Chapter 12: The false world (Part Three)

Sitting in the theater, Xia Qiu’s emotions rose and fell as she watched the male and female leads met, fell in love and separated, as if she was the heroin. But she had never been in love before; how could she relate so much to the heroin’s feelings? After coming out of the movie theater, she still felt depressed and wanted to have a stroll in Yongchuan Forest; she’d feel better if she sat on the lake bank. Saying goodbye to Liu Lingmei and Du He despite their protests, she walked toward Yongchuan Forest by herself.

The forest looked as usual; even though leaves had turned yellow and flowers had withered, she still felt soothed walking in it. This was her favorite place; whenever she was low in spirits, she’d sit by the lake and feel recharged with energy after that.

Breezes created ripples on the surface of the lake painted golden by the setting sun. It was autumn but wasn’t cold yet; even the breezes from the lake felt warm. Xia Qiu was less frustrated. She turned and saw a figure flashing by in the forest; it looked strange and familiar at the same time. Subconsciously, she followed it and came to a clearing. In the center of the clearing was a huge plum tree full of flowers even though it was the wrong time for blooming. The figure she had been following was standing under this tree.

It was a youth dressed in a white robe. Standing with his back to her, he had a pair of fox ears in his silver hair. Xia Qiu shook her head forcefully, thinking she had an illusion. But the figure still stood there. The strangest thing was that she felt no fear but curiosity. Drawn by that beautiful figure, she couldn’t control her feet and moved closer to him.

When she came close to him, the silver haired youth under the tree sensed her presence and turned to face her with deep and melancholy grey blue eyes. She was surprised when she realized that he was the youth whose reflection she had seen on the shop window.

“You come finally,” the youth said to her. His face was expressionless, but his tone was gentle as if they had known each other for a long time.

“Do you know me?” Xia Qiu asked.

“Have you forgotten me? Why do you ask if I know you?” The youth asked. Before she could reply, he drew her into his arms.

She wanted to struggle out of his arms but couldn’t muster any strength. She sank in the warmth and peacefulness his embrace gave her, deeper and deeper. She had never felt so complicated before. Joy? Happiness? Horror? Anticipation? Longing? Or sadness? She couldn’t find a word to describe what she was feeling right now; she only wished time would stop so she could stay in his arms forever.

After a long while, the youth released her and placed his hands on her shoulders, saying, “You don’t belong to this world. Everything in this world is false and nonexistent. Remember to come back; come back to me. You must find the memories that belong to us. I’ll wait for you! Always!”

A wind came and all the flowers on the plum tree withered instantly and the petals were thrown into the air by the wind. Xia Qiu looked up and watched the flower shower in fascination. When she returned to her senses, the white-robed youth had disappeared; she saw only the bare plum tree and flower petals on the ground. Anxiously, she looked around but couldn’t find him. Her heart hurt so much that breathing was difficult, and her vision blurred with tears.(read on noodletowntranslated dot com to support the actual translators)

She kept thinking of the last sentences the youth had said to her. What did he mean? He said she must return to him. Who was he? What were the memories belonging to them? Why did he wait for her? These questions swallowed her like an ocean.

She returned home and locked herself in her room. Then she frantically searched each corner since her instinct told her that she might find some clues to explain the things that puzzled her. The blue hairband in one drawer of her desk caught her eye. She picked it up and examined the dark red stains which seemed to be old blood stains.

She searched her memory, trying to remember if she had used this hairband to dress a wound; she wondered if the silver-haired youth with fox ears had anything to do with this hairband. The youth’s grey blue eyes kept flashing across her mind and overlapped with the silvery small fox’s eyes in the depth of her memory. Right! She had saved a small silvery fox from a pack of black foxes when she was six years old and she had used this hairband to dress its wound. That youth was the small silvery fox and he had returned to her many years later. He must have a name that fitted his looks. What was his name? The youth looked cold but had a gentle heart that only she could fully understand. How could she forget him? Little by little, she began to remember every detail when they were together; following the clues, she ran down the tunnel of her memory and finally remembered the silver-haired youth’s name, a name she could never forget after she heard it—Ouyang Xiaoleng.

“Oh, I remember it. I was strolling with Qianqi in Yongchuan of the spirit world; we walked into a small shop and saw an old woman who claimed to be an oracle, but she pulled me into the darkness,” Xia Qiu murmured to herself as understanding dawned on her.

As she found all her lost memories and longing, the world around her shattered like glass and vanished. She found herself sitting alone in darkness; endless chill and loneliness were her only companions in this void-like darkness. She was terrified and despaired. She yelled Ouyang Xiaoleng’s name but heard nothing but her own voice echoing in the space until it disappeared. No one answered her.(read on noodletowntranslated dot com to support the actual translators)

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