Rebirth of a Star General Chapter 126

Chapter 126: The Moon (Part 2)

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He Yan had never thought before that life could be so difficult, to the point where even taking one more step forward felt impossible.

It had been a long time since she had seen the moon. 

Since losing her sight, she had been living in a daze, with Xu Zhiheng comforting her, promising to always be by her side. She had smiled and agreed, but beneath her calm exterior, her heart was filled with confusion and fear. Throughout her life, she had faced many challenges, often relying on sheer determination to push through, telling herself that each step forward would make things better. Unknowingly, she had overcome numerous obstacles.

But now, there was this one step she couldn’t seem to take, and she didn’t know how to cross it.

She was no longer Flying Phoenix General; she was just the ordinary Madam Xu, He Yan. An ordinary woman who had suddenly lost her sight. Although her husband, Xu Zhiheng, still treated her well, it felt like a superficial act, as if their relationship was just an illusion. She couldn’t feel it.

On the evening of Qixi, she sat in her room, waiting late into the night, but Xu Zhiheng didn’t return. She initially thought he was busy with court matters, but the next day, she found out that on that day, Xu Zhiheng had accompanied He Wanru to the temple fair. She sat down under the window, feeling her way to the spot, and listened quietly to the maids’ gossip outside her room.

“Master and Madam had an argument yesterday, and it was so heated that even Old Master got wind of it. The master’s mood is bad these days, and we servants are the ones suffering. All because of that woman in the Eastern Courtyard.”

“I agree, the master is being too soft-hearted. Now that the lady of the Eastern Courtyard is blind, how can our Madam be a blind woman? It’s an embarrassment. The Madam has been canceling her social engagements these days, just to avoid people’s questions.”

One of the maids couldn’t bear to hear it and defended He Yan, “Madam wasn’t born blind; she became this way suddenly. That’s already very pitiful.”

“Pitiful? What’s pitiful about her? Even if she’s blind, she can stay in the mansion every day and be taken care of. At the very least, she won’t lack food and clothing. How is she any different from those pampered pets? The one who’s pitiful is our master. He’s young and talented; he could find any kind of woman he wants. Why choose someone like her?”

“You’re right! It’s the master who’s truly pitiable!”

These words had sharp hooks that pierced her heart, and she bled from the inside.

She sat in her room, waiting for Xu Zhiheng to return. When he did, she said to him, “Let’s separate.”

Xu Zhiheng was taken aback and asked gently, “Why would you say that?”

“Or perhaps you should divorce me,” she didn’t like to beat around the bush and spoke her mind. “I can’t see anymore, and there’s no need for me to burden you.”

“We are husband and wife,” Xu Zhiheng held her hand and said, “Let’s not mention these things. It’s late; you should rest.”

He changed the subject, but he didn’t deny He Yan’s use of the word “burden.”

He Yan’s heart sank further.

In the days that followed, she lived her life depending on others for everything. She often overheard the servants’ secret ridicule, and even Old Madam Xu spoke to her with thinly veiled criticism.

Xu Zhiheng continued to treat her with tenderness, but there was nothing beyond that.

He Yan felt weary.

It was like she was walking down a pitch-black road with no one else around. She couldn’t see any light ahead, and there was no retreat behind her. She didn’t know when she would reach the end of this tormenting life.

A few days before the Mid-Autumn Festival, she said to Xu Zhiheng, “I know there’s a special Immortal Tree at the Yuhua Temple on Lianxue Mountain. During the Mid-Autumn Festival, can we go up the mountain? I want to hang a silk ribbon on the tree to make a wish. Maybe it can help heal my eyes.”

Since her blindness, she almost never made any demands of Xu Zhiheng. Xu Zhiheng was surprised for a moment but eventually agreed. He said, “Alright.”

Perhaps when people have bad luck, they would even choke on cold water. In previous years, the Mid-Autumn Festival was always clear, but this year, it had been raining for days. When the carriage reached the mountain, the weather was unusually gloomy, and it seemed impossible to descend the mountain that afternoon. Perhaps they would have to stay on the mountain for the night. 

Xu Zhiheng helped her walk to the temple, and a monk handed her a piece of red silk and told her the location of the Immortal Tree behind the temple. He Yan hesitated with the red silk and thanked the monk. 

The monk joined his palms and kindly said, “Even if it takes countless eons, the consequences of actions will not be lost. When conditions meet, the fruits of one’s actions will naturally be received.”

She didn’t understand Buddhist scriptures, and just as she was about to ask more, the monk had already walked away. 

In the rain, Xu Zhiheng accompanied He Yan to the Immortal Tree. 

Next to the Immortal Tree, there was a stone table and stone bench for worshippers to write their wishes on red silk. Xu Zhiheng laid out the red silk for her and placed the brush in her hand, saying, “Go ahead.” 

He Yan, relying on her sense of touch, slowly wrote: I hope I can see the moon again. 

She didn’t need to think about it, she knew her handwriting was definitely crooked and horrible to look at. 

After finishing writing, she carefully handed the red silk to Xu Zhiheng, who hung it on the Immortal Tree. He Yan couldn’t see anything, so she didn’t see her husband stand up and casually hang the red silk on a branch near his elbow. He didn’t even bother to tie it properly. There was no shelter from the rain on the tree, and in just a moment, the red silk was soaked by the rain, and the words on it quickly blurred into an indistinct ink stain, making it impossible to see what had been written. 

“Let’s go,” Xu Zhiheng came over to help He Yan leave. 

With a loud rumble, a burst of thunder rang out, and a sudden cool breeze started blowing, making the branches rustle. The red silk that hadn’t been properly tied was blown off by the wind and fell into a puddle, splattering mud all over. 

He Yan seemed to sense something and worriedly asked, “The wind is so strong, it won’t blow the silk away, will it?” 

“How could it?” Xu Zhiheng reassured her with a smile, “It’s tied very tightly.” After saying that, as if he hadn’t seen anything, he stepped over the red silk.


There was no sign that the rain was going to stop, and they had no choice but to spend the night on the mountain.

Xu Zhiheng went to find the Master at Yuhua Temple. It was already evening, and the room was lit with lamps. He Yan sat quietly. 

Originally, at this time, she should have gone to bed – a blind person had nothing else to do except eat and sleep. However, the rain was sparse tonight, and she couldn’t sleep. She didn’t know what time it was now. She called the names of two maids, but no one answered, so she slowly walked towards the door, planning to call someone. 

Just as she reached the door, she heard two maids talking. 

“Did we just hear the Madam calling someone?” 

“Did we? Let her call if she wants. It’s so late; what does she need people for? She’s already blind, and she’s still making a fuss, thinking she’s the Madam.” 

He Yan was startled by what she heard.

These two maids were not her personal attendants; they were from Xu Zhiheng’s house. In their daily demeanor, they were gentle and respectful, especially towards He Yan, because of her relationship with Xu Zhiheng. She had no idea they spoke of her this way in private. 

“If it weren’t for her wanting to go up the mountain today, we wouldn’t have had to spend the Mid-Autumn Festival here. It’s raining outside, and it’s really bad luck. The Master is just too kind-hearted, even taking this deadweight with us.” 

“You know what the Master is like. He may not show it on the surface, but he must have grudges in his heart. The Xu family has become a laughingstock in the capital. The Master has always been proud. I’m sure he’s not happy about this. If I were her, I’d tie a rope and hang myself to stop burdening others.” 

“Hush! You shouldn’t say such things!” 

The speaking maid didn’t care, “It’s the truth. She’s like an animal, waiting for people to come and feed her every day. Eat and sleep, never able to leave the mansion, never able to see anything. It’s a tasteless life. It might be fine for one or two years, but to live like this for a lifetime, what’s the point? It’s better to die early and be free. Maybe she’ll be reincarnated into a better life, where she can see.” 

“Let’s not talk about this. There’s hot water outside. Let’s go and get some hot water first.” 

The sound of their footsteps gradually faded away.

He Yan sat with her back to the door, slowly sliding down. 

Yes, one year, two years, or even a lifetime, what’s the meaning of living like this? 

The maids in the master’s room are careful not to tread upon those whom the master esteems. The fact that these two can discuss her so nonchalantly indicates that Xu Zhiheng, when in his room, is not as resigned and without complaints as he seems to be in front of her.

But in this world, how many people can truly be unregretful? 

He Yan didn’t know if there were lights on in the room. To her, it was all darkness. Suddenly, a feeling of despair overwhelmed her. From practicing martial arts as a child, entering school as a youth, later going to the battlefield, striving for military merit, her whole life was spent making wedding clothes for others. After finally taking off the mask, thinking that everything could start anew, she found herself plunged into darkness at this moment, confined to the four corners of this house, where she had to be followed every step of the way. 

Despair doesn’t accumulate overnight. Those everyday incidents slowly erode one’s passion, bit by bit, until hope sinks into the water with a soft thud. 

Despair looms large. 

She fumbled her way up and stood slowly. 

There were belts left from her clothes in the room, and she randomly put one on over her outer garments. She picked up a bamboo pole she used when she was blind, tremblingly and cautiously walked out of the door. 

There were few people in the mountain temple, and due to the dark, rainy night outside, the monks had long gone into the temple. She walked randomly, not encountering anyone on her way. 

It was fortunate that when the youth joined the army, she had developed an astonishing memory for directions. She still remembered that when Xu Zhiheng took her up the mountain, he told her about a dense forest not far from the temple. There was a cascading waterfall, like pearls and jade falling into a plate, magnificent and extraordinary. 

With mountains, water, and trees, it was not bad, but unfortunately, tonight it was raining, and there was no moon she loved. 

It was inconvenient for a blind person to go out, especially on muddy mountain roads. She didn’t know how many times she had stumbled and been tripped by stones. She felt that her clothes were soaked through, and her hair was disheveled. In the end, panting heavily, she had no idea where she was. 

She fell in front of a tree, hitting her head on the trunk. He Yan reached out and felt that the tree was quite large, likely an old tree. 

The dense forest with a waterfall was probably impossible to find, so this place would do. She never paid much attention to external things. After a lot of effort, she managed to move to a stone. 

Exhausted, He Yan sat down on the stone. 

The rain had lightened a bit, falling gently and continuously. The young woman looked up at the sky as if she could see the moon. Only the rainwater slid down her cheeks, and she wiped it away. 

“Don’t become a boat on the river, don’t become the moon on the river.” 

“Boats carry people for separations; the moon shines on people who are separated.”

She didn’t have much attachment to this world. The only thing she would miss was that there was no moon tonight.

He Yan slowly got up and reached the cloth beside her. The cloth was tied tightly. She tugged at it, and it felt secure. It shouldn’t come apart.

With one kick, the stone was moved.

The cloth twisted into a rope snapped.

He Yan was caught off guard and fell to the ground.

The mud splattered all over her. She was stunned for a moment, and then suddenly understood: the cloth had broken.

It had actually broken?

In an instant, her heart swelled with inexplicable sorrow and bitterness. She choked back tears for a moment, then began to sob quietly. Afterward, she prostrated herself on the ground and cried loudly.

He Yan seldom shed tears.

For a general, shedding tears was a behavior that greatly affected morale. On the battlefield, she had to maintain a confident and spirited demeanor as if nothing and no one could affect her judgment. When she wasn’t acting as a general, even thinking of shedding tears seemed like an affectation.

But people have their vulnerable moments. She could endure being ostracized, being blind, enduring the mockery and ridicule of servants, and even her mother-in-law’s implication that she was a burden. But if she couldn’t even end her life, and the rope was about to break, she couldn’t bear it.

Her tears were scalding, rolling down her cheeks and merging with the rain, making it impossible to tell what was rain and what was tears.

She cried heart-wrenchingly. Suddenly, she heard a stranger’s voice.

It was a man’s voice, low and impatient, carried by the wind and rain. He asked, “Why are you crying?”

He Yan’s cries came to a sudden stop.

Xiao Jue looked at the woman in front of him. 

She was clearly someone seeking death, with a disheveled appearance. She wore a white undergarment but had a red outer robe. The robe was even fastened the wrong way around, perhaps due to her many falls, it had several torn spots. Her face was also dirty, resembling a spotted cat, covered in mud.

Xiao Jue was fastidious by nature and found this scene quite uncomfortable. Unable to bear it, he took out a white handkerchief and offered it to her.

However, she didn’t take it and assumed a defensive posture. She asked, “Who are you?”

Xiao Jue was momentarily surprised when he noticed her unfocused gaze. After some contemplation, he put the handkerchief away, crouched down, and asked, “Can you not see?”

The woman was taken aback, responding sternly, “Yes! I’m blind!”

She replied assertively.

Fei Nu stood behind him, about to step forward, but Xiao Jue gently shook his head.

He Yan clutched her fists cautiously. 

She only wanted to end her life quietly, and now, the rope had broken, and she was exposed in an embarrassing situation with a stranger. Why was fate always so unpredictable for her?

Xiao Jue gave her a faint look, picked up the throwing knife from the ground, which he had used to cut the cloth from the tree earlier.

“What are you planning to do?” He Yan asked.

Xiao Jue: “Just passing by.” 

He was truly not the kind of busybody with a good heart. 

Having reached this point, he had done everything in his power. Xiao Jue stood up, turned to leave, and took a few steps. Fei Nu approached, whispering, “Today at Yuhua Temple, there are only Hanlin Scholar Xu Zhiheng and his wife. This woman should be the blind Madam Xu from a few days ago, He Yan.” 

He Yan? He raised an eyebrow, He Rufei’s sister? 

Xiao Jue turned to look. 

The woman had already found the torn piece of cloth. The cloth wasn’t long, but it was torn into two pieces, yet still usable. She first used half of the cloth to gesture around her neck a few times, ensuring it could still be used, and then she trembled as she tied a knot with the cloth.

She actually wanted to hang herself again. 

Xiao Jue found this somewhat bewildering and, afterward, even a bit amusing. 

This level of persistence, bordering on foolishness, was remarkably similar to her cousin. 

Most people who seek death do so on a whim, hanging themselves, jumping into a lake, or leaping off a cliff to prove a point. But when the moment of truth arrives, most people regret it. It’s just that the regret comes too late. 

Since this woman had already tasted the brink of death, she shouldn’t be seeking death again. He didn’t expect such unwavering determination. Even if the rope broke, she wanted to continue. 

He should have left her alone. No one could stop someone who was hell-bent on dying. 

However, in Xiao Jue’s mind, many years ago, on a Mid-Autumn night much like this, he had returned home as a nervous teenager, only to find his mother’s lifeless body. 

The scene before him seemed to overlap with the past. For a moment, he couldn’t tell if it was tonight or some other night. 

Fei Nu stood nervously behind Xiao Jue.

Xiao Jue took a deep breath and finally gave in, walking over to the woman and asking, “Why are you seeking death?” 

He Yan was startled. 

She had clearly heard the person leave, so why did they suddenly return? She had spent her whole life compromising, being manipulated by others, and now that it had come to an end, she no longer wanted to consider others. This person who was meddling in her affairs had already irritated her, and she directed all her anger towards him. 

She almost shouted back, “It’s none of your business!” 

The young man grabbed her arm and pulled her up from the ground. 

He Yan was shocked and struggled for a moment, but she was already weak and stumbling. She couldn’t see, and she was suddenly being dragged away. After a few steps, she was let go, and she sat down on the ground. 

The ground was soft, like a patch of grass. 

The person seemed to be standing next to her, bending down and asking in a cold tone, “Why are you seeking death?” 

He Yan was still filled with anger and shouted loudly, “I already said, it’s none of your business! Today there’s no moon, so I seek death! The path up the hill is too slippery, so I seek death! The rope I tied broke, so I seek death! I encountered someone like you who meddles in others’ affairs, so I seek death! Is that enough for you?” 

She yelled angrily, tears rolling down her face. The fierce tiger had turned into a wet, helpless wildcat. 

Fei Nu stood nervously behind Xiao Jue. 

The fact that Second Young Master Xiao was willing to patiently meddle in such matters was already rare, and this woman’s ferocity made it even rarer. 

After shouting, He Yan suddenly felt something wiping her face. It was soft, dense, like the clouds on a spring day. 

A cold voice, filled with subtle and comforting warmth, sounded, “If you truly want to be strong, even if you go blind, it doesn’t matter. Even if you’re blind, you can still be the most extraordinary blind person.” 

Her anger instantly dissipated. 

All her distress and weakness were exposed. 

“It’s nothing. Even though I can’t see, I can still hear. With you by my side, everything’s fine,” she said, smiling at Xu Zhiheng like that. 

How could everything be fine? 

How could it be okay? 

She had traced her own eyes with her fingers over and over again at night, praying that the next day she would see the light again. The nights when she tossed and turned, telling herself it was okay, the nights when she pretended not to be able to cope with anything, they didn’t know. 

They didn’t understand anything. 

A passing stranger, however, understood. 

She couldn’t cry, couldn’t show weakness, couldn’t complain, couldn’t get angry. It had been so long that these emotions had wrapped around her like silkworms, layer by layer, forming a strong cocoon. She sat alone in that cocoon, cut off from the outside world. 

He Yan outside the cocoon was gentle, optimistic, and always smiling while considering others. Inside the cocoon, she was in pain, aggrieved, and had suppressed all her calls for help. 

For so many years, from “He Rufei” to “He Yan,” she had never taken off her mask. 

Until tonight, when a passing stranger saw through everything, lifted her mask, and found her tears. 

All her defenses and vigilance crumbled, and she slowly lowered her head, tears streaming down her face. 

She had thought that she wouldn’t cry anymore after saying this sentence, but she unexpectedly cried even louder. There was no sign of the rain stopping, and the grass under her was already wet from the rain. 

Xiao Jue beckoned with his finger, and Fei Nu approached. He took the umbrella from him and held it over He Yan’s head. 

He Yan still didn’t stop crying.

He had never seen a woman so fierce, bad-tempered, and capable of crying like this. It was hard to imagine that He Rufei, with his carefree and cheerful nature, could have such a completely different sister. 

Xiao Jue was bewildered by her crying, unable to bear it any longer, and finally said, “Stop crying.” 

“Why can’t I cry?” She, like a wild cat that didn’t know any better, bared her claws at the person feeding her, her voice hoarse, and argued, “Not only do I cry, but I also want to die. I’m already like this, what’s the point of living, wu wu wu wu wu…” 

Xiao Jue: “…” 

He had never comforted a woman before, and the first time he did, this was the result? Was she so unyielding? 

“What do you want so that you won’t cry?” he suppressed his anger, “So that you won’t continue to think about suicide.” 

He Yan sobbed, and she had no intention of seeking death by the time she arrived here. Sometimes, people just get stuck at a certain point. If they get through it, it’s in the past, and if they can’t, they can’t. This passerby’s words were inexplicable, and that sentence wasn’t particularly warm, but… 

But she didn’t want to die. 

She said, “If you can give me a piece of candy now, I won’t seek death.” 

She loved sweets when she was young, but after the age of five, Madam He, her elder, controlled everything about her. Afraid of exposing her true nature, she had to give up her habit of loving sweets like a young girl. Later, when she joined the military, there were no sweet candies in the army, only dry rations. After getting married, there was a time when He Yan saw He Wanru fall ill, and Xu Zhiheng went to visit her, deliberately bringing her a small box of candied fruits. 

Every time He Wanru took her medicine, Xu Zhiheng would put a piece of candied fruit into her mouth. When He Yan passed by the window, she saw it, and in an instant, a sense of envy welled up in her heart. She couldn’t tell whether she envied Xu Zhiheng for being so good to He Wanru or envied He Wanru for enduring a little hardship to gain a lot of sweetness. 

He Yan had never been capricious, but for some reason tonight, she felt like she wanted to push the limits of her capriciousness on this stranger. 

The young man was slightly surprised, and he looked at the person beside him. 

The woman’s face was hastily wiped with a handkerchief, her cheeks still muddy, her eyes slightly swollen, but surprisingly bright, and her stubborn expression seemed familiar. 

It looked a lot like a certain clumsy boy. 

He fell silent for a moment and reached for a sachet at his waist. 

Fei Nu was startled. 

The dark blue bag was held in his hand, and he pinched the bottom of the bag. A piece of osmanthus candy wrapped in paper was poured out. 

It had been so long that the candy paper had stuck to the candy and it was impossible to see its original appearance. After Madam Xiao passed away, Xiao Jue had carried the last piece of osmanthus candy with him. Over the years, this piece of candy had accompanied him through many difficult times. When he felt he couldn’t go on, looking at this candy seemed to bring a bit of sweetness back to his life. 

This was the only sweetness in his life, and now he was going to give it to a woman who couldn’t stop crying and wanted to die. He thought his life no longer needed sweetness, so be it. 

He Yan felt something being placed in her hand. 

She instinctively grabbed it and wanted to unwrap it. 

“Can’t eat it,” the man’s voice sounded next to her. 

“What?” She said, “Are you trying to deceive me? Just find a stone and tell me it’s candy?” 

He Yan heard his voice with a hint of melancholy, “This candy is the last one in the world. It’s very sweet, but you can’t eat it.” 

“Are you crazy?” He Yan had never been so pushy before, and she thought this man must have a good temper and a soft heart to tolerate her repeated antics. She said, “Very sweet and can’t be eaten, is this a gift from His Majesty?” 

She didn’t see the handsome young man sitting next to her, who smiled slightly and said, “It’s even more precious than a gift from His Majesty.” 

While the other wasn’t paying attention, He Yan quickly tore open the candy wrapper and put it in her mouth. 

“You…” he exclaimed. 

“I’ve already eaten it and swallowed it!” He Yan acted like a child. 

He didn’t respond. 

This was the first piece of candy she had ever received in her life. The taste of the candy was strange, mixed with her tears, bitter. She thought, so be it. 

“Has the rain stopped?” She didn’t feel the rain falling on her, so she reached out and asked the person beside her. 

The young man by her side had been kneeling on one knee, holding an umbrella for her. The umbrella wasn’t very big, and he was already half soaked, but his profile was sharp and clear, his eyelashes were covered in tiny water droplets, and his eyes had a layer of gentle warmth. 

“It’s stopped.” 

“Is there a moon in the sky?” 

The sky was dark, without a single star, so where could the moon be? 

He answered, “Yes.” 

“What’s it like…. outside?” 

“The moon is clear and bright, the wind is gentle like water, and the scene is endless.” 

He Yan smiled for the first time that night. “That sounds wonderful.” 

She heard the person beside her ask, “Don’t want to die anymore?” 

“I don’t want to.” 

“If you don’t want to die, go home,” he said, helping He Yan up. He Yan instinctively tried to hold his hand, but his knuckles were already let go at a rapid speed. 

Xiao Jue walked up to Fei Nu and whispered, “Take her to my sister-in-law’s room, and have my sister send her home. I’m a man, and it’s not appropriate for me to be involved.” 

Fei Nu nodded. 

As they were about to leave, Xiao Jue added, “Warn Xu Zhiheng not to go too far.” 

This meant that he was standing up for He Yan. 

Fei Nu came over to help He Yan up, and He Yan, sensing that the person was about to leave, reached out and inquired, “….Thank you, who are you?” 

He didn’t say anything, and He Yan only managed to grab a corner of his sleeve. It slipped from her hand, cold and soft, like moonlight. 

Even though she couldn’t see anything, she felt a light and warmth, hot and bright, without any blame, patient and understanding, as if he could see all her secrets at a glance and envelop her with gentleness. 

She never knew who he really was. 

That was the worst Mid-Autumn Festival He Yan had ever experienced, covered in mud, disheveled, and on the brink of despair. Fortunately, the moon was with her the whole time. 

There was no moon that night, but the moonlight was truly beautiful, that delicate and soft light had warmed her for many years.

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