|Author: Cherish the World||Original Source: SFACG|
|Translator: raltzero||English Source: Re:Library|
Fang Thirteen didn’t have anything to say when we started.
But I had already started pouring out words.
“When I first arrived here, I was a bit baffled. The reason why you recruited me and brought me here was because your manpower was lacking, but how could the majestic Sky Star City’s City Lord’s mansion’s deputy commander be lacking in manpower? What was even stranger was that when I reached the City Lord’s mansion, I discovered that it truly was this way. When I went to have my meal on the first day, I felt that things were a bit off. By the doorway of the dining hall were only 2 bodyguards, with one of them even yawning. With how you’ve always been blind, there should have at least been a maid in charge of feeding you food, but even after being around for so long, all I’ve seen for maids is just Tila, who follows you around. But the work she has on her hands is stacked so high that she doesn’t have any time to do anything else. Apart from going out to pick herbal medicine, she also has to go pass on information, guide me around, and more; where would she go find herself any time and effort to help you out?”
“So the problem arises; when I was outside the city and being welcomed in, I clearly saw great shows of gaudiness, could it be that it was all fake? In reality, it wasn’t. It was just that Sky Star City’s City Lord’s mansion didn’t belong to you, the City Lord’s maids also weren’t your maids, the City Lord’s bodyguards also weren’t your bodyguards. Therefore, it wasn’t that the City Lord’s mansion was lacking in manpower, no, it was just you who was lacking in manpower.”
I narrowed my eyes and sized up Fang Thirteen while I continued:
“Then, it was that first legal case, the case on stealing. In the beginning, I thought that it was something that you deliberately arranged, but I realized later on that it wasn’t. Because standing from your point of view, you were the one who attracted these people over from West-Resisting City, so the thing you would hope for the most would be for them and Sky Star City to coexist in peace. Even if it was a situation set up to test me, it would be impossible for it to be known by everybody. During that time when that merchant called Luo Chou issued a call for action to stir up the populace and create a contradiction between them and West-Resisting City’s immigrants, I became aware that there was someone else behind this situation. But at the time, I absolutely had no thoughts about this being due to Fang Lita since I felt that you two were a pair of good siblings and it would be unlikely for him to do as such.”
Fang Thirteen merely whispered her explanation:
“It’s not necessarily A’ta. Maybe there’s other people sowing dissension……”
I questioned in return:
“Do you seriously think so? Then why didn’t you go examine the case by yourself and instead let me go forth?”
Fang Thirteen had nothing to say in response.
“Tila once told me that there was a disagreement between you and Fang Lita. You advocated for admitting West-Resisting City’s refugees but Fang Lita held the opposing position. Ultimately, you still implemented this policy and allowed 127 people, including me, to come to Sky Star City. So long as some contradiction was stirred up between both sides, it would be like a slap to the face for the one who issued the policy. Once that happens, your prestige would naturally decline as a result and you would become more and more suppressed by Fang Lita.”
Fang Thirteen used a tone that was near begging me:
“Stop speaking……please……don’t speak any more.”
I coldly berated her and mentioned my non-existent wife and children as an excuse:
“Why can I not speak? Everything that you’ve done is for him, or do you mean to say that my wife and children’s deaths were unrelated to him? You want me to grin and bear it? Then what sort of man would I be regarded as!”
Fang Thirteen’s momentum dropped. I also lowered my rising voice and quietly murmured:
“Do you still remember? That day when you were sleeping in the courtyard, I helped you by using some of my clothes to cover you from the cold. The day next, when I woke up in the early morning, you came over to return my clothes to me.”
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Fang Thirteen nodded.
I spoke even fainter:
“There was no name embroidered on my clothes indicating that it was mine, how could you know that they were mine? Though it could be said that it was quite possible to feel out them to be a male’s clothes, they were still very commonly worn ones, with many people including bodyguards wearing such clothes. Why was the first person that came to your mind, me?”
Fang Thirteen clenched her fists.
I moved closer and enunciated word for word:
“Because in such a large City Lord’s mansion, there. are. no. other. people. besides. me. who. would. help. you. place. some. extra. layers. when. you. are. sleeping. Those bodyguards are all Fang Lita’s people, their gazes when they look at you? It’s like they’re looking at a stranger, even……an enemy.”
Fang Thirteen began fiercely gasping for air.
The night was going to be long.
I crossed one leg over the other and reiterated:
“I’ve already said it, that this is only limited to tonight. You can pour out all your pain and suffering for me to hear, I’ll listen to it all. Once dawn breaks, I’ll forget all of it and we’ll never mention it ever again.”
Fang Thirteen deeply sighed.
When she started speaking, her voice was very quiet, like that of a mosquito’s, and drowned out by the sound of her breathing. When her voice was a little louder, only then could I hear what she was saying.
“Do you know how it feels to be innately disabled, Jade? It’s like being born and labelled defective goods straightaway, at risk of being thrown into a garbage heap at any time. When I was a child, my mother didn’t love me, nor did my father love me. Everyone around me regarded me with disdain. I also scorned myself. When other children would describe how big the sun was, how round, and how dazzling, all I saw from my eyes was pitch-black darkness.”
“In those days, I thought of dying. Because there were simply no people in the world who loved me, there was no place for me. There wasn’t anyone who wanted me and because of that, I could never obtain any happiness. People need to ‘see’ hope in order to survive, yet I could ‘see’ none. There were no people who took care of me when I was younger. The nanny wouldn’t concern herself with me; if I wanted to use the toilet and told them, they would tell me ‘go there by yourself’ and then laugh as they watched me crawl bit by bit. In any case, I was a child that nobody cared for, so even servants wouldn’t fear me.”
“It was also at that time, in these darkest days of my life, that A’ta was born. When he was just born, anyone who carried him would cause him to cry, only when I carried him would he laugh and use his chubby little hands to touch my cheek. There was nothing father could do about it, so without any better option, he made me bring around A’ta to play. Only then did I realize that there was a type of feeling called happiness in this world.”
“After A’ta learned to read, he would start reading books to me. In the beginning, they were merely some small tales. Then, there was a day when he read aloud a book on military strategies and tactics. As he read and read, I began yearning for the magnificent world of armies of thousands of men and horses. Every day, I would think and wish and A’ta would read it aloud to me. Perhaps I really did have talent in this aspect since I learned it very quickly.”
She spoke about a large variety of matters intermittently, all of which pertained to Fang Lita.
Her speech was filled with overflowing affection.
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At the end of her words, I inquired:
“There’s always been a rumor in the outside world that you two don’t get along.”
Fang Thirteen smiled as she spoke:
“It was a rumor I disseminated. These 10 cities that we possess, many of them were taken down through this rumor. Show the enemy your weak side, lure them out of their city, then deal a ravishing blow. In those days when our relationship was still very good, he and I discussed this stratagem. I gave him some authority and we pretended to be undergoing a serious power struggle. We would show this performance every time we were in the outside world, so naturally everyone started to believe that it was true.”
I smirked sardonically:
“And the result was what you wholly didn’t expect; for the make-believe to become a reality. Fang Lita didn’t wish to let go of the power you granted him and the contradiction between you two began gradually intensifying.”
Fang Thirteen didn’t deny this.
“As for you, you’re still trying to mend your broken relationship, so you began relenting and placing more authority in his hands, thus fostering his ‘everything will go my way’ character. You even gave him your own guards and maids to make him believe that you were doing things for his well being, that you didn’t have the notion of struggling for power with him. You gave up everything you had, became so lowly as if you were dust, all for the sole purpose of merely being able to make him perk up, smile, and call you ‘older sister’ once more.”
I couldn’t help but chuckle before I said to Fang Thirteen:
“Fang Thirteen, you appear to have been living the life of a dog.”
Fang Thirteen also chuckled, and as she was laughing, she suddenly bit her lips and was finally unable to hold back her sobs.