Back then, when I time travelled and became a newborn, I kept thinking for a consecutive few years, causing people in the palace to see me as a fool. Then later, when I came to know of other people’s secrets, I would keep all my thoughts on it hidden within, secretly figuring out the unbelievable relations involved.
I am so keen on exercising my brain, I am so passionate for thinking, I believe I am practically on par with a master thinker.
This question of who is more pitiful between Yuwen Rui and I, I have already been thinking over it for several sichen.
I have constantly been thinking ah, thinking, thinking ah, thinking, and then ah, I have driven myself into falling ill.
At that time, Yuwen Rui and I were still engaging in a cold war, after leaving everyone’s line of sight, he had treated me with a neither dead or alive attitude, and I, due to focusing on my thinking and being angry over his nasty move, didn’t bother trying to resolve the cold war either. I remember that day, I had my head buried into the pillow as I doze away, and was then persistently pushed away by someone, truly annoying to the extreme.
I open a tiny slit of my eye, speaking out in displeasure towards the man shaking me: “Cousin, stop it.” Right after speaking, I was startled, why does my voice sound as rough as sandpaper?
Yuwen Rui slightly furrows his handsome brows, placing a hand on my forehead. His hand is not at all affected by the scorching hot summer days, still carrying a cooling ice touch, making me softly hum in comfort. Yuwen Rui then holds my face, and finally speaks up with a low voice, “Chen Liang, how long do we still have before arriving at He Yang City?”
Cheng Liang replies from the outside of the carriage: “Approximately half a day.”
“Be as quick as possible.” After Yuwen Rui lightly says this, he turns over and lies in my soft bed-couch, big hands bringing my entire body into his embrace.
I half squint my eyes as I hazily murmur: “Why you fighting over my bed-couch for? So annoying.”
He presses me against his chest, lowly sounding a laugh, “Just sleep your sleep, quit your complaining.”
I use my forehead to knock his chest, but my head started to feel bursts of dizziness, I hurriedly cling to the clothes at his chest, not daring to move again. Yuwen Rui lets out a soft sigh, warm lips rubbing against my forehead, “Stop messing around, sleep now.”
After a few words of complaints, I close my eyes, smelling that clean fragrance that belongs to him as I slowly fall asleep.
When I was pushed awake again, I was already out of the horse carriage, I glare at Yuwen Rui who had pushed me awake for the second time, voice powerlessly accusing him, “You pushed me again, why won’t you let me sleep?”
Yuwen Rui raises his brows, cold voice asking: “Other than sleeping, what else can you do?”
I confidently and boldly say: “Eat.”
Yuwen Rui’s lips very suspiciously curls up, his voice still emotionless as he says: “You glutton.”
I ignore him, what’s wrong with being a glutton, yes I’m a glutton, yes I’m glutton, what, you going to bite me?
“Glutton, come drink your medicine.” Yuwen Rui brings over a bowl of black medicinal concoction from the table.
I sweep a glance at the concoction, weakly saying: “Cousin, I’ll be fine after sleeping and sweating it out.” Usually, I don’t get fussy when drinking medicine, but once I am met with a situation of having a fever, I feel utmost disgust towards medicine, rather cling to the bedding and sleep through day and night, than to take a little sip of medicine.
Mm, so bitter, it truly makes me want to sick.
Yuwen Rui’s thin lips hooks up, a strange shine flashing past his fine and long fox eyes, “Not drinking?”
I firmly say: “Not drinking.”
Traces of laughter flows out from Yuwen Rui’s eyes, handsome face vaguely alluring, “I’ll ask again, you’re really not drinking?”
Helpless that my mind in its feverish state didn’t think into his deeper meaning, only foolishly saying: “Really not drinking.”
“Alright, don’t you drink it then.” He strangely says this simply.
I may have let out a sigh of relief, but I find it rather suspicious, since when did he become so easy-going? Could it be……it’s a scheme? In the next second, I was horrified, Yuwen Rui actually drank the concoction with one mouthful and comes pressing down on me, his medicine stained lips were incredibly bitter, scaring me into hurriedly closing my mouth tightly, not giving him the chance to deliver the medicine in. Deep inside, I spurn with scorn, dare I say, he said it’s alright for me to not drink it, as he’ll feed it me instead!?
Yuwen Rui’s dense and long, curled lashes gently brushes over my face, his brown eyes rippling with mischief that is barely detectable, seemingly mocking my useless resistance.
I ignore him, keeping my mouth shut tight, refusing to loosen up, said I’m not drinking, so I’m not drinking, whoever drinks it is a b*stard.
Just that, the taller one is, the eviller one is, Yuwen Rui – this guy – is actually so despicable, he pinches my waist, then ‘grandly passes through the hall and into the inner chamber’, swallowing up my exclamation and also sending that bitter-to-death medicine in. I was forced to drink the medicine, but Yuwen Rui had not the slightest intention to part away, his slippery tongue exploring the inside of my mouth, licking left and sucking right with awfully great enjoyment. How could I – this weak patient – be his match at all? The kiss sending me straight into a breathless state, my mind in utter chaos.
Yuwen Rui slowly parts away, beautiful lips coated with clear lines of romantic ambiguity, he devilishly uses his finger to wipe the clear lines into his mouth, elegantly saying: “Is it bitter? I find it very sweet.”
My entire body softens under the look of those eyes containing blurred temptation, oh mother, he, he, he, he’s deliberately seducing me!
Yuwen Rui meaningfully glances at the medicine bowl, then says to me: “It’s alright, wait for me to get a few more taste to confirm this.” Having said that, he once again repeats the domineering, shameless, action from before, until the entire bowl had been emptied, until my lips have swelled up and turned red, does he finally has enough, licking his lips, then lightly coming to a conclusion, “This medicine is sweet.”
I want nothing more than to smash up the satisfaction and wickedness in his eyes, not like this medicine is Xiao Tian Tian (甜 / Tián = sweet), sweet my butt!
Fortunately, this bowl of ‘lip to lip delivered’ medicine worked really well, the next day when I wake up, I feel refreshingly energised, I stretch my body as I get out of bed and out the doors, but sees Chen Liang walk out from Yuwen Rui’s room, hand holding an empty bowl.
Cheng Liang sees me and greets: “Young Lady.”
“En.” I stare at the bowl in his hand, “This is……”
Chen Liang smiles, “Gentleman was a little feverish when he got up this morning, only just drank his medicine now.”
I unknowingly curl up my lips, “Very good.” Indeed……extremely good.
Yuwen Rui’s recovering ability is clearly much better than mine, that afternoon, he had already restored his usual energy, although that handsome face was still a little pale, this has no effect on his elegantly ghostly air ……oh, apologies, it’s elegantly noble air, noble air. (Play on words, both words are pronounced gui qi – ghostly air (also mean mischievous or naughty) is pronounced guǐ qì / 鬼气 and noble air is guì qì / 贵气)
Yuwen Rui doesn’t care about my ridiculing smile, leisurely beckoning me to go admire flowers with him at the west of He Yang, having just recovered my health, I am of course filled with energy, immediately sitting in the horse carriage with him and head out. In the carriage, I sprawl out on the couch, unable to refrain from asking: “Cousin, what have you come Yun Ze for?”
Yuwen Rui’s eyes doesn’t leave the book, lightly saying: “To find a few people.”
“This is related to your agreement with Imperial Sister?”
He places the book down and sits onto my couch, playing with my belt as he says: “Since I am aiding Ke Zi to stabilise her seat on the throne, of course, I must help her find some truly capable people.”
I turn my body onto its side, looking at the beautifully lined side profile of his, “Found them all?”
“Only three people short.” He hooks his lips up into a smile, a moon-like radiance flowing out from his eyes.
I’m puzzled, “Since it’s people that can help Yun Mi, why have we come to Yun Ze then?”
Yuwen Rui now starts playing with my fingers, slowly saying: “Every emperor of Yun Mi will inherit the secrets of the emperor, and one of the secrets amongst them is the shadow agents that pledged loyalty to the emperor alone, ‘Mén’.” (门 / Mén – prounced meun – literally means doors)
“There are a total of four people in ‘Mén’, whether they are male or female, how old they are, only the emperor alone will know of this, they originally lie hidden in the palace, able to receive the emperor’s command at any given time, and keep the emperor protected. Before the nation had been stabilised, ‘Mén’ is the emperor’s most secretive weapon, and sharp tool, but after the nation had been stabilised, ‘Mén’ have always become the thorn in the emperor’s eyes, because they know far too much, even if they are loyal, even if they have earned countless merits.”
He chuckles, “Somewhat similar to my father, is it not? Just that my father is blindly loyal, wheras the people in ‘Mén’ have their own thoughts, they are loyal to the emperor, but when met with danger, they will still choose their own life, they leave the imperial palace, in order to avoid the emperor’s hunt down, they can only fake death, and then spread themselves amongst all the kingdoms. They passionately love their kingdom, but can only leave the kingdom, until the next emperor takes over, the next generation of ‘Mén’ will go find the new emperor……”
“Are they not just fools?”
“All members of ‘Mén’ have been cursed, so the cycle goes on, unchanging for hundreds of years.”
“You want to find the last generation of ‘Mén’ to help Imperial Sister?” I sit up, “How could you be so sure that they will follow you back? Don’t you have to wait for the next generation?”
“Unexpected happenings occur in everything, your Imperial Sister is a woman, ‘Mén’ would naturally also make changes in accordance to circumstances.” He buries his head into my neck, warm breath coating my skin, “Moreover, ‘Mén’ are all enthusiasts, with baits in hand, would I still need to be afraid of failing to capture them?”
I slowly narrow my eyes, “The ‘Mén’ that has been found, was in Yun Zhan?”
Yuwen Rui nods.
“He Yang City……also has one?”
Yuwen Rui nods again.
“You say this matter is only known to the next emperor.”
“Imperial Sister doesn’t actually know this, right?”
“Then, how come you know this?”
Approximately half a sichen later, we reach the west of He Yang, the summer heat makes this land — completely covered in flowers — look even more abundant, as the summer breeze blows in, it brings in waves of rich flower fragrance, making people unable to refrain from wanting to……sneeze.
“Achoo!” I pinch my nose and furrow my brows as I say to Yuwen Rui: “It’s too fragrant.”
Yuwen Rui looks at me with a seeming smile, “Head further in.”
I follow him for half an hour before we finally pass by the sea of flowers, not knowing how many times I sneezed along the way, how many times I rubbed my nose. As you can see, beautiful things may not necessarily be the more the better, sometimes, what we’re chasing after is but only a type of comfort that is just right, if it exceeds that point, the feelings for it changes.
In the end, Yuwen Rui and I stop beside a pond, looking out, the entire pond is filled with green lotus leaves, as well as pink and white lotus flowers. Those in full bloom, comfortably spreads its delicate petals, those that are budding, lazy and shy as they remain half covered and half opened, a faintly fresh scent surrounds the pond, refreshing and pleasant.
Yuwen Rui suddenly gets up and flies towards the middle of pond, elegant posture amazingly graceful and swift like a swan.
In the pond, the fresh and green leaves wishes to drop, the pink lotus flowers shy like young women, the white lotus flowers pure like snow, the handsome man elegantly stands on top of the lotus flower just like that, as though below his foot, there is not a delicate flower, but a spread of sturdy land. His long and fine eyes half squints, leaving his black hair to rise with the summer breeze, blue brocade robes also allowing the wind to pour in.
A smile spreads in his clear and cold eyes, he lightly says: “Ah-Lan, come here.”
The corners of my eyes twitches as I look at the right hand spread out towards me, then I turn around and pick up a stone, fiercely throwing it at him. Go over? how am I supposed to go over? Not like I can fly!
Yuwen Rui swiftly dodges the stone, his laughter filled with ridicule and pleasure.
I lament with tears in my eyes, truly a beautiful scene, a great handsome gentleman, a great elegant demeanour, a great……infuriating fellow.
In this moment of frolicking, waves of cheering sounds from nearby, Yuwen Rui returns to my side and then heads to the source of sound with me, only after we arrive, do we see two groups of men dressed like Confucianist teachers sitting opposite one another, one side looking dispirited, one side arrogantly proud, and the sound of cheering just now, had come from the arrogant side.
A leader-like person from the arrogant side haughtily furrows his brows upon seeing us, “You two are……?”
“We had only just happened to pass by.” Yuwen Rui takes a look at the emerald green zither before that man and say: “Yao Lu Zither……could you be He Yang City’s number one zither player – Fan Duo?”
The haughty man slightly pauses, “Indeed.”
Yuwen Rui suddenly brightens up, “I heard people say the teachers of He Yang City’s two greatest schools will be competing today, could it be……?”
Fan Duo nods, “Indeed so, but it is about to end now.”
“May we watch from the side?”
“Please do as you wish.” Fan Duo faces several elderlies that appears to be judges, saying: “Teacher Gu, Teacher Qi, Teacher Luo, let us go through with the final round of the competition now.”
From the arrogant side, someone immediately shouts out: “What else is there to compete ah, it is needless to even compete with the zither, of course Fan Duo – you – will win ah! How could that Jiang Cheng of Hu Yin be your opponent?!”
“That’s right ah, that’s right ah, everyone knows who will win, who will lose, even if they don’t compete!”
“Who says?!” Someone from the dispirited side is unable to refrain from refuting, “Although, although Fan Duo is very formidable, but Jiang Cheng isn’t bad either!”
“That’s right ah, Jiang Cheng isn’t bad either!” Despite someone echoing this, this level of convincing……really isn’t anything.
“May Teacher Jiang Cheng step out.” Fan Duo says.
The dispirited side immediately pushes out an approximately thirty-year-old frail man out, that man’s smile is slightly timid, he lightly sounds two coughs and says: “Then, then Teacher Fan Duo, let us start now.”
Yuwen Rui leans towards my ear, voice holding a smile as he quietly says, “One member of ‘Mén’, is a zither enthusiast.”