The skies were bright and clear, not a single cloud could be spotted for miles. But amidst such beautiful weather, Nangong Jue felt a dreary oppressiveness in the air.
Something seemed to have happened last night without his knowledge. Tang Yu and Lan Bing had both suffered a beating from Lord Chancellor. When he asked them what happened, they remained silent and sulky. No matter what he asked, they kept their lips sealed, not saying a word.
Ji Feng Li’s tent’s looked particularly desolate today, all of the guards were standing quite the distance away. When Nangong Jue saw this he felt it was quite strange but proceeded to knock on the door and enter.
“Anything to report?” A clear, cold voice inquired.
Nangong Jue looked towards the direction of the voice and met Lord Chancellor’s icy cold complexion. It was hard to believe that after a single night, the gentle Lord Chancellor’s complexion had become so haggard and he sounded so coldly distant. “If you have any business, state it now,” Ji Feng Li impatiently said with a raised brow.
“There’s nothing. This subordinate just wanted to ask Lord Chancellor if you have gone to see 4th Miss yet?” Nangong Jue asked.
“No,” Ji Feng Li slightly struggled to answer.
“Last night, after she arrived, she came to find this subordinate. This subordinate intended to go report her arrival to Lord Chancellor but she said she wanted to surprise you on her own. She hadn’t stopped by yet?” Nangong Yue asked, puzzled. “Well then this subordinate shall go see her.”
“Wait!” Ji Feng Li hesitantly said, “I’ll…. I’ll go.”
After some time, Ji Feng Li finally stood and went out. After passing by a row of tents, he finally arrived at the door of a small tent. He stood there for quite some time, not entering. A servant carrying water came out and saw Ji Feng Li quietly standing there. The servant bowed and said, “This (female) servant pays respect to Lord Chancellor.” Based on how ‘he’ referred to himself, this servant was obviously a female dressed in male attire.
Ji Feng Li coldly nodded in acknowledgement. “Where is she?”
“Miss is inside.” The servant hesitated for a moment before continuing, “Lord Chancellor, this servant doesn’t know what Miss had encountered last night but since then she hasn’t slept and continues to cry. No matter what this servant asks, Miss doesn’t say anything,” the servant quietly reported.
Ji Feng Li nodded indifferently but the fists hidden beneath his sleeves slightly shook. Without a word, he entered the tent. A figure dressed in male robes could seen sitting beside a small table. Her ink-black hair was long and loose, cascading down her back, shining brightly in the dimly lit tent.
Ji Feng Li narrowed his eyes. His memories of last night were messy and fractured, but he could clearly remember this mane of black hair. His heart slightly trembled and it felt as though his legs were made of steel, so heavy that he could not take another step.
Hearing footsteps approaching, the woman turned around. Beneath the dark hair was a face that looked somewhat pale and wan though this didn’t take away from her beauty. Long curved brows, straight, elegant nose, and a pair of deep eyes. This was a woman full of heroic spirit. It’s just that at this moment, her luminous eyes were moist, evoking other’s pity and tender feelings.
In her hand she held a cup of wine. When she saw Ji Feng Li, her complexion turned even paler. She teared up and tilted her head back, draining the cup of wine. She reached for the wine jar and poured herself another cup. Just as she was about to raise the cup to her mouth, he reached out and took the cup from her. He looked at her with narrowed eyes, asking, “Why are you drinking?”
The woman looked up with a sad smile and replied, “I want to be intoxicated so that I can forget things that I don’t want to remember.”
Ji Feng Li’s hand shook and the cup of wine broke from his tight grasp, the pieces falling to the floor together with the wine.
“Last night… it was you?” he finally uttered after calming himself down.
The woman looked up at him with a complicated look in her eyes. In a lowered voice, she said, “I originally wanted to surprise Lord Chancellor. I didn’t expect…..”
Tears burst forth, slowly streaming down her cheeks.
“Si Er1….” Ji Feng Li hesitated for a long time before he finally reached out and wiped away her tears. He then took her into his arms and gently patted her shoulder. “Everything will be alright.”
He stood there holding her and felt all his hopes vanishing. His whole body felt drained of strength and a feeling of sadness and despair surged within him, concentrating at his chest. It was a cold feeling, cold to the bone.
As if she remembered something, Rong Si suddenly pushed Ji Feng Li away and said, “Lord Chancellor, don’t mind me, I’m fine. You should go.”
Rong Si turned and walked over to the bed. Her heart was gripped with a deep sadness as she lied down.
Last night, she wanted to give Lord Chancellor a surprise but she didn’t think that as she arrived at his tent full of excitement, she would hear those sounds inside. She covered her mouth and hid outside the tent. After some time, she saw a man in a military uniform come out. Though she didn’t see his face, she could still guess what had happened from his disordered clothes.
It was like the roar of thunder from a clear sky. She nearly fainted. She never anticipated that Lord Chancellor, who’s as lofty and bright as the moon, would actually be together with a man.
At that moment, she wished she hadn’t come to the military camp, hadn’t witness this scene. She wanted to forget that moment but no matter how much she drowned herself in wine, she could still remember it clearly. She couldn’t stop imagining Lord Chancellor with that man. It was almost driving her crazy.
She knew he didn’t have any feelings for her but even so she couldn’t help but like him. She was always waiting for him but now all her hopes had dispersed into thin air after a single night.
He was fond of men. He would never like her.
This discovery truly shook her to the core, causing her great agony.
.Ji Feng Li stood there for a long time before slowly making his way towards the bed. In a lowered voice, he asked, “Si Er, would you be willing….willing to be my wife? Will you forgive me?”
Rong Si was rendered speechless. After a long time, she finally looked up at Ji Feng Li.
This was even more shocking than what she witnessed last night.
translations at peachblossomgrove . com
Lord Chancellor said he wanted to marry her? She had never kept her love for him a secret and he was aware of it. But he had resolutely rejected her once. So why? Why did he suddenly ask her this?
Rong Si sat up from the bed and looked at Ji Feng Li slightly confused. Seeing the deep sorrow in his eyes she finally realized something. Perhaps Lord Chancellor did not want to fall deep into this taboo love that would not come to fruition.
“I…. Can I?” she asked, not convinced.
Ji Feng Li slightly smiled. His phoenix eyes were gentle as he asked, “Why, is Si Er not willing?”
Rong Si’s face flushed and she lowered her head, wiping away her tears. She then sunk into his arms and softly replied, “I’m willing.”
Holding her, Ji Feng Li felt his heart was falling into a deep abyss, cold and desolate.
- Si also means 4th