Romance of the Three Kingdoms: Fire and Steel



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Tsuyu Tsuyu

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Hello KHI! This is my first fanfic here in these forums.

This is based on a literary classic of the Chinese historical fiction "Sanguo Yanyi", or better known as "The Romance of The Three Kingdoms." but on an anachronistic setting. A pseudo-futuristic steampunk setting told from the view on one of the most prominent figures of the Shu-Han or Shu Kingdom, Liao Hua.

I hope you'll all enjoy this one as much as I did writing it. Thank you!


=========================================

Chapter 1

War…

Mankind’s ultimate struggle, a clash of factions and ideals to whom will take its rightful place.

Whether be to uphold of benevolence, succession or power---all will fall into chaos.

In these three lifetimes, I have seen the chaos sifted through man's true nature.

In this chaos, there are no villains, no heroes---no saints, no demons. Only two kinds of men that existed…

Those who fought for survival.

And those who fought for supremacy.

In these three lifetimes, I have seen benevolent causes wither into corrupted husks, great men become vile monsters, life-long comrades become bitter adversaries, and great kingdoms toppled in one fell swoop.

Such is war… Such is the result of the chaos that enveloped the land.

Even having already lived for so long, I fear that this chaos will never end…

In this land of fire and steam, rock and steel, machine and gunpowder... Such is chaos is the norm.

I am Liao Hua Yuanjian, also known as Chun.

Son, Hired gun, Marksman, Warrior, General… and a Father…

This is how it all came to be.


------------------------------------------------------------------------


The end of the Han Dynasty drew close and was now standing on its last legs. Since the death of the last Han emperor, the corrupted eunuchs took advantage of the commotion and consolidated themselves the absolute authority over the emperor’s court. Placing their own puppet emperor upon the throne, the youngest child of the previous emperor, no older than 10 years of age.

Upon seizing power, the eunuchs used their absolute authority as they see fit. The result was catastrophic; they sought to place nobles that favored them into high-ranking positions and diverted every riches of every commandery unto their pockets. Worse, they would force the common folk into levying their money, their lands, livelihoods and even take their daughters and wives to be unwilling consorts to the eunuchs and to the child emperor.

The land was thrown into poverty, the common folk suffered mass starvation because there was nothing to eat. The iron and machine industry and agriculture, the lifeblood of the empire grind into a halt, forcing laborers unto war factories and arms manufacturing. People who could not afford the money were forced out of cities and into wilds, making the cities themselves exclusive to nobles only.

Upon the rampant years of crisis and abuse of power from the eunuchs, the people could only be pushed so far. A former religious sect, called the “Way of Peace” rallied the oppressed common folk, farmers, and laborers; arming them with weapons and ordnance plundered from the empire’s war factories. And thus announcing themselves as the “Yellow Scarves”, the ones who would ultimately brought the Han Dynasty to its complete downfall.

The Yellow Scarves were lead by their powerful and religious icon, Zhang Jue. With the combined might and sheer numbers, they easily overpowered even elite mobile armor battalions of the empire. Soon, many of the soldiers from the empire would defect in droves in hopes of toppling the corrupt rule of the eunuchs once and for all.

The Yellow Scarves were viewed as the saviors, with their ideals, they were easily idolized by the many. But it did not take long before the common folk themselves saw their true faces. They were just as corrupt as the eunuchs were, and sought to take advantage of the crisis to also seize absolute power.

While their cause was just and benevolent, their ranks do not share the same views. Most of the Yellow Scarves were just using its core ideals to their rampant plundering and banditry. Villages were looted and burned down, innocents killed, and women kidnapped and raped.

What started as a beacon of hope, became a far greater evil, worse than the eunuchs themselves. With the eunuchs on the capital and the Yellow Scarves running rampant, the land was torn, plunging it deeper unto chaos. Hope was but a myth and out of reach…

------------------------------------------------------------------

Xiangyang, Jing Province


The Yellow Scarves came unannounced one morning at a village in Xiangyang. All of them were armed to the teeth, with DRAGON mobile armors, and Ironsteed all-terrain vehicles. With an unrelenting charge, they stormed the village and gunned down anyone in their way.

This was not even a military outpost, just a humble village of farmers and hunters. They were unarmed and defenseless, and yet they were gunned down without remorse and in cold-blood. Those who survived the onslaught were taken as prisoners.

Yellow Scarf Grunt
“Sir, we’ve pretty much asked the survivors. They’ve never head of the one we’re looking for.”

Zhang Mancheng
“Our scouts indicated that this place was the last place Liao Yun was found. I want him find! Kill those who resist! Go!”

Zhang Mancheng, one of the known generals of the Yellow Scarves came unto the village in search of Liao Yun. Liao Yun was a former elite general of the previous emperor, known for his legendary marksmanship, he was one of the best soldiers the Han had ever produced. They came for the purpose of forcibly enlisting him unto their ranks.

Zhang Mancheng
“You there!”

He suddenly stopped an beaten-up elderly man being dragged by his men at the middle of the street.

Zhang Mancheng
“Where is Liao Yun? Our source say he lived here. Where is he?”

Elderly Man
“I don’t know…! We’re just a small community of farmer--”

Before the elderly man could reason with him, Mancheng instantly put a bullet between the man’s eyes, killing him.

Zhang Mancheng
“Grr… useless! Find him!!! Question everyone in here!!!”

Furious, he yelled at his men their orders, desperate to find their target. He would then face each survivor with the same question, and yet most of them just claiming that they have not heard the name before. He would beat them senseless and sometimes just kill them depending on their answer.

Meanwhile at a nearby blind spot, three individuals hid away from plain sight. A family of three which composed of a young man in barely in his teens, a mother and a little girl, the three were waiting for an opportunity to escape the hostage situation. The young man would just grit his teeth, as he was forced to watch their neighbors being beaten and even killed, while the mother kept the girl in her arms.

Yixing
“Mommy, I’m scared.”

Hui Furen
“Hush… Yixing. We’re getting out of here, your brother will get us out.”

Lady Hui comforted her daughter, trying her best to be strong in front of her daughter.

Hui Furen
“Chun… Is it safe to get out now?”

Chun
“Hold on for a bit longer, mother. As soon as we see an opening…”

Focusing on the task ahead, Chun kept a watchful eye on the troop movements. From the looks of it, they could outrun the grunts, but their problem was the Dragon mobile armors. These bipedal humanoid tanks can easily surround them if they are not careful.

Chun
<“We need something that could at least outrun them… Ah! That’s right! Father’s old Ironsteed bike is still under the garage. If I can use that…”>

His mind sparked an idea. Their house was not too far from here, if he can just sneak by then make his way towards their garage, he can acquire his late father’s Ironsteed. It might be old, but it would be enough to outrun the Dragon units.

Hui Furen
“Chun where are you going?”

Chun
“Mother, stay here with Yixing. I need to sneak by and head to our garage and use father’s Ironsteed.”

Hui Furen
“By yourself!?”

Chun
“Mother please… This is the only option we have. Just wait for me here. I’ll come back.”

He gave a word of reassurance to his mother. Chun was not planning to die nor captured, his mind was set. After a bit of hesitation, Lady Hui had no choice but to trust in her son’s capabilities.

Hui Furen
“Alright, but be careful. I have lost your father, I am NOT losing you too. Please…”

Chun
“I promise, mother.”

Yixing
“Brother… come back to Yixing.”

Chun
“Mhmhm… Of course, brother’s gonna save little Yixing. So behave and wait for brother and stay with mother, okay?”

Yixing
“Mmh!”

Giving both their blessings unto him. Chun cocked his gun just in case and then quietly sneaked across the street. Since Dragon Units have a blind spot on their radar behind them, Chun easily circumvented behind them. Thanks to his training with his late father, Chun has been able to utilized his athleticism and agility.

Not before long, he finally reached their house at the back section. He carefully moved a stack of crates that hid a secret valve door towards their underground garage. He quickly slipped in unnoticed and carefully closed it.

-----------------------------------​

Underground Garage, Liao Residence


As soon as Chun went down the ladder, he immediately turned on the generator, lighting up the entire area. The garage was filled with all types of mechanical junk, all scrap metal and machinery salvaged from landfills and abandoned war factories. Each of them were neatly arranged and organized, Chun’s father was strict when it comes to orderliness.

At the center of the room was what Chun was after, his father’s old Ironsteed. It had been in a state of disuse since his father retired from the Elite Royal Guard. Liao Yun was known in the Han army, as the best soldier and a grandmaster at firearms.

Chun
“Let’s see here…”

He put on his protective visor and turned on its light, as Chun inspected the old vehicle. Ironsteeds were the standard vehicles of cavaliers, a two-wheeled vehicle powered by a powerful steam engine. Apart from their speed, these motorcycles were built to be versatile in almost every terrain, like a reliable horse, hence the name.

Chun
“I just need to replace the fuel injectors--ah!”

He stopped as he heard thunderous footsteps from above him. The Dragon mobile armors were still patrolling the area. Not to mention, the Yellow Scarves were still scouring the area.

Chun
“I need to hurry… Mother and Yixing can’t hide forever!”

Quickly rummaging through the shelves, Chun quickly removed the old parts and replaced them with the spare ones. Luckily for him, he was well-versed with machines like these. Before his father passed away, Chun would always toy around scrap heap and eventually picking up a talent on mechanical repairs.

Chun
“Okay, this should do it!”

Securing the last screw in place, he worked as fast and efficient as he could.

Chun
“Come on… Take it easy, girl… Fuel check. Engine primer engage---yes!”

The once dormant Ironsteed’s engines roared to life, it was good as new. Before he could rev its engine once more, Chun found something in the garage that caught his eye. We got down from the motorbike and approached it.

Chun
“Father’s coat…”

From the wall beside him, he found his father’s old black and red army coat. It was a little worn with scratches on the leather and tears on some areas, but it still looked usable. He put it on, and as expected, it was loose; but it was his father’s heirloom, he could not just leave it.
=====================================​

Liao Yun
“When you’re old enough, you’ll know when it would be time to put on the coat. Though I still pray that you won’t have to, Alin.”


======================================​

Chun
“Alright! Let’s go, girl!”

Quickly mounting the bike, he revved up the engine. The machine roared like a proud tiger, ready to get back on a hunt. Now to fulfill his promise and get his family as far away from this village as possible.
--------------------------------------------​

Back on the surface, Lady Hui and her daughter stayed put behind a stack of hay just across to where Chun went to. They were still waiting for the boy to come back, Lady Hui knew that they could not hide in one place forever. With the entire village now thick with patrols, it made it impossible for them to move to another spot.

Yixing
“Mommy…”

Hui Furen
“Hush… Just wait for your brother---…!”

She was about to comfort Yixing, but they abruptly went down as a lone Dragon Mobile Unit wanders near them. The huge bipedal armor stopped as it scanned its surroundings, left and right. Each of its steps, shook the ground they lied on; the mother and daughter were scared out of their wits, and kept their heads down.

Yixing
“Ah… echuu…”

Hui Furen
“Shhh…!”

With the dust blew over them, Yixing suddenly sneezed unintentionally. The bipedal armor picked up the noise and turned to their direction. Panicked, Lady Hui pulled her daughter closer to her behind the crates, as the Dragon Unit approached their direction.

Yellow Scarf Grunt
“Argh!”

Yellow Scarf Grunt
“Look out!”

As the dragon unit was about to reach the mother and daughter, all of a sudden, a loud commotion was heard from a distance with Yellow Scarves scrambling away. From the corner of the alley, swooped in a golden Ironsteed, knocking over Yellow Scarves in its way. And riding it was none other than Chun himself, whilst donning his late father’s coat.

Hui Furen
“Chun--ah!”

Lady Hui got carried away in the moment she saw her son, without her noticing that the bipedal armor was still present. The Dragon unit spotted her in an instant, raising its bulky arms to point its weapon at an unarmed woman. Chun immediately spots his mother in danger and immediately accelerated towards her direction.

Chun
“Mother! Grrr…!”

Gaining considerable speed, distance and momentum, Chun raised the speeding bike into a wheelie and then using a a nearby cart as a ramp. With enough momentum, he rammed unto the bipedal armor with his Ironsteed. The force of the crash toppled the metal giant unto its behind.

Chun
“Come on! Get on!”

Yixing
“Wee! Big brother!”

Lady Hui and Yixing quickly sat on the back of the Ironsteed. The motorbike itself was not built for two people, so Chun would have to compromise. As they got on, Chun saw the approaching pursuers.

Chun
“Hold on! I’m going at full speed!”

Hui Furen
“Be careful!”

Revving the engine once more, the powerful torque immediately kicked in as they made their escape.

Yellow Scarf Grunt
“General Mancheng! We saw it!”

Zhang Mancheng
“What the hell was that commotion!?”

Yellow Scarf Grunt
“A golden Ironsteed, possibly from army standard. Maybe even elite!”

Zhang Mancheng
“Golden, you say!? That’s Liao Yun! Rally the men! Do not let him get away!”

Yelling his orders to his men, Zhang Mancheng quickly got on to his Dragon Unit’s cockpit and closed the hatch. With this orders, the Yellow Scarves mobilize in pursuit of the runaway Ironsteed. The bandits scrambled with their guns armed and their engines primed.

The pursuit went as far as the forest trail, with no destination in mind, Chun continue their attempt to outrun their pursuers. His late father’s Ironsteed may be old but it still runs as fast as it was during its days in service. With the trail of dust behind, it was difficult to lose them.

Hui Furen
“Chun! Look out!”

Chun
“Shit!”

From their flanks, enemy Ironsteed bikers emerged from the vegetation with their guns loaded.

Chun
“Get your heads down and hold on!!!”

Yixing
“Waaah!”

The little girl and her mother ducked down as a hail of gunshots rained upon them from behind them. Chun doing his best to maneuver his bike to evade the hail of lead. Pulling a lever near the steering bars, the Ironsteed opened up a built-in rifle holster on the front end of the bike.

He then took out two of the rifles holstered in and cocked it both. He could not aim while his back was turned, but upon sighting a boulder ahead, Chun had an idea. This was where his training would bear fruit.

Accelerating, he used the boulder as a ramp; but upon airborne, he spun his bike causing it to rotate in mid-air. As the bike turned around, he could saw his targets clear as day. Squeezing the trigger, he rained bullets from above whilst spinning before landing in an upright position.

From that reckless maneuver, Chun managed to take out five of them all at once. Three were shot in their vitals, while the others had their Ironsteeds totaled. Chun once again revved up the engine as they continued their hasty escape.

Yellow Scarf Grunt
“General, he just took out the ambush in one fell swoop!”

Zhang Mancheng
“What!? You call yourselves Yellow Scarves, when you can’t even pursue a one vehicle!? Surround him!”

The general yelled at his communicator, furious at his men’s incompetence. Mancheng took out his mobile armor’s long-ranged arm attachment on his right. From his targeting heads-up display, he carefully aimed his gun at the runaway Ironsteed. He waited for the crosshairs to align as he kept his arm steady, before pulling the trigger.

Chun
“Grrgh!”

Hui Furen
“Aaargh!”

Yixing
“Aaah!”

The shot barely hit its intended target but it grazed the Ironsteed’s back wheel that it threw the entire vehicle’s balance off, and caused the gyroscope hydraulics awry. The fault lied on the vehicle’s lack of maintenance since its disuse, a fatal flaw that caused a chain reaction. Chun immediately squeeze on the brakes whilst maintaining the vehicles stability, they were going to crash.

Chun

“Hoooold on!!!”

The bike skid through the dirt before hitting a nearby tree. Chun’s mother and sister rolled out of their seat with to the bushes that somehow cushioned their fall. Him however was less fortunate, his legs were pinned under the totaled vehicle, he was trapped.

Chun

“Argh--aaargh…”

Hui Furen
“Chun… Chun! My son, are you okay?”

Lady Hui immediately got up and tended to her son. As she was checking up on him, they heard the approaching Yellow Scarves. There was no time for them to get him out of the vehicle, which left them with one option.

Chun

“Mother---aargh! Listen, take Yixing and run away as far as you can from here, understand?”

Hui Furen
“--and leave you? No! I won’t allow that! I already lost your father, I’m not losing you too!”

Chun
“Mother please. Listen, I won’t forgive myself if anything happens to you and Yixing. I promised father I’ll protect the both of you from harm, before he---died.”

Hui Furen
“Chun…”

Chun
“...!”

As he heard the Yellow Scarves gaining distance, Chun grew persistent as he pushed his mother away from him.

Chun
“GO! Please… I promise. I will find you both someday, so please…”

Hui Furen
“...my son…”

Chun
“I’ll live on, I won’t die here just yet.”

He said it with an unusually bright smile on his face. It was the same smile that her late husband used to have, an expression of his hope for the future. Mustering her courage, she quickly stood up and went over to Yixing, whom was just coming to.

Yixing
“Mommy…? Where are we go--”

Hui Furen
“Hush… keep your head down.”

Lady Hui and her daughter hurriedly ran through the forest, with Chun left behind.

Yixing
“Where’s big brother…?”

Hui Furen
“Your brother’s--”

Yixing
“Ahh! Big Brother! Big Brotheeerrr!!! Mommy! Go back! Big brother’s still there! Big brotheeeeer!!!”

Hui Furen
“Forgive me, my baby…”

With tears trailing down her cheek, she fought the hesitation of pushing forward and just ran and ran until they were out of sight. It was the most painful deed that she had to do, knowing the possibility that she may never see her son again. But she kept her hope burning strong, that one day that Chun will find himself back to them; it was painful all the same to Chun too.

It was then that moments later, the Yellow Scarves finally caught up with him. In an instant, he was completely surrounded, pointing their bayonets at him. It was not long before Zhang Mancheng himself arrived on the scene.

Zhang Mancheng
“So this is the famed Liao Yun? Former Brigadier General of the Han army, and the Grandmaster of the Ironsteed Royal Cavalry. You look younger than stated in our reports.”

Chun
“Liao Yun already passed away 2 years ago…”

Zhang Mancheng
“Oh? And to whom do I speak then?”

Chun

“I am his son… My name is Liao Chun…”
----------------------------------------------------------​

To be continued…
 

KingdomKey

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Welcome to the forum! This is a really great start for a story! I have never heard of the Romance of the Three Kingdoms before! Which made this all of a more fascinating story to read. :D You hooked me right in! I also wondered if the Yellow Scarves were inspired from the anime Durarara!! at all? Anyways, I absolutely love Liao Chun. At first I wasn't sure if we'd be seeing Liao Yun or not. So this was a great surprise! And it felt really tense when Chun gave himself up to save his mother and sister like that! I felt like I was holding my breath the whole time. Especially when I thought his mother and Yixing were about to be caught. I'm like, please don't die! Lol.
 
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