The Xu Family owned a few bits of land; Xu Baihu was also a military man. Assessing it from the viewpoint of the local border areas, their living quality was considerably good. With their small family fortune, they kept an old servant in the house to do some cooking and cleaning.
Only when dawn had broken did the Xu family's old maid slowly finish making breakfast. She came to knock on the door of Chang Geng's study: "Young master, Madam inquired whether or not you'll have your meal at her chamber."
Chang Geng was concentrating on practicing calligraphy from existing samples at the time; the motion of his hand stopped momentarily upon hearing the maid's call. He answered with a rehearsed — "No, Mother prefers peace and quiet, I will not bother her, would you mind passing my regards to her?"
The old maid was not surprised by his reply. The daily back and forth between the mother and child was as per routine, nothing new.
It was indeed quite strange. Logically, Xu Baihu was only a stepfather; the ones with an actual biological connection were Chang Geng and Xiu Niang. But it was only when Xu Baihu stayed at home that this mother and child pair would feast at the same table, exchange greetings, show filial piety, and pretend to be harmonious. As soon as the man of the family left, they were even stranger than strangers and paid no attention to one another. They lived in the same house, yet Chang Geng didn't even use the main gate; every day, he'd run to their next-door-neighbor's using the side entrance. The mother and son might not have seen each other even if many months had passed.
Even before, when Chang Geng was infected with the severe illness that could have cost him his life, Xiu Niang merely glanced at him with indifference, with not a single concern about whether he was dead or alive.
In the end, it was Shiliu who took him away and cared for him.
The old maid had always suspected that Chang Geng was not Xiu Niang's biological child. However, their appearances were similar to one another; they unmistakably must have been blood-related.
Moreover, a vulnerable and fragile woman who strayed away from her home like Xiu Niang, who did not even have the strength to defend herself...if it was not her biological son, why would she still hold on to this child?
It was truly incomprehensible.
After a while, the old maid brought over a food container and said to Chang Geng: "Master will probably return today. Madam has asked Young Master to come home early."
Chang Geng understood what she meant: when Xu Baihu returned, they would have to put on their display of a harmonious mother and son relationship. He nodded and said, "I know."
His gaze fell on the food container. Suddenly, Chang Geng noticed a long strand of hair on its handle, and the hand that he had stretched out immediately flinched back.
The old maid's hair was already white. This black and silky strand of long hair would unquestionably not be hers. Xu Baihu hadn't come back yet. In this household, counting the servant, there were three people in total. If it was not the old maid's, then without a doubt, it must have been Xiu Niang's.
Chang Geng had a strange kind of cleanliness - a son who despised his own mother.
He could eat the leftover rice in his yifu's bowl with no problem when staying at their next-door neighbor's place, but as soon as he returned home, as long as Xiu Niang had laid her hand on something, he would never touch it.
The old maid was aware of this strange quirk of his. She carefully removed the hair and said with a smile: "Madam just accidentally let it fall on the surface of the box, no one has yet touched the breakfast inside, please rest assured."
Chang Geng politely smiled at her: "Don't mind it, by chance; I also have some topics to ask of Teacher Shen today. I will have my breakfast over at yifu's place."
In the end, he did not accept the food container. He proceeded to gather all the notes and papers on the table, putting them under his arm. He then grabbed the heavy sword hanging on the back door and left.
Teacher Shen was pulling up his sleeves and working in the yard to oil several pieces of steel armors that had been dismantled.
Steel armors were sent over by the officers and soldiers of the city's defensive force. The officers of Yanhui Town also had their own 'Mechanics Division', which specialized in maintaining military steel armors. However, the number of armors that required maintenance was too abundant, even with their best abilities, the workload was still too much to handle, thus they would look for help from Mechanics among the common folks from time to time.
"Chang Bei Shi *- Mechanics" were those who repaired steel armor and machines. They dealt with piles of iron all day, resembling the work of a craftsman. However, in the eyes of ordinary people, Mechanics and those who cut hair or fined one's nails were almost the same. It was a job that belonged to the 'lower class.' While it could put food on the table, it was not considered a grand profession.
*长臂师: lit. "Long Arm Master," a term that Priest made up to call mechanics in this universe
Teacher Shen was a scholarly man; no one understood why he had this unusual hobby. Not only did he like to mess around with them in his free time, but he also frequently used this skill to earn some money, demeaning his 'educated and refined' image quite a bit.
But Shen Shiliu - who entered the adolescent's dream by accident, was idly stretching his two long legs. He was sitting on the doorstep, leaning against the door frame as if there was not a single bone in his body, with an empty medicine bowl next to him - which he did not even bother to clean after he finished drinking it.
Shiliu stretched his lower back, reached out, and weakly waved his hand at Chang Geng: "My son, go fetch me my wine bottle."
Teacher Shen, whose hands were full of machine oil, his sweat trickling, said to Chang Geng: "Don't mind him, have you eaten yet?"
Chang Geng: "I haven't."
Teacher Shen turned his head and snarled at Shiliu: "Just got up in the morning and already lying around waiting to get fed! Why can't you help out a bit? Go clean some rice and cook a few bowls of porridge!"
Shen Shiliu tilted his head, deaf 'just enough,' and slowly asked: "Ah? What?"
"Let me," Chang Geng was already used to this scenario, "What kind of rice?"
This time, Lord Shiliu heard clearly, raised his long eyebrows, and said to Teacher Shen: "Stop ordering children around, why can't you do it yourself?"
The usually polite and gentle Teacher Shen was provoked by this bastard of a brother every day, and his anger was apparent on his face: "Didn't we say we will take turns? Not being able to hear is one thing, why is it that you never keep to your words?"
Shen Shiliu busted out his usual old trick, again he 'could not hear', and asked, "What is he barking about?"
Chang Geng: "..."
Indeed, it was quite convenient to be a deaf man.
"He said that..." Chang Geng bowed his head and was struck by the playfulness in Shiliu's gaze, the dream of the night before flashed right back in front of his eyes. He suddenly found that he was not so unaffected.
Chang Geng's throat suddenly became a bit dry; he tried to steady his mind and said with an expressionless face: "Please sit still, don't play tricks so early in the morning."
Shen Shiliu didn't have the chance to get something to drink this morning, his small bits of conscience had not soaked into liquor yet, he smiled, grabbed Chang Geng's hand, borrowed some of his strength to stand up, patted the boy's head intimately, and then stumbled into the kitchen.
He really was ready to be put to work - Lord Shiliu doing chores was an incredibly rare occurrence that had not been seen in a hundred years, almost comparable to the blossoming of iron trees*.
*from the idiom 铁树开花/tiě shù kāi huā/, lit." the iron tree blooms"; a highly improbable or extremely rare occurrence
Chang Geng hurriedly followed after his yifu to see him carelessly grabbing a few handfuls of rice, throwing them all into the pot, and pouring in water, splattering droplets. Next, he 'lowered himself,' sticking two fingers inside to mix, stirring them around for a brief moment, then took them out, shook the remaining water off, and announced: "I'm done washing my half. Shen Yi, come and take turns."
Teacher Shen: "..."
Shen Shiliu then grabbed the wine bottle on the tabletop, tilting his head back to take a sip, his movements completely precise, like moving clouds and flowing water.
... Sometimes, Chang Geng suspected that even his blindness was only an act.
Teacher Shen truly admitted defeat. No longer pointlessly arguing with him, he washed his hands with saponins, rushed into the kitchen, reheated their breakfast, and started to clean up the mess left behind by Shiliu.
Chang Geng took out the notes he wrote earlier that morning and showed them to Shen Yi. After Shen Yi had finished making his comments on them, Chang Geng put them into the stove to help keep the fire.
"Your handwriting improved quite a lot. A lot of effort was put in recently, was it not?" said Teacher Shen. "I see that you are imitating the writing of 'Chang Ting'* by the Marquis of Order**- Gu Yun?"
*poem was written by Gu Yun, Chang Ting means 'a place where one can stop and rest'; what it probably means here is that he wrote this while he was resting at certain places
**安定侯 , Anding Hou, Gu Yun's title
Chang Geng: "Yes."
Shiliu, who was idling on the side, upon hearing this, immediately turned his head. A strange expression flashed across his face.
Teacher Shen did not look up: "The Marquis of Order took over the army at the age of fifteen; his first battle ended in glorious victory.
"He became the commander at age seventeen and went on the Western Expedition campaign under the Emperor's order. While passing through the outskirts of Xiliang, he saw the people's historical remnants from ancient times. He felt moved that the remains of former dynasties were still there, yet hundreds of years have already passed. With his emotions rising up, he wrote 'Chang Ting.'
"Writing it is one thing, but that sugar-coating bunch had to make a copy of it secretly and engraved it on a stone tablet -
"Thinking about it, Gu Yun was taught by the renowned scholar of the present time - Mo Sen, his words have a lot for one to learn from, just that when writing 'Chang Ting' he was still young, with youthful ambitions, unaware of the vastness of heaven and earth, his experience was yet up to par... If you want to practice calligraphy, there are plenty of ancient Notes for you to learn from, why must you choose the Note of someone from our present time?"
Chang Geng rolled up the papers that had been filled up with his calligraphy practice and stuffed them into the stove without hesitation:
"I heard people say, Black Eagles, Black Armors, Black Cavalries - the three major factions of the Black Iron Camp - in the hands of the previous Marquis, had silenced the Eighteen Barbarian tribes. Later he passed it on to the young Marquis; he made the Western Regions bow their heads. It's not that I liked his words. I just wanted to know, the hands that commanded the three Black Iron Camps: what does his handwriting look like?"
Teacher Shen unconsciously stirred around the pot with a spoon; his eyes seemed to have drifted somewhere far away. After a while, he slowly said:
"The Marquis of Order's surname is Gu, first name Yun, called Gu Zi Xi. He is the only son of the First Princess and the previous Marquis, and his parents passed away in his early childhood. He was pitied by the Emperor, got taken in by him, and was raised in the palace. He even gave him royal status.
"He should be living a wealthy life idling around, yet he has to run out to the Western Region to eat sand. Heroic or not heroic, I do not know, I am just afraid that he might not be quite alright in the head."
Teacher Shen was dressed in a white blouse, the collar of his robe was stained with machine oil, an old apron hung on his neck - there were no women in this household, and within this pair of brothers living together, neither was more proper than the other. No one knew if that apron had ever been washed before as one could no longer see its original color; wearing it was just so indecent.
Only that face of his was well-defined.
The bridge of his nose was high, when not laughing or talking, his profile seemed awe-inspiring and almost stoic. His eyelids trembled slightly, and he suddenly blurted out:
"Since the Old Marquis passed away, Black Iron Camp's grand achievements have sent fear and suspicions to the one up above, plus lowlife sugar-coating subjects rampaging the royal court -.."
Shiliu, who had not said a word until now, suddenly interrupted him: "Shen Yi."
The two people at the side of the stove looked at him at the same time; Shiliu was staring at a small cobweb on the doorframe.
Shiliu's face did not show any sign of inebriation. The more he drank, the whiter his face became, the slightest bits of emotions were all so absorbed into his eyes that you could no longer see them clearly.
He spoke in a low voice: "Don't talk nonsense."
The brothers of the Shen family usually did not care about manners. The younger brother would disrespect his elder, and the older brother would cater to the younger's every whim. They argued loudly from morning to night every day, yet the bond between them was very good.
Chang Geng had never heard Shiliu speak in such a serious and stiff manner before.
He was sensitive by nature; he frowned deeply, for he did not fully comprehend this situation.
Shen Yi's jaw tightened a bit. Realizing that Chang Geng was observing him, he involuntarily took back his emotions and smiled: "I went a bit too far - but words insulting the imperial court are merely idle conversations to have after dinner, are they not? I was only casually making some comments."
Chang Geng could sense the awkward atmosphere, so he smartly switched the subject and asked: "During the ten years from the Northern Expedition to the Western Campaign, who was in charge of the Black Iron Camp?"
"No one was in charge," Shen Yi replied. "After the Northern Expedition, the Black Iron Camp was initially quiet: some left, some had passed away, some of the older veterans in the army were left feeling very disheartened.
"After more than a decade, the soldiers from that year had been changed to the newer generation. Equipment and gears that had not been replaced for many years had all become rusted and broken.
"Up until a few years ago, the Western Region rebelled, the imperial court had no other solution but to allow the Marquis of Order to take on this mission during trying times and start the Black Iron Camp anew.
To say that Marshall Gu took command of Black Iron Camp, it is better to say that he has once again trained a group of elite powerhouses in the Western Region. If you have the opportunity, it is better for you to learn his current style of writing."
Chang Geng was startled: "Teacher Shen has seen the Marquis' writing from his later years? "
Shen Yi laughed: "Although they are rare, occasionally one or two pages circulate in the market, all claiming to be authentic and genuine. Whether they are the real deal or not, I do not know. "
He said this while blowing at the white steam, placing their meals on the table. Knowing his manners, Chang Geng stepped over to help. As he was carrying the bowl of porridge, he passed by Shiliu. The man reached out and grabbed his shoulder.
Chang Geng grew faster than an average teenager; his stature was already bigger than his peers. Even though he was still lacking some flesh and bone, he was already catching up with his young yifu in height, so just by tilting his head up a bit, he could already look directly into Shiliu's eyes.
Shiliu actually had a pair of signature peach blossom eyes, only when his gaze was scattered would one notice this, because as soon as they became focused, his pupils seemed to become a pair of endless black abyss, hidden deep in dark clouds where one could not see the bottom.
Chang Geng's heart jumped, he lowered his voice and deliberately used the title he usually did not use: "Yifu, what is it?"
Shiliu said casually: "Children should have fun, don't go all day thinking about trying to be heroes, has there ever existed a hero that had a good ending? All you need is food on the table and a roof over your head, a worry-free life is the best kind of life to live, a little bit short on the budget or a bit too much downtime is nothing to worry about."
Shen Shiliu playing dumb was a usual everyday occurrence. He rarely ever spoke of anything sensible, but the moment he did, it was to splash cold water on Chang Geng immediately.
Shiliu was but a sickly blind-deaf, as a matter of course, he did not have any plans or ambitions in life, nor did he have any determination. But how could any young person listen to these non-motivational words?
Chang Geng was a little uncomfortable inside; he felt as if he was being looked down upon. He thought with irritation: Spending each day loitering around like you, then who will be there to support this family in the future? Who will clothe you and feed you? It truly is easier said than done!
Avoiding Shiliu's hand, he replied just for the sake of it: "Don't move. Be mindful not to burn yourself with the hot porridge."
The Shen family did not pay attention to the rule 'be quiet at the table, be quiet at bedtime'*. While eating, Teacher Shen gave Chang Geng a lecture about 'the Great Learning'**, though after a while, he started to lose the point and ended up mixing 'how to maintain steel armor in the winter' into his lecture.
*食不言寝不语; idiom; Don't talk while eating, don't speak after lying down for sleep
**Daxue 大學 "The Great Learning" is a Confucian Classic. It is part of the canon of the Sishu 四書 "Four Books," to which it was added as integral Confucian writing on the order and harmony of society.
He was a man of extensive knowledge - whatever subjects came to his mind, he would talk about. On one occasion, he even enthusiastically explained to Chang Geng the methods to prevent and control horse-related diseases, which even a deaf man like Lord Shiliu could not listen to anymore, and had to force him to shut up.
After finishing his lecture, as Teacher Shen was cleaning the tableware with dissatisfaction as he hadn't had the chance to talk more, he said to Chang Geng:
"Today, I have to finish fixing up all these Iron Armors. Those people did not give them proper maintenance, causing the joints to get all rusted. I may have to go out to pick some herbs in the afternoon. Ge Pang Xiao and the others have all asked for a day off. Do you have any plans?
Chang Geng: "I will go to the Generals Slope to practice my..."
The word 'sword' had not yet even left his mouth; when he turned back, Shen Shiliu had already hung up his iron sword on the wall and declared: "My son, come, the Giant Kite will probably return to the city today, let's go join in on the fun."
Chang Geng was powerless: "Yifu, I just said to Teacher Shen..."
Shen Shiliu: "What? Speak louder."
Great. Here we go again.
The Giant Kite came and went; every year was the same. Chang Geng couldn't think of anything refreshing and new about it, but before he could protest, Shiliu had already half-dragged, half-pulled him out the door.
The summer heat had not subsided; people were still dressed in thin garments. Shiliu was clinging onto Chang Geng's back with his whole body, the scent of bitter medicine encircling him.
Just like in the dream...
Chang Geng suddenly felt strangely unnatural. He bowed his head to avoid his yifu, covering his nose and pretending to sneeze.
Shiliu smirked and teased: "Someone is missing you, could it be the young lady with a round face from Old Wang's house?"
Chang Geng finally couldn't help it anymore, his expression stiffened, and he bluntly said: "Yifu, teasing your son like this...is it appropriate?"
Shen Shiliu, of course, paid it no mind. He smiled and said: "Not appropriate? Oh, I have never been a father before. I do not know the proper boundaries. I will be more mindful next time."
Whoever tried to have a serious conversation with Shiliu would inevitably blow up in anger.
Chang Geng slapped the hand of this indecent man off of his shoulder and walked out first.
Teacher Shen said from the back: "Shiliu! Remember to come back early to chop the firewood!"
Shen Shiliu walked as if his feet were lathered with oil and shamelessly replied: "Can't hear you, goodbye!"
Chang Geng, who was pushed into a half-run half-walk, asked him: "When did you start to become deaf?"
Shen Shiliu only laughed, his expression unfathomable.
At this time, just as the two were passing the main entrance of Chang Geng's house, the gate creaked, and then opened.
A woman in a long white dress came out, and as soon as Chang Geng caught sight of her, the irritation mixed with annoyance on his face immediately vanished.
It was as if a bucket of cold water had been poured on him from head to toe. The eyes that were still trying to suppress anger suddenly became hollow - even the fire and liveliness were withdrawn altogether.
The woman was Xiu Niang, Chang Geng's mother in name.
She was no longer young, yet her beauty had not faded away one bit. Standing in the morning light, she resembled a sketch of delicate beauty.
Even if she was a widow, such a woman should not be wedded to a lowly mayor from a small town far out near the border.
Xiu Niang fixed her attire, put her hands together, and bowed with utmost grace: "Lord Shiliu."
Shen Shiliu only directed his improper behavior towards Shen Yi. In the presence of a woman, he immediately took the shape of a true gentleman. He leaned slightly sideways and avoided looking directly at Xiu Niang's face. He greeted with refined courtesy: "Madam Xu, I'm taking Chang Geng out for some fun."
"Thank you for your trouble," Xiu Niang smiled without showing teeth. She then turned to Chang Geng and whispered softly: "Your father is coming back today. If you go out, remember to bring a box of lip color back for me."
She spoke as soft as a mosquito - as if the words could vanish into thin air, but before Chang Geng could answer, Shen Shiliu had cut in first: "Madam, rest assured."
Chang Geng: "..."
Only now did he have some vague ideas about his yifu's 'deaf rules' - Shen Yi's every word, he could not 'hear' any of them. Other people's words, he must evaluate whether he liked 'hearing' them or not. And as for those young misses and ladies, even if a female mosquito made a faint noise, he could, without a doubt, hear them crystal clear.
Not only was he a lazy loiterer, but he was also a flirt!
It was as if the term "gold and jade appearance yet rotten inside"* was made just for him.
*金玉其外，败絮其中; idiom; gilded exterior, shabby and ruined on the inside
When the Giant Kite returned, the children from all the nearby neighboring towns would gather together for the occasion at the city's gate. Whenever there was a crowd, there would also be people who'd take advantage of it to draw business. They slowly formed a large scale market; the locals called it 'Yan Zi Market.'
Shen Shiliu had never learned to read other people's expressions. Even if he did notice, he would still pay it no mind.
He seemed to be unaware of his adoptive son's mood as he roamed around the overcrowded market excitedly, taking an interest in everything he laid eyes on.
Chang Geng, who was already filled with annoyance, also had to follow Shiliu's every step and constantly keep an eye on him so he wouldn't get lost.
In recent years, the world was not stable, people were poor, and most of the market's trades were small things that the local farmers produced. There was no delicious food, and nothing good to drink; it was boring enough to kill somebody.
It was said that wars were the reason for making people's lives more difficult, and the taxes paid for by the common masses became heavier and heavier after each year.
But in the past, after each battle, they were always able to recuperate for a while.
Yet, no one knew why in recent years, the people seemed never to have enough room to catch a breath.
Counting the last twenty years, Great Liang first had the Northern Expedition, then had the Western Expedition, became a great nation, and earned respect among the neighboring countries, upholding immense honor.
But, strangely, the people were getting poorer and poorer.
Chang Geng was so bored to death wandering around the market that he wanted to let out a deep yawn. He only hoped that this country-bumpkin Shiliu, who was curious about everything, would tire himself out soon so they could go back. He would rather be Teacher's Shen assistant instead.
Shen Shiliu bought a bag of roasted salted beans and ate them while he walked. And as if he had eyes on the back of his head, he stretched out a hand and accurately inserted a salted bean into Chang Geng's mouth.
Chang Geng was caught off guard, accidentally licked his finger, and bit into his mouth's soft meat in his panic. He called out in pain and angrily glared at the trouble-bringer Shiliu.
"Withered flowers can bloom again; a person's youth cannot remain."
Shen Shiliu did not look back. He picked up a single bean, lifted it, and pointed in the direction of the sun. His hands were incredibly beautiful, slender and white, like a pair that belonged to the youths of pristine families, more befitting to lift a chess piece, or to carry a notebook; holding this black bean was very unsuitable.
Shen Shiliu said with the manner of someone who had been through many ups and downs: "When you grow up, you will understand that one's youth is only as big as the size of a bean, it will pass over you in the blink of an eye. Never again will it return. Only then will you realize how much time you have wasted."
Chang Geng: " ...... "
He really could not understand how someone like Shiliu had the audacity to talk about a thing such as 'wasted time'?
Just then, the crowd of people near the city gate suddenly burst into cheers.
Even if one was half-blind, they could still see the 'Giant Kite' lowering down from a distance.
Countless flaming fins were pointing upward, tons of billowing white smoke was bursting out, which resembled cotton wool falling right out of the sky.
Then, a huge ship slowly emerged from the vast expanse of the smoke. The eight dragon heads decorating the front of the vessel appeared as if they were real, cutting through the clouds as it moved forward with unparalleled might.
Shen Shiliu was startled at first. Then he tilted his head, and the cinnabar-color beauty mark on his earlobe appeared to be flashing red. He frowned, whispering: "How come the ship is so light this year?"
But his words quickly faded into the loud thundering noise of the Giant Kite surrounding them and the lively cheers of the crowd. Even Chang Geng, who was right by his side, did not catch them.
The children in the crowd held onto their small bamboo baskets, fighting to get in the best position and wait for the rations.
A group of officers and men lined up and moved out, and the soldiers in charge of signaling were standing behind the three zhang* tall tong hou**, awaiting command.
*丈, an ancient unit of measurement, equal to 3.2 meters.
**铜吼, lit. copper roar, name of the horn speaker in this universe.
The 'tong hou' was like a big horn, placed side-by-side on the city's wall. There was a circle of green rust on the outside, and they were pleasant looking - their shape resembled a carved flower.
The commander took a deep breath, raised his voice, and spoke into one end of the tong hou. The sound coming out from the other end was magnified by a dozen, echoing endlessly.
"Kite has returned, open - the - passage -"
Two rows of officers and men, upon hearing the command, grabbed the large wooden wheel handles on the tower and shouted all together. They were topless, showing their muscles, using their strength altogether, the wooden wheel from above spun around, and the path made of large stones under the city was divided into two.
The numerous interlocking gears were twisted in a circle, and the stone bricks on both sides were separated into two roads.
The earth split open, revealing a deep dark river underground, running through the entirety of Yanhui Town.
The commander blew a long note from the tong hou, and the sound was carried in all directions.
The Kite also responded with a roar. Then, countless flaming wings were simultaneously exerted, and the steam was frantically surging all around - it was ready to land.
The first patch of 'Rations' rained down from above, and the groups of little children underneath were in a frenzy, all reaching out to grab hold of them.
Unfortunately, the path for sending out Rations was short. Very soon, the Giant Kite landed at the center of the river, proudly standing still on the water's surface, coming to a halt in front of everyone.
The ship's body struck awe in one's heart, the faint glimmer of the cold metal was full of unspeakable killing intent. The ship's signaling sound was strangely dreadful and tragic; it wouldn't stop resonating throughout all of Yanhui Town, like fallen souls on the battlefield from many millennia ago had woken up and sung in unison.
The Giant Kite entered the city along the dark river, little by little, cutting through the water. A soldier on board made a long signal.
"Light - off -"
The ship's two flaming wings were immediately extinguished: there was a burning scent comparable to that of exploded firecrackers lingering in the air. The Giant Kite marched forward, floating along with the river's current. The decorations in the shape of dragons all around its body resembled totems from another time and age, bringing along a demonic aura.
Chang Geng was observing the Giant Kite from the crowd. Even though he said that he did not want to come and had seen the Kite's return many times, when facing the real deal, he was still stunned by the ship's impressive size.
If the Northern Patrol unit was already this mighty, then what kind of prowess would the national weapon - The Black Iron Camp's three major factions - behold?
The young boy who was confined in this remote and narrow corner of Yanhui Town could not picture it no matter how hard he tried.
As the Giant Kite approached, the heat waves from the already extinguished flaming fins flashed onto one's face. Chang Geng subconsciously went to grab the person next to him and said: "The Kite has arrived. There are too many people here; let's step back a little."
But no answer came, and he had grabbed on to thin air. Chang Geng turned back and found that his troublesome yifu had disappeared.