The Crimson Wars : Chapter 3 - Shrimp Fried Rice
"So... I don't know what we were supposed to be doing in the first place, but why is it you've brought me to a place like this?"
In front of me stood a large, rundown apartment. Its faded brick wall was crumbling at parts, and a large, albeit shabby sign was propped near the top which read, "Shayu Palace". A pleasantly familiar smell of seafood and garlic wafted from its interior, and filled the entire street with a faint touch of Oriental Cuisine. If you haven't guessed by now, the place that we've come to is a chinese restaurant.
"I told you we've got some business here," Risa said in her usual strict tone. "Come, I've got things to show you."
"As long as that 'thing' isn't dog meat, I'm up for it." I replied sarcastically.
After giving me a sneer, the girl walked through the glass double-doors, letting out a warm breeze, along with a pungent, garlicky odor.
"Brrrr. I should get in quick." I say to no one in particular as I briskly walk inside after Risa.
The temperature has gotten a lot colder recently, enough to chill me to the bone, even while wearing this thick coat. Once inside, I took a long look inside the building.
Compared to the outside of the shop, the inside was considerably different from what one would imagine. First, everything was as clean as a whistle, unlike what some rumors about Chinese restaurants might have you believe. The floors were pearly white, and one could probably see their reflection of they looked inside one of the tables.
Second, the place was packed with customers, most of them white people. Though it looked like a failing business outside, it turned out to be ridiculously popular. Oh well, it isn't good to judge a book by its cover, as they always say.
As I was pondering and musing to myself, Risa was already walking past the clean, white tiles, and over to the counter. There she started talking an unsually bored looking cashier, who hardly even looked up from his newspaper to talk to her.
"Yo, Horang. I'm back with 'that' guy." the girl said, "Where's Shayu at?"
"Mmm... gimme a sec, this article's really interesting.", the man replied indifferently. I could already tell this might not end pleasantly.
"It's not 'gimme a sec', it's get your eyes off that damn newspaper and tell me where Shayu is." Risa began to raise her voice.
"Wait up! Cool your panties for a second and give me three minutes."
This guy sure had a lot of balls.
"Cool my panties? What the f-"
"Hey! How's you doin', bao bei?" A booming voice with a thick chinese accent interrupted Risa before she could finish.
"There you are!" Risa snapped impatiently, "I thought I told you not to call me that. Also, would you work on that accent already? You've been alive longer than the english language was even conceived."
"Maybe when I'm a little less busy."
The man who had just entered the room seemed to be the Shayu that Risa was talking about. If I had to describe him in one word, the only possible one that would come to mind is.. huge. Even fully clothed in a chef's attire, one could see the mountainous, rippling muscles that lay right beneath that thin, white fabric. Hell, he looked like he could kill someone just by looking at them, if only he wanted to. He had a very square jaw, with small eyes that made him look like one of those asian bad guys from the old Hollywood movies, but a kind face that made him look as kind and as generous as old St. Nick himself. Basically, his entire image was like a paradox. In addition to that thick accent of his, he had two long whisker-like strands of hair that hung from his upper lip, like a catfish, which heavily accentuated and emphasized his 'Oriental' look. From time to time, he would take off his tall chef's hat
to pat down his long, slicked back hair, which he gathered into a low ponytail. This, my friends, this, was the known as Shayu.
The man apparently noticed me inspecting him so intently, and broke into a huge grin. He probably got a lot of staring, given his stature.
"Oy, there you were. I was just about to get you right after this article." The cashier spoke nonchalantly, once again not even taking an eye off of his newspaper.
"Bahaha. In that time, Risa here would've ripped your head off fifteen times and then some."
The cashier simply replied with a quick 'ehh' and ushered the rest of us to the kitchen area. We practically had to drag an indignant Risa away from the counter, and even when we got her to calm down, she was still grumbling angrily.
Inside of the kitchen, many workers were toiling away, either cooking or cleaning. Though I would've liked to have stayed and observed a bit longer, I was dragged along to a small hallway past this room.
At the end of the hallway, we came to an ancient looking door, or what might as well have been a door.
It was one of those old, heavy-looking doors one might see in an 80's Kung Fu movie. With all the weird rings and button-nail things included. The big guy opened it, and we were led into a narrow stairway, with steep stairs going quite far underground. The din of the upstairs had disappeared, and silence soon fell over us, except for the tapping of our footsteps.
"So Risa", he quickly changed the person he was talking to. "This is that kid who was almost taken by those damn bloats isn't he?"
"Yeah. This is the one."
"Bloats...?" In my mind I was trying to find out what this term might've meant.
"Oh right, you wouldn't know Jiangshi slang. We call them vampires 'bloats' because the modern vampire folktale comes from dead bodies that became bloated overnight. I'd explain it more to ya, but we don't have too much time." The man explained with a grin.
Now that I think about it, he kind of reminded me of a viking. A big, asian viking.
"Ah, ok." Accepting the quick exposition, we continued to descend down the stairs.
Soon enough, we reached flat ground again, and the narrow staircase had become a wide corridor. It had bricks walls, which contained many doors along the sides. Some of these doors led to rooms, and some led to more corridors, similar to an ant tunnel.
Suddenly Shayu spoke.
"Yo kid, get yourself gussied up," he said, "Or at least as gussied up as you possibly could in these conditions."
"Oh, um... okay," I replied, "Any specific reason why, or do I just look THAT bad right now?"
"Hahaha. Nice one, kid. Either way, you should keep the jokes aside for the next little while. You're probably not going to be in the mood to do stand-up in front of the Council."
"The Council..?"
"Yeah. It's a group, consisting of the top dogs in the Jiangshi world. Or at least among us 'Dun' members. I guess I'm technically a member of the Council too, but the others aren't all as easy going as I am."
All of these new terms were starting to confuse me.
"Hm... It's a little hard to explain.", he said, "I'll explain to you when I have time."
He stopped for a second.
"Wait a second. Risa, what time is it?"
"Around five-thirty, why?"
"Ah crap," Shayu blanched a little. "I'm late. Those guys are just going to chew me out about this. Sorry, Risa. But can you go on ahead without me? Oh, also remember to bring the kid over by the Council's Room in a bit!"
"Wha-Oh, sure. Just try not to get killed by Dao and them."
As serious as Shayu sounded, Risa didn't seem worried at all.
"Will do!" he shouted.
Watching what might as well have been the Incredible Hulk himself disappearing into the distance, we stood there for a bit, and then carried on to our destination.

zinzzaro   zinzzaro wrote
on 1/22/2009 5:16:04 PM
No, it doesn't have much to do with moonlight, it was just about "vampire type creatures" so I was using it as a prototype title.

Moonrose   Moonrose wrote
on 1/22/2009 10:47:09 AM
Nice, really creative, humorous. Good job! And hey, if the story has a lot to do with 'moonlight', then keep the title... a story makes the title, not the other way around.

Novel / Novella
writing zinzzaro
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A Word from the Writer
Woo. This chapter was a complete rewrite, as will be all the chapters after this one. Hope you enjoy it. :)