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Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
The ferryman stood on the sky in the endless river.
That sky was reflected on the River of Forgetfulness. The cliff was the never-ending water flowing to an unknown direction with loud rustling sounds, an endless river…
If anyone drank a mouthful of water from the River of Forgetfulness, they would forget the past, just like Su Ming. He rowed the boat and steered the oars. The splashes that rose from the water scattered, but some of them landed on his lips. They tasted bitter.
Su Ming was still at the River of Forgetfulness, and he looked as if he was in the wooden house that would never decay in the passage of time. He sat under its eaves quietly and watched the sky, the world, and the rise and fall of all lives while he waited for the next person to arrive under the rainy sky.
One day when the rain brought with it a hint of freshness in the searing heat, a person finally arrived outside the house at night.
It was a huge man. He was dressed in a long robe, was big and built, and had an awe-inspiring face.
He stopped quietly beside the wooden house and stared at the river silently. A miserable look was on his face.
“Ferryman,” he whispered.
Su Ming, who sat under his wooden house, lifted his head. His face was hidden in the darkness. When he looked at the man, a smile appeared on his face. He had sent Cang Lan away, and now, his eldest senior brother had arrived.
“Is this river the River of Forgetfulness?” the man asked while staring at the river.
“Is the other side of the river a riverbank?”
“I don’t know.”
“I’m waiting for a person.” The man turned his head around. When he looked at Su Ming, the moon shone on his face, revealing that there was a great reluctance to leave in his eyes, along with a sadness brought by parting that he could not tell.
Su Ming smiled. He got up and walked to the end of the boat, then turned his head around to look at the man calmly. The man was silent for a while before he laughed. His laughter grew louder, and as he laughed, it looked like tears were about to fall from his eyes. With a single step, he landed onto the bow of the boat and sat down.
The lonely ship headed forward. During the night, rain fell in the River of Forgetfulness, creating endless splashes. The rain also fell in the boat, knocking against the wood, as if it was recalling the passengers’ past lives and speaking of their future lives.
In the past, they were fellow brothers under the same Master. In the next life, they sat in the same boat in the River of Forgetfulness. Su Ming stared into the distance. The faint smile on his face gradually turned into a soft sigh in his heart. When they reached the riverbank, the man stood up in silence and stepped off the boat.
“The person I’m waiting for is my youngest senior brother. Ferryman, if I might trouble you, if you see him, tell him… then he must come!”
While speaking, the man did not turn his head back. He took huge strides forward and walked into the distance.
Su Ming stared at the man’s back, and after a long while, he nodded slightly.
He turned around and rowed the solitary boat back to the place at which he should wait for the next person to arrive.
The rainy nights during that season seemed to leave at a slightly slower pace than before. Even if a few months had passed, rain still poured from the sky, be it day or night. It was as if there was someone crying in the sky. When their tears fell into the mortal world, they turned into rain.
It seemed especially so during the night. When wind blew, the rain would land everywhere: the ground, the leaves, the bow of the boat, the river, and the eaves benath which Su Ming sat . The different sounds created by it reached his ears at the same time, forming a song of the world that could be easily ignored if someone did not listen carefully.
Su Ming sat under the eaves, fusing with the darkness. He listened to the rain and calmed his heart as he stared at the distance. He quietly sat through the chill brought by the rain, and when midnight arrived, he lit a lamp. He placed it under the eaves, then carefully placed a cover over it, causing the wind blowing towards him to be unable to extinguish it. The lap became the only source of light in the darkness… that would lead the way for anyone who would arrive at night so they would not get lost.
As he stared at the lamp, Su Ming no longer thought of his past. He did not think of his level of cultivation nor cared about the disaster descending or Arid Triad. The only thing he cared about was being the ferryman who would carry his friends and his loved ones to the other side of the river during the one hundred and twenty years.
At some unknown point of time, a rain cape made of straw covered Su Ming’s heart, and a straw hat was placed on his soul. He bent his head down, and under the straw hat, he stared at the candle flame beneath the cover of the lamp. He saw the world in the candle flame, and he also saw the happiness, anger, grief, and joy of those he was familiar with in it.
When dawn was about to arrive, a phantom came to him.
The phantom was hidden in darkness. He stood across from Su Ming and watched the candle flame protected by the cover with him. As he did so, complicated look he could not describe appeared in his eyes. Slowly, he lifted his head and looked at Su Ming.
“You can fool everyone else, but you can’t fool me… Since this is your decision, I only hope… that there will be a day where I will be able to find my youngest junior brother again.
“In this life, you are a ferryman, so let’s go. Bring me across the river.” The phantom smiled, but his expression was very bitter and filled with anguish.
Su Ming raised his head and stared at the phantom before him, who was his second senior brother. He quietly stood up, entered the boat, steered the oars silently, and reached the other side of the riverbank.
“I didn’t bring any money for the fare,” the phantom said slowly while standing at the bow of the ship.
“You already gave it to me in your previous life.”
Su Ming shook his head and sent his second senior brother off with his gaze. Once second senior brother heard his words, he seemed to have smiled. There was a reluctance to part in that expression, and even if the River of Forgetfulness and the solitary boat were between them, that smile was still very distinct when he turned his head around.
“This should have never been your responsibility.”
“It’s what I wanted.”
The boat left into the distance on the River of Forgetfulness. The two banks were a person’s past life and their new life, the past and the present, and perhaps an eternity in which the two people could never meet again… He could not tell whether he was sending him off, or whether he was sending him off…
Su Ming knew who that he was referring, and his second senior brother knew as well. Perhaps other people would understand it also.
He sent Cang Lan to the other side of the riverbank as well as eldest senior brother. He watched second senior brother leaving into the distance too.
Under that gaze, Su Ming returned to the place he belonged to for the one hundred twenty years—beside the wooden house that would never decay in the passage of time. However… while the wooden house would never decay, Su Ming was no longer a young man. He had turned into a middle-aged man.
There was a stubble on his face and a faint sense of age. However, most of his face was covered by the straw hat. The sun could not shine on him, and his gaze could not be seen clearly either. Perhaps only the flame before him could see him sighing softly.
The rainy season seemed about to end.
On one of the rainy nights that Su Ming was staring at the candle flame, he turned his head around and looked at a spot next to the wooden house. At some unknown point of time, a small white flower had bloomed there.
It was very beautiful, but it shuddered in the rain. Still, it persisted in blooming. That flower was a daylily.
A daylily in the rain brought with it a strength and a beauty, just like a woman.
It bloomed quietly. It did not exude a heavy fragrance nor had a natural gorgeousness. It was a very simple and normal flower, but during the rainy night, it was the only thing in Su Ming’s eyes.
After seeing it, Su Ming walked over. A paper umbrella appeared in his hand, and he provide shelter for the white daylily. The umbrella was not big, but it could block off all the wind and rain, providing warmth for the small white flower. At that moment, Su Ming thought he could see a woman smiling at him.
Her smile was very beautiful. A faint smile appeared on Su Ming’s face too as he quietly watched the flower. It seemed as if he could watch it for his whole life.
The rainy season was over just like that. When the autumn wind came, Su Ming put the small white flower in a pot and placed it beside himself. He used his body warmth to protect it, and it became his companion.
From the distance, it seemed like there was a woman sitting beside Su Ming. She sat shoulder to shoulder with him and watched the sun rise and set. They watched the moon together and counted the stars together.
As the leaves scattered with the wind, one of them flew before Su Ming. It landed on the palm he had raised. That leaf was dyed the colors of autumn, and its distinct veins looked like someone’s life. A person could count them to see it.
The most beautiful moment of autumn was not the autumn leaves dancing in the wind, but the setting sun. With red light, the sun slowly sank om the sky. Its lingering rays shone on the ground, elongating Su Ming’s shadow , but if anyone looked closely, they would be able to find that the shadow, now growing longer, was also slowly becoming fainter.
When dusk was over, his shadow would disappear. No one would then be able to tell whether it had fused with the ground or the darkness, just like how a person would not be able to tell when time ended, and whether… there would truly come a day when they could meet in a distant world.
That feeling was a sadness brought by autumn. At that moment, while staring at the autumn leaf on his palm, Su Ming sighed. It made it seem like he wanted to let out all his yearning during the latter half of the one hundred and twenty years.
Dusk was almost over. When Su Ming’s shadow fused with the River of Forgetfulness, he could no longer see his shadow behind him, and neither could he see that there was a woman’s shadow beside his.
Time seemed to have paused at that moment, and the scene was very beautiful.
Autumn leaves fell, and some of them landed in the River of Forgetfulness, stirring up ripples. It made Su Ming’s shadow waver slightly, and the woman’s shadow looked like it was about to melt.
The picture no longer seemed to be one of calmness.
When Su Ming lowered his head, he noticed that the small white flower was about to wither, but she was making itself stay out of sheer force of will so that it could be by his side for a little longer.
When Su Ming raised his head, he saw a woman in a red dress with a hint of arrogance on her face and a sword behind her back walking from the distance in the dusk. She did not move quickly, but when she appeared, she attracted all attention. This was not due to her beauty, but the strength of her heart.
She did not have an average woman’s grace, but a mature charm. She was just like her robes, as red and as proud as the sun. From the distance, she looked like a feisty horse. If someone had the ability to tame her, she would belong to them.
But if they could not tame her, she would stay in the distance.
“Ferryman, do you have wine?” Upon coming closer, the woman stopped by the wooden house. There was a profound look in her gaze as she looked at Su Ming.
He lifted his head and smiled.
“Hmm? You aren’t that young, but you look rather charming.”
The woman cast Su Ming a glance, then suddenly took a few steps forward to get close to him and scrutinize his face.
“I don’t have wine, but perhaps there is some at the other side of the river,” Su Ming said with a smile.
“Then what are you waiting for? Row the boat!”
The woman smiled, and her expression was like a rose blooming.
When she stepped into the boat and turned her head around, she saw Su Ming getting up and bringing the almost withered white flower to the tail of the boat.
At the instant the sun set, a boat set off on the River of Forgetfulness. There were… three shadows on the other side of the river.
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