I couldn’t decide who this chapter belongs to more. It ought naturally be Meng Jue, but Ling gege just about broke my heart with the last line of this chapter, so both of them get to top this post. It’s double the pretty, so no one ought to complain. For all of you asking when Yun Ge will (finally) meet her Ling gege (the real one, not the guy she thinks is her Ling gege), it would have to wait until volume 2. Yes, I know, Tong Hua is evil. But then she makes volume 1 the Meng Jue story, and his many shades of white, black, and grey are so fascinating the story just keeps on going without or without Ling gege taking center stage. This chapter is AMAZING, and ups the emotional stakes one giant step forward. That is all I have to say. We’ve got lunar rainbows, piggybacking (OMG, I swear I swooned), singing, and then all of that combined into a heady moment involving all three leads, though not necessarily crossing paths. Sigh, Yun Zhong Ge is just so lovely it takes my breath away.
Chapter 13: Lunar Rainbow Song
Meng Jue’s eyes sent off the Infante of Guang Ling until the man was completely gone from view and then he walked towards Yun Ge. He appeared casual yet he was in front of her in a blink of an eye “Hurt anywhere?” Yun Ge ignored him and turned to Liu He “Your highness, Fu Su has fainted and my leg is injured. May I please ask Your highness to send servants to accompany us back to the Princess’s residence?”
Liu He smiled towards Meng Jue and then ordered his servants to assist. Huo Cheng Jun couldn’t continue pretending she didn’t know who Liu He was, so she made an exaggerated look of shock and rushed over to curtsy “First time meeting Your highness, it is Cheng Jun’s fault for not recognizing your lofty personage, please forgive me.”
Liu He smiled and waved his sleeve “Since there is a saying that “those who don’t know cannot be at fault”, you’ve already said you don’t know, so how I can fault you. Those who know are always the ones who say they don’t, right?” Huo Cheng Jun suppressed her anger and kept her smile “Cheng Jun does not understand such deep words as Your highness speaks.”
Meng Jue wanted to check Yun Ge’s injury but she squirmed and purposely wouldn’t let him. But since she was weaker than him, she couldn’t out tussle him. Meng Jue held onto Yun Ge’s arm and checked her injury, while Yun Ge’s other arm kept hitting Meng Jue “I don’t want you to check me, I don’t want you……”
Meng Jue saw that her leg was bitten, and despite the heavy bleeding, it didn’t injure her nerves. His worried heart finally relaxed. He grabbed a cloth to help stop her bleeding. Huo Cheng Jun laughed “Yun Ge, I also fight with my brothers all the time, but it’s nothing compared to you. When your brother saw you being attacked, his face turned white and he rushed down the mountain immediately on his horse. Why are you having a temper towards him?”
Since Meng Jue appeared, he acted calm and composed, no sign that he was upset or anxious earlier. Because of what Huo Cheng Jun just said, Yun Ge noticed for the first time that his hair was mussed and there were stray leaves on his robe. He was clearly in such a rush to get down he wasn’t even concerned with where he was going. Yun Ge couldn’t describe what she felt. If he wasn’t interested then he shouldn’t come bother her, then she wouldn’t be affected by his pull close and then push away attitude.
Yun Ge said “My brother is a straightforward man, totally not like him. He’s not……..” Meng Jue’s dark eyes were fixed on Yun Ge and he didn’t seem to be wanting to stop what she intended to say. Yun Ge’s heart ached. If he thought of her as a sister, then why did she need to explain? She stopped herself from continuing and just pushed Meng Jue’s hand away. She climbed on the pallet and closed her eyes, saying and seeing nothing more. Meng Jue checked Xu Ping Jun’s injury and saw it was not serious as well. He assisted her over to Yun Ge and told the servants “Walk steady along the way.”
Liu He was all eager to watch the love rivals Yun Ge and Huo Cheng Jun start a cat fight, and see how Xiao Jue handled it. Who knew Yun Ge would suddenly act like she wasn’t involved at all. Liu He shook his head and jumped on his horse “Booooring! Back to hunting!” He was off faster than his words were said, disappearing into the woods.
Xu Ping Jun whispered “Yun Ge, Meng dage had reasons for doing what he did. If a lie can save a life, you would do it as well, right? If you were captured, then Da Gong Zhi would be in trouble. You might not be an assassin, but what about Da Gong Zhi? He’s a royal, and with one misstep entire families have been killed before.” Yun Ge opened her eyes and then turned to look back.
They had already gone quite a ways, but for some reason Huo Cheng Jun and Meng Jue were still standing in the same place. Yun Ge was wondering why when suddenly she saw Huo Cheng Jun try to slap Meng Jue across the face. Meng Jue grabbed her hand and she tried to pull it out. She then quickly jumped on her horse and took off. Meng Jue didn’t chase her, still standing in the same spot.
Yun Ge didn’t understand and she stared at Meng Jue. How could he allow Huo Cheng Jun to get mad? Why didn’t he chase her? She was thinking in a daze when suddenly Meng Jue turned and looked towards Yun Ge’s direction. Despite the winding mountain roads, Yun Ge felt her heart lurch and she quickly turned around, afraid to look anymore.
When they returned to the residence, the Princess was already alerted. Fu Su’s life wasn’t in any danger but he was still unconscious. The Princess could only ask Yun Ge and Xu Ping Jun what happened. Yun Ge could not kneel because her leg was bitten and the Princess allowed them to sit when responding.
Yun Ge explained what happened, that they had inadvertently run into the Infante of Guang Ling, who released his hunting hounds on them. She emphasized how loyal Fu Su was to the Princess, using his life to save them. Yun Ge finally casually explained how the Infante of Chang Yi happened to arrive and saved them.
The Princess was silent for some time, then asking “Did my royal brother know that you were here as my guests?” Yun Ge was thinking how to answer this question when Xu Ping Jun spoke up “I heard Fu Su say so to the Infante of Guang Ling when he was trying to save our lives. He was willing for the dogs to bite him if it could save our lives. But the dogs were howling and we were crying at that moment so I can’t be certain whether the Infante of Guang Ling heard it.”
The Princess gave a chilly laugh and then was quiet again. After some time, she asked “The Infante of Chang Yi saved you, so what was my royal brother’s reaction? What did they talk about.” Yun Ge quickly jumped in “We’ve never experienced something like that before and our wits were frightened out of us. We don’t even know how we were brought back here. We don’t know what they discussed.”
The Princess thought about Fu Su’s injuries, then looked at Yun Ge and Xu Ping Jun all covered in blood and she sighed “It was difficult for you both. Please get well soon and then you can cook again. I will make it up to you for the pain you suffered.” She turned to the housekeeper “Order the royal physician to take good care of Fu Su. On account of how loyal he was, tell him to rest comfortably. When he’s recovered, I will send him to a new position.”
The royal physician checked Yun Ge and Xu Ping Jun’s injuries and prescribed some medicine, telling them to rest and not move around much. It was night time by the time they drank the medicine. Yun Ge laid on the pallet and stared at the ceiling.
Xu Ping Jun whispered “Did you think I shouldn’t have told the Princes that?”
“No, I’m just annoyed that I didn’t bother to learn proper martial arts when I was a kid. If my daddy, my mom, my Third Brother, my Snow Sister, Ling Dang, Xiao Tao, Xiao Qian….if all of them learned that I couldn’t fight off two dogs, they will probably be so angry at me they’d all faint. Or maybe make fun of me for the rest of my life. Jiejie, we need to keep this a secret. If one day you meet my family, you can’t tell them.”
Xu Ping Jun was about to tease Yun Ge when she remembered Liu Bing Yi “Yun Ge, okay then, this is our secret. You must also never mention it.” “Sure.”
“Yun Ge, I’m a little regretful of what I said. But I was so angry back there. All we did was disrupt some hunting, one deer, yet that Infante Duke wanted all three of our lives. They don’t see human beings as people. All the morality they espouse is bullshit, such as loving their citizens as if they were sons! I’m sure the Emperor is this way as well.”
“Since you already said it, no need to worry about it now.” Yun Ge made a silly face at Xu Ping Jun “It’s not bullshit, the Emperor does love citizens like his sons, but similarly, it’s about following his rules and dictates. It’s not about loving them in all situations.”
Xu Ping Jun remembered how Emperor Wu of Han killed Crown Prince Wei and his entire family and realized it was “loving” in that sense. She smiled “Yun Ge, you are so good at twisting logic. If the Emperor knew you interpreted the saying this way, he’ll surely “love” you the same way. ” After she said it, she sighed “I’m being dragged astray by you, even making fun of the Emperor now.”
Yun Ge smiled “Jiejie, how does it feel to have experienced getting into a fight with an Infante Duke of the Han dynasty?” Xu Ping Jun remembered Liu He and burst out laughing “It feels good. But, knowing he’s an Infante Duke, I realize he’s also pretty regal. He managed to piss off the other Infante Duke so much that the guy turned blue and white in the face. How come before we never got the sense he had it in him?”
A maid was massaging Liu He’s shoulder, another was rubbing his legs, two more were fanning him, and Hong Yi was peeling grapes for him. Right when he was luxuriating, Si Yue (April) gestured for everyone to leave except for Hong Yi. Liu He angrily grumbled “Damn you, Xiao Jue! You just don’t want me to enjoy myself, huh?”
Meng Jue walked in “Aren’t you looking for a fight today? Otherwise why keep enraging the Infante of Guang Ling?”
Liu He laughed “I heard my royal uncle’s remaining hunting hound suddenly got a weird disease and bites anyone in sight. It almost bit my royal uncle, who was so furious he killed the dog himself. Poor doggy, it must be painful to be killed by one’s owner. Poor Huo Cheng Jun as well. One moment earlier she’s a flower on display, the next moment she’s been turn into bait and has to cluelessly thank you for saving her. Ha!”
Meng Jue didn’t explain and just sat down across from Liu He. Liu He said to Hong Yi “Hong Yi, remember in the future, if we’re out walking, we must also steer clear of this fox.” Hong Yi just smiled sweetly. Meng Jue turned to her “Hong Yi, the external injury medicine the Palace gifted, are there any left?” Hong Yi nodded. “You and Si Yue go bring Yun Ge and Xu Ping Jun over. Yun Ge won’t be willing and you can’t convince her, so have Si Yue use some sleeping incense.”
Hong Yi nodded and wiped her hands before promptly leaving.
Liu He coughed and then made a serious expression “Xiao Jue, today you did two stupid things. No matter how I look at it, both appear connected with Ms. Yun Ge. But seeing our Mr. Meng is usually gentle on the outside with an icy cold heart inside, I no longer am certain whether the blood in your veins is even warm. So I’m wondering if I’m wrong this time, and there is a secret reason for what you did today but I’m just too stupid to figure it out. Can Mr. Meng enlighten me?”
Meng Jue said nothing, just taking a wine cup from Liu He and pouring himself a cup and drinking it. Liu He just grinned at Meng Jue, who silently sat there drinking.
Liu He stuck his head in front of Meng Jue’s face “You must’ve realized it already, otherwise you won’t be pulling Yun Ge close and then pushing her away. That Yun Ge, if she didn’t like a guy, no one could make her marry him. You knew it was so close, yet you pushed her away! Initially it was all about making a little lady like you, who knew you would lose your heart first. Are you scared right now? Angry that she can affect you like this? So you don’t want to see her, and you treat her with coldness. One moment running off to picnic with Shang Guan Lan, another moment getting all close and comfortable with Huo Cheng Jun. But the moment you saw Yun Ge’s life in danger, our Mr. Meng suddenly realized his little heart was beating wildly and uncontrollably. Worried? Scared? Nervous?……..”
Meng Jue make a fist aimed straight for Liu He’s neck and Liu He immediately back up. Meng Jue growled “Stay far away, otherwise you won’t need to wait for the Infante of Guang Ling to kick your ass.”
In Liu He’s sparring with Meng Jue, he’s always on the losing end. For the first time he’s got the advantage and he was so happy he clapped and smiled. After some time, the sounds disappeared, and then his voice spoke up “I was looking for someone to fight with. I wanted to have it down and out with the Infante of Guang Ling today, who knew you would show up and stick your foot in it.”
Meng Jue look startled and then gulped his wine. Liu He said “That guy is one to erupt with one spark, and yet he endured it today. It looks like the Infante of Yen has decided to rebel, so the Infante of Guang Ling is waiting for his brother the Infante of Yen to become Emperor before dealing with me.”
Meng Jue coldly laughed “The Infante of Yen has long plotted to rebel. His territory the Kingdom of Yen is not rich. Back then Shang Guan Jie and Huo Guang were aligned and could cut off his funds anytime, so he couldn’t do anything. Now the three Regents are fighting outright and the court has split into factions. Plus there is a someone like me, who he thinks is so desperate to become a Duke that I will provide the unlimited funds he needs to buy steel and forge weapons. If he doesn’t rebel, then he doesn’t deserve to be a member of your Liu family.”
Liu He said “Lao San, I don’t care what you do with Shang Guan Jie, but the Infante of Yen’s life belongs to me to do as I wish. It’s not enough to lock him up forever or make him a commoner.” Meng Jue smiled “Next year at this same time, he will be waiting in the court of the King of Hell.”
Liu He continued to look outside, his expression cold “Today is the anniversary of the death of our Second Brother. If you want to hit me, then go ahead. After today I will fight back. Your half-assed martial arts can’t hope to compete with me.” Meng Jue sat there quietly and kept drinking cup after cup of wine. When he saw Hong Yi poke her head in, he wordlessly got up and walked out. Liu He took the entire bottle of wine and just drank it directly from the bottle.
[The Second Brother Liu He mentioned is not Yun Ge's Second Brother. Liu He has a sworn blood brother who is younger than him, and that sworn blood brother also has his own young sworn blood brother in Meng Jue. This makes the three of them de facto sworn blood brothers to each other. Liu He is the oldest, then comes the Second Brother who we know is dead, and finally Meng Jue. This is why Liu He calls Meng Jue "Lao San" (Number 3) at times, because Meng Jue ranks third in their sworn brotherhood.]
Yun Ge felt someone lightly touching her wound and she immediately opened her eyes. She saw Meng Jue sitting on her pallet which shocked her. She immediately tried to get up and leave “Meng Jue, do you not understand human language? I told you I didn’t want you to treat me. From now on, you go your own way, I go my own way. Stop coming to mess with me!”
“I already told Huo Cheng Jun that you’re not my sister, and I will not meet with her alone again.” Yun Ge stopped struggling “That was why she tried to slap you?” Meng Jue smiled at Yun Ge “You saw? She didn’t manage to strike me. I don’t like people touching me. But you sure hit me a lot today.”
Yun Ge lowered her head and whispered “I was injured so I didn’t have any strength, it couldn’t have hurt you.”
“Lay down, I’m putting on medicine.” Yun Ge hesitated and then laid down “Where am I? Where is Xu jiejie?”
“This is Xiao He, or Da Gong Zhi’s, residence. You guys saw him today. Hong Yi is putting medicine on Xu Ping Jun. The hunting hounds have razor sharp teeth and the medicine the royal physician gave you is good but will leave a scar. This is medicine specifically reserved for the royal family and cannot be used by outsiders.”
To allow him to put on medicine, Yun Ge’s entire calf was revealed. When Meng Jue was putting on medicine, his one hand held Yun Ge’s wrist and the other was lightly rubbing the medicine into her wound. Yun Ge tried to remind herself that he was just a doctor treating her and this is nothing. But her face still turned bright red and she didn’t have the courage to look at Meng Jue, only staring at the ceiling.
Meng Jue said “Didn’t I tell you not to cook for the Princess anymore?”, and words were chastising her but his voice was filled with worry. “She’s the Princess, I cannot disobey her command. Plus she is gentle now, but who knows what will happen if I say no. We didn’t think any trouble could come of it, plus Xu jiejie wanted to come play, so we came.”
“Why didn’t you come ask me for help.” Yun Ge was silent and then mumbled “Didn’t you just leave that day without even looking back. I didn’t you see you after that. Who knows where you went with other sisters of yours.” Meng Jue finished wrapping Yun Ge’s wound and fixed her clothes before sitting down next to her.
The two of them said nothing, but the silence between them felt warm and peaceful. “Yun Ge.” “Yes?” “You are not my sister.” “Oh.” “I like to think I’m not someone who has an incestuous interest in my sister.”
This was the first time Meng Jue has almost completely expressed his interest in Yun Ge, without his previous evasiveness. Yun Ge’s face turned bright red but she couldn’t contain her smile. After some time, she asked “Who did you come with today? The Princess? The Infante of Yen? Or…….” Yun Ge’s voice trailed off.
Meng Jue was very candid “I came with Huo Guang, not with Huo Cheng Jun.” Yun Ge smiled before turning her head “Not that I care!”
Meng Jue smiled and rubbed Yun Ge’s head softly “Yun Ge, next time the Princess asks you to cook, don’t put so much thought into it, okay? Just don’t make a mistake.” Yun Ge nodded “Okay. Was the Princess planning for me to cook for the Emperor again? Did he like my cooking last time? What did he say? If he liked my cooking then he can’t be someone like the Infante of Guang Ling like Xu jiejie worried about.”
Meng Jue didn’t answer, just furrowing his brows and softly said “The Infante of Guang Ling”. Yun Ge grabbed Meng Jue’s arm and looked at him with nervousness. Meng Jue smiled “I’m not a lunatic like that Xiao He, and I don’t have a powerful surname as my back up. I won’t do anything, so sleep!”
“I can’t sleep, probably because I slept earlier. I’m so awake right now. I can’t move about in the next few days, so sleeping will be all I can do. Are you sleepy? If not, can you talk with me, okay?”
Meng Jue looked at Yun Ge and then helped her up and sat with his back to her “Get on.” Yun Ge hesitated but then docilely climbed on Meng Jue’s back.
Meng Jue carried her on his back out of the courtyard, following the moon and walking into the mountain canyons. A round moon was shining over the entire mountain. The sound of cicadas blanketed nature and there were fireflies that flitted here and there occasionally.
On one side of the slope grew green verdant grass. Looking down from the hills, the dew from the grass glistened in the moonlight and reflected back so that it appeared a shattered Milky Way had fallen. Following Meng Jue’s footsteps, Yun Ge felt like she was walking in the galaxy as well. Yun Ge couldn’t make a single sound, afraid that she would disrupt this beauty.
She didn’t know how long they had been walking in the canyons until she suddenly heard the sound of rushing water. Yun Ge’s heart leapt, the waterfall she was intending to see during the day before she was bitten, tonight someone brought her to see it. When the rushing water of the waterfall came into sight, Yun Ge gasped out loud and Meng Jue’s footsteps slowed.
Right now the sky was a dark blue night and the round moon was high in the middle of the sky. The canyons were not completely visible but a white streak come flying down and shattering on the rocks, spraying droplets of water everywhere. Meng Jue put Yun Ge down and they stood before the waterfall, quietly admiring the rare sight of a lunar rainbow.
Normally a very seasoned person, Meng Jue suddenly did a very childish thing. He picked up three branches from the ground to stand in as incense as he prayed before the lunar rainbow. Yun Ge asked “Are you remembering loved ones?”
“I once saw an even more beautiful rainbow, it had palaces and courtyards in it.” A rainbow like that? Yun Ge thought about it and then said “You must’ve seen it in the desert, right? The desert nomads say there is such a rainbow mirage that if the traveler sees it, he must be close to death, and if he goes towards it, he will surely die.”
“I didn’t meet my adoptive father yet at that time, so I didn’t know about the desert mirages.” Yun Ge’s heart lurched, thinking about how close to death Meng Jue must’ve been.
Meng Jue suddenly changed the subject “Yun Ge, I really like Chang An, because it’s vast, accepting, filled with opportunities. Someone like Jin Ri Chan, a Xiong Nu man, could become one of the Regents. I always wondered why people referred to the Han dynasty as Da Han (The Big Han), not because it has the most land, but because it has the most potential and opportunities for people.”
Yun Ge dumbly nodded, how he did go from desert mirage to discussing Chang An? “When I was small, I lived in the Xi Yu regions for a long time. It’s different than Chang An. There I was ostracized because of my looks, thinking I am one of the Han people they hate. Little orphans and bullies would band together to survive, but I was always alone, until I met my Second Brother.”
“Was he Han?” Meng Jue nodded “To survive, Second Brother and I did everything involving lying, cheating, stealing. The first time we met, we fought over a biscuit that was already as hard as a rock. In the end he won and I lost, and he could have just left. But he came back and shared half of it with me. I hadn’t eaten for three days by then, and it was with that energy from that biscuit we could survive. Second Brother always thought the Han Emperor was a bad person and wanted to get rid of him and be Emperor himself and feed all the hungry people of the world. Back then we hated Chang An. The more we talked the more we realized we shared the same views. One time after we were both beaten half to death, we decided to become sworn brothers.”
Seeing the Meng Jue of today, his gestures, his conversations, Yun Ge could not imagine he could be the young boy he was describing. Meng Jue’s tone of voice was so casual it was like what happened didn’t happen to him, making Yun Ge ache even more to hear this.
“One time we got lost in the desert and saw the most beautiful rainbow in my entire life. I was so dehydrated that I had no strength left. Second Brother didn’t bear to drink what was left of his water, saving it for me. He knew that a dehydrated in the desert person needed salt water to survive, but where would we find that? He shouldn’t have wasted his water and his energy on me. But he insisted on carrying me on his back. I remember he walked and kept saying “Don’t sleep, don’t sleep little brother. Look ahead, look how beautiful! We’re almost there……”.”
Meng Jue smiled and looked at the lunar rainbow, as if recollecting the past, his expression one of tenderness. At the brink of death, to have another person take care of you without giving up, that is a type of happiness and a type of luck. Even in the darkest despair, it still feels warm.
Yun Ge was nervous about the fate of those two kids, but she was also happy for Meng Jue “How did you two get out of the desert?” “Thank Heavens we ran into my adoptive father. Us two idiots who were almost swallowed by the desert mirage thus survived. I stayed beside my adoptive father and learned to read and write, and all sorts of other knowledge. Second Brother stayed for only half a year, learning some martial arts and knowledge before leaving. He wanted to go back to the Han dynasty to find his long lost sister.”
“Later? What happened to your Second Brother?” Meng Jue silently looked the lunar rainbow before saying “Later, when I found him again, he was already dead.” Yun Ge respectfully bowed to the lunar rainbow. When she straightened, she wobbled because of her injured leg and Meng Jue grabbed her arm to steady her. To Yun Ge, Meng Jue was always close yet so far away. Sometimes he sat next to her but Yun Ge felt his heart was far away.
But tonight, that perfect, extraordinarily eye-catching Meng Jue disappeared completely. This was the first time that Yun Ge felt Meng Jue was really standing beside her. “You call him Second Brother, so do you have a Big Brother?” Meng Jue didn’t answer right away, he looked deep in thought, then said with a twinkle in his eye “Yes, it’s Xiao He that lunatic. He is also sworn brothers with Second Brother. So I suppose that makes him my Big Brother.”
The lunar rainbow in front of them was curving like a bridge, almost like it was leading the way to happiness. If they took one step and followed the rainbow, they might be able to walk to the happiness at the end. At this time, Meng Jue’s dark eyes were staring at Yun Ge. She knew that Meng Jue had already taken the first step. Yun Ge reached out and held his hand. His fingers were cold, but Yun Ge’s hand was warm. Meng Jue slowly grasped Yun Ge’s hand.
With the shifting of the moonlight, the lunar rainbow disappeared. Meng Jue once again carried Yun Ge on his back “Want to go anywhere else?” “Uh….doesn’t matter. I just want to keep on walking like this, keep on walking, keep on walking………” Yun Ge didn’t know if Meng Jue understood her “keep on walking” and what it meant. But she couldn’t help herself and kept smiling as she said “keep on walking.”
What was a really terrible day changed now all because of one person. Yun Ge’s heart was like the rainbow under the moonlight, glowing its seven different colors.
Meng Jue smiled and said “It’s a lovely song. Since we are far from the Gan Quan Palace, you can sing louder.” That was when Yun Ge realized that she had been humming a song.
Yun Ge startled…..how did she end up humming that particular song? Meng Jue asked with a smile “What is it? You’re not willing to sing for me?” Yun Ge smiled and shook her head, then began to sing.
Meng Jue realized for the first time that Yun Ge’s voice was beautiful. It was clear and melodic, lilting and smooth. It sounded like the song that came drifting from the clouds. Her voice wasn’t loud, but in the silence of the forest, with the warm breeze of the wind, it traveled far and wide. It floated over the grassy plains, danced over the canyons, drifted over the tops of the trees, arriving at the edge of the mountain roads………..
“The dark night is low
The bright stars are following
Insects flying, insects flying
Who are you missing?
The stars in the sky are crying
The flowers on earth are wilting
The cold wind blows, the cold wind blows
Only needing your company
The insects fly, the flowers sleep
A pair, a pair is beautiful
Not afraid of the dark, only afraid of heartbreak
Not afraid of being tired
Not afraid of North, East, South, West……..”
Liu Fu Ling suddenly lifted the curtains in his carriage. Yu An immediately shouted “STOP” and then got ready to take an order. Liu Fu Ling looked confused and listened a bit longer before asking Yu An “Do you hear it?”
Yu An asked back “Hear what? It sounds like singing.” Liu Fu Ling jumped off the carriage and ran into the woods, following the singing as he leaped over rocks and between trees. Yu An was so frightened he ran behind him “Your majesty, Your majesty, whatever Your majesty wants, your servant I will order someone to investigate. Your majesty please continue to Gan Quan Palace.”
Liu Fu Ling appeared not to hear a word Yu An said, only focusing all his attention on listening to the singing and then taking giant steps towards the direction where it was coming from. Yu An and the rest of the eunuchs could only follow Liu Fu Ling as he listened and walked.
The singing in the wind came and went, ephemeral and hard to distinguish so that even the sound of walking could muffle it. But to Liu Fu Ling, this was a song he knew in his heart. No matter how soft the voice, if she was singing it, then he would be able to hear it.
By following the singing, many places didn’t have a path to even walk on. The forest was dense and the sharp branches ripped Liu Fu Ling’s robe. Yu An wanted someone to cut a path for the Emperor, but was afraid to because it would make too much noise. When he saw the Emperor’s arms were bleeding, Yu An was prepared to die to protect his liege “Your majesty, Your majesty……….”
“Be quiet.” Liu Fu Ling was listening to the singing and running ahead, paying no attention to what was happening to him. Yu An was cursing that unknown singer, and perhaps the Heavens heard his curse, because the singing suddenly stopped.
Liu Fu Ling stood in place in disbelief. He tried to listen, but there was no more sound anymore. He rushed ahead hoping to capture anything remaining in the wind, but there was nothing. “All of you pay attention and listen carefully.” Liu Fu Ling anxiously ordered everyone around him.
Yu An and the other eunuchs strained to listen but all shook their heads indicating they could hear nothing. Liu Fu Ling tried to run to a higher place to look around carefully, but all he could see was empty dark night. The silence was so silent it was gentle, and yet so silent it was cruel.
Liu Fu Ling stared in a daze at the rising mountains and cliffs. Yun Ge, are you hidden in one of those peaks? So close, yet so far away. “Who can tell me which direction the singing came from?” One eunuch was from this area “The wind is blowing from Southeast, but the singer could be walking South or walking East. With the echo from the canyons, it makes it impossible to tell.”
“Take people along the direction you estimated and investigate.” After ordering the only thing he could do, Liu Fu Ling remained standing in place, looking forlornly at the sky. The stars are silent, the wind had no shape. In the vast world, only he stands at the top of the mountain. Can the full moon reunite people? Even Chang Eh the goddess could only dance alone in the moon, how could she even worry about the gatherings and partings of the people below.
Liu Fu Ling stood there not moving, so no one around him dared to move. Yu An tried to call “Your majesty” twice, but seeing Liu Fu Ling make no move, he also grew silent. After a long time, Liu Fu Ling silently turned and walked back the direction they came. His figure under the moonlight was straight and strong, yet it seemed so lonely.
Yu An followed behind Liu Fu Ling and then suddenly slapped himself hard “Your majesty, the singer must be close to the Gan Quan Mountain area. I can order soldiers here to seal the mountain and then ask every single person, we’ll find the person.” Liu Fu Ling glanced at Yu An and then kept walking ahead without stopping. Yu An slapped himself “Your servant I am an idiot.” If they made such a big deal, no one would believe they were just looking for a singer, especially not those three Infante Dukes. Plus Huo Guang and Shang Guan Jie and Xang Hong Yang. Chances are the three nervous Infante Dukes would launch a rebellion before the Emperor could find his singer.
Liu Fu Ling said “Send someone to secretly investigate and ask all the females in Gan Quan Palace, then search the area.”
Liu Fu Ling got in the carriage but his eyes were still staring outside. There was no song, there was nothing! Only the sound of the horse hoofs and the carriage reverberating in the canyons.
Yun Ge, was that you?
If it was you, and you are so close to Chang An, why haven’t you come to find me?
If it wasn’t you, then why does it sound so familiar?
Yun Ge, tonight, for whom did you sing?
© 2012, ockoala. All rights reserved.