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In the afternoon, the scorching sun on a mountain peak in No Man’s Land burned people, and the long-awaited breeze was late in coming.
“What about you? Have you waited for something like this?”
Ming Shuo looked towards me, at a loss, and then replied seriously—
“I once waited for someone.”
The old swing creaked, the delicate fluff on grass seeds trembled, and the lush branches and leaves rustled.
Over at the far-flung mountains in the distance, white birds passed through the wooded hills with their calls.
“That person is never late, never blind, and every place they pass becomes full of life. That person is someone many people put their hopes in and also… my spring breeze.”
Suddenly, something crossed the mountain streams and the fragrant grass and trees, carrying moisture and warmth and covering the words I had yet to say.
The green hills on all sides were embraced and the clouds, white as snow, flowed like tides. In this moment, every life revived, as if meeting their destiny, and gave a jubilant cheer.
“The wind’s come!”
The recording tape ran to an end. I hurriedly pressed the play button and, among the rustling noises, I played the recorded sounds for him to hear.
Ming Shuo tucked my wind-swept hair behind my ear with a smile and the clear sky seeped into his eyes.
Fingers covered with calluses stroked my ear and the breath of cold blades that had been on his hands all year round had, at some point in time, began to thaw into a soft warmth.
“Then, what I waited till was not just the spring wind.”
The shadow of the tree swayed, the grass developed, the flowers conceived their fruits, and spring flourished its life.
Both of our heartbeats clamored in the moment when everything grew.
“But also the delicate sound of grass thriving and orioles flying in my heart.” 1
1 草长莺飞 “the grass grows, the oriole flies” is from 与陈伯之书.
The long, long night looked like it would never end.
Gun smoke poured in from the broken windows and, together with the charred smoke of electric circuits, filled the entire control room. Only the indicator lights of the screen on the back panel of the equipment were still barely flickering.
Using this weak light, Ming Shuo and you tightened the last connectors. When you held your breath, waiting for the power tower to restart, Ming Shuo held out his hand to you.
“You don’t need to worry about the war right now, or be scared of the dark, I’m right here at your side.”
The moment your palms met you saw your silhouette reflected in a lake of amber.
In the stillness of the silent tower, it was like a bright lamp.Read the rest of this entry »
A dead tree stood alone in the vast white snow and it seemed to have long been forgotten by the world. No one would ask whether it was alive or dead and it had no dreams.
“Its heartwood is already emptied.”
“But this withered tree’s ‘heart’ is still beating.”
I reached out and knocked on the tree trunk. A burst of rustling came from within, quietly scratching the growth rings of the tree.
Rong Yi bent down and listened intently to the sounds inside the tree.
His faint breath brushed across my ear, carrying a slight warmth and enveloping my ear.
“Do you want to take a look?”
His voice was neither light nor heavy, but I unconsciously let down the stray hairs tucked behind my ear to cover its red tip and nodded.
The next second, two large palms were placed on the sides of my waist and Rong Yi lifted me up just like this onto the fork of the old tree.
Dead branches and the sky became large in my eyes and the hands holding my waist loosened a little after I was secure. But they remained a palm’s length away to my left and right to protect me.
Rong Yi stood below the withered tree and the shadows of its branches landed on him, like he was turned into an ink wash painting.
I turned to the side and looked into the tree hole—
“It’s a little squirrel, and what’s more I noticed this tree has a sprout. It’s not a dead tree.”
Concealed by the powdery snow, the small squirrel poked its head out and looked at me curiously past the newly born green sprout.
“Do you want to come see them next winter too?”
“Spring isn’t even here yet, how come we’re already talking about next winter?”
I held onto a branch beside me and leaned forward slightly, asking Rong Yi this with a smile.
“I hope that next winter this squirrel and tree will both still be here.”
The dead tree flourishing is unexpected, and yet because of you it’s no longer surprising.
The squirrel knocking on the tree is a heartbeat the dead tree never thought it would have, and I as well.
“For preventing war, for things in their heart, a martial artist will not be hurt by weapons.”
Rong Yi had nothing in his hands, only a tiny square arena under his feet.
A bustling crowd separated you and him. At this time, the bell of City 999 clanged and tens of thousands of households were also brightly lit.
However, not a single word of that ringing sentence was covered; the indifferent expression he always had was also unmoved by the fireworks.
In this moment, you suddenly realized that this man who fed cats and fixed tiles daily may be the most powerful warrior in this world.Read the rest of this entry »
Coin’s collection was like a cast down dream weaver’s net, and what it captured were stars that never slept.
Each star had endless adventures or maybe they quietly hid a story that couldn’t be said.
“How do you always discover these different works?”
“I collected a stuffed bear who secretly tells me.”
Coin used a serious and calm expression to speak about something which was impossible in reality.
I looked at him and teased with a smile—
“If you ever lie to me, I probably won’t be able to tell.”
It was just a joke, but I sensed Coin’s rare unease.
“I don’t wish to lie to you, I just…”
Spots of light sank into his evasive eyes and the sunlight pulled at the motes floating in the afternoon air.
He stood at the intersection of light and shadow. I reached out and lifted his hand, pulling him closer to my side.
“I believe you have a little bear who tells you secrets.”
Coin raised his head with some surprise and, after a brief pause, he softly opened his mouth—
“I’ll tell you every single lie and then, from this moment on, I’ll never tell you a lie again.”
The truth is I’m afraid of being alone and of having no friends. I’ll pile a room full of things and feel sad about The Little Mermaid’s ending.
The truth is I’m hiding a bouquet of roses behind my back and in the kitchen there’s a ruined dinner.
“It’s precisely because it’s valuable that it’ll be stolen away, isn’t it?”
Not long ago, ERA took away a city map you colored on the grounds of confiscating defective art that did not meet the color combination regulations, allowing no explanation. The map was what you once thought this City 100, known as an art utopia, should look like.
In the streets of City 100, where color combinations were restricted to right and wrong, Coin held out a hand to you as if inviting you to dance together.
With a snap of Coin’s fingers, the color combinations of City 100 that abided by strict regulations gradually faded and the entire city seemed to be restored to an old black and white photograph. Meanwhile, the two of you were the only distinct and complete colors strolling this world.Read the rest of this entry »
The ballroom was filled with cold lights and underneath the illumination of the perfect chandelier hanging high above there were no secrets.
The prelude to the first song was late in sounding and the guests began to whisper in low voices.
“Could it be that he didn’t arrive smoothly?”
Just as I hesitated over whether or not to search for him, he came.
This party, with wine cups and chips everywhere, froze instantly. He wore a tailored custom-made suit and appeared in the center of the cluttered crowd.
“My dance partner is waiting for me.”
He passed through the crowd, walking directly up to me, and lifted my hand.
“I apologize for being late.”
The mechanically performed waltz sounded and interweaved with vacuous lights, mixing together to form a frozen mask which obscured everyone’s eyes.
All the surrounding people were wooden and unclear; only his eyes were deep and preoccupied.
The second our bodies passed each other, he secretly slipped an earphone into my ear.
“This is the song that I wanted to invite you to dance to.”
This operation was secret.
This song was secret.
“You are never my secret.”
Claimed to be the most secure Kernel bank within the Thousand Cities, the secrets of an entire city were locked behind its last door.
Gorgeous and intricate Baroque dome ceilings, spiral staircases that one couldn’t see the end of, dazzling chandeliers… Everything here seemed to be extremely out of place in City 000. The only thing that looked to be in line with this efficient city was the 24-hour robots who walked through bright lights.
However, tonight, the retro music came to an abrupt end. In the mingled sound of shattered glass and the alarm, uninvited guests used the simplest and rudest of methods to snatch the sealed “secret treasure”—Read the rest of this entry »
There will always be new drink flavors in the vending machine. He patiently accompanies you to buy can after can, and when he hands you the last one—
“You can regret and choose again when buying drinks. But some things, you cannot.”
NOTE: Li Yuantao was removed as the voice actor for Zhou Huaiye because of a personal scandal. He has been replaced by Peng Bo (voice actor for Zhong Li from Genshin Impact).
The sound of wind and insects mingle and, on top of the deserted observatory, you see the stars of the summer night while he sees you in the night breeze—
“—where you’re pointing. Do you see them?”
The clear sound of the harmonica drifts into the distance and the rainstorm outside the cave has already ceased at some point in time. He places the harmonica in your palm—
“Then, this one, will be one we use together.”
The pool cue is set in the right direction under his guidance, he eases his strength, and a breath comes from behind your ears—
“The next ball, just whose pocket will it end up in? What do you think?”
On a summer night with swaying chimes, he ties a knot for you and yet, under the cover of a sky full of fireworks, he runs away in a panic—
“N-nah, what one heart knot… It’s just a normal knot for tying clothes.”
You close your eyes, distinguishing the sounds around you. There’s the desert wind, birds sweeping through the sky, and his heartbeat which grows closer and closer—
“With this heart rate, how do you still expect me to be an amazing mercenary?”
Engravings on an umbrella, embroidered words on a handkerchief; things branded with his name are all treated with care, but the umbrella is held for you and the handkerchief is also only for you to use…
“Mm, indeed, this also belongs to me.”