Hilaria was a city of Theodosia , which you could find after walking three days outside Vincentias capital, Gemma. The Marina River flowed through several mountains surrounding their biggest peak, the Aurelion. This town was famous for its fine architecture and sweet fruits. It was a good place to live, without the disturbances of humanitys wars and natural disasters.
. . .
The sound of popping firecrackers and loud drumming filled the streets of Hilaria. Red lanterns hung from house to house, and Dalian, which was used to wish for a years blessing, was attached to the gates. Last year is blessed, and all the years to come are auspicious.
On the first day of the month, the alleys would be full of the scent of lavender, enriching each heart that passes. People would line up in front of an old mans wagon where he would sell hidden sweets.
This festival celebrated New Years Day, the biggest holiday of our people. We celebrated by wearing colorful clothes in autumn colors.
Little kids laughed at the firecrackers popping without warning, while young men wearing lion masks danced in tune to the sound of the drums.
It was a long and steady winter, but the sky would not always be gray. It was just a reminder that the year would be auspicious and the Heavenly Father would send out a clear sky.
As the firecrackers exploded, smoke rose up the sky out of an orange flame. The shouts of people increased. In response, the people who lit the firecrackers became more hasty in their work.
Celine, the wife of William , came out to watch the festival with him. He wrapped his arms around her thin waist as if he were trying to protect her from the winter cold. To him, she was the most precious thing in the world.
William: ”Celine, aren you cold? ”
Celine: ”No. ” Her lips opened with a smile. Even after a long time, the smile of his wife was as gentle as ever. When they were younger, he had fallen in love with her at first sight.
Hed met her a long time ago. Due to his mother, William had descended from the temple. Its been three months since hed left the place to go visit his home, and he would have to go back soon.
He had returned late last night, singing a lullaby to his wife and daughter. He held the door open for a long time and simply looked at his child before going inside. When he had came back, Celines face seemed absolutely beautiful. Upon seeing him, she had smiled as a blush painted her smooth cheeks.
Now Nanny, who had been trailing them with their baby, asked.
Nanny: ”William, the preparations for the temple must have been very difficult. Are you sure you want to go there again? ”
When Celine looked at her husband anxiously, he shook his head and replied.
William: ”As long as I have my wife Celine and our daughter Camellia by my side, I can do anything. ”
Celine laughed. As her slender eyebrows arched up, her bright eyes simmered.
Celine: ”Oh, so thats what the monk named our child? ”
”He named her Camellia for that they first met in a forest full of camellias ”(flower)
”Camellia. . . I love our daughters name. I love her. I pray that she will grow up to be as pure and true as this mornings sky, and that she will live happily as her name implies. ”
Love filled the eyes of his beautiful and precious wife and he pulled her closer.
The sound of the drums got louder, waking up Camellia, who had fallen asleep in Nannys arms. The baby looked around with sultry eyes.
Performing the fire dance was a man, holding onto a stick of fire while dancing. Its elongated body flexed, shaking the blue beads adorning itself.
Another man with a lions mask stood proudly while facing the blue dragon. The gold material attached to his eyes turned back and forth like the kings bell, shining brilliantly under the sunlight. It was as if the lions essence was driving away evil.
The festival harmonized the village as fire burned between them. Their dancing accelerated.
The excitement of the festival spread to the smiling faces of the family.
At that moment, a pair of eyes glowed dark while peering down at them from up high. As he climbed the tower of Ava and watched the festival, he beckoned to his predecessor, Nelson.
Abel: ”Nelson, take a look at that. ”
Nelson: ”Yes, Abel? ”
Abel: ”Down there . . . do you know who the woman wearing the green dress is? ”
Abel pointed to the woman and Nelsons eyes followed. At first glance, he noticed that the woman was a wife with a family. Although she seemed poor, she smiled without worry or distress. She looked beautiful even in Nelsons eyes.
Nelson: ”This isn good. Its barely been three months since the birth of her daughter . . . but even this wouldn prevent him from letting go any woman that he has noticed, ” Nelson muttered. ”She is Celine Greenhart, the wife of Scholar William Greenhart. ”
Nelson deliberately emphasized that Celine was a mans wife, hoping that it might change Abelss mind.
Abel: ”What are they doing? What is he doing? ”
Abel peered at Celine as he questioned about her husband. He opened his ears up to Nelson, but his ferocious eyes were still looking at Celine Greenhart.
e a family that manages to get by in Hilaria. Although a scholar, William Greenhart is simply an ordinary student. ”
He laughed. They were powerless, so the woman would be all his.
Good. They do after all live in such a rotten place like this . . . I shouldve known. ”
As Abel appetite grew, cold sweat flowed down Nelsons back. This was definitely a problem. However, Nelson knew that he would do all that was ordered of him. His conscience remained weak.
Nodding his head, he swore allegiance like a dog.
Nelson: ”Seems like that woman caught a waste as a husband. ”Abel turned and clucked his tongue unconsciously.
. . .
Celine: ”Mother, you can sleep now. ”
Celine lifted her head up and encouraged her mother-in-law to immerse herself in sleep.
William Mother: ”When you grow old, sleep only reduces your time to live. Celine, go ahead and sleep without me. ”
Her mother-in-law shook her head and peered at Camellias tiny face. Their family relatives had been disappointed that their daughter-in-law was unable to have a son, but seeing her first granddaughter now, she was plenty satisfied. These days, she had been immersed in the fun of children.
Williams mother: ”The more I look at you, the more you resemble your mom. ”
The babys eyes were drowsy and her dried lips moved little by little to breathe. Her mother-in-law gently toughed the babys plumped cheeks, red from the cold breeze that came through the window.
Celine smiled at her mother-in-laws words. She stared into the air with anxious eyes as the paper hanging on the circular window trembled in the wind. If it was cold here, the mountain temple would be colder for her husband. She missed him severely. He had left three days ago after seeing the festival with her.
She placed a letter for him on a frame. In it, she wrote Are you doing well? Ive been making more winter clothes to pass the time without you . . .
A rattling sound suddenly came from outside. Had the blizzard striked the gate? Celine frowed and focused on embroidering instead, but it just got louder. It wasn the sound of the wind, but rather somebody knocking on the door.
Nanny, who had been helping with the embroidering on the side, raised her head. ”My Lady, Ill go and check it out. ” As she stood up, the clothes that she had been working on fell. When she opened the
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