Bill Meilen
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“Soldiers in the valley, Second Young Master!”

Sun snapped to attention. Returning to the lacquered cabinet he took out field glasses and a heavy Webley fortyfive calibre revolver, checked the chambers, and buried the handgun in his robe as he made his way to the veranda.

He focussed his binocular gaze on the river bank some distance below the village. A number of gray-uniformed men were moving about on the bank and some were naked in the water, splashing.

Sun pondered their presence, then turned on his heel and re-entered the house.

“Lao Chen!”

“Yes, Young Master!”

“Be quick! Send a warning to all! Arm yourselves and get the women and children under cover!”

Chen vanished. Sun listened to his footsteps recede, and took a soft leather belt from a hook on the wall. Opening his robe, he bound the belt about him. It was broad, covering his midriff from the sternum to below his navel. Set in tight pockets along its front were two rows of sharp-edged metal shuriken disks and throwing knives.

No longer the contemplative poet, Sun whirled and headed for the door.