Okay, the last one for today:
The soldiers basked in Fenghuang’s golden glow. She let them for a long rapturous moment, before landing on the tower above the gates. From there, she gave Xi an affectionate look. My pleasure, beloved. The wings as huge as fenghuang’s buffeted his heart down into the pit of his stomach, and back up into his throat. He struggled for breath, and against dizziness. What? She looked down at him from the tower-top, and the woman’s face nestled in the golden aureole of feathers was as cold and as beautiful as she had ever shown him so far.
Cloud-and-rain love, Zijun had said, but it fell short. Moon-and-pearl, he tried, silver-and-icewater… The fenghuang laughter echoed through his mind, “You need not be a poet, a mage suffices.”
The Captain groaned. “There are ten mages in the Empire. Ten! All good, respectable people. And I got a boy with a magic bird and a hairpin.”
“Eleven,” Xi told him, “there are eleven warmages in the Empire.”