Chang An elbowed him in the chest, struggled out of his arms, then let out a cough that shook the heavens and the earth—he was choking on a fish bone.
Fortunately, it was just a small thorn, and it didn’t get stuck too deeply. Chang An coughed for a while and finally spat it out. Hua Yi was holding onto his chest, which was still hurting from getting hit, then looked at Chang An with deep eyes.
Chang An stared at Hua Yi, finding the incident so bizarre that he didn’t know how to describe it. They stared at each other for a long while before Chang An asked in a very blunt tone, “What are you doing?”
Hua Yi said frankly, “Kissing you.”
Chang An: “……”
Even if he was a dumb person, he wasn’t so dumb yet that he didn’t know what “kissing you” meant. He intuitively wanted to ask, “What are you kissing me for?”, but when the words were at the tip of his tongue, he choked them back—they sounded too silly for him to say.
By now, Chang An had been living with the tribe for more than half a year. Even though he wouldn’t pay much attention to what’s around him, he had been influenced by what he’d heard and seen. He also roughly knew what other people’s lives were like.
He had even thought of marrying A’Lan if she were still around.
Chang An looked at Hua Yi with scrutiny, suspecting he had taken the wrong medicine.
Hua Yi struck while the iron was hot and said bluntly, “Chang An, be with me.”
The first time Hua Yi said this, Chang An didn’t understand. This time, there was no one explaining anything, but combining it with what happened before, he understood on his own. Chang An had always been the kind of person who’d wear his heart on his sleeve, so when he heard Hua Yi’s words, he immediately showed a look of confusion, unable to make heads or tails of it.
Hua Yi thus slyly returned a few words. He fixed his eyes on him and asked, “Do I treat you well?”
Chang An nodded and said, “It’s okay.”
Hua Yi then followed up to tempt and coax him, “Be with me, and I’ll treat you well for life.”
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Chang An retorted, “If not, will you treat me badly from now on?”
Hua Yi stretched out his legs and leaned against the wall, and with an enigmatic smile, he said, “How could that be?”
Regarding this, Chang An’s brain was a mess. So he put down the fish and sat upright, as if he had been ordered to deal with it carefully.
Hua Yi watched as if he was about to see something interesting. Suddenly, he stretched out his hand and lightly pinched Chang An’s ankle. He didn’t use much strength, just pinching it with the tips of his fingers, tickling Chang An a bit.
But they were used to playing around in normal times, so Chang An didn’t care and just flicked his calf. “Don’t make a fuss.”
Hua Yi’s fingers deftly dug into the leg of his pants. The thick clothing pressed onto his fingertips, making them seem glued to Chang An’s skin. While slowly fondling his way up, he leaned in and hooked his other arm around Chang An’s back, then whispered slyly into his ears, “Wouldn’t it be nice to be with me? You still don’t know what the happiest thing is, but I can teach you—”
As he said this, his ice-cold hands probed all the way in through the layers of thick clothing sewn from animal skins.
His fingers were extremely cold, but his palms were warm, and his skin against Chang An’s seemed to bring a kind of strange agitation.
A young man’s desire was very easy to ignite, and Hua Yi had a bit of a knack for it. Soon, Chang An’s already confused expression simply turned into that of bewilderment. He instinctively shrank to avoid it, but his resistance wasn’t very strong. He was like a cat being pinched at the nape, not knowing where to strike its four claws.
A’Lan said he liked him, but she had never touched him like this. Her headstrong but gentle courtship always made him feel uneasy, but at the same time, a little sweet. However, Hua Yi was different. Chang An’s back arched—“Happy” was not what he was feeling. It was danger that he first felt from the man’s actions. If he had any fur, he might’ve already exploded into a ball.
Finally, when Hua Yi’s hand kneaded his back and the other about to reach into his pants, Chang An grabbed his hand red-faced, lifted his pants, then leaped up and hid to the other side of the room as if his butt was on fire. He glared warily at Hua Yi. It was for no other reason but that Chang An decided to follow his teacher’s instruction this time on how he must not casually take off his pants.
Hua Yi leisurely sniffed his fingers which had been doing mischief for a while, and as if they were dipped in honey, gently licked them while looking askance at Chang An. Following his seduction, he switched into unscrupulous goading, asking, “What, you don’t dare?”
The light layer of red that rose on Chang An’s face slowly receded. He thought for a while, then finally shook his head with a heavy expression. He asked, “Do you mean the same thing as A’Lan?”
Hua Yi thought, Bullshit, how can it be the same?
But Chang An probably wouldn’t understand this difference even if he said it, so Hua Yi carelessly nodded his head and shamelessly misled him, “Pretty much.”
Chang An lowered his head and straightened out his messed-up clothes. Finally, he made a decision and said, “No, I feel sorry for A’Lan.”
As for why exactly he’d feel sorry for A’Lan, Chang An didn’t quite understand. He just had such a vague feeling.
Hua Yi didn’t expect this silly boy to suddenly utter such a sentence. He drew a sharp breath and nearly choked on it. “A’Lan? A’Lan’s gone. Why do you feel sorry for her?”
Chang An said frankly, “I can’t tell.”
If he had said something, Hua Yi could’ve refuted it on the spot with his eloquence. But the three words “I can’t tell” was a big killer, immediately blocking him and leaving him speechless.
When Hua Yi saw Chang An couldn’t eat, he was still somewhat reserved. But in the middle of the night, when nobody was around, his heart would be torn, worrying about the future and pondering about the present. However, after having kissed him and touched him for a while just now, Hua Yi’s heart caught on fire. He couldn’t wait to drag the man over and just do it, with no sanity left to speak of. It made him feel so miserable, it was like his heart was clutched and his liver scratched.
This overpowering scent of masculinity made Chang An feel a little embarrassed. He picked up his blade, pushed the door open, and said, “You… um, you eat your food. It seems to be getting windy. I’ll go out and take a look.”
That little craftiness in Hua Yi’s heart reared its head again, and he suddenly stood up, rushed over, and hugged Chang An tightly from behind. Frantically1釜底抽薪 (idiom) – Literally, “to take away the firewood from under the cauldron.” It means “taking drastic measures to deal with a situation.”, he said, “A’Lan said at that time that she liked you and wanted to marry you, but you didn’t say yes to her. Don’t you feel sad that she died with this regret in her heart?”
Chang An’s body stiffened.
Hua Yi sighed, then lowered his voice. “I don’t know what the sea will be like, I don’t know how long the winter will last, and I also don’t know if enemies will suddenly come out and snatch away our place… Like what happened to Jila. Everything was so nice, but then it all disappeared in the blink of an eye. You saw it, didn’t you? If I were like Jila who suddenly died, wouldn’t you miss me? Wouldn’t you be sad? Do you want to regret it again?”
If Suo Laimu ever saw this scene, he would simply say he was extremely despicable.
However, men with sperms in their heads were always willing to do anything to get what they wanted.
And Chang An indeed let him hug, no longer struggling.
Behind him, Hua Yi looked smug. He smiled cheaply, thinking he was going to succeed.
But then Chang An suddenly pried his wrist open with the handle of his blade and said, “I will not let you die like Jila.”
Hua Yi was stunned. The young man took a few steps forward, his eyes a very different and determined look from the confused one he just had. Putting his saber over his shoulder, he said in a flat yet certain tone, “You will not die. I guarantee that until… until the last day of my life. So don’t worry, okay?”
These were good words, and Hua Yi should’ve been happy to hear it. But these words easily extinguished the fire of desire that was stirring in Hua Yi’s heart, and from its ashes came forth a kind of unfathomable taste.
After saying this, Chang An went to patrol the beach like usual.
Hua Yi looked at him stupidly until the view of his back disappeared. Then suddenly, he lifted his hand and slapped himself crisply and loudly.
Since then, during the three days they were on duty in the mountain, Hua Yi never again moved his hands waywardly. But sometimes, when Chang An fell asleep, he would stare blankly at the young man’s back.
Early in the morning of the fourth day, their replacements arrived. They were Lu Quan and a winged beastman. Hua Yi was briefly giving them an account when, at that moment, the ground suddenly shook without warning.
Hua Yi thought of Suo Laimu’s worries and shuddered. Fortunately, the earthquake wasn’t that severe, and it settled down in a moment.
But the sharp-eyed winged beastman suddenly pointed towards the ocean and said, “Guys, look! The waves!”
The four men dared not delay, and they all climbed higher to get a better view.
The day was a little ominous in its gloom, and the sea seemed to have been stirred up by something. The waves were surging and pounding against the reef.
The waves grew larger and larger, and soon after, they were no longer like waves but more like a rising tide, a vast white line rushing towards the shore. It was as if there was a monster in the sea setting off the waves. The mountains were whistling, and the sea was roaring, hitting against the coast. The reef knocked back the sea with even more ferocity, yet a second wave only followed.
Without even looking back, Hua Yi said to Lu Quan, “Light the fire! Light the fire!”
Lighting the fire as a warning sign was something they had agreed on before. As soon as the people at the foot of the mountain saw the smoke billowing up from the sentry, they immediately withdrew to higher ground as quickly as possible.
Suo Laimu was at the foot of the mountain, and so was Ahero. There was no need for Hua Yi to worry. People soon gathered at the top of the mountain and looked down from above.
Only to see that that first wave that was looking like a rising tide was now changing shape, soon becoming a wall of water several zhang high. It smashed the shore wave after wave, toppling the mountains and overturning the seas2排山倒海 – this is an idiom which means “earth-shattering” or “magnificent,” but I guess you can also take it literally here.
A faint tremor came from under people’s feet. The mermaid “AAAH” suddenly fell to his knees, but this time he didn’t wail. It was as if he heard something that no one else could hear. And he wasn’t facing East, where the waves were surging, but to the South.
Chang An heard the mermaid sing for the first time, and maybe there was some truth in the legends. The mermaid’s singing voice was extremely touching. Although there was only one note, the tune was extremely deep and mellow, having a kind of bitterness that couldn’t be explained. Hearing it, one couldn’t help but remember the sorrow of being displaced away from home, making people close to tears.