The Frost-like Youth
A tranquil pavilion connected to the pond, with no fencing, clear blue water, white jaded steps, as if it has all melted into one. A figure of graceful demeanour sits on the jade steps, blending in together with the water and jade.
Satin-like black hair submissively held back in a silver ribbon, making Gui Wan’s skin look even more so as white as snow, that face of incomparable beauty, carrying a shallow smile, sitting alone on top of the jade steps, sinking quietly into her own world.
Reaching out to fiddle with the water, circles and circles of ripples disperses out from her hand, seeming to find it interesting, she takes to the trouble of doing the same thing over and over again, even her thoughts had already flew far away. Things that have happened during this half of the month, provides a lot to think about, she needs to organise her thoughts.
Half a month ago, she was made the most glorious woman within the whole of the Capital, marrying into the Prime Minister Estate, wedded to someone whose position stands next to that of the Emperor.
That wedding dress had a hole, but under Ling Long’s hands, not even the slightest flaw could be detected, however……does not seeing it means that it’s not there? Because all traces of the torn hole has been concealed with embroidery, does that make the torn hole non-existent then?
She does not like to deceive oneself nor others.
The ripples forms loops after loops, her cool hand feels the upwelling, but she still has no intention to retract her hand.
Her husband wields too much power, such power that is rivalled to none, what’s even more rare, is that he is an elegantly handsome man, gentle, and considerate of others. It seems like he has no flaws, with a slight trace of sarcasm, she laughs.
Never thought that, on their wedding night, she never even got to see this legendary flawless husband.
“He’s gone into the palace, with urgent matters arising in the palace, the groom has no way to get out. As the Prime Minister Madam, please understand, he has after all achieved such great success at such young age. In future, he will still need your support.” Nanny Zhang explains to her with a smile
“Doesn’t the palace forbid men from staying over?”
“How is Prime Minister Lou the same as others, he has received a warrant, with freedom of access, the Emperor has even set up a living quarter for him.”
Her husband really stands right above the skies.
Her wedding night, with someone else’s desperate flattery, praise and hospitality, passes by in a blur.
On the second day, a greater shock was awaiting her. Just when she was eating her breakfast, her husband hurriedly returns. She may very possibly never forget that moment, when she lifts her head, freezing in place.
Her husband is the very man who was accompanying Yao Ying pray for the kau chim sticks half a year ago. However, somewhat different from half a year ago, this man appears to look deeper (as in he is concealing his real feelings more) than back then, looking more dignified with this air of containing but not revealing.
She suddenly feels like her mind has fallen into slight chaos. When she had met him half a year ago, she did not know of his identity, and even thought he and Yao Ying were a pair of fine jade-like couple. A month after offering prayers to the Buddha, she heard that Yao Ying will be entering the palace as an imperial concubine. At that time, she had even lamented incessantly for her, occasionally thinking of that graceful man who had accompanied her by her side.
Didn’t think that he’d show up right in front of her right now, with such identity too.
Her mouth hangs slightly open, wanting to say something, but doesn’t know how to address him, so she simply says nothing, waiting for him to speak.
Sincerely smiling, Lou Che looks at the outstandingly beautiful woman in front of him. His heart has unlimited regret that he wants to express, but also doesn’t know where to start speaking. Thinking about it for a bit, his first words were actually: “Does the breakfast suit your taste?”
He’s actually asking if her breakfast is any good? Gui Wan was unable to hold back, letting out a laugh, she really would not have thought that he was someone who has the authority and power to overturn the imperial government and common people.
This laughter completely breaks through the deadlock between them. Lou Che carries a look of appreciation, watching Gui Wan’s laugh that can be considered like that of blossoming spring flowers, suddenly, he thinks of something else, although his expression remains the same, there is not the slightest hint of smile in his eyes.
Noticing the placidness in his eyes, Gui Wan gathers up her smile, calmly looking at him, her intuition tells her, her husband has something really important to say to her.
All servants were sent away, leaving only two remaining in the big hall.
Although she had already completely mentally prepared herself, the following words still brought upon shock to her.
Lou Che says to her, he is unable to be a good husband, asking for her understanding.
She smiles, asking him: “Is it because of Yao Ying?”
Lou Che was stunned, answering back with helplessness: “It is.”
Hearing such resolute words, the startled one was instead Gui Wan, raising her head, she looks at Lou Che.
The gentle man faintly smiles, like the spring breeze caressing one’s face, his eyes carries a subtle hint of bitterness.
Seeing Gui Wan’s serene expression, Lou Che felt some sort of relief, no matter what, he has told her of his endless apologies towards her, his expression showing endless guilt.
The two of them remained quiet for a long while, when Gui Wan suddenly says: “Then how should I act from now on?”
Lou Che softly says: “Other than feelings of affection, I can give you anything.”
Gui Wan looks at him in surprise, realising that he is committing himself to a promise to her, an extremely valuable commitment.
Lou Che continues to speak, sincerely, gently: “You can see me as an older brother, as long as you’re willing, I will care for you, protect you, spoil you. As long you want it, whether it’s gold, silver, jewellery, rare exotic treasures, or even status and power, I will do my best to satisfy you.”
Gui Wan was completely stunned, staring into his eyes, asking: “Satisfying everything I want?”
“Yes, satisfying everything you want, I will give you the pride that all the women in this world can ever think of.”
To satisfy everything she wants.
Her hand has already turned as cold as ice, she retracts her hand, watching the shallow ripples fall into tranquillity. She laughs, the pond reflects her looks, actually looking as though there is two beauties in general, seemingly a bit sly.
What to do? Exactly what is she to do?
Growing up in a wealthy family since young, she is used to seeing the scheming between individuals, used to seeing men with many wives, her interest in romantic feelings has long faded, she is not bent on pursuing it. A husband like this, should already be considered the best.
To be able to give her no requirements, no burden; even promising to give her the world’s best materialistic comforts, looks, power, status, lacking in nothing. This half of the month, as he has promised, the two of them got along like brother and sister, and he even dotes on her a lot. Rare treasures in the world is continuously sent to her, her older brother’s official position has been promoted three grades overnight. All the glory is drawing in close to her.
He is pleasing her, doing his best to satisfy her.
To have such a husband, what else is there to be dissatisfied with?
What else is there to be dissatisfied with?
Gui Wan laughs, laughing delicately, laughing haughtily, laughing frivolously, she does not understand, really does not understand, she’s gained everything, but also seems like she’s gained nothing, what exactly is it she wants, she herself does not know.
Her hand is still ice cold, extending her hands, staring at her slender fingers, she suddenly takes notice of the jade bangle on her wrist, blending in with her skin, crystal clear. Within the white jade there is also fine streams like that of red blood, raising her hand, they gently flow, as though it’s alive. The average people would not have even thought, this jade bangle was meticulously made from the world famous suet white jade, what’s more valuable is the streams of red in it, the Qiong state’s tribute –Red Melody Suet Bangle, is worn on her wrist.
This bangle’s worth can provide three months of living expenses for everyone within the Capital, so valuable, so luxurious, ah~, so ironic.
Love cannot be self-prohibited, she has often been thinking of Yao Ying this past half of the month.
That woman who has entered the palace, exactly is she fortunate or unfortunate?
Gui Wan lightly lets out a sigh, unable to understand her own thoughts, this past half of the month, she has more or less already figured out the whole story, but towards that familiar yet unfamiliar woman, she herself cannot figure out whether it is hate, whether it is anger, or whether it is frustration.
Hearing that Yao Ying has been selected to enter the palace, impressively receiving doting love, only half a year, and she has already became one of the highest ranked imperial consorts, but regarding the power struggle within the palace, it seems like she cannot fully adapt to it, completely relying on the backing of Lou Che. For her, he shields all sorts of winds and rain (troubles), for her, he is consolidating her power.
What is she thinking? Feeling guilty, so she finds her lover a wife who is no less than herself?
No wonder when she had received the granting of the wedding edict, she had felt it was weird, so it was because of such reason.
And exactly what was her graceful husband thinking? To fall in love with the same woman as the Emperor, but because of the difference in power, has no choice but to let go, but then willingly toys with political trickery for her, whether this is counted as success it will still be of backstabbing scheming, failure will also still be of backstabbing scheming.
……all is chaotic, not understanding is chaotic, understanding is also chaotic.
Not bothering is chaotic, to bother is still chaotic, it could also be considered chaos on top of chaos.
Not going to think about it, don’t want to think about it, her heart, is vexed.
She props herself up with her hands, lightly rubbing at her slightly numb legs, lifting her loose hair, she faces the bright and clean water, tidying up her appearance.
Lou Che walks into the back garden of his home, and sees such beautiful view.
Clear water accompanied by jade steps, sitting on top of the jade steps is Gui Wan, facing the water that is as clear and bright as a mirror, brushing her hair. Natural elegance in her actions, stunningly beautiful face, really the face of a hibiscus flower, jade willow posture, unspeakable style, peerless elegance that one can never get tired of.
Exactly how stunning his own wife is, he knows.
Other than beauty, she also has more profound qualities, indifference, nobility, and also some sort of carefreeness.
He owes her, owes her happiness, that is why he is doing all he can, making it up to her in other areas.
He has promised her, to satisfy all her wants, when she needs her happiness, he is willing to act like any older brother would, giving her her freedom, allowing her to soar high.
Walking up behind Gui Wan, he gently calls out to her: “Gui Wan.”
Suddenly turning her head, once she sees him, Gui Wan reveals a smile like that of blooming flowers: “My Lord Husband.”
After getting married, the addressment she gave him, husband is identity, and lord is status, how appropriate of a title.
Hearing this, Lou Che lets out a little laugh, without realising, he had already gotten used to her pleasantly sweet calling.
“You must be bored at home right?” This half of the month, the madams of high ranking officials and honourable people have been coming to visit every day. He knows that she has handled it very well, she has her own way of dealing with common customs, and even skilfully gets the job done with ease.
Compared to the intrinsic quality of those fragile women within the palace, she is different.
She is definitely not as innocent as she appears to be, compared to her delicate appearance, she can be considered to be much more self-orientated, much more stronger on the inside.
Seeing her slightly questioning look, he suggests “I’ll take you out for a wander, how’s that?” His tone carrying a touch of coddling.
She can finally go out? Gui Wan was jumping in joy inside, hurrying to support her body, she stands up, answering very honestly: “I already got bored a long time ago, can I go out now? Where are we going?”
Seeing her looking so cheerful, he also felt happy inside. Lou Che laughingly says: “It’s really lively outside today, you’d definitely enjoy it.”
“En. I feel like I haven’t been out for a long time.” Brushing the dust of herself, she strides forwards, heading out. Turning around, “Didn’t you say to go out? The sun will be setting soon.”
Lou Che seeing her expression like that of a child’s, was infected by that trace of endlessly cheerful atmosphere as he follows after her.
The two of them had just arrived at the door, when the caretaker was already hastily rushing over, his expression stern.
Seeing this, Gui Wan already knew what was going on, her bitter smile fleeting like the wind.
The caretaker respectfully bows: “My Lord, Madam, this is an urgent call from the palace.”
Indeed, it is just as she had expected, Gui Wan remains placid. Lou Che accepts the pamphlet, quickly skimming through it, without the slightest change in his face, he turns his head with a smile, facing Gui Wan, guiltily speaking: “Gui Wan, matters have arose in the palace, I won’t be able to accompany you today. I’m truly sorry.”
Seeing him smile so moderately, with such elegant demeanour, she did not mind: “It doesn’t matter, I’ll be fine with going alone.”
“Bring a lot a people with you when you go out.” For a woman to be going out, especially a woman with beauty that cannot be missed, safety should be placed at highest priority.
Gui Wan smiles, slyly letting out a little laugh, “Don’t worry.”
Seeing that smile of hers, he was put at ease, turning around, he heads out the main doors with hasty steps. In a blink of an eye, he had already disappeared from Gui Wan’s line of sight.
Seeing that the caretaker was still respectfully standing in position, Gui Wan orders: “Prepare a set suitable menswear for me.”
The caretaker nods his head, not asking a single question, not expressing anything, still ever so respectful as he withdraws. Watching him, Gui Wan knows, before a incense stick burns out, the outfit would have already be brought to her. Seeing the servants in this house, she understands how Lou Che is able to smoothly sail through the imperial government.
Secretly laughing at herself for thinking so far off, it is better to just change her outfit first, then she can take to the streets in a moment. With an interval of the time it takes to burn out an incense stick, the backdoor of Minister Lou’s residence which is not often opened, is opened from the inside. A slender figure walks out, in robes embroidered with silver threads, with a jade belt and paper fan, a preposterously beautiful appearance, a peerless look revealed when one gazes a little longer. Recognising the directions, she heads towards the liveliest place in the Capital – Bai Hua Street.
Along this road, the place was decorated with lanterns and festoons, it was indeed incredibly lively. Gui Wan has never left the doors of her house at this time, everything seemed very intriguing.
Everyone’s faces appeared to be filled with happiness, and she could not help but to feel puzzled, today is not exactly a festive day, why is there this atmosphere of celebration? Just then she just happens to see a kind looking old man at a stall, she walks up to him, softly speaking in a low voice: “Elder, it’s particularly lively today, what is the reason for this?”
The elderly does not even raise his head: “Youngsters tend to only know how to have fun, not caring about the nation’s affairs. Today, young General Lin will be returning to the Capital, in a while, he shall be passing through Bai Hua Street.”
Is it the young Warlord known as “Wall of Qi Ling“? Gui Wan suddenly have other thoughts, wanting to take a look at this young hero who reportedly holds an equal share of honour with her husband.
The elderly was still quietly babbling on: “Youngsters these days, really is……” Without finishing his words, he raises his head, and sees the smiling Gui Wan. Startled, his following words were swallowed whole, suddenly unable to utter a word.
Gui Wan nods at him, smiling as she says a word of thanks, then heads towards the heart of Bai Hua Street.
The elderly was completely dumbfounded, his mouth muttering: “Young people these days……are they all this good looking?”
It is Gui Wan’s first time to encounter such liveliness. In the past, she has taken part in celebrating festivals, but as the daughter of a high official, she would be sat high above everyone else every time, overlooking the common people celebrating There would always be a feeling of being separated by a veil, like she is hazily watching a performance. She never knew that, standing amongst the commoners like this, personally feeling the happiness of celebrations, can actually be so heartfelt.
The new Emperor ascending the throne, achieving victory over the wars of the borders, everyone was celebrating, every face lit with a smile, the friendliness, the happiness, being infected by such, Gui Wan’s face also carries a smile.
Wandering around the market for nearly two hours, the sky was gradually darkening. Although rumours were everywhere, stating that the young General Lin would enter the Capital and pass through Bai Hua Street, but to this time there has been no sighting of any armies passing through Bai Hua Street.
Gui Wan was somewhat disappointed, not to mention her belly is already starving. In the midst of hesitating, her eyes catches onto the “Lai Fu Restaurant” sign at the end of the street, the pleasant aroma wafting out from within. She was just contemplating whether to dine outside, when her feet had honestly brought her to the front of the restaurant.
In this flourishing city, Lai Fu Restaurant can be considered to be a second-rated restaurant. Those that are rated high and low mixed together. With both the families of reputable officials as well as the coming and goings of Jiang Hu people, the restaurant is full of people, looking rather lively.
Although Gui Wan has never come to restaurants like this, she is naturally free and easy in nature, so regarding unfamiliar and new matters, she is a lot more accepting compared to the typical ladies of wealthy families. Without the slightest bit of reluctance, she strides into the restaurant.
Waiters were running around the place, extremely busy. Once another customer has arrived at their doors, they work consistently without wearing out in time, and immediately comes up to welcome her, greeting: “This way please, customer.” Once up close, his heart jumps, having worked as a waiter for three or four years, he has never seen such a pretty looking youth.
Once Gui Wan steps inside, her heart laments, the place was buzzing with noise, with not a single table free.
Seeming to see through her thoughts, the waiter with a face full of smiles, appeases: “Gentleman, don’t worry, I shall find a good seat for you, please wait.” Just after speaking, he had already shuttled between the tables, his flexibility of another class.
Gui Wan smiles, starting to attentively look around, just to keep herself entertained. Right when she lays her eyes in front, the waiter had already returned, grinning as he speaks: “I’ve already found a seat.”
She follows the waiter to the window, so it is a window seat. With the windows half opened, the festive scene outside can be seen within a glance. Two customers were already sitting at the table, one is dressed like a middle-aged scholar, the material of his clothing average, his face carries a smile, looking moderately elegant. The other, is a youth in his twenties, a handsome face, eyes like fine stars, it is just that he holds a cold expression, carrying an imposing manner that warns strangers to keep away from him.
Seeing Gui Wan, the middle-aged scholar nods his head at her, which is considered a greeting. Gui Wan follows suit, returning the gesture. The youth that is as cold as frost, remains motionless, as though he has not seen her.
Sitting down, she just goes along with a few dishes that the waiter recommends, and settles down to show more care for the surrounding environment. The location of this seat sure is good, to be able to overlook the entire situation in the lobby, and also be able to look over the situation outside with a panoramic view. Whilst observing, she finds that that ice cold youth is always paying attention to the situation outside the window. Although he has concealed it very well, but Gui Wan was still able to notice the trace of great interest he shows when he stares outside the window.
Not long after, the dishes Gui Wan had ordered were served up. When one is hungry, the feeling of eating is particularly delicious.
The middle-aged scholar on the same table talks to the youth as he eats, every topic spoken of were all about interesting matters within the Capital and also the rumours circulating around the common folks. Although it is just him speaking alone, and the youth listening, his eloquence is rather amazing, even Gui Wan was listening with great interest.
“Consort Ying receiving the doting love of the Emperor, is like one person receiving three thousand doting love. Hearing that Consort Ying likes the scenery of Jiang Nan, the Emperor has already started a large scale construction project within the palace, intending to build a Jing Yi Hall (scenery viewing hall) within the palace.” The middle-aged scholar suddenly mentions this matter. Gui Wan hears that the matter concerns Yao Ying, and inevitably perks up her attention.
The cold youth hears this, and his face turns even colder, his brows knitting together, looking a little dissatisfied.
So he does have other expressions, Gui Wan secretly thinks.
The middle-aged scholar also notices that he is rather dissatisfied, letting out a little laugh, he directly speaks again: “Speaking of which, it is actually interesting. It is not a unique instance, but has its counterpart, Prime Minister Lou has recently wedded his wife, it is said that he too is also very doting, in order to win his wife’s favour, he is recently collecting the world’s rarest treasures.”
Gui Wan is swallowing Lai Fu House’s signature sautéed shredded beef, but hearing those words, she hesitates between. Having no time to chew, the shredded meat slides down her throat, making her choke a bit, feeling uncomfortable, she slowly raises her head, wanting to hear how they’ll discuss this matter.
The scholar no longer speaks on, but rather, that expressionless handsome young man, turns his head back from facing the window, his eyes just happens to clash with the observing Gui Wan, and the young man’s frown grows deeper.
So he has a pair of such beautiful eyes, Gui Wan was surprised, it’s just far too cold.
The youth quickly sweeps his eyes over to the scholar, saying: “There is nothing else to say right?” It seems that he felt the scholar’s topic of conversations just now, to be too much of a bother.
The scholar naturally lets out an elegant laugh, saying: “These are the most recent news of the Capital, whether it is Consort Ying or Prime Minister Lou’s Madam, both their families are fowls and dogs turned immortals (relatives greatly promoted in status), to not have the successful career of government officials, but to continuously rise three levels overnight, then it is being bestowed gold, silver and fertile farmlands (plentiful meals).”
The silent youth, suddenly says: “Because of two women?”
“Of course, they are not your average women, both are beautiful women whose appearance wins over that of the confederate rose.” The scholar says laughingly, seeing the youth show a look of distrust, he immediately says, “Sometimes, women’s beauty is a type of weapon, the more beautiful they are, the more dangerous, they can be even more terrifying than that of swords out of their sheaths.”
Hearing such words, Gui Wan was amazingly stunned. The cold youth hearing such words, also reveals a thoughtful expression, after a little moment, the youth coldly sounds as scoff, icily saying: “Disaster.”
Listening up to this point, Gui Wan was unable to hold back her laugh, thinking to herself, if this youth finds that sitting opposite him, is none other than the disaster he speaks of, don’t know what kind expression he would have.
The scholar and the youth simultaneously turns their heads to her, not knowing why “he” is laughing. Seeing Gui Wan’s smile, the youth’s ice face shows an expression of confusion, whilst the scholar was a little surprised, secretly sounding a sigh.
Moments after, the scholar no longer speaks, the youth continues to look like he is on alert. Looking out the window, not knowing whether it is a misconception or not, Gui Wan feels as though the amount of soldiers outside, appears to be increasing.
Gui Wan faintly senses a trace of tension, something is wrong with the atmosphere. Luckily, it just happens that she’s eaten up her fill, it’s better that she leaves a bit earlier. Looking at the two other people on the table, they continue to remain seated, with no intentions to leave yet.
Extending her hand to call for the bill, seeing the waiter’s look of flattery and eager attentiveness, she decides to tip him off more. At the time, the moment Gui Wan just had such thoughts, her hand reaches into her waist pocket, and her face completely changes.
Before leaving the house, she clearly brought along her money bag, how could it have disappeared into thin air now? Could it be when that child bumped into her before, she accidentally dropped it, or did she get pickpocketed when she wasn’t paying attention? How it happened is not that important, losing that little bit of money, does not bother her too much, but……
But to be unable to pay up right now, really is very embarrassing, very shameful.
The waiter had already changed from his smiley face filled with hospitality to an expressionless one. Honestly speaking, any other time, when faced with customers who are unable to pay up, he would already have cursed out loud at them, but in face of this overly pretty youth, such words, he just cannot bear to shoot out at him. Besides, having been a waiter for a good few years now, he already knows how to precisely guess what type of character people are, this youth clearly comes from a wealthy background, maybe he has met with troubles, and so cannot afford to pay.
Gui Wan confirms that she really has no money on her at all and started to get a little bit of a headache. What is she to do now? The valuable jewellery she usually wears were left at home for this male-getup. Right now, she does not even have money by her side……
Seeing the observing eyes of the scholar, Gui Wan smiles, at this moment, she really doesn’t know what to do.
Noticing the awkward position she was in, even that cold youth turns his attention to her. Gui Wan cries out ceaseless bitterness, she was just about to ask the waiter for some brush and paper, wanting to rely on some written words, when the youth had already taken out a silver ingot, placing it on the table.
The waiter happily takes away the payment and tips, Gui Wan freezes on the spot, she really did not expect that the cold youth is someone who is cold on the outside but warm on the inside. Smiling gratefully towards him, she softly says: “Thank you.”
The youth mumbles back: “No need.” And does not say anything more.
Gui Wan did not find it uncongenial, believing that he is most likely someone who does not like communicating with others much. But to just owe a favour to a stranger like this, it really isn’t very appropriate. Thinking this way, she asks: “Where does this brother live? I’ll definitely pay you back tomorrow.”
The youth has just lowered his head to drink a cup of wine, hearing her words, he raises his head, looking at Gui Wan: “There’s no need, I was just lending a helping hand.”
The scholar also looks at Gui Wan, laughingly saying: “That’s right, little brother, when away from home, you’d inevitably run into moments of inconvenience, no need to be so polite.”
Since they have already spoken like this, to continue being polite would be too much. Thinking this, Gui Wan stands up facing the youth and scholar, and bows to them, “Many thanks, I shall be leaving then.”
She turns around and leave, when she had exited the restaurant, it was already time to light up the streets. A gust of cold wind blows by, Gui Wan sees that the amount of people on the streets is a lot less than when she had entered the restaurant, instead, it is the soldiers that have increased in numbers, with two-three people in a group, don’t know what they are searching for.
Maybe something has really happened, thinking this, she did not even have the interest to go on a stroll, moreover she is penniless right now. Thinking back to the situation just now, Gui Wan could not help but to laugh to herself, since young, such incident she has never experienced before, it really does feel refreshing.
That youth cannot be an average person, such cold character, and even has that distinct look in his eyes at times of need. Plus there’s also the youth’s scholar, a well-spoken one. Both people must come from a noteworthy background.
Lifting her head up, the sky is almost completely dark, it is better to return home now. Despite knowing Lou Che cannot possibly return from the palace tonight, but to return late, Ling Long would get worried.
Turning around, she decides to take the small path, then return home through the back door. If the servants see her dressed as a male, it could harm her reputation as the Prime Minister Madam. Although such hypocritical reputations does get annoying, but one still has to maintain it at all times, although this really is contradictive to the helpless.
Sighing, Gui Wan walks to the end Bai Hua Street, turning into a quiet alley.
Later, Gui Wan has regretted her little decision at that time on numerous occasions. If back then, she had chosen to walk the bigger path, then maybe she would not have met with so many troubles. Unfortunately, she did not know of this back then.
This alleyway is clean and quiet, the main reason for this, being that other side of the alleyway leads to the back doors to several senior officials within the Capital, amongst them includes Prime Minister Lou’s residence, therefore even though getting back so late, it is still very safe and secure here.
Safe and secure, this applies to the usual daily circumstances, but of course it also has times of exceptions.
And it seems like Gui Wan has just run into such exception, as she had just entered the alleyway, she only walked in a few steps, when she suddenly sees a black shadow flash past in front of her, she had even thought that it was just her blurred vision, but in the next moment, a dagger had already been positioned against her neck.
A rough, vigour voice sounds right next to her ear, saying: “Don’t look back, slowly walk forward.”
She obediently walks forward, without resisting, having walked a short distance, she no longer hears any sound, when the rough voice from behind orders: “Stop.” Gui Wan obediently halts in her steps.
Yet there was no movement behind her. Up to this point, Gui Wan immediately feels a bit flustered, such silence that makes one feel suffocated, made her feel a bit at loss. Feeling the messy breathing pattern from the person behind her, sometimes fine, sometimes coarse.
Could it be that he is injured? This thought quickly flashes up in Gui Wan’s head, but thinking again, the person practices martial arts, even if he is wounded, she cannot rely on her own strength.
At the time when she was trying to think of countermeasures, the dagger leaves her neck. The person behind her suddenly speaks again: “Take your clothes off.”
Hearing such words, Gui Wan was getting a headache. She already have nothing valuable on her, if he were to rob her, she should be able to handle it. But right now, facing such unconceivable request, she still has the reputation of the Prime Minister Madam to maintain, she firmly refuses to agree to this.
Great fortune amongst the unfortunate, from words he has spoken, he is clearly showing signs of weakness, Gui Wan is sure that he is injured, it is quite possibly not a light injury either, not to mention his abrupt tone has made her become suspicious. Taking of the advantage that the dagger is away from her neck, she suddenly turns around.
 High and low mixed together is the meaning behind the Chinese proverb Duo Duo Wu used – lóng shé hùn zá (龙蛇混杂) which literally translates to snakes and vipers creeping around among the dragons.
Three men, each who plays crucial roles in Gui Wan’s life and therefore throughout this novel, makes their appearances in this chapter. First is the husband, Lou Che, who many of you have already figured out to be the man accompanying Yao Ying in the first chapter, second is the mysterious frost-like youth, and third is the hostile figure Gui Wan had just come across. I guess it’s needless to say this hostile figure will be the first of Gui Wan’s troubles and many more to come throughout the novel.
Also, I’m sure that everyone has already come to realise the novel will be quite an angsty one, and it in fact has an open ending. Fortunately, the author wrote of the actual ending, which by the way is thankfully a happy one, in another novel, although that new novel itself has been dropped, I can still get hold of the snippets that tells of Gui Wan’s ending to translate for you guys 🙂