In Tang Qin Shang dynasty strength was everything, Magic ruled the world, it was said that from birth a child could already sense the mana in the world and have an idea of which element they had an affinity to, be it water, air, fire, earth, light, darkness, space, time, wood etc., people with two elements were usually extremely rare, same with people with three element, as four elements it was a legendary level.
A child was born useless, a total trash to such a world where power was everything and to make matters worse his face was disfigured, his unfortunate circumstances made his father General Lei despise him, to General Lei this child was cursed, a stain to his unblemished name.
General Lei strongly believed that this child was sent by the heavens as punishment to him for betraying his one true love by having an affair with a low born despicable, conniving servant who once tended to his beloved needs.
The pitiful child without a name knew fully well that his father was not been fair to his naïve and innocent mother, she could never have seduced him because she wasn’t that type of person, Although General Lei tried to paint himself white by plastering dirt all over that child’s mother the truth could never be hidden forever and there where people who knew that he was the one that forced himself on his wife’s servant girl and the fruit of this ugly was the child without a name.
The child knew the truth and felt his mother’s grievance but just like her he couldn’t voice out his resentment and pain.
When the incident was found out by the legitimate wife of the Lei’s manor she ordered that both mother and unborn child be thrown out of the Lei Manor and going forward this pair that only had each other were made to live in a deserted thatched house by a hill in the forest.
“Mother why don’t I have a name like other people, please give me one” The child had once pleaded and his mother shown a solemn expression, one that he had gotten accustomed to and hated seeing the most on his mother’s face.
“Don’t be sad mother, I don’t mind not having a name” the child said as he tugged on his mother’s sleeves and tried to smile to lighten the mood, she ruffled his hair and smiled back while saying, “I am sorry for been so useless son, I am so sorry” a tear fell down from her eyes and she quickly raised her sleeves to wipe it off, she had to be strong for her precious son.
The powerless child soon got to find out that the reason he could never bear a name was because his mother had been told by his father’s beloved wife not to give him one and his father stood strongly behind his dear wife despite his mother pleads.
After the child’s mother’s death when he was…
What Works: This is the beginning of a classic Cinderella story although the title suggests a bit of a twist. The author is good at setting up the pathos of the characters and there is plenty of drama in being the ugly, magic-less bastard son of an army general.
What Needs Work: This is all info-dump backstory with very little action. A lot of this information is interesting, but lacks finesse in the way that it’s presented. Also, plenty of typos and a lot of repetition. This is also told from an omniscient point-of-view which always sounds a little impersonal. I’ll take it as part of the challenge to keep the same POV.
“Mother, why don’t I have a name like other people?” the child had asked once, clinging to his mother’s knee.
She didn’t answer but he saw tears fall into the dough that she was kneading. The dumplings were salty that night, the mood somber. The child never asked that question again.
He also never asked why they no longer lived in a manor, why they had moved to a dusty shack at the edge of the forest. In the end, he found he didn’t mind the change, once his mother had chased out the spiders and rats. He helped drag water, bucket by bucket, from the nearby stream, growing stronger and freer with each trip. Out here, there was no one to glare at his disfigured face or tease or kick him for not having any magic.
His mother scrubbed at the wood of the walls until it gleamed golden with the light from the stove. She patched up the thatched roof and wove flowers into the fresh, new straw. She swept the dirt floor free of debris and covered it in rose petals. She filled the bed with freshly plucked feathers, and, every night, she told her beloved child stories of magic rings and grand destinies until he fell asleep.
Then, one day, his mother died.