After their sparring, Liang asked Miralys if she'd like to go over to the Meditation Garden with him, which she eagerly agreed to. She had been feeling more and more of a connection to Liang, despite how little she knew of him, and she wanted to spend some time with him that wasn't centred around learning Sim Fu.
Over in the garden Miralys found herself tongue-tied, there was so much she wanted to ask Liang about himself but she couldn't seem to find the courage. Liang seemed just as nervous as she did but when he reached out and took her hand she felt a thrill run through her body.
After they had stood there for a while, holding hands and looking at each other, Miralys suggested they sit down and look at the stars.
"Somehow they seem so much brighter over here than back home, even though they are the same stars"
They sat in silence for a while, looking up at the stars, and then Liang cleared his throat "I like you very much Miralys, and I would dearly like to spend much more time with you, but your holiday is nearly over and there are things you must know before we think about taking this any further."
"What do you mean Liang? You're not married are you?"
"Oh no, nothing like that, it is all to do with history, but history is bound up in the present day also. Please, come to my house tomorrow and I will try to explain"
Miralys showed up at Liang's house the next day feeling incredibly nervous. She really liked Liang but he had been very mysterious the previous night and she didn't know what to make of that.
Sitting next to him on the sofa, Miralys asked what his mysterious comments the previous night had meant.
"You remember what I told you about the origins of Sim Fu?"
"Of course" said Miralys, "You said that an order of monks taught it to the townsfolk in order to defeat an evil warlord".
"Indeed, and it is true, but there is much much more to the story. Dong Hua was more than just an evil warlord, he was an enchanter of great power and when the Order defeated him he made a terrible bargain."
"A bargain with whom?" asked Miralys, "Not the monks surely?"
"Oh no, he made a bargain with a demon to escape the Order and the vengeance of the townsfolk, but demons are tricky and although he escaped the Order he could not escape what he had summoned."
"The demon possessed him?" gasped Miralys
"Oh yes, the Order were eventually able to imprison the demon but only after great loss of life and they were not able to kill either it or the body it possessed. Indeed, they were only able to imprison it with the help of a great dragon. The dragon gave up his form to release sufficient power to keep Dong Hua, and the demon possessing him, imprisoned until one should come who would be able to slay him. Have you seen the great dragon's head cave which overlooks the town?"
"Yes, it gave my the chills"
"That is all that is left of the dragon, and that is also where Dong Hua is imprisoned."
"Ok" said Miralys "so there's an evil undying warlord possessed by a demon locked up in a cave here. What does this have to do with us getting into any sort of relationship?"
"Both the dragon and the Order knew that despite all gtheir sacrifices they could not keep Dong Hua imprisoned forever without the bindings on his cave being kept strong through the ages. The Order of the Resolute Fist is still in existence today and Dong Hua is still a threat."
"Let me guess" interupted Miralys, "You're a member of this Order and so you can't leave. Not only that, but you think it's too dangerous for me to stay here with you so this can only be a fling. Have I got it right?"
"Almost" replied Liang, "I'm actually the grandmaster of the Order and my mother Abi is our strongest seer. There's no-one else ready now to take on the leadership if I were to leave and my mother has foreseen that Dong Hua will try to rise again in my generation. When he does this whole valley will be at risk and if we don't stop him so will the whole world."
"It's your decision to make if you want to stay but it is also tradition in the Order that our families are raised away from Shang Simla so that if the worst happens and those of us here are slain there will be those who will be able take our places."
Miralys sat there for a few minutes in silence before putting her arm around Liang. "If we've only got today before I go back, and regardless of the danger here I can't leave my parents to bring up my niece alone, then lets make the most of the time we have and leave the future to take care of itself"
Having said that, she leaned over and kissed Liang soundly.
Getting up from the sofa, she whispered in Liang's ear...
And the two of them adjourned to his bedroom where things took a fairly predictable course...