Blood Ties, Chapter 9: Unexpected Reunion

Last time on Blood Ties, everyone not named Meilin journeyed through the jungle and got captured by the Tergesh. Will they escape? Find out after the cut.

“How do you know your way through the Maze?” Meilin asked Xue as the old woman unhesitatingly chose to go left at the next intersection of paths. Her pack was so tall that from behind she looked like a mass of pots and pans with legs, but each bit of metal was carefully tied and separated, so that they made hardly any noise.

While the rest of the party was busy getting captured by the Tergesh, Meilin and Xue travel through the Great Bamboo Maze toward the South Fort. Unfortunately, they run into troubles of their own. And by “troubles”, I mean “Conqueror-supervised foresters and ninjas”.

Luckily, Jhi puts her BATTLE PANDA powers to good use … by knocking out ninjas with an uprooted bamboo plant and weaving a wall out of bamboo. This manages to keep the Conquerors away for a while.

After the fight, Xue gives Meilin directions to the South Fort and runs off because she has business elsewhere. Oh, and she reveals that she has a spirit animal of her own: a mouse named Zap.

The South Fort was half a mile farther along the path, past several intersections. Though still inside the Maze, it was built in a small, shallow valley where many paths met. Meilin came out of the shadow of the bamboo and looked out across the open expanse of bare earth, down to the cluster of huts behind a wooden palisade below. Though there was bamboo forest all around the valley, she still felt cheered to be out of the Maze, at least for now.

Meilin finally reaches the South Fort, where she’s met by a group of soldiers. Unfortunately, they’ve been ordered to kill all non-uniformed intruders on sight, and they don’t believe that Meilin is General Teng’s daughter. Thankfully, one of the soldiers has a brain and decides to escort Meilin to her father anyway.

Hooray! Meilin found her father! And they’re going to have tea and talk about stuff! But that doesn’t happen, because the Conquerors reach the fort. Teng forces Meilin to escape to Pharsit Nang, where a contingent of Greencoaks (the party) are located. Meilin doesn’t want to rejoin the Greencloaks, but she leaves after much urging.

——————–
Stuff I Forgot to Mention Above:
Meilin recognizes some of the Conquerors in the Maze from the sack of Jano Rion.

Zhongese soldiers wear crimson armor.

General Chin, Teng’s friend and aide who attended Meilin’s bonding ceremony in the first book, shows up again to give Meilin directions to Pharist Nang.

Teng knows of Xue. According to him, Xue is a former Greencloak. We’ll learn more about her past later.

Teng and Chin seem to be aware of something strange regarding Meilin. Teng wants to discuss something with Meilin, and Chin has a troubling thought about how the Conquerors got their intel on the Southern Fort. This won’t be resolved until the fifth book. (Unless you’ve already read the spoilers in the comments a few chapters back.)

It takes two days to reach Pharsit Nang from the South Fort.

Because I Can:
Here’s someone else who’s really excited to meet his father:

——————–

Next time: The party finally realizes that Rollan has scarlet fever.

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