Bai Ling was just six when Umpa rescued her from the savagery of her abductors. The slave brokerage company, based out of Romania, sold mostly female children through third party handlers in Europe and Asia.
Umpa didn't have to negotiate for Bai Ling. He didn't make arrangements to cover the required down payment. He simply took her hand and walked out of the filthy, damp room. No commotion, no excitement, no resistance. The pair walked out like Grandpa and child, happily clasped and smiling.
Raised as if she were his only child, Bai Ling lived an "other" worldly life, tethered as she was, to a wizard. She could fly at seven, transform into other beings at eight. At nine she could easily navigate between multiple dimensions. As a teen ager she translated the ancient Taoist scrolls known as the Black Cliff Legend.
"Umpa?," she asked him one day when she was fourteen years old, "Why is my last name Johnson?"
"Peach Blossom," replied Umpa, "Why do you think your name is Johnson?"
"Because my father's name was Johnson?," Bai Ling suggested as a question.
"Yes my child. And his father's name was Johnson."
"What was my mother's name?," she continued.
"We don't know, but she was from Romania, and rumored to have been a Tsarina, once married to a powerful monarch from Bulgaria," Umpa replied.
"Then why do I appear to be Chinese?," she wondered out loud.
"We can only assume that your mother was Chinese, because your father was originally named Johnson, presumed to have been from America."
"Originally named Johnson?," she enquired.
"Yes, he changed his name to Trontan, taking on the name of his master, Felipe Anjour Trontan, known as the Knight of the Lost Tribe."
Bai Ling had been sitting on the other side of the room but the topic was very exciting to her. At first she used the strength of her arms to lift herself off of her pillow. Then she projected her slender body as a mist, in a thin stream of gas toward Umpa and reconfiguring back to her sculpted athletic body. "Who were the Lost Tribe? From where had they come and why were they lost?"
"So many questions my precious Peach Blossom!," exclaimed Umpa. "Maybe we should have lunch and discuss this on a full stomach!"
Instantly at their feet was a feast of exquisite Chinese delicacies. Woodland mushrooms in a bamboo and ginger sauce, shark oil fried starfish, goat lungs and red peppers and a dozen other rare choices.
Umpa smiled. The speed of Bai Ling's delivery informed him of the urgency she felt to receive this information. He reached out to brush her hair with his fingers. "My darling. We all have our roots planted in soil which precedes our parents genealogy."
Piece by piece, Bai Ling sampled the colorful bites. Carefully and cautiously, as if exploring a mine field, her fingers chose one delicacy after another. "Why do you wish to guard me from these secrets Father?," his pupil gently probed.
Umpa helped himself to a pickled snake eye. "You are as connected as am I to the great Spirit my love. Nothing is hidden from you."
With the poise of a ballerina, Bai Ling artfully applied the silk napkin to the edges of her mouth. "Why were they called the Lost Tribe? And what was the nature of the Kung Fu that my Earth father learned from his teacher?"
"You strike to the heart of the matter Peach Blossom." Umpa studied his adopted heir with tender affection. "The Knight of the Lost Tribe taught a forbidden magic, too sinister to be called Kung Fu. I can't pronounce the name or I will decay and shatter. Your own father refined the art and absorbed massive darkness known as Shi Ba. He is feared by all and has caused the ruin of many wonderful wizards. He is said to have reversed the progress of the universe by 10,000 years."
"And what has become of Judishante Trontan," Bai Ling asked.
"He continues to haunt the world and wreaks havoc on both mortals and ascended alchemists. Much of the turmoil we find ourselves in is because of his hideous influence. Do you remember line 47 of the Black Cliff Legend?," Umpa asked.
"From whispers and laughter comes the avalanche of the unknown stranger, whose words weren't planned, and yet will free the world," Bai Ling quoted mechanically.
"And so your ancestral father's magic will be buried beneath fresh snow."
"From where shall this snow descend Father?," asked the angelic child.
"Continue to seek the meaning of the Black Cliff Legend," instructed Umpa. "Perhaps someday you will penetrate the veil. The mystery still alludes me Peach Blossom," confessed the wizard.
"What is my destiny Master?," she persisted.
"To transcend the forces of Yin and Yang," came his simple reply