Long, long ago there lived a great Chinese Empress who succeeded her brother the Emperor Fuki. It was the age of giants, and the Empress Jokwa, for that was her name, was twenty-five feet high, nearly as tall as her brother. She was a wonderful woman, and an able ruler.
There is an interesting story of how she mended a part of the broken heavens and one of the terrestrial pillars which upheld the sky, both of which were damaged during a rebellion raised by one of King Fuki’s subjects.
The rebel’s name was Kokai. He was twenty-six feet high. His body was entirely covered with hair, and his face was as black as iron. He was a wizard and a very terrible character indeed. When the Emperor Fuki died, Kokai was bitten with the ambition to be Emperor of China, but his plan failed, and Jokwa, the dead Emperor’s sister, mounted the throne. Kokai was so angry at being thwarted in his desire that he raised a revolt. His first act was to employ the Water Devil, who caused a great flood to rush over the country. This swamped the poor people out of their homes, and when the Empress Jokwa saw the plight of her subjects, and knew it was Kokai’s fault, she declared war against him.
Now Jokwa, the Empress, had two young warriors called Hako and Eiko, and the former she made General of the front forces. Hako was delighted that the Empress’s choice should fall on him, and he prepared himself for battle. He took up the longest lance he could find and mounted a red horse, and was just about to set out when he heard some one galloping hard behind him and shouting,
“Hako! Stop! The general of the front forces must be I!” He looked back and saw Eiko his comrade, riding on a white horse, in the act of unsheathing a large sword to draw upon him. Hako’s anger was kindled, and as he turned to face his rival he cried,
“Insolent wretch! I have been appointed by the Empress to lead the front forces to battle. Do you dare to stop me?”
“Yes,” answered Eiko. “I ought to lead the army. It is you who should follow me.”
At this bold reply Hako’s anger burst from a spark into a flame.
“Dare you answer me thus? Take that,” and he lunged at him with his lance.
But Eiko moved quickly aside, and at the same time, raising his sword, he wounded the head of the General’s horse. Obliged to dismount, Hako was about to rush at his antagonist, when Eiko, as quick as lightning, tore from his breast the badge of commandership and galloped away.
The action was so quick that Hako stood dazed, not knowing what to do. The Empress had been a spectator of the scene, and she could not but admire the quickness of the ambitious Eiko, and in order to pacify the rivals she determined to appoint them both to the Generalship of the front army.
So Hako was made commander of the left wing of the front army, and Eiko of the right. One hundred thousand soldiers followed them and marched to put down the rebel Kokai.
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I couldn’t resist commenting. Exceptionally well written!