Compared to Qian Sha Cha Ke’s other novels, ‘Rebirth of a Star General’ is different in many ways. The general mood of the story is light and relaxing before it gradually escalates… The author has explored the themes of familial love, friendship and loyalty through this novel. The plot development is slow at first but essential. Keep in mind that He Yan used to be a general, neither a consort nor an empress. But conspiracies and plots are integral parts of this novel. Happy reading, folks!
GOING UP THE HILL
It stopped raining the next day. The morning sun shone brightly in the sky. The blue stones in the courtyard felt warm under the sunlight, and the grass was lush and green.
At the rooster’s third call, He Yan woke up. Qing Mei was flabbergasted when she found out that He Yan was not on her bed. She looked for her everywhere and only felt relieved when she saw He Yan sitting on the stone pier in the courtyard.
“Miss, why did you wake up so early? Did you feel cold because of the thin blanket?”
“I’m fine, I just couldn’t sleep.” He Yan said.
She never had the habit of sleeping. When she had been in the army, she could never let her guard down. Every night, she had to stay alert each moment and be wary of the enemies’ raids. Plus, she had been learning the martial arts since a young age and was used to waking up herself at the roosters’ calls. After marrying to the Xu Family, she was taunted by others due to this habit. However, she started getting up late after she was blinded, because to her, there was no difference between day and night. She still woke up when the rooster cawed, but only got out of the bed when she heard the others getting up.
Or else, she would seem to be incompatible with the others.
“Where’s father?” she asked.
“Master has already left for the drill fields. Young master just woke up too. Miss, please change your clothing and have some breakfast.” After finishing the sentence, Qing Mei ran into the kitchen.
There was only one maid and the household had no shortage of work to be done. The little maid could always use a helping hand.
When He Yan arrived in the dining hall, He Yun Sheng was already seated at the table. He had just started eating.
His clothing looked no different from the one he wore the last day. He dressed like peddlers and manservants and was not in the least worried about his clothing. When he heard He Yan entering, he just glanced at her, looked away, then picked up his bowl to eat porridge.
The breakfast lain on the table consisted of some simple congee and a few side dishes. It was obvious that the He Family could not afford exquisite dishes. However, there was always a plate of light refreshments. These were specially made for He Yan by He Sui and were tasty and aromatic.
He Yan picked up her bowl to finish the congee. She finished her meal quickly, which astonished Qing Mei and He Yun Sheng. Before she was bedridden, He Yan used to be a picky eater. She refused to eat simple dishes and would only complete her meal after a long time. They couldn’t fathom what was going on with He Yan today. She had finished eating quickly and didn’t bother to immediately have the light refreshments which He Sui had specially prepared. Those dishes were solely made for He Yan and neither Qing Mei nor He Yun Sheng could touch them.
He Yun Sheng put the bowl on the table and stood up. He Yan raised her head and asked: “Where are you going?”
He Yun Sheng frowned: “What?” While he stared at her impatiently, he got a glimpse of He Yan’s palm and his stance softened.
He was sure that He Yan would complain to He Sui about her torn palm. Nothing had occurred today and it seemed He Yan didn’t drive a wedge between him and He Sui. He Yan probably did not let He Sui know about her injury.
His tone had softened as he spoke: “I’m going uphill to chop wood.”
He Yun Sheng was positive that He Yan would not be interested in what he had said. She would go back to her room to fiddle with her cosmetics, and then go out for a walk after dressing up beautifully. To his surprise, He Yan’s eyes suddenly brightened and she said cheerfully: “Really? I will tag along too.”
He Yun Sheng was dumbstruck. He wanted to tell her off, but Qing Mei forestalled him: “Miss, what are you going to do there? It had rained yesterday hence the road will not easy to trudge on and there will also be mud splattered everywhere. You might slip on it and fall down.”
“She is right.” It was rare to have a person with common sense in this household, so He Yun Sheng continued her sentence without waiting for her to finish: “Don’t go looking for trouble.”
Both He Yun Sheng and Qing Mei thought that He Yan had said this on a whim, but He Yan turned to Qing Mei and spoke: “Father will be on the drill fields all day long, and would only return at night. Qing Mei, you have so many chores to do so it might be disadvantageous for you to always follow me. He Yun Sheng,” She called out He Yun Sheng by his name causing him to shiver: “If you don’t bring me, I’ll go by myself.”
“Hey!” He Yun Sheng was instantly mad.
“Is there a third person who can take care of me in this room?” She asked slowly.
He Yun Sheng was speechless. This single sentence of He Yan’s left no room for questions. When did she become so smart? Not to mention a third person in this house, there was no one in the whole wide world who could take care of her. Their father, He Sui doted on her excessively, which made He Yan rather spoiled. She would never listen to anyone’s words, oh, maybe it would be different when it came to that Fan Gongzi.
“Just do what you want to!” He Yun Sheng was exasperated. “If you fall down anywhere and snivel at me, I won’t take you back home!”
He Yan shrugged.
He Yun Sheng stomped out of the room. He couldn’t understand why He Yan had become more and more vexing after recovering from her illness. If the old He Yan had been a bad tempered girl who was pretentious and cutesy, the present He Yan was a rogue who was even more difficult to deal with.
She really was his one and only foe!
The road towards Mount Long Huan’s peak was rugged. The terrain was very dangerous and mostly poor people came here to chop wood and pick herbs.
There were nameless wild flowers growing by the side of the road, very appealing as they appeared in the grass. However, this wasn’t a road leading to a place where people could go for a stroll and enjoy the beauty of wildflowers. There were sharp protrusions everywhere on the road. Merely the sight of these could make one’s legs tremble.
He Yun Sheng had walked on this road many times before; he knew it wasn’t easy to go up the hill. He waited for He Yan to grumble and cry, but He Yan was mute as a fish the whole time.
He Yun Sheng couldn’t help but turn back his head. Amazingly, He Yan was not far from him, as she was almost reaching his side.
How was this possible?!
This road was already strenuous for a man to tread on, not to mention a delicately pretty girl like He Yan, who had to stop for a while to rub her knees just after covering a little distance. When did she have this stamina?
“Why are you looking at me?” He Yan was a little edgy under his keen stare, “Have we reached our destination?”
He Yun Sheng turned back his head without saying anything and continued walking.
‘It must be an act of hers; she would fall flat on her stomach any minute now!’
He Yan glanced at her legs and sighed.
The strength of these legs was really insufficient. She had only walked a stretch of road with He Yun Sheng and was already fatigued.
“We have reached.” He Yun Sheng stopped in his tracks and took down the axe tied to his waist.
There were a number of small trees there. All the wood He Yun Sheng chose were thin and small as it was more convenient for him to chop them down. He pointed his finger towards a huge rock beside He Yan, “Sit there while I work; I’ll be to chopping wood for two hours.”
“Is it here?” He Yan asked. Then, she took down the cloth sack she had been carrying.
He Yun Sheng’s mouth fell open as He Yan took out an axe from her cloth sack.
“You… y-you… w-what are you doing?” He Yun Sheng’s mind went blank. He couldn’t even speak out his sentence clearly.
He Yun Sheng had thought that He Yan was bringing a bottle of water and had wondered why she needed a huge cloth sack for that. But then, she was always this stupid, and He Yun Sheng had no idea how her mind worked. As it turned out, she had been carrying an axe the whole time?!
What happened next made He Yun Sheng feel assured that he was dreaming.
He watched as this weak sister, who usually thought that a simple teacup was too heavy for her, lifted the axe without hesitation and, with a single swing, chopped the wood perfectly into two. Her actions were neat and swift, as if she had done this job a thousand times before.
She turned her head, smiled at him, and said: “Let’s finish this job, together.”