Chapter 66.1 - Autumn Deity

Dinghai Fusheng Records


The guqin sound was hastened. In a split second, a gust of wind blew, and together with the maple leaves that were all over the sky, they opened up a new panorama: misty waters extending into the distance, vast and boundless mountain ranges, migratory birds crossing the South and returning to the North. The guqin sound was gentle, but laced into that was a tune that revealed the grandeur of mountains and sea.


Translator(s): Elestrea
Editor(s): juurensha

"What are you doing?" Chen Xing stuck his head out to peek inside the room and saw that Xiang Shu had just finished changing his clothes. On his feet were a pair of leather clogs, but the wooden parts were replaced by leather; it made the pair look fragile, and just like wooden clogs, each shoe had two strands of rope to fix it in place. Xiang Shu was wearing a martial robe with two layers, lined and unlined, and martial trousers that reached to his ankle. The leather clogs he wore made him pretty much seem barefoot. He looked very cool and good-looking.

"Going out," Xiang Shu said, "and relaxing."

Chen Xing asked, "Alone?"


Xiang Shu answered, "Got a problem?"

Chen Xing took the initiative to say, "I want to go with you."

Xiang Shu said, "There are so many people inviting you out today, why don't you go and meet the emperor?"


Chen Xing said in his heart, How did you even know Sima Yi had asked to see me? He then replied, "Not going."

Xiang Shu: "How about Feng Qianjun? Xiao Shan?"

Chen Xing: "Why are you suddenly so wordy? Anyway, I'm leaving."


"You go ba." Xiang Shu had no broadsword on his back; he was empty-handed. He fixed his cuff before turning around and leaving the room. Chen Xing followed him from behind at a distance that was neither too close nor too far. Xiang Shu walked very slowly today; it was contrary to the usual large strides that made Chen Xing out of breath when chasing after him. They went out to the Wuyi Lane where the Xie residence was located.

Golden paper cut in the shape of small humans and little horses were hung in the front of the door of every household, and red strips of cloth were tied among the maple trees. Maple leaves fluttered around the city of Jiankang, and it was a clear autumn day. Children were also flying kites; it immediately made everyone feel happy and relaxed.

An arranged table piled up with all kinds of glutinous rice, deep-fried foods, and flower pastries was also set up outside each of the house; all the food was free to be eaten by passersby. Xiang Shu was walking neither too quick nor too slow, but then, he suddenly stopped and asked Chen Xing, "Are those to be eaten by people, or to be used to worship the gods?"

Xiang Shu had finally started a conversation with Chen Xing, and the two now walked side-by-side. Chen Xing then said, "It's been used to worship the gods already. After being used to worship the gods, they were set out to be eaten by people. Do you want to try it? I'll get you one."

"No," Xiang Shu said. "I don't eat sweets."

Chen Xing ate one himself, and then gave another to Xiang Shu again. This time, the sweet-scented osmanthus was just right; the cake was clear and translucent. Xiang Shu frowned. "Children's food." Yet, facing the pastry offered by Chen Xing, he turned his head away to avoid his gaze then ate it in one bite.


Chen Xing said, "Where do you want to go?"

"Don't want to go anywhere," Xiang Shu casually said. "just strolling around. It's weishi, why haven't you gone back?"

Chen Xing studied Xiang Shu's tone and said, "I want to celebrate the festival together with you. Got a problem with that?"

Xiang Shu: "..."


When the two people arrived at the market, they saw that today's market was bustling with noise and excitement; it was not a show of extravagance at all to say it was comparable to the Autumn Close Festival in Chi Le Chuan. Jiankang scholars and common people all went out; those who were selling kites were selling kites, and those looking for makeup were looking for makeup. Chen Xing immediately became curious and went over to see the sweets vendor, while Xiang Shu watched from the side with a cold look on his face.

Next to the sweets vendor, there were shops selling porcelain cups, as well as salvaged goods from the North and South, dried goods, wooden boxes, and carvings. Chen Xing looked at them one by one, then scrutinized the one who sold paintings.


"You want to buy anything?" Chen Xing said towards Xiang Shu who was behind him.

Xiang Shu originally thought that Chen Xing was going to buy something and had intended to fish out some money from his pocket. When he saw Chen Xing was holding a wine bottle and looking at it carefully, he said, "No."

Chen Xing said, "You want to try this wine?"

Xiang Shu replied, "I don't want to drink."


Chen Xing sized Xiang Shu up: Xiang Shu didn't talk and was also this cold and indifferent while window-shopping. He thought to himself, How can you be so bored? The Autumn Deity is so interesting, you tell me how can you be so bored in this kind of hustle and bustle of maple leaves?

"What do you think of Jiangnan?" Chen Xing asked.

"Boring," Xiang Shu replied.

Chen Xing said, "But you still came?"

Xiang Shu answered with another question, "Wasn't it you who wanted to come?"

Chen Xing's words were thus countered. He knew that at this moment, Xiang Shu surely thought Jiankang was really interesting. He took a rattle-drum from the roadside vendor, rattled it a few times, shook it in front of Xiang Shu's face, then put it back, internally saying, You just don't want to show your amazed and interested expressions, to avoid me becoming arrogant and saying that Jiankang is better than Chi Le Chuan.

Xiang Shu saw the rattle-drum and slightly frowned. Chen Xing knew he thought about the Zheng Drum.


Suddenly, Chen Xing said, "That day, I heard you called me Xing'er."

Xiang Shu indifferently said, "When?"

Chen Xing: "That night at Kuaiji."

Thinking about Wu Qi and that couple, Chen Xing felt a little lost again. Xiang Shu saw the frustrated look on Chen Xing's face and said, "I didn't call you that."

Chen Xing: "I heard you. But, how did you know my childhood name was Xing'er? Only my parents and my Shifu ever called me that. Even Yuwen Xin also didn't call me that back then."

Xiang Shu: "Oh? That was how your Shifu usually called you? Guwang didn't know."

Chen Xing: "Don't play dumb… Yi? What's that?"


Xiang Shu followed Chen Xing's line of sight, and saw that on the street, many young men and women were holding hands, and each of them was wearing a red rope on their wrist; a piece of shell carved out of a shellfish was attached to the string. The shells were of different shapes, big and small, but they all formed pairs.

Xiang Shu asked a passerby, "Where did the thing in your hand come from?"

The girl smiled at Xiang Shu and said, "Another person gave it to me."


Chen Xing: "?"

Everyone seems to be wearing this bracelet today, is it to ward off evil spirits? Chen Xing observed for a moment and again saw the red strings on the joined hands of two handsome young men that were looking for inkstone in front of the stall; the red bracelets tied on both of their wrists had shells on them.

"This is a gift too? Looks very pretty," Chen Xing thought out loud.

Xiang Shu moved towards that person and asked, "Where did you both get the shells?"

The two men turned and looked at Xiang Shu and Chen Xing; one of those men was actually Xie Shi, who smiled and said, "Yo, turned out it's you guys?"

"A gift from someone." The other young man lifted up his hand and showed it to Chen Xing.

Chen Xing: "Very pretty ah, why are people wearing it on the Autumn Deity?"

Xie Shi silently smiled, his face flushing red. He then said, "You have it given to you." Saying so, he pulled along that young man, turned around and walked away while waving his hand.


Chen Xing: "???"

Xiang Shu shrugged, unable to pursue the matter. Without any better option, Chen Xing went through the market. The side of Huai River was filled with maple leaves, and there were also boatmen rowing their boats for young men and women. Many people bought food and sat under the bridge to eat, seemingly waiting for something. In the distance, a stage was set up by the river; people there started to perform an opera, narrating Zhijinwu, the story about Lu Xiu and Yin Lihua.

"If I were to be an official, I wanted to be a zhijinwu; if I were to marry, I wanted to marry Yin Lihua..." Chen Xing smiled.

Xiang Shu stood on the riverside with fewer people and watched the faraway stage with the maple leaves falling around in between. Chen Xing explained the story of Lu Xiu and Yin Lihua to Xiang Shu, and the two sat down by the river, listening for a while. As he spoke, Chen Xing again discovered that Xiang Shu was a bit absent-minded; it made him think that Xiang Shu probably didn't have much interest in these things. He talked with so much excitement every time, but Xiang Shu, for the most part, didn't pay him any attention and only listened to him out of politeness, so Chen Xing just had to drop the subject.

"Why did you stop talking?" Xiang Shu was baffled.

"I forgot," Chen Xing said with little interest. A moment later, he changed the subject and asked again, "You think that Murong Chong…"

Xiang Shu became really impatient this time. "Can you not mention the matter regarding the exorcists? Today, I went out to the festival because I wanted to relax."


Chen Xing could only say, "Okay ba."

Xiang Shu: "Do you have another thing in your mind other than those matters?"

Chen Xing could only say, "Nothing. So the boring person is actually me."

The two were both silent for a while, then Chen Xing gave in and smiled.


"Have anything to eat?" Chen Xing said, "We should've brought some food today."

Xiang Shu only got up and left without saying any word. Chen Xing assumed that he was going to buy hot food and so, he didn't follow. After a moment, he suddenly saw that there was a five-stringed qin, as well as a cushion, placed leisurely under a maple tree; the owner had gone to who-knows-where, maybe to watch the show. So, he took the qin and put it on his knee to test the sound and found that it was actually a priceless guqin.

Really rich… Chen Xing thought, this some hundreds of silver taels guqin was just left lying on the ground. And so, he plucked the strings; he produced a string of notes in a very smooth manner, similar to moving clouds and streaming water.

Xiang Shu bought lotus leaf steamed buns and shaojiu in a restaurant, and when he returned to the bridge by the river, he suddenly heard a familiar tune, it was the one he had played at the top of Karakorum the other day, when he bid farewell to the people of the Ancient Chi Le Covenant, the one he played using his Qiang flute, the Fusheng Melody. He only heard that the sound of the guqin was intermittent, as if the player couldn't remember clearly the tonal shift and the score. But after modifying the keys several times, it became much gentler than the sonorous Qiang flute.

Xiang Shu: "..."

From the bridge where Xiang Shu stood, he saw that in the distance, Chen Xing was sitting at the riverbank. He had a guqin on his lap, and maple leaves fluttered around him. He was plucking the guqin in a serious manner; it made him really think that this was indeed a beautiful view.

After a while, the Fusheng Melody ended. Xiang Shu turned and got off the bridge, only to hear a tune he had never heard before coming from under the maple forest by the river.

At the beginning, the tune was full of solitude and loneliness; the sound was few and far between. But then, the string was strummed in an urgent manner, round after round, just like the sound of silver pearls bursting everywhere in the sky, or heavy hammers hitting the ground.

The guqin sound was hastened. In a split second, a gust of wind blew, and together with the maple leaves that were all over the sky, they opened up a new panorama: misty waters extending into the distance, vast and boundless mountain ranges, migratory birds crossing the South and returning to the North. The guqin sound was gentle, but laced into that was a tune that revealed the grandeur of mountains and sea.

Xiang Shu was actually slightly fascinated for a while. When Chen Xing perceived that he was behind him, he stopped playing the qin and turned around, saying, "Have you bought anything? I'm starving to death."

"What song is that?" Xiang Shu asked.

"Come Way Home," Chen Xing said, "Tao Qian's piece. I don't know whether he's here today. What have you bought? Didn't you say you don't drink?"

"Drink only a bit," Xiang Shu said. "You get drunk as soon as you drink."

At this time, the owner of the qin came back. Turned out it was Wang Xizhi who had been dragged down by his family; both sides exchanged courtesies and talked pleasantries. Xiang Shu had that very impatient look on his face, and after eating, Chen Xing dragged him away and left.

"You like that melody?" Xiang Shu suddenly asked.


"It's very pleasant to listen to," Chen Xing said, "though only when you played it on your Qiang flute. How did you learn to play the flute? I've been wanting to ask."

Xiang Shu said, "My father taught me. I'll teach you when I have time, ba. You can play the zither?"

Xiang Shu was also a bit surprised that Chen Xing could actually play the qin, but this surprise must've been just like when Chen Xing found out that Xiang Shu could actually play the Qiang flute. It was as if their common understanding of each other was only limited to exorcists and protectors, and nothing more.

"My zither skill is so out of it," Chen Xing said with a smile. "Very bad, I didn't study hard at that time."


Translator's Note:

I AM SCREAMING YOU ARE SCREAMING WE ARE ALL SCREAMING Also, what do you think those strings are used for?

Btw, Spring of the Prince Syndrome has been picked up by Rena! This is another old work of Fei-ge, but it just recently got an Audio Drama adaptation, so be sure to check it out!


This chapter is migrated and/or formatted by our fellow chicken enthusiast(s), Caro and opal.

Contributors

Elestrea

Your local tree hugger. Come get your tree! They're all lovely = ̄ω ̄=

juurensha

Fic writer, editor, and translator for GHOFD, PUBG, BOW, and Fanservice Paradox.

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