Book 1: Winds Begin to Blow in Tai Yuan
Chapter 35 – Pretending Like So
Shen hour, third half-hour.
In front of the Letter Hall, the guard captain suspiciously sniffed his nose. He smelled a faint whiff of blood.
The moment he sniffed his nose, Meng Fuyao instantly raised her head, then discreetly cut forward half a pace, moving in front of Yun Hen.
At the same time, the captain turned his head, asking, “What’s that smell?”
His gaze shot behind him, towards the Yun Hen who was carrying a tray and whose head was lowered. Gradually his eyes turned chilly, and suddenly he said slowly, “You, put down that tray.”
With a “cha” sound, those originally raised, sky-pointing spears and blades all fell towards the ground. The points and edges of the weapons diagonally slanted, blades and tips forming a web, and pointed towards Yun Hen and Meng Fuyao.
A thick coldness like death filled the surroundings. A smell of iron rust was in the wind.
Yun Hen’s face was like frost while his eyes fluctuated. After a short time, his hands slowly lowered.
That captain intently stared, his gaze sharp, like a high circling hawk looking for food.
Right now all his attention was focused on Yun Hen’s body, waiting for the moment when the tray fell.
Meng Fuyao’s hand instantly borrowed the cover of the tray to lower downwards, and in a shake of her sleeve a small knife had already slid into her palm. With a spin of her fingers, the small knife unwaveringly penetrated through the draping robe sleeve and pricked the inside of her thigh.
Fresh blood poured out.
At the same time, Yun Hen’s tray had already fell down, revealing that bloodstain on his chest.
The eyes of the guard captain narrowed, as if he had met with some kind of dangerously strong light.
“Go —” The two words seize them had not yet come out of his mouth, before Meng Fuyao suddenly rushed forward, rushing towards the spear point of the guard captain.
“Sir! Sir! That blood … is mine!”
The guard captain turned his head with surprise, his eyes glancing past the Meng Fuyao whose whole face was blushing, and didn’t notice that just then Yun Hen’s hand had suddenly retracted into his sleeve.
His fingertips gripped a fine steel needle, in that moment coldly planning to kill while perishing together.
However, that kill was interrupted by Meng Fuyao. Yun Hen turned his head in astonishment, and saw a certain most thick-faced person in the world shyly holding onto the guard captain’s white shining blade point. With shame and sadness she said, “Sir … it is this servant’s … this servant’s fault, this servant had gone for tryst with little Hen at Xuande Hall … didn’t pay attention to this servant’s monthly thing … the monthly thing suddenly came … it stained his robes … Sir must not misunderstand!”
The guard captain was startled. He naturally knew that maids in the palace were lonely, and many became “eating partners” with eunuchs and played around in some kind of false coupling. His eyes couldn’t help but fall, and see that among the slightly disheveled lower skirts of the palace maid, there truly were some faint traces of blood.
His eyes then glanced towards the old eunuch Lao An. Lao An was previously given a fright, but now he lifted his sleeve to cover his mouth and snicker. Moving his head close to the side of the guard captain’s ear, he said a couple sentences. As the guard captain listened, he gradually revealed an odd, lascivious expression.
As for the innately talented first-class actress Meng Fuyao, with superb acting she demurely lowered her head at once. The tip of her foot scratched at the ground as she bashfully stayed silent.
Yun Hen dazedly looked at her, looked at her shy expression, looked at the faint bloodstains in her skirts. In that instant his eyes fluctuated turbulently, deep like the sea, while the initial fear, rage, and unwillingness gradually transformed into shock and confusion. Those fresh bloody stains pierced themselves into his eyes, pierced into his heart, like a streak of scarlet tide washing away frigidly sealed shadows, and transformed into the inexpressible feelings that he felt in that moment.
On this road that she accompanied him on, how could it only be the edge of the coming storm, or the extreme danger of facing ten thousand troops alone? There was also a female’s most precious dignity and reservation.
The latter, to woman, was more important than life or death.
Before tonight they were complete strangers, yet she could sacrifice this much for him. Yun Hen raised his head and softly exhaled a breath of air, as if he wanted to exhale out thousands of roiling emotions from his chest. However afterwards, he instead felt that his heart became even more sunken, just like a heavy weight.
His gaze gradually settled down, while birthing a kind of stubborn, unregretful loneliness.
Meng Fuyao didn’t know about the shock and course of thoughts that he was going through right now. She only knew that nothing was more important than living, not to mention the fact that she came from the modern world, so her character was more unrestrained. Even though these things were bound to cause embarrassment, compared with the life or death bigger picture, they were completely negligible – at most it would only be a cut on the inside of her thigh that really hurt.
This was why she made up her mind, after escaping from this place, she definitely had to make this guy pay retribution fees. Looking at that guy’s extravagance when with one scoop he took out a bag of gold, she could fiercely blackmail him for some money.
It was unfortunate that Yun Hen didn’t know her thoughts right now, otherwise he most likely would have wanted to cough up blood.
The night wind was like iron colliding with the forest of weapons. The guard captain inside that forest unblinkingly stared at that “shamefully” using her two hands to cover her face, softly whimpering Meng Fuyao. The eagle and leopard-like eyes slowly softened, and revealed an expression of not knowing whether to laugh or cry.
That thread of dense suspicion had already gradually lightened, and as if a strand of blood in a bowl of clear water, it began to disperse.
He suddenly said, “So it is this sort of thing.” Swiveling his head to smirk at Yun Hen, he unexpectedly used a fist to heavily thump his chest. Heroically he laughed saying, “You fellow, might not be big, but your daring is not small.”
That fist heavily hit out, containing an intentional amount of inner strength. The Meng Fuyao close by could actually feel the hair on her temples slightly scatter from the wind of the fist attack, and her heart couldn’t help but jump up.
Yun Hen’s wound …
If he instinctively counterattacked …
That fist hit the chest, skin and flesh impacting with a muffled sound. Hearing this, Meng Fuyao’s brows furrowed.
Yun Hen consecutively stumbled back a few steps, narrowly avoiding falling with his butt on the floor. He hurriedly reached out a hand to grab the spear of a guard beside him to stabilize himself, and with a red face he replied, “Sir is making fun of me, Sir has good martial arts!”
“How could this be called martial arts!” The opposite side’s lack of resistance made the guard captain laugh with satisfaction, and his last bit of doubt was eliminated – when martial artists were faced with a sudden attack, they would all instinctively defend or counterattack, not to mention that if this person really was wounded, how could they not reveal even the smallest expression of pain?
His laugh was pleasant, and contained some lewdness. After inspecting the two people’s bodies, he mysteriously smiled again, and waved his hand saying, “You can go!”
With a “cha” sound, the slanted blades and spears were again retracted and raised up towards the sky.
Meng Fuyao silently released a long breath, and loosened her grip on the dagger that was always hidden inside her robe sleeves.
She turned her head and faintly smiled at Yun Hen, using her eyes to signal for him to look down. Yun Hen’s head lowered, and he saw the thumb Meng Fuyao exposed outside her sleeve was currently stuck up high.
Yun Hen did not understand this hand position’s meaning, but he vaguely knew that it was praise of him. His eyes drifted, seeing close by on Meng Fuyao was fresh blood splatters, blooming in small stains.
With a constricting of his heart, a type of unfamiliar pain swept through him. The proud, cold and resolute youth clenched his fingers tightly in his sleeve.
If you can sacrifice like so, can I not withstand a moment of pain and disgrace?
To accomplish great things one couldn’t pay attention to minor trifles. How could a man’s will be less than a girl’s?
The blade and spear forest was finally walked to the end. In front, the dark green-colored Letter Hall palace wall was in sight.
The guard captain contemplated the other side’s Letter Hall, his eyes containing a strand of scorn. Old Yun, I’ll let you live for another two hours. Once Prince Qi’s side succeeds, you’ll just have to wait for your corpse to be buried.
Yun Hen lifted his head to look at the Letter Hall’s plaque. His icy cold expression faintly thawed somewhat.
At this time, it was exactly You Hour! —————–
The Emperor has arrived at the Heavenly Peace Hall, and the banquet officially starts. In the whole garden floating lights undulated, reflecting fiery trees and silvery flowers, while the princes took turns to offer toasts time and time again.
Fang Minghe’s great army quietly and seriously marched out of the capital outskirt military camp, advancing towards the imperial city like a meandering black snake.
The changing of guards at the Three Palace Gates had already finished. Yan Lie turned backwards on his horse, gazing at the imperial city behind him. Revealing a faint “everything has finished” smile, he instructed Yan Jingchen, “Your father will be responsible for the innermost palace gate, General Pei and his daughter the second gate, and you the outermost gate.”
Yan Jingchen bowed in compliance. Yan Lie went out several steps, before turning his head again in worry. “Your place is an extremely important pass, you must be sure to guard it well. Otherwise, the Prince’s great plan will be destroyed at once, and neither you nor me can shoulder the consequences.”
“Father rest assured, this child understands the stakes.” Yan Jingchen promised. Watching Yan Lie leave, he raised his head and softly sighed.
From the darkness in front suddenly walked over a man in light-colored robes, his demeanor graceful and elegant. Turning back his head, Yan Jingchen was just about to shout for identity, when the visitor’s sleeve fell down. A corner of the dark-colored jade plate in his palm was slightly revealed.
With a flash in his eyes, Yan Jingchen waved his hand to signal the guards to open the gates.
It seemed as if that person smiled as he floated past. As he past Yan Jingchen’s side, Yan Jingchen smelled a whiff of strange light fragrance.
Blankly staring at that back figure, he suddenly realized that because just then he was completely shocked by that graceful posture, he actually didn’t seem to have seen that guy’s face.
After pondering for a long time, Yan Jingchen looked forward and was about to turn around, when his vision suddenly focused. He picked up something from the ground.
It was a strand of white fur about the same length as a finger.
Holding that strand of fur, Yan Jingchen had an astonished expression.
- You hour = 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., so right now is 5 p.m. (17:00)
- “Fiery trees and silvery flowers” a phrase that means a brilliantly illuminated display