Chapter 14: Scenery Of The Nu Capital
All of a sudden, the horse carriage increases in speed, Gui Wan turns her head, purposely ignoring the tenderness in Ye Li’s eyes as she sets her eyes on the remote setting outside the carriage. The singing that filled the carriage has already come to a stop, but outside the carriage, the carefree singing can still be faintly heard, continuously drilling into Gui Wan’s ear, bringing a distinctive tune to this desolated scenery, causing her to blur into the wilderness here, confused as to where she is.
The carriage maintained its peace, but it is not at all boring. Perhaps it is the singing from before, perhaps it is the returning to his homeland, this type of silent atmosphere is instead spiced with the slightest sense of happiness, making Ye Li incessantly savour it and not break it. He too, appears to be staring at the scenery outside the carriage, whilst his sight lingers on the person besides the carriage curtains from the corner of his eyes.
Just when she almost thought such peace would last forever, waves of voices had already penetrated its way through into the carriage. Gui Wan overlooks everything from the little carriage window, upon seeing the city, she could not help but to be filled with heartfelt praises, so this is the Nu Capital! After staring for a long time, did she finally realise the mystery of this city. The horse carriage hurriedly rushes forward in arrival, only seeing a scene of the Gobi Desert in front, from the outside view, it is but a yellow coloured Gobi barrel, upon closer approach, does one find that it is actually bubbling with the liveliness of people, and only then does one realise it is a natural formed city. Only by looking from beyond the city gates, is one able to see the remarkably vibrant atmosphere inside, a heavily populated city.
“This is my homeland, the Nu Capital, what do you think, how does it compare to the Capital City?” Ye Li suddenly speaks up, questioning her.
Her face that had been fixed up by Mo Na’s hands could only reveal a slight expression, Gui Wan indifferently says with a smile: “A natural fortress, is indeed different from the usual,” After a little pause, does she slowly give her answer, “But compared to the long established air of royalty the Capital City holds, four words, level falls far short.”
Heartily laughing aloud upon hearing this, Ye Li is not at all angered, “You’re right, it is indeed so, the Capital City’s air of royalty, I too, have long yearned for.” Within his accented Han language, the four words “have long yearned for” is spoken with an aggravated tone, causing Gui Wan to lightly frown upon hearing this.
Just when Ye Li’s words of deeper meaning were spoken, the horse carriage suddenly stops, outside the carriage, someone loudly calls out: “Your highness, Eldest Prince has long been waiting up ahead.”
“I have made Brother wait too long.” Ye Li lowly laughs as he answers, in the moment he throws his body forward, he lifts the curtains and leaves the carriage. It is in this moment when the curtain was lifted, that Gui Wan attentively looks into the outside environment, ten steps away, a team of small troop awaits, a man stands in the middle, his clothing distinctively differs from the rest, he must be the Nu Tribe’s Eldest Prince, sweeping her eyes across, Gui Wan is extremely disappointed, this person is tall with a strong built, but has a look of insolence, such appearance is clearly the epitome of a barbarous man, compared to Ye Li’s dignified demeanour, again, using those same four words, level falls far short, she cannot believe these two people are actually brothers.
Ye Li steps off the carriage, he turns and looks into Gui Wan’s eyes, extending his hand in offer of support as she gets off the carriage. Gui Wan obliquely shrinks back, holding onto the carriage’s armrest, her foot stepping on the ground, upon landing, her body felt light, unable to summon any strength, her body shakes, and actually could not stand properly, elbow sensing warmth, Ye Li is already holding onto her, sighing as he says: “Don’t force yourself, your body has not yet recovered.”
She really wanted to throw off his hand, unfortunately her body just have no strength whatsoever, Gui Wan bitterly laughs at herself as she can only let him link onto her.
“Ye Li, who is this woman?” The Eldest Prince who is shrouded in barbarous air calls out in surprise, completely unable to understand Ye Li’s actions. This haughty younger brother of his, when did he have such expressions of tenderness? Carefully inspecting this very frail looking woman, although her figure is graceful, but her looks are average, not even half as good as Mo Na.
Noticing Eldest Prince’s puzzlement, Ye Li does not explain, only greeting: “[Older] Brother, I’m back. This……” Turning to look at Gui Wan, he speaks again, “This is the person in my painting, I have brought her back.”
She’s the person in the painting? Eldest Prince reveals a look of doubt as he sweeps a glance across Gui Wan, he was originally very interested in Ye Li’s extremely treasured painting, but now that he sees the real person, his interest completely disappears, not only does she have not even half a point of beauty, she is also sickly, not at all meeting his expectations of beauties.
Not caring anymore, Eldest Prince walks up to him, patting Ye Li’s shoulder as he laughingly says: “Good to have you back, Royal Father is waiting for you, and wants to have a good to chat with you.”
Having almost shattered her eardrums due to the Eldest Prince’s thunderous laughing, Gui Wan turns her head, ever since she stepped off the carriage, they have all been speaking in the Nu language, she cannot even understand half a word they say, and only knows that that Eldest Prince’s eyes are presumptuous, looking over her two times, his eyes cold, and even carries disdain, laughing to herself inside, Gui Wan softly sighs, to actually make a show of his feelings so clearly, this person really is a barbarous man.
Signalling Mo Na over, tenderly handing Gui Wan over to her, he quietly gives an order before both Ye Li and Eldest Prince enters the city side by side, the two of them talking and laughing, expressions cheerful, familial affections overflowing from their words.
Mo Na supports Gui Wan as the two of them slowly follow behind, by widening her distance from Ye Li, only then could Gui Wan have the chance to carefully inspect her surroundings, looking all around the place, the setting of this foreign land truly is vastly different from that of the Celestial Empire, after a month of commuting, she has long been in a tired state, now she can heartily enjoy herself, her mood lightens up, temporarily letting go of all her troubles, wholeheartedly touring this place.
Mo Na has spent an entire month taking care of Gui Wan by her side, to see her so relaxed right now, she is also infected by the pleasure, pointing out the local culture and customs as they walk.
The group quickly arrives in the middle of the city, Gui Wan watches as Ye Li greets people along the way, everyone’s faces carries a look of happiness as they greet the two princes, inevitably she was slightly surprised, in the Celestial Empire, the common people practically have no chance of getting to know the imperial family, but here, it seems that everyone knows the princes, after a little pondering, did she understand, this is the Nu Tribe’s distinctive attribute, it is also where this tribe’s unity lies, the vitality of such young ethnic community seems to be completely shining through in this moment, the Celestial Empire on the other hand, is actually far less than the Nu Tribe in this aspect.
Mo Na gently pulls Gui Wan, signally to sit in the horse carriage prepared at the city gates, Gui Wan reveals a bitter look, she had just gotten off the carriage and she has to get on another one again? Giving Mo Na a slightly puzzled look.
Lightly laughing out loud, Mo Na says: “There is still quite a bit of distance from here to the palace, his highness says your body is not well, cannot ride a horse, that’s why a horse carriage was prepared.”
Unable to refuse, under a state of helplessness, she once again sits in the horse carriage with Mo Na. Ye Li and Eldest Prince mounts a horse, riding at the front in lead, the entire group heading into the centre of the Nu Capital.
Along the way, as if the warm welcome was not enough, fresh flowers are flying in from the sides, thrown towards the pair of princes in the middle, children offering flowers one after another, there are also young ladies publicly ogling at them, even Gui Wan could feel the passion of this nation, unable to help but to reveal a smile, this type of solid and sincere support, in the Celestial Empire is practically an inconceivable phenomenon.
Gui Wan was in the midst of savouring the distinctiveness of this nation, when within a blink of an eye, the palace hall was already in sight.
Compared the Celestial Empire’s glamorous imperial palace, the palace here will inevitably appear shabby, but as compared to the Celestial Empire’s completely different structure and style, it still gives Gui Wan a pleasant surprise. In a setup like this, escaping from this place seems to be slightly easier than she had expected.
Gui Wan wordlessly follows Mo Na into the palace despite being in a situation of being pushed around. Ye Li did not show up again after entering the palace, it seems that he does not have the leisurely time to come over, she also felt so much more at ease with this. Upon entering a room prepared by Mo Na, she was so tired after taking a bath that she fell asleep, in a blur, she seems to have felt Mo Na play out her “skilful hands” on her face again.
Her awareness level finally fades out as she has the most peaceful sleep within a month.
No dreams, no fear, she opens her eyes, the sunlight almost touching her, blinking her eyes in discomfort, she finally realises she is lying in an unfamiliar setting, indifferently smiling, Gui Wan sits up, the sense of pain from the drugs has mostly disappeared from her body, and so she could not help but to be in a great mood, her eyes circles around, to find that she is all alone in the room, she fumbles out of bed.
Sitting at the edge of the bed, she looks down to see a snow white sheep wool rug laid out on the ground, Gui Wan’s barefoot lands on the floor, feeling that the wool is perfectly tailored, making one feel as though they are standing on a cloud. Standing up, she carefully inspects the room, although this place is far less elegant when compared to her bedroom in the Prime Minister Estate, it is not short of natural comfort, she can see that the one who arranged this room is someone with skilful hands, could it be the work of Mo Na? Sighing at her own blind and disorderly thinking, Gui Wan turns around and heads towards the windows.
This appears to be the second floor, the window is really big and low, one can practically stick the majority of their body out of it, she half leans on the window sill, bending her body to look down, gaining a panoramic view of a small half of the palace, she quietly observes the view before her eyes, a faint smile harbouring obscurity.
Suddenly a surprised cry sounds below her, she looks over attentively, below is someone with a refined appearance, a face full of shock looking towards her, mouth wide open, but emits no sound, not long after, a small group of people gathers below the window, all who are pointing around, incessantly gibbering, speaking words of the Nu language that Gui Wan has no understanding of, sounds of several sighing were also mixed amongst them.
The clamouring enters her ears, Gui Wan frowns, turning to leave the window, only after a while, did the noisiness outside restore its peace, she was just about to get up, going back to the window to observe the situation, when a burst of knocks sounds.
Gui Wan’s two words of “please enter” had yet to leave her lips, when the doors were already opened, Ye Li grins as he enters the room, a trace of praising and amazement seeming to have flashed by his eyes, “Suo Ge Ta, did you hear the singing of the birds this early morning?”
No longer bothering to show pointless struggles towards this addressment “Suo Ge Ta”, Gui Wan gentle rope in her hair, indifferently saying: “Scent of flowers lingers, singing of birds moving, this is indeed a great place that has the spirit to produce outstanding figures.”
“Do you like this place then?” He asks tentatively.
“Beautiful flowers are planted in the ground, the water is of course great, but are you able to move flowers into to water as companions for the fishes?” Smiling gracefully, she does not answer but asks back.
“That is far too unfair for the little fish, it clearly adores this flower so much.” Approaching a little, Ye Li’s face appears dejected and slightly cold, “Even if the flower is unwilling, I will still move it to the water to try.”
Knowing this person’s arrogant personality, speaking further has no benefits, Gui Wan lightly shrugs, declining to comment, the two of them wordless.
Ye Li arranges his expression, thinking that she is already in the Nu Capital, there is a lot time to change everything from now on, his voice also turns a few points gentler: “You’ve already been sleeping for an entire day and night, the palace has a celebration banquet tonight, why don’t you also come along?”
Originally wanting to reject him, but thinking of Ye Li’s whimsical, one sided personality, words of refusal can only remain sitting in her mouth, Gui Wan submissively nods, raising her head to ask: “What about my things, can you give them back to me now?” All of her belongings has been taken from her, even the clothing she is wearing right now have changed into the Nu’s outfit, she is rather unaccustomed to this.
Eyes circling around her body, Ye Li voice sounds slightly deep: “At the banquet, just wear a Nu outfit. Your things, I will return to you later.”
Softly sounding a cold laugh, Gui Wan makes no statement, casually standing up, she does not care about Ye Li, and looks outside the window, wanting an even bigger sky to be reflected in her eyes.
Standing behind her, Ye Li stands still, unable to turn around, nor is he able to look away, softly saying: “My subjects will definitely be impressed by you, they are bound to be captivated by you,” Suddenly recalling the burst of chattering within the palace just before, he changes his words, “Perhaps there are already those that have been impressed by you……”
His words, drifts past Gui Wan’s ears, she leisurely turns her head back, as though smiling but not smiling, sweetly saying: “All that I want, is not that complicated, what I want, is perhaps just the heart of one person, and also a view of the blue sky.” One fine finger distant in one stroke, pointing to the skies, such action flows freely, carrying the form of soul capturing beauty.
Ye Li uncontrollably looks out the window to where that finger points, a view of light blue reflected in his eyes, yet what he feels is his heart beating painfully fast, gloomily looking at the person before him, his consciousness blurs in this moment, his mouth blurting out a soft calling: “Suo Ge Ta?”
No one answers, emptiness falls upon the room with silence and desolation.
Night time very quickly arrives, the palace is already lit with fire, with waves after waves of singing, the atmosphere is extremely lively. Gui Wan sits inside the room, simply leaving Mo Na to doll her up, after a while, Mo Na finally reveals a look of satisfaction, marvelling: “This is definitely my lifetime’s most satisfying masterpiece.”
Gui Wan laughingly follows on: “This is definitely my lifetime’s most helpless trip.” Glancing at Mo Na’s look of difficulty, she looks outside the door, from henceforth, she alone needs to face changes, face dilemmas, not to mention leave this place that she does not belong to, no matter how extraordinarily beautiful it is……
They say Nu people specialises in singing and dancing, personally experiencing it today, Gui Wan still feels incessant amazement. Only after stepping out of the palace halls, did she see the palace’s lawn lit with bonfires everywhere, every bonfire is surrounded by crowds of people singing and dancing, regardless of gender. Her eyes circle around the place, spotting the most populated bonfire and also the liveliest, guessing that is where the royal family is, she slowly makes her way over.
Ye Li had already seen Gui Wan since the very moment she stepped out the palace, although he is drinking wine, joyously chatting away, his eyes has always been silently keeping watch of her actions, never once leaving her, deep down, he is wary, he seems to be increasingly unable to let go of her, clearly aware she is a married woman, plus her husband as the Celestial Empire’s Grand Secretary, is set on bringing her back, such actions that originally had political objectives has also been forgotten due to his increasingly drunk state, what’s more fatal is, he has already lost his mind because of her, yet she is not affected in the slightest bit, deep in his heart, he cannot help but to harbour feelings of jealousy and anger towards her husband, could it be that the Celestial Empire’s men are truly this charming?
Sitting in the middle, next the bonfire, is the King of the Nu Tribe, who sees Ye Li’s abnormal behaviour, he follows the direction in which he looking at, his half blind eyes seems to have caught on within a flash, hidden within the firelight in this dark night, he heartily says laughingly: “Ye Li, is this the treasure you had brought back from the Celestial Empire?”
“It is, Royal Father.” Ye Li downs a mouthful of wine, the pungent taste rushes down his throat, yet he is completely unfeeling of it.
“Indeed a rarely seen beauty,” He praises out loud in pleasure, the old Nu King appears as lively as ever, suddenly a chill flashes in his eyes, “But it is still not enough to exchange for our great cause.”
The cold and stern voice gives Ye Li a sudden shock, looking at his father’s face, he is unable to answer, downing another big mouthful, a slightly bitter taste is swallowed down into his belly.
The flames of the bonfire is unable to cover the old Nu King’s voice, all those around them quietens down, following the Nu King’s eyes as they watch Gui Wan slowly walk up, all falling into a moment of breathlessness, in such wild land, when could they ever have seen such exquisite beauty, in this moment of absolute disbelief, Gui Wan had already arrived at the bonfire.
The old Nu King is also full of admiration towards her easiness and calm, laughingly greeting: “Lady’s elegant demeanour surpasses and is not at all less than the pearls of the grasslands.”
Gui Wan is not surprised by Nu people speaking Han, the Nu Tribe has been ruled by the Celestial Empire for almost two hundred years, the Nu people are all able to speak the Han, although under the revolt of the last Nu king, it is already a stand-alone nation separate from the Celestial Empire, Han language remains as one of the spoken languages in the Nu Tribe. Faintly smiling as she bows, paying a simple show of courtesy, expressing her respect towards the Nu King, Gui Wan gracefully delivers the words: “Nu King’s heroism is also no less than the eagles of the grasslands.” (Eagles are symbolic of strength and heroism in Chinese culture)
Unable to hold back his hearty laughter, the old Nu King’s eyes holds even more appreciation: “As elegant as the clouds, as clean as white snow, as cool as the winds, no wonder why my son is intoxicated by you lady, if I were twenty years younger, I too would definitely not let you go.”
Already accustomed to the Nu people’s boldly unconstrained attitude of enthusiasm, Gui Wan smiles, seeing that the old Nu King’s smile did not reach his eyes, she quietly waits for him to continue.
“Lady is a golden branch of the Celestial Empire, to have come to the Nu Capital, suffering along the bumpy road, makes me feel guilty, but I cannot possibly be ungrateful of you for this.”
Aware that he words holds a deeper meaning, Gui Wan takes a seat on a bench that the servants had just brought over, “Nu King is too polite, although I have received such ‘special care’ along the way, to be able to enjoy the scenery here, I too feel very honoured.”
“I am not speaking out of politeness, my reason for gratitude towards lady, is because lady’s arrival at our Nu Tribe has brought upon us a chance of survival.”
Silent for a moment, Gui Wan smiles, “I don’t remember doing anything for the Nu Tribe.”
“You do not need to do anything, your very existence has already contributed to the Nu Tribe.” The old Nu King spoke in such manner, his voice resonant, his face unruly.
Because she is unable to make out the meaning behind his words, Gui Wan already carried a slight look of indignant, settling down, her face is lit with her usual indifferent smile like that of a cloud, tentatively asking: “I would appreciate further details.”
“I have already sent a letter to lady’s family, I believe lady’s family has already prepared generous gifts, departing from the Capital City to come get you.”
Gui Wan freezes, amongst hundreds and thousands of thoughts, she would never have thought to be able to hear the old Nu King personally speak of her return, giving rise to a feeling of contempt towards him, to use this sort of behaviour no different from abduction for ransom, how is this anything like the behaviour of a king of a country? At the same time, she is thrown into confusion, exactly what are they asking for in exchange, to actually abduct her thousands of li away to the Nu Capital?
Only Ye Li continues to bitterly smile, he has brought her here out of his own selfishness, his original feelings that were only of adoration seems to have already grown intense, burning him to extreme discomfort, a wave of heat swarms in his stomach, he suddenly bolts up, not caring for everyone’s look of surprise, he grabs onto Gui Wan’s wrist, towards the old Nu King, he announces with complete resolution: “Royal Father, I do not agree.”
All sorts of doubtful and weird gazes were casted upon him, Ye Li ignores them, his deep voice filled with determination: “Even if it is between a fish and a bear’s paw, I still want it.” The power of such sharpness like a knife, the air of such arrogance like a rainbow.
Aside from the few exceptions, a great number of people reveals puzzlement, the old Nu King says nothing, his eyes nailed onto him, his unclear eyes shows no joy nor anger.
Ye Li turns his head, gazing at Gui Wan, even if it is only a little, a little show of emotions will be good, a little show of encourage will also be good, he is willing to carry all the burden for her.
Within a moment of daze, a split second of hesitation, she throws off his hand, not sparing a look at Ye Li’s expression, Gui Wan says to the old Nu King: “I hereby tour this scenery, waiting for my family to arrive, Nu King and everyone’s warm hospitality, I shall bear in mind, and will certainly return.”
“No,” Ye Li suddenly speaks up, attracting her eyes to him, “No, I will not allow you to leave……”
A meaningful faint smile floats to the surface of her lips, she faces him with a chilling gaze, “My sky is not here.” Throwing out a sentence of puzzling words, she no longer bothers with everyone there, turning around and leaves, without the slightest hesitation nor pause.
In the Capital City, the warmth of summer has already unfolded step by step, only in the courtyard of the Prime Minister Estate, does it seem like the chilliness of late spring still remains.
A figure dashes into the inner courtyard in flying manner, like a shadow flashing by, a spear obstructs the crescent doorway, the guard’s neither cold nor warm voice sounds extremely mechanical: “Halt at the inner courtyard, not free to enter.”
The person incessantly gasps for air, his face already flushed red, speaking disjointedly: “There……there’s news of Madam.”
The always calm guard reveals a look of pleasant surprise upon hearing this, thinking to himself, the arrival of Madam’s news, should also end the Prime Minister Estate’s days of suffering, after little hesitation, he withdraws the spear, unable to help but blurt out the question: “Is it really news of Madam?”
Desperately panting for air, the person can only frantically nod his head.
“Quickly go in.” The guard reveals a rare smile, immediately giving entry.
The person suddenly summons up all his energy, once again starting to run inside, loudly crying out: “There……there’s news of Madam.”
The summer atmosphere at once flies into the Prime Minister Estate courtyard, the estate livening up, this past month, the dead silence caused by Prime Minister Lou’s depression and rage has been broken by this shocking news that came so suddenly……
A leisurely breeze passes through the study room in the Prime Minister Estate’s inner courtyard, spurring the glass bell hung on the eaves to emit a clear ringing sound, the lingering charm sways leisurely, whilst a scene of still silence falls upon the room, the emptiness of the glass bell leaving the room filled with a refreshing sigh.
Dressed in luxurious clothing, an elegant and handsome looking man sits in front of the desk, his eyes conceals coldness as he attentively looks at the letter on the table, tightly pursed lips adding a bit of chilliness to his warm and gentle face, right hand clenching onto a string of black pearl earrings, although not a word is spoken, his entire being is shrouded in an air of breath-taking dignity.
The man who delivered the letter stands beside the desk, despite the beads of sweat lining his forehead, he actually feels a burst of chills, not daring to make a move to wipe his sweat, only afraid that the slightest movement would cause him harm due to the cold imposing air surrounding the young prime minister sitting behind the desk.
Lou Che tightly clenches his fist with the earring in hold, a slight coolness can be felt within his hand, making its way straight into his heart, and even pulls through his deepest layers of thoughts……
The first time he had seen her wear this earring was at the end of the year, such unique enchantment like some sort of luminous shine flowing colourfully, leaving all who have seen her with an unforgettable memory, right now the earring has already returned, yet she is still separated by thousands of li away, thinking up to this point, the strength in his hand unconsciously increases, once again glancing over the letter on the table, he lightly sounds a cold scoff, a monstrous rage taking over his heart.
The Nu Tribe wants to use Gui Wan in exchange for warhorses, looks like the disaster in the Nu truly has already reached an extremely severe state, his hand reaches out, tearing the paper into shreds, Lou Che stands up, slowly walking up to the windowsill, gazing out the window into a sea of emerald green, hundreds of mixed feelings gathers in his chest, difficult to dispel.
Since when did the heat of summer already arrive, could it be he has forgotten the times? Only that day he was stopped outside Qu Zhou City seems to have remained in his mind, unable to recall anything after their goodbyes, to actually lose all news of her just like that, how did he feel when he first heard she had disappeared, was it anger? Was it fear? Was it pain? He is unable to tell exactly how he was feeling, only knowing, that even if he has to dig out the entire Qu Zhou, he must definitely find her.
Yet she actually disappears just like that, even when with half of the Celestial Empire heavily guarded, they still couldn’t find any traces of her. This past month, he had no appetite to eat, unable to get a good night sleep, even with Consort Ying’s miscarriage, and the huge matter of students denouncing the imperial government, wilfully criticising the Emperor favouring his consort, he could not bring himself to focus on handling such matters, as though stuck in a boundless dimension, what he lost is half his soul.
The garden without her figure, his ears void of her soft laughter; her grace, her smarts, her smiles, simply vanishinh into thin air, right after he had already gotten used to and had even become intoxicated, everything suddenly disappears from his world.
Such bitter feeling that cannot possibly get any more bitter than this, has been carved into his bones and engraved in his heart, further allowing him to suffer the feeling of greatly worrying about the outcome. Such feeling, should be able to be referred to as love, right? Lou Che speechlessly smiles bitterly, when they were newlyweds, he had once made it clear to her, promising not to fall in love with one another, the two of them seem to have drawn out a circle, called “not to fall in love”, but unknowingly, he wandered out of the circle, his feet stuck deep in the mud, yet she, seems to still be uncertainly lingering inside the circle……
A burst of wild laughter suddenly resonates within the room, standing at the side with both legs almost completely numb, the messenger who reported the letter receives a sudden shock, widening his eyes, carrying a look of disbelief as he staress at Lou Che, his heart filled with dread.
Lou Che crazily laughs out loud, pouring out an entire month’s worth of depression, now that he has found out where Gui Wan is, he will not have even a moment of hesitation, remembering the Nu’s request of settlement, their search for the beauty in the painting, scene after scene pieced together, his eyes flashes with a chill, his entire chest firing up, to actually take his, Lou Che’s wife, to make an exchange, he shall definitely have the Nu pay a painful lesson.
“Lord……Lord Prime Minister……” Trembling as he softly calls out, the messenger unable to bear such oppressive atmosphere, is forced to speak out.
“Lou Yu, inform the guards of the estate to get ready, in two hours’ time, I shall be setting out to the Nu Capital, immediately go to the military division in ask for a few warhorses.”
“Lord Prime Minister……could it be you’re going to meet their requirements? But……in this case……”
“To actually take Gui Wan for a condition of exchange, you think I would let them off so easily?” Lou Che’s clear and light voice carries a trace of laughter, dispersing into the air, twisting into an insidious and vicious air of severity. The messenger’s heart thumps, even though he clearly knows the one he wants to deal with is not himself, the hidden cold meaning in his words still manages to extract the cold sweat out of him.
Relentlessly swallowing down a mouthful of saliva, he gently forces out the words: “But, if you don’t agree, wouldn’t Madam be in danger……”
Lou Che’s resonantly cold laughter does not diminish, as though mocking the person’s lack of intelligence: “The lovable thing about politics, is that in this world, there is no equivalent pay, sometimes it is possible to lose both money and life also.”
Not daring to ask anymore, as the imposing air leaves him shaken, bending to a bow, he slowly withdraws from the study room, the oppressive feeling immediately disappears, and he secretly lets out a sigh of relief, silently looking through the crack of the door, it is clearly the elegantly handsome face like that of the spring breeze, yet why is there this sense like that of being in an ice cold environment? Just now, such pressure like having a knife held against him, seemed like an illusory image, the only real proof of its happening is the cold sweat lining his forehead, not daring to think any further, he closes the doors, quickly leaving the place.
Now free of any disturbance, Lou Che holds up the pearl earrings, looking very attentively at it, deeply thinking without a word, a while after, he walks up to the desk, placing down the earrings, he lifts the idle brush on the table, planning to leave a letter for the Emperor, and have someone immediately sending it into the palace, thinking for a moment, he was hesitating how to word it, but finds that in a moment unconsciousness, he had already written a few words on the paper, after getting a clear look of the written words, he could not help but reveal a trace of smile like the spring breeze, four words impressively written on the paper:
My wife Gui Wan
Sitting on the wool rug barefooted, Gui Wan fiddles with various ornaments before her, her face of deep calm showing a trace of cunningness that is difficult to catch onto.
Walking into the room, Mo Na was incessantly surprised: “What are you doing? Madam.” Ever since the day of the banquet, the Nu King strictly ordered, everyone must know that this woman of the Celestial Empire is a distinguished guest, not one person should neglect this.
Gui Wan raises her head, smiling beautifully, captivatingly, reflecting the long lost joy in her, “Thinking about how to spend the next few days.”
“Madam, why not go wandering around the Nu Capital, I believe everyone within the entire city must be scrambling to catch a glimpse of your elegance.” Mo Na laughingly says, these past few days, Gui Wan has practically been pestering her in asking for all that is happening within the Nu Capital, not even sparing the minor details, with the look of extreme interest towards the Nu Capital.
Not giving an immediate answer, Gui Wan acts as though she is thinking as she picks up the things around her, a twinkling of faint light catches Mo Na’s attention, she could not help but to stare curiously at the thing in Gui Wan’s hand, all of those are the accessories that had originally been removed from Gui Wan’s body, but looking at it now, how could the structure look slightly different?
Gui Wan notices her wonder, but does not stop her, leaving her to get a good look, until Mo Na took hold of it, did she feel she is being overly sensitive, this is clearly an accessory from back then, there is no difference at all. Looking away, she looks towards Gui Wan again.
Gui Wan still carries that faint smile, sweetly saying: “Since there is nothing to do, then let us go wander around the Nu Capital.” Having said that, she stands up, her face filled with anticipation.
Seeing her in such a happy mood, Mo Na hastily stands up, under Gui Wan’s suggestion, the two of them leaves the room in male getup, with the accompany of Mo Na, they smoothly leave the palace.
A little after leaving the palace gates, they follow a small and sparsely populated trail, Mo Na excitedly explains to Gui Wan about some of the unique things in the Nu Tribe, but finds that Gui Wan seems a little distracted, she diverts the topic, asking: “Is it not as beautiful as your homeland here? Why are you not happy?”
“The Celestial Empire and this place each has its own strengths, I really like it,” Within her indifferent smile, there reveals desolation, Gui Wan turns her head, gently asking, “But I have been brought here as a tradable item……how am I to possibly treat this place as my own homeland?”
Hearing this, Mo Na reveals a look of shame, the Nu people have always been militant, but because of the natural disaster that occurred this time, they have suffered the loss of a large number of warhorses. The decline in military strength, caused the Nu Tribe to face a serious shortage of fighting force in face of foreign enemies, that is why they need one woman to make an exchange for warhorses, and because of Prince Ye Li’s selfish reasons, they have actually abducted this woman to the Nu territory, even wanting to make her his, such acts does indeed appear somewhat despicable.
Wanting to say a word of apology, she looks back, only to meet Gui Wan’s smiling face like that of blossoming spring flowers, in a moment of hesitation, she had just wanted to ask for the reason, when her hand suddenly receives a gentle prick, the words in her mouth turns into a soft sound, and her body had already collapsed, she forcefully grips onto her consciousness, but senses her willpower rapidly blur out.
Gui Wan crouches down, looking into her almost closed eyes, she softly says: “This type of drug is not only exclusive to the Nu Tribe, it is also available in my homeland, originally I have only kept it by my side for self-defence, didn’t think I would be using it on you, you take a good rest, no matter what, you do not need to apologise to me, with this, I guess we’re even now.”
A gracefully pretty voice accompanies Mo Na’s consciousness as she gradually sinks deep into darkness……
Standing up, once again checking all the accessories she has on her, Gui Wan remains on the same spot for a while, although she has found out about all situations within the Nu Tribe these past few days, and even made a detailed plan, she still needs to think it through carefully, by taking every step into great consideration, only then can she truly leave this place.
Raising her head towards the skies, Gui Wan reveals a smile of indifference, gently throwing back her sleeves, she clearly works out the directions, turning around and leaves.
 The original term used to say complete resolution is zhǎn ding jié tiě / 斩钉截铁, this literally translates to chop nail, section iron which refers to making a clear cut decision.
 To carve into one’s bones and engrave on one’s heart or kè gǔ míng xīn /刻骨铭心 is used to express an unforgettable heartfelt feeling or memory.
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