This is the first time that it was difficult to sleep. I laid on the bed tossing and turning. No matter what I did, I couldn’t throw the image of Lu Hai Kong’s pale face off my mind. I sat up and sighed deeply. Chu Kong, that bastard, how could he become like this after reincarnation? He’s obviously a hateful and cocky man. How did he become like this?
As long as Lu Hai Kong gets me mad once, even if it’s only once, then I can heartlessly get rid of him! Why?! Why…why put that kind of expression?! That grieving expression made me feel guilty.
I sighed deeply again. Suddenly I saw a black shadow in front of my room. I raised an eyebrow, wondering if it’s Qing Shan student and Hei Wu. But then I heard a subtle muttering in front of my door, my heart tightened. It’s Lu Hai Kong. After being wronged, he still came to look for me. Really…he really couldn’t let me get mad once.
He’s only muttering at the doorway. Didn’t knock and didn’t come in. Actually, I was worried and went to the door. Through the door, I heard him muttering to himself: “Yun Xiang, I’m sorry. I’m not refusing to admit. I was thinking about how I can refuse uncle and how to mention…mention…Yun Xiang. I’m sorry, it’s my fault…”
He kept repeating those words several times, repeating the same phrases all over again. I was anxious after hearing him, pulled the door open and said: “What did you want to mention to your uncle?”
Lu Hai Kong was caught off guard, when I opened the door. He stared at me blankly. His face turned red, but after a while turned white.
I couldn’t guess his mind. I took a deep breath and was about to apologize to him, when he grabbed my sleeves and whispered: “Yun Xiang, I’m not white eyed wolf. I know my right eye isn’t beautiful, but…you don’t be disgusted by my eye and don’t be disgusted by me.”
Even the most complex emotion, even the amount of words that I wanted to say to him, have been broken by his sentence.
He has been lingering at my door for so long, prepared so many things to say, but when he saw me, he said such sentences.
Although he never said it, but seeing his eye injury, I knew this has become his Achilles heel. I also knew how much my words hurt him. I now also knew that he’s very afraid that I’ll despise him.
For some time, looking at him, I didn’t know what sort of emotions I show.
Fifteen-year-old Lu Hai Kong was already taller than me. For the first time, I seriously took a good look at his eye. In his eyes, the snow in the country yard that has been lit by the moonlight, looks very bright. This child really existed. He wasn’t a fleeting fragment of Chu Kong’s life. But he’s a real person living a real life.
I clearly understand that Song Yun Xiang’s life is just a bubble. But in Lu Hai Kong’s eyes, this is his whole life. His only life.
Tonight was really cold. With one hand I hold onto the door, with the other I pulled Lu Hai Kong into a hug. Both hands are now clutching his back, holding him tightly.
Lu Hai Kong’s already stiff body became stiffer.
“Yun Yun Yun Yun Yun….Xiang?”
“I’m sorry, “I said. “Those were only angry words. I’m sorry. I’m not disgusted by you. Don’t be sad.”
Lu Hai Kong didn’t move, but his stiff body loosened. He hesitated for a moment, then he put his hands on my back. Loosely did he hold me. It felt like if he held me with more strength, he’ll offend me. I heard him sigh in my ear: “Yun Xiang, at that time, I didn’t say anything because I was just thinking about how to refuse uncle and how to mention…mention marrying you.”
I looked down because I didn’t want to look him in the eye.
“These past few years there was no opportunity. Yun Xiang was also incredibly delayed. As it happens, now there’s some free time. So, so I thought we could have the marriage…. just now, I also convinced uncle. Yun Xiang, do you agree to this marriage?”
I couldn’t think of anything, so I just told him: “I need to return to the capital to help my father. I’m going to marry the third prince.”
His face paled hearing those words. I pushed Lu Hai Kong, scratched my head and said: “You don’t have to worry, I’m still pondering.”
Lu Hai Kong tugged at my sleeve and didn’t let go: “I know that Yun Xiang has sacrificed many things when coming with me to the north. And you’ve also suffered a lot of injustice. No matter what you’ve always stayed by my side. I know that Yun Xiang is good to me, I don’t want to disappoint Yun Xiang….”
I rubbed my forehead. I haven’t really experienced much injustice after I came here. Firstly, because I was at Lan Xiang’s liquor house the whole day, so I haven’t heard many gossips. Secondly, I as the daughter of the prime minister, living save and sound on the “enemy’s” ground, must be because of Lu Hai Kong. He must’ve suffered more injustice than I do.
Ordinarily, in these circumstances, I would’ve accepted his proposal. Yet this afternoon Qing Shan student brought such a news. Although in this life, I didn’t have much sense. But filial piety is still something that I needed to keep.
I thought for a long time, before I finally thought of an excuse: “Lu Hai Kong, you said I’m good to you, you don’t want to disappoint me. But do you love me?”
After asking this, I shuddered. I kept the nauseating feelings in check and kept asking: “You respect me, you honor me, but what I want are not these. This is not love between man and woman, this is not love between couples. You…need to think again.”
Lu Hai Kong was startled. He didn’t think that I would say those words. He thought for a moment and said: “I don’t understand that, but in this life, I will not marry someone else. Yun Xiang, the one who needs to think again, is you.”
He didn’t force me to explain anything, just smiled and said: “Yun Xiang, if you’re willing, come to me and say it. If you want to postpone it, then we’ll postpone it. The nights are cold, Yun Xiang you need to keep warm. I’ll go back first.”
Looking at his disappearing figure, I firmly covered my face. Brat, do not laugh so beautiful, ah! You made me look like a child who has lost her temper! I was really embarrassed!
Three days later, I left a letter on the table in my room: I’m going in the mountain to hunt1, don’t know when I’ll return. Lu Hai Kong, if you’ve decided to fight in the army, then fight. Don’t wait for me to come back before you marry.
Finally, I’ve decided to go alone to the south gate to follow Qing Shan student and Hei Wu back to the capital. Because I know that Lu Hai Kong can live well now without me and because in the capital, there’s aged father Song. There’s also my maid Cui Bi, whom I haven’t seen in a long time and many other people. They didn’t deserve to die because of the so called political struggle, like what happened to the general mansion five years ago. Being burned to death, without finding even the corpses.
If I went back, I could help them. I should go back.
The way back was a lot faster than the way coming here. All the way, the roads were full of warning signs. The faces of the commoners were full of panic. Unknowingly, I was really nervous. In the north I isolated myself too well and Lu Hai Kong protected me too well too.
On the fifth day, after crossing the northern border and passing another city, we would enter the territory, where the court was in control. Qing Shan student made me look like an old woman. He and Hei Wu are my sons now. We were playing sons bringing mother home. Although I objected to the role of an old mother, but thinking that I’m few hundred years old, being called mother was nothing big. So, I reluctantly agreed.
Passing the last gate, soldiers were doing a routine inspection. Suddenly another soldier, riding on a horse, came to the leader. He stopped the horse and shouted: “Urgent matter! Withhold all the young women! They’re not allowed to leave the city!”
While he was shouting, the other soldiers blocked the path of everyone and said: “Young women are not allowed to leave the city.”
The soldier in green, on the horse, stopped at the gate. He took out a portrait and said: “All those who has some resemblance to this portrait, no matter man or women, young or old, bring them all to the protector’s mansion.”
Hei Wu and Qing Shan student behind me, tensed up. Qing Shan student whispered: “Miss, keep your head down. Don’t look up.”
I was wondering about a deep question: “How much is some resemblance?”
I heard the two behind me sigh. I didn’t understand why they’re sighing. I looked up at the portrait and froze instantly. Which artist could paint me so like me?
In the north, aside from Lu Hai Kong, who would so carefully observe me? My mind was complicated. I bent down to look like an old woman.
The young women were detained. The soldiers checked everyone. Qing Shan student walked on my right side, pretending to support me. Hei Wu is walking a step behind us. Passing the soldiers, Qin Shan student began his acting. He softly called: “Mother, the officers are just checking, it’s nothing.”
I was too lazy to care about him, so I only bowed my head and kept walking.
We almost passed the gate when suddenly a soldier called: “Elderly, can you please lift your head a little?”
After I heard those words, I hesitated. If I’m caught here, I and Lu Hai Kong……
I was still thinking, when Hei Wu grabbed my hand.
I stared at him blankly when he said: “Forgive me for the offense.”
While saying that, he lifted me with his powerful hands and threw me over his shoulders. At that moment, Qing Shan student pulled out a sword from his waist. Before the soldier could say anything, Qing Shan student already stabbed his horse’s eyes.
The horse stomped his hooves and made miserable sounds. Hei Wu said: “Run.”
They dodged the footsteps of the horse, while stepping on the shoulders of those who’ve fallen to the ground, they ran out of the gate.
I was laying on Hei Wu’s shoulder, watching the chaos at the gate. I didn’t know why I suddenly thought of the day of reincarnation. But today, there isn’t a young man with eyes full of blame, looking at me. I suddenly felt an emptiness in my heart.
Back on the court’s territory, Qing Shan student and Hei Wu were a lot more at ease. They bought a horse and we were using the main roads. It’s a lot faster. Soon we arrived in the capital. When we were passing the gate, both Qing Shan student and Hei Wu said that they’ve got something to do and that I could return to Xiang Fu alone. I was surprised that they weren’t afraid that I’ll escape. But then I thought that I’ve nowhere to escape to in the capital. So, I obediently went to Xiangfu.
The general’s mansion opposite Xiangfu has been cleared. To historians, the general’s mansion is now only a historical record.
The Xiangfu’s guards were still the same. When they saw me they were scared: “Young…Miss, you came back?”
I nodded: “I came back.”
A bodyguard’s legs went soft. He hastened and ran inside. The first person I need to see, of course, was my father. The only difference I saw was, that in the hall, there wasn’t a furious father Song waiting for me. He was in his bedroom, a step from his deathbed. A very thin father Song.
I was a little afraid to call him. I really couldn’t believe that getting old, would let someone look like this. Father Song lay on the bed, looking at me dazedly. He closed his eyes for a long time, then he sighed and said with a weak voice: “Go away…Go away, you shouldn’t have come back.”
I was originally a cloud, born with nothing and raised with nothing. No father or mother. I don’t understand what parents’ love is, but at this moment I need to treat this old man well, even if he’s done many bad things. In my eyes, he’s just a lonely father.
“Father,” I said. “I wasn’t filial. The third prince, I’m willing to marry him.”
Father Song’s lips trembled. He was silent for a very long time, before gathering all his strength to sit up. Sternly he said: “Who’ve brought you back?! Even if your father is in a bad situation, I still would not sell my daughter to survive!”
I was surprised. I was still confused when I asked: “Wasn’t it you who let Qing Shan student and Hei Wu bring me back?”
Father Song looked at me casually and then abruptly laughed out loud: “Those two have been killed by the emperor, early this year. I’m afraid that the two people who pick you up, are imperial guards…”
Father Song shook his head.
“That year I did everything to bring you and Lu Hai Kong to the north…Now you still have been brought into this conflict. Yun Xiang, father is sorry to you, sorry to your mom, sorry to brother Lu and Lu Hai Kong. And even more sorry to the late emperor.”
Did everything possible to bring me and Lu Hai Kong to the north?
I thought more carefully and realized that everything was strange on the night of the fire. After those two men left, there wasn’t any news coming from Xiangfu. Such an important thing as the general’s medal was missing, the court failed to send people after us. I and Lu Hai Kong walked like a turtle and there was not a single soldier who has caught up with us. Lu Lan announced his revolt, the court actually waited five years before doing something…
I didn’t know how much father Song suffered all these years by the hand of the emperor, but seeing how father Song looked today, I knew that this forty-year-old has no more blood to bleed.
I patted him on the back and said: “Father, it’s alright. I’m not so fragile.”
Chinese is a such a beautiful language. Not many words can have much meaning. The only bad thing is that it’s really difficult to translate. The humor is gone when translating. I recommend to all those who can understand mandarin too listen to the story. It’s more funny listening than reading my translation.
I’ll be taking a break of two weeks, because exams are coming up again. When I come back, we can finally finish the first lifetime. The second lifetime is my favorite lifetime because Chu Kong is really really cute XD.
- She meant that she’ll go fight the enemy.