I covered my forehead with my hand, looking over the flat and endless prairie. After a long time, I saw that he caught up with the team and waved to us. They gradually went far, like the dust between the heavens and the earth, subtle and indistinguishable. I gazed at his back and remembered the story he told me yesterday, feeling lost.
Suddenly someone behind me chuckled. I turned back and found it was He Shi. He reined his horse in behind me, and I asked him with embarrassment and anger, “What are you laughing at?” He Shi nodded but shook his head then, saying to me with a smile, “Little Princess, let’s go back.” Seeing grandpa, I was so happy that I forgot all my troubles. It had been a year since we last met, so grandpa doted on me more, allowing all my mischief. He Shi’s arm was injured and Grandpa worried that I would get into trouble without He Shi’s accompany, so he asked He Shi’s sister to follow me all day long. He Shi’s sister was about the same age as me. She studied martial arts since childhood, quite skilled at wielding a saber. I liked calling her name, “A’Du! A’Du!” Just like calling a little bird. And she also really resembled a little bird, as no matter where I was, she would immediately appear in front of my eyes when I called her, just like a bird flapping its wings deftly and showing up at another place immediately.
“Original Translation from WwW。wangmamaread。cOm”
What I didn’t expect was that the King of Yuezhi had sent an envoy to propose marriage. Grandpa didn’t let the envoy enter his tent, instead, he sent someone to pass his message to the envoy: “Although the Little Princess is not the princess of Tujue, her mother is the daughter of the Great Chanyu. The Great Chanyu cherishes the Little Princess a lot and is only willing to marry her to a real hero. If your king wants to marry the Little Princess, then he has to come to the Great Chanyu’s tent in person and compete with those warriors of Tujue. As long as he can catch the White-Eye Wolf King in the Tian Gen Mountain, the Great Chanyu will definitely marry the Little Princess to him. This is the Great Chanyu’s decree, even the father of Little Princess, the King of Western Liang, will be willing to accept the Great Chanyu’s arrangement.” The envoy met with a rebuff, going back disapprovingly.
The Great Chanyu’s words spread throughout the prairie, everyone knowing that if one wanted to marry Western Liang’s little princess, he had to kill the White-Eye Wolf King. Legend had it that Tian Gen Mountain had thousands of wolves, but they only regarded a white-eye wolf as their king. Wolves were just like people, succumbing to the strongest one. The White-Eye Wolf King’s coat was intensely black, but around its left eye was a circle of white hair which seemed to be painted with snow-white mare milk. It was said that such a creature was actually not a wolf but almost a demon. Wolves on the prairie were terrifying, and the White-Eye Wolf King was even more scary. Even small groups of cavalry or herdsmen would be in a very dangerous situation when they meet the White-Eye Wolf King, because it would lead tens of thousands of wolves to fight against people, and then eat all the people and horses. I once thought that the White-Eye Wolf King was a legend, just living in a story told by my grandmother. After all, no one had ever seen the White-Eye Wolf King, but everyone had vowed that the Wolf King did lead tens of thousands of wolves on the Tian Gen Mountain.
“Original Translation from WwW。wangmamaread。cOm”
The Great Chanyu goaded the King of Yuezhi into entering the Tian Gen Mountain to look for the White-Eye Wolf King. What if he really killed the White-Eye Wolf King? I didn’t want to marry such an old man. But no one could kill the White-Eye Wolf King – all Tujue people believed that, so did all the people on the prairie. Although the King of Yuezhi took a large troop of soldiers and sent out for the Tian Gen Mountain where the white-eye wolf lived, they might not find the White-Eye Wolf King, because no one really saw the White-Eye Wolf King – it was only a legend. I felt comforted when I thought about it. The King of Yuezhi was old and weak, and the Tian Gen mountain, a few hundred miles around, had many overhanging rocks and beasts. Maybe he would be thrown from his horse and became paralysed, then I didn’t have to marry him.
I led an even happier life in Tujue than I did in Western Liang. Every day with A’Du, I either went hunting or catching birds. Girls in Tujue married young, and A’Du was old enough to sing songs. Sometimes there were people singing all night long outside her tent, which made me fail to fall asleep. However, nobody had ever sung to me, I believed it might be because they knew they had to kill the White-Eye Wolf King to marry me. Even for the warriors on the prairie, it was a tough task.
I didn’t believe it was because I was not beautiful that nobody had ever sung to me.
I was sleeping in the tent that day when I suddenly heard a clamour, which sounded as if the encampment was blown up. Rolling out of bed, I shouted aloud “A’Du”. She lifted the curtain of the tent hastily and entered. I asked her: “What’s going on? What happened?” A’Du was also confused, I thought neither of us knew what happened. At this moment, my grandfather sent a person over to bend to salute us, saying, “The Great Chanyu summoned the Little Princess to his tent.” “Are we going to war?” I asked nervously. Last time, the envoy of the King of Yuezhi returned in disgrace, according to the king’s disposition, he would not give up that easily. The King of Yuezhi was goaded into looking for the White-Eye Wolf King, but wasn’t it a hard task? This was clearly a trap for him made by the Great Chanyu – my grandfather who loved me the most. If the King of Yuezhi suddenly realized it and became furious, he would wage war against Tujue. If Yuezhi and Tujue were at war, it would be a bad thing for the whole western regions. Powerfully occupied the north of the Gobi desert, Tujue was the strongest country in western regions, with its territory extended all the way to the east coast. However, Yuezhi was also one of the largest countries with solid national strength in western regions though it compared unfavorably with Tujue. In addition, several decades of transient peace had make people on the trade routes unimpeded, and cities take on flourishing view. For example, if there was no trade routes, our Western Liang would not be as prosperous as it was today. Everything might be ruined after a war.