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Chapter 8 Colonel at the end of the eighth world

You've probably lost the possibility of recovering the shadow, I'm afraid.The Colonel said while drinking coffee.Like most people who have been used to giving orders to others for many years, he also sat upright when he spoke, with his jaw retracted inwardly.But he didn't mean to impose.What his long-term military career has given him is only a meticulous posture, a well-behaved life and a mountain of memories.As a neighbor, the senior colonel is an ideal candidate.He was affable, quiet and withdrawn, and he played chess well. Indeed, as the watchman said, the old colonel continued, no matter in theory or in reality, the possibility of you recovering your own shadow is almost zero.As long as you are in this place, don't even think about having a shadow, and don't even think about leaving it.This town is what the army calls a one-way crypt, which can only be entered but not exited.Unless the town is freed from its walls?

It never occurred to me that I would lose my shadow forever, I said, thinking it was only a temporary measure.Nobody told me that was the case. No one in this town will tell you anything.The Colonel said the town works in a way that's unique to towns.It was none of the town's business as to who knew what or didn't know what.I also feel a little pitiful for you. What will happen to the shadow in the future? It doesn't matter what happens, just stay there until you die.Have you seen shadows since then? No.Been there a few times, and the caretaker is not hard to see.Said it was for safety reasons.

I'm afraid it's something I can't help but do.The old man shook his head and said, it is the guardian's task to keep the shadow.All responsibility rests with him alone.I am also helpless.The Warden was originally a bad-tempered, headstrong man, who was almost deaf to what was said.I can only be patient and wait for him to change his mind. Just do as you say.I said, but what is he worried about? The colonel drank the coffee in one gulp, put the cup back on the saucer, took out a handkerchief from his pocket and wiped the corners of his mouth.The handkerchief was as old and battle-tested as the clothes on him, but it was well cared for and clean.

Fear that you and your shadow become one.Then you have to start over.After speaking, the old man returned his attention to the chessboard.The types and moves of this chess are somewhat different from what I know, and the old man usually wins.Does it matter if the monkey takes the monk? please please.As I said that, I moved the wall to block the monkey's retreat. The old man nodded frequently and stared at the chessboard.In fact, the overall situation of victory or defeat has been decided, and the old man is determined to win.However, he refused to go straight ahead, and was still deliberating.For him, playing chess is not to defeat the opponent, but to challenge his own ability.

It is sad to part with the shadow and let it die.As he said that, the old man walked sideways and mounted the horse, skillfully blocking the gap between the wall and the king.So my king essentially became a polished commander.Three steps away, the whole army is wiped out. Sadness affects everyone, including me.It would be fine if we separated from the shadow and let him die when we were young, but when we got older, it would be too much to bear.My shadow died when I was sixty-five years old.At that age, there are countless memories. How long can the shadow survive after being stripped away?

Varies from movie to movie.The old man said that some shadows are full of vitality, while others are lifeless.But no matter what, once you are separated, you can't live long in this town.The water and soil here are not suitable for shadows to survive.Winter is long and hard.Few of the shadows survived to a second spring. I stared at the board for a while, and finally gave up hope of winning. There are still five steps to go, the colonel said, is it worth fighting for?It is easy to find out the opponent's mistake within five steps.The outcome of this thing can only be seen at the last moment.

Then try it out. While I was thinking, the old man walked to the window and slightly opened the thick cloth curtain with his fingers.View the outside view from a narrow gap. The next period of time will be the most difficult day for you.It's the same as changing teeth: the old teeth are gone, and the new teeth have not yet grown.Do you understand what I mean? It means that although the shadow is stripped, it is not dead yet. Exactly.The old man nodded, I have also experienced it.The past and the future cannot be well balanced, so I am at a loss.But after the new teeth grow, the old teeth will be forgotten.

You mean the disappearance of the heart? The old man was speechless. Sorry, just kept asking questions.I said, but I don't know anything about this town yet, so I'm in constant panic.I don’t know how the town works, why there are such high walls, why there are unicorns coming in and out every day, and what’s going on in the ancient dream. In short, there is nothing that is not puzzling, and the only person I can ask is you one person. I also don't know the ins and outs of things perfectly.The old man said silently, some things are still unspeakable, and some things are inconvenient to put into words.But you don't have to worry about anything.In a sense, the town is fair.About what you need and what you should know, the town will remind you one by one in the future.You have to learn them one by one through your own efforts.Remember, this is the whole town.The so-called completeness means that there is everything.But if you don't understand fully, then there is nothing, nothing at all.Keep this in mind.Things taught by others are passed on and then destroyed, but what you learn through your own efforts will accompany you throughout your life and help you.You have to keep your eyes open and your ears sideways to use your brain to figure out the meaning of what the town prompts.If you have the heart, let it work while you have the heart.That's all I can teach you.

If the staff quarter where the girl lives is a place whose former glory has long since disappeared into the darkness, then the official residence area in the southwest of the town is a place that is losing its splendor in the dry light.Spring brings life, summer breaks it down, and winter monsoons dry it up.Two-storey white official buildings are lined up on a gentle and wide slope called Xishan.It was originally designed according to the standard of three households in each building, but the entrance hall protruding in the middle is shared by each household.No matter the cedar boards inlaid on the outer wall, the window frames, or the narrow eaves and the railings on the windows, they are all painted with white paint.Looking around, it's all white.On the west hillside, white is everywhere: the unnaturally dazzling white that has just been painted, the white that has been yellowed by the sun for a long time, and the white that seems to have lost everything in the wind and rain.All these are all stretched endlessly along the sandy road around the mountain.The official building has no walls, only a slender flower bed with a width of one meter under the narrow porch.The flower beds are well manicured, with crocuses, pansies and calendulas in spring and cosmos in autumn.When the flowers bloom, the building is more like a ruin.

In the past, this area must have been called a free and elegant area.While strolling leisurely on the hillside, it is not difficult to find its past scene.There must be children playing on both sides of the road, the sound of the piano is melodious, and the warm fragrance of dinner is rippling.I can feel these memories on my skin, like passing through several transparent glass doors. The so-called official house is not just a name. In the past, officials did live here.Although the status of officials is not very high, they are not low-level employees, but belong to the middle class.They try to maintain a peaceful life here.

But these people no longer exist, gone forever. The latter are all ex-soldiers.They lost their shadows, like cicada shells attached to the wall in the warm sun, enjoying their time on the monsoon-swept western slopes, and they had almost nothing to defend.Six to nine elderly ex-soldiers live in each building. The caretaker appointed me to live in one of these official residences.In my official residence there is a colonel, a major, a lieutenant, and a sergeant.The sergeant cooks and does chores, and the colonel gives orders, just like life in a military camp.In the past, the old people were so busy preparing for war, fighting, and truce, so busy dealing with revolution and counter-revolution, that they lost the chance to start a family.A bunch of loners. They wake up early every day, habitually eat breakfast in two or three bites, and then automatically and consciously devote themselves to their respective jobs.Some used things like small bamboo boards to scrape old paint on buildings, some pulled weeds in the front yard, some repaired furniture, and some pulled carts down the mountain to pick up rations.After finishing their morning work in this way, the old people gather in the sunny place and immerse themselves in the memories of the past. I was assigned a room facing east on the second floor.In front of a mountain, the view is not very wide, but you can still see the river and the clock tower on the side.The room looked like it hadn't been used for a long time, the white gray walls were covered with black mold spots, and there was a layer of white dust on the window lattice.It contained an old bed, a small dining table, and two chairs.Thick curtains hung over the windows, giving off a musty smell.The wooden floor was so worn that it creaked with every step. In the early morning, the senior colonel next door came in, and the two had breakfast together.In the afternoon, I played chess in this dark room with the curtains drawn.In the sunny afternoon, there is no way to kill time except playing chess. It must be unbearable for a young man like you to stay in a dark room with the curtains drawn in such a fine weather, right?University Road. yes. For me, having someone to play chess with me is something I wish for.Almost everyone here is not interested in playing chess.I'm afraid I'm the only one who still wants to play chess now. Why did you abandon the shadow? The old man stared at his fingers illuminated by the sunlight from the gap in the curtains, then left the window for a moment and walked towards the dining table. That's right!He said, probably because it took too long to defend the town?Once I leave here, I feel that my life will completely lose its meaning.Well, it doesn't matter what happened now. Have you ever regretted throwing away your shadow? No regrets.The old man shook his head a few times without regretting it once.Because there is nothing to regret. I crushed the monkey to death with a wall and opened a passage for the king to move about. Great hand!The old man said, you can use the wall to defend the corner, and the king is free again.But at the same time, my knight can also show its skills! While the old man was slowly thinking about the next step, I boiled a pot of water and added new coffee.Countless afternoons, I thought, would be spent like this.In this walled town, I didn't have much choice.
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