His fingers tightened on the bow and he spoke, also silently, to the Buddha, thinking of those images which still swam out of the shadows of the caves so many miles to the east.
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The memory gave him courage. The horde was close enough now for him to see their faces. Not at all Chinese, though he knew that some with local blood had ridden under the Khan. Flat-faced men, black eyes below their topknots, which streamed like horse-tails from the back of their helmets. In the front of the horde rode the Khan, in armor the color of night: a man with a thin face, a narrow beard, all angles. He was riding hard up the slope and Omi drew back the arrow, thinking: Not yet, not yet—now!
He fired. The arrow sang through the air but the Khan was coming, expressionless, as though he could not see the archer, but Omi knew he had come for this and he leaped forward, springing down the stones of the slope as the arrow sang on.
At the last moment the Khan's pony swerved. The arrow sailed by, nicking the Khan's face. A single drop of dark blood flew out and Omi had the cup ready: he caught it. It sizzled into the metal cup and Omi snapped shut the lid. But the Khan had turned in the saddle with a bow of his own and as Omi met his blank night eyes the Khan, in turn, loosed an arrow. Behind him, Miss Qi sat with neatly crossed legs, exuding a delicate perfume of cherry blossom.
She sat up a little straighter at the tone of Chen's voice. On the other end of the receiver, a very long way away, Mhara the Emperor of Heaven answered, "A week ago.
6 books by Liz Williams
We had its annual honoring ceremony to celebrate the time of its writing, if one can say that. The Book wasn't so much written, as wrote itself. You'll meet people who think it's no more than a creation myth. Chen caught Miss Qi's glance and, ever tactful, the Celestial warrior rose and glided from the room, closing the door behind her. The words it contains are the blueprint for Heaven. If they're tampered with— deconstructed—then Heaven itself could begin to unravel.
The Iron Khan
Of course," Mhara added thoughtfully, "there are those who might say that this is no bad thing. After the loss of both of Mhara's parents—an Emperor gone mad and an Empress turned wicked—Chen couldn't blame him for those sentiments. Then the curator appeared in a flat panic and told me that the Book was gone. Could it have—I don't know—taken itself off? Does it have a will of its own? There was a short pause on the other end of the line. But often these magical artifacts have some degree of consciousness.
What a depressing thought, that things might have become so lousy in its own creation that it's removed itself. Mhara sighed.
Sorry, Chen. Chen smiled.
This was characteristic of Mhara: to be concerned, but also omniscient. In this instance, however, the Emperor of Heaven was simply being courteous. But it's all good stuff, as well you know. He could almost feel the Emperor's smile. She told her that things are going well with the pregnancy.
The Iron Khan · Liz Williams · Könyv · Moly
He still couldn't quite believe it. He'd always wanted a child, of course, but never thought it would actually happen. Humans and demons could breed, but it wasn't always an easy process. But it seemed that this child might be more special than most. Not a comfortable thought. Children often do reconcile warring relations. A theft that could threaten the very foundations of the Celestial Realm and here was Chen waffling on about his family. Jhai had business in the Far West, so she's out there now.
Zhu Irzh chose to cash in some vacation time and go with her. View all copies of this ISBN edition:. Synopsis About this title Being considered a friend to the Emperor of Heaven has its drawbacks — especially when you're Detective Inspector Chen and the Emperor needs assistance in finding the Book; an escaped, self-aware magical artifact with the power to alter the world. Buy New View Book. Other Popular Editions of the Same Title.
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Williams weaves a rich, complicated tapestry that merges life with afterlife, otherworldly with worldly and human with inhuman. View Full Version of PW. More By and About This Author. Buy this book. Apple Books.