The blood had stained the land under the feet and the creek through the village.
The corpses were all over the ground, and each of them was familiar. There was a stunning view of the faces stained with blood, the distorted expression, and the collapsed wall in the village. The half of the area of the village was filled with scorched earth, and the smell of blood pervaded the air.
Lin WanYue found the corpse of her father with the water-carrying pole in his hand tightly. The pole was grasped so firmly that the 14-year-old Lin WanYue could not pull it out of his hand with all her strength. In the end, she had to buried the pole, her father, her mother, and her younger brother all together.
How about her mother? Her mother’s corpse was found by the side of the dirt road in the village. In her mother’s arms was her 10-year-old brother held tightly, but the mother’s body was pierced, together with her brother, as a stick of haws by a spear.
The first time Lin WanYue heard the sound of rubbing of weapon and body was just when she tried her best to pull the spear out of the bodies of her brother and mother…
“Ah!” Breathing heavily, Lin WanYue sat up from the wooden bed. It was surrounded by snoring sounds, and only Lin Yu, who was next to Lin WanYue, was awakened by Lin WanYue’s yell. Rubbing the eyes drowsily, he said to Lin WanYue, “brother Xing, did you have a nightmare again?” Then he muttered and fell asleep again as if it was ordinary.
Breathing heavily, Lin WanYue twisted the coarse blouse soaked in sweat, which she hardly took off for ever. Even though her parents and brother had been killed by Huns for two years, she still dreamed of that day from time to time. It was very clear and incomparably true, reappearing over and over again, but every time Lin WanYue woke up, besides being shocked in sweat, she never hated this endless nightmare, and when it came to night, she even had some expectations, for this was the only place where she could see her parents and younger brother.
With a heavy exhalation, Lin WanYue got up from the wide bed of the hardwood planks, and walked out of the military tent of fifteen people.
“Who?” Lin WanYue was discovered by the guards as soon as she walked out of the tent. Now it was the wartime, and everyone had been rather gun-shy, so the guards had to be conscientious.
“Report! Infantry camp B soldier No.35 Lin FeiXing!” Lin WanYue skillfully reported her identity. The patrolling soldier taking a halberd and a shield breathed a sigh of relief. After carefully checking the name card of Lin WanYue, he turned around and walked away.
On the 15th day of a lunar month, the full moon was in the sky, and the pale moonlight scattered over the entire military camp.
The long-running war had made this place uninhabited, and the seesaw battle between the country of Li and the Huns on this long borderline had lasted for three years, and both of them won just about as many wars as they lost.
This land was dominated by the Huns and the country of Li in turn. It had already been an earth in ruin. The crops, not to mention the toughest weeds, could not penetrated out of the land, that had been soaked in blood and stamped on by horses’ hooves.
There was no insect chirps like which Lin WanYue ever heard in her childhood, and there was nothing but the snoring sounds from the entire military camp.
Lin WanYue looked at the moon in the sky, and her memory again returned to the place where the dream finally ended.
In a small village called “Chan Juan Village” on the border of the country of Li was such a family of four. The father was the only teacher in the village, who was the most respected person besides the village head and the chief guard. The mother was gentle and dignified, and they had a pair of clever, cute children — the elder sister Lin WanYue and the younger brother Lin FeiXing, but this all ended two years ago. Lin WanYue was smart and active, and Lin FeiXing was much more calm. One day, 14-year-old Lin WanYue sneaked into the mountain again, being going to look for the herbs that she had known in the past few days from an old doctor living on the east of the village.
However, when Lin WanYue returned to the village at sunset, all villagers were slaughtered by the Huns! Except for herself, no one else was still alive.
Lin WanYue buried his parents and brother. In the face of the remaining corpses of the eye-watering feature, she carried them up on her back one by one. Finally, until some corpses had even been rotting and maggoty, Lin WanYue couldn’t finish burying.
In the end, she could only burn up the whole village, and then knelt at the head of the village and heavily knocked her head against the ground three times, “aunts and uncles, WanYue is too young to bury everyone. Now, I can only choose to burn up the village to prevent from leaving your bodies all over the wilderness. Now everyone ended up here — ashes to ashes, and dust to dust; then this hatred would left to the survivor.”
A female could not be a soldier, and Lin WanYue had to live with her younger brother’s identity.
Lin WanYue walked forward alone for hundreds of miles. when hungry, she would have to go begging. If failed to beg, she would find some wild vegetables and bark to eat. She always had to be on guard against the seemingly enthusiastic human traffickers. On the way forward, Lin WanYue thought that the past self had already been dead with his parents and younger brother in the village of Chan Juan.
Eventually, Lin WanYue came to the barracks of General Li Mu who was famous in the country of Li. She wanted to sign up with Lin FeiXing’s residence registration. However, Lin WanYue’s family didn’t have a military registration, but the country’s five-grade residence registrations were distinguished from each other clearly. The division of responsibility rarely changed for generations. Unless having the court titles, non-military-registration people were not allowed to join the army.
Seeing the last hope of living would broke down, Lin WanYue knelt down in front of the registering clerk, “da ren(see glossary), I beg you, let me join in please!”
The clerk was not very old, about 25 years old, and how could he keep his head when a half-mature child knelt down in front of himself? He quickly drop the pen in his hand to lifted Lin WanYue, “kid, you are putting me in an embarrassing position. You do not have a military registration, so I can’t give you the green light. I am just a low-rank clerk, who don’t have the authority to do so!”
“da ren, I beg you, I beg you please, my village have suffered a massacre by Huns. My father, my mother, my…sister, have all been killed. If I hadn’t gone to the mountain to play, I would have also been killed. All 181 villagers except me have been killed. The whole village was full of the corpses everywhere. Finally, many corpses were already stinky, and no one came to help me, so I had to burned up the village. I walked a long way to here just in order to join in the army. da ren, I beg you please!”
Lin WanYue said in great grief, but there were no tears down her face, and she was just firmly kneeling there like a pile hit into the ground. No matter how the clerk pulled her, she didn’t stand up.
As for the experiences of the Chan Juan village, the clerk had also heard about it. He saw that Lin WanYue, who dressed in rags with sorrow, stood firm. As he saw that Lin WanYue’s feet wore just one abraded shoe and that fore parts of her feet were stuck with the black-red soil, he was really touched deeply.
The clerk stood still and looked at this half-mature child for a long time. At last, he made up his mind to say, “I, Xian KangShi, will go see the general right now, but I don’t know whether it can be reviewed through, so if not, you have to forget it and don’t bother me again!”
“Dong!” Lin WanYue did not replied, and just knocked her head down one time against the ground, indicating her attitude.
After a while, the clerk came back and took Lin WanYue to the top tent. General Li Mu called in Lin WanYue, simply comforted her, and then let the adjutant change Lin WanYue’s registration to military registration. In this way, Lin WanYue would live with the name of his younger brother Lin FeiXing as a soldier.
It had been two years since then…
Each of the activities — disguising herself as a man in the army, plus impersonating another one — was a felony in the country of Li, and committing two meanwhile was enough to be killed, but Lin WanYue did not care. What was worth fearing to her? The whole family had been destroyed, and she stayed alive only to claim justice for her own parents, brother, and all 181 villagers!