At that moment, Chang An’s eyes were in a bit of a daze. He couldn’t help but grab Hua Yi’s collar, seemingly wanting to do something. However, the instructions given by instinct were vague. His head was a mess, and he couldn’t understand what he wanted to do.
Then Hua Yi lowered his head. Unlike the fierceness just now, this time, he kissed Chang An with infinite tenderness and emotion. His dark eyes looked into him. They seemed different from usual, but the difference was so subtle, one couldn’t tell the change. Yet it ran straight into Chang An’s heart, making him realize at once—Oh. He grabbed Hua Yi’s collar. I want to kiss him.
Desire was like a veil on a growing man. It was always itchy, but one couldn’t quite reach where it was itching. But then one day, someone would tear the veil off, and the body would naturally make him realize it all at once.
People called it “the soul leaving and the bones eroding1销魂蚀骨 – metaphor to describe ecstasy..” And in general, when the man’s bones were soft, the heart would naturally follow.
Chang An’s rapid breathing slowly calmed down, and for a while, nobody spoke. The special smell in the room seemed to be tinged with a touch of indefinable ambiguity. And strangely, Chang An, this man with “large but spiritless eyes2眼大无神 – Literally, “Large, godless eyes.” It refers to one who has large, bright eyes, but contrary to such eyes, is often not energetic.,” actually felt a surging tide of emotion for the first time. He was at a loss, but he couldn’t help being drawn to it.
Chang An’s cheeks were flushed with a bit of red. He looked straight at Hua Yi as he casually pulled out a piece of cloth to wipe off the thing on his hand. Being stared at by him, even Hua Yi’s thick face could no longer be hung. He couldn’t help but tease Chang An, “What, you now know what it’s like to be human?”
If A’Lan’s ardent pursuit and his body naturally growing made Chang An a little confused, then at this time, he was suddenly enlightened. The fire stirred in his body was slowly dying out, and its warmth slowly dispersed into his limbs.
His health had never been good, so he would always feel quite tired. But at this time, it wasn’t the exhausted kind of tired. Instead, it was the kind of comfortable tiredness when the eyes naturally wanted to close after being nestled next to the fire on a rainy night.
Now understanding things he didn’t know before3福至心灵 (idiom) – “When fortune comes, the heart is opened.” People will know what to do when the right time comes., Chang An suddenly grabbed Hua Yi’s hand.
Hua Yi looked at him with a little smile, waiting to hear what Chang An would say.
Chang An lowered his eyelids, and in doing so, revealed the distinct and beautiful eye shape outlined by the lids and covering his overly pure and gleaming eyes, making him look more like a person in a painting.
Sure enough, this brat’s fur had been softened, really living up to Hua Yi’s expectations.
In an almost tender and somewhat shy tone, he said a bit stiffly and awkwardly, yet very much seriously, “I will be good to you.”
These words had clearly reached the highest level of love talk that Chang An could say.
Hua Yi had thought he’d laugh when he’d hear words like these, but when he really heard it, he couldn’t laugh.
He felt that those words as light as a feather were like a series of small hammers driving nails into his heart, nails so deep that he couldn’t help but believe them.
When he was young, he had a father and a mother. But after all, he had been young and unwise, so he felt as if he had not experienced such a feeling for many years—knowing with unmistakable clarity that someone was putting him in his heart at this moment. It was as if a very thin thread was connecting him to the vast expanse of the world. His heart was punctured in an instant, making his chest feel as if Ground Fires sitting under ten large mountains were erupting all at once. It felt brilliant and warm as they burned in succession. Like the Yangtze and Yellow Rivers4The two great rivers running through China rushing into the East Sea, the lava poured straight into every one of his blood vessels.
He had planned carefully, but he happened to be tired today, so he temporarily suppressed his desire. Let this silly boy taste the sweetness first. It was best to coax him ‘til he was confused and disoriented, and if it went on for long, the person will naturally fall into his hands and be at his mercy.
Hua Yi didn’t expect that he’d be the one who’d be confused and disoriented.
“Sleep.” After a long time, Hua Yi came back to his senses. He didn’t break out of Chang An’s hands and just let him grasp. He lay down beside him and gently wrapped an arm around him. In a bit of a nasally voice, he whispered, “Lie with me for a while.”
When Hua Yi woke up, Chang An was no longer in the house. It wasn’t Chang An’s turn to patrol today, so at this time, he must’ve rigidly gone to train with his blade.
Hua Yi lingered in his quilt for a while, and unexpectedly, when he turned over, he found a handful of small stones that had been placed next to his pillow sometime ago.
There were many colorful stones at the sea. They weren’t valuable, but they were fancy and beautiful. Some young girls liked to go picking them up when they had nothing to do. This handful had been carefully selected. Their sizes were about the same, and they even seemed to have been washed with water. Each one of them was sparkling and crystal clear, particularly beautiful.
Hua Yi was stunned for a moment, and his eyebrows rose higher and higher. He picked up a small yellow stone and examined it on his palm for a while, then finally, he didn’t know whether to laugh or cry at the thought that the stinky brat had treated him as some young girl to please.
At this time outside, Luda and Chang An had been fighting for a while.
As usual, Qingliang was watching from the side, and the more he watched, the more he felt ashamed of himself. In the end, he could hardly raise his head and simply wanted to find a crack on the ground to drill in.
After Chang An overturned Luda, he simply and patiently pointed out a few places where he had not practiced well. When he turned his head around and saw Qingliang’s appearance of lowering his head to the grave, he couldn’t help sighing even though he was in a good mood early in the morning.
Luda picked up his jiandao and quickly lectured him for his Shifu, “I told you to watch properly. What are you doing with your head down?”
Qingliang shot up and looked straight at him in extreme shame.
Luda shook his head and strode over. He picked up a wooden sword and shoved it into Qingliang’s hand, cursing as he said, “Waste! Don’t stand there. Come here, and I’ll teach you!”
Luda got along with Qingliang in a bumpy way. Sometimes, there were some brotherly feelings, but these feelings were always torn by the idea that “Qingliang wasn’t worthy of being his brother.” At times, he’d feel pity for Qingliang, so he’d teach him with great dedication. But at other times, he’d feel that this big and tall guy was so pathetic, it was really abominable.
In front of Chang An, these complex and flimsy feelings would take on a different flavor.
Luda was at an age he’d like to draw attention to himself. He wasn’t close to many people, and this young Shifu who’d show neither joy nor anger on his face was the first one. For some reason, Luda always liked making a show in front of Chang An in order to rouse his attention a bit.
Qingliang was the perfect foil. Sometimes, when he wasn’t with him, Luda himself would think that his martial skills weren’t so amazing.
Out of this indescribable, little, teenage vanity, he would let Qingliang watch from the side when Chang An was teaching him. What he didn’t know was that he had accepted a grand-disciple for his Shifu.5A Shifu-disciple relationship is like the relationship between father and son. Accepting a Shifu is like acknowledging that person as your father. In fact, the characters for Shifu (师父) literally means “teacher-father.” And so disciples and masters are like one, big family. Bei Shi would be Luda’s teacher-grandfather or grand-Shifu. And Luda always teaching Qingliang, pretty much making the other guy his own disciple, would be like accepting a grandson-disciple for Chang An.
Liz: Somebody please make a Family AU featuring Hua Yi and Chang An as parents and Luda and Qingliang as their babies o(TヘTo)
However, on this day, Chang An was obviously a little absent-minded. He leaned against an old tree, and his eyes quickly fell into a daze. Something came to his mind, but fortunately, Luda taught and taught and even started teaching seriously that he didn’t notice it at all.
It wasn’t until Luda was sweating and saw Chang An silent for a long time that he turned around and tried to attract his attention. He asked, “Shifu, is this right?”
Chang An looked up as if he had woken up from a dream. He stared for a moment at the wooden sword in Qingliang’s hand, then suddenly stood up blankly and walked out.
Luda was surprised and asked, “Shifu, where are you going?”
Chang An said, “Going to the sea to take a look.”
Chang An didn’t like the water. When the long winter passed, and they no longer worried about food, Chang An also had a new task, so he had never been to the sea since. Luda knew this, so he was even more surprised. He asked, “The weather is so cold, what are you running to the sea for?”
Chang An said, “I still think that a few stones are not quite right. I’m going to the sea to find some pearls.”
When the shadow of the person had walked away, Qingliang timidly asked, “Is he looking for pearls to give to the Chief?”
Hearing this, the words “Lust make people lose their senses” somehow appeared in Luda’s mind, albeit he had only a smattering of understanding on such a profound statement.
He grunted and hit Qingliang’s back with the spine of his blade. “Still not training with your blade yet, waste!”
Qingliang cried an aggrieved “oh,” then asked expectantly, “You’re… You’re still going to teach me?”
Luda said, “Teach, what teach! Don’t you have eyes or brains? Haven’t you seen it so many times? Practice by yourself!”
After saying that, the teenager grunted and walked away alone. Train with the blade? Train shit, his broken, off-key Shifu had disappeared!
Luda strolled to the wide fields and watched for a moment the clan warriors training there. It was somewhat boring, so he thought of going up the mountain to play for a while. Unexpectedly, when he went just a little further, a figure suddenly swooped out from the side.
This scared Luda to a shiver. He subconsciously drew out his jiandao, flashed a half-step to the side, and pressed against the opponent’s neck in suspicion. Only then did he see that the man who had suddenly lunged out was a half-blind old thing, bent at the waist like a sickle mowing grass. Half of his face was scarred and destroyed, his original appearance long unmakeable. One eye was obviously unable to open, and the other eye was cloudy as it swept over Luda.
It was a stranger. Luda frowned, calmed down, and asked coldly, “Are you one of those people that the Chief admitted into the city?”
The old thing still stared at him without saying a word.
Seeing that he was so thin and bony that he could hardly stand straight against the wind, Luda felt that his reaction of drawing the blade was a bit too much and a little humiliating. He coughed dryly, pretended not to care, and put the jiandao back. The old man who dared to block the way gave him a look and said with a pei, “Turns out you’re an old fool.”
Seeing Luda about to leave, the old guy suddenly conjured strength out of nowhere, and his scrawny hands grabbed onto Luda’s wrist. His hand was a cold as a dead person’s, his skin was wrinkled, and his eyes gave off an eerie light. Luda felt goosebumps all over his body, and he shook him off in alarm and anger. He said angrily, “We were kind enough to take you in. Don’t be ungrateful! What do you want?”
“Take us in…” The old guy suddenly scoffed hoarsely, his voice like the demon’s6鬼魅 – The term used here is actually an umbrella term for ghosts, demons, goblins, and any “evil” supernatural being.. He stared at Luda and asked, “I know you. Little thing, your name is Luda, right?”
Then he heard the man say, “What about Luo Tong? Is Luo Tong dead? He must be, hahaha. How can the new Chief tolerate the old one? I knew he had to die.”
Luda said, “Luo Tong injured his leg while fleeing and died on his own. What does that have to do with the Chief?”
The old guy had a strange smile on his face again. He looked at Luda and said, “First, the Great Elder, next was Old Blind, then Luo Tong. You’re the only left, a little brat who had forgotten his roots and who couldn’t tell the good from the bad. Good, very good! You slave brat, who gave you mercy and removed your shackles?”
These words stabbed into Luda’s heart.
With Hua Yi’s tacit approval, no one had mentioned his slave status again. Everybody treated him as Chang An’s little disciple. However, Luda himself remembered that he was once a small slave with shackles, the lowest of the low, worse than those sub-beast carpenters and masons. This had always jabbed at the teenager’s thin self-esteem.
He stepped forward, grabbed the old guy by the collar, and lifted him off the ground. “Aren’t you afraid of dying?”
The old guy was dragged by him to a stagger. His body hung in the air, and he could hardly breathe. Yet like a true madman, still unrelenting and afraid, he said to Luda’s face, “Your A’die was the Great Elder’s trusted aide. You are the young master of a brave warrior family, and yet you’re happy to be a slave to the enemy who killed your father. If you’re not afraid of being a disgrace, should I still be afraid of dying?”
Luda was taken aback. “What did you say?”
The old guy only sneered at him and didn’t speak.
Just then, Ka Zuo came running with some beastmen covered in sweat. He shouted from afar, “Oh, there he is!”
He ran over in two steps and snatched the old thing from Luda’s hands. “How did you catch him? The Chief still isn’t at ease with these people, so he told me to take some men to watch over them. I was just taking a piss, and these youngsters slacked off and let this madman escape.”
Luda said numbly, “He’s… a madman?”
Ka Zuo wiped off his sweat and said casually, “Yeah, he is. All day long, he chatters about weird stuff. His companions don’t care about him, and this old thing… Hey, where’s Chang An? How come you’re not training with your blade? Oh, I’ve said it before. If you kids wanna grow into a man, you can’t slack off!”
Ka Zuo rambled on and on about what else he said, but Luda’s heart was in shock, and he couldn’t hear a thing.