Chapter 194 – Su Ziluo
Original and most updated translations are from volare. Please don’t read elsewhere and stop supporting theft.
The man in the wheelchair’s hair was tied up with a silver gem-embedded crown. He was clad in wide-sleeved black clothes. His straight eyebrows gave him a naturally gentle and relaxed expression. His handsome face was sculpted from distinctive traits – a pair of bright eyes like a cold shooting star, yet with a trace of warmth; temples seemingly carved by a knife, with angular outlines; black eyebrows that seemed as if they painted with black ink; and a peachy complexion! It was such a pity his legs were lame.
His attendant, Sui Shi, held the wheelchair’s handles and pushed him inside. The wheels rumbled softly. Sui Shi stopped. Su Ziluo raised his hand slightly, signaling Sui Shi to leave.
Xiao Luzi bowed to him when he saw this, calling him ‘Teacher Su.’ As he did so, he left and closed the door behind him.
Only two people were left in the room. Su Ziluo looked at Li Shiyan, whom appeared dejected. His lips curled into a faint smile. One of his hands held his sleeve, the other eased down and picked up the teapot on the table. He poured himself a cup of tea.
“Heir, have you played enough?” he asked, his gaze still lowered, his tone light and warm like jade.
Li Shiyan balled his hands into fists and hammered his thighs while looking at the other party.
“Father’s order?” he asked rhetorically.
“Then pretend you haven’t seen me. I will come home when I’ve had enough.”
Su Ziluo remained silent, sipping his tea.
Li Shiyan added urgently, “Ziluo, we grew up together. You should know what I hate most is being watched by people all day long. My home is full of father’s guards, it wasn’t easy getting out of the house. Please, let me play for a few more days!”
“You’ve already been gone for more than three months. You went all over the country and beyond, it’s time to come home.”
“Not yet, I haven’t played enough!” Li Shiyan said hurriedly. His expression was pitiful and he looked discouraged, “You being here must be an order of the King. Did you come to discuss the matter between the two countries? Can’t you just ignore me?”
“That won’t do!” Su Ziluo spoke slowly, swirling the tea in his cup. His half-crescent eyes raised, “Kang Ding Marquis has entrusted me specifically with bringing you back to Qujiang when we leave Lin Capital. This is about loyalty. Heir, please come back with me.”
“Why are you always like this? You haven’t lost your stubbornness even after all these years!” Li Shiyan roared in anger.
Su Ziluo remained placid. His elbows rested on the wheelchair’s armrests, his hands clasped together; a peaceful smile hung on his face. Su Ziluo was praised to have a splendid demeanor like orchids and jade trees and a smile as bright as the full moon.
“You are set to inherit your father’s title and rank. You have to enter the world of politics sooner or later, so why don’t you settle your heart and mind now and start to study, write essays, and manage the troops?”
“You say it as if it’s easy, but I’m not you! The heck with being erudite, to hell with warfare stratagems, and whatever with that peerage! I am not interested!” He yelled disdainfully, swinging his arms back and forth.
“Shiyan!” Su Ziluo reprimanded.
“You are the heir, the Marquis’ only scion. How can His Lordship be at peace if there is a chance something might happen to you?”
Li Shiyan stopped arguing. Now a deflated balloon, he got up and flourished his sleeves. He opened his fan and spoke haughtily, “How can something happen to me? Even if my martial arts aren’t on par with someone, I have the fan you gave me. No one can approach me without my consent.”
The snow flower fan Li Shiyan held had personally been made by Su Ziluo. He had built into it a secret mechanism and turned it into a hidden weapon which could protect the user in times of need. He had given it to Li Shiyan half a year ago after the latter had pestered him about it for a while.
Everyone knew a skillful smith lived in Qujiang, he was the creator of numerous quality inventions. All of his works were ingenious and had hidden contraptions, be it a small accessory that could shoot needles or a big carriage that could serve as a mobile weapon. His inventions were well sought-after by all kinds of figures. Unfortunately, they were not easy to come by. Rumor had it that he only created hidden weapons for two kinds of people; The first were those who had died once and the second were those who lived as if they were dying. This craftsman was none other than the man sitting in the wheelchair in front of Li Shiyan – Su Ziluo!
The wheelchair on which he sat was of his own design. Though it wasn’t carved out of jade, nor gilded or decorated with silver — in fact, it was quite ordinary at a glance, with an unassuming appearance — there were buttons near the hands and legs that could activate hidden contraptions. Any attackers within a radius of 100 meters would be hit by the needles, only death awaited them.
Seeing how arrogant Li Shiyan was being, Su Ziluo warned, “If the needles I shot out earlier were imbued with murderous intent, I’m afraid your life would have been over.”
Though Li Shiyan felt defeated, he promptly retorted, “Well… that’s because I’m not your match.”
“Stop arguing with me. For the time being, you are not allowed to go out. Stay in the capital obediently. When we’ve settled our affairs, I’ll take you back to Qujiang.”
“There is no negotiating. Heir shouldn’t continue being this childish.” Su Ziluo vetoed resolutely.
Li Shiyan knew that when Su Ziluo was like this there was no way to change his mind. Since he knew he couldn’t escape, he sat down in resignation.
“I have to mention that you also took considerable risk. Your legs aren’t convenient. You could have waited in the general mansion. Instead, you came to join the fun in Lin capital. You are the same as Uncle Su.”
“What does that have to do with my father?”
“Both your legs were destroyed five years ago during the battle at Canshui, when Uncle Su died. Heaven is playing with man. With your intelligence, you should be on the front lines leading the troops, wearing Qujiang’s armor, and building a legacy by which to be remembered and praised by future generations. Instead, you’re searching for people in my father’s stead.”
“Who destroyed your legs? No matter how many times I ask, you never tell me.”
Su Ziluo’s expression didn’t change at all, but he spat coldly, “It’s history, don’t mention it again.”
Li Shiyan was a chatterbox, he couldn’t stop himself from blabbering. He leaned nearer to Su Ziluo and asked again, “Ziluo, tell me the truth, why did you really come here this time?”
“You want to know?”
“Marriage. The king is seeking a marriage.”
Li Shiyan squinted and groaned. “That deceiving little kid wants to get married? He is very fond of the queen, so how can he send 30,000 soldiers to seek another marriage? Quick, tell me, is there another reason you’re here?”
Su Ziluo’s expression was tranquil. He moved his wheelchair to the window and gazed at the full moon. After a long moment, he spoke. “We lost many good men during that battle five years ago. They either died from their injuries or were felled. When the army retreated, only 3,000 were left. The Great Lin’s emperor is a petty man. His style of handling things leave no room for maneuver. He killed and beheaded people like he was cutting grass, not at all the conduct of a benevolent sovereign. Not to mention that he completely distrusts his subordinates, a conduct no bright monarch should demonstrate.”
Behind him, Li Shiyan was confused as he listened to Su Ziluo. “What does this have to do with your arrival?”
Su Ziluo slowly turned his wheelchair around. He looked straight at his childhood friend with a severe, chilled gaze. “How can this kind of sovereign rule the world?”
“Ah?” Li Shiyan gawked.
Su Ziluo’s eyebrows creased. “Forget it. You will come to understand in time.”
Li Shiyan shrugged. Since he didn’t understand, he stopped thinking about it. He changed the topic as he recalled something. “Guess why I came to Lin capital?”
“No! I’m here for a woman. That woman has the same temper as you. She’s also incredibly intelligent. She’s a coroner and solves cases.”
Su Ziluo listened quietly without interrupting.
“Take out your tassel.”
Su Ziluo coldly looked at him. “What do you want with my tassel?”
“She has a tassel that looks just like yours. Could it be the one you lost?”
Su Ziluo shot him a deadpan look. “I have no time to waste with you. Obediently stay here. Don’t even think about escaping.”
Su Ziluo left before Li Shiyan could finish his sentence. The sky was already dark when Sui Shi pushed him out of the tavern and there was no one left on the streets. A wind blew, leaving people trembling from the cold. He showed a preoccupied expression and his eyebrows slowly creased, revealing a hint of distressed. Under his sleeve, his hand tightly clenched his tassel.
Grenn’s Rants Corner
Guess who is Su Ziluo?