The winds bearing cold air outside pretty much chased the dejected Xiao Zuo amok, he was dressed thinly, normally, he would be so cold he would shiver, yet today, he did not feel it at all- his gaze fixed onto at the ground, and aimlessly walked in the courtyard.
Unknowingly, he walked to the side door of the crown prince residence. That place was planted with a parasol tree, in the beginning of autumn, the entire tree would be full of golden parasol leaves, and when the evening light on a sunny day washed over the leaves, it would always carry some dazzling glow, like it could illuminate the entire world’s shadows.
Xiao Zuo stepped over the ground full of withered leaves, each step he took, the rustling sounds it emitted would mingle in the incoming cold winds, with a kind of particular solitary feeling. Xiao Zuo faintly thought, Nan Liang’s palace was also planted with many parasol trees, if that war did not happen, the current him would probably have just finished dinner, pick up a golden parasol tree leaf, then bring it back to the palace and clip it in his most favourite book. Nan Liang’s parasol tree leaves, must be brighter, bigger than the ones he is seeing now.
“Xiao’xiao!” Xiao Zuo got startled into a jump by the sudden call. Yet to recover from the shock, he looked towards where the sound was coming from, there was a familiar figure laying on top of the parasol tree, rapidly climbing down from it.
“Fu Zhan Chuan?”
Fu Zhan Chuan responded and came down, he patted off the bits of leaves stuck to his hand, and smiled at him like a dazzling sun, “What? Do you feel I’m especially amazing?”
Xiao Zuo helplessly looked at him, and knitted his eyebrows, “Aren’t there guards at the entrance of the crown prince residence? How did you come in?”
“Them guards change shifts at this time, furthermore, I normally come here often, and are on good terms with them, so even if they see me, they would close an eye to it.”
Before Xiao Zuo picked up the conversation, Fu Zhan Chuan wrapped over his shoulder, and lowered his head and said quietly, “I was worried you would not think things through, and especially came over to guide you, and bring you out to drink wine.”
“Alright.” Xiao Zuo hung his eyes down, his voice hid in the rustling cold winds, light to the point it seemed like a sigh, and dispersed when the winds blew, “We don’t return until we are drunk.”
Qing Shuang coldly looked at the two people clutching their clothes and shaking in front of him, and reluctantly poured the two a cup of hot tea. He sat straight across from Xiao Zuo and Fu Zhan Chuan whose lashes stained with some beads of water formed from the fog, all shaking, carrying an aesthetic of being easily broken. He took up the teacup and placed it to his mouth then took one sip, then lifted his eyelids and looked at the two in disgust, and indifferently opened his mouth, “Drink some tea, how did you two get so cold.”
Xiao Zuo took up on his words and held up the teacup. The scorching green tea bearing a faint fragrance burned from the throat all the way to the organs, he felt the limbs frozen from the cold winds revived, and drank the tea all in one go, then felt more refreshed. Qing Shuang squinted at him, and snorted, “Having this good tea to be drunk by you like a cow, truthfully is wasteful.”
“Then give me another cup.” Xiao Zuo tilted his head in a good temper, and curved his eyes and smiled. Qing Shuang choked on his words, and could not say anything provoking for the time being. He silently looked at Xiao Zuo for a while, then slightly sighed, and filled the teacup for him again.
“Hey, didn’t we say to drink wine? Where is all the good wine here?” Fu Zhan Chuan slightly unhappily shook the teacup, then stood up to search for wine. Qing Shuang sat there unmoved, and said, “I’m abstaining from alcohol, I tossed it all out.”
“You’re abstaining?” Fu Zhan Chuan looked at him in complete surprise, he subconsciously walked around Qing Shuang for a long time, looked at him up and down for a few hundred times, then seemed to come to, and said lightly, “You can’t have been possibly persuaded by Liu Wen Xun, could you?”
“It doesn’t concern him.” Qing Shuang clearly did not want to mention this matter any more, he knocked on the wooden table, and used a tone that did not allow for rejection, “Sit down, I’m getting dizzy from you swaying around.”
Once Fu Zhan Chuan sat next to Xiao Zuo, Qing Shuang glanced at Xiao Zuo silently hanging his head down, and said, “The matter last time, have you thought it through?”
Xiao Zuo pursed his lips, the hand he held the teacup with was gripped very tightly, and almost could see the jutting veins on his pale hand, Xiao Zuo’s eye colour was very light, it was that lightness of innocence and ignorance of a youth, as though this mortal world’s verbose words and perils of the road would considerately walk around him.
When others saw this pair of eyes, they would think to swallows in Nan Liang’s warm spring, and tender green weeping willows. At this time, this pair of eyes surged with a vengeance and hate that should not belong to him, like a fiery burning fire, burning that light colour into a deep abyss. After who-knows-how-long, when Qing Shuang pretty much thought Xiao Zuo would not respond to him, Xiao Zuo finally opened his mouth, “Alright.”
Qing Shuang looked at him in slight disbelief, “Why change your mind?”
“The fires of war have already risen all around.” Xiao Zuo paused, then turned his head to look outside the window, “Bai Xiao is of a stern military discipline, the numbers in the northern army are few, perhaps……”
“Rather than sitting and waiting for death, one must at least try.”
“Fine, if there is a place I can be of use, then do speak.” Qing Shuang smiled, “I’ve lived on for the sake of living for many years, don’t mention anything else, something like sending a message is nothing difficult.”
“I……” Xiao Zuo hesitated for an instant, “Thank you.”
Fu Zhan Chuan sat by his side, and complicatedly looked at Qing Shuang. His gaze only stayed for a moment, then moved away like nothing, so quick no one did not notice it.
“No need, it’s not all for you.” Qing Shuang lightly looked at Xiao Zuo, he hung his eyes down and looked at the floating tea leaves in the teacup, “It’s merely the path I chose.”
Xiao Zuo opened his mouth, but did not say anything in the end. Fu Zhan Chuan stretched at the side, then yawned and patted his shoulder, “It’s already late, there isn’t any wine to drink either, let’s go back and sleep.”
When Xiao Zuo left, unbeknownst why, he looked at Qing Shuang through the window curtains. Qing Shuang’s outline was trimmed into a thin figure due to the light, and agley leaned on the chair, with a kind of unspeakable solitude.
One thought on “[Cry of the Midnight Jackdaw] Chapter 67”
 青黄不接- the old stores runs out, but the new crop has yet to be ripe for harvest.