Edited by renderedreversed
I didn’t know where Chu Kong ran off to once he found out he was pregnant. I was in bed all day long, until one day, I had the sudden urge to explore. Even if I couldn’t figure anything else out, there was worth in getting to know the place I was living in. I endured the pain in my chest, lifted the quilt, put on some clothes, and went outside.
When I opened the door, the first thing I saw was my servant, who had been standing guard the entire time. When he saw me, he said, “General, your wound isn’t healed yet. You need a lot of rest.”
I cleared my throat and put on a serious face. Then I said, “I’m tired of lying in bed for so long, so I’m going for a walk.”
“So, that was it. Let this servants make arrangements for General to…”
I rubbed my chest. Humans had a lot of problems, didn’t they? Would I die if I walked a few steps with this injury? I waved a hand and said, “There’s no need to do that. Just lighting a few lanterns for me will be fine.”
This servant really respected the former general; on the surface, he appeared to hesitate, but he still didn’t dare say anything. As per my orders, he only lit the lanterns for me.
“Where does general want to go?”
I rolled my eyes. “A quiet place.”
He walked quietly in front, leading me through many confusing turns before we stood outside the wall of the garden. I nodded and said, “You wait here; I want to walk by myself.”
He naturally had no objection. I went into the garden alone and regretted it immediately. It was really quiet here, without the slightest bit of noise. And to top it off, I couldn’t see a thing because it was night time. The only light was a pond, shining in the moonlight.
Wait, wait…who was that person standing near the pond?
I squinted to take a closer look and was shocked. That was actually the princess with Chu Kong’s soul! What…what was he doing? Could it be that it was too big of a blow for him and he wanted to commit suicide? That couldn’t happen! If he died, wouldn’t it be more difficult for me to fight alone?!
“Princess Kong! You’re not allowed to jump!” I shouted, “You need to treasure every life!”
Chu Kong turned around to look at me: “Ah?”
There were some things that even the power of words could not do. Knowing this, I rushed over to him and hugged his waist, holding that female body tightly in my embrace while I said, “Calm down a bit. We can talk!”
“What are you doing?!”
The person in my arms kept struggling. However, Chu Kong was a woman now. He wasn’t strong as me, a rough man. I let him punch my broad chest a few times before I let go of him, but only long enough to grasp his shoulders and shake him. His whole person seemed to fall apart with the strength of my shake. His body went soft; I held him by his waist and said, the pain in my voice self-evident: “I know that you feel wronged, but you can’t treat yourself like this. Besides…you’re someone who’s pregnant!”
Chu Kong trembled in my arms: “You…”
My ears were carefully listening to his words. He raised his fist and slammed it into my face. While I was distracted, he took advantage of the opportunity and pushed me away. Then, he pointed at my nose and severely scolded me. “You fucking bastard! Don’t get too deep into your character!”
I rubbed my face. Because of the gap between our physiques, his fist didn’t cause me much damage. Naturally, I could understand his feelings, so I didn’t fuss with him about that punch.
Instead, I stared at Chu Kong for a very long time. Then, I asked: “You didn’t want to commit suicide?”
“Suicide your ass!”
He was angrily stomping by now.
“Do you think I’m in a hurry to rush down and be affectionate with Yanwang?! Am I, xiaoye, stupid?!”
I pointed at the pond and asked: “Then what were you doing?”
Chu Kong immediately paled and seemed to aged a thousand years.
“I was thinking that it was hard to disobey the life bestowed by the heavens. Heavenly Emperor Li has a hard heart and a black hand.”
I was speechless and stayed silent together with him.
“That…” I hesitated, “That child, do you still want it?”
Chu Kong’s thin shoulder trembled. I looked up. My eyes were fluttering.
“Actually, I really want to see you bear children… After all, this is my first time experiencing parenthood.”
Chu Kong’s shoulders shook uncontrollably. I seemed to be hearing a “gege” sound coming from his grinding teeth.
I laughed a little and said, “Of course, the woman should call the shots on this matter.”
The moment those words left my mouth, a stone struck my head. I began to feel dizzy. Two steps were all I could manage until I collapsed on the ground. My chest hurt; there was warm blood flowing out of my wound. In a daze, I touched it, and pulled away to see a hand full of blood in the light of the moon. I gasped: “Help, help! I don’t want to see Yanwang!”
Chu Kong was also scared. He blankly stared at me and then rushed to my side. He kneeled beside me.
“Are you alright?”
His hand covered my wound. It was almost as if he wanted to heal my wound with a spell. But his hand stayed there for a while, and not even a fart came out. Chu Kong’s face turned green. “These mortals…they should just die!”
I grabbed his hand. “You can’t say the word “die”! Twenty years haven’t passed yet!”
A sound came from the back of Chu Kong’s throat. He sealed his mouth, dug around in his sleeve, and pulled out a silk handkerchief. Then he used it to cover my wound. I had no other way of staunching the flow, so I obediently let him press the handkerchief to my chest and waited for the bleeding to stop.
The moonlight was so bright that I could clearly see Chu Kong’s furrowed eyebrows. The breeze of the wind was slow enough that I could hear two mortals breathing in unison with ragged breaths, completely powerless. They were so close to each other. In my mind, I saw many vague and clear images flash. There was Lu Hai Kong, looking up at me and quietly smiling. There was also Chu Kong, patting silly Xiang to sleep. I came to the realization that this was the first time that we had ever been in harmony with each other, helping with no malicious intent.
We spoke at the same time, and also at the same time, we went silent.
“Alright, you can go first.”
“You go first…”
We went silent again and looked at each other. Chu Kong took a deep breath and said, “…I’m sorry.”
My breath stifled. I immediately looked at the moon, just checking to see if somebody put a fake moon in the sky. First surprise: the moon was real. Second surprise: Chu Kong just apologized to me…that was also real!
I was dumbfounded.
Chu Kong’s eyes flashed; he seemed to be thinking about something very far away. “In the second lifetime, slaughtering the Yang family wasn’t my intention. I didn’t get there in time to stop it. When I arrived, Shengling Sect had already finished the job. After that, I didn’t tell you the truth, so perhaps I also…”
“Wait,” I interrupted him. “You’re apologizing for this?”
Chu Kong raised an eyebrow: “What else would I apologize for?”
My heart roared. Shouldn’t he apologize for beating a woman regularly? Shouldn’t he apologize for causing me to spend seven lifetimes with him?! Shouldn’t he apologize for all the mean things he did to me? He isn’t even apologizing for causing my wound to bleed again. Just for…
He did so many things to me and he specifically held onto that one!
I understood and nodded. “So you like that type, ah. You actually like fools!”
Surprisingly, Chu Kong didn’t get angry at my remark. He stared at me for a while, eyes continuing to drift away.
“Humph, don’t you also like that type? That fool called Lu Hai Kong. Besides, not only was he a fool, he was also a blind one.”
That sentence really hit a nerve. I forgot my chest was still bleeding. There was no pain at all when I grabbed Chu Kong by his collar, forcing him to look at me. I looked at him dead in the eye and said, “Listen up, and listen well. Lu Hai Kong was not stupid. His eyes weren’t good, but his vision was better than anyone else’s. His heart was clearer than anyone’s. You’re not allowed to badmouth him.”
Chu Kong stared at me in a daze. Reflected in his black pupils was my face, turned white in the moonlight. After a long time, he said, “You really, really…”
There was nothing to hide. Besides, Lu Hai Kong was already dead. He died in Chu Kong’s past. I nodded and looked straight at Chu Kong. “That’s right. I like him, I really like him.”
After saying that, my eyes turned sad. Unfortunately, in this world, there was no longer anyone who would treat me as well as Lu Hai Kong. I wouldn’t experience heartache again, but conversely, I wouldn’t ever like a person again.
After organizing my emotions, I looked up. The moment my eyes landed on Chu Kong, I was dumbfounded. His face was completely red, even up to his ears.
I was surprised: “Hey…”
Chu Kong angrily threw the bloodstained handkerchief at me. He stood up and took a few steps back.
“Xiaoye…xiaoye doesn’t want to hear you speak!”
He turned and ran away with a shy expression.
I blinked and was still in daze, when I noticed that my chest was still bleeding out. At that, I paled and quickly picked up the handkerchief to try and put pressure on the wound. It was a struggle to walk back to the door of the garden, but I managed somehow.
All along the way, I shouted: “Help! Help!”
I hadn’t yet seen Chu Kong give birth; how could I go and kiss Yanwang’s cheek?! Heavenly Emperor Li, how could I be willing to go now?!
After the night in the garden, I barely escaped death. Time flew by. In a blink of an eye, two months had passed. My wound had almost finished healing, and I also had a better understanding of my surroundings. I now knew that my name was Chu Qinghui. He relied on his outstanding military skills to be promoted to a general. My loyal servant was called Chu Yi. He was the general’s right hand. Princess Qingling’s name was Fu Ying. She was the emperor’s younger sister, the most favored daughter of the empress dowager.
The bad fate of the princess and the general began when the general was promoted from a soldier to a general. The general went to the palace to receive the grace of the emperor. It was at that time that the princess got a glimpse of the general. From then on, she didn’t want to marry anyone else. Because of this, the emperor wrote a decree and the general was forced to marry her.
And then there was the woman whom the general promised his life to. It was that lady named Xinyun whom my servant mentioned that day. That lady was a female physician who had saved the general’s life before. She and the general had a deep affection for each other. However, because of the emperor’s orders, he had to marry the princess instead. But the general couldn’t sever his ties with Lady Xinyun. He refused to come home as a way to protest the emperor’s order. Every day, he lived in the house of Lady Xinyun. Later, Lady Xinyun became pregnant with the general’s child, but it ended in a miscarriage. Rumor said that the princess caused it. In the end, whether she did or not remained an open question.
The fact that Xinyun lost the child was a reality. The general vent his anger on the princess, as he did not know that the princess was also pregnant. The proud princess couldn’t tolerate such a failed marriage and chose to die together with the general.
All of this information was what I had learned. However, I still had many doubts. Things couldn’t be as simple as they seemed on the surface, right?
The goal that Chu Kong and I agreed upon was to get rid of our current status as royal nobility. Then, we would go hide in the forest until our twenty years were over. But the princess was pregnant, the general had an affair; under these circumstances, the princess’ brother would surely not let us leave. Besides, the affairs of the court are not so easy to understand as the affairs of my own home. To get rid of the titles of princess and general was really difficult.
I sat in the pavilion, watching the autumn scenery as I took a gulp of wine and sighed. The servant Chu Yi, who stood beside me, immediately poured wine into my empty cup. I nodded in satisfaction. Aside from the fact that the entire situation was not yet clear, my life was quite pleasant. No worries about eating and drinking. There were many people to serve me. It was even better than the days in the first lifetime.
I glanced at Chu Yi. I thought that if I still wanted to live a carefree life in seclusion, I would need to find a way to deceive this guy to go with me. Fetching water and firewood, cooking, watching over the house; he could do it all. And if I deceived him some more, I might not even have to pay him a wage. This was truly a perfect plan. All I needed to do now was draw him to me.
I coughed twice. “Chu Yi, sit. Drink a cup of wine with me.”
Chu Yi was surprised: “This servant doesn’t dare.”
“Sit. You’re a close brother. We should not bother about rank or status. In the future, if I have a cup of wine, you should also have a cup.”
Chu Yi was about to continue speaking, when a guard came and apologetically said, “General, Lady Xinyun asked to see you.”
By the way, I almost forgot. There was still one person who had survived this love triangle. Lady Xinyun was still alive, and she was now asking to see the general. Presumably, she had not seen him for many days and thus started to miss him…
I was a little worried. To speak words of love to a woman…wouldn’t that be difficult? But I could only nod and say, “Let her come in.”
The guard somewhat hesitated. “But…the princess also seems to be walking in the direction of the garden…”
Chu Yi immediately proposed a solution: “General, should I go and bring Lady Xinyun to the inner room?”
I reckoned that Chu Kong would not fight with a woman or get jealous, so I waved and said, “Do I need to dodge her? Let them all in.”
There was a chilly autumn wind lingering in the pavilion. I drank a few mouthfuls of wine, eyeing the woman in pink who was kneeling before me. This was presumably the girl called Xinyun, right? Weren’t we supposed to be two lovers finally meeting after a long time apart? So why was she kneeling…
I stared at her for a long time. She kept her head bowed didn’t speak. Eventually, I touched my face and wondered if I had put on a too serious expression. Perhaps I scared her? That wouldn’t be good. I tried to smile and laugh, as one should in the presence of a lover, before telling her: “Arise.”
Xinyun began to tremble. She bowed and shuddered as she said, “General…this concubine…”
I was a little surprised to hear these two titles come out of her mouth. It seemed that though the general did see Lady Xinyun as a wife, he was also strict about status.
I waved my hand and said, “You rise up first.”
Xinyun looked up at me. Her eyes seemed to want to discern my every thought.
“General…will you not punish me?”
There had to be another story here!
I raised an eyebrow and arranged my face into an inscrutable expression. “What wrong did you commit?”
Xinyun buried her head and pondered for a while. Then, she slowly stood up.
“General,” she called, using an especially soft tone of voice.
Xinyun sat down on the chair beside me before she continued. “This concubine has missed General for many days. Today…” she blushed, “Missing became pining, and from pining, it became yearning. In my desperation, I asked to see General. If it embarrassed General, please order a punishment.”
I scratched my head and was about to tell her to stop pushing everything onto me, when I heard someone harrumph. I looked up and saw that Chu Kong had arrived; he had walked into the garden with several maids as his train, and all I could do was stare blankly at him. After that day at the pond, I felt like Chu Kong was constantly avoiding me. It became difficult to see him. But now, here he was, and I didn’t have to do a thing.
I knew I was staring; I knew a lot of things. But when he suddenly blushed under my gaze, I didn’t have a clue why.