“Three years is just three years. You are just like this kite; your string is in my hand, so you will always come back to me in the end.”
TLC(s): Moon, Eggy
Zhou Yu's temperament was also quite stubborn, so he was not willing to compromise with these people at all. On the second day was the funeral procession for Zhou Yi, and the people of Shu County were scattered along the whole ten miles to send him off. The county magistrate was also there, and while Zhou Yu wept his heart out, Sun Ce walked behind him and talked to the county magistrate in a low voice for a while. When it was time to send the coffin up the mountain, Sun Ce also began to let out an earth-shaking cry.
“Oh old master Zhou!” Sun Ce bawled, merely crying at the top of his lungs without shedding any tears. “Your body has not yet gone cold, but already there are people trying to steal your Zhou family’s land and business……”
Zhou Yu: “…”
“And demean your widow and fatherless son…”
After hearing Sun Ce’s howling, Zhou Yu couldn’t bring himself to cry anymore and he quickly said, “Enough, enough…”
These words were heard by everyone who accompanied the funeral procession along the way, so naturally, the Shu County magistrate heard them as well. The expressions of close relatives who knew of the internal affairs became unpleasant, while distant relatives that didn’t know began to gossip among themselves, pointing their fingers at others. Sun Ce sobbed out a few more sentences before finally stopping, accompanying Zhou Yu up the mountain.
The afternoon after the burial, Sun Ce and Zhou Yu personally went to visit the silk store. Zhou Yu wrote an announcement that the business would close temporarily, and he gave a sum of money to the shopkeeper and the employees as he sent them away to find new jobs so he could recruit new staff. The mulberry fields became temporarily off limits, leaving behind only a few mulberry farmers to take care of the trees and wait for the spring of the coming year to raise silkworms again.
In late spring, the peach blossoms in Shu County were everywhere, covering the mountains and the plains, blooming in bright splendor.
After being so busy for many days, Zhou Yu was finally done. He and Sun Ce headed back to the Zhou manor, walking side by side. As Sun Ce looked at the vast fertile land stretching long in the distance, across the green hills and clear waters, he said, “Gongjin, I suddenly think that perhaps you really should sell off the fields.”
“Why?” Zhou Yu asked, “Do you need the money?
Sun Ce joked, “If I was asking you to lend me money, would you sell the fields?”
Zhou Yu replied without even needing to think about it, “If you need money, then naturally I would sell them. Do you need the money?”
Sun Ce waved his hand and said, “I’m thinking, would you be willing to accompany me to Changsha after this to plan out an errand? My army is missing a main records keeper. If you come, the two of us can be together every day, drinking wine and practicing the sword.
Zhou Yu said, “No.”
“Why?” Sun Ce walked backwards in front of Zhou Yu, his new boots completely covered with mud.
“With my parents here, I will not travel far.” Zhou Yu answered simply in eight words.
Sun Ce smiled and continued the other half of the sentence, “‘And to travel, it must be for a just cause’, isn’t that what comes next?”
Zhou Yu said, “Wait a bit longer, I understand your thoughts. However, my father has just passed, and my mother at home has no one to accompany her. I’m afraid that she will become ill.”
When Sun Ce thought about it, it made sense, so he could only nod his head. A moment later, he said, “Yesterday, Feiyu brought over news, my father is urging me to go back.”
Zhou Yu immediately froze for a moment, feeling an indescribable feeling of loss in his heart.
“You’re leaving so soon?” Zhou Yu asked.
“He wants me to help usurp the thief.” Sun Ce turned around again, returning to walking side by side with Zhou Yu, as he casually continued, “I also don’t want to part with you either, which is why I asked. If you’re willing to go, then come with me on my expedition. Your fighting skills are very good, and I will also protect you. You don’t have to be charging in the frontlines during battle; all you need to do is to help me with the ledger book and come up with some plans for me.”
Zhou Yu replied, “With you, you reckless monkey, you think you can protect me?”
Sun Ce smiled and said, “You don’t believe me? You clearly haven’t seen me on the battlefield yet.”
“I do believe you.” Zhou Yu said softly.
When he saw Sun Ce fighting that day, it was as if he was a fierce tiger leaving the mountain, his prowess known far and wide. What would a young hero look like? It would be exactly like what Sun Ce looked like.
Sun Ce then said, “If you are worried about your mother, you can bring her along to my residence in Changsha. It’s also convenient, she can talk to my mother to relieve boredom.”
Zhou Yu’s heart wavered a little bit in that split second. But, with such a large family business like this, Zhou Yu couldn’t just simply get up and go, nor could he abandon it just like that. The journey would be long and difficult, and he was afraid that the long trip would wear down his mother, and that she would not be accustomed to the change in scenery. If he went, that meant that he was giving up the family business in Shu County.
Also, although he and Sun Ce had a good relationship, Sun Jian’s subordinates, particularly seasoned old generals who had fought hundreds of battles, might not necessarily treat him as well as Sun Ce did. It was never easy to take shelter with someone else.
Ultimately, he could not overcome this barrier that he himself had erected.
Sun Ce watched Zhou Yu expectantly, and there was a moment when Zhou Yu nearly nodded his head, but he ended up saying, “After a few days ba.”
“When?” Sun Ce asked as he stopped walking.
“When are you going back?” Zhou Yu asked instead.
Sun Ce: “I have to leave tomorrow morning.”
Zhou Yu immediately felt a feeling of discomfort in his heart. He had originally planned to leave ten days to half a month to resolve this matter first, before asking for his mother’s permission. After carefully mulling over matters, he would then leave with Sun Ce, but he hadn’t expected Sun Ce’s departure to be so urgent. He had already wasted so much time staying by Zhou Yu’s side, and the military situation was urgent, so Sun Ce couldn’t be forced to stay.
Zhou Yu lifted his eyes to look at Sun Ce, and the two of them stared at each other in silence for a long time. Suddenly, Sun Ce suddenly said, “Gongjin, I genuinely want you to come with me. It really isn’t because I pity you for not having a place to go.”
Zhou Yu said, “You thought about this too deeply, I have never thought of it that way. You helped save my father and accompanied me over the past few days. I’m really……”
Zhou Yu looked away. A moment later he finally said, “Bofu, you are a man capable of accomplishing great things.”
“Really? Sun Ce laughed and said, “Quite a few people have also said the same thing.”
“There you go again.” Zhou Yu said, not knowing whether to cry or laugh.
Zhou Yu took a step and began to walk away. Sun Ce followed behind him, and earnestly said, “Gongjin, I’m desperately in need of someone who can assist me. I came to find you this time because I want to ask you to come over and help me, but with all of the things that happened, I couldn’t find a good time to bring this up with you. As long as you come under my command, whatever I achieve in the future….”
Zhou Yu stopped in his steps.
Zhou Yu knew Sun Ce was making a promise to him. He gently nodded his head and replied, “Bofu, I believe that in the coming days, if you do not become a famous general, then you will be one of the Three Ministers, I really do believe so. But right now, I’m not up to par; I do not believe in myself.”
“What?” Sun Ce asked, feeling surprised by Zhou Yu’s comment.
“Give me a little time.” Zhou Yu said in a low voice. “Is that ok? When I feel like I’m competent enough to assist you, I will come find you.”
“How much time do you need?” Sun Ce said, smiling. “Don’t say ten or twelve years, I won’t be able to wait that long.”
“Three years?” Zhou Yu said.
Sun Ce did not reply. Zhou Yu knew he was reluctant to agree, and he himself was afraid that Sun Ce wouldn’t be able to wait that long, so he didn’t mention it again. The two of them were stuck in their own thoughts as they slowly walked along the road. Petals from the late spring peach blossoms fluttered in the wind as many children ran across the embankment, tugging along their soaring kites.
“Want to go fly kites?” Zhou Yu asked.
Sun Ce nodded, and Zhou Yu went out to buy a kite from a peasant family. The two of them climbed onto a canopy boat, and Sun Ce held onto the kite as he tugged its string, letting the kite soar with the wind against the backdrop of the distant landscape that resembled an ink painting. Zhou Yu sat crossed-legged at the bow of the boat, lifting his head to watch like a small child would, while Sun Ce stood at the stern, his hand holding the kite string.
“Alright.” Sun Ce suddenly answered.
Zhou Yu looked back and saw Sun Ce’s cheerful bright smile.
“Three years is just three years. You are just like this kite; your string is in my hand, so you will always come back to me in the end.” Sun Ce said, smiling.
Zhou Yu smiled and said nothing. He then took a guqin from inside the boat, pondered deeply for a moment, before his hand plucked the five strings, and the crystal clear sound of the guqin resonated under the fine sky.
The following day, the mountain and forests were covered by a curtain of mist. Sun Ce and Zhou Yu hadn’t slept for the entire night, instead choosing to lay in bed and talk all night long. In fact, Zhou Yu was still yawning when he went to see Sun Ce off. Sun Ce, on the other hand, was in high spirits as he led his horse by the rein, bidding farewell to Zhou Yu.
“No need to see me off any further.” Sun Ce said, “Remember, three years.”
“I remember.” Zhou Yu tiredly replied.
The white falcon flew over and landed on Zhou Yu’s shoulder. Sun Ce said, “Feiyu will deliver news to you on my behalf. Take good care of yourself.”
Zhou Yu took a step forward, and instantly he was overwhelmed by a mixture of feelings, making him stop in his tracks. However, Sun Ce immediately understood his thoughts and, throwing all thoughts of restraint out of his mind, he stepped forward to hug Zhou Yu tightly; the two stood like that on the mountain road.
After a while, Sun Ce patted Zhou Yu’s back and pushed him away, and without saying any words, Sun Ce mounted his horse.
In that instant when Sun Ce turned around, Zhou Yu clearly saw his two reddened eyes, but Sun Ce did not say anything. There was only the sound of horse hooves as he left along the mountain road, disappearing into the mist in the blink of an eye.
The autumn wind blowing outside stirring one’s thoughts as the sun rises, and when it’s bright out one will know what to do then.
A white falcon passed through thousands of crags and torrents , sweeping past Lake Chao, disturbing the autumn water in the lake, sending ripples echoing outwards.
The white falcon flew toward a canopy boat and landed next to the fisherman standing at the bow of the boat. The fisherman wore a bamboo hat, one leg dangling about four cun away from the surface of the lake, swaying back and forth.
Another young man laid lazily at the bow of the boat, wearing a set of beautiful brocade long robes. His face resembles fine jade, his eyebrows delicate like mountains in the winter, his lips red as cinnabar, his teeth as white as snow, and his eyes as bright as stars.
“Zijing,” the fisherman said to that young man, “Can you check if that’s our bird?”
The young man who had been called Zijing, was named Lu Su, and he didn’t even bother lifting up his eyelids as he said,”So you came all the way here to fish just to wait for that white bird?”
“That is it! Bofu’s letter has come!” The fisherman reeled in his rod, taking out a small fish from his basket and feeding it to the white falcon. The white falcon hopped a few times at the bow of the boat, raising its eyes to look at the fisherman. The fisherman took off his bamboo hat, revealing a handsome face -- that was Zhou Yu.Lu Su casually said, “It’s this bird again, it’s Sun Bofu again, even hearing their names annoy me now. Zhou Gongjin, my guess is there are still no results.”
“Come here.” Zhou Yu said, smiling.
The white falcon hopped over, and Lu Su used his finger to flick it. The white falcon obviously had been teased by Lu Su before, and as soon as it saw his finger coming, it hurriedly hopped away.
In an earnest manner, Lu Su held a small fish out to the bird to lure it over. With that, the white falcon finally carefully approached him. The corner of Lu Su’s’s mouth faintly curled up as he said blithely, “Other falcons eat meat, you’re the only one which feeds on fish.”
The white falcon stared at Lu Su, tilting its head. Zhou Yu stroked its head and asked, “Where’s Bofu’s letter?”
Lu Su held out its claw, untying a very small tube from its leg, taking a letter out from inside.
To my xiandi Gongjin:
We have parted for several years. How have you been in recent days? Within the next few days, xiong will lead his army up north. Zhang Jue’s power is gone and the chaos of the Yellow Turbans eliminated, but He Jin lured the Marquis of Mei, Dong Zhuo, into the capital, sending the situation in Luoyang into extreme disarray. The Liang Province army is currently garrisoned in Guandong, where it is easy for them to cause trouble. On behalf of my father, xiong has taken charge and deployed troops to avoid possible rebellions. The number of refugees in front of the Hulao Pass is increasing, and the common people have been unable to bear with the disturbance. For the goods that di mentioned, xiong has tried his best and investigated many different possibilities, but to no avail. I worry that you will be anxious, so I have decided to pass on the news to you in advance. Xiandi, do not be anxious, being impatient won’t get you hot tofu Wait for xiong to slowly investigate.
Two years of the three year promise have already passed, and an advisor position remains vacant in xiong's army.
Please give my regards to Aunt on my behalf. Don’t miss me too much, xiandi.
“Sure enough, he basically said the equivalent of nothing, “ Lu Su, relentlessly mocked Zhou Yu, whose expression was set in one of resignation.
Lu Su said, “The letter has been received, is it time to go back?"
“You can go back first,” Zhou Yu said, “So younger sister-in-law doesn’t scold you again.”
“You’re the one getting scolded. It is only because you don’t have a wife to mind you, and you’re laughing at me? When will you get married? You should hurry up and satisfy the hearts of all those girls.” Lu Su replied, patting his clothes.
Zhou Yu, “I’ll stay back to fish a little more.”
“Something on your mind?”
“What things can be on my mind? I only want to fish.”
"Your words don't match your heart." Lu Su declared, grabbing a convenient wooden plank from the boat and tossing it across the surface of the lake. He then stepped on the boat's side and shot out quickly like an arrow from a bow. With his body in mid-air, one hand behind his back and his foot bent slightly, Lu Su touched down onto the plank, making half of the wooden plank dip under the clear autumn water, sending ripples halfway across the lake. He then flew to the shore, landing onto the ground in a leisurely manner, looking incessantly confident and at ease.
The blue jade-like water reflected Zhou Yu’s handsome side profile and the mountain ranges. Holding a fishing rod in his hand, he sat there wordlessly as if he was a statue. It wasn’t until it began to rain, thousands of blooming flowers of all sizes blossoming on the surface of Lake Chao, that Zhou Yu finally let out a long sigh and lifted the fishing rod and bucket as he headed back home.
Two years had passed since he and Sun Ce parted from each other. Emperor Ling had passed away, and Emperor Xian ascended the throne. The news from Luoyang grew more and more tense day after day. One moment, it was about how He Jin led Dong Zhuo into the capital, leading to Lü Bu killing Ding Yuan and switching to Dong Zhuo’s side. The people in the capital were distressed at that, and many rich noble families fled out of Guandong, one after the other.
The next moment, there were people saying the thief Dong had usurped the throne and gained control of Emperor Xian, reigning supreme over the imperial officials. Then, some people said various world-famous heroes had banded together, with the revered Yuan Shao as their head, pledging to suppress Dong Zhuo.
Everywhere was abuzz with the news, and even Jiangzuo was also affected by this tense atmosphere. In fact, more guards were patrolling the roads in the area. The autumn rain pattered down bleakly as the mountain ranges were shrouded in the smoke of the approaching dust. Zhou Yu, wearing a bamboo hat and carrying the bucket, waked up along the meandering mountain with the white falcon that Sun Ce had given him two years before on his shoulder.
Over the past two years, their letters had never stopped. From time to time, Zhou Yu would write a letter to Sun Ce. Sun Ce, on the other hand, responded to Zhou Yu’s letter even quicker. However, the exchange was merely full of unimportant matters, as if they were children arguing with each other. The letters kept going back and forth, and the contents only discussed the peach blossoms blooming and withering, the water level of Lake Chao rising and falling, the changing of the four seasons, and the constant renewing of nature.
It wasn’t until half a year ago, at the beginning of spring, that the store in Shu County began its normal routine of dispatching caravans along the usual route, passing through the Hangu Pass towards Liang Province, and from there, entering the Silk Road to trade with the Western Regions. However, that very year, the turbulent situation had grown beyond Zhou Yu’s control. Less than three months after the merchants set off on their journey, they sent news -- a large number of shipments had been seized.
That caravan contained not only the Zhou’s family silk, but also all of the people who did commercial business in Shu County. All of it went missing, and only two mules were escorted back by the officials at the rest inn who were coincidentally heading that way as well.
When they realized the turbulence of the world had already reached their lands, all of the influential families in Shu County panicked at once, each of them sending people to ask around for information. However, the thirty six members of that caravan were like a stone sinking into the deep sea and were never heard from again.
The goods could be abandoned, as long as the people came back. However, if they were alive, the people were missing; if they were dead, no corpses were found. The workers at Zhou Yu’s silk shop had been at their jobs for less than a year, but human lives were priceless, so he had no choice but to hastily write a letter to Sun Ce requesting help.
Sun Ce repeatedly comforted Zhou Yu, but both knew that during this turbulent era, human lives were like grass, and that there was probably no hope. If there was someone working in the imperial court as a petty official, maybe they would still be able to share information and inquire after the whereabouts of the caravan. Meanwhile, the families of those thirty six people, their orphans and widows, could only cry all day long as they held onto that slim glimmer of hope.
Jin/Cytaoplasm – Would like to point out for everyone that peach blossom in Chinese also means love affair figuratively hehehe just let that new information sink in.
Once again, if you haven’t watched a history crash course on the Three Kingdoms, please do. It will make things less confusing for future chapters since the numerous footnotes will not go away anytime hahaha
This chapter is migrated and/or formatted by our fellow chicken enthusiast(s), Cytaoplasm.