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MJT Chapter 17

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All of Southern Chu was stunned by a “cleansing edict”. The former Lord Qianhu of the Hu An guards, Yi Chongren, known to be guilty of monstrous crimes, was actually a loyal official?! The families of former prime minister Zhang Deyun, former minister of revenue Xie Dan, and the other loyal ministers that were thought to have died at Yi Chongren and those miscreants’ hands were actually all still alive! This “cleansing edict” cleared Yi Chongren’s name. And the one who drafted the edict was actually prime minister Zhang Deyuan who was previously thought to be dead! What’s more, Prince Yue and Prince Yue’s two children were also secretly saved by Yi Chongren. In a moment, Yi Chongren went from the hated leader of evildoers who everyone wanted to execute to a loyal, virtuous minister who endured humiliation. Not to mention the dizzy common people, even the officials of the court who weren’t aware of the truth were also dizzy. Even several of Huo Feng’s subordinates were so shocked that they couldn’t sleep for three days and three nights after seeing the “cleansing edict”. This news was too shocking.

Away at Jade City Pass, Yi Chongren still didn’t know of this matter and was unable to deal with it. After being so scared, Douzi kept sticking to him, afraid that daddy would abandon him at any moment. Whenever he couldn’t see him, he would cry. Because of this, Yi Chongren nearly gave Huo Yunkai another beating. If it wasn’t for Zhao Dongchuan stopping him, he really would have acted. Douzi was uneasy, so Baozi was also uneasy. The two children followed daddy’s every step with less smiles on their faces. Every time Yi Chongren saw this, he regretted.

That day, when mealtime arrived, Yi Chongren served the children their plates of food without even looking at Huo Yunkai. He was still angry. The bruise on Huo Yunkai’s face was still visible. He, who didn’t gain yifu’s forgiveness, didn’t leave, continuing to train, eat, and sleep as usual every day. Yi Chongren didn’t pay attention to him. Of course he felt bad, but he believed that as time went on, yifu would forgive him.

Douzi and Baozi were especially obedient these two days. The two children held their own spoons to scoop vegetables and rice for themselves. Yi Chongren silently filled the children’s bowls with vegetables, knowing things couldn’t go on this way, as the more obedient Douzi and Baozi were, the more angry he would become, angry at Huo Yunkai’s deeds.

“Baozi, Douzi, daddy will take you to ride a horse after your afternoon nap.”

Baozi and Douzi’s eyes lit up, but they immediately became cautious again. Douzi asked: “Ride to where?” Would daddy throw them away while riding?

Pretending to not see the worry in Douzi’s eyes, Yi Chongren said: “Just around the camp. Daddy, you two, and big brother. We’ll all ride horses together.”

Huo Yunkai, who was eating with boredom, sharply raised his head. Baozi and Douzi looked at their big brother and moved to daddy. Baozi raised his little face that had lost some weight and grabbed daddy’s hand: “Daddy, are you going to leave Douzi and I?”

The rims of Douzi’s eyes turned red and he also grabbed daddy’s hand: “Daddy, Douzi will be good.”

Yi Chongren’s heart seemed to be tightly clenched by someone. He wrapped his arms around the two children’s little heads and seriously said: “Don’t ask this again. Daddy will never leave you.”

“Daddy……” Douzi hugged daddy.

“Ok. Go eat. After eating, daddy will take an afternoon nap with you. After sleeping, we’ll go riding.” Letting go of the two children, Yi Chongren looked towards Huo Yunkai, who had a look of eagerness: “You haven’t done your homework in so many days. When are you planning to make it up?”

Huo Yunkai jolted: “I’ll make it up whenever yifu says I should make it up.”

“Ten copies of “Cao Tang Shu Yu[1]”, turn it in to me before lunch tomorrow.”

Huo Yunkai held his chopsticks unsteadily. He immediately raised his bowl to scarf down his food, smiling in his heart. Yifu punishing him meant he forgave him. 

After eating, Huo Yunkai went into his own tent to write the “Cao Tang Shu Yu”. Douzi and Baozi hugged daddy as they slept. Possibly because of Yi Chongren’s words, the two children appeared less worried in their sleep, recovering their childish aura.

After sleeping for two hours, Yi Chongren took the children out to ride horses as promised, and Huo Yunkai, who had only finished writing one copy, accompanied. Baozi and Douzi sat before daddy, and once the horse started to trot under daddy’s control, the two children started laughing. After all, they were little boys and didn’t not like riding horses. A smile also appeared on Huo Yunkai’s face. He followed by Yi Chongren’s side, protecting his two little brothers. A slight smile appeared at the corners of Yi Chongren’s lips. Not thinking of his future, at this moment, he was their father.

In the field behind the camp, the surrounding soldiers all curiously watched them ride horses. Zhao Dongchuan was there too. His highness the hereditary prince was riding a horse, so how could he not be there. However, he was still a bit unsure about that overly handsome “his highness’s yifu”. Until now, he still didn’t know that person’s name. His highness wouldn’t answer when he asked. The prince sent a flying pigeon ordering him to look after that person and not let them take even a step out of the barracks. What on earth did his highness mean by this? Ah no, he should say his majesty. Zhao Dongchuan’s heart shuddered and didn’t dare to neglect these orders. At this time, a soldier hurriedly ran over and whispered a few words in Zhao Dongchuan’s ear. Zhao Dongchuan’s body shook, and he turned to run out of the camp.

Yi Chongren, whose back was directly facing Zhao Dongchuan, didn’t notice his peculiarity. Baozi and Douzi wanted him to speed up, so Yi Chongren lightly tapped the horse’s ass, and the horse gradually started to run. Baozi and Douzi clutched the reins, and the children’s immature laughter was particularly pleasant to listen to.

When a man, who had rushed from the capital, strode into the field, he saw a both strange and familiar man riding a horse with two children. At that moment, he only saw those faintly smiling lips and that pair of eyes that he could never forget. Heart pounding, he suddenly lost control. As if he felt something, Yi Chongren turned his head to look over, and the smile at his lips disappeared, visibly stunned.

Time seemed to stop at this moment. Huo Feng looked at the man on the horse, and Yi Chongren looked at the man at the entrance of the field. Neither of them made a sound. Even Douzi and Baozi just tightly grabbed daddy’s hand and curiously watched that slightly sloppy looking man.

Huo Feng’s mouth was surrounded by a beard. With a glance, anyone could tell that he hadn’t taken care of himself in a long time. His eyes were sunken and his eyebags were clearly visible. Looking at that face that had long become blurred in his memory, Yi Chongren slightly frowned. The world was settled, so why would this person come here? And why would he appear so sloppy and haggard? Could it be that the situation in the capital changed?

This was the real face hidden under that demonic makeup for all those years? He seemed to be the only one who couldn’t forget the other. That pair of eyes and the pair carved into his heart were one and the same, but it seemed to have something more. Huo Feng’s gaze swept over the two children in front of Yi Chongren and his heart understood. Just now, he finally understood why he couldn’t forget that pair of eyes, why he rushed over here from the capital once the beginning of a new world was set in place.

Huo Feng moved first. He strode towards Yi Chongren. Yi Chongren also moved. He dismounted and stood there without the intention to greet him, only carrying the two children off the horse. Huo Yunkai also dismounted and walked to Yi Chongren’s side, gaze unusually excited, carrying a wetness in his eyes as if reuniting with long lost relatives.

Walking to a spot one step away from Yi Chongren, Huo Feng said: “Yi Chongren, do you know your sins?”

“Father!” Huo Yunkai was dumbfounded. Could it be that father did not receive his letter?! All the surrounding people who heard these words gasped once again. The hereditary prince’s yifu was Yi Chongren?! Yi Chongren of the Hu An guards?!

“Daddy.” Douzi and Baozi were scared. Who was this person? So fierce.

Yi Chongren’s expression remained calm, he looked at Huo Feng with a slightly cold gaze, and asked: “What crime has this commoner committed? May your highness explain.”

Huo Feng glanced at the frightened Douzi and Baozi, and also glanced at his anxious eldest son, before saying: “You committed the crime of showing contempt towards me. Yi Chongren, I’ll give you three days to pack your valuables and return to the capital with me. Now,” Huo Feng suddenly bent over and picked up Douzi and Baozi: “take me to your manor.”

“Daddy.” Douzi and Baozi struggled. They didn’t want to be held by this weird uncle.

Yi Chongren went to hold the two children, but heard Huo Feng say: “Douzi, Baozi, I am your father. I’m the father of both of you. Father has come to take you back to the capital[2].” 

“Father?” Douzi and Baozi were stunned. What’s that?

Yi Chongren’s hand stopped in mid air. Huo Feng looked towards Huo Yunkai and said in a lowered voice: “Yunkai.”

Huo Yunkai held back the wetness in his eyes and knelt down: “Son Yunkai, kowtows to father. This son has been unfilial.”

Huo Feng tightly clenched his jaw: “Get up.”

Huo Yunkai stood up, looking excited. Not returning the two children to Yi Chongren, Huo Feng turned and left, yelling at Zhao Dongchuan, who was guarding at the perimeter of the field: “To Lin manor!”

“Daddy—”

The two children who were kidnapped by the weird uncle stretched out their hands and called for help, calling for daddy to save them.

“Douzi, Baozi, I’m your father. Your father.”

Huo Feng carried the two children onto his horse.

Baozi bravely asked: “What is father?”

“…..your other daddy.”

Yi Chongren stood there motionlessly. Why did that person come here? For the first time, Yi Chongren couldn’t see through someone, someone he had once so fiercely held in “contempt”.

—————————————————————————————————————

The peaceful “Lin manor” became visibly panicked after the arrival of a certain someone. Outside Lin manor, Prince Yue’s personal guards encircled the mansion tightly. People who weren’t aware of the situation even thought the Lin household committed a serious crime.

Soon, news that the owner of Lin manor was the “deceased” Yi Chongren of the Hu An guards spread across Jade City Pass. Immediately afterwards, a copy of the “cleansing edict” appeared on the walls of Jade City Pass. Only then did the common people of Jade City Pass learn that those aunties living in Lin manor were actually the family members of the loyal officials saved by Yi Chongren. In a moment, Jade City Pass was in an uproar.

Yi Chongren still didn’t know about this. Once he returned to Lin manor, he saw Zhang Huaiqiu and the look of guilt on his face. Yi Chongren was displeased. Huaiqiu should have known that he didn’t want to see Prince Yue again. Zhang Huaiqiu didn’t explain himself, but Ruan Xingtian, who came with him, explained. The person who revealed his location was not Zhang Huaiqiu but his father, Zhang Deyuan. Once he heard this, Yi Chongren could guess the reason why old brother did this. Old brother always felt he was wronged, and everyone else in the house also thought he was wronged. But he didn’t think so. He didn’t care how others saw him. Even if everyone in the world thought he was a traitor, he wouldn’t care.

The children were in Huo Feng’s hands, and Yi Chongren didn’t have a say. Once he returned to Lin manor, he returned to his room, shutting out all the outside noise. Huo Feng said he wanted to punish him for his crimes, but Yi Chongren wasn’t worried at all. Instead, he was more concerned about the reason why Huo Feng wanted to bring him back to the capital. He had a feeling that his dream for a peaceful life would be shattered. Also, why did that person say he was Baozi’s father? He didn’t believe that person didn’t know about Baozi’s identity.

Huo Feng didn’t go find Yi Chongren immediately. He carried Baozi and Douzi into Yunkai’s room. The father and son hadn’t seen each other in six years, and his youngest son was forced to leave his side not long after he was born. Six years, things have remained the same, but people have changed. Looking at his grown up eldest son, Huo Feng’s heart was full of emotion. And seeing the curiosity and unfamiliarity on his youngest son’s face, Huo Feng felt a pang in his heart.

Douzi and Baozi started to squirm in the weird uncle’s arms. They wanted to go find their daddy. Looking at the two children who were about to cry, Huo Feng put them down and let Zhang Huaiqiu take them to find Yi Chongren. Only the father and son were left in the room. Huo Yunkai’s first words were: “Father, did you receive my letter?”

“Yes.” Huo Feng raised his two hands to put them on his son’s shoulders with eyes full of gratification: “You’ve grown so much. I heard Huaiqiu say you’ve been practicing martial arts and studying under your yifu. Has he treated you well these years?”

Although he had long known that his son wouldn’t be wronged at Yi Chongren’s side, as a father, Huo Feng still wanted to personally ask. Hearing that father didn’t mind him recognizing Yi Chongren as his yifu, Huo Yunkai immediately said: “Yifu is very powerful and knowledgeable. I’ve benefited greatly from staying by his side. Father, yifu saved and taught me and my brother. I want to bring yifu back to the capital. I,” Huo Yunkai murmured, “I want to look after yifu when he’s aged and arrange his burial. I hope father can agree.”

After speaking, Huo Yunkai kneeled. Even if yifu didn’t say anything, he still understood some things. Yifu was physically lacking. Now, father had won the world, with his position, it was natural for yifu to have some scruples. But he didn’t care. He recognized yifu as his yifu, so he would treat yifu with filial piety and take care of yifu in his old age. If others want to laugh, then let them laugh.

Huo Feng looked at his resolute son, very pleased, but also a bit displeased. This displeasure came from his son recognizing that person as yifu. He thought his son “valued” Yi Chongren too much.

“You should know your yifu used to be someone from the palace. You are my eldest son and the future crown prince. If you recognize him as your yifu, you will be ridiculed, and the ministers will be opposed. You must think carefully.”

Thinking father was unwilling, Huo Yunkai felt unhappy.

“Without yifu, Douzi and I would have died long ago. If I abandon yifu just out of fear of getting ridiculed, how would I be any different than those who are ungrateful? Father, could it be that you want to turn your back on yifu because of his identity? Have you forgotten how much yifu did so that you could win this world?”

Huo Yunkai was very disappointed, very disappointed. He thought father would support his decision, who would have thought.

How could Huo Feng not see the disappointment in his son’s eyes. He bent over to support his son and calmly said: “Before I arrived, I already wanted to bring your yifu back to the capital. If I turned my back to your yfu, I wouldn’t rush all the way here from the capital. But Yunkai, you must think this through. After you become the crown prince, after you become someone above tens of thousands, can you tolerate having a yifu that used to be a eunuch in the palace, can you tolerate the opposition and impeachments of the ministers. People will change.”

“I will not change.” The rims of Huo Yunkai’s eyes were red, “I will never forget who brought me out of the prince manor, who raised Douzi, who taught me martial arts and knowledge. Father, if it wasn’t for the previous emperor’s muddle headedness, how could yifu enter the palace and be humiliated. I don’t want to let my conscience down.”

As expected, this child is like me. Huo Feng sfirmly embraced his eldest son, and then let go.

“Remember the words you said to me today.”

“I will not forget!”

That person raised his son very well. Looking at his son who was almost as tall as him, Huo Feng knew that he could pass the world to his son at ease. The Huo family had a qualified successor.

“I’m going to go see your yifu. We’ll return to the capital in three days. Pack your stuff.”

“En!”

Huo Yunkai smiled. They could finally go home.

After his son left the room, Huo Feng let out a deep breath. He appeared to be strategizing, but his heart was uncertain. It’d been six years. He, who was about to become emperor, was actually a bit nervous about meeting someone, how shameful. It’d been six years…..Huo Feng wiped his face. He was already almost forty. Time went by so fast. Only that person didn’t seem to change one bit. But it just seems so. Because before, he didn’t even know what that person’s true face looked like. Huo Feng took a step forward and walked towards Yi Chongren’s room with steady footing. The world was already his, nothing could be harder.

[1] 草堂书语 no clue what book this is, I can only find info about a 草堂詩話 which is  book of poems

[2] Huo Feng uses 父王 while Yi Chongren uses 爹爹. The first is more formal and the second is more casual/ close sounding. They both mean dad but with different tones so I’ll use father and daddy respectively

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