Chapter 123 – Monarch and Vassals
Original and most updated translations are from volare. Please don’t read elsewhere and stop supporting theft.
She should have known that she would definitely encounter them at some point during her journey to the capital from the day Ji Shuhan sent the letter to the capital.
If they found out that she had burnt down the Ji mansion and indirectly caused her grandmother to die from anger, her second brother would definitely use his Xuan Chi sword to chop her until she becomes meat paste at the earliest opportunity he can get if she were to ever poke her head out of the carriage for even a second. In fact, she wasn’t that afraid of death. She was more afraid of pain and she was unwilling to die under the hands of anyone from the Ji family. This would be the ultimate grievance for her and she didn’t want that!
In front of the carriage.
Jing Rong remained mounted on his horse. His eyes sparked with a cold light in a split of a second, causing his body to exude an enigmatic and unfathomable aura.
Both Ji Li and Ji Huan dismounted from their horses in succession. Then, they saluted Jing Rong, with one knee on the ground and hands clasped in front of them. “Paying respects to Prince Rong!”
Jing Rong lowered his eyelids. “Get up.”
“Thank you Prince Rong.” Ji Li and Ji Huan weren’t part of Jing Rong’s social circle in the capital, thus he didn’t have much interaction with them. Most of his encounters with them were during official meetings pertaining to the court matters.
The oldest of the brothers, Ji Li, is Army Supervisor Yi’s Left Secretary, a position considered to be half civil and half military. In Ji Li’s hand, he controlled an army of 50,000 soldiers and the methods he used in his work were quite ruthless and merciless. As long as the goal is achieved, anything goes. The whole northern region nicknamed him “Howling Wolf” as to imply figuratively that he could devour people without spitting back their bones.
The second brother, Ji Huan, was personally bestowed the title Changlin General by the emperor. He was a genuine general with a temperament as big as his brilliant military achievements. In other words, he was rough, cruel, and rude! Fortunately, his behavior is not too bad, although his temper is… if you treat him badly, he will retaliate harshly, and if you treat him well, he will reciprocate in kindness.
“Where are you two going in such a hurry?” Jing Rong asked, despite knowing the answer.
Ji Li’s disposition was gloomy. Although he wasn’t very tall, his narrow and slanted eyes seemed as if it had a dense myriad of sharpness, causing people to shudder in fear. Moreover, he possessed wisdom and was farsighted. He lowered his head and replied, “This humble one’s home is in mourning. We spurred our horses to return home as soon as possible to send the departed and thus, happened to meet your Highness on the way. If we have offended your Highness, please forgive us.”
“Since it is the case, I won’t hold your back to speedily return home to send the departed.”
‘Send the departed? The corpse has already been burnt to ashes. You can be really funny, Jing Rong.’ Ji Huan with his sharp mind raised his head during their conversation and stared at the carriage behind Jing Rong. A sinister glow could be seen in his eyes. A sly tone could be heard as he voiced his question. “Your Highness, with the recent chaos, there has been many bandits roaming on the roads. Your Highness may need to be careful during your journey.”
“Bandits?” Jing Rong heard the underlying meaning behind Ji Huan’s words. He glanced at the carriage behind him. The corner of his mouth hooked up. “Many thanks to General Ji for your reminder. This Prince will pay more attention.”
“May I inquire… who is inside the carriage?”
“My honorable guest.” Jing Rong replied without hesitation.
Ji Li narrowed his eyes, contemplating the many implications of those words. His expression was seen by Ji Huan, who completely understood the meaning. He then decided to put the meaning into action by stepping forward a few steps and asked in a rude and violent tone, “Who are you inside the carriage? Open the curtain and let me see so as to avoid mistaking you for a bandit.”
Jing Rong’s expression turned grim. He elevated his voice in reprimand. “General Ji Huan, what is the meaning of this? Are you suspecting this Prince for harboring a bandit?”
“This general has no such meaning. I just want to investigate that person’s identity in your stead.” As soon as he was done speaking, he unsheathed his Xuan Chi sword and ferociously thrust his sword towards the occupants inside, through the curtains.
Despite being inside the carriage, Ji Yunshu could clearly feel the murderous intent emitting thickly from the Xuan Chi sword as it closed in, thrusting through the curtains and directly homing towards her heart. Her hands only had enough time to grip her skirt. She could only hold her breath while her black pupils dilated at the sight of death!
“Shu’er…” In an instant, Wei Yi threw himself on Ji Yunshu and tightly hugged her slender waist as his head leaned on her neck.
Ji Yunshu watched the silhouette outside approaching. Only the curtain of the carriage separated them. At this instant, only one thought occupied her mind – she was screwed.
Suddenly, the wind blew, causing the curtain to unveil! She saw Ji Huan, sword in hand. Their eyes met! Ji Huan saw a young woman in the carriage with a veil covering her face, dressed in silk clothes with a skirt that was fluttering with the wind. Her long black hair draped her shoulders and only a simple hairpin held her hair in place.
In her arms, a man was hugging her! With only her eyes revealed, he couldn’t clearly identify her. Besides, this kind of woman could never be his third sister that made him want to cut her into mincemeat.
The wind died, and the curtain fell down. Ji Huan’s sword was suddenly deflected, and before he could react, there was a blade resting on his neck. ‘Whose speed could be this terrifying?’
“Presumptuous!” Jing Rong spat out. They had incurred his wrath. The sword in his hand made a slit on Ji Huan’s neck, opening a bloody wound. If he was to apply a bit more force, even his strong, thick neck would not be able to withstand the cut.
“What great courage you have that you dare to point your sword at my honorable guest?! Do you even put this Prince in your eyes?!”
Ji Huan’s expression remained steady. Many years of military campaign had forged his character into one unfazed and indomitable in the face of danger. Therefore, he replied in a calm tone, “This general thought a bandit had hidden inside the carriage, thus I decided to draw my sword preemptively. I have investigated clearly. I apologize for my impulsive act. I hope your Highness will forgive me.”
“Forgive you?” The sword in Jing Rong’s hand changed its angle slightly, pricking the lower jaw of Ji Huan. Then, Jing Rong sneered. “You should know that I, this Prince, can have executed you here and now.”
Hearing the words, Ji Li, who was a few meters away, kneeled down immediately. He beseeched Jing Rong, “Your Highness, please be lenient. Ji Huan had offended you, but he did so in order to assure your safety. I beseech your Highness’ magnanimity. Please be lenient.”
“You, Ji people, are quite talented when it comes to crowding people with numbers. Each and every time… It has truly widened my horizons!” He squinted his long eyes and spoke in a furious tone. He used his sword to prop up Ji Huan’s chin and continued, “In all of the Great Lin, there has never been any vassal who would dare to draw a sword in front of this Prince. Ji Huan, I know you don’t fear death, but don’t forget: A monarch is a monarch, and a vassal should act like one.”
It was a strong warning! Despite being a martial man, Ji Huan still understood the meaning encompassing the concept of a monarch and his vassals. Therefore, he was forced to compromise, “Yes, your Highness. This general understands.”
After a moment, Jing Rong retracted his sword and threw it at Lang Po. Then, he swept a glance at the kneeling Ji Li and coldly stated, “Get up! Regardless, you are still the Left Secretary and Changlin General of this empire. This Prince cannot possibly claim your life. As for what had just occurred, let bygones be bygones. But I hope this is the last time. If it happens again, don’t blame me for being ruthless.”
“Many thanks, your Highness!”
Jing Rong mounted back his horse. Without throwing another glance at the brothers, he lightly urged his horse forward. “Let’s go!”
Ji Li and Ji Huan retreated to the sides to allow Jing Rong to pass. The carriage moved forward while Ji Yunshu forced herself to maintain her calm despite the panic from earlier still lingering, not fading completely. Meanwhile, Wei Yi continued to hug her without letting go. He was probably scared to his wits’ end. She had no other choice but to pat his back and whisper comforting words.
However, just as their carriage passed by Ji Li and Ji Huan, fortunately or not, the curtain was once again blown up by the wind, and so did her veil…
Grenn’s Rants Corner
I like this chapter because of Jing Rong’s interaction with the Ji brothers. I like the way their characters are illustrated through the interactions and their actions more than through mere description.