|“||I will do everything I can to protect those who are important to me!||”|
Extremely loyal to his Master Attendant. He is cautious and acts as an adviser to his Master Attendant.
Zongzi is a dessert cooked with glutinous rice wrapped in leaves. It is said to commemorate the ancient poet Qu Yuan.
How to Acquire
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|Contract||Destiny has been foretold. You will be my Master Attendant, and I shall pledge to follow you until the end of my days.|
|Log In||Master Attendant~ I've been waiting for you for so long!|
|Ice Arena||It is a bit cold here, do you feel it too?|
|Ascend||All of this is for you.|
|Fatigue||I seem to be feeling the coldness of the river.|
|Recovering||I'm going to rest for a little while, will you stay by my side?|
|Team Formation||This time, I will protect you without fail.|
|Knockout||My sword has failed you...|
|Notice||It is finally finished. Master Attendant, take a look.|
|Idle 1||Master Attendant, when you went out last time, you didn't take me. I felt a bit lonely.|
|Idle 2||My inability to resist is temptations is what I hate most about myself. In the future, I will do my best to guard against this.|
|Interaction 1||M-Master Attendant, you cannot act in such a way, please conduct yourself with dignity.|
|Interaction 2||Master Attendant? You called, what is the matter?|
|Interaction 3||Being in this little boat always feels just like back then, drifting along.|
|Pledge||I will always protect you.|
|Intimacy 1||S-so early? Alright~ Let me quickly prepare~|
|Intimacy 2||I shall remain by your side every day from now on.|
|Intimacy 3||You may not play with my sword, it is a weapon used to protect you. If it injures you, then what good is it?|
|Mast and Flag|
|Lazy Afternoon event, Food Soul's Wish event, Grand Dress-Up event.|
- Zongzi is related to the Dragon Boat Festival, held on the 5th day of the 5th month of the traditional Chinese calendar and corresponding to May-June of the Gregorian calendar.
- Another Food Soul related to this festival is Realgar Wine.
At sunset, the river was dyed a warm orange.
The river flows from downward between the narrow cliffs, its water sparkling. A flat-bottomed boat slowly drifts between the cliffs, leaving behind a faint wake.
I stood alone on the bow , holding my sword in my arms, steadily moving towards the setting sun.
Passing between the cliffs, the boat came to a valley. On the other side of the valley the river turned to rapids. If not for the valley, the river's channel would not have been blocked off.
For there is a village in the lower reaches of the river, and when it rains for several days the river often overflows its banks because the accumulated water cannot escape.
When that happens most of the crops die, and even the roads where the people of the village walk often become impassable because of the waist-high waters. Although work to control the flood waters had begun years ago, they had failed time and time again.
This time the mountain drainage has lasted seven months so far. Nearly all the village's manpower was focused on it, and my Master Attendant was no exception in joining the Flood Control Army. The only difference was that it was my Master Attendant himself who put out the call to initiate the mountain drainage.
Bamboo rafts drifted lazily along the sparkling river, the glutinous rice foodstuffs wrapped in leaves my Master Attendant loved so much tied down on top. I followed the rafts, and as they entered the valley I heard a loud noise, and then the sound of people cheering.
Of course I knew what that meant.
Before these last few months of trying to control the river I had never really appreciated just how long it took to transport food down the river by raft.
I very much wanted to share this hard-won joy with the others immediately, but at the moment it was more important to me that my Master Attendant be able to return home early to see his wife.
More than a month before opening the mountains, my Master Attendant's wife had become pregnant. Even so, he left his home with a heavy heart to dig through stone with the villagers.
I had tried to dissuade him.
"Flood control is a long and difficult road."
He always has to do everything himself, but I was afraid that he might miss the most important moment in his life because of the work.
However, he just smiled at me and said,he hoped his child could be born in a more peaceful world, a world where worries about survival weren't necessary. To make that happen, he had to take the first step.
It's not like I don't understand what he's going through, so I have been quietly supporting him and doing my best to keep him from worrying. That's all I can do for my Master Attendant.
And that's precisely why I hoped that, as my Master Attendant's important day draws nearer, he'll be able to return to the side of the woman who is the most important person in the world to him.
II. Summer's Cicada
The night was quiet.
I walked along a small path illuminated by moonlight. The path led to the village, and my Master Attendant's home was there.
In a yard surrounded by a bamboo fence stood two camphor trees flanking the house. Their dense branches and leaves covered the brick and stone hut, to cool the house down during the summer.
I noticed the distant figure as soon as I reached the crossing. A woman with her hair in a bun and a round belly was stepping out in front of the small courtyard. That was my Master Attendant's wife.
Standing outside the bamboo fence she supported her pregnant belly with her hands and watched the road.
That was the road my Master Attendant had always returned home on. But because of the mountain drainage he had not returned home for several months.
So she came out here every day to wait for him, wait to see the moonlight shining down on his familiar figure.
That's what she did every day. She just kept waiting; even though the only person she ever saw was me, traveling between the mountain and the village every day because I was responsible for bringing food to the villagers working on the drainage, she still never gave up.
"Master Attendant will be back soon." This is what I told her every time I returned. Even though that day was nowhere in sight. And every day she accepted my lie with a smile.
Now the summer cicadas were already singing in the camphor trees.
The woman raised her head and gazed at the greenery of the camphor trees that even the dark night couldn't hide. After a long time she looked back toward the road. At this point I stopped very close to her.
At the moment our eyes met, I saw the same lost smile as before. She believed that this time would be the same as all the last. But behind another figure gradually became clear that filled her eyes with tears.
It was the man she had longed to see so many times in the long nights.
For that moment she seemed to forget she was pregnant, running towards that man who was in her thoughts day and night and embracing him.
Watching the scene, I couldn't help by smile.
Finally I could no longer bear to watch her lonely eyes as she forced herself to smile.
I looked at the evergreen camphor tree, listening to the cicadas, and sighed.
"It's already summer."
III. Existance's Implication
The sky is overcast, and it feels heavy. The wind blowing through the camphor trees outside the house makes a ruckus.
From time to time a woman's agonized groans come from inside, while the Master Attendant and I sit anxiously in another house while a child is born.
Then it starts pouring rain, which only adds to the stifling atmosphere.
Suddenly there was man rushing up to my Master Attendant, telling him that a huge boulder had Fallen Angel and was in danger of blocking the river they had worked so hard to open up.
My Master Attendant stared blankly for a moment at the news. Then the next second he was putting on his rain gear. As he was preparing to leave I grabbed his hand and tried to stop him:
"Master Attendant, the weather is awful and the water there is swift and dangerous; if you go rushing off and slip up, something terrible could happen."
But my Master Attendant was unwilling to change his mind. He pulled his hand free, put on his bamboo rain hat, and left me with a smile and a simple "Please."
One of my hands rested on the hilt of my sword, while the hand he shook off stayed empty.
"Please? But what can I do for you?\"
How I wish I had the ability to smash through all the stones with my sword, and how I wish I could take all my Master Attendant's burdens.
If only I could cut through the mountains... Oh! Why didn't I think of that sooner?
"Waaah...Waaah..." A loud wailing noise interrupted my thoughts, but at the moment I had no time for anything else as I rushed out.
The river's water were far more turbulent than I could have imagined; although the ride on the raft was bumpy, I soon entered my destination. There was already a group of villagers constructing a dam, trying to cut and remove the boulder that fell from the hill.
My Master Attendant had already thrown off his rain gear and was in the river working on the dam.
I watched my Master Attendant standing by the newly constructed dam, endlessly hammering around the boulder while the villagers tried to loosen it using thick wooden stakes as levers.
"What are you doing? Hurry up and help!" The panicked villagers shouted at me, not recognizing me.
That's right, I should have done this sooner. What I can do for my Master Attendant isn't bothering myself about his worries. I am my Master Attendant's sword, and it's my job to cut down any obstacles that stand in his way, that's the whole point of my existence here.
For some reason I felt much happier standing here by his side, cutting into the rock.
In a flash I seemed to feel the stone begin to move a little then I spoke. "Master Attendant! The stone is loose!"
"Really!" My Master Attendant summoned his strength and called on the other villagers to rally and push the stone free.
"Booom————" All I could hear was the deafening noise.
The stone rolled away like it was weightless, and the river we had opened up flooded into the torrential main waters with all the exuberance of a reckless child.
I didn't even have time to enjoy the moment before I saw my Master Attendant, working side-by-side with me not a moment before, pushed off his footing by the force of the waters and washed away from the earth dam into the river.
Because the accumulated water had burst through in an instant, they carried him far away. Even if he kept swimming back, there was no way to overcome the resistance from the river and he kept being carried further and further away.
Were the heavens punishing me?
The moment I saw my Master Attendant fall into the river, I dove into the water without hesitation.
If I was going to be punished, let them do their worst. Nothing could happen to my Master Attendant, someone was waiting for him!
I thrust my sword into the rocks, and with one hand holding onto the hilt I stretched my other out as far as it could reach, shouting:
"I live to protect you!"
IV. Old Path
Once again the memorable sunset scenery, and once again I stand alone on the raft.
Where is my Master Attendant now?
I stare at my hands as I think this, one hand holding my sword and the other empty, palm open.
I still couldn't forget that day. My fingertips touching, then drawing closer until they interlock, all I could hear was the sound of the waves lapping against the rocks, drowning out even the sound of shouting villagers.
At the time all I had wanted was to reach out and grab the hands in front of my eyes, that were so close but so far.
This unbridgeable distance seemed to grow further and further away, like losing consciousness, until gradually sinking into the cold river became my last memory.
I don't know how I was rescued. I've been told the villagers managed to find a rope and dove into the water after him, but they couldn't find my Master Attendant.
Why was I the one who was rescued? Obviously I wouldn't die like this.
I still remember the feeling of suffocation as I sank into the ice-cold river. A despair like agony peeling away my mind, then falling asleep on the river bottom.
Countless times I wondered about my Master Attendant's last thoughts. Did he blame me?
Face with the torrential force of the river, I was powerless to resist.
This was what I hated the most.
All I could do was watch wide-eyed, unable to do anything as though my nerves were being crossed by the weight.
But in my memory I kept making the same mistake. I was the same way when my Master Attendant was working on the mountain drainage. At that time, all I could think about was what I should do as a Food Soul. I should do what my Master Attendant said and not cause him to worry.
However, I couldn't think of what I wanted to do; as a Food Soul, what was the point of my existence here?
I'm not some hollow puppet, I clearly have my own thoughts, but all I can do is go with the flow.
That day was the first time I had a realization so simple that it startled me.
All I wanted was to protect my Master Attendant!
It was such a simple thing, why did it take me so long to understand?
Maybe that's why my hands were unable to hold onto anything.
I bent down and dipped my hand into the cold water, woodenly watching the water flow past my hand.
Since that day, I often go rafting on this river.
Maybe there was still a scrap of hope that my Master Attendant had somehow been rescued, and something was temporarily keeping him from coming home.
Then I started the search for an answer I already had. Maybe I was just trying to escape.
However, even if I had already spent a number of cicada song-filled nights, even if the child he had never seen was already grown, there was no way for me to help that woman who was still waiting to see his figure walking home along the moonlit road.
All that remained was moonlight falling on the branches of the camphor trees, and the endless singing of the cicadas. The same as this endless waiting.
It was a peaceful village encircled by mountains. Sixty years ago, there would be flooding during the rainy season because it was located in the lower reaches of the river and the river channel would become blocked by a blockage until they reached the village. At that time, the crops would become flooded and rot away, and people's daily lives would stop dead.
Fortunately there was a young man in the village named Liang Jun, and he called on the villagers to build a mountain drainage. After months of work their project was completed. However, things don't work out the way people think, and on the day of a sudden downpour and a huge boulder fell into the river channel and blocked it off. Liang Jun once again led the villagers to cut through the rock.
Luckily they were successful in the end and the storm didn't become a disaster. However, in the midst of the work Liang Jun fell into the river and was never found. The villagers spent days searching the banks of the river, but to no avail.
Later on, to commemorate Liang Jun's deeds, the villagers would throw glutinous rice wrapped in leaves, his favorite food, into the river on the day he disappeared.
Only this story continued to spread through the mountains surrounding the river.
"Zongzi, do you know the story of this village?" Tangyuan asked seriously, lying on the ground practicing writing.
Not receiving a response quickly enough, Tang Yuan raised her head and looked at Zongzi standing silently to one side. She looked at his wrinkled brow and the sword grasped tightly in his hand.
"Zongzi, what are you thinking about?" As Tangyuan asked her question, she stuck the sheet of paper she had been drawing on to Zongzi's body."A sad face means good luck is on its way! That's what Mooncake told me! Hee hee~"
"It's nothing. I was just thinking about someone I once knew." Zongzi maintained his usual wooden expression.
"Now that you mention it, what kind of person was your Master Attendant? Was he like you?"
"He was much greater than me, you can't even compare us."
"You're really great too, Zongzi! You're always protecting me."
Zongzi was silent again. He didn't know what to say. Because he didn't know how to tell his Master Attendant's wife about her husband's death, at first he wouldn't return to that home. Later on he kept to the shadows nearby to protect his Master Attendant's wife and child. Only after the child was grown up and could protect the family did he finally leave.
But the guilt he felt regarding his Master Attendant's death had not diminished in the slightest. His Master Attendant, did he blame him for not being able to do anything? Zongzi had asked himself that question countless times.
No matter how long Zongzi continued keeping a firm grip on his sword, he still couldn't find an answer.
He had thought he would spend the rest of his life living with this emptiness, until he happened to meet this kindhearted girl, Tangyuan. Staying by her side, all he wanted was to protect her youthful smiling face, free from impurity.
"This time I'm sure I'll keep her safe." Zongzi said these words calmly after a long silence.