeding and when she looks up to prepare herself for the shadow, she cannot  almost cannot hold the screaming inside anymore as there are now two shadows and they are were close to her. “Please god, help me” she finally screams and the sky turns light and a sword appears not far from her. “Thank you, thank you” she repeats as she tries to crawl to the sword but the shadows have seen it too and starts splitting up before moving faster. Ling Chang feels the hands of a geriatric and when she watch, the shadow has turned into the old man form previously and he tries to reach her injuries. She tries to remove focus from the pain and try to kick after the old man but every time she hit him, the voices from before reappears, making it hard to keep the pain out. She looks forward and noticed the other shadow has turned into an old lady and what worse is that she is almost reaching the sword. Ling Chang looks up into the sky while her mind is going crazy by the voices and the pain before she takes some deep breaths. In the next, she stands up with a quick movement and runs against the sword to be able to defend herself. The first few steps are good but at the edge of her left eye she watches a third shadow appear and as she tries to speed up, it feels like the time is stopping instead. The third shadow reaches the sword before her and the pain gets unbearable for Ling Chang so she falls to the ground, giving up. “I GIVE UP” She yells loudly as the old man starts touching her legs and lower, making the voices return while the old woman starts playing her upper body making even more voices appears so Ling Chang closes her eyes. She feels the hands touching and playing every part of her body while the voices grows wilder and higher. “I AM READY TO DIE” She yells with her last strength and almost does not notice when a known voice between the other voices yells “WHY”. She opens her eyes a last time to figure out if she were dreaming before she had a chance to look around she and suddenly hears a scream “Arhhhhhh.. Stay away”, which drowns all the other voices. The last shadow has turned into Jun Chen who starts fighting the two other shadows with the sword, she had tried to reach not long ago. 

The joy of seeing Jun Chen again made her heart beat faster and the voices started to disappear and soon they were gone, giving her a chance to fight back against the old people. A scream was heard and it was not inside her head, making Ling Chang smile for the first time since she started dreaming and soon it was just her and Jun Chen while the two old people lied death on the grass which slowly turned into snow once more. “Are you sure we did the right thing?” Ling Chang asked Jun Chen when she finally reached him. “What do you mean?” He asked while looking weird at her. “I mean they were the ones controlling this world and now it is slowly turning into a cold hell, once more” Ling Chang replied and she could see instantly that Jun Chen didn’t know about the snow. “What snow? I killed them because they kept hurting you with those voices and who knows what they would have done if they had reached the sword before I did… Sorry if I have doomed us” Ling Chang was glad to be save so she just smiled some more and replied “I do not mind the snow as long you are here, even I have no idea where, here is” and Jun Chen just nodded. The snow came closer and closer and Ling Chang moved closer to Jun Chen in attempt to keep the warmth between them but suddenly a water dragon sculpture landing between them just as the first snow flake hit Ling Chang and the entire world changed. in the next they were underwater, doing a major storm. “Jun Chen?” Ling Chang yelled as she finally reached the surface but not reply and the storm was getting wilder and wilder. Suddenly she felt something at her legs and she tried to scream as she was scared it were the old people from earlier or something similar but it was something else that broke the surface. Jun Chen  tried to take some deep breaths but Ling Chang was completed be beside herself and started screaming and hit him until he finally managed to speak “Stop, stop it is me, Jun Chen… Calm down” Ling Chang stopped felt her face turning red as she were blushing. “Sorry… I thought you was those old people who had returned” Ling Chang managed to say before Jun Chen broke in. “We have to go there” He said with glazing eyes and Ling Chang turned around in silence and watched a red object in the horizon. “I agree” She managed to say after observing the place in silence before continuing “Lets go now before our energy runs out” and Jun Chen just nodded as they started swimming against it. The object was  much closer than they expected once they had started swimming, and it was a flying sculpture of fire dragon. “What do you think we need to do?” Ling Chang asked as they came close to it and Jun Chen almost yelled in reply “I do not know but we better think quick as it is getting smaller” and to Ling Chang’s fear he was right but what was the plan with it. “Think, think, think” Jun Chen started which prompted made Ling Chang reply annoyed “That is not helping at all” and they thought on in silence while the sculpture got smaller and smaller until Ling Chang suddenly got an idea and asked straight. “Do you trust me?” Her voice was far from calm and the sculpture was almost gone now. Jun Chen looked at her like he was about to argue with her but instead his voice reveal only a single word. “Yes” and before any of them could say anything against the plan, was Ling Chang taking a grip in Jun Chen before placing her hand around the sculpture and before she felt any pain, they were suddenly in a world of fire. Ling Chang did not need many seconds to see that they were safe for now and to think before she yelled “Look for a sculpture of something like the fire, it is our only way out” and they looked around while the sweat started to run down their faces like tears. Ling Chang was the first to notice the ball of metal flying above their heads and she knew they had no chance of touching it together like last time. “There it is” she said and pointed in the air but before she could argue about the placement was Jun Chen already lifting her. “I do not know the way out, but I know I love you so save yourself” Jun Chen said and then he threw Ling Chang against the ball of metal who with tears in her eyes had no time to reply. She flew closer and closer to it and in the last second she tried to look happy at Jun Chen who stood at the ground in the pose he just had thrown her, having no chance to return her sight. In the next Ling Chang touched the ball and fell to the ground. She quickly stood up as she had finally understood the game and she wanted to yell but a pair of hands hell around her and turned around. It was Jun Chen who had managed to pass the gate too even without touching the ball and Ling Chang’s tears of sadness before the throw had turned into happy tears but the time to kiss was short and Ling Chang said with focused voice. “We have to find two, maybe three dragon sculptures of the elements before we are free and after my mind the next one is nature so look out for something not fitting this metal hell” Jun Chen just nodded before his eyes turned wild and this time he was the one that caught the sculpture and before Ling Chang could say anything they were transported to a world of nature. “What next?” Jun Chen asked impatient which made Ling Chang smile as she reply “Earth” just as a bird flew though the air with the sculpture in its mouth and in the last second, she managed to touch it, transporting them inside a cave. Water was heard and they started laughing of joy. “We are home” they yelled in mouth of each other and started to walk against the sound of water when a female voice suddenly rumbled above them. “Did you really think it would be that easy, do you really think you are safe” The voice ruined every joy that Jun Chen and Ling Chang had, but Jun Chen was having nothing of it and yelled back quickly “Show yourself instead of hide like a chicken” even he could see the fear inside Ling Chang’s eyes. “I am not here, I am in the last world… but you won’t get there as the last sculpture in almost gone already” the voice continued before laughing of joy. They looked around but nothing even looked like a sculpture and Jun Chen yelled again “Chicken” in an attempt to make the voice help them and suddenly portal opened in front of them. “Go through or stay I do not care at all, but I am not some toy you play with as a child” the voice reappeared. Jun Chen looked at Ling Chang who looked back at him before they together walk inside the portal hand in hand.Ling Chang fears what is going to happen as the plants on the ground is all death. The sky is dark except for the lightnings crossing it and the sound of thunder is the only sound heard. “Where are we?” Jun Chen ask Ling Chang trying to sound brave and Ling Chang just looks at him before shaking her head without answering with words. Suddenly the voice appears again “You are in my world, just as I wanted you to be” Ling Chang and Jun Chen looks around as it is impossible to locate where it comes from while Jun Chen tries to stay brave by yelling “We did nothing, you were the chicken in this” and barely the words have left his mouth before the voice replies “Keep telling yourself lies, maybe they come true” and this time Ling Chang replies “We are neither lying or afraid of you” a lightning crosses the sky and divides into many smaller ones before a big  clatter almost exploded above them and before they could focus themselves again, the voice appeared again “Maybe, maybe night but only one of you will escape with their life” and form behind a big death tree a older woman appeared. Jun Chen pulled his sword and yelled “Who are you? And if you wanna live, you sends us home now” which made the woman laugh before replying cold. “It is not important who I am as I am a nobody and sending you home was an option I would have done it myself long ago” and the woman walked closer not minding the pull sword the slightest.Before Ling Chang could say anything, pushed Jun Chen her back and pushed himself forward with the sword raise high. “Send us home, or you will be the one losing your life” Jun Chen yelled and the woman just laughed louder while a smaller lightning flew above them. Jun Chen started to run against the woman while he yelled “Let me show you, what I can do with a sword” Ling Chang followed him with her eyes and an open mouth before it got even wider. As out of the air a sword appeared in the woman’s hand and she blocked the attack of Jun Chen like he had just poked her with a tiny stick. “You foul, Jun Chen, I said only one of you will survive this” the woman’s voice was still cold as ice and Ling Chang could feel tears starting to run down her checks. “Please don’t hurt him” Ling Chang yelled which made the woman focus on her before replying laughing “Of course, my dear, I won’t but you will instead” and suddenly Jun Chen turned around and his eyes was black as the sky while the sword the woman had held was in Ling Chang’s hands. “Kill her” the woman yelled and Jun Chen started to walk against the crying Ling Chang while replying “Yes, master” Ling Chang tried to stop crying but the feeling of maybe having to attack Jun Chen penetrated her soul and she did not have a single idea of what to do other than speak him out of it. “Please stop, Jun Chen, Please” and for a moment the darkness in his eyes vanished and he stood confused while rambling “Ling Chang?” But before Ling Chang could do anything he was back in his darkness and charged against her once more. The woman laughed behind him “You never get him turned long enough for him to remember you, but I promise you ion he kills you I won’t let him forget it again, my child” and continued watching with joy. Ling Chang could feel the rage grow inside her and just as Jun Chen was about to strike her down, she managed to remove her tears before blocking the strike just as easy as the woman did before. “Are you going to fight him, my child” The woman said while trying to hide her surprise and Ling Chang looked straight into her eyes, not focusing on Jun Chen and replied cold “Yes, if I most” and soon the fight was on like they had been enemies their entire lives.

The swords flew thought the air like they sometimes did under training but this fight was something different and Ling Chang knew that. The woman stood laughing not far form the fight, which instantly gave Ling Chang an idea even she was busy focusing on Jun Chen. They danced around in the death grass and Ling Chang had to block more than she were used to as she had decided to keep her rage at a minimum as she wanted to be there if she had to kill Jun Chen. “Is that really the best you got?” Jun Chen yelled and even his voice was different form the normal version of him and Ling Chang just looked at him without replying. Instead she attacked him and managed to give him a small cut on the left leg but no scream was heard instead Jun Chen kicked her away like she were nothing and she flew thought the air hitting the tree next to the women. This was just what Ling Chang had been waiting for and even that the kick had knocked out much of her air, she had enough to get up fast and even the woman was looked surprised. Ling Chang used the distance between her and Jun Chen to attack the woman but just as the sword was about to penetrate the woman’s belly, the surprise face turned into a laughing face. Ling Chang did not understand at first but suddenly she felt something inside her body and she flew though the air once more. “Did you really think that I did not think of that?” The woman yelled from the now other side and Jun Chen was almost within reach to attack her with his already raised sword. Ling Chang closed her eyes as her own sword was out of reach. “Stop” the woman yelled and Jun Chen opened her eyes and watched as the sword stopped half way even that Jun Chen was still trying to force it down. “I said stop” the woman yelled as the sword moved a bit closer but Ling Chang knew that it were her only chance and with tears in her eyes she moved away form the strike and ran to get her sword before returning to the fight. Things happened quickly so with closed eyes and tears running fast, Ling Chang penetrated Jun Chen’s belly. Jun Chen’s eyes turned normal even without any words could Ling Chang feel the why yelling and as he closed his eyes she pulled the sword out and held around him while screaming of pain while the woman laughing behind her. “You are just as weak as I expected” the woman said but Ling Chang did not listen as her rage has taken over her body and in the next she were hammering both swords against force field making the woman just laugh even more. “That is more like it, but far from enough, my child” The woman said, making Ling Chang yell back “Stop calling me, a child as first of all I am no child and second of all I am not yours”

Jun Chen opened his eyes and grasping for air as his hands tries remove the sword in his chest. He starts getting desperate when he cannot find before he suddenly notice it is not there and he is back inside the cave behind the waterfall. His mind is confused at first as the last he remember is him charging the woman after she tells them that only one of the will leave the place alive and suddenly he knows that Ling Chang is in grave danger as the woman has tricked them once more. “What to do” He yells of himself while pulling himself in the hair as he knows he don’t have time to get Hui Wen to help Ling Chang. “What else” He yells of himself again. “I wish you was here Ling Chang as you would know how to save me if I was in trouble” he yells when suddenly he notices that Ling Chang breath is slowly fading, making him instantly start shaking her body and yelling of her instead. “Wake up now, please” he starts repeating over and over again while shaking harder and faster. Tears starts running down his check as he fears it is the last time, they will have together and it was his fault for challenging the woman. He stops for to catch his breath but the sight of Ling Chang’s breath almost gone, makes him suddenly have an idea. He takes his sword forward before playing Ling Chang’s hair a last time and whispers “Sorry… you know I would never hurt you…”

Back inside the nightmare are Ling Chang crying both of pain from her injuries and of killing Jun Chen while the woman is just laughing madly. “You are mine” the woman finally replies which makes Ling Chang silence for a moment and look at her with confused eyes “What do you mean?, I killed him as you said that only one of us would leave us this place alive” Ling Chang says with a broke and almost dead voice. The woman laughs once more before reply as cold as always. “Who said that the alive one, cannot be the death one” and Ling Chang can feel the rage grow inside her once more and in the next she is charging against the woman just as Jun Chen did before their fight but nothing matters anymore. “I will kill you for this” Ling Chang yells as she strikes but the woman just laughs “You really have no idea of who I am or what powers I have, my child?” And instead of making Ling Chang a zombie like Jun Chen before she stops Ling Chang in the air before spread her arms, making the swords flew out of Ling Chang’s hands and into the big death tree. The woman starts laughing once more and Ling Chang feel a pain in her left wrist which she thinks is from the removal of the sword but the woman suddenly turns her laughing into yelling and screaming. “No, she is… is… is mine” and a grey frog cloud appears behind her and starts eating up the world before suddenly Ling Chang wakes up screaming.

“on purpose” Jun Chen finish his set sentence before handing Ling Chang’s sudden screaming. “It is alright, you are safe” Jun Chen continues and holds around her while tears continue to fall and join the waters around them. Ling Chang stops screaming as she finally noticed that she are back home and not inside the nightmare anymore. “How, How did you save me?” She stutter managed to say while tears starts to run down her check off joy to be free and safe once more. Jun Chen tries to explain but the rambling and sounds makes no sense to Ling Chang. Jun Chen close his mouth again before drying his eyes and hold up her now bandaged wrist in silence before he opens his mouth once more “Sorry, sorry, sorry… I was losing you and I promise you that no one including me and I mean no one will every hurt you again… But it was the only way of saving you. Sorry, sorry, sorry” his voice is understandable and a bit low and Ling Chang do not know how to react at first but her tears stops first and before she knows it, they are kissing like never before. “I love you” Ling Chang manages to say and Jun Chen looks at her before replying “I love you, more than life itself” and then they kiss once more. As they stop, is Jun Chen looking down in the water and with a serious voice he says “I am really sorry for hurting you but I did not know what else to do to wake you up” Ling Chang looks at him but don’t know what to say to him and instead ask a question from her mind. “Where do you think we were? And more importantly who do you think the woman was?” Jun Chen looks at her with serious eyes “I thought the nightmare was mine alone” and Ling Chang looks at him confused before replying “I knew it was a shared dream because why else would you have been there but back to my question who do you think it was?”  Ling Chang replied making Jun Chen just looking uncertain before replying “I am sure, it was just a nightmare as why else would we go there while we was asleep beside I do not remember much now either” Ling Chang wanted to ask new questions but they too had disappeared form her mind and instead her other senses got enhanced. “Something is burning” Ling Chang’s says while sniffs the air trying to figure out if it is coming from the outside or deeper inside the cave and Jun Chen smells it too. “Yes, I smell it too” he says surprised and stands up before helping Ling Chang standing too. Jun Chen bends down to take his sword before cleaning it, in the water to remove Ling Chang’s blood before they start walking outside. As they gets outside the air is full smoke and the sky is full of colours and Ling Chang looks at Jun Chen before asking “What have happened while I was gone?” And Jun Chen just kiss her before replying “Nothing much except me and Hui Wen spend a day searching for you in town as we expected you would be there somewhere and not going back to the palace” Ling Chang looks at him confused “Why would I go there? And why did you not search the cave as one of the first places” Which makes Jun Chen continue “We think you read some hidden letters Hui Wen have gotten doing the time we have been here about my father and I do not know, guess I was too focused on that Hui Wen had kept the news of my father being alive hidden for me, but enough talk we have to get back to him to figure out where all this smoke is coming from” Ling Chang just nodded and they started to run a bit fast against their home. They reach home and to their big surprise they find it burning “Hui Wen” Ling Chang yells loudly before Jun Chen does the same. Suddenly a man appears in front of the burning house and the  fire makes it impossible to see who it is so Jun Chen pulls his sword expecting the worst. The man walks slowly against them before the dry voice of Hui Wen finally reach their ears. “Put that sword away, it is me Hui Wen… All is good” which makes Ling Chang almost yell at him. “What do you mean, all is good when the house is on fire like most of the town” Her voice is far from calm but Hui Wen just continues gentle “Yes, but please don’t mind the flames… I know but I am glad that Jun Chen found you in once piece even that he did not tell me he was going out” Jun Chen looked directly at Ling Chang who felt the need to explain herself. “Yes, sorry I forgot the time so fell asleep near the waterfall as I was tried of hearing you two yelling of each other” Hui Wen smiled and replied “Better than you had travelled all the way to the emperor’s place all on your own… anyway Gang Chen is burning down the town this moment, I am not really sure why but I fear that either he has found out about us somehow or he is pissed at his brother as they were not very good friends as children, the few times I meet them before their father became mad” They looked at each other in silence while the flames continued to eat the house piece by piece. It felt a bit weird for them to watch their home burn like that even it was on purpose. Suddenly Ling Chang thought of their dream and even she could not remember much of it anymore, she decided to give it a try. “Hui Wen?” She asked gentle and he turned his face from the flames to watching her. “Do you believe dreams mean anything in the real world?” Ling Chang started, expected him to reply no so she did not have to answer him but to her surprise he just smiled and replied “Yes, I do but do not enjoy the place too much as some people thinks it is a portal to the void, why my child” the last words made it run cold down Ling Chang’s back but she did her best not to show and instead she answered “well, I was having this dream while I was asleep about me and Ling Chang fighting each other and something about some sculptures, but don’t remember much about it” Jun Chen turned his face against Ling Chang too and the flames revealed that he was worried for the answer that Hui Wen would give Ling Chang but Hui Wen just smiled and replied. “I am sorry, I do not think I can be of much help there but it sounds like a normal nightmare to me as they are often made of things we love the most… For example you have the sculpture that you pray to your family to and you have spent a lot of time together with Jun Chen so it all makes sense” Ling Chang smiled and before her eyes got wide and she replied “Thanks, what happened to my sculpture?” Making Hui Wen laugh a bit before replying “I knew you would ask about it any time soon” and then he pointed at the table they used to be eating their food at and there it stood. “I could not make myself burn it inside the house as I knew how important it was for you” Hui Wen continue and Ling Chang walked against it as she felt it was time to pray to her parents. She reach it before turning against Jun Chen and Hui Wen. “Will you pray with me, a last time before we save Jiang Chen?” The two men nodded at Ling Chang and they joined her next to the sculpture and they all three place a hand on the sculpture. “We are here together, joined by a bond and a force that gives us strength to fight against any enemies of the world. We ask for your blessing in our quest on saving those in need and bring the world back in peace” Hui Wen said while Ling Chang could feel the tears run down her cheeks. They each slowly removed their hands form the sculpture and Ling Chang could had sworn that the eyes were light up as a signal of their pray was heard. Ling Chang closed her eyes and opened them again to check again but instead of lighting up again the sculpture broke into pierces making her scream instead. “What happened” Ling Chang screamed while Jun Chen looked at her for injuries as she had been closet while Hui Wen calmly replied “The gods knows that we cannot take it with us so they have destroyed it to make sure that no one knows we have been here” but the reply did not please Ling Chang at all and still screaming she yelled “What about my nightmares?” Hui Wen walked over to her and held his hands over her eyes for a moment while whispered “Calm down my child, they will always hear you when you speak with your heart” Ling Chang felt her heart healing and the tears stopped too before she returned to calm self before the destruction. “Thanks” Ling Chang replied and Hui Wen just smiled before replying “We have to go now if we are going to have any chance of saving Jiang Chen” One by one they pulled forward their swords as they slowly started to walked away from the burning house and they had not gotten far before the screams of people are heard.