Golden Sight (Part 1/2)
:Tang Dynasty!China x Blind!Reader:
Yao sighed wearily to himself as he approached the village. He was traveling for three days on his horse to the said village, only to get ambushed by a couple of thieves who were waiting to attack any unsuspecting travelers on their way. However, the Chinese man was fierce and he happened to have his Dao, a single edged long sword, to counter against the attacks. Though he was able to fend off the thieves with his nimbleness and great accuracy, he realized that his horse companion had been stolen while he was distracted.
Shrugging off the loss, he continued on his journey to the village on foot for the next two days, only stopping to drink the clear water from a couple of streams as he passed by. At last, he was finally able to make out the outlined rooftops of various homes and the Chinese man walked briskly down the road to enter the gates of the village. Upon arrival, Yao was in desperate need of a place to stay, some food to eat, and water to drink. And it was when he started wandering that a familiar sound reached his ears.
A melodic sound filled the air and resonated in mellow and bittersweet tones, causing the bustling village to suddenly reduce to an immediate hush. Drawn to the sorrowful song, the man found himself walking towards the garden located behind an extravagant house and stopped when the musician came into view.
A coy, shy smile formed from the dainty lips of a young girl and her eyes were closed in content. Both of her petite hands were at work: her right hand, which was supporting the bow,continuously glided over the two strings while the left held the instrument's neck in place; her nimble fingers flew across the strings and swiftly positioned from one note to the next. She was dressed in a delicate (color) silk robe with a sash tied around her waist and her long (h/c) hair was decorated with intricate hair ornaments made of carved porcelain and gold. She looked no more than several years younger than the Chinese man, he thought as he watched her play that wonderful bittersweet melody that reminded him of lost lovers amidst a bamboo forest.
Yao didn't know how long he stood in his place as he listened to the female play. The music was very entrancing--so, so entrancing that he felt his surroundings melt away. Suddenly he was before this girl, who seemed to be sitting by his side amidst the grassy plains and playing this lovely melody for him. Yao saw himself admiring the girl who was oh-so-close, as if she were his lover, stroking her silky locks and sliding them down to touch the delicate softness of her glowing cheek. This girl in turn, resumed playing with the very same smile lingering on her lips, her eyes remained closed in content. The man felt his heart swell when she leaned towards his touch, embracing the contact as she continued to play, wrist flicking in smooth steady movements while the melody remained undisturbed.
When the music reached its long final note, Yao too ended his vision and came to his senses.
The young man raised his head up to see the girl set her instrument down to her side and open her eyes to stare at the sky. The young girl was beautiful, Yao thought as he watched her from afar, heart thoroughly stirred by the wonderful music. His mind continued to ring pleasantly from the little performance and linger throughout his body. It wasn't normal for him to become as impressed as he did now; that young lady touched his heart and his very soul as if...she spoke to him. As he contemplated on whether he should approach her, the girl suddenly turned her head towards him to meet his eyes.
At this point Yao jolted and froze into place, alarmed by the girl’s sudden movements. He felt his pulse quicken while his brow started to bead with cold sweat. What could he say to her about his presence? He did slip in through the garden walls of her estate. He knew that if he was caught by her family, he could be forced to leave the estate or worse, the village itself! As the man continued to stare in fear as he prepared for the worst case scenario, he was surprised to see the girl look down and shake her head to and fro, as if she thought of some ridiculous nonsense.
Clearly something was strange about her, Yao thought as he sucked in a breathful of air. He swore she had seen him directly...so why isn't she saying anything to reveal him to the family? Yao swallowed as he turned towards the wall where he had climbed over and trudged through the grass as quietly as possible. Within the first step he took however, the girl perked her ears and turned her head towards him, a small smile spread across her lips. Yao felt himself freeze again.
“...I could have sworn I heard someone in my garden,” She murmured softly, gaze latched onto his. “And I reckon you've come to listen to my playing?” Her voice was so soft, so gentle and inviting that Yao knew he was safe. He breathed a sigh of relief and relaxed his shoulders.
“Yes, I have.” Yao answered firmly to express respect, bowing down with hands clasped on top of each other. He heard a small gasp in response and he straightened, face set into a gentle expression. It was common for women in his nation to express surprise upon presence of a male upon first glance and interaction with one was not widely supported though allowed. The nation possessed rules of chivalry and men were to act virtuous and respectful towards their counterparts; physical contact with a lady was prohibited unless she allowed it to happen so it was considered a great scandal to hold hands with her without her consent. And of course, Yao knew the rules very well.
Once the girl seemed collect her bearings together, Yao’s expression softened.
“I sincerely apologize for the intrusion, my lady.” He spoke honestly. “I am merely a visitor traveling to this village whose ears embraced the beautiful melody you made with that Erhu. I did not mean to enter in your gardens to watch you play...and I’ll leave if my presence displeases you…” Yao seemed to trail off when he heard her laugh.
“Nonsense!” She replied joyfully. “I knew about your presence as I was playing! And I did not mind having several ears listen to my music. It’s just…” Her expression turned solemn and slightly distant. “...I've never had anyone venture into the garden to witness the one who produces the melody. Mother and Father...they've never allowed anyone to see me. They...are afraid for me.”
“If you do not mind me asking, why must they be so frightened for their beautiful blossom, my lady?” Yao found himself asking. The girl let out a secret smile as she closed her eyes and reopened them slowly.
“...My good sir, this blossom lacks many petals despite its developed color and full fragrance. The sun and the rain may embrace her, but the blossom herself cannot recover what she had lost since birth. My good sir, I cannot make use of my eyes as I do not have the ability to see.” At the girl’s words, Yao felt his eyes widen in shock before he nodded gravely.
So that explains why she was unable to recognize him. Despite her confession, Yao regained his composure and let out a gentle smile.
“My lady, I disagree with your statement--the blossom is still glowing with youth; she may have lost a couple of petals but she herself did not decay. The blossom continues to live and produce such a sweet fragrance that begs others to protect it from harm and danger.” There was a slight moment of silence before she spoke again.
“What is your name, good sir?”
“Forgive me, my lady. My name is Wang Yao.”
“Wang Yao…” She repeated.
“If you may, I wish to know the name of the blossom.”
“Of course. It is (L.Name) (F.Name)...daughter of the (L.Name) heir.”
“That name certainly suits the preserved beauty of this radiant flower.” He murmured. She smiled gently before she gestured her hands towards him.
“Please approach me so that I may see your face.”
The man spent no time in following her request as he slowly made his way towards the back steps of the house where she sat. She waited patiently, hands clasped neatly in front of her, taking in the rustle of his clothes and the soft crunching of his feet under the fresh grass. Once he stood before her and made the move to kneel down, the girl held a hand to signal a stop.
“Do not kneel,” She murmured as she took in his presence. “I will stand up.”
With those words, her hands started searching for his feet and once she found them, began moving their way up past his ankles, his calves and thighs until she stopped at the waist. Yao stood still and watched her feel him with interest.
“...You have strong legs,” She commented as her hands lingered over his waist. “You must have knowledge in riding horses and perfecting the fighting arts.” Her hands then reached for his right hand. “You are skilled in using a sword with this hand; but you do not harm others without a reason...rather you prefer to defend yourself in dire situations.” Her hands reached for his left hand. “Your left hand is sturdy for handling the harnesses for horses and bringing out their gentle nature; you have a firm control over the animals.”
Her hands trailed up from his hand to his arm and over to his abdomen where she grazed up to his chest and she pressed over his heart. She let a smile spread across her lips as she felt it beat in a flurry before it settled down into a steady rhythm. “You are surprised to allow a lady to feel you...but you have great control over yourself...and a very sincere heart.”
While all of this occurred for the man, Yao could not help but realize how the young girl was able to make up for her blindness with her other senses; her words were completely true about his character that could not be hidden from her even if he lied. The girl smiled again as she raised herself up to feel up the base of his neck and finally his cheeks, eyes, down the curve of his nose, mouth and chin.
“...You’re very young.” She said as she continued to map out the features of his face. “What is your age?”
“I am nearing the age of twenty-two, my lady.” He replied softly.
“That is not far from mine.” She commented as she slowly removed her hands from his face and cast her (e/c) eyes towards his. “I am eighteen years of age...Mother tells me that I am ripe to be picked.” She let out a long sigh. “Sir Wang, I must ask you if you have a wife as you should have been wed two years ago.”
“I have not, my lady.” Yao replied as he felt the ghost of her touch linger on his skin. Oh, how shameful he felt for longing to feel her soft hands on him again so soon! “In honesty, I have objected to the many proposals from families of various women. I do not approve of wedding women who would take advantage of my family’s wealth for their selfishness. I am...brought into the world by nobles who were at the brink of losing their possessions, until they found jobs as merchants in the Silk Road. My older brothers and their wives carried on the trading business while I placed myself as an apprentice to a fighting arts master.”
“That is a very reasonable statement.” She nodded in agreement. “Unfortunately I am very unlucky as I am forced to abide by the commands made by Mother and Father. My family is constantly targeted by thieves and I've…” She paused as she looked down, face setting into a pained grimace. “...At a very young age...I was kidnapped and held for ransom. Of course...my family had no choice but to pay an immense price for their daughter to return home safe. And since then...I had to live a suffocating life where I was forced to rely on my servants for survival when I am perfectly capable of living without support.”
Yao felt his heart sink and weigh heavily from the stories of her burdens. He felt that he had to do something...anything that would ease the heaviness---he wanted to protect her, to keep her safe, to help her. He knew it was the only thing he could do now; as he had no other intentions. Despite her acceptance however, Yao knew he could not ask her upon meeting so soon; her parents may most likely object to the proposal and perhaps…forbid him from ever seeing her again. But...if he doesn't ask her now...he may never see her again.
Should he risk asking the lady for her protection?
The more he thought about it, the more his desire grew.
“My lady,” He spoke, determination set in his hazel eyes as he bowed in respect. “It would be an honor to serve you under my protection for the time-being...and the future. May I ask for this blossom’s approval?”
This time, the girl’s lips curved downwards into a frown. “I...If I was given the decision...I would be delighted to accept your proposal. However…Mother and Father are hostile towards strangers…particularly men. I must apologize, Sir Wang, with all due respect. However, I thank you as I've not encountered men such as yourself with a sincere heart.”
It was just as Yao had expected. He straightened himself up and exhaled silently. With a quick glance towards the sky, he noticed the day coming to a close with the scarlet sun settling down across yellow-purple skies.
“The pleasure is mine, my lady. The day grows dark...please, take care of yourself; I must leave and find a place to stay for the night.” With a final bow, he turned to walk across the garden and climb over the wall when the girl stepped down with a small protest.
“Please...Sir Wang…” She murmured as her hand reached out to grasp onto anything of the man, whether it were the cloth of his clothes or his limb. Despite her blindness, her (e/c) eyes seemed to be filled with reluctance and Yao halted in his steps to allow her to approach him. As she reached for his side, her hand groped towards the sheath of the Dao sword and felt for his arms. “Please...save me from this prison. Please help me see the rest of this nation...I want to experience freedom...and adventure. So please…”
Yao stiffened upon those words. She sounded so...desperate, to the point where her voice sounded just as sorrowful as the melody she played. Just like the grief in her music, her voice matched her longing to escape and become free. Yao realized that he must have been destined by the heavens to protect this damaged blossom...for she had beckoned to him through her music. As much as it pained him for wanting to protect her, he couldn't do so if he were caught escaping with her. He shook his head slowly to answer, words unable to form until he was able to respond with a sad apology. As he slowly moved away from her, Yao continued to walk away as she trailed behind until she stood before him and hastily reached down to grab onto the sheath of Yao’s sword. With the other hand, the girl grabbed onto the hilt and pulled the sword out in one fluid movement.
She brandished the weapon with both hands, drawn in front of the man, stance rigid and clumsy. Clearly, she did not have any experience with weaponry, Yao thought as he backed away slightly to keep distance. The situation before him was tense as the sword was pointed towards him and held by a person with no knowledge; it was certain that the lady could possibly injure him or worse, injure herself with the sharp blade.
“Please…” She repeated through a shaky murmur. “I will kill myself if you do not take me.”
“My lady,” Yao said slowly. “There is no need for a blossom to harm herself. Please, my lady...please lower the weapon.”
“I will not.” Her hands trembled in fear. “I will cut off my own head for your sake.”
“Why must you for my sake? My lady...please do not do anything rash. I will never forgive myself if the lady is harmed.” Yao sidestepped from the sword and approached her steadily while he ensured that she heard his footsteps. When he grew close to her, he placed his hands gently atop hers and wrapped his fingers around the hilt. “Please, my lady…if it pleases you...may I request a night of rest in your estate? Please remove your hands to fulfill my request.”
She seemed to stiffen upon the close proximity and contact of this man. As she calmed down, she slowly released her hands from the sword and collapsed onto her knees. Yao made sure that his sword was safely tucked back in its sheath before he tended to the girl whose hands started to fidget and shake.
“My lady…” He murmured as he reached to encase her shaking hands into his and hold them firmly. “I am grateful that you are safe. Now please...if you’ll be so kind as to help me lead into the household…” Yao was suddenly interrupted by the sound of the paper door sliding open to reveal a woman.
“Miss...it is growing late...the master wishes to--” She stopped upon the sight before her and let out a shriek. “What is this man doing here?! A-and...he is dirtying her! Guards! Guards! Master!”
“P-Please…!” Yao protested, raising his head in panic. “The lady...she is frightened! I was only tending to her for comfort!”
“You lecherous man!” The servant screamed, ignoring his protests. “I will have you arrested and executed for harming her! Where are the guards?!” Yao swallowed as he continued to stare at the woman as if she were mad and decided it best to leave the estate. To his surprise however, the girl reached to cling onto his hands when he drew them away.
“My lady...the family does not want me. Please...I must go.” Yao murmured painfully. The girl did not say a word as she held onto his hands and bit down on her bottom lip. “Please...my lady…I will try to see you again.” Again he was met with resistance.
Finally, Yao was met with dread as the guards and the master came into view to see the scene before them. Upon entrance, the servant almost jumped with glee as she bowed in respect and approached him to whisper something into his ear. He wasted no time in listening to every single word before he spoke the two words that would forever determine Yao’s fate.
Yao sat frozen in his place as his hazel eyes widened in disbelief. The guards approached the man to surround him and the lady. As the two were ripped apart from their grasps, Yao found himself watching her struggle against the guards’ grips as she was being dragged away towards the grand house. He was unable to form a word as he watched her with haunted and empty eyes. All he heard from her was screaming.
“YAO!! YAAOOOO!! YAOOOOOOO!!!!”
She did not even address her by “Sir Wang” anymore. It was his first name that was uttered from her lips in a voice that was too painful...too longing...too desperate...just like her melody. She couldn't see...but she knew. She knew all too well of the consequences that was sure to befall him. And he knew it as well.
But he wanted to help her. He wanted to let her ride the horses with him. He wanted to have her experience the wonders and hardships of living in a vast world. He wanted to let her taste her freedom.
And now it will never happen; he will die in a moment.
He was forced to sit on his knees while his wrists were bound by rope behind him. The guards surrounded him in a semi-circle and begun to chant something sinister...something dangerous and cruel and uninviting...just like a wish that invited the dead to take away another fresh soul. As the chanting grew louder, so did her screams. She was crying, Yao noticed as he stared at her. She was crying for him and she could not do anything for him. She was blind. She could not see him. He did not want her to see him die.
The chanting raised again in volume. The local townspeople gathered about the garden walls to witness the event. Yao felt his heart pulse in his ears as the sweat dripped down his forehead. He could not allow the people to see him as a foolish man...he wanted them to know how honorable he was for the lady he met...of how one misunderstanding had led him to his death.
He heard a sword being removed from its hilt behind him. She heard it too and she screamed towards her father for a last attempt to save him...to spare his life...to change his decision. The man remained unstirred by his daughter’s protests and he continued to watch the young man with a cold gaze.
The chanting grew louder; the guards were now bloodthirsty savages from an unknown island. They shouted; they spat; they hollered and hooted; they danced around; they spewed incomprehensible words---they were monsters under human flesh.
He felt the sword graze his neck before it pressed onto his tender skin enough so that he felt the warm trickle of blood slide down. The sword then drew away as the chanting raised to its maximum volume.
Yao felt as if everything went in slow motion. As the sword was held poised behind him, he readied his death by gazing up at the lady, as he felt hot tears prick his eyes and flow down his cheeks. He watched her scream and sob and reach for the last time. Somehow he felt his mouth moving slightly to let his last words flow forth before closing them and curving them into a bitter smile.
I’m sorry for failing you, my lady...my beautiful blossom...(Name).
He knew she couldn't see him but he decided to mouth the words anyway. He wished half-halfheartedly that she could hear them...just as she was able to hear his slight movements. He then let his eyelids slide down to block out his view of the world. The chanting stopped.
The end was near. He felt death lingering above him to embrace him. Without any hesitation, the guard behind him suddenly let out a shrill yell and brought the sword down.