The dragon princess, third daughter of the Dong Ting Lake Dragon King, was married to the dragon prince of the Jinghe River, a ruthless, cruel, unfeeling and obstinate dragon who mistreated the princess and exiled her from the palace.
Liu Yi, a young scholar, heard the princess’s sorrowful cry and took pity on the damsel in distress. He listened to her tale of woe and knew that he was the only person around that could take a message from the princess to her father, the Dong Ting Lake Dragon King.
Being a compassionate person, he neglected personal interests—he had been on his way to take the civil service exam in Beijing—but due to his pure heart set out on a journey to deliver the dragon princess’s message, written in blood on a piece of cloth torn from her clothes.
The Lake Opens
Liu Yi immediately set out on his journey to Dong Ting Lake. He kept walking without counting the days until he reached the lake.
The young dragon princess had clearly described the way for him and how to find her family’s castle, located near the village at the south of Dong Ting Lake. She told him to ask the locals for the location of the sacred orange tree at the lakeside.
Once there, “Knock three times, then clap your hands three times and then call three times, ‘Dong Ting Jun, I have a message for you.’”
He remembered her instructions correctly and without preamble the water of the lake separated and a small crab-like creature approached him. It asked what brought him to this place and who gave him the opening phrase. Liu said a few words and the creature without much ado motioned to follow him. They walked into the lake with the water closing behind them, yet the pathway remained wide open without a drop of water falling on him.
Then, before his astonished eyes there was a beautiful palace surrounded by lovely gardens with beautiful trees and flowers. But, he did not have time to behold the beauty of the place, as he was in a hurry to deliver the princess’s message to the dragon king.
He handed over the letter written with the blood of the king’s daughter. The king had tears in his eyes when reading about the sorrow that had befallen his daughter. It didn’t take long for the entire palace to hear about the misery of their beloved princess.
The king, remembering his long friendship with the Jinghe River dragons, hesitated to take drastic action. But, others at his court were not so conflicted. Suddenly, someone came running from behind a screen yelling, “Brother while you hesitate our child could be killed. I’m going.”
A Fierce Battle
The dragon king’s brother, the Qiantang River dragon, Qiantang Jun, was a short tempered dragon with a warm and kind heart. Believing in justice and never missing an occasion to help others, he had come immediately after hearing about his niece’s plight.
Being one that makes quick decisions, he waited no longer, changed into a dragon and rose up into the sky, producing thunder and lightning. Liu Yi was shaken at seeing a scene he had never imagined could exist.
It only took a few hours for Qiantang Jun to return. The Jinghe River dragons had been killed during a fierce battle and the third dragon princess was restored by her uncle to her parents’ palace.
Qiantang Jun and his brother could be heard laughing and joking, with happiness weaving through their words.
Continued: The Rescue of the Dragon Princess, Part III of III