Translations are below
~ Black was the night that faded the light of our lives ~
"So you're practising again?" Měifēng enquires, trying to hide her smile.
"Yea, I don't want to forget what shīfu taught me," Jason shrugs, swinging his gùn around.
"You're the last one today who knows these ancient techniques," she comes to a stop in front of him. "You should be very proud of yourself."
He smiles at her. "I can show you if you want? It might take a while, but you know; if you want to learn…"
Měifēng laughs, and instantly he's entranced. "Actually, I was wondering if you wanted to join me for dinner. My parents have travelled away for business, and perhaps you could use a break,"
He stumbles for the right words, having been taken entirely by surprised. "Oh… Of course! Yes! Sure, I'll come with you,"
"I will leave first," she beams at him, walking back towards the stairs.
For a moment Jason grins like an idiot. He can barely believe that she just asked him to dinner! He can still so clearly remember when she had stumbled onto his rooftop training area. At the time he had been so worried, but she was more curious than alarmed. His grin fades as he remembers Golden Sparrow. The pawn shop owner had once spun him a tale of loss and reincarnation, and it wasn't too hard to imagine Měifēng as Golden Sparrow's new self. Měifēng even plays the pípá.
He shakes those thoughts away and casts his gùn aside, hurrying down those stairs that can't end soon enough. Besides, if she is Golden Sparrow, then it's good to see her with a happy life. He stumbles down the last few steps, barely able to keep himself from falling. He then straightens up and takes a deep breath. The door swings open and he grins at her. She covers her mouth in an attempt to stifle her giggles. He's clearly run down the stairs in desperation and hoped for a suave and sophisticated entrance. He hops down the entrance steps to stand by her side. Coolly, he slips his hand into hers, and it feels like it's always belonged there. He turns his head so she doesn't see his frown. Her hand in his feels just like Golden Sparrow's too.
She suddenly comes to a stop. "Come, I know a quiet restaurant,"
He smiles and follows her. He can't see many differences in her from when he had first met her in the jiānghú. This incarnation is much happier, and her joy is infectious. The main similarity, he would say, is her quietly commanding tone which sometimes reveals itself in her words and actions.
"You're very good with chopsticks," Měifēng praises.
Jason laughs. "What can I say; I'm very gifted,"
He looks over the table with food spread out lavishly before them. They had stopped at a quiet restaurant in a small backstreet, but the quality was of the highest standards. It wasn't the food he was watching though. On a plate, as a decorative ornament, was the weapon that Golden Sparrow had spent her entire life training to kill the Yùhuáng Dàdì. It had been given to the restaurant by Měifēng herself. It was another connection that he can't deny, but it worries him because Golden Sparrow would never have surrendered her weapon.
"Have I troubled you tonight?" Měifēng enquires politely.
"No," Jason exclaims. "No, you haven't. Don't worry about it; it's fine. I'm just thinking about one of my stances."
She smiles. "You really are the greatest person to perform wǔxiá. Most people would not be as diligent as you,"
"I'm sorry, I'm really not the best company," he frowns.
She takes his hand. "You are wonderful,"
Jason's worries instantly dissipate. He relaxes and lets her presence and kindness soothe him. His heart, and his feelings surrounding Golden Sparrow and her, is suddenly very clear.
"Měifēng," the restaurant owner, Nǚyīng, says worriedly. "There is someone who wishes to see you. He waits nearby, at that street you used to play in… I think it would be best if you meet him."
"Why? What has happened?" Měifēng frowns. "No... I will meet him. Thank you for letting me know."
Nǚyīng makes a hasty exit, unable to tear her eyes away from Měifēng. Jason rises from his chair at the same time as Měifēng. He can tell from the expression in her eyes that she's grateful. Her voice fails her as she tries to thank him aloud. Worried and abashed, she leads the way out of the restaurant. He casts a quick glance at Nǚyīng, only to find her crying as she whispers to her husband. The pity in their eyes instantly sears itself into his mind.
A deep, dark emotion fills Jason with dread. The twisting darkness of it all makes him feel suddenly ill. Something bad has happened, but he doesn't know how to reassure Měifēng without panicking her more. Shamefully, he shoves his hands into his pockets and hopes that it isn't as bad as everyone else makes it appear to be.
However, as they round the corner, reality shatters his hopes. Before them are flashing police sirens, and a huge crowd of people. Jason tears his eyes from the scene to look at Měifēng. As he had suspected she's on the verge of crying, but she refuses to let them flow. His hands curl into fists as a policeman makes his way over to them.
"A long time has passed since we last met," he comments, removing his hat.
"Please, Zhèn, tell me," she chokes back her tears of worry and fright. "You have known me since we were young, so please; don't hide what has happened from me."
"Your parents were leaving for business today…" Zhèn says carefully. "Today, they returned to retrieve something from their house. After they left again, they were met by another car on the road… I'm sorry for your loss."
"No," She staggers back into Jason's arms. "No… This isn't… This can't… No!"
"I'm sorry," he says, reluctant to tell her more. "They have both passed on."
The last of Měifēng's strength leaves her and she collapses. Jason stares at her, unsure what to do, or how to comfort her. It all seems so reminiscent of Golden Sparrow's life. He shakes his head, ashamed for thinking of trivial that won't matter to the grieving, tormented girl in his arms. Her sobs fill his ears, and he knows the sound with forever echo in them.
A piece of paper suddenly appears in front of him. "These are the directions to her home. I can see that you care for her, so please make sure she returns safely. I would do more, but I must end this task,"
Jason glares, fury boiling in his blood as Zhèn leaves. He would do more, maybe yell and start a fight, but he can't do that. Not while Měifēng is lying limply in a state of unrivalled depression. He lifts her and starts the journey to her home. He's sure though, that it's the last place she'll want to be, but he can't think of anywhere else.
He won't ask Zhèn if he knows any place that won't cause her more pain. He doesn't trust Zhèn; not after seeing what was written on his notepad.
Jason stabs at the ground with his gùn. By now the area in front of him has been severely dented, and the end of his gùn is ruined. He takes a deep breath and looks to his right. Through the traditional latticed window, he can see Měifēng sleeping fitfully. Even in her sleep she can't escape from suffering the burden of reality.
He stands up, walking away. For a few steps his gùn trails along the ground, but he lifts it away from the ground. He doesn't want her to follow his trail when she awakes. He doesn't want her to follow him at all. He knows that he's walking out of her life, forever perhaps, but he keeps going. It all takes him back to his time with her when she was Golden Sparrow. Guilt wells up inside of him, and he lets it. He's ready to let the guilt consume him if he must. It's his fault, and he refuses to see it any other way; unless, of course, he blames Hǔ as well.
Jason's expression contorts into a mask of bitterness and rage. Hǔ was a member of the Chinese government. He was in a position of great power, and he was the one who crashed into Měifēng's parent's car. Jason still blames himself though. Again and again, he wanted proof that Golden Sparrow and Měifēng were one person. He has that proof now, because has begun to repeat itself. She's too old to have lost her parents when she was a child, so they steal her parents now. They take her parents away from her by someone who holds a position of power, not unlike the power that the Yùhuáng Dàdì had.
It was his fault that time has repeated itself as best as it could. It's his fault that her parents have left this time. It's his fault that Hǔ pulled strings so that Měifēng's parents were blamed for the crash. It was entirely his fault, and he knows that she won't like she used to. The light and joy in her life has been stolen away. He can't bring her parents back from the dead, but he can leave while she still has people that she cares for, and who care for her. It would be too much for him to stay and for them to be taken too.
Jason glances up. Only now, as he leaves, does the sun begin to rise in the darkest of night skies. Only now can she begin to try and heal, he thinks to himself.
Author's Note: Translations are below.
Thank you for reading. I hope you enjoyed what you read, and if you didn't, then I apologise for being unable to interest you.
* 星 – This is supposedly the character for 'star'.
* Měifēng means Beautiful Wind. For a while, Golden Sparrow's next life had flown freely without the burdens and sorrows of her past, and without tragedy. It is written as 美風.
* Shīfu means 'master'.
* Gùn – This may have confused some of you, but this is the Mandarin Chinese word for stick / rod. It is said to be known as 'The Grandfather of all Weapons'.
* Pípá – This is the musical instrument that Golden Sparrow had carried with her, or so I have been told. If I am incorrect, then please correct me, and I will correct my mistake.
* - jiānghú - This means Mountains and Rivers, or something similar. It is the word for the world where wǔxiá takes place.
* Yùhuáng Dàdì – I have been told that this is the translation for Jade Emperor. I have received this translation from Google, but Yù is most definitely the word for Jade. I know that because my name is Yù, although everyone calls me by the English translation.
* Wǔxiá – For those who do not know, this is the genre of the movie The Forbidden Kingdom. It is Action and Adventure, and includes wǔshù. Wǔshù means 'martial art'.
* Nǚyīng – She is the young woman who owns the restaurant. Her name means Female Flower. I included this name as not many people understand the trema; it is also sometimes written as a v for those who do not have access for the correct tone. The ǚ tone gives the letter and ewe sound. It is not to be mistaken with the other u tones that do not include the trema as they make an 'oo' sound.
* It – You're probably wondering what this is doing here. Měifēng and Zhèn rarely use this word, if they even use it at all. This is because Mandarin Chinese doesn't particularly use this word.
* Zhèn – He is a childhood friend of Měifēng. His name means 'break' or 'shock'. The meaning is included in another story of mine, but I don't have the time to search for it this instant.
* Notepad – Zhèn's notepad revealed that Hǔ had bribed the police to declare that it was Měifēng's parents who were to blame for the crash.
* Latticed Window – I don't actually know if latticed windows are particularly traditional. I think that they are, but I haven't researched it.
* Hǔ – The name means Tiger.
* End – Jason is walking away. This is where Golden Sparrow's past life quest for revenge resurfaces, but it is revived in Jason. Now, Jason may gain a laywer's degree and put Hǔ in a rotting, stinking jail. He may also attempt to kill Hǔ. The end result is the product of your mind.