Tag Archives: romance

The Myth of Politicus and Zhen [12 Genre Months]

“I’m here to see Professor Lin. My name’s Rob Whelan–I made an appointment.”

The secretary–who looked like a student of the university itself–scrolled through a list on his tablet. When he found my name, squeezed between a Professor Doherty and Doctor Lyon, he rose from his seat and gestured at the oak door to my right.

“She’s expecting you,” he said.

Already late for the appointment, I thanked the young man and stalked into the mahogany-themed office–a uniform decor of the historical establishment.

“You’re late,” she stated.

Lin was seated behind a polished wooden table, surrounded by books stacked high on the carpeted floor–the bookshelves against the four walls offered no space for the newer editions.

“Sorry. Bad habit,” I replied.

“Have a seat,” she prompted.

Lin’s dark straight hair, deep set eyes, and thin lips were the same as how I remembered them to be. But on that sunny afternoon, Lin wasn’t in a pink, silk gown. She donned–what most educators in a place as such would–a dull, black and white suit.

“It’s been awhile. How’s your book doing?” she asked.

“Not good. My publisher wants another. Soon,” I admitted, planting myself on the velvet armchair across her desk.

“And… that’s why you’re here.”

“Partially.” I smirked.

Lin chuckled. “So, what do you want to pick my brain on?”

“The myth of Politicus and Zhen.”

“What about it?”

“I have a few ideas to run by you.”

“Something you could’ve done via email.”

“True. But I wanted to see you–it’s been awhile, like you said.”

Lin and I met when we were ten. She lived with my family for two years, while her parents had ‘some issues to sort out’. We kept in touch after she returned home. And, once in a few years, our families would get together for Christmas. But since she began teaching at the university, it was almost impossible to meet her–she was a fourteen-hour flight away and always working on the holidays.

“We can catch up later. Let’s get to work first,” she said.

“Right. So, Politicus and Zhen–do you think they could’ve actually existed?”

“The Empire of Chrysus isn’t in any historical records, neither is King Politicus and Queen Zhen. I would say their story is parallel to Greek mythology.”

“But, I did some reading online, and some people theorise that Queen Zhen was the youngest daughter of Emperor Gaozu.”

“None of Emperor Gaozu’s daughters left their country. That’s a fanboy theory, Rob. But, a good one to roll with. Is that your intended direction?”

“No. I just wanted to know what you think.”

“I don’t think they’re real.”

“I see. Personally though…” I hesitated.

“Personally what?”

“I believe otherwise,” I stated. Lin raised her eyebrows. But as her lips parted to question my belief, I continued, “Anyway, do you think it’s possible for Politicus to retain his memories after each life?”

“The original tale didn’t say he could. But since you’re writing fiction, anything goes.”

“Do you think, that with his memories, he can help Zhen remember their past?”

“How–with true love’s kiss?” Lin chuckled. “Wait, is this new book a romance novel?”

“A little romance doesn’t hurt.”

“The themes of this myth are greed and violence. The consequence of Politicus’ brutality was an eternal curse–witnessing the death of his lover in each life cycle, with no hope of happiness. You can toss in a little romance, but a happy ending will be far-fetch, not to mention, cliche.”

“He can break the curse.”

“By wakening Zhen’s memories?”

“That’s a good idea, isn’t it?”

“Not really. It doesn’t quite make sense.”


“Is your story set in the twenty-first century?”


“Then first off, Politicus claiming to be Politicus will make him seem insane. Nobody will believe him, let alone Zhen. Secondly, Zhen recalling her memories won’t save her since thematically, the myth isn’t about love. What I logically foresee, is Zhen living in an endless loop, well aware she only has twenty-nine years each cycle. And, the idea that Politicus helped her remember–under the pretense of breaking the curse–paints Politicus as selfish as he was before. It won’t be a show of love. Making the love of your life aware of eternal damnation isn’t love. Love is Politicus suffering alone until he breaks the curse, which is unlikely to involve wakening Zhen’s memories.”


“But, that premise can make quite an adventure–Politicus and Zhen working together to free themselves from the curse.”

“It just… doesn’t make logical sense to you.”

“It doesn’t.”

I sighed. Why couldn’t I see it before? Still, I had to ask. “One more question,” I prompted. “If you were in Zhen’s shoes and Politicus awakened your memories-”

“I might grow to resent him,” she interrupted.

I nodded. “Well, I guess it’s safe to say romance isn’t my forte.”

Lin chuckled. “Stay away from romance, Rob. Stick to your action-adventure-treasure-hunting stuff. It’s what you’re great at. Honestly, I thought you were going to ask me about Politicus’ sword of vengeance. The sword makes a good set-up.”

I forced a smile. “It sure does.”

There was no need to ask about the sword–I knew a lot about it already. And she was right; the sword did make a good set-up. It brought upon a curse I could only blame myself for. But trust me, I’ve tried. No matter how far and wide I’ve searched–in this lifetime and the ones before–I’ve yet to find anything that will break this eternal damnation. But admittedly, I am selfish to wish I wasn’t alone. Is it wrong to desire recognition from the one I love? I’ve lived more than a thousand lives with her by my side, but not once has she looked at me the way she did when she first died. Even in this twenty first century life–a month and fifteen days before her death–there was no love in her gaze. And, if I didn’t want her to resent me, I will have to watch her die… again.

“Free for dinner tonight?” I asked.

“No questions about the sword?”


“I should be free tonight.”

“Great. It’ll be awhile before we get to meet again.”

Lin chuckled. “That’s life, isn’t it?”

I nodded. “That’s… how it always seems to be.”

Perhaps in our next life, I’ll finally break the curse—ending this vicious cycle–and make what Zhen calls a cliche ending… our reality.


12 Genre Months © 2018 by Jeyna Grace. All rights reserved.

(Click HERE for the list of stories in this writing challenge.)

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Posted by on February 22, 2018 in Original Works


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Write To Challenge


Over the years, I’ve come to realise that writing isn’t just writing. In order to become a better writer, I’ve got to do more than writing.

You see, writing isn’t just about writing my niche genre, building familiar worlds, and creating characters I can relate to. Yes, it’s good to have a label under my name. And it’s natural for me to keep building it – heck, I should build it. I should master the art of my choice. But in order to become a stronger writer, I have to expand. I have to grow. Just like a kingdom, once established doesn’t remain stagnant, I need to push the boundaries of my world. But… how do I do that? Do I change my writing style and publish novels in different genres? No, I don’t. I simply experience – experience what I’ve never experienced.

To grow as a writer, I need to write beyond the comforts of my pigeonhole. I need to write outside of what I’m accustomed to. It will make me extremely uncomfortable, yes. I will struggle to convey my thoughts. And potentially, I’ll create disastrous pieces. But in order for me to become better, I need to take the leap of faith. I need to explore the vast universe and adapt to its varying nature. I may not be a master of all realms, but I have to experience them. And who knows? I might just write a decent piece.

There’s a reason why writing challenges and writing prompts exist. They don’t merely serve as a filler for when you don’t know what to write. These challenges, as they are called, challenge a writer to write something different. Despite not being good at a particular genre, world, or character, taking the challenge helps one get better. It is the stepping outside of a comfort zone that carves a writer. It is the embracing of something new that broadens the mind.

Personally, I’ve endeavoured to write in other genres, embrace different worlds, and toy with characters. I’ve written and will continue to write sci-fi, romance, mystery, and other genres outside of fantasy. I’ll mould different worlds with different cultures, beliefs, and eras. And I’ll create protagonists whom I’ll dislike more than the antagonist itself. Even if I don’t excel in these challenges – even if I don’t write novels through them – I’ll write anyway. I’ll write to challenge. I’ll write to challenge myself, my imagination, my skill, and my potential. I’ll write to challenge, because I know it has helped me in many ways. And I’ll write to challenge you, to write to challenge too.

I’m not just saying this on a whim. Through past experiences, I’ve grown from the challenges I put upon myself. From Dr. Slubgob’s Letters, a novella about a demon and his quest for the truth, to The Clubhouse, a blog series with characters I disassociate from; I’ve learned to construct deeper worlds and fuller personas. I’m still not good in either arenas – I don’t think I’ll ever master them. But, I have improved. And with a long way to go in my writing journey, I’ll continue to challenge myself.

This 2017, my writing goal is simple: write to challenge. As this year revs its engine, I encourage you to adopt this goal too. In fact, I encourage you to adopt this goal in general. It isn’t just for writing, but for anything – for areas you want to see growth. And If you stick through it, no matter the obstacles, you’ll come out a finer jewel than before.

Also, it can be quite fun.



Posted by on January 5, 2017 in Writing Journey


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Pirate | Lace | Concussion


I was eight. He was ten. And I liked him.

“What should I be at the class party?”
“I don’t know.”
“Pirate or superhero?”
“Yea, she likes pirates.”

I was eighteen. He was twenty. And I liked him. 

“Which dress looks better?”
“Is it for her?”
“Who else? With lace or without lace?”
“With lace.”
“She’ll look great in this!”

I was twenty-eight. He was thirty. And I grew up.

“What happened?”
“Just a little accident. I’m fine.”
“Are you really?”
“Yes. Ha! For a moment, I thought I was going to die.”
“Are you feeling dizzy or nauseated? Are your ears ringing?”
“No. Do I have a concussion?”
“No, you don’t.”

I was ten. She was eight. And I didn’t like her.

“What should I be at the class party?”
“I don’t know.”
“Pirate or superhero?”
“So you like pirates, huh?”

I was twenty. She was eighteen. And I didn’t like her.

“Which dress looks better?”
“Is it for her?”
“No. It’s for you. With lace or without lace?”
“With lace.”
“You’ll look great.”

I was thirty. She was twenty-eight. And I realised…

“What happened?”
“Just a little accident. I’m fine.”
“Are you really?”
“Yes. Ha! For a moment, I thought I was going to die.”
“And I thought I wasn’t going to see you again.”
“Do I have a concussion?”
“I’m afraid you do.”


Pirate, lace, and concussion were given by Megan. And as much as they could’ve made a swashbuckling, jolly rogering adventure, I went with breezyonthebeach‘s suggestion and wrote it in the spirit of Valentines. I hope you liked it! This isn’t like the typical short stories I’ve written. I wanted to start this blog challenge light and easy. And, I also wanted to try storytelling through dialogue alone. Fingers crossed this piece made some sense.

Now, it’s your turn. I challenge you to use this same three words and write a piece of your own. Like I said in the introduction, there are no rules – the universe and your imagination beyond is your limit. Don’t forget to link your work in the comments below. And if you have any more three words you’d like to challenge me with, leave it in the comments too.

Also, feel free to use the banner in your blog post. Just click on it and you’ll be able to download it 🙂 I’m looking forward to reading your awesome works! And happy writing!

*On a completely unrelated yet related note, I was listening to this song on repeat while writing this. Not that you need to know or anything, but yea, it might have inspired me.

3 Words, 1 Story © 2016 by Jeyna Grace. All rights reserved.

(Click HERE for a list of stories in this writing challenge.)


Posted by on February 25, 2016 in Original Works


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The Fearless

The Fearless

(Play THIS before reading. When you reach the gap in the music and story, briefly stop before continuing.)

My name is Hwa-Jae. I have lived over 20 years motherless, and now I’ve become fatherless too. My father was known as the Black Dragon. People feared him, as he was not only the ruler of my clan but a warrior. I would often hear of how he rode dragons into the battlefield and destroyed our enemies, but I never had the chance to hear those stories from his own lips. He was my father second, and my king first.

Growing up, I was raised to be an heir. I learned the art of war and was taught to let go of human emotions. Like one of our dragons, I was trained to kill and it was no surprise I excelled at it. But, despite my upbringing, I still feared my king. I feared him like everyone else, and I feared him so much that it surprised me when a stranger did not.

He was not from my clan, but a traveller or a lost soul as he often called himself. The first time I saw his dark eyes I felt a warm sensation in my stone cold heart. I thought I was only imagining it, but when I found myself sneaking out of the palace to meet him, I knew something was not right.

Why was I stooping down to the level of a commoner to befriend this foreigner? I was a princess, a warrior, and a ruler. If my king knew… I wouldn’t be alive.

It is strange how feelings work. It is unpredictable and inseparable from the soul. I thought I didn’t have any, but his smile, his laugh and his voice would make butterflies flutter in my stomach. Yes, I liked him.

I started to realize that I was willing to give up anything just for an hour with him. Heck, I might just give up my destiny. But those daydreams were shattered the day we ran into a couple of soldiers.

No, they weren’t coming for me; they did not even recognize me. These soldiers were after him. When he told me to run as he drew them away from me, I wanted to be by his side and protect him. But instead of doing just that, I did as I was told.

Safe behind palace gates, I found myself aimlessly walking to wherever my feet led me. It was until I heard his voice echoing down a hallway, did my heart stop.

I watched as soldiers dragged him into the throne room and knelt him before my king. They called him a spy and a warrior from the country behind the mountains. And when I heard it all, I stood at the back of the room unable to hear my king’s call.

I might have been deaf, but he surely wasn’t. When he turned to face me, we stared at each other for what seemed like the longest time. Neither of us said anything, and when the world around us could not wait any longer, he swiftly stood up and painted the room red.

My head was screaming to do something as the soldiers tried to fight him off. The shouts of my inner voice to stop him and to help him were useless when my body refused to move. I just found myself watching it all go down, and only when he planted the blade in my king’s stomach did I utter a cry.

When my king inhaled his last breath, it was as though he had done his work. Pulling the blade out, he slowly turned to face me. He said nothing as he let the blade slip from his fingers. It hit the ground with a loud clank, and crimson blood began to wrap around its edges.

Even as the world around me recovered from the chaos, all I did was wait. I was waiting for him to say something; something that made sense in a situation that did not.



… I…


                                     … I really…


                                                                                   … loved her… 



The soldiers that were still breathing immediately seized him, and sent him to his knees. None did anything as they waited for my orders. Then, as if my body was programmed to react, I pulled a blade from a dead soldier’s sheath and walked up to him.

I don’t think I have ever been that conflicted emotionally and mentally. And yet, I found myself gripping onto the blade tighter. When I was a few feet away from him, I pulled the blade back and sent it through his chest.

Nothing made sense then, and I didn’t know why I did it. As his body slumped to the ground, I silently asked myself, why Jeong-Sa, why?

But I never had an answer.

He never gave me one… because I didn’t give him the chance.

I guess my heart has to accept that. There isn’t much of a choice now. All I have is a heart broken… with never ending questions.


While you wait for my 20th ‘Thank You’ post, here is a special Sunday short story! Who says there is no post on Sundays, huh?

This is actually another experimental music accompanied short story. I previously did this with one of my fan fictions, ‘She’s Not My Daughter’ and it turned out pretty well.

Unfortunately for this, I could not find a -1 or another violin cover of the song. But hopefully, you guys read and hit the mark… or not, I would have failed. Haha! (Btw, you should visit the violinist’s YouTube channel.)

Anyways, if you have not figured it out, this is actually the answer to Jeong-Sa’s fate. If you have been wondering, you can wonder no more. He’s dead 😦 But if you are still lost and wondering who is Jeong-Sa, read The Root.

As always, let me know what you think of this story and if my experiment was a success. I don’t think this is one of my best short stories so far, but ah… what can I say.

© 2013 Jeyna Grace

(For more short stories, click HERE)


Posted by on July 28, 2013 in Original Works


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