First off, Happy Birthday Sakura!!! Good news or bad news? Bad news, is, as all of you probably guessed, I was planning to release New Trials of CCS Chapter 70: Eye of the Dragon today, but I realized it's just not physically possibly. Next time, please schedule Sakura's birthday on a weekend! I wish someone can give me a two-day break to finish up this chapter. I've been staying up until past 4 a.m. trying to finish it for Sakura's birthday but my stamina is just not the same as it used to be. I was even sneaking in lunch hour at work. My two-week old cold is not helping either, and I've been coughing up bloody phlegm. I'm blaming yellow dust or pollen. I actually don't get sick often--last time I was really sick was two years ago when I was teaching 10 hours a day and lost my voice for three months.
Anyhow, the good news is the chapter is 98% done. I can't give a release date because I'm working late for the next few days, but I'm going back to finish off the chapter even after this blogpost to get as much done as I can. I'm soooo sorry I couldn't get it out on time. But to make it up, I will give you a preview of the next chapter.
Since we lost our lead protagonist, the series has promptly been renamed:
The New Trials of Cockroach Exterminator Syaoran, Wutai, and Friends
Chang Erika sat curled up in her couch, feet tucked under her folded legs, watching a huge cockroach the size of her fist scamper straight across the blue Persian rug of the Li mansion parlor. A pesky buzz in her ear left her swatting at her head with her hand before she slapped a mosquito that landed on her arm. Black juice spurted out, staining her blouse. And she saw a huge grasshopper-like creature land on her armrest and stare up at her with buggy eyes. She stifled a scream as she caught sight of the Black Dragon standing off to the corner, heedless of a moth landing on his head.
“Leiyun, do something!” shrieked Kara Reed, drawing the black hood of her coat over her golden head.
Li Leiyun swatted at some locusts with a silk fan. “Why, it’s just a few pesky flies.”
“Why, I thought you like spiders, rats and other grotesque creatures,” said Erika snidely to the older girl.
“Not swarms and swarms of disgusting locusts!” snapped Kara. She stabbed her forefinger into Erika’s chest. “This is all your fault! Get rid of it!”
“It’s not me!” retorted Erika.
“You’re useless!” sighed Kara. “Get Syaoran to do something. Where’s that useless boy?”
“Do you think the Li Clan Chosen One is some kind of personal exterminator?” drawled Leiyun. “He’s busy entertaining my father and all those annoying Elders.”
Kara rolled her eyes. “Well, hope he’s doing some exterminating there.” She turned her head. “Jin! Do something about the cockroaches in this house! It’s disgusting!”
Jinyu reached for his pistol in his inside breast pocket.
“No, don’t!” cried out Erika, much to the surprise of Kara and Leiyun. But Erika happened to like the parlor of the Li mansion—and the hole blasted by Eriol last time had been difficult to mend as was.
Jinyu replaced his pistol in its holster.
Leiyun cheerily drew out a box full of bug repellant from under the coffee table. “Wei bought this—they’re sold out in all the stores, and he had a special order placed from the black market. Through yakuza connections.”
He abundantly sprayed at a cockroach, and Erika sputtered at the fumes. “I think you’ll exterminate us before you fumigate the bugs from this house!”
“Well, on the bright side, the Li delegation has all moved out to a hotel,” Leiyun said. “You should have seen the look on Uncle Daifu’s face when he found those cockroaches crawling out of his bed having hatched eggs on his pillow.”
Kara smiled into her teacup, recalling the fiasco the other day.
“This country needs to do something to control the pests,” Wutai had declared, swatting at a cockroach crawling up his chair with a rolled up newspaper during the last Elders meeting the conference room.
“What, like spraying down the city with insecticide?” asked Leiyun with an angelic smile.
“Yes, something like that,” said Wutai, reaching over to the plate of cookies then realizing fruit flies were buzzing around it. “Wei, have you had this house fumigated?”
Wei blinked. “Fumigated? I don’t think this place has ever been fumigated since it was built.”
Wutai glared at Kara and Leiyun. “This house is creeping with insects—how do you live in such filth in a daily basis?”
Kara batted her long blonde lashes innocently. “Oh, you get used to it—it’s not too bad really. Just be careful not to leave out your coffee cup for too long though—you might find a spider or two might have dropped in.”
And Wutai glanced down at the bottom of his cup in horror as hairy, leggy creature crawled out. “Well, get some wards out or burn some incense or something!”
Some hours later, Wutai came wobbling out of the conference room after a long debate amongst the Elders about a shipping deal, demanding, “What is this sickly odor? It’s giving me a pounding migraine.”
Leiyun’s turquoise eyes widened. “We just burned some incense to knock out the cockroaches, as you requested.”
“Bah, I can’t breathe. Give me some fresh air.” Wutai staggered over to the windows, which wouldn’t budge open, until he put his shoulder to it.
“Oh, I wouldn’t do that if I were you—” Leiyun protested weekly. But even as Wutai opened the windows, a swarm of angrily buzzing bees flocked into the room.
“Where are these coming from?” demanded Wutai, covering his face with his arms as the bees flocked to the honey crumble cake on the conference table, for the Elders’ snack time.
“Ah, spring must be in the air,” said Wei.
“Spring?” snorted Wutai. “It’s freezing in Japan!”
Yes, Happy April's Fool Day. :)