Tag Archives: Zom Fu

Zom Fu – Chapter 63

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Junjie looked to the Infallible Master. “There is no more Bohai, is there?”

“There is not,” the Infallible Master replied. “There is only Rage Dog. Do not make the same mistake I did.”

Rage Dog held up the squirmy bag. “To eat the last brain of an imperial dynasty, to obtain the knowledge that comes with countless generations of leadership…all of China will be mine.”

Junjie picked up one of the golden swords and pointed it at Bohai. “Release the Emperor, monster. Do so now and I will clap you in chains and lock you away where you can’t hurt anyone anymore. I will then spend the rest of my days searching for a cure, for some method of restoring Bohai’s soul to his former body.”

Rage Dog’s eyes traveled to his missing hand, then to the various holes and marks that permeated his body. “What makes you think Bohai would even want it now?”

“You are repeating my mistake, my son,” the Infallible Master warned. “No more negotiations. Finish him.”

Junjie studied Rage Dog’s face. “I know my brother is in there, somewhere…I just can’t…”

Thunk! The tip of General Tsang’s sword pierced its way through Rage Dog’s eyeball. The creature uttered a few last gaps then dropped the bag, only for it to be caught just in time by the general’s hand.

Rage Dog collapsed to the floor. He was no more. Once he was out of the way, the full figure of the general was revealed. The veteran warrior was soaked in the blood and brains of the many zombies he defeated out in the rain.

“You kung fu fighters are a sentimental lot, aren’t you?” General Tsang asked as he looked down at Rage Dog’s corpse. “Good think I didn’t know him that well.”

Ever so gently, the general placed the bag on the floor and opened it up. A very scared little boy popped out and attached himself to his protector like a barnacle on the hull of a ship.

“Tsang!”

“Yes, your majesty,” General Tsang said as he ran his hands through the boy’s hair. “Tsang is here now.”

“Come,” the Infallible Master said to Junjie. “There is more work outside.”

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And Now Zom Fu Returns…

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Hey 3.5 readers.

BQB here.

Yeah, it’s unfortunate I ended up taking a little hiatus on Zom Fu.  Ironically, I did so right at the end.

When last we left our epic tale, Junjie had just defeated Dragonhand, the Master of the Clan of the Terrifyingly Unnatural Brain Bite.

It’s pretty much cleanup from now on, just the the final chapters where we learn what happens to our heroes after the story concludes.

Good news!  That means I should have another draft of a novel done within a month, perhaps sooner depending on how much time I can put into it.

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Zom Fu – Chapter 57

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Dragonhand wasted no time. He delivered ten slaps to Junjie’s stomach and another nine slaps to Junjie’s chest. Junjie grabbed Dragonhand’s hand before the tenth slap was landed, saving himself from explosion via the mystifying monkey slap.

“Knowledge is power,” Dragonhand said as he seized Junjie and flipped him into the air. “But experience is essential. So many have died due to the knowledge I have stolen from the brains of China’s greatest kung fu masters. How many have died at your hand?”

Junjie launched himself into the air and brought his arm down in a furious fox paw arc. The fiend stepped out of the way, leaving Junjie to crack marble floor with his fist.

The Infallible Master watched from a vantage point next to the Dragon Throne. “You were always so boastful, Longwei.”

Dragonhand ignored the old man and charged at Junjie. Junjie attempted to jump over Dragonhand, but his foot was caught by his adversary. He was flung ten feet across the throne room, but managed to right himself and land on his feet.

“Impressive,” Dragonhand said as he looked into Junjie’s eyes. “I see such hatred in your eyes.”

“Pay him no mind, disciple,” the master said.

“Why do you despise me so?” Dragonhand asked as he pointed at the ghost. “Because I killed that doddering old fool?”

Punch and deflect. Punch and deflect. The opponents became locked in a frustrating struggle, catching one another’s fists over and over. Dragonhand swept his foot underneath Junjie’s leg, knocking the young man on his back. Junjie sprang to his feet instantly.

“Gratitude is in order,” Dragonhand said. “He would have eventually found a way to hold you back, just as he did me.”

“I never held you back, Longwei,” the master said.

Dragonhand looked at the ghost. “Shut up.”

“The truth disturbs you, Longwei?” the master asked.

Taking advance of a distracted foe, Junjie bicycle kicked his way across the room, connecting his feet to Dragonhand’s face seven times. Once he regained his footing, Dragonhand hurled himself at the hero and brought both hands down against the side’s of Junjie’s throat.

The Devastating Crane Smash. Junjie felt its effects instantly. He fell to the ground. His face turned blue as he gasped for air. Dragonhand smiled as he walked in a circle around his opponent.
“And now you’ll know who your best student was, old man,” Dragonhand said as he raised his fist up high, preparing to bring it down on Junjie’s head.

“His name is Junjie, Longwei,” the master said.

Dragonhand turned to the master again. “Never say that name to me again!”

“What name?” the master asked. “Longwei?”

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Zom Fu – Chapter 57

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“Perhaps the Emperor is in the treasury!” the Whirlwind said as he ran down the hallway next to Niu. “If I were hiding the greatest human alive, I would surely lock him up in the treasury…around all those nice gold coins.”

“You are the worst brother in arms, ever,” Niu said.

“Ah,” the Whirlwind replied. “You called me a brother. I’m growing on you, just as Club Fu will.”

“It’s just an expression,” Niu said.

The duo turned a corner and found themselves face to face with Rage Dog, who was seething with anger.

“Bohai,” Niu said.

“There is no Bohai,” Rage Dog said. “There is only Rage Dog.”

Niu perused his former compatriot. He saw the missing hand, the hole in the gut, the sword. “Where is the Emperor?”

“His brain is the property of Dragonhand,” Rage Dog said. “Master of the Clan of the Terrifyingly Unnatural Brain Bite, the Next Ruler of China and the only one wise enough to have ever recognized my talent.”

Niu looked into Rage Dog’s eyes. “I always recognized your talent, brother.”

Rage Dog tilted his head. “You did?”

“Of course, Bohai.”

The undead warrior covered his ears. “No!”

“Your cockiness did you in, brother,” Niu said. “But it may not be too late. Come, Bohai, we must…”

Rage Dog gritted his teeth and snarled. He whacked the hilt of General Tsang’s sword against his chest three times, then shouted at a deafening level, “Bohai is not here anymore! There is only Rage Dog!”

Niu cocked his head to the right and left, cracking the muscles in his neck. He raised his faces. “A shame. I did so love him.”

The undead warrior pointed the sword at Niu. The Whirlwind threw up his hands. “Alright then, I can see you two have some things to work out so I will just scurry along.”

“Leave,” Niu said. “A novice would be instantly bested here.”
The Whirlwind gasped. “Well, if you’re going to insult my pride then maybe I’ll just…”

Pow! Rage Dog slammed the Whirlwind in the face with a mighty kick. The blow was so strong that it knocked the thief through a wall and into a nearby room, where he landed on the floor and became buried underneath a pile of rubble in an unconscious state.

“Some people never listen to good advice,” Niu said.

“No, they do not,” Rage Dog replied.

Rage Dog struck first – a swift kick to Niu’s stomach. Like a rock, Niu barely moved. The big man countered with a punch that knocked Rage Dog back several feet. The opponents fought for several minutes – kicking and punching, kicking and punching. Rage Dog sent several sword swipes in Niu’s direction, but all were easily sidestepped.

“I’m starting to believe you, beast,” Niu said. “Bohai isn’t in you anymore.”

“What makes you say that?” Rage Dog asked.

Niu swept his foot underneath Rage Dog’s ankle and hooked it, tripping his adversary and sending him to the ground. The creature lost his grip on the sword and it skittered across the floor.

“Bohai wouldn’t have allowed that to happen,” Niu said as he stood over Rage Dog’s body and looked down.

Rage Dog flipped up to his feet. The opponents looked at the sword on the ground, then at each other. Instantly, they dove for it, punching and kicking one another as they reached for the weapon.

“Enough!” Niu said as he pointed General Tsang’s sword at Rage Dog. “This ends now!”

“No,” Rage Dog said as he backed up…and up…and up. “This ends…

With his one and only hand, Rage Dog formed a tiger claw, then began running at Niu. “…when I say it does!”

“Don’t make me do this!” Niu shouted.

Thunk! Rage Dog impaled himself on General Tsang’s sword, but it didn’t matter. His tiger claw pinched up and down, getting closer and closer to Niu’s face. Niu clutch the hilt of the sword with both hands and strained to keep the monster back until…the lights went out.

Niu had never cried out in pain before. He’d always accepted injury as an inevitable part of life, something to be experienced with dignity. But this was unlike any pain he’d ever felt in his life. His brain had been saved, but not before Rage Dog’s tiger claw pinched its way through his eyes, tearing them out completely. The giant tumbled backward and fell, releasing his grip on the sword as he did.
Rage Dog yanked the sword out of his stomach and ran, anxious to seek out the Emperor.

“Ungh.” In the nearby room, the Whirlwind stirred. “I’ve been trampled by horses with more decorum, I tell you.”

The thief pushed a few bricks off of his body then arose and stepped out of the hole his airborne carcass had made moments earlier. He shook his head, looked around, then spotted Niu on the ground.

“Oh, sure, you lecture me about discipline but here you are taking a nap,” the Whirlwind said. “I have half a mind to…”

The thief stopped mid-sentence when he saw that Niu was now unconscious, and his eye sockets were bloody and bare.”

“That’s not good,” the Whirlwind said. The thief squatted down, slapped Niu on the cheek a few times, then snapped his fingers in front of Niu’s face. “Baldy! Is anyone in there?”

The Whirlwind stood up, then looked down at Niu and held up two fingers. “How many fingers are in the air?”

No response. The Whirlwind stood over Niu’s body for awhile, utterly stupefied as to what his next move should be until…crash!

A window in the hall way broke. Then another, and another. Six in total. Dozens of zombified warriors poured into the palace. They marched down the hallway toward the Whirlwind and Niu, hungry for the living meat that was before them.

The Whirlwind grabbed Niu’s hands and attempted to drag the giant. All manner of grunting and groaning sounds were made as the thief strained his muscles to the limit. “Come on, baldy! Work with me here.”

The zombies growled.

“Bah!” the Whirlwind said as he dropped Niu’s arms. “Just my luck to be stuck with the only kung fu warrior in the country that needs to go on a diet!”

The zombies approached closer.

“Back!” the Whirlwind shouted as he brandished his club. “Stand back, you lousy wretches or I’ll bonk the lot of you!”

The zombies surrounded the Whirlwind and his hefty charge.

“You want this man, you’ll have to go through me!”

More growls.

“Well,” the Whirlwind said. “I didn’t say the subject wasn’t up for negotiation. Any chance you all might just have a quick nibble off this fellow while I saunter my way out of here, no questions asked?”

“Blurgh!” shouted an angry zombie.

“Come on, chums,” the Whirlwind said. “Look at him. He’s massive. You’d have to be a bunch of bloody pigs if you want to eat him AND me in one sitting.”

“Bragah ragh!” screamed an impatient zombie.

The Whirlwind nodded and brandished his club once more. “Right then. So as I was just saying ever so heroically, if you want this man, then you’ll have to come through me!”

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Zom Fu – Chapter 55

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The lightning flowed into the Staff of Ages and surged with in it. Dragonhand laughed maniacally. “Muah ha ha! When everyone is dead, China shall be mine!”

The clicking of a tongue broke the fiend’s concentration. “Tsk, tsk, tsk. My worst student. Do you not realize that if everyone is dead, there will be nothing left in China that is worth ruling? How very sad the irony is lost on you.”

Dragonhand looked the ghost before him. “Yaozu, you pathetic has-been. You look so much better this way.”

“I admit the look has grown on me,” the Infallible Master replied.

Junjie stepped up next to his master. The fiend laughed and laughed and laughed.

“What?” Dragonhand asked. “You’ve brought your weakling for me to finish him off?”

Junjie laughed. The Infallible Master laughed. Dragonhand laughed. The lightning continued to pour in from the ceiling and down into the Staff of Ages as the trio shared a guffaw.

Fwoosh! Junjie’s fist caught on fire. He formed a fire ball in his hands. He caressed it, packed it as if it were a snowball. It grew larger and larger until finally, he hurled it at his adversary. Dragonhand knocked the ball out of air with a fire ball of his own.

“What the?” was the best response Dragonhand was able to muster.

A powerful stream of fire poured of of Junjie’s right hand. Dragonhand deflected the attack with another fire stream. The opponents pushed their flames toward one another, desperately trying to gain ground until….KABOOM! The flames exploded in the center of the throne room.

“My, my, my,” Dragonhand said. “Whose brain have you been nibbling on, boy?”

“The Staff of Ages did not select you, for obvious reasons,” the Infallible Master said. “I’ll have you return it to its rightful owner, if you please.”

“Oh, who cares what you want, old man,” Dragonhand said. “Why are you still here, anyway? Too much of a coward to face Diyu?”

“Perhaps,” the Infallible Master replied. “Then again, perhaps I’m too honorable to leave this world without rectifying the mistake I left behind.”

Junjie raised his flaming fists.

“Ahh,” Dragonhand said. “You violated your sacred duty as the jailer of Shaoshang, didn’t you, Yaozu? And now, in seeking to destroy me, you have unleashed an even more dangerous monster.”

“There isn’t a monster on this earth more dangerous than you,” the Infallible Master replied.

“With all of the horrors that lurk within Shaoshang’s brain, it would be impossible for any man to consume it without becoming a sadistic creature,” Dragonhand said.

“Junjie is the greatest student I have ever had…”

Dragonhand snarled as he shot a fireball that passed right through the old man’s ghost form. “I was the best student you ever had!”

“Clearly you weren’t or you would not be dishonoring me as you do now,” the Infallible Master said.

“Clearly I was and you were just too much of a senile old fool to recognize it!” Dragonhand said.

“Junjie is the best student I ever had,” the Infallible Master repeated. “And he is the best man I have ever known. Shaoshang’s madness does not importune his senses one iota.”

Dragonhand returned his gaze to the Staff of Ages. The purple ruby grew brighter and brighter. “Fools. I’ll waste no more time on a dead man…or a boy soon to be dead.”

Lightning struck the Staff of Ages over and over again.

“Yes,” the Infallible Master said. “Take the easy way out, as you always do, as you always have done.”

Dragonhand’s interested was piqued. “The easy way?”

“My worst student could never possibly defeat my best student in a fair fight,” the Infallible Master said.

The fiend looked at Junjie, then at the Staff. “Damn you, Yaozu!”

The lightning stopped pouring in from the roof. The fiend pointed the staff at his old master. “I will show you once and for all who your best student was!”

“I’m counting on it,” the Infallible Master said.

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Zom Fu – Chapter 53

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General Tsang stepped slowly along the roof of the palace, taking care to not lose his footing, for the Emperor’s little hands were clinging around his neck. From this height, the general was able to see for miles in any direction. He was so far up that the humans and zombies below appeared like tiny ants fighting one another.
Thunderclaps roared and lightning bolts streaked through the clouds, lighting up the sky with each occurrence. Rain began to pour.
“Don’t worry, Your Majesty,” the general said as he stepped to the ledge. There, a long line of bright, glowing lanterns began. They were strung all the way down in a diagonal line to the army barracks, less than half a mile away.
The general took off his belt. “Now, you’ll want to close your eyes, because the key is to not look down…”

“Stop!”

General Tsang turned around. Rage Dog and Bingwen had made it to the roof, along with their respective zombie warriors and palace guards.

The sword Rage Dog carried in his last remaining hand caught the general’s eye.

“That isn’t yours,” General Tsang said. “It’s my family’s ancestral relic, passed down through the ages and wielded by a number of men far better than you. It’s killed better men too.”

The Emperor poked his little face up above the general’s shoulder, caught a brief glimpse of Rage Dog, then ducked behind his champion.

“Hand over the boy,” Rage Dog said.

“He is not yours, either,” General Tsang replied. “You are his.” The general turned his attention to Rage Dog’s assorted flunkies. “All of you are his, for he carries the Mandate of Heaven and with it, the sacred birth right to rule over China.”

“Do it or die,” Rage Dog said.

“Bingwen!” the general said. “You bring shame on your ancestors.”

“My ancestors are dead,” Bingwen said. “Life is for the living, for those who are willing to do what needs to be done in order to live for as long as possible.”

Thunderclap! The sky lit up with lightning. The rain poured harder. Rage Dog and the general strained their eyes to see one another through the drops. Their hair and clothing became sopping wet.

“Well, there’s only one of me and at least twenty of you,” the general said. “I will have to…”
The general put up his fists. “…kill you all!”

Rage Dog pointed at the old man. “Seize him!”

Bingwen, the zombies, and the palace guards approached with weapons drawn. The thunder rolled and the lightning grew brighter and brighter until….BLAM! A massive beam of light shot down from the heavens, vaporized all of the attackers save for Rage Dog, and tore a giant hole through the palace roof. The beam was so bright that neither Rage Dog nor the general dared look at it.

The general seized the opportunity. “Hold on, Your Majesty!” General Tsang lept into the air, caught the line with his belt and then…pop, pop, pop! Each lantern exploded as the belt delivered the general and his charge on down the line.

Rage Dog kept his back turned on the light. He stood and sneered, then remembered Dragonhand’s warning: “If you fail me, kill yourself and save me the trouble.”

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Zom Fu – Chapter 52

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Near the steps of the Imperial Palace, three terra-cotta soldier statues stood ever so stoically, serving as tributes to warriors who had fallen in the past in the name of the Emperor. Their eyes were bright red sapphires, a bounty that the Whirlwind was unable to resist.

“Come on, you bugger,” the Whirlwind said as he jammed a dagger underneath one of the sapphires and attempted to pry it out. “Just a little…there!”

The Whirlwind stared longingly at the treasure in his hand, only to be interrupted by a cold, undead hand on his shoulder.

“Bah!” the Whirlwind said as he bashed the zombie on the head with his club. “Can’t you see I’m busy?”

“Rarrrgh!” Niu cried as he lifted another undead warrior over his head and tossed it into the night sky. “There are more important things to be busy with!”

“I was promised loot!” the Whirlwind said as he began to work on prying out another sapphire.

A zombie jumped onto Niu’s back but was quickly thrown off. Another attacked from the front, but Niu managed to grip the beast by the face and jaw, allowing him to separate one for the other.

“I said I’d look the other way!” Niu shouted. “A feat that is growing more difficult the more you shirk your responsibilities!”

The Whirlwind rolled his eyes as a second sapphire eye dropped into his hand. “Oh alright, pansy!”

Thonk! Clonk! The Whirlwind bashed in the brains of countless zombies as a fireball whizzed just inches over his head. A zombie standing directly behind the thief was hit by the flame and was incinerated instantly.

“Hey!” the Whirlwind shouted at Junjie. The thief tapped his own head to make sure his locks will still there. “Watch it, will you? If you burn off all my hair and leave me like baldy here, the ladies will never touch me again.”

“You test my patience,” Niu said as he pummeled a zombie.

“Someone had to,” the Whirlwind replied as he bashed his club into an undead skull.

Crack! A bolt of lightning streaked through the sky, followed by a menacingly loud thunderclap.

With his ghostly frame, the Infallible Master walked right through his disciples, the zombies, even the various members of the Clan of the Mediocre Yet Effective Club Bonk. The old man reached the top step and looked into the sky, where more lightning bolts passed overhead, high above the palace.

“Children,” the Infallible Master said. “Time is of the essence!”

The Whirlwind’s associates formed a line near the middle of the palace steps, bonking any zombie that dared to pass. This allowed Junjie, Niu, and the Whirlwind to enter the palace with the master.

“Club fu saves the day!” the Whirlwind remarked.

“Now is not the time!” Niu hissed.

“Niu and Whirlwind, you must find the Emperor,” the master said. “Junjie, follow me.”

“But shouldn’t I help them find the Emperor?”

“This is more important,” the master said.

“What could be more important than the Emperor?” Junjie asked.

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Part 7 – Siege of the Forbidden City

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Dragonhand and the Clan of the Terrifyingly Unnatural Brain Bite lay siege to the Forbidden City.

General Tsang saves the Emperor in the nick of time.

Junjie, Niu, the Infallible Master and the Clan of the Mediocre Yet Effective Club Bonk arrive to beat back the zombie hordes.

Chapter 41          Chapter 42         Chapter 43

Chapter 44         Chapter 45         Chapter 46

Chapter 47         Chapter 48         Chapter 49

Chapter 50

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Zom Fu – Chapter 47

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The gates gave way and the Tsang’s soldiers were overrun. The Forbidden City became a whirlwind of bloodlust. The Clan of the Terrifyingly Unnatural Brain Bite reveled in ripping off the soldiers’ limbs and heads and of course, they gorged themselves on brains. Nourishment coursed through their veins as knowledge entered their brains.

Dragonhand entered the city, thrilled at what he’d accomplished after decades of preparation. The kung fu clans were destroyed. Now the Imperial Army was in ruin. The Imperial Guard would soon be next.

A desperate soldier flailed at the fiend with a battle axe. Dragonhand backhanded the soldier and sent him flying. More tried to take the brain bite clan master down. Arrows pierced Dragonhand’s flesh. Knives and swords were plunged into his body. None of it mattered. Dragonhand kept marching toward the Imperial Palace with great ease. Nothing was going to get in his way now.

Lickspittle caught up with his master. “Your victory is magnificent, oh great conquering one!”

“Here, toady,” Dragonhand said as he tossed his sidekick a brain he’d ripped out of a soldier’s head. “Don’t say I never gave you anything.”

“Oh!” Lickspittle proudly declared as he munched on the brain. “Thank you, oh generous one! I shall eat this in celebration of your triumph.”

Chaos ensued as Dragonhand’s minions and the few remaining soldiers clashed. Around a hundred zombified warriors joined their master. When they reached the palace, they were met by Bingwen, second-in-command of the Imperial Guard. He raised his hand and his guards pointed their spears at the undead rabble.

“Move or be moved,” Dragonhand said. “Be useful or be eaten. Join me or feed me. Make a choice and choose wisely but most importantly, choose wisely, for I am impatient and peckish.”

“Dragonhand,” Bingwen said. “I have received word from my superior, the honorable Captain Yuen, that he will agree to meet with you and you alone to negotiate terms of surrender.”

“Bring me the Emperor so I can eat his brain and maybe I’ll think about letting all of you keep yours,” Dragonhand said.

Bingwen gulped. “I am sorry, sir, but those are the terms set out by my commanding officer.”

Dragonhand sighed. “Thoughts, Lickspittle?”

The lackey’s eyes grew wide. “You seek my counsel, oh wondrous one?”

“Don’t let it go to your head, insect,” Dragonhand said. “You’re the closest thing I have to a second. Say something intelligent and surprise me.”

Lickspittle looked the guards over. “The Captain may be a coward willing to sell out the Emperor.”

The toady studied Bingwen’s face. “Then again, this could be a ploy to get you alone and overpower you.”

Dragonhand sneered at his subordinate. Lickspittle instinctively covered his face, then upon realizing he was not about to be struck, removed his arms and added, “As if anyone could overpower you, master. These pitiful humans would be fools to try.”

Bingwen coughed into his fist, then whispered something unintelligible. “Erza fistun.”

“What?” Dragonhand asked.

“Ahem,” Bingwen said before lowering his voice to a whisper and leaning into Dragonhand’s rotten ear. “It’s the first one. The Captain is womanly in his cowardice. I just can’t say this out loud in front of the men. Please come with me.”

Dragonhand grunted in disapproval. “Ergh.”

The fiend pushed Bingwen aside, then motioned for his horde to follow.

“But sir!” Bingwen said. “The captain specifically requested to speak to you alone.”

“You are all my dogs now,” Dragonhand said as he stepped into the palace. “I give the orders. You obey and do as you are told.”

Zombies and guards marched into the throne room as though they were equals.

“This is utterly disappointing, Lickspittle,” Dragonhand said.

“Why is that, oh frowny faced one?” Lickspittle asked. “This is a victory without a fight.”

“Yes,” Dragonhand said. “But I have dreamed so long about tearing apart the palace guard on my way to clawing out the Emperor’s brain that for them to just lay down and…what is this?”

Dragonhand stared at the dead body sitting on the dragon throne.

“Captain!” Bingwen said.

“Is this a trick?” Dragonhand asked.

“No,” Bingwen said as he shook his head back and forth.

“Search the palace!” Dragonhand shouted. “Bring me the Emperor! I want him alive.”

Zombies and guards obeyed and hurried off in all different directions. Lickspittle remained.

Dragonhand grabbed Yuen’s carcass and tossed it to the floor like so much trash.

“My throne has been soiled, Lickspittle,” Dragonhand said as he took a seat.

“And yet you look so regal sitting there,” Lickspittle said.

“Don’t ruin the moment,” Dragonhand said.

“But master,” Lickspittle said. “Surely, you…”

Dragonhand raised a pointer finger. “Shh. Stifle your mouth and allow me to enjoy this moment in peace.”

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Zom Fu – Chapter 44

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The little boy was four years old and just a bit over two feet tall. His bedroom was filled with vases, statues, paintings and other artistic riches. Golden sheets and pillows sat atop a bed that was large enough for a fully grown adult to get lost in, let alone a child. Further, the boy was dressed in the finest black and gold silks.

Ironically, though his decor was fancy, his personal interests were not.

“Ball!” the little boy said as he rolled a leather ball across the marble floor. When the ball reached the wall, it bounced back. The boy caught it, rolled it up to the wall and repeated the process.

“Hee hee,” the young one giggled. “Ball!”

A fist pounded on the door.

“Ball,” the boy said as he rolled his favorite toy again.

“Oh glorious one?” came the muffled voice of Nianzu from out in the hallway. “I humbly request an audience, please.”

The boy grew tired of rolling and switched his game up to throwing. He tossed the ball against the wall and caught it on the bounce back. “Hee hee! Ball!”

Nianzu tried again. “Unspeakable danger approaches, your majesty. We must get you to safety at once.”

Crash! The boy laughed as his ball smashed a thousand year old vase to smithereens.

“Is everything alright in there,  exalted one?” Nianzu asked.

The boy clapped his hands together, giving a stirring round of applause to the devastation he’d created. “Ball!”

Out in the hallway, the trio consulted one another.

“Should we just smash the door down?” Nianzu asked.

“And be executed for treason?” Tengfei inquired.

Nianzu shrugged. “It’s not like he actually knows what’s going on.”

Weiyuan and Tengfei’s mouthes dropped.

“Blasphemy!” Weiyuan cried.

“Sacrilege!” Tengfei shouted.

The duo dropped to their knees and started kowtowing towards the door.

“He does not speak for us, oh wondrous son of heaven!” Weiyuan cried.

“Kill him, exalted one!” Tengfei shouted. “Please spare us and kill him!”

Nianzu rolled his eyes. “Idiots.”

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