Ballad of the Desert Vol 2 Chapter 21

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Chapter 37: Chance Encounter

A hunting trip organized as a relaxing event concludes in the most devastating of ways. The Duke Li Gan was killed by rampaging deer, and Consort Li was so frightened by what happened she collapsed. Liu Che had no desire to continue and ordered everyone to depart Gan Quan Palace and return to Chang An.

Huo Qu Bing became unusually quiet, sometimes saying not a word for an entire day.

Blood is thick with affection, and is something I value greatly and he’s always had his entire life. But it is weak when stacked against power and the throne. I don’t know how to console and counsel him, so I just quietly stay by his side. I hope that when he turns around and sees me nearby, he’ll know that he’s not alone.

Spring quietly arrived in Chang An and before anyone realized it, all the flowers had bloomed and Spring was perfuming the air. I strolled with Qu Bing in the peach blossom trees, and he plucked a peach blossom to tuck in my hair. He whispered in my ear “Want to go see our son?” I startle and ask “Not the one in the Palace?” He lightly nodded his head.

This matter can never be revealed. It concerns not just our lives, but Jiu Ye’s and the people close to him. So Huo Qu Bing and I have a silent understanding to never discuss it. But how could we not miss our son? We are just too afraid to think about him. I embrace Qu Bing and with my face buried in his chest, I say a m.u.f.fled “Yes.”

He laughed and tweaked my nose “Oh! Oh! Look at this! We haven’t even said our vows and you’re already embracing me in public. Don’t worry, even if you don’t seduce me, I’ll do my best.” I was angry and embarra.s.sed so I turn and leave. He started laughing behind me and I feel this sense of happiness despite my outwardly angry expression. He’s slowly turning back to his old self.

After dinner, Qu Bing summoned Huo Guang to the study and they conversed for a long time. After leaving, Huo Guang had a very determined look on his face, almost like he grew up in a matter of hours.

“Did you encourage Guang to leave Chang An and go home?” “No! Every man must pick their own path in life, and have their own dreams. He decides his own life. I merely told him exactly what the political situation in Chang An is like today. I told him I might not be able to protect him in the future, and he might even face trouble because of me.”

Seeing Huo Guang’s expression, I knew what he had decided “So Guang still wants to stay in Chang An?” Qu Bing smiled and nodded, looking pleased and proud of Huo Guang’s conviction.

In this March Spring time, the peach blossoms are blooming wildly but it turns out the political battles in court are even more eye catching than the most vibrant of flowers. Li Gan’s burial, Huo Qu Bing did not attend, while Wei Qing and Gong Xun Aou and those folks went to pay their respects. Princess Pingyang plays matchmaker for Li Gan’s two daughters. Liu Che feels sorry towards Li Gan, and also wants to keep splitting up Huo Qu Bing and Wei Qing, so he has Li Gan’s two young daughters named as consorts for the Crown Prince.

Despite all the men folk dying in succession in the Li family, leaving only women and children, the family has been powerful since the Qin dynasty. They still have supporters in court and in the populace. Li Gan’s nephew Li Ling, despite being young, has already demonstrated astounding military potential. He gains Liu Che’s notice, and Liu Che intends to make him a Imperial guard. Huo Qu Bing was eighteen when he got that t.i.tle, which means Li Ling is already looked upon to be the next great general.

The Wei family’s gesture in this case pulls the Li supporters toward them for showing kindness to the remaining Li family members. It also draws a clear and obvious line between the Wei family and Huo Qu Bing, who everyone knows shot Li Gan.

Huo Qu Bing shooting Li Gan continues to be discussed and more and more people support the Li family. In the past they all opposed Wei Qing, but now they find Wei Qing’s courteous exterior more palatable than the coldness of Huo Qu Bing. On the surface it looks like the Wei family is opposing Huo Qu Bing and trying to take care of the remaining Li family members, so everyone starts to like the Wei family again and turn their frustrations to Huo Qu Bing.

Despite Liu Che protecting Huo Qu Bing, the appeals contain to pour in from ministers begging the Emperor to follow the law and not let Huo Qu Bing off. Liu Che has no choice but to send Huo Qu Bing away to the border city of Xu Fang under the pretense of guarding the city, to let things cool down in Chang An.

That day, there were only few people present when Liu Che was questioning Huo Qu Bing, and all information was supposedly sealed. So how did it spread until the entire court knew about it? Why are there so many people daring to directly oppose Huo Qu Bing at this time, especially knowing Liu Che is favoring Huo Qu Bing?

Huo Qu Bing continues to ignore the ripples in court and does whatever he pleases. He appeared to be encouraging those who oppose him rather than trying to placate them, letting matters grow to a frenzied state. Before he leaves for Xu Fang, Huo Qu Bing makes his first official request in court, to the shock of everyone. He asks that the three princes, with Liu Bo as the oldest, be made Infante Dukes.

When a prince is made an Infante Duke, he must leave Chang An and go to his newly designed territory. On the surface he gets to rule over his own territory, but in reality it’s to take the princes out of Chang An so they cannot vie for the throne with the Crown Prince. Huo Qu Bing’s actions cause ma.s.sive ripples in court from both factions, while Liu Che does not agree or disagree with Huo Qu Bing’s request at that time, leaving everyone even more nervous. A few days later, some of the pro-Wei family high ministers all submit their requests, backing Huo Qu Bing. Liu Che still does nothing.

Days later, the same high ministers, now with even more new supporters, continue to inundate Liu Che with requests to grant Huo Qu Bing’s proposal. Still Liu Che makes no move. Huo Qu Bing stands to the side and watches all of this unfold. He can see this matter is heading towards success, but he appears even more concerned “How did my uncle let things get this way. He probably can’t control people eager to make a name for themselves. The pressure is so great now that even if the Emperor agrees, he will grow wary of the strength of the Wei family supporters.”

I reply “The Wei family was propped up by the Emperor initially, and now he can’t even control them. It’s no surprise the Great General Wei also can’t control them. The Empress, Princess Pingyang, the Crown prince, generals, dukes, there are so many people who gain from this family. Their power is so great now there is bound to be internal strife. Compared to the mess of the w.a.n.g family and the Bao family years ago, the Great General Wei is already doing a good job keeping control.”

Qu Bing laughed sadly “Yup! Everyone has their own greed and wants. I’m a perfect example. Even knowing the Emperor will be wary of the Crown Prince if his backers and support grows too quickly and too strong, so I don’t want that to happen so I bring up the other princes in order to oppose him. The Emperor knows that I’ve placed him in a difficult position.”

Everyone in court waits for the final decision, this matter having become a taut bow. If Liu Che doesn’t agree, then the future of the political tide in court will be dangerous indeed. I think that right now, there are very few royals and n.o.bles who are resting easy in Chang An. The unusual activity at the brothels and dancing houses reflect the people meeting to discuss what to do.

It is during this critical time that Consort Li suddenly asks to see me. It’s so unexpected that I tried to figure out what she wants. Huo Qu Bing looks at the summons and tells me “Nothing to come of it, just feign illness and decline, I’ll cover for you.” I think about it some more “I hear she’s been sick lately, I want to see her. If I hear what she has to say, it’ll give us a better understanding of what the enemy is thinking.”

Huo Qu Bing must think it’s not necessary, but he doesn’t object. “Whatever you want. Since I was planning to see the Empress, let’s visit the Palace together then.”

Before I arrive I can already smell the thick scent of medicinal herbs. Within the curtains I hear Li Yan ordering a maid “Tell Jin Yu to come in.” The maid look uncertain but she opened the curtains and let me in. Li Yan’s face was almost completely white, but her cheeks were unusually red. I don’t know medicine, but I can tell she’s very very sick. She smiled and pointed to her pallet “You sit closer, I don’t have the energy to talk too loudly.”

Her smile was different than usual, it was like when we first knew each other. It was peaceful and kind, without any distance or wariness. I sit down next to her and she smiles at me for some time before saying “You are still so beautiful and healthy. Still blooming, but I’m already wilted.”

I a.s.sure her “Don’t say these negative things. There are many doctors in the Palace. If empty your heart of worries, you can recover soon.” She smiled wanly “I know my own body. I don’t have much time left. Every step I have been plotting, fighting and scheming, in the end losing more than I have gained. Jin Yu, do you still hate me?”

The memories of long ago flashed through my mind: that masked face, the girl with the bright and intelligent eyes, the face that could topple an empire, the girl with a heart full of troubles, the one who taught me how to play the flute, the girl laughing under the lamplight…….

I shook my head “I don’t want to hate. I learned a lesson these last few years. Hate will destroy a person long before it destroys the opponent. I want to forget and let it go. I want to only remember the happiness in my life, and put the unhappiness behind me. I want to keep walking forward. A person’s life is but a few short decades. Even if we rush it along, there are many interesting things to watch, see, and do. If we have the energy to hate, why not use it to appreciate the existing happiness.”

She turned and coughed. I quickly handed her a handkerchief, and when she tossed it aside, I saw it was stained red with blood. My heart fell but she didn’t seem to mind “Xiao Yu, you were lucky in life so you can say this. There are some hate in this world that cannot be forgotten. For example, if someone hurt Huo Qu Bing, can you forgive? Can you forget? Can you let it go? You will surely give your life to seek revenge.”

Before I could answer she waved her hand “There is no need to debate this. Today I asked you here to beg you for one more favor and to ask you one question.”

“Tell me. If I can do it, I will try my best.”

“Xiao Yu, my heart is dead, I no longer care about anything else. But I cannot stop worrying about the people I’ve dragged into my own vengeance. I’m not worried about Buo Er, as long as the Emperor agrees with Huo Qu Bing and sends him away to be an Infante Duke, then he will leave Chang An and be safe. I worry my brothers cannot avoid it, especially my second brother. His desire for power grows stronger every day.”

“I know what you mean. But Li Yan, you know that Li Guang Li chooses his own path in life. If he doesn’t control himself, he’ll be in trouble sooner rather than later. As for Qu Bing, don’t worry. I think……I think if the Emperor agrees with his proposal, that is probably the final thing Qu Bing will ever do for the Wei family.”

Li Yan didn’t understand my meaning “Last thing?” She saw I wasn’t going to explain so she smiled and didn’t push further. “I will continue to warn my second brother, and it’s up to him if he wants to heed my warnings. The Emperor will miss me and I hope he will be lenient towards my second brother. The rest is up to the Heavens.”

Li Yan silently stared at the incense burning and didn’t say anything for a long time. I was also silent, waiting for her question. “Li……….Li Gan. What did he say before he died?”

This was one of the two things Li Gan wanted before he died, I believe he must be resting in peace now once he knows she asked about him. I sigh and take out the b.l.o.o.d.y cloth from my robe and pa.s.s it to Li Yan. She stared at it, her eyes starting to mist with tears. Finally one tear after another falls, almost like pearls as it hits the cloth.

She bit her finger and used her blood to finish the “Li” character. One blood was long dried and black, the other was still bright red. The black and red created a contrast that made it appear that their lives were destined to be fated but never reach a resolution. She looked at the cloth for awhile longer before handing it back to me “I have one more favor to ask of you. Please burn this in front of Li Gan’s grave.” I nod.

She smiled and grabbed my hand. I grab her hand back. She gave me a brilliant smile, as beautiful as a flower. It was like when we first became friends “Xiao Yu, you can go now! I will beg the Emperor to return Tan Er to you. But with General Huo’s current position……..the Emperor will likely not agree. I pray you don’t hate me. If there was one day when the Han army is outside the gates of Luo Lan, I pray you can remember our friendship when we first met and beg General Huo to spare the common people and restrain his soldiers from killing more.”

I help her fix her hair and help her lay back down on the pallet “Your illness is from worrying too much. Stop worrying now. If that day arrives, I will do my best. Don’t forget that Xi Yu is also partially my homeland.”

She closed her eyes and her voice was tiny, almost like she was talking to herself “I’m tired, I’m so tired. Soon I will be able to rest at last. When my mother sees me, will she berate me? I tried my best. I wonder if she saw my father. I want to listen to the herding songs by the banks of the Kong Que River. The most expensive wine is not as delicious as the water from the Kong Que River. Actually all I ever wanted is to dance around a fire at night out in the plains, to go herding with the man I love, to give birth to a brood of children so my body loses its shape, to have coa.r.s.e hands from plucking lambswool to make a cloth…….”

I lightly rise and walk outside.

Many of the maids are outside so inside her room is just Li Yan. She has been and always will be lonely in her entire life. I always wanted to ask her if she regretted entering the Palace? But now all our debt and vengeance is at an end. I hope that she departs this world peacefully. For her, she really did more than a woman could possibly imagine. If all the Luo Lan girls were like her, then Liu Che wanting to conquer Xi Yu would be facing depleting his treasury and a heavy loss of life.

I tell the maids to go back in. As I’m leaving, her personal maid stops me “Ms. Jin Yu, can you please counsel her highness to please see the Emperor.” I looked confused so she explained “Since her highness got sick, she has refused to see the Emperor. Every time he visits, she will only see him through a curtain. The Emperor is furious, but every time he wants to barge in, he worries about her illness getting worse.”

I think and look towards her room. Li Yan, are you doing this so that you can carve yourself even deeper in Liu Che’s heart? What can’t an Emperor possess in this world? But he is about to lose you, when you are at your most beautiful, when he longs to see you one more time.

I bow to the maid “I cannot help” and then quickly leave. In the carriage, Qu Bing watches my silence and doesn’t disturb me. He lets me zone out and then I suddenly say “The Emperor is about to agree to let the princes be Infante Dukes.”

Qu Bing raised an eyebrow “Consort Li is giving up so easily?” He then realized “Her body is in that bad a shape?”

“Yes, she’s always been weak, but now her heart is dead as well. To protect her son, she will use her dying breath to get the Emperor to agree to the Infante Dukes. With the Crown Prince supporters begging the Emperor, plus adding Li Yan, he will agree.”

Qu Bing didn’t look happy and instead sighed. He pulled me into his embrace and I tightly hugged him back. I suddenly remember that I didn’t answer Li Yan’s question, but I do know the answer and she does as well. I tighten my arms around him “Qu Bing!”

“Yes?” “You have to be with me forever!”

Qu Bing’s arms also tightened around me and he vowed “I will!”

When the peach blossoms fell, it danced in the wind and blanketing the entire ground in red. With a thousand emotions, an beauty who shook an empire was like the flowers, also falling and disappearing in the wind.

On Li Yan’s last day, the Emperor finally agreed to make the princes Infante Dukes. Li Yan pa.s.sed with a smile on her face,

Li Yan, she left a legend for the ages about her beauty. She left a legend about a poor girl who became the Emperor’s most beloved concubine. But her true background, her struggles and her heartache, it disappeared without a trace in this world. And me, the only person who knows her secret, I bury it deep within my heart for all of eternity.


Huo Qu Bing takes me away from Chang An and we head towards Xu Fang. Before we left, he asks to take Tan Er with us, but the Emperor says Tan Er is sickly and the weather is cold in Xu Fang so doesn’t let him go.

Zhao Puo Nu tells me that Wei Kang, Wei Qing’s son, asked the Emperor to join Huo Qu Bing on this outing and the Emperor agreed. None of us understand what Wei Kang is planning. I don’t want to think about the unpleasantness, only anxious to leave Chang An and see my son soon. I remember his birth and how quickly he was taken from me, and my heart hurts. It also hurts because I know that seeing my son means seeing Jiu Ye again soon. It has been almost a year since I saw him. Is he well?

Despite Qu Bing’s foray being called “protecting the city”, but Xu Fang is well guarded and with the Xiong Nu out of the Desert South region, it in truth needs no protecting. So this trip out West, Huo Qu Bing is very carefree and leisurely. If he sees something I’m interested in, he stops and lets me explore before continuing. In truth I’m very anxious but I don’t want to reveal it so I try my best to be normal not to arouse the suspicions of others.

Wei Kang has his father’s adherence to rules and structure, but lacks Wei Qing’s ability to accept others. He instead has the brash arrogance of the young n.o.bles. He see Huo Qu Bing’s casual behavior and is very upset. Every time Huo Qu Bing wants to stop for a day or to, he objects. Huo Qu Bing completely ignores him and Wei Kang looks more and more p.i.s.sed. He realizes that no matter what he says it doesn’t matter so he shuts up. But he shoots more and more dirty and hateful looks at Huo Qu Bing behind his back.

Stopping and playing along the way, we finally arrive at Xu Fang. After Huo Qu Bing settles everything, he takes me out to play some more. With Xu Fang filled with Wei Qing subordinates, Wei Kang is even more aggressive when he arrives at the city. But since there is nothing to do, he doesn’t have any opportunity to find conflict with Huo Qu Bing.

The temperature differential in the desert is so vast that the days are hot enough to boil a person but once the sun sets its immediately cold. Huo Qu Bing and I often ride horses and roam the desert all night long. Sometimes I think that we can live here in Xu Fang forever and never step foot back in Chang An., But I know that wish is impossible. As the Wei family faction grows stronger with those supporting the Crown Prince, Huo Qu Bing is the only one who can temper Wei Qing’s power in the army. For that reason alone, the Emperor will never let Huo Qu Bing go. And if the Emperor doesn’t let him go, then it places Huo Qu Bing in ever greater danger as he opposes a powerful faction.

Huo Qu Bing takes me to places we’ve been before. From a distance I can see Ming Sa Mountains. With a round moon perched in the sky shining over the entire desert, my heart leapt and I raised my head for a long howl. I immediately jump off the horse and start running towards the Yue Ya Spring. In Chang An I can never behave this way. I finally feel like I’ve left Chang An behind.

Huo Qu Bing sees that my happiness differs from my pretend act during the trip out to Xu Fang and he starts laughing out loud. “Yu Er, do you know what the biggest regret in my life is?” I take off my shoes and dip my toes in the water. I think and say “Having an opportunity to fight Yi Zhi Xie directly? Allowing Wei Qing to confront the Shan Yu’s forces face on and not you?”

He took off his shoes and also put his foot in the water “Success in battle does not depend on one person’s will and courage, but requires the will and coordination of many people. My uncle faced the Shan Yu, I faced the Left Sage King. Who defeats the Shan Yu is not what is important, the importance is we cooperated to bring victory.”

“Li Gan’s death?” He shook his head “If it wasn’t me, he still can’t avoid his fate. A man must be willing to accept the consequences for his actions and I was the one who shot him, despite the reasons. I may feel sorrow but there is nothing to regret.”

I kick the water and laugh “Nothing is right, then I’m not going to guess anymore.” He was silent for a few moments and then stared at the water “My biggest regret was years ago, the moment we said our farewells at the Yue Ya Spring. I knew you were coming to Chang An, but I never told you who I really was.”

I was playing with the water but when I heard what he said, my expression froze but I continued to play with the water. My initial cheerfulness dampened. In truth, at this Yue Ya Spring, the first person I met, the first person I said goodbye to…..wasn’t him.

We both stopped talking and my hands playing with the water became the only sound in the desert. Huo Qu Bing used his toes to tickle the bottom of my foot. I’m ticklish there so I try to avoid him but he’s agile and I can’t find a way out. As our feet are tussling, my awkwardness goes away and I laugh “If you keep picking on me, I’ll retaliate.” I scoop up water with my hands and splash it on his face.

He splashed me back with a devilish grin on his face, and in seconds we are both drenched. I holler “We’re all wet! How are we going to head back, we’ll get sand all over us?” He laughed and jumped in the water “Since we’re wet, let’s not go back. We can spend the night here and dry our clothes in the sun tomorrow before heading back.” He took off his robe and tossed it to the side before giving me a knowing look.

I huff at him “You planned this!” He smiled and pulled me “Such a glorious place. If we don’t enjoy it fully, wouldn’t that be a waste?”

I act mad and refuse to get in the water. He happily pulls me while tickling my feet still. I try to duck but finally give in to his playfulness and jump in the water. He pulled me towards the center of the spring when I suddenly make a halt gesture to him. He stopped and then craned his ears to listen,

It’s the sound of a flute, coming from far away. But the sound was growing louder so it meant the person playing the flute was coming towards the Yue Ya Spring. In moments Huo Qu Bing has also heard it. He said in frustration “There are clearly lunatics in Xi Yu. Instead of staying at home in the middle of the night, this crazy person is out roaming the desert playing the flute.”

I laugh “The people of the Han dynasty or the Xiong Nu who have committed an offense often run to Xi Yu to get away. It’s a place full of random people from all over, so clearly Xi Yu has its share of lunatics.” I swim towards the sh.o.r.e and Huo Qu Bing follows me while still grumbling.

The sound of the flute changed suddenly, from joy to sorrow. It was like a person who was remembering a joyful memory suddenly realizing it’s all gone, and the transition from joy to sorrow was instantaneous. I realize how talented the flute playing was and I’m touched by the sadness of the tune. I crane my neck towards the direction of the music.

A round bright moon was overhead and a snow white camel was running on the sand. Its footsteps don’t even kick up any dust and its endurance can rival any prized stallion. It appeared to be the famed Sky Mountain Snow Camel that is prized as much as the legendary Blood Sweat Horse.

A person wearing all white was riding on the camel and playing the flute. His dark hair was billowing in the wind and his wide robes were dancing with the movement of the camel. Such a bold stance instead looked very elegant on him. The moonlight enveloped him but couldn’t take away his loneliness and sorrow. His flute appeared to suck the entire vast expanse of the desert into his sadness.

Huo Qu Bing complimented him “Yu Er, he’s not even riding the camel properly, he’s letting it run at will. He resembles the famed scholar Lao Zhi riding his donkey and traveling wherever the donkey takes him. But Lao Zi stayed within the Han borders, but he’s so bold that he treats the desert like his backyard to roam as he wishes.”

As the figure gets closer and closer, my suspicions are confirmed and I quickly turn my head and try to climb out of the water. The camel stopped at the edge of the Yue Ya Spring and Jiu Ye held his flute and stared at the water and the mountains. His face showed his longing and his isolation. It seemed like him and his reflection are the only companions in this vast expanse.

He raised his head and looked towards the mountain, as if remembering something. He suddenly smiled, but it was immediately replaced with a look of loss. I hide in the shadows of the mountains and shrink into the water. In two short steps I would be onsh.o.r.e, but my body cannot move. Huo Qu Bing silently stands beside me. In the silence I can hear a heart pounding, not sure if its him or me.

The camel snorted and kicked up the robe on the ground, then braying in our direction. Jiu Ye’s hand immediately reached for his bow and arrow and he smiles in our direction “May I ask which lofty personage is over there?”

I’m still unable to face him, but Huo Qu Bing cannot endure any longer and he walks out with a smile “Brother Meng, its just us, a married couple who was seeking you. Who knew we would be fated to run into each other tonight.” I can only quietly walk out beside Huo Qu Bing.

Jiu Ye saw Huo Qu Bing’s naked torso and his face immediately turned ashen. He momentarily was so stunned he didn’t move his bow and arrow directed towards us. His eyes glanced over me and quickly averted and pulled out a robe from his bag on the camel.

Huo Qu Bing was about to decline when he realized what it was for and he turned to look at me. My clothes were plastered on my body from the water. Huo Qu Bing reluctantly took the robe with a “thank you” and draped it over me. Jiu Ye lowered his bow and arrow and with a sad smile said “Last time, I also pointed that bow and arrow at you.” Huo Qu Bing turned to look at me but I just lowered my head and didn’t respond.

The three was us were so silent it was suffocating so I break the silence “Jiu Ye, we are here to see……..the baby.” The baby is over a year old now and still we haven’t named him. Jiu Ye smiled, this time with warmth, and replied “Without your permission, I’ve given him a nickname. The single character of “Yi” (means lightness). We all call him Yi Er.”

Huo Qu Bing said “The character of “Yi”, it can hide and evade, can also mean excellence. This name is very good. Let his real name be Yi as well. From now on, his name is Huo Yi.”

It was impossible to thank Jiu Ye for what he did for us. Huo Qu Bing never said thank you to Jiu Ye, but by using the name Jiu Ye gave our son as his real name, it expressed his grat.i.tude to Jiu Ye.

[A son’s name is paramount and can only be given by a male elder of the family. For Huo Qu Bing to allow Jiu Ye to name his son is an unparallel acceptance of Jiu Ye’s importance in the life of his son.]

Jiu Ye looked towards me, as if he didn’t even hear what Qu Bing said, only waiting for what I wanted. I replied “I really like this name.” He smiled and didn’t mention the name anymore “I’ve asked for Yi Er to be brought from the Sky Mountains here. Do you want to see him?”

Huo Qu Bing and I exchanged a look and our hearts were thundering. Huo Qu Bing continued “The trip back and forth will take until the end of the day tomorrow. We’ll be delayed for too long. Yu Er, can you endure it for a bit longer. Other things can be messed up, but with this matter I don’t want to have a single thing go wrong.”

So close and yet I can’t see him yet. I force a smile and nod my head “I understand. One year I’ve waited, a few more days I can endure.” Jiu Ye and Huo Qu Bing exchanged a look and Qu Bing said “Yu Er, I promise you, you will be reunited with Yi Er soon.”

Jiu Ye smiled wanly, but his loneliness in his eyes grew deeper. He glanced over and then turned the camel to leave. “Then I will wait for your message.” Huo Qu Bing hurriedly asked “How can I find you when I reach Ha Mi?’

The Sky Mountain Snow Camel moved like the wind, in seconds Jiu Ye was far away. His voice travels back “When you enter the city, Yu Er will be able to find me.”

Huo Qu Bing turned to look at me but didn’t press further. These two men, whenever they see each other, it was like two martial arts experts sparring. The pain they inflict is impossible to see and I can only carefully duck here and there. But I can’t help but be affected by their intense auras.

I actually have no clue why Jiu Ye said that I would be able to find him when I entered the city, so I can’t explain even if Huo Qu Bing asked me. I can only smile and think about it while trying to change the subject. Then I actually chanced upon a genuine question “How did you know Jiu Ye was currently in Ha Mi?” Huo Qu Bing startled and then looked elsewhere “The closest large city from here is Ha Mi, so I guessed he was there.”

“Isn’t Ge Er Mu also very large?”

“Yu Er, when you see Yi Er, what do you want to do the most?” Huo Qu Bing didn’t answer my question and instead asked me one. He used something I’ve been thinking about for such a long time to divert my attention. I had my suspicions, but I figure he had a reason for not telling me the truth. I don’t press any further and instead answer his question.

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Ballad of the Desert Vol 2 Chapter 21 summary

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