Chapter 232 – Why?
Original and most updated translations are from volare. Please don’t read elsewhere and stop supporting theft.
Ji Yunshu obediently ate, but after a few mouthfuls, she put down her chopsticks.
Jing Rong didn’t force her, so he ordered the servants to clean up the table. Afterwards, he asked her in a serious tone, “Are you thinking about Teacher Su?”
‘Huh!’ Ji Yunshu was caught off guard. She felt as though her heart was suddenly exposed to prying eyes, which sent shivers through her bones like being blown by a gust of wind. She observed his expression and thought for a moment before lowering her head.
Jing Rong grabbed her hand tightly. He couldn’t conceal the sadness and frustration on his face. “This Prince isn’t a fool, but I don’t want to know what’s on your mind right now. I don’t want to entangle you further,” he pacified her.
“Stop. I don’t want to know,” he vetoed.
‘How awkward!’ Besides, she had no intention of telling him.
They accompanied each other, sitting like that until the hour of the rooster1. At that time, Jing Rong decided to leave.
After Jing Rong’s departure, Ji Yunshu closed the door of her residence and changed into women’s clothing. She removed her mask, revealing a scar that had almost faded. Only by careful observation could anyone see it. Next, she put on some makeup, pulled back her hair into a simple bun and inserted two wooden hair pins on each side of her head. She was dressed simply, but it gave her an elegant appearance like a lotus floating on water.
When the veil of night fell, she left, bringing with her only a lantern. She walked until she reached an abandoned tower. The phantom structure was strange – the walls had long fallen to ruins, with moss growing rampant on the stone steps, and the roof tiles were falling apart.
In the sky a lonely moon shone down silvery light. Soon, clouds gathered and a drizzle came down, dampening her hair. The raindrops gave it a luster as if it was covered in a layer of frost.
Her petite silhouette slowly climbed the tower, always maintaining an upright posture. A cold wind gusted into the tower, causing her to shiver. For a moment, her lantern swayed, but the flame burnt on stubbornly, casting a spot of orange light onto the limestone. Finally, she reached the top of the tower.
There, Su Ziluo awaited her. Li’er was nowhere to be seen. At that moment, there was only them.
Su Ziluo didn’t turn back, but he could already hear the sound of her steps. He furrowed his eyebrows slightly but maintained his composure.
Ji Yunshu walked to him and placed the lantern on the rampart. The light shone on Su Ziluo’s profile.
One stood; the other sat. A heavy silence filled the quarters, only upset by the cold wind. Suddenly, a stronger gust of wind pushed the lantern off the tower, the candlelight extinguished from the free-fall, and in an instant, the place was engulfed in darkness.
Ji Yunshu’s eyes reddened as she continued to watch Su Ziluo. Suddenly, she asked, “Is this how we are now?”
Like an extinguished lantern?
Su Ziluo didn’t respond. His eyes riveted into the distance.
“In the past, I often thought that if I met the one, I would gladly do anything for that person be it treading through water or walking on fire. I wouldn’t have minded injuring myself for him.” The person she was referring to was, of course, Ji Pei.
When he heard her words, his mouth arched down, and he asked, “Is he that important to you?”
“Hm. He is!” A smile illuminated her face as she answered. Then, she continued, “I still remember the first time I met him. He stood behind Ji Huan. His head hung very low. He was garbed in a plain robe. I could describe him as neat and youthful with a clear and pure expression, something which I could never forget in all my life.”
“One day, he said to me to wait for him, so I waited. Regardless of how long, I waited. Even if I saw him died in front of me, I still waited.” Her voice became filled with emotions.
Her words didn’t leave Su Ziluo unmoved, the calm in his eyes broke as they reddened from repressed tears. Both of his hands tightly clenched the armrests.
Ji Yunshu sniffled, then she asked him with a voice choked with emotions. “Why? Why has it become like this between us?”
Su Ziluo walled himself behind his silence.
“Tell me why? Where did you go the last two years?” She controlled herself to suppress her tears from falling.
Although Su Ziluo didn’t confirm, Ji Yunshu was certain he was Ji Pei, the Ji Pei she had been waiting for for two years.
“I’m sorry,” he suddenly uttered.
She shook her head and smiled. “That’s it? Besides being sorry, is there nothing else you want to say?”
A long time passed before Su Ziluo faced her, his face wrought by guilt and sadness as he looked at her teary eyes. “I’m sorry, Shu’er. Apart from those words, I don’t know what else to say.”
“Finally, you are willing to call me Shu’er!” She crouched down and cried.
Then, she raised her head to look at him and placed her hands on his thighs. She couldn’t help feeling her heart ache for him.
He stretched out his hands, and very gently, his fingers stroked her face as if he was afraid his touch would break her. “My dear Shu’er, I’m sorry. These two years must have been painful for you. How can it not be the same for me?” For the first time, grief and sadness overwhelmed him.
“What happened to you? Tell me, what did you go through after being carried out of the Ji Mansion?”
When he recalled the events of two years ago, his face darkened. It took him a long while before he spoke again. “Heaven must have taken pity on me. It didn’t let me die on the battlefield or breathe my last breath under your father’s whip. Even after Ji Yuanzhi’s people threw me into that chaotic public cemetery, I was still able to crawl out of it. Unfortunately, I wasn’t careful and accidentally tumbled down the hillside and broke my legs. By coincidence, there were Qujiang people passing through there and I was rescued back to Qujiang.”
“Does that mean that you recovered all your memory at that time?”
He interrupted her. “You must have heard of the battle at Cangshui five years ago, right?”
“At that time, Ji Li was appointed as the commander, leading an army of 180,000. My father was ordered by the Qujiang King to intercept them. During that battle, I saw with my own eyes my father being murdered by Ji Li. At that time, I also got injured which resulted in a loss of my memories.” As he narrated, his tone became more and more fierce and hard.
Even though Ji Li had passed away, he still couldn’t free himself from the hatred. After that battle, he became the gentle and scholarly Ji Pei. At present, the Su Ziluo in front of her had become a stranger.
“Then, from the start, your aim wasn’t the two cities, but Ji Li?” she asked.
“I have two goals.”
“So, you never intended to come find me?”
Regarding that problem, Su Ziluo chose to stay silent, but his silence told her everything she wanted to know.
She took a deep breath and said, “You clearly know that I was waiting for you. Even if you had to report your hatred or needed to devote yourself to your king, it wasn’t necessary to throw me aside for so long.”
Su Ziluo smiled bitterly as he looked at his legs. “Look at me! I couldn’t come back to you like this?”
“I don’t care about that!” she bellowed.
Why would she care? She waited two years. Wasn’t it all in order to see him? Pain and distress gushed forth as if they wanted to suffocate her.
As for Su Ziluo, how could all of this not hurt him?
Grenn’s Rants Corner
- Hour of the rooster = 5-7pm ↩