Epilogue: The Reunion
Translated by Vivian of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
One year later.
Dragonmaw City welcomed the new Spring Festival. Paixi stood on the platform next to Chief Molan. Molan rolled up his scripture and finished his prayers, and the people cheered.
Paixi gazed at the city that was illuminated by the brilliant golden sunlight.
“Sometimes, I think that everything is really incredible,” Paixi said in a low voice as he followed Molan back into the temple. Gentle music sounded in the distance, and Molan slowed down. “This year, the land and climate is already suitable for sowing and growing crops. I also think it is very incredible.”
“I’m talking about this world.” Paixi smiled gently. “How nice would it be if A-Ka and Heishi could see it as well.”
“They’ll come back.” Carna took Paixi’s hand and bowed to Molan. Molan smiled and said, “Go on and walk around. The weather’s nice today.”
The protective barriers around Dragonmaw City had already been removed. The sky was clear, and white clouds drifted across it. The sea of splendid tulips had bloomed and was rippling in the breeze.
“Did Heishi write back?” Paixi asked Carna.
“No,” replied Carna. “The last time I got information about him from Huixiong, he was in Phoenix City. He only stayed there three days before setting off towards the western shore.”
Paixi said, “Is he still looking for a way to enter Astrolabe’s Nucleus?”
“Well,” said Carna, “he’s different from us. Let him go do what he wants to do. Darling, where do you want to go?”
“Can we go visit the memorial?” asked Paixi.
“Of course.” Carna led Paixi onto a car and they headed towards the memorial just outside of Dragonmaw City. There was a tower dozens of meters tall there, and it stood upright, pointing directly upwards to the sky. The serial numbers of the androids that had died during the battle were etched onto it.
Paixi placed a flower before the memorial, and Carna stood silently behind him.
“I don’t know why,” said Paixi, “but recently, I keep dreaming of the past.”
Carna said, “And?”
He knelt down next to Paixi and wrapped an arm around his waist. Paixi closed his eyes and leaned his head onto Carna’s shoulder.
“Everyone’s hard work finally paid off.” Paixi opened his eyes and looked into Carna’s deep blue eyes before whispering, “Everyone’s so amazing. I want to live well too.”
Carna said, “Let me accompany you to the festival, how’s that?”
Paixi smiled. Before he could say anything, Carna picked him up and let Paixi sit on his shoulders before walking briskly towards the reveling crowd in the Spring Festival celebration.
Phoenix City had already torn down the noisy factories, and the new municipal building stood tall. It was like the wings of a soaring phoenix, the east wing pointed to the district where the human lived, and the western wing pointed at the androids’ living area.
“Chairman.” A merchant knocked on the door and entered. “We’ve found Heishi’s whereabouts.”
Shahuang’s feet were propped onto the desk, and his hat was covering his face. Huixiong was signing some papers and said without even lifting his head, “Is he willing to come back?”
“He’s still alone,” replied the merchant. “That’s the message he sent us. He’s near the coast of the eastern mainland.”
“That brat.” Shahuang revealed the hint of a smile from underneath his hat and said lazily, “How long does he want to keep walking for? Doesn’t he like to eat the coffee jelly outside the central politics building? How come he won’t come back and eat to his heart’s content?”
Huixiong said, “The way I see it, he’s never going to give up. Nevermind. Get ready to celebrate the Spring Festival. Does General Angus have any other requests?”
Shahuang said, “He should be preparing to resign. I reckon he’s going to give his resignation speech today.”
On the afternoon of the Spring Festival, Angus stood at the center of the square and said, “Thus, I hope that we androids will be able to assimilate this new world. History has already flipped to a fresh page. May this world accomodate for you all.”
Applause rang from the square, and Angus said, “Starting from today, the Blacklands rebel army will be disbanded. I believe that all of our brothers will understand and unite with one another. Please keep in mind our people that offered their blood and lives to the cause…”
More and more humans and androids were choosing to leave Phoenix City and they scattered across the mainland, either forging new villages, becoming farmers, or becoming nomads.
When A-Ka and Paixi had arrived at the western mainland, the seaport, Karoyek, had become the new center of all trade on the western mainland. And after Father had been destroyed, the ocean had engulfed Mechanical City. Humans moved to the Ancient Core and established the first political nation on the eastern mainland.
Heishi stood at the shore that went on as far as the eye could see. He was wearing black sunglasses, and his black trench coat fluttered in the ocean breeze. There was a mechanical arm inside one of his sleeves.
The boats here came and went, and the fishermen laughed and conversed loudly, asking him where he had come from. Heishi nodded to them politely and walked down the sandy beach, leaving behind a trail of clear footprints.
“You’re here again!” A child ran barefoot across the beach and said, “How come you’re back here again? What are you looking for?!”
Heishi made a “mn” sound and continued walking as a crowd of children clustered around him, asking about this and that.
“I can feel it,” said Heishi. “He should be around here.”
“What can you feel?” asked a child.
“The cocoon,” Heishi replied concisely.
“What’s a cocoon?” The children giggled loudly and then scattered.
“Brother, will you attend the celebration for the Snow Mountain Festival with us?” asked one of the children.
“If I find the person I am looking for, I will.” Heishi took off his sunglasses, glanced at the child, and offhandedly patted his head.
“This is for you.” The child put a paper bag into Heishi’s hand and said, “My mom said that you come to our village often, and you’ve even done quite a lot of favors for us.”
Heishi reached out his mechanical hand and took the paper bag gently. When he closed metal fingers around it, they whirred softly. He nodded and said, “Thank you. You should go home soon so your family does not worry about you.”
The children ran off but looked back at Heishi in the distance and waved goodbye to him. Heishi smiled back at them and waved.
People started small fires next to the ocean, and the gentle night befell them. The full moon rose from the horizon and shone on the ocean so that it shimmered and danced with spots of silver light. Heishi leaned against the rocks and rested the back of his head on his hands as he gazed into the distance silently.
A-Ka, ever since we separated, I did just as you said. I went to Phoenix City and ate the coconut bread and coffee jelly you told me to try.
I walked to the northern border of the western mainland and saw the mountain peaks and islands, the waterfalls and volcanoes.
At every stop during my journey, the sunlight followed me. I walked through the singing forests that you mentioned to me before.
Now, I am next to a large lake. It is a transparent, snowy lake. Every year after the Spring Festival, the ice will thaw.
I went to every place you have talked about, but I still cannot sense you.
The sunlight, wind, rainwater, snowflakes, ground, and everything else… They are not you. They do not have your presence.
Ever since the moment you became one with the Nucleus, only then did I feel the last emotion my father did not bestow upon me. I did not expect for it to be this intense, this perplexing, and this agonizing.
Perhaps, my father had never imagined that I would also go through this eternal grief and this unhealable regret.
Did you know? A long time ago, the day Carna came back, Paixi had already known the truth of Feiluo’s passing. It was just as you said it would be; he knew that Carna was not Feiluo, just like how I know that the current world is not you.
But Paixi did not say anything about it. He works hard to be strong and to live on, and to be just as happy as he was before. This is also a lesson that I have learned from humans.
And so, I am still searching, but I am no longer sorrowful, because as long as I can sense that you are alive, then there is still hope.
Heishi closed his eyes and fiddled with a fragment of crystal. The crystal sparkled as if it was resonating with something. It was resonating with the rhythm of the rising and falling of the tides, it was resonating with Heishi’s heartbeat, and it was resonating with the complicated emotions; a mixture of sadness and hope that lingered for a long time.
When the morning light shone on the ocean, the crystal seemed to shake. Heishi was startled awake at once, and he opened his eyes.
The red sun rose steadily, and in the first rays of daybreak, the ocean pushed a rescue capsule to the surface, causing it to wash up quietly on the shore.
Heishi walked to the rescue capsule and opened the hatch.
A-Ka’s sleeping face was burdened with tiredness as he gradually opened his eyes. When he saw Heishi’s handsome face in the dawn light, he smiled.
——— The End ———
Thank you for reading this novel! If you like the translator, Vivian, make sure to check out her next novel Falling in Love in the Supernatural World!
Finch, a little-known star, went to a luxury cruise party and met his ex-boyfriend, with whom he had broken up with two years ago. Only then did he find out that, while he thought he was an ordinary man’s ex-boyfriend, he was a super-rich man with a mysterious identity!
If I didn’t break up, I guess I would’ve already married into a rich family by now?
I feel like I’ve missed out on a hundred million.
Just as Finch was thinking about whether to get back together with him, he suddenly found himself involved in a strange homicide.
But this was only the beginning.
Finch: Forget it. I just want to live a peaceful life. I don’t want this rich family.
Cesar: It’s too late…