Countless trees covering the skies, temples gates highly opened.
Buddhist mantras flutters and flutters as it drifts into the ears, within it is also the noisy confusion of human voices, and pouring in is a particular kind of tune like still waters running deep.
“Rui En, don’t always be putting on that expression, what a waste of your good looks.” Light yellow belt delicately makes a spin, Lin Ran Yi’s slightly annoyed face turns back and meets his eyes, “After another few days, you will be returning to Yu Xia Guan, coming here today is to pray for blessings, you with that face like an ice block, don’t go scaring away the great Buddha.”
Deeply humming a sound of reply, Lin Rui En could only pull up a faint touch of a smile, looking a little helpless. Lin Ran Yi felt somewhat satisfied, pressing her lips into a smile, then quickly pacing herself upfront, squeezing into the crowded main hall.
The incense fire at Hong Fu Temple has always been prosperous, and today, one can practically describe it as vigorous flames (referring to the amount of incense being offered here), Lin Rui En marches in, in a neither rushed nor slow manner, along the way, he passes by the Luo Han Hall, Dong Yue Temple, Guan Yin Temple, Ran Deng Temple, like looking at passing flowers on horseback as he looks around, seeing people everywhere, from officials and nobles, to merchants and commoners, in this world, there are actually this many people coming to worship the Buddha. sharp eyes following that light yellow figure as he heads all the way into the main Great Buddha Hall, where his steps comes to a stop. Raising his head, lifting his brows, the three prestige statues of the powerful and virtuous Shakyamuni Buddha jumps into his eyes, his heart and mind because of this is slightly stunned, ears still hearing the mystifying Buddhist mantras, Saha World whirling before him.
(Saha World originating from the Sanskrit language – meaning World of Endurance. Refers to this world of ours, filled with suffering and afflictions, yet gladly endured by its inhabitants. Credits: http://www.ic.sunysb.edu/Clubs/buddhism/glossary.html#S)
“The Great Buddha Hall (大雄宝殿), the greater being (大) accepts and contains all; the influential being (雄) seizes and vanquishes demons.” Seeing Lin Rui En fall into a daze, Lin Ran Yi laughingly explains.
Seizes and vanquishes demons?
The sudden thought of bloody scenes on the battlefield flashes past his mind, the corner of Lin Rui En’s lips spreads into a rarely seen smile, sitting high up like this, can capture and vanquish demons? Great Buddha, exactly is it you who is naïve, or is it the people of the world who are naïve?
Catching Lin Rui En’s smile, Ran Yi jumps in front of him, a smile that can practically be called a crafty thief smile blossoming on her face: “You heard too right?”
“Heard what?” Lin Rui En doubtfully asks.
“The two greatest beauty of the Capital has come to offer incense ah,” Displaying a face of understanding, Ran Yi clearly appears rather excited, “Having long heard of the Capital’s ‘spring firefly, night moon’, really want to broaden my insight.”
(Spring firefly, night moon or chūn yíng wǎn yuè / 春萤晚月: firefly – the Yíng / 萤 of Yao Ying; night – the Wǎn / 晚 of Gui Wan)
Should anyone else have said this, he would have already turned around and left, but facing this dear [older] sister of his, aside from being helpless, he could only be even more helpless. Seeing his lack of interest, Ran Yi purses her lips: “You are past the age of twenty already, should also be at the age to take in a wife, the young noble ladies of the Capital are a few, nor do I know which one would catch your eyes, should you continue to drag on like this, what is to happen to the Lin Clan’s future generations of continuing to pass on incense? May as well take a look at the two great beauties today, such one in a million candidates, should you still not be attracted, I’m afraid you can only live this life as a monk.” Dragging Lin Rui En along as she heads inside. (Incense is used as offering to pay respects to ancestors, Ran Yi is worrying whether there will be descendants to takeover this act of filial piety)
Lin Rui En knits his brows together, and can only follow along to the inner hall. Lin Ran Yi pulls aside the monks to ask, inquiring along the way, even making use of her identity in the end, and only then did she find, the two beauties has entered the temple from the back hall, she regretfully sighs, completely missed all opportunities. That is until she hears the two beauties has not yet left, her heart met with great pleasure.
“Sister, this is intrusive behaviour.” Aware of Ran Yi’s intentions, Lin Rui En coldly reminds.
“This is admiring flowers.” Speaking proudly unashamed as she throws out those words, Lin Ran Yi snakes around the side of the spacious hall, giving Lin Rui En a “wait here for me” eye signal, as she heads towards the middle of the main hall.
Inwardly sighing to himself, standing for a while, he sees a few groups of little monks walk over, afraid that they will ask too much, causing more troubles, he paces away, walking aimlessly. Walking past the side hall, a soft female voice sounds from inside: “Young Lady, hearing the story just now, this stick is just too inauspicious, better to throw it away.”
A sudden glimpse of white jade light, resoundingly hitting the ground, falling before his feet, Lin Rui En lowers his head, seeing the lustrous jade stick lie on the floor, he bends down to pick it up, turning over the stick, strong and proper words carved into it reads “The Emperor Swallow”.
“Ling Long, even if you are to throw it, you cannot throw it there, retrieve the stick, do not become the joke of others.” Light voice like the breeze, laced with dazzling laughter, this voice is extremely pleasant to the ears, sweetly striking a deep chord in the heart, passing into the eardrum, Lin Rui En actually falls into a moment of trance. A burst of light jogging, the figure of a little maid in green runs out from the hall, against the light, it is difficult to get a clear look of her face. That maid called Ling Long also seems to have not expected someone to be outside the hall, slightly stunned, she respectfully bows, taking the stick, lowering her body as she says her thanking, before running back into the hall.
A cool breeze brushes against the body, whistling with not a speck of dust, no sound is heard from within the hall again, considering how secluded of an area this is, inside there is also a lady staying, he dares not to remain longer, Lin Rui En turns and leaves, glancing over before leaving, vaguely, his eyes spots a body of light soft silk hazily sheer, gown fluttering.
Once again returning to the spacious main hall, Lin Ran Yi greets him in frustration: “Both left already.” With a faint reassuring smile, Lin Rui En says: “Why impose when it is not fated?”
Three days later, the Lin Estate receives a message from the ministry of defence, the Nu Army by Yu Xia Guan has occasionally been making strong sweeps across the bordering towns, Lin Rui En immediately leaves the Capital, heading straight to Yu Xia Guan. And at the time, the commander of the Nu Army, is the Nu King’s most dearest second prince, Ye Li.
The evening wind rises, like a ferocious growl, residues of clouds in the horizon like silk, the gravel on the ground swept up, heaven and earth along with boundary of the vast plains merging into one, the viewer not knowing what part is sky, what part is land.
Lin Rui En looks back, side profile appears to be clearly carved by wind blades, sharply defined, neatly outlined, with not a trace of roughness that comes with fighting in battlefields. The arriving person is slightly stunned upon seeing this, innocently smiling, he hands over a bowl of soup, faintly drifting with fragrance that arouses interest.
“This is the meat broth the cook made, General still hasn’t eaten yet, right?”
Extending his hand to accept the bowl of soup, so boiling hot that it’s a little difficult to handle, he knits his brows into a barely visible frown, as he sends the soup in his mouth, a mass amount of hotness like fire, dashing down from throat to stomach. The chill brought within the wind follows the heat in entering his chest and dissipating.
“Eh……ah?” The arrived person widens his eyes, seeming to be shocked by that phrase, as he waves his hands in unease, “General……General, why be so courteous……it is the cook who got me to send it over……I, I’m called Li Yong, the other soldiers calls me Da Yong……” Suddenly finding himself opening his mouth, speaking nonsense, his face flushes red, scratching at his own head. Not hearing the general’s voice for a while, he raises his eyes to peek at Lin Rui En, on that coldly solemn face, lips like a crescent moon, seeming to carry a slight smile.
Turns out General is not at all as cold as he looks, in the end he is still a youth ah! As Da Yong thinks this, his courage strengthening up three points, lightly asking: “General, there is not even a few strands of grass growing here, you’ve been looking out for three days, exactly what are you looking at?”
Lin Rui En turns to look out into the vast horizon, saying: “I am looking at the sandy wind here.”
“This is a land of bitter cold, sandy wind like hurricanes, but the Nu Army, has but honed their wills and fighting force that is even stronger than ours on such land……” Lin Rui En does not look back, softly sounding a lamenting sigh, as if speaking for himself to listen to.
Da Yong remains silent, hearing these words, he only feels that a certain chord in his heart has been stricken, yet unable to describe it. Thinking for long time, he finally speaks up: “The Nu Army is indeed formidable, engaging in battle with us here for three months, but……but, this land is big, easy to get around on horse, then we may be at a disadvantage, if, if there can be a change in location……”
Lin Rui En abruptly turns his head back, showing a face of somewhat surprise as he looks at the person.
Da Yong’s heart constantly trembles, until meeting this young general’s eyes, determination held within the clear frost, as though having just unsheathed a precious sword.
He has seen countless people come and go from the battlefields, but has never seen such that is free from masking, yet still holds exceptionally beautiful eyes. Such sparkling new yet coldly solemn eyes circles around his body, he could not help speaking up nervously: “Gen-General! Did I say something wrong?”
“No!” Lin Rui En says, “Your thoughts coincides with mine.”
Da Yong looks at Lin Rui En dumbfounded, nor is he able to care about differences in status: “General is saying, what I said just now, is correct?”
Lin Rui En nods: “This land is a vast territory, most suited for cavalry battles, in a nutshell, a greater extent of outflanking is further assisted by the geographical advantage. And our army cannot compete with the Nu Army in horse-riding, the formidability of the foot soldiers also cannot be put into play, despite the strength advantage of our army, all will dissipate within the wind on the battlefield. Should we divert the Nu Army into the small hills, the surroundings there, restricts cavalry troops, the Nu Army will thus surely lose without a doubt.”
Da Yong only knows to continuously nod his head in agreement. Behind an additional mellow voice sounds: “In General’s opinion, what method should be used to attract the Nu Army into the small hills then?” Hearing this voice, Da Yong practically jumps to his feet. Turning his head back, indeed, it is one in a plain cotton robes, warm and refined in appearance, the middle aged literary man. Within the army, he can be said to be even scarier than General. Executing military punishments with not an ounce of mercy, not to mention witty and cunning, behind his back, all calls him the “Foxy Military Advisor”.
Lin Rui En is not at all taken by surprise, only speaking coldly: “Did Military Advisor’s trip this time, go smoothly?”
Military Advisor warmly laughs: “The trip went smoothly, and all went as General had expected!” He glances at the lone nervous Da Yong who was stood by the side, once again asking, “What General was saying just now, does it link in with the task you set me on a little trip for?”
“It does.” Lin Rui En generously admits, “The route Military Advisor went to determine this time, is precisely the crucial key to leading the Nu Army into their urns.” He places down the empty bowl in hand, taking out an extremely thin sheep skin from his sleeves, flatly laying it out on the floor, using the bowl to hold down a corner, his finger pointing to where a cross had been marked on the map, asking: “Along the route Military Advisor followed, how many little towns were passed in total?”
“Who is the Nu Army’s commander?”
“Nu King’s second son, Ye Li.”
Military Advisor and Da Yong’s replies came one after another. Lin Rui En ponders for a slight moment, before saying: “The opportune timing has come! Tomorrow, the troops shall be lead down two paths, one path continues to fight the Nu Army, and divert them west……”
Da Yong exclaims in surprise: “But the hills are in the northern direction, why divert them west?”
Military Advisor coldly sweeps his eyes across him, and he immediately feels his heart drum, the following words once again swallowed back into his stomach.
On the other hand, Lin Rui En was not at all bothered, continuing: “The other path goes straight into the small hills to set up an ambush. Whilst diverting the Nu Army to the western direction, there are five little towns along the road, only defeat is permitted not permitted to win. From looking at the military movements of the Nu Army these past three months, Ye Li is not at all an incompetent one, along the way west, a streak of five defeats, how can he not form doubts? Then slip into their army to spread rumours, saying that our army’s real purpose for this trip is to directly attack Du Cheng, he already suspecting these five defeats is to fool people, will inevitably fall into the trap. Right then, he can only ride away at full speed, leading the army back to Du Cheng, along the northern route, the ambush troops would have long been stationed in the small hills. And an alternative path, is but separated by thirty li of journey away, behind Ye Li’s troops. So arriving in the small hills, where rows of hills connects one after another, the formidability of cavalry troops comes down to naught, with the Nu Army rushing around back and forth, they must be exhausted, our army attacking from front and back at this time, defeating the Nu Army, shall then be within hands reach.”
Having finished hearing these words, Military Advisor does not speak for a long time, the hu hu sound of wind whistles past the ears. Da Yong’s jaw drops, his mouth remaining open for a long time.
“You mastered it!” Military Advisor emits a long sigh, “Along the way, although I knew you had the thoughts to attract the Nu Army into the small hills, but after thinking for a long time, I was but unable to think of a thorough plan, this strategy among strategies of yours, affects the heart and minds alike, and exchanges labour for ease, using another’s advantage to overcome one’s own lacking. Has already surpassed me by a lot-la.” Saying this final sentence, Military Advisor seems to feel a sense of loss. Warm and friendly eyes looking at Lin Rui En, only thinking back to his childhood times, his one brush one stroke taught him to quietly revise the arts of war, in a blink of an eye, he is but already capable of mapping out his own strategies alone, victories lining a thousand li. (Mastered as in, he has exceeded his master/teacher or has learnt all that his master/teacher has to offer, thus ‘graduating’ from his teachings)
Time flies, it truly is just a blink of an eye. The matters of this world, saying it’s been long, adds up to several decades, but in actuality, is it not all but a blink of an eye?
Lin Rui En returns Military Advisor’s gaze, only sensing that within that pair of fatherly eyes, he sees a lot, a softened look rolls past his own solemnly cold face. Turning away to also see Da Yong’s face expressing surprise, and joy, and great respect. Behind, stands a city fortress, thousands of firelight stretching across the land……the arts of war learnt since childhood, all of teacher’s contained expectations, not one was not for protecting these mountains and rivers steeled with blood, thinking to this point, his chest could not restrain from firing up, tall body stands, looking far into the horizon.
Above the Yanshan Hills, the new moon like a hook.
Three days later, all went as Lin Rui En had planned. With the cavalry general leading troops to fight the Nu Army, fifty li away from Yu Xia Guan. This battle lasted half a day, Qi Ling Army suffering a small defeat, retreating west to Tan Cheng (a city), Nu Army follows west in pursuit. In the evening of the next day, the two armies clashes outside the city, Qi Ling Army once again defeated, further retreating thirty li to the west, going on like this for eight days, Qi Ling Army continuously retreated to five cities, Nu Army greatly victorious.
The Nu Army commander of this battle, Ye Li, is the Nu King’s second son, arrogant in nature, exceptionally intelligent since young, greatly earning Nu King’s doting, these several days of fighting with the Qi Ling Army, gaining victory again and again, his heart filled with great delight. Although a very prideful person, he is also very cautious. Unable to help from secretly forming doubts. Bringing the battle to halt for two days, gradually rumours were spreading amongst the army, and even gaining reports from spies, saying the great Qi Ling Army’s retreats to the western direction is a diversion scheme, the remaining main army troops has already head north, directly attacking Du Cheng. Ye Li originally holding doubts in his heart, now seeing that the Qi Ling Army deliberately delayed them, is thoroughly convinced by the military reports, thus taking down the camp and setting off with the troops that very night, hurriedly rushing north. After a day and night, they rush into the small hills. Lin Rui En had long set up an ambush in the small hills. Thereafter, the cavalry general leads troops in closely tailing the Nu Army, attacking the Nu Army in the small hills from front and back.
This battle later called “Battle of the Small Hills”. The Nu Army’s continuous days of expeditions, rushing back and forth, had long become an exhausted army, but completely surrounded by hills, the formidability of their cavalry troops came down to naught, Ye Li with peerlessly fierce bravery, leads the troops all around for a surprise attack, bitterly struggling for an entire night, flowing blood forms rivers, a greater half of the Nu Army dead and injured, Ye Li wounded, and thus captured alive below the small hills. When being captured, the majority of generals by Ye Li’s side died amongst the chaotic battle. Ye Li overcome with great regret, and at the same time, was shocked at Qi Ling’s scheme to lure the enemy, asking for the name of the enemy commander. To hear that Lin Rui En is almost twenty two years of age, and is even two years younger than himself, both stunned and worried, he falls into a long moment of silence, head raised to the heavens, emitting a long sigh, he only says: “I always thought I am already a hero at a young age, only with today’s great defeat, do I understand the world is a big place, heroes of this generation is not only I alone.” Sigh after sigh, he once again speaks up, “There will be one day, Lin Rui En shall be defeated by my hands.”
Military Advisor hearing the soldier report his words, only laughs it off, giving it no care.
The army makes a few adjustments, Lin Rui En leads some of the troops back to the Capital, returning in triumph. A month pass, when they arrive in the Capital, it is currently the golden season of autumn, rows of maple trees dying the city, the dazzling setting sun in the river glows a golden light.
The night before entering the Capital, Military Advisor visited Lin Rui En’s room, a face of spring breeze.
“General, the great merit of standing victorious in this battle with the Nu Army, you have the most credit, his majesty has already decreed, to promote you as the Fu Guo Great General, from now on, you and Prime Minister Lou’s civil and military ranks sits at the same level.”
Lin Rui En is still sitting by the window, the golden wind (autumn wind) very fine, whisking in a room filled with drifting fragrance, he places down the book in hand, nodding slightly, his expression showing indifference, nor is there any show of joy. Speaking up to ask: “Has the Nu prince been handed over to the ministry of punishments?”
“Lord Ma already took the person away, he told me to congratulate General, and also said he will pay a visit in formal congratulations in the next day or so.” Military Advisor mumbles on, taking a seat on the empty chair, waiting for a while, but still hears no reply from Lin Rui En, thus continuing to say, “Entering the Capital this time, must first prepare a generous gift for Prime Minister Lou.”
Only now does Lin Rui En look at Military Advisor in bewilderment: “Generous gift?”
“Prime Minister Lou has already been married for half a month now, General you have been away, returning to the Capital now, naturally you need to do your fill of presenting a gift. Just don’t know what to gift……”
Upon hearing this, he creases his brows, towards the etiquette within officialdom, he instinctively feels disgust towards it, placing the book onto the desk, his hand unconsciously exerting quite a bit of strength: “Just send whatever over.”
Military Advisor gathers up his smile, lowering his voice, deeply saying: “General must refrain from taking such matters lightly, within the Capital, Prime Minister Lou is one you cannot offend most. In future you and he shall be on the same standing in the imperial court, must never overlook him. He a minister from the outside, with no relations to the imperial family on the inside, no backing of a powerful background on the outside, yet is able to secure himself the leading rank of civil service, dominating political affairs, this person in particularly is not at all simple.”
“This does not have anything to do with me.” Lin Rui En is very clearly not bothered.
“It has a lot to do with you.” Military Advisor sternly lays out these words, but does not put out clearly, only using his eyes to look at the still young general, gloom contained within his eyes.
“Is his power too great……?” Lin Rui En quietly says.
“No matter how great one’s power is, it will never be as great as the heaven’s, these thousand li of rivers and mountains are still the Son of Heaven’s!” Lou Che’s power in the imperial court truly is far too great, should one tree outshine the forest, the wind must cut it off. Could the current emperor truly be as weak and incompetent as he appears, with not a single ounce of his own assertive thinking? How could he simply leave Prince Duan to act so domineeringly within the Capital? And on the other hand, allowing the generations of loyal Lin family descendants to repeatedly offer outstanding service, appointing military power. Such moves, exactly is it of carelessness, or is it intentional? Always cautious in facing movements within the imperial court, heart marking out a chart, Military Advisor squints his eyes, a trace of fine light revealed from his narrowed eyes, only half his sentence spoken, leaving the last half hanging.
Nor does one know whether he had heard and understood the hidden implications, Lin Rui En picks up the book again, turning a page, candlelight flickering in the wind, dimly shining on the words, the word also becomes hazy, blurring into a ball, as though it is about to vanish. He laboriously reads every word every sentence, lightly letting out a breath form his mouth, indifferently saying: “Prepare a generous gift for the Prime Minister Estate, Military Advisor personally go send it on my behalf, congratulating the blessed newlywed couple.”
Military Advisor nods his head: “Have to guard against all people, yet also have to make others not guard against oneself, this is the key to longevity……no, this is the key to survival in this world!”
He clenches the book, the ice-cold page infected with his body heat, warms, he casually flips the page, turning with a “hua–”, Military Advisor’s words had just finished, when the wind strengthens, the windows creaking.
Military Advisor gazes towards the window, pondering for a while, as though suddenly thinking of something, he says: “Prime Minister Lou is already married now, you’re not young either, coming back to the Capital this time, should consider this problem of starting a family. Teacher has still not asked you before, what kind of lady do you like?”
Lin Rui En freezes, seeming to be absentminded, cold wind blowing in from the windows, wave after wave, brushes against his face. In his heart there seems to be a spot of emptiness, yet he does not know which spot it is. The candle flickers, stretching his shadow even longer, he quietly stares at it, Military Advisor’s one phrase of “starting a family”, drilling into his heart, seeming to evoke a certain soft spot in him, such that should never exist when on the battlefield……
Fingers loosening, the pages of the book is quickly whipped through by the autumn wind, page after page brushing past his chest, ears only hearing the sound of whistling wind, the flame flickers even more violently, light or dark difficult to stand steady.
He coldly looks towards that candlewick, the only thing carrying a bright light, quietly saying: “I don’t know either.”
Ministry of punishment Vice Minister Xiao Qian’s horse carriage stops outside the doors of the Fu Guo General Estate. He steps down from the carriage and looks up, behaviour seeming a little weird. The horse carriage came from the end of the street, a complex mix of speeches can be heard in the ears, those selling groceries, those selling lamp oil, those selling ladies’ rouge powders……clamouring, displaying the prosperity of the Capital. But at this end of the street, the huge Fu Guo General Estate, two desolate stone lions squats by the main doors, aged through all those years, long been bruised by marks of time, the big doors rich in red lacquer has also dulled in colour. The long long alley really is like an unrolled scroll, starting from that spot of splendidly bustling noise, turning down to this spot of dwindling prosperity, washed off its magnificence, exposing its true face. Such a long autumn day, light and pleasant, displaying a different kind of beauty within this desertedness.
Such an estate, truly houses the one called “Wall of Qi Ling” –– General Lin? Doubts running across his heart, but time does not allow for any delay in careful pondering, Xiao Qian takes two strides forward, the coachman had already knocked at the doors, a servant simple and cleanly dressed in grey, pokes his face out. Xiao Qian anxiously speaks: “Little brother, please pass onto General Lin, Vice Minister Xiao Qian of the ministry of punishment requests an audience.”
That little servant eyes looks over the arrived person, seeing that although Xiao Qian’s face appears calm, his eyes shows tremendous anxiety, not like the people who flocked over to send gifts these past few days. Opening the doors wider, the little servant bows his head and lowers his eyes, saying: “Lord Xiao please wait, I shall go report now.”
Xiao Qian could not wait, one foot stepping inside, saying: “Little Brother, I have important tasks at hand, desperately need to see General, please be accommodating.” The little servant is slightly stunned, seeing that Xiao Qian’s expression does not look like an act, besides, why would a high ranking official like him commit a fraud, thus nodding his head. Leading the way into the estate.
The towers and pavilions within the Lin Estate is most commonly seen in official’s homes, places where a pavilion should stand will have a pavilion there, where a chamber should stand will have a chamber there, every spot very normal, so bland that one cannot bring themselves to admire the surroundings. Only the courtyard filled with chrysanthemum flowers, cosily forming clusters, apricot yellow joyfully dances amongst such blandness, adding that dash of bright colour.
It is here that Xiao Qian sees one who is lowering his head in tending to the flowers, amongst such vibrant colour, Lin Rui En.
He lowers his body into a bow, stirring the branches, heart greatly distracted. The little servant stands among the flowerbeds, raising his voice in saying: “General, Lord Xiao of the ministry of punishments requests an audience.”
His figure stalls, placing down the shovel in hand, he straightens his body, standing alone within the flower garden, jade stance tall and graceful, clear and bright demeanour, Xiao Qian inwardly sighs, bowing his head, hands gesturing a formal greeting, yet heart so anxious, he feels as though he stands within a cooking pot, seeing this young general, only makes one feel penetrating cold pressing down, even his heart stands still.
“General, Nu Prince Ye Li escaped!”
Lin Rui En raises a brow, his expression not looking particularly stern nor cold, yet Xiao Qian’s heart is crazily beating, instincts tell him the youth in front is truthfully angered to the extreme, the frosty sternness between his brows, revealed with not the slightest of covering up.
“It is this subordinate’s incompetence, Ye Li was in unbearable pain, I originally thought should he really die like that, it will be difficult to explain to his majesty, only transferred him into another prison cell, who knew……”
“Where has he escaped to right now?” Lin Rui En walks out of the flowerbeds with large dignified strides, the chrysanthemum leaves scatters onto the ground as he brushes past.
“Only know he was heading towards the Bai Hua markets when escaping,” Xiao Qian lowers his head and eyes, stepping aside to give way, “General! The ministry of war has already sent out troops, the city gates also set up government investigation checks, as long as martial laws are imposed on the entire city……”
“Do not alert the commoners!” Lin Rui En deeply frowns, lowly scolding, “The war has just ended, not suitable to cause turmoil in the hearts of the people.”
“Yes!” Vice Minister of Punishments constantly nods his head, “Then General’s meaning is?”
“Leave the soldiers to secretly investigate, the Nu Tribe’s appearance is so distinctive, hiding within the vital centre of the Capital will be difficult, inevitably cannot have escaped far.” His orders is like his person, clear and piercing like that of frosty wind blowing against the face, Xiao Qian readily responds with a yes.
Less than a short while passes, when guarding soldiers from the outskirts of the city had already received orders to enter the city under secret investigations. On this day, it is originally the day Lin Rui En lead the returning troops into the city, the commoners within the Capital overfilled with incessant joy due to the great victory in the border region, swarming the Bai Hua road, all of a sudden, outstretched necks looking out, heads like a flowing river, nobody would have thought, that young general had actually quietly entered the Capital two days ago, staying far away from glamorous splendour, a scene prosperous like a painting.
Lin Rui En walks out of the estate, greeting his eyes is this prosperous scene, streams of people flowing through the bustling streets of the Capital. Snaking his way out of the alley, the lanterns has only just been hung, thousands of lit lantern like pearls decorating the roadsides, the eaves of buildings connecting, cornice brackets, like thread linking to the imperial palace, roof levels scattered high and low, like a stream of overflow meeting that straight end, also like a distinct criss-crossing of a net, spreading over the Capital.
And Ye Li, just happens to be in the heart of this net.
Settling his mind, he heads towards Bai Hua Street, every step steady and strong, not at all thrown into disarray due the escape of a crucial criminal, the look in his eyes solidly fixed, looking all around, clearly gathering the entire street scene into his eyes.
The flood of people is most concentrated at the end of the street, tucked between the joyful commoners shuttling back and forth, like flickering shadows brushing past his sleeves. He stands at the end of the street, creasing his brows, he originally does not fit in such bustling places, standing amongst the crowds right now, sure is exhibiting this youth’s prideful aloofness.
“Elder, it’s particularly lively today, what’s the reason for this?” A lowered voice asks this from a nearby spot, tone greatly delicately, very soothing to the ears.
Turns out that amongst these bustling streets, there is also one who like him, has strayed in here. He turns his head back, catching a glimpse of the owner of that voice, a slender figure, robes laced with silver silk, standing still in the corner of the street, a light colour wrongly painted within the crowds of a greatly complex mix. He had originally thought it was a woman, but after getting a clearer look of the back view, did he realise it is the son or a younger brother from an official’s family.
The elder that the youth had asked of was extremely impatient, only saying: “Youngsters tend to only know how to have fun, not caring about the nation’s affairs. Today, Young General Lin will be returning to the Capital, in a while, he shall be passing through Bai Hua Street.”
Having already turned his eyes away, upon hearing these words, Lin Rui En once again glances back, but what he sees in this one glance is instead that elder who had kept his head down this entire time as he rambles on, head of hair half white, but upon saying the words Young General Lin, he is unable to conceal his pride. Lin Rui En’s heartstrings were shaken, his steps that were already walking away also comes to a stop.
He was originally unaware, among the Capital and its environs, there is such a white-haired elderly man, setting up a stall at the end of the street, chatting away happily, and would mention his name in such a tone, what kind of an expectation that is, what kind of a pride that is, and how is it to compare to the gold and silver in the imperial court, the compliments of the hundred congratulating officials……
And the amount of significance that weighs down on this sound of “Young General Lin”, his heart cannot be any more aware, questioning oneself, does this add up to the equal amount of those soldiers who had spilled their blood on the battlefield?
Does this add up to the equal amount?
Heart abruptly weighing heavy, thinking that Ye Li is still in the midst of escaping, he gathers away his shattered thoughts, turning around in leave, never looking back again.
And in this moment, that elderly raises his head, looking up to the face of the inquiring youth, with rounded eyes and twisted tongue, he quietly mumbles: “Young people these days……are they all this good looking?”
A/N: This passage, everyone can compare it to the earlier third chapter of the novel “Chaotic”, and realise this is simply that exact chapter written from Lin Rui En’s point of view. And what the chapter title “Wrong Fate” refers to, is also very clear, he and her, just how many number of times have they brushed past one another?
We too are also like this, how many number of times, amongst the vast sea of heads in the crowds, with whom have we simply brushed past, and this one moment of missed encounter……would a day come in the future, where it will play a crucial role in our lives?
[Note: Chapter Three “Chaotic” refers to the Chapter Two “Frost-like Youth” from the copy I translated from]
 Luo Han also known as Arhat http://www.buddhanet.net/e-learning/history/arhats.htm
Dong Yue Temple is dedicated to God of Mount Tai http://www.afar.com/places/dongyue-temple-beijing
Guan Yin also known as the goddess of mercy http://www.putuoshan.net/English/Seeings/guanyin2.php
Ran Deng also known as Dīpankara https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/D%C4%ABpankara_Buddha
 Fǔ Guó / 辅国 – means one who helps or assists in governing the country. Also a top rank military position.
You probably all already knew there’s a special chapter for General Lin from the chapter listing page haha, but yup I just had to finish it all off with the General, treat it as a Christmas present from me 😄 …not to mention the author Duo Duo Wu also left a short but very meaningful message at the end of this special chapter, which I think, brings us to a nice thoughtful end hehe.
Thank you all for reading! And I hope you will all have a lovely Christmas and a happy new year!! ^o^