Chapter 27: Drifting Fragrance Secretly Takes Action
Gui Wan steps into the Prime Minister Estate courtyard, body seeming to still carry the scent of incense from the mourning hall, faintly clinging to her body, distracting her heart into regularly rising and falling, constantly flashing fragments of the encounters within the Lin Estate. Raising her bowed head, she finds a little plainly dressed servant standing in front of the study, a green glazed bowl of lotus design on the tray she holds, face showing hesitance, anxiously at unease.
“Madam, Lord Prime Minister he……” The maid upon seeing Gui Wan approaching, releases a sigh of relief, Prime Minister Lou does not like others disturbing him, she has softly called out a few times from the doors, but not a single reply has come from inside, she dares not to rashly enter, nor does she dare to casually leave, currently stuck in this situation difficult to advance or retreat.
“I got it.” Seeing the cause, Gui Wan gently waves her hand, signalling the maid to withdraw, taking the tray from her hands, one hand pushing open the unlatched doors of the study, a smile slowly rippling out, lips just about to call out, when she notices the entire room shrouded in quiet.
Lou Che lays above some documents, seeming to have sunken deep into sweet dreams, the windows half opened, a sky of cloudless blue, the book scrolls on the desk half messed up, a slight breeze occasionally brushing past, sheets of paper lightly flutters, but the person on the desk does not sense this at all.
Gui Wan lightens her footsteps, slowly walking in front of the desk, Lou Che is indeed sleeping, unrestrained handsomeness of elegant nobility, within the jade-like appearance there exhibits clearness, she gently places down the tray in hand, picking up a white jade paperweight, pressing down the sheets of paper, flicking away the dusts on the bamboo scrolls. Looking elsewhere, from the side of her eyes, she catches glimpse of him still frowning whilst in his dreams, quietly without hesitation, her hands brushes his face, fingers gently stroking past the middle of his brows, helping him to smooth out this hint of worry revealed on the outside.
Just how tired he is……
Within three days of returning to the estate, after one day of pulling an all-nighter with Lou Sheng, he spends two days discussing matters with Prince of Nan Jun, Prince Duan, usually only seeing him containing a smile of spring breeze, who knew that under the spring breeze, it is this wounding like being shredded. She often laments, Lou Che is the same type of person as herself, flawless on the outside, smooth and slick in dealing with all sorts of situations. Only now does she know, to her, this could perhaps also be of natural character; but to him, it is the ability to survive.
Fingers delicately brushing over his brows, straightening out the unorganised black strands on the sides, catching a glimpse of the dark circles under his eyes caused by fatigue, Gui Wan’s heart lightly clenches, nose actually feeling slightly sour. Turning her head to the side, she finds a set of fur clothing on the back of the chair, laying it over Lou Che’s shoulders, she carefully covers every little gap where air can leak in, about to withdraw her hand, with just a single move, the person in deep sleep has his hand suddenly jumping out from under the clothing, grabbing onto her, lashes fluttering half open, those quietly dark eyes gazing at her with a smile, deep affection flowing out from within.
“Gui Wan……” This sound of calling is not like usual, is a gentle breeze blowing ripples across a pond of spring water, carrying three points of intoxicated tone as it blows into the heart, the voice with slight ambiguity seeming to reveal a trace of satisfaction, laced around.
Looking at him absentmindedly, Gui Wan felt as though something was stuck in her throat, unable to sound half a word in reply, half mystified half intoxicated, her tender heart endlessly spinning, chaotically causing her thoughts to suddenly stop working, completely blank.
“If you continue looking at me like that, I may not be able to resist anymore.” Loudly sighing, Lou Che sits up straight, placing the half fallen clothing on his shoulders back in its original spot, seeing Gui Wan still appear blanked out as though her soul has flew away, he hook in her waist, bring her into his arms, affectionately sitting her on his thighs.
“Husband.” Leaning against his chest, she buries her face into his embrace, softly saying in a seeming coquettish manner.
“What did you dream about just now?” Why were you frowning?
Lou Che wraps his arm around her shoulder, his breathing accompanied by a faint touch of fragrance, surprised by her words, dream? How long has he not had a dream for? Just now because of exhaustion, he had a light nap for a little while, from the very moment she stepped into the room, he had already woken up, just that he was unwilling to clear his head in awakening, greedily hating to leave this moment of her outpouring tenderness. He did not dream, but she, has become his dream.
“I dreamt of you.”
“Dreamt of me? Then why were you still frowning?” Light anger laced with dissatisfaction, Gui Wan reaches out to gently twist his ear, followed by a soft sound of laughter, “I heard, women of the common people would discipline their husbands like this.”
Ear heating up, sensing faint pain, Lou Che looks at her angry state, with a seeming smile, “If this is how they discipline, it is indeed not bad.” Before he finished his words, Gui Wan’s hand exerts even more strength, Lou Che softly sounds a cry, attracting bursts of laughter from her.
“Husband,” Before the laughing stopped, she appears to carelessly mentions, “It’ll be nice if, we were really a couple of the common people.”
The country, imperial court, melted away with a smile, right and wrong, bent roads and straight roads, grace and hate, love and revenge, completely left behind, a bland attitude of life, wilfully contempt.
“Viewing the hundreds of loudly contending mountain streams in spring, thousands of mountain peaks emerald green; appreciating rising mist and falling clouds in summer, blooming flowers and lush green trees; touring the mountains flooded with red leaves in autumn, flowers falls and fruit buds; viewing the dancing snow in cold winter, bending tree branches of white jade,” Finger gently twiddling with Lou Che’s collar, Gui Wan earnestly induces, “Such a life, would it not be a pleasure?”
Smile slightly fading, Lou Che half squints his eyes, hand exerting more strength, tightly holding the person in his embrace, “If you truly like it, when I have the spare time in future, I will accompany you in sightseeing.”
Gui Wan slightly raises her head, meeting her eyes is the soft lining of his jaw, further up, she still cannot see the look in his eyes, unable to suppress herself, little bits of disappointment surfaces in her heart, “When would Husband have the spare time?”
Not expecting that she would say such a phrase carrying hidden bitterness, carefully thinking over it, Lou Che bursts out laughing, lowering his head to place a kiss on Gui Wan’s forehead, “After a period of time, once the situation calms down, how’s that?” When lowering his head, he sees Gui Wan pout her lips, not a very happy appearance, an enchanting charm contained within such tenderness, plucking at his heartstrings, eyes darkening, his eyes staring solely at her, practically falling into a daze.
Since when did he discover she makes these little actions? Usually always having a faint smile fixed on her face, only when her mood relaxes, would discontent be shown with light pouting, become absentminded when sunken into deep thoughts, deliberately smiling even sweeter when angry……these fleeting moments of outpouring demeanour, since when was he able to capture them? Perhaps Gui Wan herself has never realised, these little actions, she would only reveal when alone with him, how many times, for these little actions of hers, does he gushes with affection, frequently losing his soul.
Hand lifting a small gathering of her silky smooth hair, bringing it to his lips as he lightly kisses them, sweet fragrance coating it, seeping into his heart, his heart because of this, freezes.
“Could it be that Husband has never thought to……” Gui Wan leans against the front of his lapel, “Give up on catalysing events, spending each day like an idle cloud, wild crane?”
Gathering away his smile and knitting his brows, Lou Che holds back his expression, picking out Gui Wan’s intentions from those words, his heart feeling extremely uncomfortable, eyes sinking, lips seal without answering.
Noticing his strange behaviour, Gui Wan secretly sighs to herself, waiting and waiting, in the end he does not speak, turning her head, she takes back her hair from his palm, and then gets up. Lou Che’s heart palpitates, his palm already empty, under the regret of sensing loss, he immediately grabs her, hand tightly circling her wrist, forcefully confining her reckless movements.
Really is getting more and more useless……Lou Che helplessly laughs, his mood controlled by her every move, with the passing of time, his resistance also increasingly weakens, just like the five months in Nan Jun, that biting feeling of great worry preventing him from being able to live his life as usual, several times did he impulsively wanted to rush back to the Capital City, if not for Prince of Nan Jun and Prince Duan holding him back, he would have already made a huge mistake in his political career, now that she is in his embrace, how could he possibly let her leave? That gut wrenchingly unforgettable longing, he is unwilling to experience again, not letting go, he definitely cannot let go.
His originally resolute thoughts has been disrupted by her, balance of rationality has also tilted towards his emotional feelings, he speaks up: “Gui Wan, don’t move, listen to me.” The soft jade, warm and fragrant in his embrace, Lou Che gently leans his head onto Gui Wan’s collar area, looking at her beautifully delicate neck from the corner of his eyes.
“Could it be you don’t want to have a little listen of my background?”
Suddenly turning her eyes, but finds that she cannot see anything in particular, Gui Wan silently remains motionless, softly sounding a vague reply.
“……I’m an orphan, my late father was originally a low rank official aiding the Crown Prince, passing away during my childhood years, my mother also followed him not long after, I spent a total of ten years staying in the Crown Prince Estate, then took the first place title in one swoop, rising high into the golden road……”
Gui Wan froze for a long moment, the voice reaching her ears is calm, as though speaking of an unrelated matter, why is it that her heart is pained as she listens to it? Originally thinking he is from a noble family, up until this very moment, did she find how far from the truth this is, ten years’ time summarised in one sentence, she dares not to imagine how a child with no support no dependence, can live his life in the Crown Prince Estate, rich with intrigues. Ten years, struggling in face of adversity, another ten years, rising and falling in officialdom, twenty years, in exchange for today’s power, this kind of unwilling, this kind of reluctance.
That’s why, power, position, wealth……once picked up, difficult to put down.
Calmly telling her his background story with just a few simple sentences, Lou Che smiles as he looks at her, saying word by word: “I have sworn, to stand above millions of people, even if it is just one person standing below, I will still make him helpless against me, do you understand?”
His gentle explanation did not relieve Gui Wan’s heart from the heavy burden, and instead lightly shocks her, daring not to believe this, she firmly locks her gaze onto him. refined and cultured, gentle and elegant, her husband in a body of long moon white robe, warmth flowing out from that clear look of handsomeness, clearly an admirable and unrestrained fine gentleman, but inside those deep bottomless eyes, there is a something called “ambition” writhing inside, that is why he overturns his hand to form clouds, cover his hand to form rain, neither urgently nor slowly striving forth against the Emperor and the imperial court, whilst playing with political trickery, he is deeply intoxicated by the charm of power.
His entire life, accompanied by one word -- “power”.
Heart feeling more and more pained, Gui Wan frowns, a sense of sourness surging up her body, after thinking for a moment, she lightly asks, her tone somewhat off: “What about Consort Ying?” This is originally a thorn stuck in her heart, a thorn that she has strongly neglected, but would occasionally let it break through. Never has she been as confused as this before, that woman who is no less than her regardless of any aspects, she has faced with no measures at all for the first time in her life. Actually unable to hold back anymore today, she wishes to ask for certainties. Her heart, is it disturbed?
Lou Che firstly did not say anything, then openly laughs, laughing more and more heartily, laughing to the point Gui Wan’s face showed awkwardness, yet he seems to be enjoying it, refusing to miss any of her expressions.
She finally spoke up, is she starting to mind it now? Thinking this, Lou Che sincerely feels ascertained and put to ease, recalling two years ago, when he first met her, and got married, just how carefree and wilful she was, practically making him think she is a deity who wrongly descended to the mortal realm. How many times of doubts and wonder he felt, slowly observing her without leaving a trace, even before he himself came to the realisation, he had already started to move his focus onto her, knowing what she loves to eat most, what accessories she likes, what she usually do, all of this, bit by bit, seeping into his heart, him holding up every little thing she loves most in front of her, originally carried the mentality of compensation, later it actually changed in essence……
Finding that he had already fallen in love with her, and she, is actually still hesitating, even rejecting it, how uncertain and uneasy he felt. So he courted her, pampered her, cherished her like a priceless treasure.
He exhausted all mental efforts, for her to fall in love with him, giving her the best the world has to offer, making her grow accustomed to his love, unable to get rid of it.
He wants to lure her into sinking deep with him……
Laughter gradually fading, his dark eyes appears intoxicated, charmingly asking lowly: “Gui Wan, do you mind it?”
Does she mind it?
In Gui Wan’s heart, this question has been asked, laughed at, sighed at, but never reached an answer, in this moment, she slightly regrets the words she has blurted out just before, like a piece of pierced sandpaper, traces of her heart being revealed bare, with nowhere to hide.
Arm wrapping around Gui Wan’s shoulder, looking into both her eyes overflowing with a look of difficulty, Lou Che elegantly smiles, raising his hand to hold the back of her neck, gently touching her cherry lips, the sometimes faint sometimes clear fragrance disrupting his willpower, the instant the two lips came in contact, a tingling feeling like electric currents, and temptation like sweet mellowness, bewitched, the entanglement between the pair of lips making him drunk on her soft and moist sweetness, sinking deep into it, longing for more.
Seeing him close in, she blinks her eyes, actually showing no response, losing herself within his seemingly gentle yet dominant pursuit, breathing pattern gradually weakening, even the thinnest of air has been claimed by him, lightly closing her eyes, sensing the charming and gentle breathing that can be heard at a very close distance, accompanied by lusciously sweet torture, finally just when she was about to completely lose her breath, he lightly lets go of her, tongue licking her red lips, lips continuously, lingeringly rubbing against her upper lip and philtrum area, half captivated half relishing.
“Although unable to personally hear you say you mind, I am already greatly satisfied.” Lou Che lowers his voice a little, a trace of constraint carried within his hoarse voice, tidal feelings on the roll.
Hearing this, Gui Wan faintly smiles like the wind, taking the initiative to nestle against him, just when their lips were about to connect again, she lightly turns her head, the moment his lips grazes past, her breathing pauses, carrying the dark charm of seduction, deliberately not allowing to actually come in contact, sweetly smiling, she urges: “Husband still not answering me?”
The look in his eyes flashing bright, settling on her brows like flowing waves, her stunning face enchantingly beautiful like flowers, hand exerting great strength, clutches onto her body, fiercely sealing her lips, carrying slight drunken wilfulness of steaming hotness, he goes through another round of entanglement, and only then was he willing to let her go with satisfaction, seeing her brows and eyes appear more focused and deep, practically making one sink into those bottomlessly charming eyes.
Adjusting his shortness of breath, he once again speaks up.
“……first time seeing Yao Ying was in the Crown Prince Estate, at the time I had just been titled First Ranked Scholar……” First time honestly telling Gui Wan of his past without any reservations, deep inside he actually senses relief. She is his wife, is originally the one to share everything with him, whilst narrating his past, he suddenly felt an impulse, wanting to ask her, my wedded wife, may we join hands and grow old together?
Events of half his life, spoken in one go, words are shallow, meaning is deep, do you understand my heart?
“His majesty made an imperial decree on the day you went to Hong Fu Temple to worship the Buddha?” Hearing up to here, Gui Wan could not refrain from interrupting, asking in surprise, Zheng Liu is as cunning as such, taking advantage of when they have left, to set an imperial decree, announcing it to the world, one phrase of the monarch’s words is not to be taken as a joke, how many people’s futures did it change? Remembering the first meeting in Hong Fu Temple that day, could it be that that was the true start of entangling fates?
Heart inexplicably gaining an additional trace of unease, Gui Wan’s deep gaze enters Lou Che’s eyes, “Husband, that day, what stick did Lady Consort Ying draw?”
Brows twitching, Lou Che recalls for a moment, saying: “The Emperor Swallow.”
Practically about to exclaim aloud, Gui Wan suppresses her rapidly beating heart, despite this, her face also makes a sudden change, cold sweat oozing.
“Gui Wan?” Sensing the discomfort of the person in his arms, Lou Che heart achingly holds her tightly, slowly stroking her back, “What’s wrong?”
No answer, Gui Wan stretches her arms and circles Lou Che’s neck, affectionately sticking closely to him, after leaving time to quietly slip by, her melodic voice sounds: “Husband, if starting from this moment, you aid his majesty in pushing the reforming of the central academy, discouraging Prince Duan and Prince of Nan Jun, bit by bit slowly letting go of power, even if his majesty envies you, he cannot do anything. After three to five years, we relocate to Luo Ling, Nan Jun is really close to there, under Prince of Nan Jun’s care, but is not within Nan Jun territory, with his majesty’s pride, he too cannot afford to lay his hands there. With this, ten years later, everything will be able to be as calm as ever. Husband, what do you say?”
Lou Che does not respond, gesture still gentle, but the air is like complete silence, neither warm nor cold. Gui Wan secretly sighs, voice making a change, leisurely, lightly saying: “Does Husband by chance know, within nearly two years of marriage, what I hated most?”
A light shock to the heart, Lou Che lowers his head, cheek plastered against cheek, a soft and delicate touch, intimately rubbing against one another, intoxicated in yet another flirtatious expression, “What is it?”
“I hated the back view you left me most,” Gui Wan melodically laughs, “Every time it was always you leaving me behind……”
Not giving Lou Che any rebuttal opportunity, “That is why, from now on I will not wait for you to turn your back on me in leave again, before that, I will abandon you first……” She smiles again, eyebrows also smiling, eyes also smiling, lips also smiling, only her heart alone is blank without the slightest of feelings.
A sharp look passes by his eyes, Lou Che abruptly looks at her with heavy feelings, a slight desire to express rage, but could not bear to, the doubts in his heart weighing heavily, not understanding why her words today is always leading to the words “let go of power”, especially after hearing “The Emperor Swallow”, seeming to have the means of forcing him into making a choice.
He cannot choose, nor does he want to choose, this is his path, to call upon wind and rain in the imperial court, grasping hold of all events in the world, become the number one minister in the world.
The value of power, before one gets a taste of it, one would not know the true taste, but after getting a taste of it, the arrogance of the world’s honourability, the pride of everyone bowing their heads, wanting to give it up, how could it not be difficult?
“No,” Gritting his teeth as he spits out word by word, “Cannot let go, be it you, be it the world……”
Slightly surprised for a moment, Gui Wan relaxes herself, still leaning against Lou Che with infinite intimacy, seeming to speak out of interest: “Husband, that day, do you know what stick I had drawn in Hong Fu Temple?” Sensing that Lou Che is showing no trace of unusualness, secretly sensing his calm, she reaches out to hold his hand, touching the hand which was slightly cool. She seemingly bitterly seemingly sweetly smiles, this man, in the end he is still somewhat nervous, is it because he had already guessed it?
Is it destiny, or is it hand in hand till old age?
“Also The Emperor Swallow, Husband.”
“Your majesty……” De Yu is respectfully looks towards that hesitant figure, softly calling out.
Casually glancing back at the still very young eunuch, Zheng Liu reveals a trace of a practically undetectable smile, stepping into Jing Ye. Inside the palace is currently a few palace maids and eunuchs lazily, leisurely cleaning the entire courtyard, seeing the arriving person, under great surprise, hurriedly kneel down, bowing their head, not daring to slack off.
Seeing the monarch of yesterday and tomorrow’s expression, everyone’s hearts held doubts, they say that the currently most doted Lady Consort Yin is presently in child labour, the Emperor instead of waiting in Wen Bin Palace, why come all the way to this long deserted Jing Ye? Could it be that the rumours of the Emperor still hung up on his love for the missing Consort Ying is true? Or is it the other rumour, the Emperor has once hidden a stunning woman in this palace before? These rumours circulating in the imperial palace seems real and fake all the same, everyone only dares to secretly weigh up the rumours to their own observations, quietly speculating the results, in order to relieve the loneliness within the palace, to see the Emperor at this very moment, it is inevitable for the palace servants’ doubts to snowball even larger.
Zheng Liu casually waves his hand, “All leave.” Not even giving the bowed heads of the palace servants a single glance, he alone goes ahead and walks inside the palace. Arriving at the doors of the main hall, he raises his head, looking up at the plaque with the two words “Yin Yue” (Hidden Moon) beautifully, delicately written on it, seeming to be in deep thoughts, knitting his brows without saying a word.
De Yu has always been following behind from around three meters of distance, seeing Zheng Liu’s expression, secretly shivers, and speaks up again: “Your majesty, Lady Consort Yin’s side has already been urging several times, saying Lady Consort’s childbirth is not going smoothly……your majesty, do you want to……”
As though De Yu’s words did not reach his ears, Zheng Liu does not even turn his head back as he asks: “Say, is this Yin Yue Hall a bit too empty?”
“……yes.” Suddenly being asked like that, De Yu froze for a moment, blurting out a reply, and immediately shuts up, also looking up to that plaque, heart secretly tumbling, thoughtfully observing Zheng Liu’s back view, what exactly is the Emperor thinking of right now? Yin Yue? Could it be……?
Brows creasing, from deep down in his heart, he wishes not for the Emperor to stay here for too long , having just mentioned the current huge matter, yet Zheng Liu still does not seem to be feeling pained nor itching, De Yu has no idea to throw out, heart desperate like fire. He has once seen the Emperor’s cold side, heart heavily palpitating, having fought through this many years in the palace, his only great strength is “outlook”, although not completely obvious, but he feels that the Emperor seems to hold different kind of feelings towards Madam Lou. Hardening his heart, he was just about to speak up in cutting off Zheng Liu reveries, when a burst of chaotically fast running comes breaking into Jing Ye.
“Your Majesty……Lady Consort……Lady Consort Yin……gave birth to a dragon son……” Running as he shouts out this good news that rouses one’s heart, the little eunuch hurriedly runs to the front of the Emperor and De Yu, having just come to a stop, he raises his head, looking at the Emperor’s gentle and refined smile, but does not see any particular joy, as though passing by his ears is just a very typical matter. The little eunuch gulps, hesitating whether he should repeat the good news, his eyes turning to the currently most held high Head Eunuch De Yu, who knew he also appears distracted, thinking about something.
De Yu and the little eunuch meet eyes in puzzlement, not understanding. Zheng Liu once again adds: “The Prince shall be named ‘Yue (栎)’.”
Shocked, De Yu looks towards the Emperor, “月” and “栎”, hopefully it is not he who is overthinking, why is it that when he heard this name, his heart jumped, immediately thinking of the woman who was once confined here.(The character 栎 has two different pronunciations, it is more often pronounced as lì but can also be pronounced as yuè which sounds exactly the same as moon in Chinese 月, as this is only written text, I guess the prince’s name can be read either way but it seems to make more sense to use Yue in the translation)
The little eunuch immediately kneels down on the ground, saying phrase after phrase of your majesty is ingenious, fortune coming in trillions, heaven bless our country and so on, Zheng Liu simply maintains a faint smile hanging from start to finish, declining to comment, De Yu quietly stands at the side, hundreds of feelings mixing together, mood weighing heavy.
Having spoken many words of praises, the little eunuch who finally got a little tired suddenly stands up, gathering away his happily grinning face, quietly withdrawing to the side, not saying a word. It is at this moment that Zheng Liu finally turns around, his line of sight shifting between De Yu and the little eunuch, saying: “Go to the General Estate, tell General Lin, the heavens blessed Qi Ling, a dragon son brought to the world, transfer the soldiers from the northern borders to the Capital to celebrate the joyous event, the whole world (nation) is to join in the jubilation.”
Hearing this, the little eunuch immediately accepts the order, a trail of smoke following behind as he runs ahead, actually running faster than when he was coming here.
Watching him run further and further away, an ominous feeling weighs heavy on De Yu’s heart, why is that when he heard the order just now, it was like the Emperor’s intent is to mobilise military defence, the more he thinks the chillier it gets, the weight on his heart suddenly grows a lot heavier.
“It is indeed too desolate here,” Seemingly speaking to himself, Zheng Liu says this, turning back to intentionally or unintentionally glance at De Yu, “Still lacking a female owner, do you think so?”
Being glanced at by the passing of his cold eyes, De Yu hurriedly bows his head, daring not to answer, leaving him to linger outside Yin Yue Hall, occasionally asking strange questions, but is mostly self-questioning self-answering.
“General,” The literary man stands beside the crescent doorway, watching the man performing a sword dance in the courtyard, “Orders have already been passed on just now, not needing much time, the Lin army up north would be reaching the Capital City, in addition to the imperial troops originally responsible for guarding the Capital, his majesty no longer needs to worry.”
No one responds inside the courtyard, only the sound of rustling wind, a clear shadow pointing in all directions, a figure as powerful as a flying dragon leaping up, the sharp sword in hand horizontally slicing to the side, sharp and cold like a star, piercing through the air, with the mighty force of a thousand soldiers, ten thousand horses, such that is breaking rocks, shaking the earth. Wrist making a sudden turn, the sword softly draw circles, exquisitely subtle movements without a break, sometimes like an golden hook hanging upside down, also like the wings of a wild goose soaring, the sword freely sways effortlessly, with firmness and flexibility, sharp light sparkling.
A silver light suddenly sweeping past, the sound of breaking wind rapidly rising, whipping wind causing a stinging sensation, with a blink of the literary man’s eyes, the flash of silver blade turned out to be charging right at him, heart greatly taken aback, before he could even emit a sound, the tip of the blade was already at his throat.
“General?” With the tip of the chilling blade at less than half an inch of distance from his throat, the moment he raises his eyes, meeting Lin Rui En’s eyes colder than that of the blade, in that moment he felt as though he has fallen into an ice cave, the scholar blurts out a word of General, tone trembling.
Rapidly sweeping past the scholar’s face, Lin Rui En’s face remains emotionless, with a light turn of the wrist, a silver light of the blade flashes, the scholar only felt as though his eyes were blinded for moment, chilling air plummeting, before he could catch a clear view of this very action, the sword had already returned to his sheath, his hung up heart finally put down at ease, secretly letting out a sigh of relief.
“When was the order passed?” A tone of indifference, each word seeming to hold not an ounce of warmth as it comes out of Lin Rui En’s mouth.
The literary man freezes, and then remembers the reporting matter just now, looking up to Lin Rui En, seeming to sense him writhing in anger, that type of suppressed emotions of intensity lending the power of the sword to swing it all out.
“Not long after Consort Yin gave birth to the dragon child this morning……”
“I’m asking you when was the order passed to the northern troops?” Harshly cutting off his words, Lin Rui En reveals his impatience and a bit of unrestrainable anger.
The literary man does not speak after, having received secret orders from within the palace this morning, he immediately passed the order to the northern troops, all was single-handedly done by him, could it be that General is chasing after this responsibility? The corner of his lips pulling up, hooking up a seeming smile, he could not help but to let out a long sigh. A situation like this has never happened before, passing on orders in place of the General, there is nothing wrong with it afterwards, and this seems to be the first time General has clearly displayed his dissatisfaction.
Why? The face like that of a hibiscus flower suddenly flashes past his mind, it is because of her right, that Madam Lou who holds moon-like elegance? Only this reason would be able to explain General’s abnormal behaviour. The situation within the Capital is very clear right now, the Emperor’s court holds different shares of factions with the joint forces of Prime Minister Lou, Prince Duan, Prince of Nan Jun, officials of all rankings within the imperial court have made their stances clear, the two sides in deadlock; the Emperor using the birth of the dragon child to transfer troops into the Capital, holds no other intention but to solve the current situation of deadlock, forcing back Prime Minister Lou alike, and the deeper meaning behind all this, more or less involves that woman.
Truly a source of disaster……since the very first meeting, it just gave him an ominous feeling, watching this young general who he has taught since young, bit by bit starting to grow sincere feelings, balance tilting towards emotions, even affecting his rational decisions. The literary man loudly shouts “no” in his heart, Lin Rui En is the disciple he has meticulously cultivated, is the pillars of talent that he spent half his lifetime teaching, how could he ruin himself in the hands of one woman like this? The one he cultivated, should be a tiger warrior commanding the winds and clouds, to be recorded down in history in future, and not like the current discouraged hero immersed in love affairs.
“General, imperial orders cannot be violated, this subordinate has merely obeyed orders.”
Ice cold eyes looking at him, Lin Rui En tightly grips onto the sword in hand, pressing his lips together as the chilly look in his eyes grows deeper and deeper, spinning in complexity, after a long time it gradually fades, drawing out his sword from the sheath, the light of the blade blinding, he once again puts it back, all expression hidden away, only indifference remains, “Since that is so, then carry out the orders then.”
“General,” Calling out to Lin Rui En’s leaving figure, the scholar seems slightly angered, “Does General knows what is for public affairs, what is for personal affairs?”
Lin Rui En stops in his steps, but does not turn around, standing within the courtyard.
“If General is giving up on greater justice for a bit of personal feelings, it will definitely be a disgrace for future generations, obsessing with something that does not belong to oneself, in the end it is just emptily grasping onto the flower in the mirror, the moon in the water, hope that General is able to rein in the horse from the edge of the cliff in time.”
Without looking back, Lin Rui En tightly knits his brows together, the teaching he has grown accustomed to since young, entering his ears in this moment is like a needle stabbing into him, the words flower in the mirror, moon in the water is even more startling by each word, feet no longer rooted to the ground, he immediately strides forth, the literary man remains behind, sincere feelings beyond words, only he knows, the feelings of friends and mentor-student between the two, in this silent turn of the back moment, has faded……
Deep night, Prime Minister Estate.
Moon bright, stars scattered, night cool like water.
Beyond the veiled curtains, the splendour of spring limitless, occasional shallow breathing, occasional rain of loving words, as though hidden as though revealed, suddenly bright suddenly dark, such seduction charming to the point that even the moon seems to be a few points dimmer, sinking into the darkness.
“Gui Wan……” Breathing mixing with vague words.
With a gentle turn of the body, clothing slipping down, skin that defeats frost and triumphs snow revealing brilliance of dripping jade under this enchanting night, caught in Lou Che’s eyes, naturally difficult to resist. Laying over the body, kissing onto her back, hand reaching into the thin layer of clothing, fondling her exquisitely tender body.
“Mm……” A sound of bird-like mewling, Gui Wan mistily opens her closed eyes, intoxication still evident in those orbs revealing slight helplessness, extending a jade arm, pulling at Lou Che’s reprehensible hand, she turns her body around, leaning against his chest, softly calling out: “Husband……”
A sweet tone carrying a coquettish manner, Lou Che’s heart felt tipsy, stroking her hair, seeing her half-closed eyes, he knew she is tired. A night like this, her beautiful soul like a gnawing charm has made him sink in again, up till this moment, he also knows she cannot go through clouds and rain and again (making love), he sounds a melodic laughter, holding her in his arms, finding a comfortable position to sleep with her.
These past two months, his wife has took to great pains to dilute his ambitions, always luring him in in a push and pull manner, making him have no time to attend to other matters, only able to accompany her in the Prime Minister Estate. Back then he always laughed at others who indulged in beauty, only now is he beginning to know “Beauty Trap” is this powerful, causing him to be wholeheartedly willing to be trapped within.
Cuddling Gui Wan, he was inexplicably satisfied, soothing the unease in his heart that persistently lingers. Recalling that day, the moment Gui Wan blurted out “The Emperor Swallow” it was like a thorn had been stuck in his heart. Since childhood he has never believed “all matters boils down to fate”, but concerning Gui Wan, he has also become mindful of personal gains and losses.
The Emperor Swallow and the crazy woman’s prophecy, seems to be vaguely hinting at something……
“Fate……” A seemingly mocking low laugher, looking at Gui Wan’s sleeping face, he lowers his head and kisses her lips, in a situation of not wanting to startle her awake, he just lightly touches the surface, “That cannot do……you are my wife, even if that is your fate, I will ruin it.”
Deep night, only he devilishly whispers within this silent air with no one answering.
“Do not believe in fate, there is no fate in this world……if there is, I will make it become none existent, Gui Wan, if anyone wants to snatch you away, I will definitely destroy them.”
In this moment deep into the night, without any warning, an elderly voice sounds from outside the doors, “Lord Prime Minister, Prince Duan, Prince of Nan Jun are waiting in the main hall, says there are matters to discuss.” Deliberately lowering his voice, afraid to annoy those inside.
They came? Lip buttering up a calculating smile, Lou Che carefully holds up the person in his arms, gently withdrawing his arm, and tenderly covering her with the thin quilt, smoothing out her scattered hair whilst he was at it, and only then did he get up from the bed. Whilst dressing himself, he watches that delicate figure, absolutely reluctant to leave, it took a long while before he quietly opens the doors, slowly stepping outside.
The old housekeeper dutifully waits outside the room, seeing Lou Che come out, he hurries forward, just about to speak up, but was silenced by the sharp look in Lou Che’s eyes, until the two walk far into the courtyard, did Lou Che motion for him to speak.
“Prince Duan and Prince of Nan Jun has only just arrived, I said Lord Prime Minister has already retired for the night, but they insisted that there are urgent matters, so……”
Lou Che’s one wave of his hand stops him from speaking further, the smile on his lips deepening, looks like they already received the news, the Emperor cannot refrain any longer and is to take action now……heart filled with traces of excitement, he raises his head to the sky.
The moonlight alone is good, elegantly bleak.
 Spending each day like an idle cloud, wild crane or xián yún yě hè / 闲云野鹤 means to live a recluse and unconstrained life.
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