Yin Ying – Prologue

The Records of Yu

Yu Kingdom. 9th year of Taihuang’s reign.

On the auspicious day that the Emperor selects his Crown Prince, another historically significant ceremony takes place in a similar strict fashion. Or rather, to be more precise, it is intended this way that the imperial ceremony falls on the same day as the rather infamous Yinying Festival.

In the afternoon when the Sun rises to its peak, the citizens of Yu gather outside the extensive Palace gates to celebrate the anointment of the Emperor’s successor. They eat good food, sing boisterous songs, and ask for blessings from the heaven.

At nightfall, after the celebration retreats behind closed door, a quiet procession finds its way through the now deserted street of the capital and heads toward the Imperial Palace. A small, white sedan chair is led by a priest, carried by four guards, and tailed by a group of young maids. Inside, a child lies unconscious.

Inside is the Imperial Sacrifice.

This is the Yinying Festival.


In the long history of the Yu Kingdom, the Yinying Festival is an open secret to all its inhabitants. Really, it cannot be so exuberantly called a festival, when in fact, most—if not all—people tend to keep their mouth shut about the details of the sacrifice.

When a Crown Prince is selected, it is claimed that the Heaven sends its blessings in the form of a soul, maybe a deity—perhaps a minor God, even. This thing, whatever it is, is considered to be a protective charm for the Prince until his coronation as an Emperor.

Most often, a child is sacrificed in order for this spirit to actualize in an unpossessed body. It then becomes a guardian for the Crown Prince and stays by his side at all times. With a more optimistic humour, it can best be considered a childhood friend.

The Emperor is the Sun. The Empress is the Moon.

Well… with a darker sense of humour, Yinying is simply an existence of a nameless shadow.

They are usually not recorded in historical scriptures, and it is thus that, even thousands of years later, historians still struggle to accept that such a position so close to royalty had existed in the entirety of the Records of Yu.

Throughout the many dynasties of the ancient kingdom of Yu, only one Yinying will be known to its later descendants. No details of the child’s upbringing before the Sacrifice was recorded—only that she is the Yinying guardian to Crown Prince He, who would later go on to become the most revered Emperor in the history of the five warring kingdoms. The extent of their relationship is unknown, but just like the many that have come before her, no Yinying guardians are allowed to be kept after an Emperor’s coronation, especially not in the presence of his Empress.

Crown Prince He succeeds the throne at the age of twenty-two. His Empress is crowned shortly after. The same night, as quietly as the child Yinying entered the palace twelve years ago in a holy procession of blood and sacrifice, she is once again escorted out of the palace into a life of further abandonment.

At least, this is what has been written down in history books.




That night, many years ago, I remembered waking up to my mother and seeing her in an unrecognizable state. The candles were lit dimly in the room, and all I could make out was my mother crying and crying until her sobs became choked and inaudible.

My father sat by the window, grimly consoling my mother.

In his own way, he grieved.

“Promise me they would not harm our daughter… Promise me…”

My father remained silent.

I remembered quietly lying awake on the floor with my raggedy blanket up to my nose in the cold winter, and not being able to fall asleep. There is the hunger, first of all. It was worse with all the snow outside. And then, there is that.

“She just turned eight–” my mother continued to lie in grief, “How can they do this to a child!”

“Ssh…” My father soothed her. “It’s my fault. It’s all because I’m a useless father.”

Perhaps, I was too aware then for my age. I understood exactly what was going on. The children around me had already been giving me weird looks, and whenever the villagers come to pick from our stall, they would always hand out looks of pity, perhaps out of the least ‘charity’ they could do.

I continued lying in the dark and closed my eyes.


Ye Hua… Ye Hua… Do not forget your name.

You have a father by the name of Ye Xiu. A mother by the name of Xia Lingyan.

You come from flesh and blood.

You are made of bones.


At one point in time, you were here, and you were loved.


This is the only thing that even Heaven cannot replace.


Do not forget who you are.


When I woke up, I couldn’t remember where I was and I couldn’t move my body. Every inch that I did, pain surged through me and the bleeding would continue. I couldn’t count the number of wounds that were carved into me, or how long of a time I have been in this moving sedan. I remembered curving my small body into a ball. It was still cold.


“Quickly! Be careful of the body!”


“Is she dead?”


“It doesn’t matter. She can’t be alive either.”


“We’re late! It will arrive anytime now!”


“Get her out!”


There were many voices and many rough hands that pulled at my body. My clothes matted with blood were removed and more water was dumped over my body. Someone wiped me up with a cloth, and without any strength left to me, I wanted to scream whenever they dragged the rough fabric back and forth over the open wounds.


When all was done, I was finally put into something thin and soft. Something without warmth.


“Now we wait.”


Ye Hua, Ye Hua.


When all of Heaven comes for you, do not forget who you are.


“It’s here!”


“Everyone, kneel down!”


Ye Hua, Ye Hua.

This is the only thing that even Heaven cannot replace.


“We present you the holy sacrifice in exchange for heaven’s blessings!”


“This is the sacrifice! We ask for your blessings!”

“We ask for your blessings!”

“We ask for your blessings!”


You are the only thing they cannot replace.


You will die for no one.




“The Yinying is awake!”



Prologue: Age 8 & 10

(Part 1: Age 11 & 13)

(Part 2: Age 16 & 18)

(Part 3: Age 20 & 22)



Author’s Note: None of you probably remembers who I am so let’s just keep it that way lol. This is my own story, impulsively birthed and written because I finally have time on my hand. It probably won’t be regularly updated though… so don’t expect too much haha.

Comments are welcome and any feedback will be appreciated!

*This was kinda written in a rush, but I promise I’ll come back to edit it later. I just wanted to get it out of my head first.