Chapter 192 – Marriage Proposal
Original and most updated translations are from volare. Please don’t read elsewhere and stop supporting theft.
Ji Yunshu removed her golden mask, exposing the scar on her face. “Princess, please take a good look at me.”
Jing Xuan wasn’t a person who judged someone based on their outward appearance. However, when she saw the scar on Ji Yunshu’s face, it still shocked her. It was akin to being hit by lighting. She felt as if she’d been hit by the hammer of reality! After a long pause spent in silence, she finally asked, “Y-your face… how did it become like this?” Her voice was trembling.
“The scar was made by a silver hairpin.” Ji Yunshu flatly replied, then she put her mask back on.
Jing Xuan had great difficulty processing this new reality. Her mouth was agape and tears were forming in the corner of her eyes. She didn’t know what to say anymore.
Ji Yunshu called for Wei Yi as at this moment, Wei Yi still had his back turned to them, blankly, not having moved at all from his spot. He was very obedient to Ji Yunshu. He turned back around once more as his name was called and inquired, “Shu’er, can we leave yet?”
“Hmmm!” She nodded and tugged at him. Then, she said to Jing Xuan, “In any case, you have my heartfelt gratitude for helping me out of my earlier predicament.” Finished speaking, she left with Wei Yi.
Jing Xuan stood there dumbfounded. Her vision was blurry from the tears and she couldn’t make out anything clearly, but it didn’t matter as her heart was in turmoil.
Today, many billows surged one after another from within Zhangzhi hall.
Inside the Empire Affairs chamber, most of the seats in the room were occupied by the court ministers, who sat at their respective positions. Qi Zhen emperor was seated on the Dragon Throne, dressed in a yellow robe embroidered with nine dragons. Both of his hands rested on his legs as he sat upright with a straight back.
The crown prince, Prince Yi and Prince Rong sat on the front row, while the civil and military chancellors and ministers sat behind. Ji Li and Ji Huan were also present. That’s right! They were both ministers of the court, thus after finishing handling Old Madame Ji’s and Ji Yuanzhi’s funerals, they spurred their horses in order to quickly return to the capital. At present, they both exuded a vicious aura.
Amongst those present, three men that were dressed in crude and wild armor stood in the middle of the grand hall. Their armor’s style belonged to that of Qujiang’s army. The frame was made out of iron, linking the chest to the back part of the armor. Then, blacksmiths would sew together plates of metal in the same way fish scales are on a fish, thus, giving the armor its final shape, creating a scale-like armor. As for the protection of their lower limbs, Qujiang people used knee pads. As the finishing touch, they would don themselves with a surcoat that covered them from their necks to their legs.
The three men stood in a triangular formation, with straight backs and austere expressions! The one who stood at the head of the formation was a man nearing his forties. He was tall and sturdy like a tiger and had long sideburns. His face had two dark eyebrows from which the heroic aura distinctive of Qujiang people could be felt. That man was known as the wise general of Qujiang – Yuchi Lin. The general clasped his hands together before the emperor. “I pay my respects to the Great Lin’s Emperor.”
Qi Zhen didn’t show any changes in his expression. He stated, “General Yuchi, there is no need for such courtesy.”
Qi Zhen’s eyes were cold as he looked at the young general behind Yuchi Lin. That young general had brought with him generous gifts to present before the emperor.
“Emperor, this is the precious curios that our Qujiang’s monarch has prepared to offer to you.”
An old eunuch came forward and respectfully received the gift, bringing it forth to the emperor. The gift itself was inside a box that was opened before Qi Zhen. Inside it laid an extremely valuable carved ox horn!
“This object has accompanied our King during his days of warmongering. It is part of our national treasury, which we have parted with in order to send it to you as a gift.” General Yuchi explained.
Qi Zhen nodded, but he didn’t express his like nor distaste towards the object. The old eunuch retrieved the box and retreated to the side.
“We have received the goodwill of the King of Qujiang.” Qi Zhen spoke in a deep voice. Then, he added, “The armistice between our Great Lin and Qujiang has been ongoing for five years. When the treaty was signed in Cangshui, it was agreed that neither nation’s armed forces would be encroaching upon the borders of the other. I do not know if General Yuchi is aware of this clause?”
“This General is highly aware of it.”
“Since you know of it, why did you violate the established treaty?” Qi Zhen’s voice was deep and resounding, exuding majestic and solemn presence.
Yuchi Lin answered, “This time I came to Lin capital to bring my king’s gifts, so naturally, I will show the sincerity that Qujiang has in regards to this matter as we have no intention of renouncing the treaty. We do not wish for a war between our two countries which would lead to countless casualties.”
Unable to hold himself back, the crown prince Jing Hua stepped forward with a look of disdain. He spoke out without waiting for the emperor to reply. “How funny! General Yuchi led 30,000 soldiers to harass our 100,000 soldiers at the border and caused chaos. Everyone at court knows that you are far from being an ordinary person. You can wage war, lead an army and are a good strategist. Isn’t it laughable for you to say that you don’t intend to renege the treaty and go to war now that you have entered our Great Lin’s capital? If you didn’t want to start a war, then why did you send your army to attack our borderlands?”
Even if the crown prince was somewhat impulsive and slow-witted, his words this time truly made people feel indignant! In the end, an idiot is still an idiot. Despite being a master of flattery, in the current situation, it wasn’t at all appropriate for him to take the initiative to speak. He was simply courting disaster!
Qi Zhen sighed as his complexion turned almost black. Jing Hua seemed to realize something, so he retreated to the side while Jing Yi inwardly laughed at his brother’s mistake. As for Jing Rong, he lightly sighed whilst shaking his head. Regarding the problem raised by Jing Hua, Yuchi Lin wasn’t in a hurry to justify himself. Although his bearing appeared rough and wild, the way he handled things was quite meticulous.
Yuchi Lin raised his head and addressed himself to the emperor, “Your Majesty, there are many misunderstandings!”
“Misunderstandings? General Yuchi doesn’t need to hold back, we will take everything into consideration.”
“In fact, I previously received an order to lead the troops. However, I didn’t even think of attacking any of Great Lin’s cities or territories.”
Yuchi Lin continued his explanation. “Five years ago, before the treaty of Canshui, Great Lin and Qujiang fought for half a year, resulting in our loss. Since then, adhering to the treaty, we send tribute every year in exchange for long-lasting peace. Our king had in his heart the people’s welfare and is unwilling to let them suffer. So, of course, we wouldn’t violate the treaty. I have received my king’s orders to set off for Great Lin for this cause. Although it is true that we did harass the borders, fact remains that there were no casualties amongst your army.”
Everyone became puzzled. ‘Where is he getting at in the end?’
Jing Yi glanced at the emperor and saw that the latter was just as confused, so he stepped forward, and saluted his father before turning to General Yuchi. “When you were at the borders, why didn’t you send any envoys to clarify the matter? But seeing as you are already in our imperial capital, why not be frank and properly discuss how to handle this matter?”
Yuchi Lin leaned his head to the side and looked at Jing Yi. Then, he turned back to the emperor and said, “We didn’t send an envoy because our King has instructed us that he wanted this General to represent Qujiang and come here to explain this event in person. Concerning my army of 30,000 strong men who marched to the border towns, we were dispatched to defend the borders from Liang Wen, known as General Liang, who for no reason at all had erected his flag and ordered his army of 100,000 to pressure our small army of 30,000 soldiers. I feared that this would cause a rift in our alliance, so I had no other alternative but to create a diversion to outflank General Liang while waiting for your Majesty to summon us here and break this predicament.”
‘The truth of the matter was such?!’ Qi Zhen’s mood sank more and more. He put more strength into his hands that were resting on his thighs, clenching them into fists. He looked down and spoke with anger flourishing. “Since when can Liang Wen act so presumptuously? We had sent him to the borders with 100,000 to protect it, not to wage war! If an accident happens there, how can he shoulder the loss?” After declaring so, he ordered, “Come people! Receive my decree! Quickly go to the borders and relieve General Liang Wen from his command and punish him with 80 heavy boards. If he doesn’t die from that, tie him up and drag him back to the capital. He will be hanged at the city walls for three days. As for the army at the borders, we will temporarily appoint General Xi of the left vanguard to supervise the army.”
“Yes, your Majesty!” The imperial guards retreated after receiving the orders.
In any case, Liang Wen was a high-ranking general. He’d gone through wars and campaigns, was both brave and skilled at fighting. Unexpectedly, Qi Zhen would announce in public the abolition of Liang Wen’s military rank after listening to Yuchi Lin’s side of the story.
Everyone felt that it was too careless of the emperor! However, the intelligent people understood the matter clearly. On one hand, Qi Zhen wanted to demonstrate that he was fair and partial toward his vassals, and, on the other hand, he also warned Yuchi Lin. This was the warning of a monarch to his tributary country. If they dare to mess around, he could easily turn them into a second Liang Wen! Another purpose for his action was to eliminate the tension between Great Lin and Qujiang, and avoid giving Quijang a casus belli to send soldiers to attack.
Qi Zhen restrained his anger and stated, “Our misunderstandings have been resolved properly. General Yuchi can now state the real reason for your visit!”
Yuchi Lin said, “This General has received our King’s order to seek an alliance through marriage.”
“A marriage proposal?”
‘A marriage proposal?’ When the words came out, everyone was in uproar. The fists hidden in Jing Rong’s sleeves tightly clenched. Since the beginning of the conversation, he was studying Yuchi Lin. Although this man was tall, bold and powerful, a typical model of a general, his usual style of speaking was old-fashioned and abided to regulation. However, when he spoke about the marriage proposal, those words seemed as if they were recited and didn’t feel like something that he would genuinely say out of his own volition.
Grenn’s Rants Corner
I wonder who Qi Zhen will send to Qujiang.