"Chen Xing is the type of person I like. No, he is 'the one' I like."
Just Che Luofeng getting slapped with the word 'destined' and oh god it's so YUMMY
Editor(s): juurensha, namio
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In the purple-red color of the evening sky outside of the City of Karakorum, Antares appeared in the distance as it moved down the horizon. Xiang Shu followed Che Luofeng, arriving on the stone tower located on the higher ground behind the imperial palace. Outside the tower, there was a half-withered big tree, which was said to have been planted personally by Wei Qing during his siege on Longcheng 500 years ago.
"You received my letter?" asked Xiang Shu.
Che Luofeng just stood in silence. Leaning against the tree trunk, Xiang Shu gazed at the faraway horizon.
"Who's that Han?" Che Luofeng suddenly asked.
"Rather than his origins, you should be more concerned with Zhou Zhen's whereabouts." The last ray of the sunset enveloped Xiang Shu's handsome face. Soon afterward, a myriad of stars appeared and filled the whole sky, illuminating the two men on the highland of the imperial palace of Longcheng.
Shooting a glance at Xiang Shu, Che Luofeng at once demanded, "Where is he? Who told you this information? We only found out the fact that those dead Akele people wanted revenge. Not once did Zhou Zhen show up, he never appeared!"
"He'll appear, one day or another," Xiang Shu said in an indifferent tone. He moved away from the big tree and was about to walk over to Che Luofeng when he suddenly paused, seemingly recalling something vague. At that time, it seemed that he had been under this tree before, and seeing its other side, he felt that he had once been in this exact same situation. Countless disordered fragments of memories seemed to pour into Xiang Shu's mind, causing him to just stand quietly there without a word.
"Anda," Che Luofeng, who couldn't hold it back any longer, finally opened his mouth and said to Xiang Shu.
However, Xiang Shu just raised his hand, indicating to Che Luofeng not to interrupt him.
"No... I'm not."
It was as if there was a voice behind that tree that softly said, "I just happen to be an individual that is in line with the one in your mind… right..."
Xiang Shu turned around and went behind the tree, only to find nothing. His eyes appeared somewhat at a loss.
"Anda?" Che Luofeng quickly came over and asked in a puzzled manner.
Touching the tree trunk, Xiang Shu slightly lowered his head and deeply frowned. When he finally glanced up at Che Luofeng, his eyes were filled with some sense of helplessness.
"What's up with you?" probed Che Luofeng in a baffled fashion.
Inside the resting hall of the imperial palace.
King Akele said in a low voice, "Many, many years ago... Shulü Wen used to be my Anda."
When Chen Xing heard this sentence, he was stunned at once.
"You... you guys..." Chen Xing said, "Were you very close with one another?"
King Akele exhaled a warm breath, which prompted Chen Xing to change the wet towel. He stammered in a mix of various Xiongnu ancient languages; Chen Xing couldn't really understand what he said and only managed to get the gist of it. Many years ago, King Akele and the Tiele King had also made an oath to stand together in life and death. However, following the changes of water and pastures of the prairie, the relationship between the Tieles and the Xiongnus became pretty much unstable. Over the years, the two tribes slowly became estranged from each other, and both Shulü Wen and King Akele also gradually forgot about this matter as time went by.
Or maybe, they actually remembered, but nobody took the initiative to bring it up.
However, each time Shulü Wen went for an inspection to the North, he would always bring his warriors to the Akele camp, staying there as guests for a few days, and the two of them would meet up with each other.
"He liked the Han people," murmured King Akele, "and his son Shulü Kong is also quite similar to his old man. A well-educated and cultured Han whose heart is good and honest, a Han who is able to read, do calligraphy, paint, and play the southerners' qin, a Han who can recite poems and sing praises about the beauty of stars and mountains of the prairie —— together with that Han, they both wish...
"...to spend their whole lives together."
Chen Xing quietly listened before saying, "That was why he fell in love with Xiang Yuyan."
"Yes..." King Akele said without hurry. "He fell in love with that Han woman the moment he saw her. During his childhood, Shulü Kong was just like his father. He liked the South and wished to go to Jiangnan; he wanted to go to his mother's homeland to find that Han person who was destined for him. That child didn't want to be the Great Chanyu, and all he said was that the place where you Hans live 'is like a secret territory of immortals, a place where luxuriant flowers of all kind are in blossom, a paradise on earth with a stream flowing beneath a small bridge...'"
Chen Xing laughed and spread out the damp cloth for King Akele. "In the future, you'll have a chance to bring your wife and child to visit our homeland."
"Thank you," King Akele slowly answered. "During Shulü Kong's time in the South, you need to look after him. I don't know why, but I always feel that we have been acquainted with each other. You are a good and honest child, Shulü Kong must've spent a great amount of time just to find you. In our Xiongnu people's way of speaking, this is what we called 'destined.'"
Chen Xing: "......"
Under the tree on the high ground behind the imperial palace of Karakorum.
Xiang Shu sighed and suddenly felt a bit tired, but Che Luofeng still persistently asked, "These days, I've always been waiting for you. I had thought that you would stay in the South and would never come back again."
Xiang Shu returned to his senses and, shooting a glance at Che Luofeng, answered him with a verse from the prairie:
"Time spent with each other is ever-fleeting, while a parting lasts forever. Even the wind will cease to blow, and the snow will one day thaw."
Che Luofeng's complexion changed the moment he heard this. He knew the continuation of that verse was: "In that distant South, in the land where peach blossoms are in full bloom, that is where I shall find my solace." Xiang Shu intended it to express to Che Luofeng that fate was under nobody's control, and thus, there was no need to go against nature —— no matter how good friends they were, it was not unusual for people to come and go. He just didn't expect for Che Luofeng to interpret it in a different way.
"So, that is your destined one," Che Luofeng whispered in a sad tone. "Your place of comfort."
"What destined one?" Xiang Shu shook off some leaves as he casually patted the tree trunk.
Che Luofeng said, "I remember... I've always remembered that year when you said you would go to your mother's native land."
"What about it?" A slight, barely noticeable touch of redness actually appeared on Xiang Shu's handsome face. He recalled that in the summer that year, after he learned that Zhou Zhen was together with Che Luofeng, Che Luofeng had asked him when he would get married.
That afternoon back then.
They had been fishing on the banks of Xarusgol River, and Xiang Shu's reply to that question was actually: "I will always wait for that person who is destined for me to arrive."
"Do you even know what kind of person they are?" Dissatisfied, Che Luofeng inquired him then.
"Could be a Han, or could be a person from beyond the Great Wall like us." Xiang Shu looked at the tranquil, glistening crystal-clear water surface. The great river sparkled under the light of the sun, appearing similar to a vast dreamscape. "It doesn't matter where they come from or where they want to go, but they must be like my mother; a good-natured person who has read various books and also knows a lot of things, someone with a warm heart who has seen many kinds of unfairness in this world, yet they themselves still appear similar to spring breeze and peach blossoms."
With a sullen face, Che Luofeng said, "So all in all, you are fond of Han people. Anda, it’s only because you heard too many stories that you fancy the Hans. Wait until I have become the clan chief in the future, and I'll bring you down south on a horse; whatever you fancy, I'll get it all for you then."
"You don't understand. That is the one destined for me," Xiang Shu faintly replied. In the end, he got up and left, leaving Zhou Zhen and Che Luofeng by the river.
Under the tree behind the palace of Karakorum.
Xiang Shu was still immersed in his memories until Che Luofeng's voice sounded once again and brought him back to reality.
At a loss, Che Luofeng looked at Xiang Shu with eyes full of sorrow. "It is that guy. You went south and came back bringing that Han; he's the one you were looking for."
"It was he who found me." Xiang Shu had wanted to tell Che Luofeng that without Chen Xing, he would have already died inside that dark, gloomy dungeon where no peach blossoms nor spring breeze could be found —— yet, having second thoughts, he decided not to speak about this and merely told him about his ordinary days in the South. He finally said, "Fate brought us together. What you said is correct, Anda. Chen Xing is the type of person I like. No, he is 'the one' I like."
Che Luofeng said, "Oh? So, you've found your ideal person then? Do you want to marry him? There's still a chance he won't agree ne, or else why are you still concerned and weighing all kinds of matters? Anda, I remember that from when you were still a child, as long as you fancy something, you'll always spare no effort to get it. Looks like he hasn't responded to you yet?"
Stunned, Xiang Shu’s brow knitted. He didn't expect that Che Luofeng's eyes were actually so keen that he instantly saw through his anxiety with just one look.
"What's that got to do with you?" Because of Che Luofeng’s words, Xiang Shu's mind became a mess. He felt slightly annoyed, and suddenly, he recalled the voice behind the tree.
"I just happen to be an individual that is in line with the one in your mind; the person you feel is 'right,' and the one you think you should marry, nothing more. You don't understand, you ought to give this ring to that one person who... makes your heart pound uncontrollably whenever you see them, and you will always try to find more reasons to talk to them. When you see them with someone else..."
Along their journey, Xiang Shu was often anxious for reasons he didn't understand. Whenever he wanted to, regardless of everything, confess to Chen Xing, this sentence would inexplicably echo in his ears; it was as if he had already been rejected in advance.
Chen Xing was clearly the one existing in his heart since he was a young child, that perfect lover who made him dare to go through water and tread on fire together for their whole lives. Yet this thought was always lingering in his mind, as if warning himself over and over again that Chen Xing would definitely not accept him, and might even use the same kind of words to reject him mercilessly.
He couldn't help trying again and again, yet he was unable to get a response from the beginning until the end. They had only known each other for a brief period of half a year, but Xiang Shu felt as if Chen Xing had already rejected him for a lifetime. This kind of feeling truly made him frustrated.
Che Luofeng said, "Forget that Han ba. If he likes you, he naturally will tell you. You just want to go south and live there, am I correct? I'll accompany you, Zhou Zhen is already dead! I don't wish to see him again! I'll gather my clansmen at once and follow you to leave Karakorum. We'll go to the South, to Jiankang! To Jiangnan! Order their emperor to give up their residence and make you the emperor of the Hans!"
Xiang Shu suddenly grabbed Che Luofeng's collar. "Anda!"
As Che Luofeng gasped for breath, Xiang Shu threatened him in a low voice, "Zhou Zhen was your lover! You must be the one who confronts him! Whether he's dead or alive, you still have to give your clansmen an explanation!"
However, Che Luofeng, who was almost ashamed into anger, pushed him away. "He has become like that right now! He's already not himself anymore, he's not even human!"
Xiang Shu got angry, "You still have to go and see him yourself! Send him away with your own hands!
Che Luofeng's eyes were full of fear. Suddenly, a voice sounded from behind the tree.
Chen Xing anxiously said, "I..."
Xiang Shu and Che Luofeng immediately separated, pretending as if nothing had happened between them. After being stunned for a moment, Che Luofeng returned to his senses and immediately exploded into a rage.
"Han man, did you eavesdrop on us?" Che Luofeng pressed one hand on his sabre's handle.
However, at a speed that was hard to detect, Xiang Shu moved in front of Chen Xing and blocked Che Luofeng, before raising his eyebrows as a gesture for Chen Xing to speak.
"I just want to tell you that King Akele is much better now," Chen Xing immediately said. "I didn't hear anything, I just got here."
"I can testify for him." Pulling Chen Xing's dog, the bei who was currently walking their dog for them said, "He indeed just got here."
Xiang Shu: "......"
Chen Xing continued, "King Akele has something to say to you."
Thus, after giving Che Luofeng another look, Xiang Shu calmly followed Chen Xing out. Inside the resting hall deep in the imperial palace, King Akele, who had regained his consciousness, stammered as he gave an account of what had transpired. Sure enough, the matter was related to Youduo. Nearly half a month ago, the Akeles found traces that those living corpses had been marching down to the South; they were moving from Carosha toward their people's campsite on Lake Barkol.
King Akele, who had been on full alert and ready to lead the clan defenders to defend their camp, shockingly discovered that the one leading the drought fiends was none other than his eldest son who was already dead and buried in Mt. Carosha, Youduo!
But the objective of that group of drought fiends was not King Akele. Youduo only took a look at this father from a distance before leading the group to Lake Barkol. King Akele immediately ordered the entire clan to leave the lakeside and evacuate to the highlands several li away while he himself rushed to the lake, only to find that Zhou Zhen had been casting some kind of spell, creating a shocking scene.
"Did you see him?" Xiang Shu held King Akele's hand in a tight grasp.
King Akele nodded. Back then, Zhou Zhen was using a rattle-drum to summon thousands of bones of the dead from the lake: bones of cattles, sheeps, elephants, panthers, even skeletons of birds —— then, as if they were waves on the lake, they rolled and rolled toward the lakeside before finally becoming a whole army of the dead.
Chen Xing immediately remembered that the first time in Karakorum, Zhou Zhen had also resurrected those things. Turns out that they were originally summoned from the lake! No wonder! The graveyard in the Yin Mountains simply couldn't have had that many bones of the dead!
And on the altar just behind Zhou Zhen, there had been something that looked like a small mound that was covered in animal hides.
Youduo attempted to rush to the island and launch an attack on Zhou Zhen, yet because he lacked manpower, he was repelled by the legion of the dead. It was just then, when Zhou Zhen saw Youduo's group, that he wanted to catch them. In the end, King Akele couldn't hold himself back anymore and joined the fray to rescue his son.
XIANG SHU OH MY GOD XIANG SHU YOU XIANG SHU AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA NOW IS A GOOD TIME TO READ XIANG SHU EXTRA GUYS I GUARANTEE 100% MORE FEELS
Anyway Dinghai Donghua (official title is “Epic of Divinity Light”) will be coming in two weeks on Bilibili, check out the trailer below! They actually just released the full version of the ED song on QQ, the title is 阴山为证 (Yin Mountains As Witness) AND I AM LOSING IT BECAUSE *gestures to sledding* YANOOO oh god there is also a mirror of a passage from this chapter, “time spent with each other is ever-fleeting, while a parting lasts forever” but it’s “a separation is temporary, for (our) time together lasts for a lifetime” instead HUAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA
This chapter is migrated and/or formatted by our fellow chicken enthusiast(s), Elestrea.