Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
Ye Futian took a look at Yu Sheng, and then came to where his teacher Hua Fengliu and his wife lived. Hua Fengliu had seemingly aged within the span of several days, losing his dashing looks of the past altogether. Wrinkles were seen on Nandou Wenyin’s face as well, making her look dejected.
Both of them were playing the guqin when Ye Futian arrived. The sound of the tunes matched and melded with each other, but Ye Futian was only able to sense tinges of sorrow from the sounds. They stopped playing when they saw Ye Futian come and they smiled at him. However, Ye Futian felt that their smiles looked rather sorrowful.
“Teacher, mastress,” Ye Futian lowered his head and said.
“Futian, how’re your injuries?” Hua Fengliu asked.
“They’re a lot better now,” Ye Futian nodded and said.
“It’s been 17 years since we ran from Qingzhou City, eh.” Hua Fengliu then added, “I still remember you carrying me, a cripple, on your back all those years ago. We crossed the East Sea, returning to Donghai City, and looked for your mistress here. I can’t believe it’s been such a long time ago. Time flies indeed.”
Ye Futian did not say anything further. He seemed to be that boy that he once was before Hua Fengliu and Nandou Wenyin.
“We’ve out for long enough and we’ve started getting homesick. Futian, me and your mistress here are thinking of returning to the East Sea,” Hua Fengliu said. Ye Futian knelt on the ground with reddened eyes as soon as Hua Fengliu finished, lowering his head. He said, “I’ve failed you, teacher.”
He and Hua Jieyu were married in the Book Mountain of the Eastern Barren Territory back then. They both were the closest person to Hua Fengliu and Nandou Wenyin, so both of the elders came with them. And now, his teacher said that he wanted to return to the East Sea. Such was his state of mind at the moment.
“Futian.” Nandou Wenyin went up and pulled Ye Futian his feet. She turned around and looked at Hua Fengliu, berating him, “Futian has just recovered, just what the hell are you talking about?”
“I know.” Ye Futian knew what was going through the minds of his teacher and mastress. None of the elders blamed him, yet the fact that Jieyu was the life of both of them remained.
Hua Fengliu came to Ye Futian’s side and pulled him over, sitting on the ground with him, saying, “Do you remember that when Jieyu left all those years ago, it was just me and you, and then we went to Donghai City? But your teacher here seems to have better luck than you do. I still have your mastress here with me and Aunt Tang. So, with Jieyu gone now, I know that you’re definitely in more pain than me.
“You have to get up on your feet regardless of how painful it is. Who did Jieyu end up passing away for after all? If something were to happen to you, it would have been a waste of her effort. You need to stay strong at this time. You know what you’ll be facing after all. Promise your teacher and your mastress, and this is the greatest hope that Jieyu had for you as well, live and thrive.” Hua Fengliu knew certain secrets of Ye Futian, and so he definitely knew what Ye Futian would be up against.
“Well, you know, teacher, it’s all up to fate for me this time,” Ye Futian said beside Hua Fengliu. Emperor Xia had sent his people to guard the Holy Zhi Palace. If it was his life that the emperor wanted, it would have been all the same for him, be it at the moment or even after he became a saint.
Hua Fengliu listened to Ye Futian’s words and went silent for a few moments. He shook his head with a bitter smile. He looked up at the sky far away and scolded Ye Futian in a low voice, “You said that you have no respect for your elders and traditions, then why would I have taken you as my student then? You called yourself a playboy, but you were not as dashing and good-looking as I was, so why the hell did I marry off my daughter to you? I’m really down on my luck for having met you.”
“Indeed. Why the hell were you so blind as to take a liking to me back then? If you hadn’t taken me in as your student and didn’t marry Jieyu off to me, things would have been better off,” Ye Futian looked faraway and said lightly.
Nandou Wenyin broke into tears within seconds, seeing the teacher and the student sitting down and talking.
Several days passed and Ye Futian had settled some matters of the Holy Zhi Palace. That day, a sword flew out of the Holy Zhi Palace. The mighty ones sent by Emperor Xia appeared, blocking the sword that was about to leave. Xia Qingyuan stepped forward and her eyes were on Ye Futian. There was also the Village Chief, Hua Fengliu, Nandou Wenyin, and Tang Lan there with him.
“I’m going to leave for a while. You’re welcome to join us, princess,” Ye Futian said plainly to Xia Qingyuan before saying to the Village Chief, “Let’s go.”
Xia Qingyuan eyed Ye Futian coldly. What a b*stard.
The sword will was activated and they left soon enough. The eyes behind Xia Qingyuan all turned in her direction. Xia Qingyuan then said, “Let me leave. Send someone to keep an eye on him. No need to get in his way. Just let him wherever he wants to.”
“Acknowledged.” The one behind her nodded.
Several figures looked up at the disappearing sword from the Holy Sage Pavilion of the Holy Zhi Palace. Yaya, Zhuge Mingyue, Gu Dongliu, and others saw Ye Futian off. The others in the Holy Zhi Palace did not know of the secret that Ye Futian kept close to his heart. They had no idea at all what awaited Ye Futian, thinking that Emperor Xia was just investigating the case of the Sacred War of the Nine States.
After the holy sword left the Holy Zhi Palace, it headed east, passing Divine Sky City as they left Zhongzhou City, then passing by the Eastern Barren Territory, Book Mountain, Ancient Loulan… It was the journey that Ye Futian took when he first showed up.
Ye Futian had no idea when Emperor Xia would act against him. His fate was no longer in his control. That was why he did not bring his teacher back. His speed was lacking and he was worried that he would be caught on the way, so he let the Village Chief escort them instead.
They arrived at the border of the Hundred Lands and there were a lot of familiar memories Ye Futian had with the place. The Cangye Kingdom, the Nandou Nation, and many more. The holy sword kept flying forward, entering Donghai City. Within the small city below lied the Nandou clan and Donghai Academy. Those were places that held a lot of memories for him. Yi Xiang was probably still the headmaster of Donghai Academy.
However, he did not stay at Donghai Academy. Nandou Wenyin did not even visit her brother at the royal palace of the Nandou Nation nor the Nandou clan. They passed through Donghai City and the holy sword went straight for East Sea, zipping by above the vast ocean, going all the way into Qingzhou City. The island city was where Ye Futian grew up. He thought he would never return after he last left.
“You may return, Village Chief,” Ye Futian said to the Village Chief after he arrived at the shore of Qingzhou City.
“Will do.” The Village Chief nodded, and as the sword tore through the sky, he vanished from sight altogether.
“Teacher, mistress, where will we be staying?” Ye Futian asked. “Qingzhou Academy was probably long taken over by others. Should we pay a visit regardless?” His teacher and Jieyu had lived in Qingzhou Academy for three years. Ye Futian watched Jieyu grow up there, so he had special sentiments about the place.
“It’s best not to disturb others. You decide, Futian. Anywhere would do,” Hua Fengliu said. It was Ye Futian who sent them back after all, and he intended to stay with them for the last of his days. If Emperor Xia or Donghuang the Great wanted him dead, then he would die in Qingzhou City. It was his birthplace after all, and it seemed like a good choice to have his bones buried there. Hopefully, things would not turn out like how they had with the cottage’s teacher, where a group of people showed up out of nowhere and took him away.
“Qingzhou Lake seems to have a good view. How about we just buy a place there?” Ye Futian asked.
“Up to you.” Hua Fengliu had no objections. They came back to live as hermits, with no intention of dealing with the messy affairs of the outside world, spending the rest of their days in peace and quiet. Hua Jieyu’s death had dealt a very heavy blow to them after all.
“Alright then.” Ye Futian nodded and they went into Qingzhou City. He thought of returning to the Ye’s residence from ages past, but that place had been bought by Uncle Feng Ruhai, a friend of his father. The last time he was back, Feng Qingxue was staying there, and Ye Futian had no intention of disturbing them. He did not wish to alert anyone of his presence as well, wishing to simply spend his days in quiet. These could very well be his last days, so there was no need to disturb others.
Qingzhou City was a very small place to him, but to the common folk who lived there, it was a large place, just like it had felt to him all those years ago. Ye Futian quickly bought a small, elegant place by the lake. The place was simple and not large, but more than enough to accommodate them all. After they were done with settling done in the simple place, Ye Futian brought some chairs for Hua Fengliu and Nandou Wenyin to sit. Tang Lan stood quietly at the side. Ye Futian then moved a chair to her side and said, “Have a seat, Aunt Tang.”
“Sure.” Tang Lan nodded and saw Ye Futian sitting down, laying there lazily and closing his eyes, enjoying the sunlight.
“Futian.” Tang Lan stopped as she was about to say something. Ye Futian smiled and asked, “What’s the matter, Aunt Tang?” Tang Lan looked at him and said nothing as she shook her head. The three of them continued to talk as she wore a smile on their faces, seemingly without a hint of sadness, but she was nonetheless able to sense the emptiness and sorrow from the depths of their hearts. It seemed that everything was being covered by the smiles on their faces.
“You really want to live here as well, Futian?” Nandou Wenyin asked.
“Indeed. I’m here to keep you and teacher company.” Ye Futian nodded.
“Just let him do as he pleases,” Hua Fengliu said to Nandou Wenyin, who then nodded.
Ye Futian opened his eyes and looked at the sky. Jieyu was no longer with him, so he would spend the last of his days by his teacher’s and mastress’ side.
“Teacher, mastress, I’ll go take a stroll,” Ye Futian got up and said.
“Yeah.” Hua Fengliu nodded.
Ye Futian got up and left. The breeze by the lake was rather chilly. He walked aimlessly and before he realized it, he came to the place where he and Jieyu held hands all those years ago. There were many people laughing by the lake. Young boys and girls, as well as couples, making the scene look like a drawing.
The wind blew past and Ye Futian remained standing there like a statue. A faint smile was seen in his eyes. The sky eventually turned red from the sun setting, with him having no idea how long he had been standing there. The night came as the sun set.
The view of the lake at night looked even more beautiful. Boats of all sorts came and went without stop. Fireworks were seen occasionally; a work of the guests on the tourist boats. They admired the view as they laughed and cheered.
Ye Futian looked at the fireworks and his eyes looked rather dazed. It was as if he had gone back in time, back to that day 18 years ago, when both of them held hands by the lake. They stood where he stood at the moment, looking at the fireworks blooming in the sky with astonishing beauty. She took his hand that year, looking at the fireworks in the sky and asked, “So are we a couple now then?”
The fireworks looked incredibly beautiful that year. She looked even more beautiful that year.
He smiled and a tear rolled down his cheeks. The wind blew, rustling his clothes and his hair billowed. Half of his full head of black hair turned grey in an instant!