Chapter 202 – An Old Friend Who Left Far Away
Original and most updated translations are from volare. Please don’t read elsewhere and stop supporting theft.
In the crowd of hurried passerbys, she saw him. In an instant, her mind blanked. She tightly gripped the clothes in front of her chest. Her eyes swept the crowd, in search of that familiar yet fleeting face she had only glimpsed at.
‘It’s him! It’s him!’
Her legs seemed to have a mind of their own, as they carried her to the spot where she had seen him. She bumped against the shoulders of others numerous times, but she persisted, like a stubborn child, using all her might to make her way to that place.
Suddenly, a sedan passed by, separating for a moment Ji Yunshu and her guards and within that instant, they lost sight of her. “No good! We have to quickly find Teacher Ji. If something happens to him, his Highness will blame us and if we can’t find him, don’t even dream of keeping your life!”
“Yes!” The guards immediately dispersed in all directions.
Meanwhile, Ji Yunshu was closely following behind Su Ziluo. Their paces were neither hurried nor slow. The attendant sped up as he pushed Su Ziluo’s wheelchair, Ji Yunshu followed suit and picked up her pace. If he slowed down, she also did the same, always maintaining a certain distance between them. From the start, she had no intention of catching up to them. Perhaps, it was fear that held her back; Fear of disappointment; Yet, the fear that he could be Ji Pei superseded the fear of her being mistaken.
If he was Ji Pei, then why didn’t he return to find her after all those years? Her expression revealed the turmoil and confusion inside of her. Soon they reached a garden of plum trees and stopped on a red bridge with a stream flowing underneath.
Su Ziluo raised his hand and lightly waved at his attendant to withdrew. The small bridge overlooking the stream stood in the middle of the plum trees garden. The man on his wheelchair indifferently watched the ephemeral and colorful petals falling like a drizzle. Time slowly passed, Su Ziluo suddenly, vigorously thrust out his fingers, breaking a branch full of bloomed red plum blossoms and pinched it between his fingers.
Ji Yunshu stood there, observing him carefully. After a certain period of time, she heard Su Ziluo’s voice. “Gentleman, you have been following for a while, do you want anything from me?” This gentle voice, if he wasn’t Ji Pei, then who else could he be?
Ji Yunshu immediately felt her eyes reddened. The tense feeling in her suddenly snapped like a bowstring that was pulled too far, a heartache gripped her. She timidly stepped forward, walking on the bridge, but she didn’t dare to go further.
Su Ziluo gave Ji Yunshu a side glance, eyes filled with a gentle expression. Despite two years of separation, she still remembered clearly his delicate and handsome face, his smart and scholarly countenance, and the unique and majestic impression he gave.
Ji Yunshu asked with tears stinging her eyes. “You… who are you?” The trembling of her voice couldn’t be hidden.
“My surname is Su, named Ziluo. Do you know me?”
She shook and stepped back. He was the same as in her memories, but why did he act so unfamiliar? “Su Ziluo?” She repeated his name.
“For what reason did you follow me here?”
“You follow me only to ask this question?”
“No!” She vehemently denied, feeling the sweat build up to coat her palms. “Do you know the Ji family’s Ji Yunshu in Jinjiang?” She questioned him further.
“Ji Yunshu?” Su Ziluo showed a bewildered expression, he squinted his eyes pensively before shaking his head.
“You really don’t know her?”
“I don’t!” He replied without hesitation.
Her tears pooled in her eyes, but she refrained herself from crying. She couldn’t give up and continued. “Then, do you know Ji Pei?”
“Is he someone very important to you?”
“Yes, he is. It has been two years since last we met, but I am still waiting for him.” Ji Yunshu was staunch in her answer.
Su Ziluo fiddled absentmindedly with the plum blossoms branch, his sword-like eyebrows were restrained, giving him an elegant impression. After a long moment, his voice was heard amongst the rustling of the cold wind. “Perhaps, he is already dead?” He stated.
Ji Yunshu didn’t respond.
“You are planning to wait your whole life for a dead man who will not come back?”
The next moment, tears fell out of Ji Yunshu’s eyes, slowly flowing down her face. She tightly bite her lips until she was bleeding.
“That’s right, he is dead, you are not him.” Her voice was choked with emotion.
Su Ziluo coldly watched her. “So, you thought I was him.” He spoke.
“It’s my mistake. You both look similar.”
“I don’t know who that person is to you to make you so concerned and grieve over him.”
She took a deep breath and lowered her eyes. “An old friend who left for a place far away.”
Su Ziluo remained silent. He let go of the branch. It fell onto the bridge, swaying at the mercy of the cold wind, on the verge of being pushed off the bridge. He stared at the branch then spoke. “Since your old friend has left, why must you wait for him? Sometimes, the most tormenting thing isn’t the endless waiting, but the unwillingness to give up.”
“Urgh!” Her heart trembled.
The attendant returned, took the handles of the wheelchair and was about to push Su Ziluo away.
Su Ziluo’s sight fell on Ji Yunshu’s mask. His eyebrows wrinkled in a frown. “You might be someone with a story to tell, if one day we have the opportunity, I certainly must hear about it.”
Ji Yunshu chased a bit after him, then she stopped. ‘He isn’t Ji Pei! He is not!’ She convinced herself. They merely had the same face, but that’s merely his appearance. Their inner selves were different. She watched as he disappeared into the distance. Her heart gradually calmed down as their distance grew. After a while, she strode back with heavy steps, walking to the fallen branch, a gust of wind blew as she tried to grab onto it.
Unfortunately, all she grabbed onto was the empty air. The branch fell into the water and floated on the surface to a distant place. Suddenly, it felt as if all the time she waited for Ji Pei was a mere dream. She stood for a long time on that red bridge, letting the cold penetrated into her bones. Suddenly, everything became clear. Her vision blurred. She pondered for a moment, then quickly left. She quickly ran to the inn where Li Shiyan stayed.
Since Li Shiyan was given an ultimatum by Su Ziluo and was forced to return to Qujiang, he had nowhere else he could go. He couldn’t even secretly escape as the people watching over him had discovered him before he even reached the city gates and dragged him back.
In short, escape was pointless, obediently go back to Qujiang.
At this moment, Ji Yunshu arrived which shocked him, but he nevertheless welcomed her inside.
“Shu’er, what brings you here?” He called her “Shu’er” out of habit.
Ji Yunshu was had no time to correct him. She could hardly conceal her anxiety as she asked him. “You told me before that there’s a man called Su Ziluo who has an identical tassel as me, right?”
“Then, is he sitting on a wheelchair?”
Li Shiyan answered her questions despite the puzzlement he had. He picked up his fan. “Why are you asking? Did you see him?” He asked.
She nodded. “So, is he from Qujiang?”
“Did he ever come to Great Lin?”
Grenn’s Rants Corner
Oh! The twist! Now, let’s see how everything is connected and what is the truth on that day, years ago.