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Chapter 4 – Miles to the stars, Miles to the heart
n.o.body is awake in the middle of the night, light breeze continues to pa.s.s freely throughout the jade green bamboo house. Starlights splashing throughout the mountains, Qing Chen opened the door quietly to go to the yard, fresh air rushing to her face, along with the sound of the wind gently swaying the jade bamboo. This makes the surroundings even more quiet, making people can't help to hold their breath.
She still could not sleep even though she has not had proper rest for a few days. Since the day meeting them, it has been a few days. Qing Chen sat on on the bamboo stool alone, hugging her knees. She lowered her head and play around with the beads on the wrist. That feeling of emptiness suddenly came back.
She looked up to the stars on the sky, dazzling starlights creating a broad stars river on the sky, so far yet so brilliant, endless and boudless. The night was water cold, but the sky filled with stars. There is a saying that each star represents a soul, who can tell her which one is hers, where is she from, and where is she going?
In this unfamiliar world, she is alone, then who does this soul belongs to? Encountering these sudden changes, she felt surrounded by darkness each time the night comes, without a trace of sound, deadly quiet.
This place does not belong to her, she does not belong to this place either. Everyone is wrong, it's wrong, but she can't go back.
The sadness deep in her heart quietly rushed through, slowly devouring the calmness that was maintained with difficulty, followed by desparate loneliness, the feeling that she has been supressing, the loneliness that she could not tell.
She missed her family, her friends, everything that she was familiar with, even Li Tang.
Li Tang, the person she has loved for 5 years. His perfection along with her world has crumbled, cleanly and thoroughly. There was not even a smidge of s.p.a.ce for her to yearn.
She does not feel sad when she was busy, but when it is touched, the tears couldn't be stopped. The tense strings that have been there for these few days broke, the strings were so sharp, they were causing her heart to pulse in pain.
The singing of the night bugs seemed to have been surprised, as quietly lowered their sounds. The night turned quiet, only her clear tears, flowing on the broken future, as though the beautiful scattered starlights.
Endless darkness, painful emptiness …… Qing Chen held the beaded bracelet tightly, trying hard to calm herself, but the more she does so, more tears flowed. She looked up to the sky causing her tears to spread through her whole face, the feeling that has been suppressed for too long broke out, as though a broken dam, unstoppable.
Her tears blending with the starlights, turning into pieaces of blurry glow. After some time, there is suddenly there is a dark shadow in front of her, quietly blocking the cold starry night.
The dark night reflected in his eyes, the eyes that carries the quiet depth, just like the owner of those eyes. Qing Chen did not seem to hear any footsteps, so turned around in surprise, carelessly wipe her tears. He slowly sat down next to her, without a word.
After a short while, after she had calm down, she asked with a low voice: "Your injury has not recovered, why are you not resting?"
He was gazing towards the boundless night sky, simply said: "Can't sleep."
Qing Chen did not say anything else, she did not know how long he has been standing behind her, did he see her cry? After crying, she understood that she was not as strong as she believed herself to be. If there is a choice, she would rather choose that she is not strong, then there will be someone who would stay by her side, someone comforting her. She hugged her knees tightly, then hesitatingly asked: "Fourth brother……Can you……stay with me for a while？"
"Yes." He still replied monotonously, he did not seem to contemplate.
"Can you, without asking anything, just sit with me?"Qing Chen asked in confusion, regretting after her question. He is only a stranger she met by chance. Why would he not rest in the middle of the night, to stay with her who is also a stranger to him？
However, she heard his still monotonous voice said: "Yes."
Without any contemplation, he still have her the same response.
Such simple words seems to suddenly touched the emotions that she was supressing. Her tears flowed like broken beads, down her face onto her clothes. She forced herself to raised her head, opened her eyes widely looking at the blurry view of the starlights from her eyes.
He turned his head to look at her, said: "Crying cannot solve anything. "
Qing Chen did not want to refute, only called: "Fourth brother……"Helplessness that seeps through her voice makes her feels unfamiliar, she wanted to find a person she knew, to call an existing name, maybe she could hold on to something like that, and not falling into deep loneliness.
He was looking at her. They look as though the star filled sky were in his eyes. He made a sign, then reached out his hand.
Qing Chen hesitated slightly, then reached out her hand.
He grabbed her hand then turned it, with her palm up, then wrote the character “Lin” on her palm with his finger"My name."
"Lin. "Qing Chen read without a sound, slowly held her hand into a fist.
He took back his hand, taking away the calming warmth that was enveloping her hand: "Even though crying doesn't solve anything, but you can still cry when you want to."
He looked at her teary eyes, his voice was monotone without any emotions, but also felt like a gentle waterflow, bringing limitless peace. After hearing those words, Qing Chen actually broke down to cry quietly while holding on to his sleeve.
Faint green bamboo, sunlight half-shined on the ground, painting the darkness with light.
The bamboo curtain in front of the door sligtly drooping, a few young birds jumping under the sun, feeding on the seeds that feel on the ground. When the wind comes, they moved their wings, jumped a little further.
"How can we do this?" The voice in the house slightly loud, Shi Yi stood up and walked to the curtain, scaring the birds away.
Lin was still sitting in front of the table, using his ever cold monotonous voice said: "We have stayed here for a few days, it definately has implacted her, taking her back with us also means that we are taking care of her."
Shi Yi became slightly impatient: "Of course, the war at the northern desert is becoming common these years, this mountain is not safe, taking her with us to the army camp will definitely be safer, but if you are asking me to leave first, how can I feel a.s.sured?"
Lin slightly coughed then said: "With my injury, I can't leave within the next two days, continuing to postpone our departure will only affect the situation at the front line. You should know the gravity of this situation. You should go first. Firstly, to re-a.s.sure the soldiers. Secondly, you need to bring an army to come and fetch us. Otherwise, based on just the two of us, it will be difficult to guarantee her safety. "
Shi Yi frowned, said: "This matter involves the GuiLi** sword, I'm afraid the Uyghur will not rest peacefully. The men we saw that day were in military attire, their Han language was weirdly fluent. Obviously, they did not just smuggled into our camp for a day, if they have not met fourth brother, normal people would not have noticed. I'm afraid the situation in the camp is not welcoming."
** 归 (gui) - return ; 离 (li) - away
Lin turned his gaze to look at the sword at the side of the bed, said: "Your deduction is not illogical, but we have to look at the situation. They should not have any information about the GuiLi sword yet. Otherwise, it would not be the current situation."
Shi Yi said in a low voice: "Fourth brother, if it was not due to my carelessness, you would not have gotten hurt."
Lin raised his hand, said: "The military situation is more urgent, we cannot delay any further, the opponent has been tracking us, we should not stay here for long."
Shi Yi said: "But if they put great effort, they should have found this place. I don't feel at ease if you ask me to go."
Lin closed his eyes to rest for a short while, then opened his eyes to say: "If that is the situation, it would not help with you being here. Just another life implicated. However, if you go and managed to come back in time, that would be the plan to get away."
Shi Yi frowned, but knows what he said was right. He stared on the floor that reflects the shadows of the bamboo curtains in silence for a while before raising his head and promptly decide: "I will definitely come back within two days."
"Take GuiLi sword with you. "Lin said slowly, "Be careful."
Shi Yi agreed, and said: "Not sure what's her plan, would she be willing to leave with us."
Lin looked towards the inner room, said: "If she does not leave, I'm afraid it will be life threatening for her, if we explain properly, she will understand."
"Go and see if she's awake. "Shi Yi turned around to lift the curtain, went into the inner room only to see Qing Chen sitting on the bed hugging her knees. She did not seem surprised seeing the two people coming in one after the other.
Shi Yi stopped, then asked: "Hm, when did you wake up"
Qing Chen smiled and said: "When the two of you were discussing about taking me somewhere."
Lin sat down on the side with the support of the long bed, then looked at her. Shi Yi said："You heard?"
Qing Chen looked back, nodded her head.
Shi Yi and Lin looked at each other, said in a surprisingly serious tone："Then, will you leave with us?"
Qing Chen slightly tilted her head, drooping her eyes to consider, accidentally seeing the black obsidian bracelet on his wrist, then something moved in her heart.
Shi Yi saw that she did not say anything for a long time, said: "Is it because you have gotten used to staying here?"
Qing Chen did not expect him to ask this, she looked up to look around the bamboo house. The bamboo was light green, slightly yellowish green. She could hear the clear pleasing sound of the chirping birds. It is really not a bad place to stay, but it does not belong to her.
Shi Yi continued: "Or, maybe you don't trust us? Me and fourth brother will not hurt you."
Qing Chen pursed her lips, raised her head to say: "I trust that you will not hurt me, but I also do not know what has happened, where you are taking me. I do not even know who you are……"
Shi Yi seemed to want to say something, but still turned around to ask Lin："Fourth brother, do you think……"
Qing Chen also turned her head only to see a pair of clear eyes, as black as ink, as deep as a quiet lake but still cause others to think there are thousands of colors hidden underneath, rising your curiousity. She did not know who he was. She did not even know who she was, but he made her feel safe. It was a strange feeling, maybe she was just lonely. In this unfamiliar world, without anyone she knew, him and Shi Yi were the only people she knew.
His voice still monotonous: "You can decide for yourself, I will not force you."
Yet, Shi Yi continued to say: "But if you continue to stay, your life might be in danger, it's not a joke. Anyway, you are staying here by yourself, there is n.o.body around to take care of you, this makes things even more dangerous for you."
"I understand, I don't actually wish to stay here. "Qing Chen got up to sit in front of the bed, slightly biting her lip, and said，"Not impossible to go with you, but……"She turned around to look at Shi Yi raising a finger, "add another wish!"
"Nn?" Shi Yi could not respond for a while.
"In total, 3 wishes. "Qing Chen repeated. Actually, she wanted to ask Lin to lend her something, but when the words reached her mouth, she turned it to Shi Yi.
"You……" Shi Yi was not able to say anything to retort, then laughed and said, "Agreed! It's just a request, do you think I would be afraid of you?"
Qing Chen said: "When a made has made a promise……"
"Nothing can stop him!" Shi Yi happily agreed.
Qing Chen could not help but laughed, Shi Yi shook his head helplessly, but he felt more relaxed because he has one less thing to worry about. Qing Chen stood up, dropped her eyes to think, then said: "Since we have decided, I am willing to go along with your plan. Anyway, I don't have any family or friends, anywhere is the same. Weren't you going to leave? Since fourth brother wanted you to go back, he must have his reasons, you should be on your way."
Shi Yi turned serious, nodded slightly and said: "I will go and come back quickly. Not more than 2 days. I will have to trouble you with fourth brother's injury."
"Sure" Qing Chen said, "Don't worry, nothing will go wrong in my care."
Lin quietly listened to their conversation, watching Qing Chen with a curious gaze, as though he has never seen her before.
This woman, she is playful when she smiles, quiet when sad, firm when calm, each action matches her emotions, causing other to feel curious, so different from any other women he has met.