The dawn came out of the thick clouds; Sunlights shone through the roof tiles of an escort chamber, casting a shadow of an arc over a huge training area. Escorts were doing their daily practice in an organized way; clashes of weapons echoed through the place.

        There was a pavilion at the corner where a young girl Wu Zetian sat on a bench holding an embroidery hoop. Embroidering back and forth, she was making a phoenix on the cloth. But her attention was carried away by a 7-year-old boy swinging his sword nearby.

        That was Wu Zetian’s brother. Their mother died of dystocia when she gave birth to him. Since then, Wu Zetian had been taking up the responsibility of a mother, taking care of her brother and household chores.

        “Wrong!” An old butler scolded at his brother. This was already his 10th reproach today. “How many times have I told you! Begin with flexibility, then apply greater force in the middle. Look at you! Stiff like a rock at the start. Do it again,” the butler pulled a long face.

        “I hate this boring exercise! Everyday is just the same! I wanna go out!” The brother stomped and yelled. Covered in sweat with exhaustion, plus the harsh instruction of his butler, had broken him down. He threw away the sword and ran off. Red with anger, the butler caught up immediately.

        “Sister! Help!” His brother hid behind Wu Zetian. She could not help but to put down the hoop and said gently, “he is still a kid. Let him take a rest.”

        “...If you say so. I’ll have a cup of tea then. Excuse me,” the butler glared at his brother who made a grimace and slowly walked into the mansion.

        Wu Zetian spoke as she wiped his sweat with a handkerchief, “don’t overdo it with brute force. How is it supposed to work if your joints are completely locked?”

        “What is the point of this sword practice! I just wanna eat,” he pouted. “Okay you greedy piggy, I’ll show you how to swing it.” Wu Zetian smiled and gave his forehead a flick.

        “Em...alright.” When he picked up the sword and prepared to practise again, they heard a scream——a sword of an escort was knocked away, spinning in the air towards his brother.

        “Gotta protect my brother!” Wu Zetian took the paper umbrella next to her, made a stride and covered him with the sword arts that the butler had been teaching earlier. She wound the umbrella along the coming sword with gentle force; and skillfully diverted its direction into the ground next to his brother’s feet.

        Everyone present was amazed by her incredible techniques, exceptional talents and sensitiveness. It was beyond their imagination. Knowing that he had made a serious mistake, the escort apologized nervously. Luckily his brother was not injured. Otherwise they would all be doomed if the master found the truth.

        Meanwhile, it was noisy outside, and Wu Zetian figured that must be her father’s triumphant return.

        “Father, welcome back. It must be a tough work.” Wu Zetian’s eyes sparkled when she saw him home. She was excited like a little girl compared with her calmness in normal days. Despite her wisdom, Wu Zetian was still a young girl with an innocent side.

        She came to her father and looked forward to his response.

        “I did a great job to protect my brother. I’m sure it deserves his compliment,” she thought.

        However, her expectation ended up with nothing. “An escort has told me. How dare you steal and use our secret arts,” her father was displeased.

        “I didn’t steal...I just heard it when the butler was teaching brother...then I knew the technique…” On the contrary, all she received was her father’s blame.

        “Women are not meant to do men’s job. Only your brother can learn the sword arts, not you. Understood?” Her father responded with a gaze.

        “...Sorry, I just want to protect him,” Wu Zetian suppressed her frustration.

        Her father did not care about her effort, for she was just a daughter and he did not bother of wasting his time to comfort her. “Come to dad my son. Are you injured,” he asked.

        “Father has never called himself dad in front of me…” This made Wu Zetian even more heartbroken.

        He held her brother’s hand and said, “tomorrow I’ll teach you in person.”

        Then, Wu Zetian was left alone to watch her father and brother playing together with a joyous smile. She tried to reach out and call them, but eventually gave up. Wu Zetian stood there, with tears welling up her eyes…

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