"The snowy plains were vast, as white as a desolate ocean."
Editor(s): namio, jelly
Legend has it that on that day, Zhang Mu threw the fledgling eagle down the cliffside. Li Qingcheng’s heart leapt into his throat at that, but he didn’t ask. Zhang Mu shot Li Qingcheng a glance, but he didn’t explain either.
Li Qingcheng dumbly watched the fledgling as it struggled on the ground. Several times, it flapped its wings furiously as it fought to get out of the crack in the rock, but it only fell down even deeper.
It continued to fall several times, one level after the next, until it landed on some dried grass tufts at the bottom of the cliff. There, it began to beat its wings, barely managing to lift off the ground.
The fledgling lifted itself about half a zhang off the ground before it slammed into the rockface, its claws scrabbling against it for purchase, its body hitting the surface again. Finally, after stumbling about and crashing into obstacles along the way, it managed to fly back into the nest. The base of its wings was bright red, the veins protruding. It slowly closed its piercing eyes as it laid on its side in the nest, its downy breast rising and falling.
Neither Li Qingcheng nor Zhang Mu spoke. After they watched it for a split second more, the fledgling falcon began to squawk weakly, as if it was begging for mercy.
Zhang Mu said, “Go.” And he lifted up Li Qingcheng and climbed up to the top of the cliff.
Li Qingcheng circled back around to the middle of the mountain and led his horse away listlessly. Zhang Mu followed behind without uttering a word.
In that instant, Li Qingcheng felt loneliness and pain like he never had before. He was a person without a past, as all of his memories had already disappeared into nothing. More than once, he had used what slivers of clues he had to try and remember more, but the more he thought about it, the more lost he grew.
He even forced himself to reconstruct those scenes that he had no memory of, and he managed to simulate in his mind a palace that he had no recollection of, wherein he placed the models of Zhang Mu, Fang Qingyu and the rest, as if he was daydreaming a fantasy about his life in the palace.
But there was no benefit in doing so, as his past was still a complete blank. He had lost himself. It was as though he was standing in a patch of murky white fog; the land and sky were vast, but he had no place to call home. He didn’t know where he came from, nor where to go, just like that fledgling falcon without parents that fell down through the crack in the cliffside into such a bedraggled state.
Li Qingcheng said, “Zhang Mu, tell me, was I a useless piece of trash before? How is it that I’ve fallen so low?”
Zhang Mu seemed to sense Li Qingcheng’s mood, and he said quietly, “No.”
Blankly, Li Qingcheng asked, “Was I ever kind to you before?”
Zhang Mu was silent.
Li Qingcheng smiled bitterly. “I’m receiving my just deserts.”
At that, Zhang Mu opened his mouth. “No, Your Highness was very good to this subject.”
Li Qingcheng stopped in his tracks, but Zhang Mu’s deep, slightly hoarse voice continued to issue from behind him. “Your Highness must not blame yourself. Plans for action come from men, but success of those actions is dependent on the heavens. This subject…”
“Qingcheng,” Zhang Mu said, choosing each word with great care, “Mu-ge is willing to die for you.”
Li Qingcheng wiped away his tears with his hand and turned around, hugging Zhang Mu’s waist and burying his face in his chest. Zhang Mu’s handsome male body shivered once, stiffly. He didn’t know where to put his hands or feet. His hand trembled as he lifted it and lowered it, lowered it and raised it again, before finally he wrapped his arm around Li Qingcheng’s shoulders, not making a single sound.
Zhang Mu brought Li Qingcheng back to Feng City. When Fang Qingyu saw that Li Qingcheng was deep in thought, he gave Zhang Mu a look, his gaze filled with derision.
“The firewood has been all chopped to size as you commanded,” Fang Qingyu said warmly. “It’s also been given over to Tang Hong to cart up the mountain.”
Li Qingcheng nodded slightly. He stood in front of Fang Qingyu, shorter than him by half a head, as Fang Qingyu brought over a brush, taking a knee as he brushed away the snow and mud on Li Qingcheng’s robes. Li Qingcheng pressed a hand to his shoulder, pushing him aside a little, as he said, “You’ve done very well.”
He sat in the hall and stared into space for a bit, before finally coming back to himself. His eyes closed and opened again, and he recovered his good spirits.
“Now, since we have nothing to do, call Tang Hong over as well ba.” Li Qingcheng let out a long sigh. “He and I need to carefully analyze some matters, and I might as well bring you two into it too.”
Tang Hong was called over, and the four men surrounded the table in the hall as Li Qingcheng spread open the map of Feng Pass and its surrounding regions.
"No matter who the diplomat from the imperial court turns out to be, or whether there is peace or war, not one inch of the land south of Feng Pass can be handed over to the Xiongnu," Li Qingcheng said.
Tang Hong nodded. "Otherwise, the natural menace the northwest presents will be lost. If the Xiongnu manage to invade then, the Central Plains will definitely be thrown into great chaos."
Li Qingcheng said, "But there are only ten days left before the diplomat sent by the imperial court arrives for peace negotiations, and now Yin Lie has been sent out on my orders to guard the route from the Western Plains to Feng City. A few days ago, I had him take a squadron of men with orders that, because someone would come from the capital disguised as a diplomatic envoy, as soon as he sees soldiers from the government they are to rush at them to try and block their way. If they can't block them, they must slow them down, and if they can't slow them down, then they should just kill the envoy."
Fang Qingyu smiled a little. "You should have sent someone else. Can Yin Lie bear to strike that blow? You really are a piece of work."
Li Qingcheng said, "I was also just wondering if he would be able to deal that blow. Whatever, now we can't send anyone out. The three of you must stay by my side, because there's an even more important matter to attend to. Hopefully he can slow them down for a bit."
Zhang Mu spoke. “Drag it out until when?”
Li Qingcheng responded, "Drag it out until the Xiongnu attack the pass. Then, we counterattack the Xiongnu, driving them out into the Saiwai region."
Fang Qingyu said, “I’m only afraid that the Xiongnu might not attack in these coming days.”
Li Qingcheng was silent. Tang Hong said, “If I were Arius, then I would hold my forces back and wait for the diplomatic envoy sent by the imperial court. Knowing that the battle is already won, why would I fight it?”
Li Qingcheng said, “That’s why this is the next step of the plan, and the most troublesome: I want to hand over command of all of the troops guarding Feng Pass, as well as the soldiers from Langhuan, to you all, so that we can send out our troops first.”
Tang Hong asked, “What exactly do you want us to do?”
Li Qingcheng said, “Circle around Langhuan and follow the Xiaogu River north, until you arrive at the gorge even further north than Mt. Duanke, to ambush the Xiongnu settlements.” And saying this, he drew a few circles with his ink brush. “This is what Administrative Assistant Wang left behind, and this map marks out the Xiongnu villages. They live a thousand people to one settlement, and the young children and old people of the tribe are currently wintering there, while the robust young men are following Arius out to battle. You all will lead nine thousand cavalry to go wash their villages in blood, and no matter if they’re old or young, women or children, kill them all.”
Tang Hong said, “You’ll enrage Arius! At that moment, Feng Pass will be wholly defenseless! You’re seeking death!”
Li Qingcheng smiled.
Fang Qingyu piped up, “Correct, it’d be like that at that moment. As soon as this blood feud is formed, any peace negotiations will be impossible. Even if Arius himself wants to negotiate peacefully, the Xiongnu soldiers under his command wouldn’t be willing. How many days does it take for a report to go back?”
Li Qingcheng said, “There are a hundred and ten li between Mt. Duanke and Feng Pass, and a troop of soldiers moving at double speed can cover that distance in a day and a night. Arius will definitely be able to guess that at that moment, the pass will be lightly guarded, so as soon as you all kill those that should be killed and the reports travel back to Arius, they’ll come to attack Feng Pass. But that will take at least three days. On the third day, you all must return at top speed, without stopping, to Feng Pass. If the timing is right, then you’ll be able to catch the moment where we can commence a pincer attack from the front and back at the same time.”
“Killing women, elders, children.” Li Qingcheng raised his head. “Can you all strike those blows?”
Fang Qingyu said easily, “No problem, I’ll go right now.”
Tang Hong observed Zhang Mu’s expression. A long time later, Zhang Mu said, “I won’t go killing them, but I’ll still lead a troop out.”
Li Qingcheng said, “Where would you go?”
Zhang Mu was silent.
Now Li Qingcheng was stuck. Asking for this clammed-up enigma’s thoughts was really just giving himself more trouble, but as he observed Zhang Mu’s gaze, he suddenly had the same thought as him. He asked, surprised, “You want to go to Mt. Duanke to rescue the northern border territories’ troops that were taken captive?”
Zhang Mu raised his eyes, and his gaze held relief in it. Clearly, because of this short moment where they came to a tacit understanding, he was very happy. But he didn’t say anything in the end, only nodding.
Li Qingcheng said, “Up to you. You can choose your own road to travel, but the prerequisite is that you keep your own life intact. You can’t be injured at all, or I can only take my own life to make up for that crime… no, I’ll kill Tang Hong and have him buried with you.”
Angry, Tang Hong protested, “What kind of reasoning is this!”
Li Qingcheng smiled softly, and Zhang Mu’s gaze warmed. He nodded earnestly, which counted as a response, before bowing and taking his leave.
There were only the two youths left in the hall, Tang Hong and Li Qingcheng.
Li Qingcheng raised an eyebrow, and Tang Hong swallowed.
“If you want to become a famous general like your father,” Li Qingcheng said earnestly, “you cannot depend solely on your martial arts skill to do so.”
“I know.” Tang Hong’s lips moved slightly. “I’ll go now.”
Li Qingcheng said, “The coming dynasty will have bodies piled up like mountains and white bones strewn across every field exactly because you will have laid out a path to becoming an unrivalled general. In the future, the history books will record it thusly. They’ll also record that the person giving the command at this moment to have you all kill these citizens is me, not you, General Tang.”
Tang Hong let out a deep sigh, and with a nod, he left to go gather his men.
That night, amongst the silence and stillness, the gates of the pass opened. The horses were all wearing iron bridles that prevented them from neighing. Torches rose in a forest as Li Qingcheng stood at the front of the pass, lifting up a bowl of wine. Tang Hong, Fang Qingyu, and Zhang Mu, all wearing their military uniforms, poured out the libation of wine.
In the dead of night, nine thousand riders split into three troops and exited Feng Pass, leaving behind two thousand foot soldiers to guard it in rotations.
Everyone had left, and Li Qingcheng slept in the heights of the pass’s watchtowers that night. When he got up the next day, he saddled his horse and went up the mountain, following the pattern of the previous few days as he personally went to feed that fledgling falcon.
The fledgling seemed to be in a much better state, as it was able to leap its way up the rockface about five or six zhang, fluttering between the rocks. Li Qingcheng rubbed its down with his finger, but when he offered it more food, that arctic gyr didn’t come over anymore.
At that moment, Fang Qingyu went north, Tang Hong circled around to the east, and Zhang Mu was the most valiant, leading three thousand steel-clad cavalry right towards Mt. Duanke!
In the span of a day and a night, Fang Qingyu swept through the ten plus villages of the Xiongnu to the north of the Xiaogu River, slaughtering tens of thousands of people. Not long after, their trespass alerted the Xiongnu king Arius guarding Mt. Duanke.
But Fang Qingyu borrowed the cover of the night to retreat as soon as he could. When Arius and his troops arrived at the scene, all they saw were the blackened remains of the villages, their people’s bodies left to rot out in the deserted plains. As soon as Fang Qingyu left, the wolf packs arrived on scene, feasting on the corpses.
Tang Hong ambushed the settlements on the lower banks of the Xiaogu River. No matter if they were man or woman, elderly or young, hunters or common citizens, all were slaughtered. Their heads were cut off and taken away.
In the dark night, Zhang Mu fought his way into Mt. Duanke, meeting up with Fang Qingyu who had circled around. They slaughtered their way in as they headed straight forward before turning and fanning out, decimating the Xiongnu troops that had been standing guard within the mountain, keeping watch over the Yu Country northern border territories’ prisoners of war.
At the same time, Arius received the reports from the different divisions as well as the sentries on Mt. Duanke, and he turned completely into an enraged wild wolf.
When the Taizu of Yu Country had led his troops out of the pass, he had leveled six cities outside it before agreeing to a peace treaty with the Xiongnu, which stated that they would not kill prisoners of war, nor would they slaughter innocent children and the elderly. During his many years of defending the northern border, Wang Yichen had never ordered such a thing as Yu troops washing the Xiongnu settlements in blood.
But this time, someone he didn’t know had issued an order. Arius had only expected that the Yu troops would know their predicament and retreat back to guard Feng Pass, waiting for the diplomatic envoy from the imperial court to arrive with the coming of spring, so that Feng City within the pass would fall into his hands. He had never expected that this command would actually tear apart the peace treaty that the previous emperor of Yu had created, or that Yu would be the ones to declare war!
Arius couldn’t sit for any longer. He instantly gathered up his forty thousand Xiongnu cavalry and split them into three forces, which slaughtered their way towards Feng Pass.
He was going to wage a pitched battle in front of Feng Pass with this audacious bastard of a young general, to quell his warriors’ rage.
That was nowhere near enough. He would personally conquer Feng Pass!
Li Qingcheng stood in the snow, looking towards the rocks in the distance as he whistled at the fledgling falcon.
That fledgling ignored it, tilting its head towards the sky, its sharp eyes incomparably fierce.
Li Qingcheng raised his head in confusion, only to see in the sky another white-bodied arctic gyr, its wings tinted indigo-blue, soaring towards them. It let out a long cry, and Li Qingcheng couldn’t help the sudden spike of surprise in his heart.
“That’s your father?” he asked.
The fledgling didn’t understand human speech, and it squawked several times towards the sky. That large arctic gyr in the sky flapped its wings once and flew towards them. Li QIngcheng immediately backed up, pulling out the Yunshu Sword at his waist, knowing that though this sleek pet looked harmless, it could easily take a human’s life in the blink of an eye.
But the large arctic gyr didn’t land. It merely turned in a circle high in the air before flying northwest.
Li Qingcheng felt a suspicion he could not give voice to. Since it had come back, why had it not returned to the nest? Did it not even care for its offspring anymore?
The fledgling let out a few disappointed cries, and Li Qingcheng said, “Your father doesn’t want you anymore.”
The fledgling turned its head, watching him, as if it understood the meaning of those words.
Feeling a little uneasy still, Li Qingcheng recalled the words that Zhang Mu had spoken the first time they had seen this fledgling. The arctic gyr was the king of the falcons, with no enemy amongst the predators, so the only possibility was that it was captured by humans… He suddenly came back to himself. Realizing that the situation was very bad, he turned, mounted his horse, and galloped down the mountain.
That fledgling spread its wings and managed to flap along behind the galloping horse.
Li Qingcheng pulled the reins, turning the horse’s head, and the fledgling flew over before curling up in his lap.
“Everyone get up!” Li Qingcheng roared. “The Xiongnu are here!”
It was nearing twilight, a whole six shichen before his predicted time. The appearance of a single arctic gyr had wholly scrambled his plans. At that time, all of the foot soldiers on guard duty were awoken by Li Qingcheng. A thousand people were dispatched towards the cliffs on either side, carting firewood and kerosene with them, while the other thousand readied their bows and arrows, all of them gathering on the walls of the pass.
The circle of the sun slowly sank below the horizon, and the snowy plains were vast, as white as a desolate ocean; the setting sun was tinged with blood, dirtying the snow like chicken testicles.
“How did milord know?” an assistant commander asked.
Li Qingcheng said, “That falcon in the distance, can you shoot it down?”
The assistant commander shaded his eyes with his hand and looked into the distance, only to see that male falcon spread its wings and fly towards the grove at the foot of the Feng Mountains.
“It’s too far,” he responded.
Li Qingcheng ran towards the large mounted bow on the western side of the guard tower. Commanding the men to remove the giant arrow, he nocked a normal sized iron one on instead. He knelt behind the bow and took his aim with his naked eyes.
The arctic gyr was circling in the distance. Li Qingcheng released the string. From afar came a long cry from the male falcon, and under the light of the setting sun, feathers scattered. The arrow had swiped it in passing.
At the same moment, the little fledgling falcon in Li Qingcheng’s arms let out a grieving cry, as if it too had felt it.
The Xiongnu troops in the forest suddenly appeared, racing on their horses as they drew their bows and charged towards Feng Pass!
Battle cries rose from the foot of the pass, and a dense rain of arrows flew towards the sky, each of them pinning themselves on the watchtower. Li Qingcheng ducked to avoid them, and he ran past along the wall, roaring, "Keep your heads down!"
The assistant commander called loudly, "Send out the order to release the firewood!"
But Li Qingcheng said, "No need! It's only the vanguard!"
The rain of arrows came wave after wave, and the soldiers guarding the pass hid on the tall walls. Once in a while, a pained cry would issue forth, but most of them in the end hid behind the protection of the tall wall, shooting at the enemies from the arrow slits.
Li Qingcheng donned his battle armor and used his shield to block the flying arrows. As he peered down from the very side, he saw the Xiongnu troops charge towards them. Drawing powerful bows by hand, they rushed towards the high ground below the pass and shot upwards, before clasping their knees around their horses' flanks and retreating out of the range of the Feng Pass soldiers' arrows.
"Save your arrows!" Li Qingcheng said, "The supporting troops still need six shichen before they arrive!"
The first invasion of Feng Pass had begun, and the arrow rain from both sides basically never stopped. Li Qingcheng sent troops to take the women and children out from the city, carrying torches as they picked up arrows from behind the pass, and that was when he knew that this confrontation with the enemy had already produced the desired result.
Now, his only desire was for Feng, Tang, and Zhang, the three of them to retreat with their men, returning sooner rather than later.
The Xiongnu riders in front of Feng Pass increased in number, and when night fell there were already almost three thousand. Before the last rays of light disappeared, about half of the guards on the walls had already suffered casualties. Just as Li Qingcheng grew afraid they wouldn't be able to hold out any longer, preparing to bring out the large mounted crossbows, the battle cries outside the pass hushed. Li Qingcheng sped up the tall tower, staring anxiously towards the darkened snowy fields in the distance.
If it wasn't Arius, then it would be his own men returning. Li Qingcheng tottered between shock and suspicion, and it wasn't until the person's voice issued forth that he let out a breath of relief.
Fang Qingyu called clearly, "Xiongnu dogs! Come out and take a look at your elderly and children, your wives and sons --!"
And with that, the soldiers tossed out the sacks they had at their waists -- almost ten thousand heads, smeared with blood.
The Xiongnu troops instantly let out loud cries, their eyes all turning red. They ignored the shouted orders of their commanders, rushing forward with no thought.
Li Qingcheng roared, "Loose the arrows!"
At this time, with this combined pincer attack from within the pass and outside, the four large crossbows on the walls rang in succession, weng weng weng weng. The crossbows were fierce and relentless, and the blood of the enemy troops that couldn't hide in time splattered the ground. Fang Qingyu led his men in a forward charge, and in that instant the Xiongnu battle formation fell into great disarray, turning into a bunch of individual pitched battles. Still, they kept fighting until they went down. After a round of deadly fighting, the commanders finally blew the military whistle and gathered up the rest of their men.
At this moment, Fang Qingyu had already slaughtered his way to the foot of the pass. The rearguard became the front lines, their backs pressed to the gates as they turned to attack the Xiongnu troops.
The most important moment had already been lost. The Xiongnu troops retreated back without stopping to prevent themselves from being charged at by the enemy while they were within arrow range. It wasn't until they retreated out of arrow range that the gates to Feng Pass opened up, and Fang Qingyu successfully retreated into the city.
Li Qingcheng finally had a moment to catch his breath, and he leaned up against the wall of the watchtower.
Fang Qingyu's armor was coated in fresh blood. With a few steps he raced up high, asking, "Are you alright?"
Li Qingcheng waved his hand, indicating that nothing was wrong, and he asked, "Why did you come back early?"
Fang Qingyu said, "The places that you ordered me to go, Qing-ge didn't go to them all, choosing instead to come back early, which may have changed things."
His face devoid of any expression, Li Qingcheng said, "Slacking off and cutting corners, you're not afraid of getting a whipping?"
Fang Qingyu smiled a little, and Li Qingcheng smiled back mirthlessly. He supported his body's weight with his hands, and he said, "Thankfully you came back early."
Fang Qingyu smiled gently. "You can spare me the whipping, right?"
At that time, another series of shouts came from outside the pass - Tang Hong had also returned.
Li Qingcheng rose and hurried down the tower, Fang Qingyu following behind him. The two of them circled around the gates, where the torches rose in a forest in the depths of the night.
Tang Hong panted for breath as Li Qingcheng said, "You've also cut corners on your assignment?"
Tang Hong fell to one knee. "I… towards the end, I couldn't do it anymore. We collected six hundred and thirty five heads, before my hands grew soft and I couldn't do it. I'm willing to receive any punishment you deem fit."
Li Qingcheng said, "Never mind. Go take a headcount of your troops, and make sure you get the casualties from Fang Qingyu's troops as well. Reorganize them into squadrons, and have the men make the most of this opportunity to rest, so that they can prepare to do battle tomorrow."
Tang Hong nodded repeatedly, taking off his helmet as he turned and went forth to issue orders.
"Tomorrow, when Mu-ge returns, we can prepare to use the kerosene and the firewood." Li Qingcheng pulled out the fledgling in his arms, and he had someone bring over a piece of meat the size of a little finger to feed it.
Fang Qingyu reached out a hand to tease it, only to be pecked for his troubles.
"A present from that mute for you to play with?" Fang Qingyu winked. "Whatever you want, Qing-ge can get one for you too."
Li Qingcheng said irritatedly, "No need."
Fang Qingyu, "Tell me, in what aspect am I inferior?"
Li Qingcheng, "You're not reliable. When I'm with you, I have no confidence in you."
Fang Qingyu smiled lightly. Li Qingcheng pointed at the horse watering trough. "Go clean the blood off your body and find a place to rest. Prepare for battle as soon as dawn breaks."
Shedding his armor, Fang Qingyu revealed a beautifully formed physique and muscles, and under the light of the flames, he splashed the icy water over his face and head. After that chilly bout, he pressed his hand against the trough and said, "Qing-ge does really like you from the bottom of my heart. Ever since we were young, writing, drawing, drafting essays, playing the flute, and even that… in these ten years, what hasn't Qing-ge taught you?"
He knew that Li Qingcheng was watching him, and he smiled to himself. "Do you remember, when you were young, you would climb into Qing-ge's arms to write your characters? But now, after a bout of illness, you've forgotten it all, and all you have in your eyes is that mute."
Li Qingcheng wore a set of hide armor, looking like a young general. The space between his eyebrows had a light tinge of heroic spirit, and at that moment, as he leaned his back up against the wall, the light of the torches cast his long shadow over the snow.
Fang Qingyu washed away the bloodstains on himself. With his upper body bared, he carried his armor in his grasp as he came over and said, "This is the first time I've seen you wearing armor."
Li Qingcheng said, "Does it suit me?"
Fang Qingyu stroked his shoulder pad and nodded. "You look very handsome, not like the person that I served back then."
The dark night was filled with a silence only broken by the popping of the flames as they burned.
Fang Qingyu, "What are you thinking about?"
Li Qingcheng, "Thinking about when Zhang Mu is going to return."
Fang Qingyu stood in front of Li Qingcheng and lowered his head, asking quietly, "Why aren't you thinking of me?"
Li Qingcheng said coldly, "Because you guys have already returned safely, but he hasn't yet."
Time passed gradually, and the worry in Li Qingcheng's thoughts didn't decrease even one whit. It wasn't until the darkest moment before dawn that the Xiongnu king Arius finally arrived with his troops in front of the pass. Forty thousand Xiongnu soldiers and ten thousand Yu Country troops formed ranks on the snowy plain.
The Xiongnu troops' formation slowly pushed forward towards Feng Pass, and a chaotic riot broke out at the top of the pass.
But at this time, Zhang Mu still hadn't returned. Almost six shichen had passed since the time.
Arius roared, "The commander of Feng Pass! Come out to speak with this king!"
Up high, Li Qingcheng revealed himself.
The moment he climbed up onto the tower, he suddenly sensed that, in that vast dark night without an end, Zhang Mu had already finished his assigned duty and had returned successfully.
A kind of strong premonition seemed to pierce straight into his heart, and he knew that Zhang Mu and his riders were not too far from the rear of the Xiongnu battle formation. He was hiding himself, like an owl in the night, observing Arius's every move. At the right moment, he would pull a sneak attack.
With this premonition, Li Qingcheng was no longer nervous. He observed the great Xiongnu army below the pass, and with one hand pressed to his sword, he called, “Arius, do you still remember me? Seven days since, at the Battle of Langhuan, you weren’t burnt to death?”
The author has something to say: The concept of a crane living for a thousand years is something that was written in the Huainanzi, and the ancients believed that "cranes and tortoises have extended lifespans", which is why they believed that saintly herons were able to live for a thousands years.
There's no way an arctic gyr can live for hundreds of years
According to modern-day science, the longest lived birds can only live for sixty or seventy years, and though falcons do shed their beaks, thus prolonging their lifespans, the actual addition, and how many times they can do so are unclear. A lot of this should be taken as a fabrication, don't take it as scientific fact
moon: we have a feitian valentine’s exchange (feilentians, if you will)! if you’re interested, check it out here: https://www.chickengege.org/website/feitian-valentines-event/
This chapter is migrated and/or formatted by our fellow chicken enthusiast(s), moon.