And this parting had been eternal.
Many years later, knowing that she would never be able to be reunited with him, nor would she ever be able to return, Xu Wan was still determined to appease the eternal pain in her fiance’s heart. A kind-hearted girl, she had hoped that through this method, she would be able to give him peace.
Even so, she had been too late.
That voice of forgiveness could no longer be heard.
Meng Fuyao shut her eyes, remembering the man in the Guanyuan County Prison. He was so filthy that his scar was no longer visible, yet fate had arranged for her to meet him, arranged for her to remove her mask before him. Perhaps, that was Xu Wan’s arrangement, using this method to give him an answer, and also to use that chance meeting in the prison to mark the true beginning where Meng Fuyao would finally start to face her true self that she had been avoiding all this while.
As for how that person knew that Xu Wan was buried beneath Yanling Palace, or how he had landed up in Guanyuan from Dan City and remained in the prison for so many years, these were all questions that nobody knew the answers to anymore, disappearing with his mortal body. Twenty-odd years ago, he had sent his fiancee into the palace and attained the chance to survive, twenty-odd years later, she had died a tragic death, and he had met her daughter and returned his life back.
It was but Heaven’s will.
Meng Fuyao sighed a little sadly and folded the fabric back together. ‘That couple should have reunited in Heaven by now, right? Hopefully, they’ll be able to steer clear from any royal family in their next life.’
The sky was beginning to darken, and fires were started, dotting the plains and enveloping it in a golden hue against the lush green, their colors vibrant like a sea of gold.
Meng Fuyao picked herself up and was about to go and eat when her eyes locked onto something.
In front of her, under the bright, round moon, someone was performing a dance of swords.
That person wore loose robes that flowed elegantly with every move, and under the pale golden moonlight, his movements were deft and agile, his sword reflecting brilliantly in the night. He was just a silhouette seen from afar, yet his speed and elegance were unrivaled, clearly obvious despite the distance, a perfect harmony of strength and grace. He looked like a jade-skinned celestial who had descended upon the plains.
The wind swept around Wuji, and the moon enveloped the wild greenery as the figure danced with a pale black sword beneath the jade-white moon, beautiful as a painting, one with his sword.
She seemed to have seen such a scene before…
Meng Fuyao sat down numbly, following the person’s movements as time reversed to two years ago when she had seen this for the first time. Suddenly, her eyes started to water.
The scene had left her thunderstruck, not knowing that that silhouette would soon fill such a big space in her life.
Now, his swordplay had reached an even more advanced level, yet her feelings were now complicated and no longer as frank and honest as before.
Her eyes watered, and her vision began to blur, and when she rubbed her eyes and looked again, the person dancing under the moon had already disappeared.
The fire before her suddenly crackled even brighter as several branches fell from above, making the burning intensify. Meng Fuyao did not look up; instead, she stared at the falling branches quietly.
Suddenly, a purple robe appeared before her eyes, decorated with elegant silver embroidery, the silky fabric illuminating slightly and flowing before her like a river current.
The faint sound of tree branches moving could be heard above her; she could imagine a certain person fooling around without following any script. He must be lying on the brittle, thin branches, light as a cloud, frivolously throwing branches down, albeit with precision. Thereafter, the falling branches increased in number, slowly forming a pyramid structure, causing the fire to burn even more brilliantly.
Meng Fuyao clenched her fist, unmoved. ‘I know everything, I don’t care at all, I’ll see how long you can keep this up for.’
The person above her chuckled softly as Meng Fuyao counted silently, ‘One, two, three…’
She hadn’t managed to count to three.
“Miss, the wintry night is harsh, I’m very cold.”
‘How adept at memorizing stage lines…’ Meng Fuyao bit her lip in an attempt to stifle her laughter and straighten her sword, acting severe. ‘Act, I’ll tell you to act, I’ll see how long you can keep this up for?’
The purple robe in front of her lowered slightly; it seemed that Zhangsun Wuji was adjusting the height of the branch so that he could successfully land beside a certain uncooperative someone. However, he still maintained his nonchalant posture, high up on the tree, his eyes flitting up and down her body.
Meng Fuyao twisted away and crouched into a ball, tucking her head in and not replying.
“Miss, are you cold?”
Meng Fuyao unbuttoned the topmost buŧŧon on her shirt, indicating that she was very hot at the moment—it was the middle of June, it would be strange if one didn’t feel hot.
She was determined not to let him use the line: “If you’re hot, then take it off”.
However, a fresh, red fruit came rolling towards her, fragrant and cool. “Kirin Red”.
Meng Fuyao glared at the fiery red fruit, crossing her arms in front of her ċhėst and pointing her nose at the sky. ‘Her Majesty is already an experienced player, I won’t be tricked by this kind of rotten fruit, you can get lost, get lost, get lost, get lost…’
There was a white flash, fast as lightning, and a small furry ball came spinning through the air, flying-kick style and landed viciously on Meng Fuyao’s nose.
Meng Fuyao let out a shout and opened her eyes wide to see Lord Yuan Bao scratching and kicking at her face.
Meng Fuyao flew into a rage as she jumped up and tried to grab Lord Yuan Bao, who had scampered away.
“You damned rascal. You won’t be happy unless you piss someone off, huh! Why are you adding on to that person’s childishness…”
She knocked into the ċhėst of a certain someone who had been waiting for a long time.
Zhangsun Wuji had clearly been on the tree opposite her, but somehow he had suddenly appeared on a tree branch facing her directly. With a scoop of his arm, he pressed her into his ċhėst and let go of the branch he was holding.
The flexible branch immediately rebounded, sending the two up onto the treetop.
And under the moonlight, a dragonfly danced fleetingly above the calm river flow, like the finishing strokes of an artist, flying over the endless plains, splitting the grass in half. The grass closer to them was a pale green, but farther up, under the golden glow of the moon, was a layer of even lush greenery.
The color of the moon was full as it shone upon man since ancient times, just like the wind over the plains, crooning its unceasing melody.
Meng Fuyao was enraptured by the vastness of the world. She couldn’t imagine how different the view was from beneath the trees and from the treetops. After a while, she finally regained her senses only to be kidnapped as she mumbled reproachfully, “Zhangsun Wuji, you’re actually doing such childish acts of burning and kidnapping.”
“Who can understand my thoughts? Who can relieve me of my lovesickness?” Zhangsun Wuji continued embracing her relentlessly and said, “I’ve waited a long time for you to finish your business and waited a long time for you to sort out your thoughts. I can’t stand it anymore.”
Meng Fuyao couldn’t help but chuckle and say, “I used to think that Zhan Beiye was so tyrannical and stubborn, but now I realize that the true tyrannical one is you.”
“It’s such a lovely night, let us not waste it talking about other people,” Zhangsun Wuji said mildly. “After being apart for such a long time and finally having you in my arms, I don’t want to take this precious time to argue with you about who is more tyrannical.”
“Besides…” He glanced at Meng Fuyao, his eyes darkening in the moonlight. “Your personality has always been like this, insensitive, even when I’m shrunken in a corner and beating myself up in guilt and regret, you’d probably be happy that there’s one less thing to worry about. You wouldn’t turn back to comfort me either, but instead increase the distance between us until you are far away in the horizon… I’ve seen through you, but no matter what, I won’t give up.”
“You seem to have a lot to say today,” Meng Fuyao retorted. “Actually, it’s better to have some distance between two people, really, Zhangsun Wuji, by now you should be aware of my feelings. I would never try to bring up things from the past, ignoring you is for your own sake.”
“Whatever’s better for me, only I will know for myself.” Zhangsun Wuji smiled. “Fuyao, let us not argue over this anymore, you have your stubbornness as I have mine.”
Meng Fuyao thought for a while before changing the topic. “The view from here is great, it’s high up, very cooling.”
“Can’t we just sleep here tonight?” Zhangsun Wuji held her tightly. “I promise I won’t let you fall.”
Ignoring him, Meng Fuyao said, “I read this poem in the past, let me recite it for you—As you are enjoying the scenery on the bridge, upstairs on a tower people are watching you, the bright moon adorns your window, but you adorn others’ dreams.”
Zhangsun Wuji listened quietly, and then commented, “Very beautiful, but it’s not in the linguistic form of the Five Regions Continent.”
Meng Fuyao ignored his critique and said, “Today, we are sitting atop this tree looking at the scenery, then, who is looking at us?”
She continued, “Throughout this path that we have taken, clashing left and right all over the Five Regions Continent, several thoughts and feelings are inevitable, but no matter how we try to get around it, we still can’t evade crashing into that inescapable wall. Then, who is controlling all of this?”
Zhangsun Wuji fell silent.
“That is Heaven’s will,” Meng Fuyao said. “Heaven’s will is looking at us, watching us, Heaven’s will has arranged every step that I have taken up till now. If we were to talk about the first time we met at Taiyuan, I might still have been uncertain about the future, but now, I’ve already determined the correct path for me to take. I believe that Heaven’s will has arranged for me to reach this point for me to eventually achieve my wish.
“I am just a passerby,” Meng Fuyao turned around and gazed at Zhangsun Wuji, whose eyes were downcast and looking at the grassy plain. “I am a passerby, no matter what kind of mark I’ve left, it is but transparent, look, even my birth, which should have been the most memorable thing, had been wiped clean.”