Fang Xiaoshi

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Fang Xiaoshi is an NPC in Arknights. He is one of the protagonists of A Death in Chunfen.

Background

A rascal, straight-forward, impatient, yet innocent Liberi boy, Fang Xiaoshi is the only son of the Fang family who lives in Moushan, a remote village in the northwestern desert of Yan. But he has been holding strong detest over his fellow villagers because of the villagers' discrimination against them. He deems them ostracizing the Fang just because they are outsiders settling here who are not a member of the predominant Zhou clan. His disobedience has been a headache to the villagers.

Since the day they settled in Moushan, the Fang has been living a poor life. Xiaoshi's father is a mere hunter-gather who earns his living through hunting in the desert, and he had spent all his wealth to purchase the family's land. His mother was long deceased, yet her death has been kept secret by his father. This is because his mother, originally a Zhou member, fled from the village by attempting to elope with both baby Xiaoshi and a caravan salesman in hopes of exploring the world outside the village, and Mr. Fang only managed to snatch Xiaoshi back during the separation. But she was unaware that she was hoaxed by the stranger. The harsh reality in the outside world mercilessly tortured her as she struggled to earn very little living in a nearby nomadic city. Her miserable life ended on her deathbed due to grave illness, and news of her tragic death brought sorrow to Mr. Fang, hence yearning Xiaoshi to be obedient to avoid her mother's mistake.[2]

Xiaoshi's frustration towards the Zhou clan finally erupted three years ago (Terran year 1099) in a rather disastrous incident. The villagers decided to expand the Yishan Temple, a sacred site of Moushan, but they quietly occupied the Fang's only land, the "Three Mu for Three," without their consent. Even his father decided to keep quiet on their action out of fear of expulsion from Moushan. As retaliation, he stole some of his father's crude explosive used for hunting and then blew up the temple. However, the explosion was so devastating that it injured Xiaoshi in the process. Xiaoshi survived and then quietly fled, and both the villagers and Mr. Fang desperately searched for him. But given the injuries he suffered, they deemed that Xiaoshi would have died in the wilderness.[1]

After fleeing from Moushan, Xiaoshi wanders around the wilderness. Being inspired by wuxia novels, he wishes to become a heroic xiake. But his naivety and impatience has been bringing him trouble to himself.

Vignettes

A Death in Chunfen

After wandering around Yan and reaches area near Yumen, Xiaoshi eventually finds a foothold in the cultic Shanhaizhong, but the acolytes see him as both a trouble-maker and a mere servant. Following the Yumen crisis, the Shanhaizhong decides to abandon him while fleeing away. Xiaoshi heads on to face Qiubai, but he is too weak to face the nüxia. So, he threatens to blow himself up along with Qiubai with some explosives wrapped in a cloth bag. But Qiu easily slashes apart, revealing that the claim was a ruse, and the bag was only filled with some supplies and what Qiu presumed to be the key to his house. Qiu offers to take the kid back to his village, but Xiaoshi, not wanting to go back, pulls a knife on Qiu who quickly closes the distance and holds her blade against the neck of the boy, showing that she could easily kill him if he truly doesn't value his life. Seeing that he does, however, Qiu relents and starts taking him back to Moushan, claiming that taking him to the authorities would only cause trouble for her.

With Xiaoshi constantly attempting to escape from her during their trek, it became a troublesome journey for Qiu. Eventually, they settled down in a restaurant, with Qiubai offering to treat him to a meal, but he quietly signaling to the waiter that Qiu had kidnapped him, and using the excuse to go to the restroom, he escaped once again into the woods. Nevertheless, Qiu easily tracks him down soon after to reprimand him, saying that even her patience has its limits. Suddenly, a hungry tuskbeast stalks the panicked boy, but Qiu takes it down while injuring herself in the process. Xiaoshi gratefully offers some herbs for Qiubai and injures himself to prove that it is not poisoned.

Camping out for the night, Qiu learns that Xiaoshi had been away from his village for three years and that he originally ran away to make a name for himself as a heroic xiake, whether good or bad, which Qiu considers to be ridiculous. Once again, he tells her that he is not yet ready to return, for he is angered his villagers, and instead, counter-offers to accompany Qiu on her journey and learn her kung fu. But Qiu immediately opposes and instead prioritizes on bring back this naïve boy back to his family.[3]

The next morning, the duo reaches Moushan through the Chidao connecting to the village. His return brings shock to the villagers who deems him dead three years ago during the explosion. Having returned home, Xiaoshi informs Qiu to find his father, his only living relative left. Upon meeting his father amidst the crowd and bidding Qiu farewell, he notices that his father is gathering some logs on his back and is making something wired—a wood coffin. However, Mr. Fang quickly drops the topic by stating that it is made for "someone" who has left the village years ago and abruptly interrupting his son, saying that life in the village has been getting progressively harder every year and he must not ruin the village's plan now. Angrily, Xiaoshi berates him for being bullied by the villagers due to their discrimination against other non-Zhou clans. He even dares to proclaim to blow up the temple again. Mr. Fang then responses that if he only comes back just to blow up the temple then run away again, and he urges his son just to be obedient to his seniors, stays in Moushan, and never causes trouble to others forever.[1]

During the village meeting at the partially-rebuilt Yishan Temple, Zhou Shun, the village chief, formally proclaims to consider integrating the Fang into the Zhou clan along with promised protection and blessings, but he has one condition to them: Xiaoshi must forge his death this time by pretending himself to be the unnamed boy killed by a mudslide at the village's Chidao. By doing so, the village could immediately gain financial subsidy from the local authorities, and after that, the family will be reborn as a Zhou. However, Xiaoshi strongly refuses to play along with their scheme, deeming this as desecrating the Fang's name and dishonoring the deceased. Knowing that he will rebel against them, Mr. Zhou orders the villagers to to detain him up until they receive the money. Even though they try to comfort and feed him, the angry boy strongly curses them for their wicked scheme.

The next day, The next day, the villagers are panic of the sudden arrival of the local envoy dispatched by the mandarins. To proceed their plot, they forced Xiaoshi up the mountain. Xiaoshi struggles against their grasp, claiming that he will reveal the plot to the authorities. His words agitate one of them to throw him down the clif, but Qiubai interrupts them just in time, knocking out the two villagers and saving Xiaoshi.

Now leaving the wicked place once and for all, Xiaoshi and Qiubai will once again meet their path in the jianghu under the rising sun.

Xiaoshi, now being freed, plans to return to Moushan and report to the authorities. But his father arrives and stops him from returning. Mr. Fang wants Xiaoshi to obey the villagers so that they will no longer ostracize the family; he claims that he has owed the village too much since the day he settled down in Moushan. Xiaoshi attempts to refute, saying that they could make a better living in a nearby nomadic city beyond the village. To disappoint the boy's ideal, Mr. Fang then reveals the truth regarding his mother's death, and he compares him with his mother: naively seeking a better life in the outside world, but eventually being beaten up by reality. Mr. Fang stands firm, disallowing Xiaoshi to return and threatening him to jump off from the cliff. Xiaoshi, now filled with frustration, finally asks a simple question, and he gets the answer he wants from his father: it would be better for Mr. Fang if "Fang Xiaoshi" his son to die. The boy then jumps off from the cliff to commit suicide, much to the horror of both Qiu and Mr. Fang.

At the bottom of the cliff, Xiaoshi feels that he is both liberated and still alive. It all thanks to Qiu for swiftly catching him through her kung fu while he was falling down. She comments that this is the third time she has saved his life and praises him for still being able to discern good from evil. She allows him to leave the village, journey with her for a while until reaching the nearest city, and mentors him some kung fu but with the oath of killing him if he ever veer from his own justice.[2]

References