Nightfall - Chapter 322

Published at 20th of July 2018 06:05:21 AM

Chapter 322: The Prince and the Beggar

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He continued to march against the north wind on this endless journey.

Prince Long Qing traveled alone in the blizzard while Flower Addict Lu Chenjia silently followed him from a distance. The Snow Horse slowly relieved fatigue by kicking its hooves in silence. They walked from day to night and then from night to day. They were slowly losing the sense of time and distance. The dark and heavy night color in the northern Wilderness still looked so far away, as if they hadn't moved a single inch thus far.

During the journey, Prince Long Qing resulted to chewing a handful of snow whenever he was thirsty and swallowing several mouthfuls of saliva when he was hungry. The more he walked, the weaker he became, and he felt like he would fall anytime and never stand up again. Lu Chenjia was also waiting for that moment in silence. But even though he fell many times, he would stand up again every time. It was inconceivable how one with such a thin and frail body could possess such vitality.

Silently looking at the figure about 100 feet away, Lu Chenjia kept a certain distance from him because she knew he wouldn't like it. She would also chew a handful of snow when thirsty and take food from horseback when hungry. When she was looking at that figure who was growing weaker by the minute due to hunger, it took her a lot of effort to suppress the urge to offer some food.

They walked through the entire blizzard with howling wind rushing past them, yet the two people and one horse were still in the middle of the colorless Wilderness. The majestic Tianqi Mountains still could be faintly seen behind them, as if they couldn't escape from the desperate world no matter how they hard strove forward.

One day, Prince Long Qing suddenly stopped walking. He looked at the endless darkness in the north, and his shriveled fingers began to tremble slightly and the branches he had been collecting for the past few days fell. The branches made a sound as they hit his feet. He lowered his head to take a look at his grey-white toes, and they didn't seem to be bleeding from the hit.

He raised his head and once again stared at the darkness of the north. He then slowly turned around and shouted at Lu Chenjia who was about 100 feet away in a hoarse voice, "I'm hungry."

Lu Chenjia's eyes became wet and she almost cried. She forcibly calmed down and took out dry food with her shivering hands. After softening the food with warm water that she secretly prepared every day, she held the dry food in front of him.

Without saying any words, Long Qing just looked at her rough, callus filled palms which were no longer delicate as they were before, and hurriedly swallowed the food. He rubbed his throat with satisfaction before setting off again.

But this time, he, without any sign, reason, and words, stopped trying to walk northward. He thought he was abandoned by Haotian, and he also gave up chasing the darkness. Instead, he disappointedly turned around and walked towards the Central Plains.

Lu Chenjia looked at his retreating back with shock, and her newly-born happiness gradually became cold, because she was sure that Long Qing didn't decide to regain his hope. It was his real desperation. He had even lost his hope to the darkness. Yes, he was alive, but was this man the Long Qing she once knew?

She led the Snow Horse and followed after Long Qing. After furtively observing his face, she lowered her head and said in a low voice, "Actually, returning to Capital Cheng is also a good choice. At the Peach Mountain in the past, you often said you missed the imperial garden. How about we go there together?"

Prince Long Qing looked at her with his cold eyes. His stare no longer had that authoritative and proud look to it. Instead, it was cold due to his self-abandonment. He ridiculed her, "Why are you so stupid? What can we do in Capital Cheng? To be assassinated by those officials loyal to Chong Ming? Or to be sentenced to death by my father for political reasons?"

Lu Chenjia was shocked, but she quickly came to her senses. She realized that if Long Qing returned to Capital Cheng of the Yan Kingdom, he perhaps wouldn't even be able to see tomorrow's sunrise, because he was just an ordinary person now, and not that young West-Hill figure supported by the Divine Hall. How could he survive in such a dangerous game of thrones?

"The Hierarch Lord has always thought well of you, and besides, the God of Judicial Department may back you..." She cautiously said.

"Stupid! You really think Peach Mountain is where the light and holiness lie?"

Prince Long Qing looked at her and sarcastically said, "What appreciation? What value? Ye Hongyu won't lie and she doesn't need to tell the lie. I've been shot useless by Ning Que, so what could I do for the Divine Hall? You really think my handsome appearance could help the Divine Hall attract more believers? Those old men in Peach Mountain fear nothing except Haotian. How would they have such cheap sympathy as yours?"

The words were mean and harsh, but it couldn't be refuted. Lu Chenjia just lowered her head and murmured, "How about going to Yuelun Kingdom if we don't have other choices? You know I have got a garden in Jing Mountain, and I've always wanted you to visit."

She immediately realized her mistake when she uttered the two words of Yuelun Kingdom.

As expected, Prince Long Qing's face became more indifferent and even some resentful emotion flowed from his eyes. He stared at her face and resentfully said, "I didn't go northward because you, an irksome woman, kept following me. Yama couldn't see my sincerity due to your annoying action. I don't want to die, so I have to head south. It's very simple, but it has nothing to do with you. Thus, you'd better shut up if you'd like to give me some food."

Lu Chenjia slowly clenched her fists and tightly pressed her lips. Looking at her own shadow and that man's shadow opposite to her, she found the two shadows under the setting sun of the Wilderness unable overlap each other in any way.

They continued on their journey, but this time, to the south.

The blizzard had stopped, and there were fewer beast traces on the way. The longer they walked southward, the nearer they were to the bustling and the civilized world. However, the two people and one horse in the Wilderness always maintained a wary distance, so close yet so far.



The Yan Kingdom was situated to the north of the mainland and had a border with the Left-Tent palace on grassland. What's more, Tang Empire, a terrible existence, was beside it. Therefore, its national strength couldn't be counted as a powerful one and its people weren't exactly rich and happy. Now it was right at the end of the year, and the country was in the midst of a harsh and cold winter. The homeless beggars without food and clothes could be seen everywhere in the streets of Capital Cheng.

A weak and lean beggar might arouse people's sympathy, but the appearance of one hundred beggars would only trigger people's disgust and fear. What all the owners of the restaurants in the capital saw was streets full of beggars, and had long since grown weary of them. They naturally wouldn't even bother to offer porridge-like their peers in Chang'an. Therefore, whether a beggar could be full in Capital Cheng depended on his or her ability.

A beggar, who was as thin as a ghost, was holding a broken bowl while he aimlessly walked through the streets of Capital Cheng. He didn't attract much attention from the others. Though he was very familiar with the street view, it didn't cause catch attention. His attention was completely absorbed by the delicious smell of the chain canteens and restaurants. Pitifully and quite obviously, he was unlike those old beggars who had their ways of earning their share of food. His stinking coat and messy, dirty hair made it impossible for him to enter those places.

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Three consecutive restaurants drove him out without hesitation. The waiter of the last restaurant even rudely beat one of his legs with a stick, before kicking him out to the middle of the street.

That thin beggar's face was full of dirt, and his age couldn't be told from his current appearance. With his hands on his waist and the broken bowl in his hand, he stood in the middle of the street and loudly cursed the restaurant. All kinds of filthy words even more disgusting than the dirt on him came flooding out his mouth. He didn't stop and only scrammed away when the waiter rushed outside with a stick in hand.

At the other side of the street, the Flower Addict, Lu Chenjia pulled her Snow Horse and sadly looked at the scene. Her right hand tightly held the horse's rein, and there was a little crystal liquid forming in her eyes, but she could hold the tear because she knew hope still existed.

On the way back from the Wilderness, she had tidied herself and dressed herself in clean clothing. However, she still looked very gaunt and pitiful due to her unhealthy complexion and thin figure. If her Snow Horse wasn't an obviously-precious object that most likely belong to an important figure, many city gate soldiers and bludgers would have probably molested her.

These days she saw Long Qing anonymously returning to the capital of Yan Kingdom and watched him roaming every street and alley, the bottom of secular world. Also, she witnessed the scene of him being beaten by the waiter of the restaurant with a stick. When watching him struggle to survive, she wanted to give him a hand countless times, but she didn't dare. On the way back from the Wilderness, Long Qing stopped accepting her food after he saw other people in the world. Every time she wanted to help, he would scream crazily and even threw everything beside him at her, no matter it was stone or mud, except that broken bowl of his.

Lu Chenjia's sadness couldn't be described by mere words. Her sorrow laid in Long Qing's current situation, in his driving her away, and even in her finding that the only thing that Long Qing could do now was just throwing her with stone and mud, just like a naughty child and a real beggar. Every time she realized that Long Qing would also be aware of the cruel fact, she couldn't imagine how painful and afflictive it would be for him, a sensitive and proud man.

Prince Long Qing, who had now become a beggar, eventually received half of a cold and hard steamed bun from a woman's basket at dusk. He complacently put it into his pocket, thought of that half urn of cabbage soup hidden in his dwelling, hummed a song that he heard from a peer of the Revelation Institute of West-Hill in early years, and then walked out of the city in his pair of hole-filled shoes.

There was a Taoist temple just outside the city, but Prince Long Qing didn't bother entering when he passed by. He didn't even glance at it. In the past, if the Taoist temple knew Prince Long Qing was there, they definitely would have emptied and cleaned the temple, and invited him into the temple like welcoming a forefather. However, when that little Taoist knew he wanted to lodge in the temple several days ago, the little Taoist's eyes were full of disdain and contempt for the prince.

So instead of lodging in the Taoist temple, Long Qing resorted to taking refuge in an abandoned Buddhist Temple outside the city.

The current Long Qing was very unkempt, with disheveled hair and a dirty face. His knotted hair couldn't be untied at all. Luckily, it was winter now, so the wound in his chest and abdomen didn't rot and no mosquitoes and insects followed him around. Otherwise, other beggars in the abandoned temple wouldn't have allowed him to stay.

After he returned to the abandoned temple, Long Qing found that he wasn't too hungry. At least he wasn't as hungry as that time when he asked for food from Lu Chenjia in the Wilderness, so he decided to save that half of a steamed bun for tomorrow. Covering his slightly-bulged abdomen in satisfaction and imagining the taste of the steamed bun softened by the cabbage soup tomorrow morning, he fell into sound sleep.

Lu Chenjia led her Snow Horse and silently looked at the light from that ruins of a temple at night. She knew there were many beggars inside and they were probably showing off their achievement today. After a short silence, she turned around and left, but she didn't go far. She decided to rest at a spot in a forest not too far away from the abandoned temple.

She thought Long Qing didn't know that she was still trailing him, because she, after all, was a mighty cultivator in the upper level of Seethrough state while he was just an ordinary person. However, she forgot one thing. As a couple of lovers who had known and lived with each other for so many years, she was able to sense his location without using Psyche Power clearly. It had become a kind of habit or instinct.

Luckily or rather, unluckily, however, Long Qing also felt the same connection with her.




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