Awww, there we go, the last post in the series, can you believe it? I sure as heck can’t. I mean, I am the one writing this stuff and still I can’t get over the fact Book 1 has actually, truly, in all real reality reached the end!
On the bright side, one last chapter remains: the epilogue. By definition an epilogue is usually a last chapter that wraps up the story so that no loose ends remain. Unless of course loose ends is what the story turns out to be 😉 In some cases, however, epilogues may hint at a sequel, and — ta-da! — that’s what it’s gonna be, right?
As mentioned in my previous post I am working on Book 2. Of course, in a perfect world I would have finished the first draft during July Camp of NaNoWriMo. But, as this world is anything, but… it’ll take me a little bit longer than that. I promise to keep you posted!
In other news, as you may recall I announced setting up a Patreon account in an earlier post. And while that’s still not out of the world I found yet another beautiful way for readers to support me via PayPal if they would like:
I’ve set up a Ko-fi account!
Of course a writer’s gotta work for her coffee, so here comes the very final, conclusively terminating last chapter!
If you are new to my story, please consider starting with Chapter 1
Worlds Rising: Rebellion
It could hardly have been more than two hours since the women had left, when the noise of armored ground vehicles reached Li Xiao’s ears. Shortly after, three six-wheeled monsters came hurtling towards him, crushing shrubs and smaller rocks beneath them without so much as a hitch, the noise drowning out all conscious thoughts. He took a deep breath, smoothed his hair and got up, determined to make his decision right. His path had been decided a long time ago, for the good of the homeland and for the safety of the House of the Dragon.
The vehicles had hardly stopped when the first elite soldiers jumped off, fanning out to secure the area. One of Guo’s second lieutenants marched towards Li Xiao, his face a professional, unreadable mask. Not without self-deprecation Li Xiao noted that neither his uncle nor Colonel Guo had seen fit to send a higher ranking officer for the rescue of their future Haodang Long. Just as well, he thought, put on a bored face and drawled in his best imitation of an untouchable elite, “About time.”
The lieutenant flinched, but caught himself immediately. He whipped up his hand in a crisp salute. “Sir! We’re to escort you to ground station Tou Hao.”
Excellent! Li Xiao had feared they would drag him back to the village and make him sit the whole thing out in a makeshift barracks. But this was way better. He had no time to lose! Hiding his relief he indicated for the lieutenant to lead the way and followed him towards the ring of soldiers. Back to civilization.
On the ride back to the station he caught snippets of conversations between the soldiers, suggesting the colonel as well as the admiral were staying at Abbida’s village for the time being. Still looking for the black box from the wrecked ship? Somehow he got the feeling it had best stayed lost forever.
More urgent than ever, Li Xiao felt he needed support from home. A strict radio silence was still in effect, but he absolutely needed to inform his eldest brother of what was really happening on the planet. Even so it would take time for help to arrive. Until then he was on his own.
Unless… A flash of inspiration struck, and his thoughts started racing. If he moved quickly, he might yet be able to steer this rotten situation around! He was bordering on treason here, no doubt, but exceptional circumstances made for strange allies, and the enemy of his opponents might well turn out to be a useful asset—at least temporarily.
On arrival at Tou Hao, Li Xiao lost no time. Getting into the radio station turned out easier than expected. After Huang Lian had been ousted and marked as traitor, the security department was still without a new head. Which, in the absence of Colonel Guo and the station commander, made Li Xiao the highest-ranking officer on base. Thus, his first step was to barge into the radio station where he leaned on the sergeant on duty and transmitted a carefully encrypted message to his brother.
His second stop was at the offices of the station’s security service. Before entering, he took a moment to compose himself and put on his most haughty mask. One, two… and action!
“Open door!” he ordered.
The panel was still gliding into the wall when Li Xiao stormed past a befuddled assistant, crossed the outer office in wide strides and planted himself in front of the acting head of security. “It is completely beyond me, how you are getting anything done here if not a single one of my messages are being put through to you!”
An amply consternated man glared up from his desk, took in Li Xiao’s rather lowly ranks insignia, frowned, read his name tag, and shut his mouth before anything came out. Giving the man no time to recover and call the bluff, Li Xiao banged the Haodang Long’s answer to his earlier request on the table which authorized him to interrogate prisoners in his own quarters.
“Start with prisoner number twenty-five. In fifteen minutes sharp!”
With that he turned and stormed out of the office, past a still gaping security assistant. Now he would find out, just how much authority the Haodang Long still held with the Armed Forces!
Fifteen minutes later found Li Xiao hunkered at his desk, staring gloomily at his closed door. Nothing stirred. Frustrated, he rubbed his chin and let out a long breath. So the decision had been made. The White Tiger was openly opposing the patriarch. And his uncle Zhao Meng Hui, in his selfish opportunism, was risking a civil war.
Li Xiao balled his fists. But they hadn’t reckoned with him! Clenching his teeth, he jumped to his feet and buckled on his thigh holster. He grabbed his jacket and was just about to leave, when the door chimed. Li Xiao grew cold inside. He drew his blaster. “Open!”
A squad of soldiers greeted him. The squad leader saluted and held out his service pad. “Prisoner number twenty-five, Sir! Please, sign here.”
Li Xiao tucked away his gun. His heart was racing. Glancing at the prisoner, he signed the pad with his thumbprint, grasped the man’s arm, pulled him inside and locked the door. “Seal!”
Apart from the station commander and himself nobody would be able to enter or leave the room now. Challenging, he looked the prisoner straight in the eye.
“I’ve got good news and bad news. Which do you want to hear first?”
“I don’t care,” said Ashok. “Let’s get this over with.”
~ End of book 1 ~
This is it! We’re through! Rien ne va plus!
Well, no, of course, as I said before, the story and the rebellion will go on. So stay tuned and check back for more posts on this and other topics.
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