LRF Contest - The Brightest Night

**This is for the Lunar Revel Fanfiction Contest.** **---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------** The night before the New Year was silent and sleeping. Quietly, people hung up the red papers on doors and burned their bamboo that towered their homes, hoping to ward off the demon that would come later that night. They did this, following the teachings of the wandering Wukong - whom's power radiated throughout the city and made it glow in the darkest night long ago. However, instead of hiding away from the New Year beast, he proudly jumped and spun around with intense glee, lighting candles and handing out the beloved red envelopes to the children of the village. That night, no beast had come. The village followed what he did, lighting their candles - creating a gloomy glow within each of the villagers' homes. They gave their red envelopes to their frightened children, who constantly asked them when the time would come. But their answer was responded with the banging of a gong, and the sky lit up with an extravagant display of colours and glitters, turning the eerie atmosphere on its head. The sky crackled with fireworks and children's giggling, as the New Year had begun. The loudest of them all - Jinx, had already begun showing off her new 'firecrackers', relentlessly blasting them into the sky, and occasionally at anyone who had said it was a weapon. The drums got louder as time went on and Sejuani made her appearance. Banging her own drums as she marched through the street, standing high on her mount, demanding everyone (politely, of course) to watch her display. Heads turned, watching the parade. First, it was Sejuani, adorned with a beautiful flail that she would use to ward off anyone who dared ruin their celebration. After her was a group of small piglets, dressed for the occasion and happily hopping after their father who carried Sejuani, a few of them taking unsuspecting onlookers' food and envelopes with them. Then followed a humongous panda adorned with fireworks on his back and a devilish smile. On top of him, a small girl giggled and threw little balls of magma and fire at the firecrackers that her bear threw into the sky, exploding them in an excellent display of accuracy and power. The village roared with excitement, and got louder as the lion dances began to break out - the costumes were beautifully well done. But, there was less of them this time compared to previous years. As compensation, there was one that was so beautifully decorated, it looked almost too real. It stumbled and growled at anyone who tried to pat it, and when it opened its mouth, it was almost like you could hear the faint crying of a man who had stumbled into not a costume's jaws, but rather the jaws of Kog'Maw. But, he was just a myth, so the crowd kept their distance and continued clapping, ignoring the lion nipping at the one in front, leaving a trail of sparkling acid behind, assuming it was part of a rehearsed act. However, the crowd fell silent when the parade abruptly ended, and instead, a horror stood in the empty area where the parade was meant to continue marching with glee. The Coin Emperor himself stood there, his belly engorged with the treats of the New Year, and possibly a few children that came along with the coins he had been hoarding. He stood there, menacingly staring down the crowd, licking his lips as if he was not done. The parade stopped and turned (except for that one lion, who by now had completely swallowed the one it was nibbling at), and Sejuani stood above the rest, holding her flail firmly. This year, the Nian would not come, but instead, new trouble that had taken its place has an unwelcome visit. The village was going to fight back. Out from the crowd jumped Jinx, who had her firecracker 'launcher' pointing right at the Coin Emperor, but she did not fire. Instead, she waited and coughed, as if trying to imply she would like some help. Another talented individual tumbled out from the village and into the open - the Night Hunter, Vayne. Dressed for the occasion, she aimed her metal-pig wrist at the demon, smiling as the barrel began to spark with anticipation. Sejuani charged through the parade, knocking the angry lion over. She stood in front of the two, standing proudly with her flail. And the last one to join the group was the lion, who's mouth began sparking and growls rising from its' throat, looking at Sejuani. The Coin Emperor laughed as he licked up an entire table of buffet from next to him, and began launching it at the villages' brave defenders. The lion hurled it's head back, Sejuani locked on target, but was interrupted by a dumpling dish hitting it in one of its' eyes. It screeched in anger and turned it's attention to the Coin Emperor. It hurled it's head back again, it's mouth lighting up and sparking, then began launching firecrackers at it from afar, hitting him with great accuracy (though considering the amount of surface area the demon had, it was nothing to boast). Sejuani's mount squealed in an attempt at a battle cry, rallying the ones around her and she threw her flail which glowed with radiant power, as Jinx and Vayne began firing their firecrackers at the beast. Fireworks and balls of magma came from behind the group, launching into the demon. The girls' giggles got louder as her bear began stomping closer and closer to the Coin Emperor. He growled from within the prism he was trapped in, before bursting out and staring down Sejuani with hatred and hunger in his bulging eyes. The crowd cheered and roared, knowing they were about to watch the beginning of the most spectacular fireworks display yet. ---------- **I attempted to capture the essence of a typical New Years night, and the legacy of Nian (the whole reason Lunar New Year is a thing). He was a demon that would feed on villages and children until a Taoist monk came around and instead of hiding from Nian, he warded him away with bright red things, burning bamboo, candles etc. In this example, Wukong was the monk, since Wukong is Taoist in Chinese legend. Thank you for reading, and I'd appreciate your thoughts on my short story for the contest. :)**
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