So, today, I wanted to post an excerpt again, this time from my children's novel that I talked about before, Country of Dragons. As I said before, I'm really attached to the story because not only do I believe that it's my best work aimed for younger readers, its setting is based on Chinese culture, which is the culture of my parents. Although I can barely understand the native language of my parents let alone follow along the traditions of my Chinese heritage, I do have pride in my Chinese American heritage and wanted to show it some way. With the exception of my Silverwest Manor Trilogy, at least some of the major characters of some of my other stories are Chinese, or Asian in descent.
The story behind the novel this excerpt came from, as I said in previous posts, is about a little girl living in a world like our own, only more steampunk, sci-fi like, where everything is fashioned late 1800s to early 1900s. When the girl's master suddenly gains unexpected guests, the girl, Xiao Mei, ends up journeying across the country. She'll meet a whole array of unique characters, some not even human. And eventually, she'll get bombarded with bombshells of unexpected truths. You can find out what those truths are by checking out the full novel on Amazon.com.
Now for the excerpt. I actually originally published it on Hubpages, but there hasn't been any traffic on it recently, so I put it on this blog instead. Enjoy.
Chief, or better known as The Monkey to members of his triad clan, hoisted what he was certain was the little girl over his shoulders after knocking her out with a neat little neck-pinch trick that he learned from a story on television. She was as light as a feather, despite being limp in his arms.
With his discerning eyes, The Monkey recognized the former empress in her disguise, although it was a very near miss. She was a cunning fox, as to be expected of the former empress of the Zhang Empire. All her years of politics have given her a keen sense and intelligence.
As soon as he realized the relationship between his captives and Miss Lin's guest, a plan formed in his mind for her capture, as he still needed her to complete the set that was to be delivered to the new emperor. And Black Raven's challenge gave him the perfect opportunity to carry it out. No one would suspect that he was the one who knocked out the power as the thief would be the likely culprit. They were all none the wiser when he hit the key on his computer that triggered the electric power to short circuit.
Of course, the adult empress would be trouble to try and snatch away, but the little girl, apprentice to one of his captives, would be no trouble at all. She was just a little squirt. What could she possibly do against the power of adults anyway? And the little princess would provide the perfect bait to get them all to play into his hands. And she would serve as good incentive to keep his still-captives in line in case some of them might be getting funny ideas.
The Monkey quietly swerved around the panicked occupants of the room like a ballroom dancer. He knew that training in blind martial arts was worth something and not a total waste of time like he felt it was during the days of his youth. Now, he was feeling a little bit guilty about having the old fool attacked, kidnapped, and abandoned in the middle of a vast forest wearing nothing but under loins in the middle of the night after all the insults that The Monkey had to endure during his training. But the rescuers were able to find the blind guy okay. Eventually.
With his enhanced senses of hearing and feeling, he was able to avoid contact with the others. Knowing that it was only a matter of time before that phoenix decides to torch the place, The Monkey rushed as much as he could before bumping his back against the door. Because of the noise that was already present, no one heard the doors open and shut after a touch-search for the door handles.
Traveling through the hallway dimly lit by the moon and the blazing color of nightly street life, he was met with no opposition as the police were no doubt in a panic trying to intercept the thief at numerous possible places he could be. Having served the Dragon's Rose for a couple of years, added with a deeply superior sense of direction and intelligence, The Monkey knew the layout of the building by heart. He wisely avoided places he knew had invaluable treasures and artwork close by, sticking to what his employer had called "bland but comfortable" settings. His footsteps against the red-carpet floor were drowned by commotion outside.
Out the back where deliveries were usually dropped off at the building, three large, stereotypical rough-looking men were waiting. Three police officers lay at their feet. From the large space of concrete that they occupied, the clamor of Black Raven's fans and the audience could be heard loud and clear. Their excitable chatter drowned out what would normally be the waves of water sloshing against the ancient stone barriers of the canal. That was the one bad thing about Black Raven's appearance. The Monkey always did enjoy listening to the splish-splashing of the canal's waters. It is this sound that usually lulled the triad leader to sleep at night after a tough day of ruling the country's criminal underworld and terrorizing the masses that dared to oppose his group.
"Please tell me they didn't see your faces," The Monkey said, resisting the urge to cross his arms, which would have resulted in dropping the little girl, while ignoring the chill of night that dug into his bones. Cloudless nights were especially cold this time of the year as a sign of winter's approach. He just couldn't understand how police officers and goons were able to handle such cold on a nightly basis. But then again, they wouldn't be police or useful goons if they couldn't handle it.
"Don't worry, Boss," said the biggest of the three goons, and the brightest, though not by much. "We made sure to knock them out real quiet-like, like a ninja. They didn't see what was coming."
The Monkey took one look at his goons, then to the unconscious policemen. He sighed, knowing that he'll just have to take their word for it. If all went wrong, they would pay by becoming scapegoats.
"Whatever," he said, finally, with a shrug. "Just take the girl."
The goons complied like the mindless drones they were. In spite of being the largest, the leader of the goons, a bearded man with watermelon muscles bulging against his shirt, was very delicate in his treatment of the unconscious little girl. He cradled the child in his arms like a mother would hold her infant and was careful not to let her limbs droop.
Nodding with satisfaction, The Monkey turned to the others. "Now, you two tie me up, gag me, and put me next to those cops."
"Are you sure you want us to do this?" said the second biggest goon, a bald man sporting the bushiest mustache that The Monkey had ever seen. And he's seen some very bushy mustache in his days.
"Yes, I want you to do this!" The Monkey shouted. He froze and glanced sideways to the still-sleeping girl and then to the policemen on the ground. One of them was curled up in the fetal position sucking his thumb. In a lower voice, he repeated: "Yes, I want you to do this! If I don't turn up tied up, it'll defeat the whole purpose of this whole plan!"
"If you're sure," said the dumb brute with an uncertain shrug. He pulled out a white rag from the back pocket of his trousers and wound it around his employer's mouth. While he did that, the youngest of the goons, with the longest hair and the green skin and black eyes of a merman, pulled out rope from the faded duffel bag he was carrying and wrapped the coil around The Monkey. Despite having webbed feet and fingers, the merman's work was quick and without problems.
"But I gotta tell ya, Boss," said Good No. 2. "This all came at such short notice that we didn't have time to find a cleaner rag. We were just about to start laundry when we got the call."
So how do you like it? If you're interested you can check out the whole story by clicking HERE.