Edited by renderedreversed
When we arrived at the camp, it was already midnight. Jingyang, which was occupied by Wei Country’s army, was only twenty miles away. The moment Chu Kong arrived at the camp, he began preparing for the war. I lied in the general’s tent, clutching my belly, and rested with a peaceful heart.
Outside the tent, everyone was busy. I didn’t need to move a finger. I felt significantly happier. This was really what I wanted to pursue in life, ah.
With the state my body was in, I wasn’t suitable to live with the other soldiers. So, I had been sleeping in the general’s tent. At night, I slept with the general. During the day, Chu Kong was so busy that even his shadow couldn’t be seen. Thus, I also slept inside his tent. Not long after, there was a rumor about the general liking a man, and he couldn’t even bear to be separated from him when going to a war. In my heart, I felt wronged for the deceased general Chu Qinghui. This was really called not protecting someone’s name.
Every day, I was too relaxed. Chu Kong sat all day beside his candle thinking about war tactics. He forgot about escaping and I also accidentally forgot about it…
Donning armor seemed to make him more serious. He looked a lot like Lu Hai Kong from the first lifetime. That lifetime, Lu Hai Kong had been saddled with a blood feud. Not even a half smile ever made its way to his face in polite company. He pretended to be mature at such a young age, so much so that he alienated himself from his peers and was difficult to get close to. Every time I thought about him trying to walk with a straight back, I couldn’t help but sigh. Even now, it was the same.
Back then, I didn’t know how to be hurt for other people. I didn’t give Lu Hai Kong comfort. Not even once. Now, I was afraid that it was still the same.
In daylight, Chu Kong would arrange military affairs in the barracks. I’d sit quietly outside the tent and watch him. When the moon took over the sky, he’d frown while staying up all night. I’d lie on the bed and stare blankly at him. It was such a strange fate. They were the same person and not the same person. Whenever I thought that that person had disappeared from this world completely, he’d occasionally appear again in this form before me. I was almost unable to tell who was Chu Kong and who was Lu Hai Kong.
What also made me so confused that I couldn’t tell them apart was my present feelings for Chu Kong. Were they left by silly Xiang, or was it that my heart had moved inadvertently? Either way, there was one thing I had no way of…denying.
Silly Xiang from the previous lifetime depended on Shifu like how she depended on air to live. Such feelings of dependency were bone-deep, stewing in the marrow and flooding through the veins. They couldn’t get out anymore. Hiding behind him, tugging at his sleeves would give me a sense of security. Was I myself, or was I silly Xiang? I couldn’t tell anymore. Maybe this was something that wasn’t completely clear. I was me; that fool was also me.
A “pu” sound came from where Chu Kong was sitting at his desk. He put down his brush, turned his head, stared at me, and said, “I’ve been wanting to ask you since yesterday’s yesterday: did I steal your meat or did I not give you a bed to sleep at night, or what? Why have you been staring at me with that gloomy expression on your face all day and all night?”
I looked at him blankly. My soul hadn’t yet returned to my body, but my mouth, which somehow still worked, asked: “Tell me, how can you fall in love with someone?”
Chu Kong was surprised by my question and stayed quiet for a while. In the end, he ferociously spat: “How the fuck would I know?!”
He seemed like he really hated my question.
Still, I wondered. “Don’t you like me? Come on, say it. What do you like about me? How did you fall in love with me?”
Chu Kong crushed the brush in his hand, shattering it with a “pu” sound. He gritted his teeth and said, “Don’t push your luck.”
“So you also don’t know.”
I felt a sense of loss. In the end, for what reasons would you fall in love with someone…?
That day in the dark cave flashed through my mind. Chu Kong’s ambiguous and hoarse voice blowing in my ear, making it all hot and itchy. My ears were growing hot all over again at the memory. I was silent for a while. The whole tent went silent, actually. Suddenly, I heard Chu Kong lightly cough. I looked up and saw him picking up the brush again, dipping it in the ink despite it being significantly shorter from his earlier outburst.
“Don’t you know?” he asked. “Once…you’ve already fallen in love once. With Lu Hai Kong. Why did you fall in love?”
Why did I fall in love with Lu Hai Kong? This question of his was really difficult for me. I pondered for a long time before I replied: “Probably because…he was easy to bully.”
He let people bully him and didn’t resist one bit. I thought for a moment and then continued with, “Maybe it’s also because he was only gentle to me.”
Thinking about the really tired Lu Hai Kong who still insisted on smiling in front of me, I couldn’t help the warm feeling bud familiarly in my chest. I smiled, but just as quickly, both the feelings and my smile soured. I buried my head in silence.
It took me a while to banish the rest of my emotions. I looked up and was surprised to see Chu Kong with a serious expression on his face. The complexity in his eyes said something I couldn’t understand.
I sighed. “You don’t need to be like that. I know he isn’t you.”
Chu Kong blinked and hung his head. He leisurely wrote a few words on the paper, and then spoke again. “Don’t think that other people are as stupid as you.”
He continued: “I always know who I am and who is me.”
His words were too profound. They were beyond what I could understand. Still, I pondered on them for a while. I felt that discussing the topic of love with a man really wouldn’t give me any results. So, I changed the subject to something more sensible. “I didn’t see it before, but you also know how to go to war. You really played the character of the general well.”
“There are many things you don’t know.”
He glanced at me before resuming his usual prideful self.
“Before xiaoye worked for the Morning God, I was in the military.”
I thought for a moment and then said, “Sounds about right. The only place you can find a god that can tolerate that temper of yours is there.”
Chu Kong’s mouth twitched. “Go sleep. If we’re lucky, you’ll sleep to an early death.”
I did as he wished. I closed my eyes, stretched my legs, wrapped myself in a quilt, and slept.
After surveying his army’s training for several days, Chu Kong finally put on his armor and headed for a decisive strike. I was left with a few soldiers to guard the food supplies. Naturally, I was left behind, while the others guarded the food. This wasn’t any different from a normal day, at least for me. It was just that the camp was a lot quieter now. I opened the curtain of the tent and didn’t see the busy Chu Kong’s shadow.
In the afternoon, fireworks could be heard from Jinyang city. It seemed that Chu Kong made quite a big shock. I was bored and brewed a pot of tea, stretching my legs and watching the sky as I sipped at it.
Suddenly, there was movement from where the soldiers were guarding the food. My heart went into panic. I hesitated a lot. Logically speaking, Chu Kong would probably only agree to go to the mountains if he wins this battle. He was too prideful to accept anything less. Since our fates were tied, helping him was helping myself, wasn’t it? So providing him a little help wasn’t wrong…
I hid a dagger, carried a sword in my hand, and quietly went over there. Surely enough, dozens of people in black were fighting with the soldiers guarding the food. Some of them took the opportunity to set fire to the supplies. You could see Jinyang’s fireworks from here; that meant that Jinyang could also see our black smoke from there.
This time, the backyard was on fire. War was an inevitable mess of morals. Chu Kong wanted to win; it may be difficult…
I was now a weak woman with a very weak body. I would be pulled off the ground with just a gust of wind. I had no ability to act recklessly. I could only hide behind a tent and carefully observe the people in black. Although they were dressed the same, there was always a leader. If he was killed, the others would be easy to handle.
I took a moment to observe them carefully. Thus, I was able to find out that these people in black were inconspicuously guarding a small person who they also obeyed the commands of. I chuckled in my heart. So it’s you.