These past few days, Lan Bing had been gloomy and dispirited.
After the birth of that pair of dragon and phoenix, the Emperor had been enjoying the warmth of family life and had pushed all the state affairs over to him to handle.
Jin Se was still being kept at the Royal Temple so even if he wanted to see her, there was no opportunity to do so which made Lan Bing depressed.
One day, Lan Bing finally mustered up the courage to go see the Emperor and drop hints so that the Emperor would let him marry Jin Se and fulfill his heart’s desire.
Inside Qin Zheng Hall, Ji Feng Li was currently looking over memorials. Upon seeing Lan Bing arrive, he narrowed his eyes with a smile and said, “Ai Qing(my dear official) came just at the right time. Zhen(Emperor I) was just wanting to go see my royal children. These memorials, take them back with you and look over them for zhen.”
Lan Bing bowed and said without hesitation, “This subject is willing to help share in Your Majesty’s burdens and worries. This subject is willing to put my life on the line!” Then with a flattering smile he said, “Your Majesty, this subject has been working for Your Majesty for many years now, free of charge. Has Your majesty ever thought about…”
Ji Feng Li looked at him quietly and narrowed his eyes slightly. The light in the depth of his eyes made Lan Bing unable to guess what was on his mind. It was said that an Emperor’s heart was hard to fathom. In the past he sometimes couldn’t understand him, let alone now.
“Ai Qing wants to ask for a reward. Who just proclaimed he was willing to put his life on the line? However, since Ai Qing has proposed, Zhen can’t be too stingy. Speak, does Ai Qing want to be rewarded with precious gems or silk brocade?” Ji Feng Li said with a clear voice, warm as jade and a gentle smile on his lips.
“Your Majesty, your subject does not need these things, you subject only wants one person,” Lan Bing stated.
“Person? Who?” Ji Feng Li asked with a look full of doubt.
Lan Bing lamented in his heart. You sly fox, you clearly know I only have affection for Jin Se. Though he had a belly full of discontent, he did not dare to voice them aloud. On the surface, he still courteously said, “Your Majesty, your subject has always been fond of Jin Se. Your subject hopes Your Majesty will fulfill my desire.” After his words fell, Lan Bing knelt down on the ground slowly, thinking, If you don’t agree, I’ll let you sit there and approve all your memorials till your arms break, you need not return to visil your beloved prince and princess anymore.
“Jin Se…” Ji Feng Li slowly said,drawing out the last syllable. “Zhen really wants to help you, but unfortunately, Jin Se is…”
Lan Bing’s heart instantly rose anxiously.
“Jin Se is not an object. Besides, she is not mine. How can I reward her to you? That would be unfair to her. If Ai Qing likes her, why not win her heart by yourself, ” Ji Feng Li slowly said leisurely as he glanced at Lan Bing with a playful light in his eyes.
A gloomy expression descended on Lan Bing’s face. You put her under such strict house arrest. I can’t meet her, let alone see her. How am I to win her heart?
“I know Jin Se is not an object. Thus, this subject asks Your Majesty to bestow a marriage,” Lan Bing pleaded with a thick face.
“This won’t do…..” Ji Feng Li said with narrowed eyes. “Zhen can’t do that. If Jin Se likes someone else and zhen bestows her to you, she’ll resent me.”
Lan Bing’s hair riled up and he raised his head to say, “Your Majesty, you can’t be like this. At the beginning, it was this subject that helped you and niang niang get together.”
Ji Feng Li raised a brow and inadvertently narrowed his eyes and looked at Lan Bing, asking, “Let’s hear it. How exactly did Ai Qing get us together?”
Lan Bing quickly replied, “That night, Your Majesty and niang niang were together, was it not because of this subject and Tang Yu’s love drug(aka aphrodisiac)?” Lan Bing only found out recently that the person that night wasn’t Jin Se. He knew that in regards to this matter, in truth, besides feeling sorry towards Hua Zhu Yu, Ji Feng Li ought to rejoice at the fact that he didn’t spend the night with someone he didn’t love. Thus, Lan Bing dared to speak so openly.
“That being said, it seems zhen must thank Ai Qing, ” Ji Feng Li said with a smile.
Lan Bing looked up and observed Ji Feng Li. Very quickly he began to regret his loose lips. It was better to not have brought up that matter again.
“Your Majesty, this subject……shall take one’s leave. ” Lan Bing wanted to slip away.
“Ai Qing, what’s the hurry? Recently, there’s been something bothering Zhen,” Ji Feng Li remarked with a sigh.
“What’s been bothering Your Majesty? This subject is willing to share in Your Majesty’s worries,” Lan Bing reluctantly bowed and stated.
“Zhen remember that in the past, you, Tong Shou and Tang Yu all thought that zhen was a broken sleeve(homosexual), so you had used the love drug on me. Do you still think zhen resembles someone with a broken sleeve?” Ji Feng Li calmly inquired.
Seeing Ji Feng Li continue to focus on this topic, Lan Bing was full of regret and he quickly said, “It was this subject that didn’t know any better and did absurd things in the past. Please forgive me Your Majesty. Certainly, Your Majesty does not look like someone with a broken sleeve, not at all.”
Ji Feng Li suddenly raised his eyes and continued with a pleasant smile, “But recently, zhen has been reminiscing about the past when she was dressed in male attires. Seeing her in woman attires now, zhen is not happy in the least. Moreover, zhen feels the affection zhen has for her cannot compare to Yuan Bao. Say, do you think there’s something wrong with zhen?”
“Your Majesty has thought too much. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with Your Majesty,” Lan Bing said warily. He didn’t know why Ji Feng Li would suddenly tell him this but he knew Ji Feng Li wouldn’t do so for no reason. Lan Bing’s heart began to beat uneasily when he suddenly heard Ji Feng Li say, “Now zhen sees that Bing’s appearance is not bad, your bearing is also noteworthy.”
Lan Bing really couldn’t keep up with Ji Feng Li’s train of thought. He didn’t know why Ji Feng Li would suddenly praise him. In his heart, he wondered, perhaps Ji Feng Li has agreed to be his matchmaker?
“Well, you’ve always thought zhen was a broken sleeve, but zhen didn’t think so. Now that Yuan Bao has turned out to be a woman, zhen suddenly feels that you were right.” Lan Bing was originally pleased but upon hearing Ji Feng Li’s words, his heart instantly sank.
Momentarily stunned, Lan Bing didn’t know how to answer.
Ji Feng Li asked, “Is Bing willing to help zhen?”
Lan Bing felt uneasy at the direction the conversation was heading but he still declared unconvincingly, “As long as Your Majesty commands, this subject is willing to put my life on the line!”
“You don’t have to put your life on the line. Rise!” Ji Feng Li stood up from his dragon seat and slowly made his way to stand in front of Lan Bing, extending a hand to help him up.
translations at peachblossomgrove . com
But how could Lan Bing dare to let Ji Feng Li help him up? Lan Bing quickly rose and when he looked up, he saw Ji Feng Li, who was less than a foot away, staring at him attentively with billowing eyes and an elegant, soft smile on his lips. Lan Bing’s whole body shook and he quickly backed away uneasily.
Ji Feng Li did not relent and moved forward towards him.
“Yo….Your Majesty, wh..what are you doing?” Lan Bing asked in alarm.
“Weren’t you willing to put your life on the line? Zhen just wants to use Ai Qing to see whether zhen is truly a broken- sleeve or not. There’s no need for you to put your life on the line,” Ji Feng Li reassured as he moved closer. But this time Lan Bing had no space left to retreat, his back had hit the wall.
Lan Bing’s face had already turned into a bitter melon. He was truly born under an unlucky star. How can he serve such an Emperor. Where was there such an Emperor that used his official to see whether he was a broken-sleeve or not.
Lan Bing hands reached out to push Ji Feng Li away but his hand was caught by the man in front of him.
“Don’t do this, Your Majesty. Please conduct yourself with dignity!” Lan Bing cried out. If he could jump, he would’ve already stomped his feet in anger.
“Dignity?” Ji Feng Li contemplated for a moment then smiled lightly. “Don’t be like a woman! What dignity?” Once his words fell, his eyes traced a circle around Lan Bing’s lips, frightening him to death.
After a moment, Lan Bing grew furious and he shouted, “Ji Feng Li, back off of me! Don’t stand so close!” The conduct of a subject towards his sovereign had been completely disregarded.
Ji Feng Li turned a deaf ear and took advantage of his distressed manner to seal his accupoint. Smiling, Ji Feng Li said, “Just try it out once.”
“Try what? What do you want to do? You can’t be serious?” Lan Bing cried out while his mind raced with thoughts of what sorts of things those with broken-sleeves did and his face grew more distorted.
Ji Feng Li smiled and pressed closer until he was only a fingertip away. Staring at him for a moment, he then shook his head and extended his hand to unseal the accupoint on his shoulder.
The moment Lan Bing was pardoned, he instantly fled, placing distance between him and Ji Feng Li, as far away as possible.
Ji Feng Li sighed and said slowly, “It’s strange, Bing is so beautiful but zhen only feels disgust; really can’t get close to you. It seems that zhen is not a broken-sleeve afterall!”
Hearing this, Lan Bing angrily stammered, “Ji Feng Li, you…you…you… ” Lan Bing was originally a talker but at this moment he was so angry he could not say anything.
Ji Feng Li continued with a smile and said, “Though this little experiment wasn’t all in vain. Zhen is assured that zhen’s not a broken sleeve. However, as for you Ai Qing, you’re certainly a broken sleeve.”
Listening to this, Lan Bing’s heart erupted with rage.
“How is Lao zi(I your father) a broken-sleeve? Lao zi is not a broken-sleeve. Lao zi a man, through and through!” As expected, he was very angry and confused. He even dared to refer to himself as Lao zi in front of the emperor.
But Ji Feng Li was not bothered in the least. He glanced at Lan Bing with his phoenix eyes and Lan Bing’s heart instantly jumped. Lan Bing knew he shouldn’t have brought it up. Lan Bing had already received his punishment at that time, he was nearly beaten to death but now it seems that the punishment was not over. It seems the Emperor was intent on settling old accounts.
“Didn’t Ai Qing ask for a reward just now? I’ll send someone to Feng Yue Hall to find some beautiful male entertainers and send them over to you so that they can serve you,” Ji Feng Li said as he patted Lan Bing on the shoulder and headed for the door.
“That’s not necessary… not necessary… I still have to get married,” Lan Bing protested. What kind of joke was this? If that were to happen, how was he ever going to take a wife?
“No! It’s settled. Zhen must reward you! ” Ji Feng Li glanced back at Lan Bing and said, “Yes, Tang Yu as well!” After saying that, with his hands clasped behind his back, Ji Feng Li went to visit his beloved son and daughter.
Tang Yu was truly pitiful, both times he had been pulled in the puddles by Lan Bing.
The following day, Ji Feng Li sent the beautiful male entertainers from Feng Yue Hall to Lan Bing and Tang Yu’s residence. Each residence was rewarded with two men.
From then on, Lan Bing and Tang Yu did not dare to return to their residences. But it was truly a mystery what methods those male entertainers used for they could always track them down every time and stick to their side like glue.
Since then, wherever Lan Bing and Tang Yu went, they were surrounded by several enchanting male entertainers. Even if it was not their desire, they couldn’t do anything about it since these men were bestowed by the Emperor himself.
As a result, the Commander of the Imperial Guards Tang Yu and the Chancellor Lan Bing were famous throughout Southern Kingdom for having a broken-sleeve.
A year later, these two broken-sleeves were finally bestowed a marriage by Ji Feng Li and each of them returned home with a beauty in their embrace.