Editor: Happy Bubbles
After a month of rain came the long-awaited March, bathing the days in warm sunlight.
A fortune-teller predicted the sixth day of the month to be the most favourable time for any sort of occasion.
The sound of gongs and drums, coming from the end of an old road, gradually enlivened the crowd.
Leading a group of servants was Luo Yuan, the new head of the Luo family in New Tao Valley.
He was handsomely riding a horse, a red wedding robe draped on his shoulders and his hair flowing around him as a breeze blew past.
As soon as you looked at his outfit, it was clear that the groom and his party were in the midst of picking up the bride to welcome her in her new residence.
The group enthusiastically traveled to the peach forest, the blossoms of the trees seemingly blessing them.
Halfway there, a gust of wind scattered a myriad of colorful petals in the air, obscuring everybody’s vision. At the same time, blown off a branch was a man garbed in a light blue attire.
The sudden arrival of this anomaly alarmed everyone; even Luo Yuan, seated on his horse, subconsciously reached for the sword on his waist.
The man in light blue garments let out a long and sharp yell as he fell straight into Luo Yuan’s arms, flailing limbs grabbing the air haphazardly before gripping the other man’s shoulder as though clutching at his lifeline.
Like grasping the last straw of his life, he hugged Luo Yuan, and all at once, clung closely to him. Sighing, he said, “So dangerous, so dangerous!”
Luo Yuan calmly withdrew his hand from his weapon, face impassive. “Let go.”
The man looked up, realising that something was wrong.
He appeared to be around eighteen years old, his face handsome and complexion fair, making his dark eyes stand out even more. His eyes squinted from the honest smile on his lips.
His two little tiger teeth gave him a particularly mischievous air.
“I heard that the new head of the Luo family is getting married today, so I came to join in the fun.” The youngster stared at him. “Brother, you are Luo Yuan, right?”
Luo Yuan coldly replied by saying two words, “Get off.”
Who knew that instead of unsticking himself from him, the teenager instead leaned forward, hugging his waist as he rubbed his head against Luo Yuan’s chest, and said, “Brother, my name is Chu He. Originally, I came here to have fun with you all, but now, I don’t want to leave. The top of the sedan chair behind you is beautiful. Why don’t you carry me back?”
Luo Yuan was stunned for a moment, a surprised look taking over his previously blank face. “Nonsense! Let go!”
Had it not been a teenager, Luo Yuan would have no hesitation in pushing the stranger off already.
“Brother didn’t tell me no, so can I take your answer as a yes?” Chu He smiled cheerfully as he released him. He leapt towards the sedan chair.
Luo Yuan sensed his purpose and followed suit, drawing his sword out of its sheath and readily attacked the young man’s back.
Chu He dodged the hit, a strong wind whistling past his ears. He landed steadily beside the sedan chair, patting his chest in fear as he looked at the older man angrily. “Brother, are you really willing to do this to me?”
It was obvious that the young man’s skill was not beneath him or anyone present there, but he pretended to be innocent to make people underestimate him, which showed the depth of his mind. Luo Yuan lowered his eyes and did not look at him, the sword glinting in his hand.
The cold light of his sword made his intentions all too clear.
Chu He understood what he meant and stubbornly stood in front of the sedan chair while pouting. “If you don’t agree to be with me, you won’t be marrying anyone else today either.”
“Master, do you want us to drive this person away?” A servant saw the situation and went forward to ask for instructions.
Luo Yuan hesitated for a moment, sword clenched in his hand as he nodded, and said, “Just drive him away, don’t hurt anyone.”
Soon, a few people went in the direction of Chu He.
From the moment the young man had nimbly leapt on the sedan chair, Luo Yuan understood that he was no match for him, but he still overlooked the other’s skill.
Chu He blithely moved first, easily beating everyone to the ground before staring at Luo Yuan proudly. “Brother, these people aren’t as powerful as me, so why don’t you keep me by your side as a bodyguard? I don’t want any money, what do you think?”
Luo Yuan’s face turned cold as he raised his long sword towards Chu He.
“Brother, don’t hit me!” Chu He dodged the attacks, not making any moves to hurt Luo Yuan back.
The two men thus fought from morning to night; the auspicious time had passed, the waiting bride neglected and the marriage ceremony unperformed.
Luo Yuan stopped, his breathing slightly heavy. Even if he dwelled on it more, it would no longer change anything, so he snorted coldly and turned to leave with his people
“Brother?” Chu He followed after him, settling himself on the horse’s back and tightly wrapped his arms around Luo Yuan’s waist. “I messed up your marriage and now will give myself to you as compensation.”
“Let go!” Luo Yuan said angrily.
“No.” Chu He leaned his head on his back and said, “We’ve been playing for so long today, won’t you let me rest? After having a good rest, I will go down obediently.”
Luo Yuan had no choice, he couldn’t fight with him nor could he scold him, so he could only whip the horse with a dark face and bring this person back home with him.
Chu He jumped off the horse, looked at the tall mansion, and said, “Wow, my brother’s family is very rich, so you shouldn’t mind raising me alone, right? Do you?”
Luo Yuan also got off the horse, ignored him, and walked inside. He expected the other to leave, but instead, Chu He followed him all the way in. Luo Yuan glared at him. “You’ve rested enough. It’s time to leave.”
“I didn’t say I would be leaving ah, I just said I would get off the horse after resting, now I’m down. Aren’t I?” Chu He smiled as he walked alongside him, the cheerful look on his face never fading.
“Master, you are back. Miss Xu has been waiting for you all afternoon.” The housekeeper greeted Luo Yuan quickly.
“Miss Xu? Which Miss Xu?” Chu He asked.
“This gentleman is…” the housekeeper scrutinized him in confusion; the Young Master went out to get the bride, but came back with a young man instead?
“How did she get here?” Luo Yuan asked, his expression ugly.
“Ms. Xu was originally waiting for Young Master at the agreed location, but she did not expect that the peach blossoms along the way were in full bloom; as Ms. Xu is allergic to pollen, she took a detour and came back.”
Chu He sort of understood the gist of their conversation and was afraid this Miss Xu was the real lady of the house. He pursed his lips, and said with a face full of displeasure, “Since the auspicious time has already passed, brother is not going to still marry her, right?”
“This old slave found someone to calculate, and after seven days shall come another promising occasion.” The old housekeeper said, smiling.
“And father? I want to see my father.” Luo Yuan said.
“Master Fang just had his evening meal, and he is taking a walk in the backyard at this moment.”
Seeing Luo Yuan about to leave, Chu He immediately grabbed his sleeve and said, “Brother, what should I do? Aren’t you going to settle me in first?”
“Do whatever you like!” Luo Yuan walked away.
Then I can stay if I want to! Chu He brightened up and said to the old housekeeper, “Old uncle, where is brother’s room? I’ll go to his room and wait for him.”
In the end, Chu He was merely a stranger casually brought back and the housekeeper felt reluctant in bringing him to the Young Master’s bedroom, so he said, “Little boy, please, I will take you to the guest room to wait.”
At night, while Luo Yuan was sleeping in a daze, he heard a noise in his room and opened his eyes to see a silhouette in the dark. He swiftly sat up and vigilantly reached for his sword, which was placed on the bedside table, when he heard a familiar voice.
“Brother, it’s me.” Chu He stopped moving and said, “Sorry to disturb you.”
“What are you doing here?” Luo Yuan still didn’t let his guard down.
“I was afraid you couldn’t restrain yourself and indulged in the bridal chamber, so I came to watch after you. Don’t worry, brother. I’m not greedy. I just need to borrow two seats to sleep.” Chu He settled the stools next to each other and lay down comfortably.
Luo Yuan didn’t go to sleep and said in a deep voice, “Go back to your room.”
“This is my room.” Chu He said and felt Luo Yuan’s breathing turn little heavy, so he reminded in a low voice, “Brother, don’t start any fighting here, it’s not good to wake others up.”
Luo Yuan endured, turned over, and no longer bothered to pay attention to him.
The next morning, Miss Xu made breakfast for Luo Yuan and got ready to deliver it, but before she could step into the house, she heard the hurried footsteps of the pale housekeeper. “Young Master, the Master, your father has passed…”
Five days later, as Luo Yuan arranged his father’s funeral, his marriage date drew near.
Luo Yuan, dressed in pale mourning clothes, coldly told Miss Xu, “As the son of my father, I have not fulfilled my filial duty, but today, I made a vow at my father’s grave. I am willing to mourn his death for ten years. If you cannot wait, then please leave.”
“Childe Luo… Childe…” Miss Xu looked heartbroken, eyes teary.
Luo Yuan mercilessly turned around, facing his back to her, and said firmly, “I’ve already made up my mind.”
In her grief and anger, Miss Xu turned around and ran away.
“Are you still not leaving?” Luo Yuan looked angrily at Chu He.
Chu He said, “Even if you want to mourn for 20 years, I will wait for you.”
Luo Yuan’s face remained cold. “Get out of here!”
Chu He stayed.
One drove the other away, while the other refused to leave; the two of them were at odds with each other day after day, like an endless cycle.
When Luo Yuan ate, Chu He stole his food. When Luo Yuan slept, Chu He placed two benches and lay quietly beside him.
In order to drive him away, Luo Yuan trained with his sword diligently everyday, and finally, after ten months, he managed to defeat Chu He.
Chu He stood up from the ground, casually patting the dust from his clothes, still smiling. “Brother, are you really going to drive me away? Will you not regret it?”
Luo Yuan looked away, ignoring him.
“Just give me an answer, if you say yes, I’ll leave…”
“Yes!” Luo Yuan answered without any hesitation.
Chu He smiled bitterly, his eyes tearful. “Brother, you don’t need my protection anymore, you can even defeat me now. As a matter of fact, you don’t have to lie to me. I will leave.”
With that, he suddenly came forward and kissed Luo Yuan on the lips. Luo Yuan was unprepared and before he could recover from the unexpected peck, Chu He was already far away in case he lost his temper. He smiled as he said his goodbye, “Farewell, brother!”
Luo Yuan looked at the disappearing figure despairingly, his mind in disarray. After a long time, he tried to chase after the other, but there was no one outside the door, not even a trace of the person he had chasen away could be seen.
Three months later, upon hearing news of the Jing family, Luo Yuan raised his sword, his face covered in hatred as he led a troop of soldiers to besiege them.
The Jing and Luo families were caught in a dispute. A year ago, the two had quarreled over a mountain range and an unprecedented war broke out, which caused Luo Yuan’s father to return home with a full set of wounds.
The doctor determined the injuries to be critical and the number of days left to live were entirely up to the gods.
Luo Yuan led innumerous men to ambush them in the darkest part of the forest.
Finally, at noon, a group of people and horses neared the tree Luo Yuan and the others were lying in wait, and as they reached the spot below them, they pounced.The others held back the outer guards, while Luo Yuan went straight for the man in the carriage.
“Young Master!” A scream sounded, and the others realised it was already too late.
Luo Yuan’s sword flashed coldly as it pierced right through the carriage curtain, impaling the body of the person within.
His face, which had been cold for the past year, finally showed a touch of satisfaction at getting his revenge.
Luo Yuan’s men split the carriage in half with their swords, letting their Master see the fruits of his act. However, upon spotting the bleeding person, both him and Chu He froze.
Chu He’s face was deathly pale, his lips completely devoid of any color, and the corner of his mouth smeared with blood.
“Young Master?” Chu He’s men stepped forward immediately.
“Stand down, all of you.” Chu He leaned against the stool of the carriage and looked at Luo Yuan with a smile on his face as he asked, “Brother, are you here to see me?”
Luo Yuan let go of his sword. For the first time, he lost his composure in front of the teen. He stepped forward and quickly hugged Chu He’s body close to him, unable to accept the reality in front of him. “How could it be you? Why are you here?”
“Brother never asked, but my last name is Jing.” Chu He held Luo Yuan’s hand and said, “Brother, truth is, the first time we met, I was there to assassinate the new head of the Luo family, but the moment I laid my eyes on you, I knew it was all over for me.”
It was ridiculous, but he never regretted it.
“Don’t talk. I’ll take you to the doctor.” Luo Yuan wanted to pick him up, but Chu He stopped him. “It’s useless.”
Chu He felt weak, but he still straightened up, and gently kissed the corner of Luo Yuan’s lips. He murmured, “You promised your father to mourn his death for ten years, don’t break your promise. I, I’m not greedy, in these ten years, if, by chance, you can think of me sometimes and if maybe you can keep a memorial for me as well-“
“Chu He—” For the first time in his life, Luo Yuan called out Chu He’s name, holding him tightly in his arms and never wanting to let go.For the first time ever, he felt the feeling of heartbreak.
But the teenager who was chasing after him was gone, taking all the light in Luo Yuan’s life along with him.
Many things happen unexpectedly, so quickly they don’t give you a chance to even catch your breath.
Just like now, Luo Yuan never had a chance to tell Chu He that—
A year ago, the night Chu He sabotaged his marriage, he went to his father to break off the engagement. He didn’t know what caused him to do that back then, but he didn’t want to marry anyone.
Who could have guessed that his father would become so angry to the point of passing away the next day? Luo Yuan never intended to drive Chu He away, but he couldn’t face himself!
“Young Master!” Chu He’s personal attendant dropped his sword and fell to his knees in front of his master, reaching out to take him. “What right do you have, what right do you have to hold him?! Didn’t you always want to get rid of him? Now, why can’t you let go again?”
The attendant sobbed in a low voice. “The Young Master went to kill you on Master’s order, but not only did he not do it, he also drove away the other assassins sent to kill you. Do you know that all the poison Master has put in your food was eaten by Young Master Chu He?”
Therefore, he would rather sleep on a cold bench than take a step away from him, and stealing his food every day was actually to protect him.
Chu He had already been poisoned to the marrow of his bones, yet he still laughed carelessly in front of him day after day as if nothing had happened, and even followed him everywhere to make him laugh. Until the last time when he could no longer hide it, he finally lost to Luo Yuan by mistake. It wasn’t that he wanted to lose, but the fact that he couldn’t win anymore…
Years later, when the sky was beautiful and the peach trees were in full bloom, an old man, leaning on a crooked cane stopped underneath the shade of a particular peach blossom tree.
He lifted his head and looked up at it. For so many years, he had been ready to open his arms, yet there was no young man who would accidentally fall into his embrace.
After reminiscing for a moment, the old man closed his eyes as tears gathered behind them.
He raised his feet and slowly walked towards a solitary grave. His calloused hands gently stroked the name on the tombstone, leaning against it until sunset.
Ah, it was finally time! A rare smile appeared on Luo Yuan’s face, accompanied by wrinkles, and with the little strength he had, he turned back to the grave and said to himself, “I held on to my father for ten years, but for you, I’ll hold on to you for the rest of my life—”
There was a certain someone who came like a gust of wind, seeming to leave no trace behind, but the ripples he stirred up inside have always been in his heart, never giving him a moment of peace…