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  • XCGS Chapter 5

    /

    Zhang Kelai – Someone who persuaded you to quit smoking

    They weren’t lovers, but partners.

    ———

    Clare,

    Hello.

    I am Sheng Xiyuan’s wife Chen Yuan. I sincerely apologize, Shen Xiyuan died in a car accident on April 15 2015, I wrote the previous emails under his name because I’m curious about Xiyuan’s past.

    We met each other in 2010, and I don’t know anything about his life before. I only know that both his parents have passed away and his entire family left their ancestral home to move to Xin Chuan long ago; I found out about the house at No. 227 Qishan Back Street by looking through his old phone, but I still don’t know much about this matter.

    I sincerely apologize, but I still hope that you’ll be willing to talk to me about Xiyuan’s past.

    Also, if you want to see Sheng Xia, feel free to contact me.

    Attached: My phone number.

    Chen Yuan

    2017, June 10

    —–

    On New Year’s day of 2000, the first day of the millennium, Zhang Kelai picked up a home tutor for her little brother.

    An eighteen year old boy who was guaranteed admission to Xinchuan University a year before, now out to find a job, wanting to earn some extra money during winter break, pushed his student ID, ID card, and report card towards her, lined up in a row, saying: “My name is Sheng Xiyuan.”

    That year, Zhang Kesi was in the ninth grade, had horrendous grades, and ran out every night to play. Zhang Kelai originally got this home tutor to tether the little ancestor to his house, but who knew that Sheng Xiyuan really was something, not only did he tether the little ancestor, he also trained him to obedience. He was both a teacher and a friend, during class he was a teacher, after class he was a brother to play basketball with.

    (t/n: In case you don’t know, in china, grade 1-6 is elementary, 7-9 is middle, and 10-12 is high school)

    Zhang Kesi thought this person was pretty good and wanted to give him an extra 100 yuan every week. He shook his head, unable to find the right words. She thought she was giving too little, and offered to give him an extra 200. He repeatedly waved his hands, saying that wasn’t what he meant. He thought this was too much, a reward he didn’t deserve, instead he’d give a few more lessons every week.

    When Zhang Kesi heard that little Mr. Sheng was coming over four times a week, he first felt bitter, but once he realized  they could play basketball together four times a week, he decided he wasn’t losing out and smiled with joy.

    In July, Zhang Kesi was preparing to enter high school. Although his family still arranged for him to attend a private school and prepared to send him to Japan, Zhang Kelai still wanted to treat Sheng Xiyuan to a meal and gave him a red packet with 200 yuan before leaving. Sheng Xiyuan rejected it and hesitated for a while before saying: “If possible, could I borrow some money from you to buy a phone?”

    Zhang Kelai originally wanted to directly buy one for him, but he refused to say what model he wanted, maybe to say he didn’t want her to pay for it, so finally, she let him be.

    Back then, Zhang Kelai had opened her own bar in Xin Chuan. Other than the allowance her dad gave her, she had quite a bit of income. Although it wasn’t much to her, in Sheng Xiyuan and his classmates’ eyes, she could be considered a rich lady. On the weekends, Zhang Kesi often went to Xin University to play basketball with Sheng Xiyuan and the others. When Zhang Kelai passed by Xin University at night, she’d just go to the sports field to find him. A group of young college students in the sports field ran and sweated under the sun. From afar, they could see her sports car park outside the sports field. They put down their basketball and collectively watched Zhang Kesi run over, pleading as he ran: “Jie, let me play a bit longer, later I’ll come home on my own, ok?”

    Sheng Xiyuan always ran over with him, talking with him about something until he escorted the boy to her, and she stuffed him into the car. Then, he’d obediently say goodbye to her, say goodbye Kelai Jie (older sister).

    Zhang Kelai had once asked him why he was so obsessed with earning money, where were his parents? Sheng Xiyuan said my dad passed away when I was in elementary school and my mom also isn’t here anymore. Then have you ever considered getting a grant for needy students, life’ll be easier with some money.

    No, he’d say with a laugh, there are people who need it more than me.

    Only many years later did Zhang Kelai faintly perceive that his life wasn’t as simple as he made it sound.

    In late Autumn 2006, Zhang Kelai’s father had an accident at a construction site.

    That day was very strange. According to the secretary, Mr. Zhang originally planned to get off work early at 3 p.m, but a subordinate called, and Mr. Zhang said he’d drive over himself.

    A safety rope silently broke, and a shovel falling from the sky smashed through father’s skull.

    Zhang Kelai sat at the morgue entrance listening to the lawyer and manager uncles from the company buzz on and on about something as the sound of a ticking clock echoed through her mind. There was a church in the community she lived in as a child. Dad would take her up into the clock tower, and she’d knock on the inside of the clock, generating a shocking sound that’d easily cause a headache.

    Little brother cried as he ran in. He had been on break playing video games at home. When he saw her, he was even more distraught than she was, so she could only hug him as he cried. Sheng Xiyuan stood at the doorway, two dark bags under his eyes, appearing even more haggard than her. After graduating, he worked as an engineer in a software company, his employee ID still hung around his neck, it appeared that when Kesi received the call, in a moment of panic, she could only think to ask him for help.

    Sheng Xiyuan hesitated for a moment, but still walked in and supported Kesi’s shoulder’s to say: “Let’s go eat first, it’s already eight.”

    She nodded, all the managers left, leaving only the lawyer. Sheng Xiyuan saw that she might have to discuss serious matters as she ate and tactfully excused himself, only to be called back by her: “It’s fine, you’re not an outsider.”

    In a stall selling Shaxian snacks just outside the hospital, she and the lawyer began discussing the matter of splitting the company assets and father’s inheritance. She said it didn’t matter how the assets were split between them siblings, but the lawyer gradually revealed a difficult expression and finally, could only speak the truth: “Kelai, the problem is not about you two, but a third person.”

    Zhang Kelai heard a thud in her mind, just like the boom of a giant clock crashing from the roof to the ground.

    In the presence of her lawyer, she had a video conference with a woman in Vancouver. Beside the woman sat her thirteen year old son, Zhang Kelai and Zhang Kesi’s brother of a different mother. His face bore some marks of resemblance, but the boy was different in that he had no Chinese name.

    The woman said they were still small, young. When your dad was alive, he said that he’d wait until you developed a mature financial mindset before he could feel comfortable handing his money over to you.

    Zhang Kelai smashed the computer to smithereens at the scene.

    The lawyer ordered takeout to be sent to the office for her and advised: “According to your father’s will, the procedures can only be done this way. Zhang Kesi hasn’t graduated from college yet and you haven’t married, so these assets can only be put in the trust fund.”

    ——————————————————————————————————————

    Five days later was Father Zhang’s funeral. Zhang Kelai saw her legal stepmother for the first time and was surprised to find out that she and her own mother had nothing in common. Her mother died from illness ten years prior and in life had an appearance similar to a silver plate, rich, magnanimous, stable. The stepmother before her eyes was skinny, small, and appeared to be from Guangdong.

    Sheng Xiyuan waited for all the guests to leave before entering, appearing even skinnier than he was during their last meeting. His entire spirit appeared dejected, as if the father who died wasn’t Zhang Kelai’s but his own.

    Kesi was sleeping on the stairs. They sat in the living room eating fast food. Zhang Kelai deliberated for a while before finally speaking: “There’s something I’d like your help on.”

    Sheng Xiyuan gradually raised his head as if in a dream, looked towards her, and slowly said: “Say it.”

    “I can only get the money my father left for Kesi and I after I get married, but my family’s situation is complicated, and I can’t wait too long. Can you marry me?”

    Zhang Kelai felt regretful after saying this, but the words were already spoken and couldn’t be taken back, so she could only thicken her skin and return his gaze. He didn’t process everything immediately and chewed on the thought for a while before saying: “Ok.”

    The living room became quiet in an instant with only the sound of the wind outside the window.

    Sheng Xiyuan lowered his head two eat, and the two remained in silence for a while. After about five to six minutes, he softly said: “Kelai Jie, relax, I won’t take your money. But I might need you to do me a favor.”

    After thinking for a while, he added another phrase: “No, two.”

    ——————————————————————————————————————

    Thinking back, Zhang Kelai still thought that year was really inconceivable. 

    She lost a father, gained a stepmother and a brother with the same father but different mother, and a husband obtained in exchange for trust beyond common sense, even if only in the legal sense.

    “2006 November, because of the problem with my father’s inheritance, I asked Xiyuan to marry me, and he agreed.”

    Zhang Kelai typed a line on her laptop, the cursor continued blinking at the end of the sentence for a long time before she deleted everything until the page was blank again.

    Outside the window was a quiet and cool night in Vancouver’s suburbs. She closed the laptop and once again remicenced on that winter day they got their marriage license. The two were in total silence and the office lady looked around, afraid to speak. After coming out of the Civil Affairs Bureau, they were legal husband and wife. It was raining outside, and the two sat in the car for a while. Still, no one spoke.

    Zhank Kelai slightly lowered the car window and lit a cigarette, exhaling smoke through the small gap. Sheng Xiyuan’s soft voice broke the silence: “When did you start smoking?”

    She turned her head, “I always smoked.”

    “It’s not good for your body.”

    “I can’t quit.”

    “If you want to, you can.”

    If you want to, you can. These six words seemed to be Sheng Xiyuan’s life philosophy, like when he wanted to pay his own college tuition, made up his mind, and made it a reality.

    “Why aren’t you even a bit worried about me, what if I covet your money?” He was fretting over her, as if to say, you’re so foolish, what’ll you do if you get cheated one day.

    She gently touched his head as if petting a small dog: “I know you.”

    In actuality, she had no one else to trust. On the contrary, she knew Sheng Xiyuan since he was a half-grown child. Time had flown by and it had already been six or seven years.

    Their marriage began just like this, without a wedding banquet, not to mention a honeymoon. They weren’t lovers, but partners.

    Sheng Xiyuan asked Zhang Kelai for two favors. First, to buy No, 227 Qishan Back Street. Sheng Xiyuan insisted on returning this money, and she, knowing his temperament, didn’t decline, only telling him that it was ok to return it slowly.

    Second, was that child born in March. Zhang Kelai didn’t know who the child’s mother was and only met her a few times. She only knew that her big eyes, long eyelashes, and overall appearance was incredibly like Xiyuan.

    Later, he gave this child a name, Sheng Xia.

    —————————————————————————————————————–

    Zhang Kelai opened the page again, fingertips typing away on the keyboard.

    “Xiyuan and I used to be good friends and partners. In 2009, I left the country to settle in Vancouver. As for his matters, I’m afraid I only know a bit more than you, but in this email, I will try to tell you everything I know.”

    t/n: Sorry about the delay, I forgot I still had this chapter stocked up. Anyways, this is all the chapters of this novel I translated last year. I still like the novel but I’m probably not going to continue from this point on. If anyone wants to pick this up feel free. I hope you’ve enjoyed this novel up to now 🙂

    BTW I’m working on another BL translation so stay tuned.

  • XCGS Chapter 4

    /

    Clare and Chris

    She couldn’t forget, couldn’t let go.

    May, the sunny and warm weather already felt like summer. After eating lunch, she still had half an hour worth of break time. Sheng Xia ran to a corner of the school near the fence and bought a popsicle from a vendor outside. She sneakily took two bites, afraid of being seen by a classmate or teacher, and hid behind a tree to concentrate on eating.

    As valuable as a treasure, the popsicle emitted a white mist. Through the cold air, she saw a man and woman share a light kiss and bid farewell across the street. The woman hurriedly crossed the road. She had a delicate and pretty face, eyebrows like willow leaves, almond eyes, thin and straight legs, and an overall graceful appearance.

    Sheng Xia grasped onto two iron railings, almost squeezing her face through the gap.

    “I saw Miss Doctor kiss her boyfriend.”

    At the dinner table, Sheng Xia chatted about all the trivial matters of the day as usual but when this sentence suddenly popped up, Mother Chen didn’t process it immediately, “What?”

    “I saw Miss Doctor kiss her boyfriend.”

    This time she heard clearly. Mother Chen’s first instinct was to ask how she knew about kissing at her age, but she thought for while before realizing something didn’t seem right: “What doctor?”

    That night, Chen Yuan encountered a violent storm when she got home. Mrs. Fan Shuzhen was angry as hell, thinking that Chen Yuan treated her own daughter as a lunatic, even sending her to see a doctor, but as she spoke, she became sad: “There’s obviously nothing wrong with her, why’d you take her to see a doctor?”

    Chen Yuan thought that rather than saying she was angry, she was afraid. If Sheng Xia really was sick, she feared that she’d be the first one to break down, so why not deny this possibility in the beginning. 

    Chen Yuan stood there, receiving her criticism, just like when she was caught forging her parent’s signature on a test sheet when she got a bad grade as a child. Only when she grew tired of speaking did she sit beside her and gently wrap her arms around her shoulders. All the anger in Mother Chen’s body suddenly dissipated in an instinct, and the two sat in silence for a while.

    “Ma, relax.”

    Mother Chen turned her head, and after a while, raised her hands to wipe her eyes. “If anything happens, don’t carry it all yourself, family comes in handy at times like these. It’d be so tiring to rely on yourself for everything.”

    “I know.” Chen Yuan patted her back in reassurance.

    To give the two women room to talk, Father Chen took Sheng Xia out for a drive. When they left the house it was already almost nine. In the car, Sheng Xia once again chirped: “Today I saw Miss Doctor kiss her boyfriend.”

    Chen Yuan asked: “Where?”

    “Outside school.”

    “You left school?”

    “No, I saw through the fence.” Sheng Xia sucked on her finger and was slapped by Chen Yuan. Cowering, she put her hands in her pockets and could help but say: “Mom, Miss Doctor is so skinny.”

    Facing a red light, Chen Yuan stopped and turned to look at her: “Do you envy Miss Doctor?”

    “Hm—” Sheng Xia took a while to “hm”, and the traffic in front of them surged again.

    That night, before sleeping, the two exchanged good nights, and Sheng Xia suddenly ran to her room saying she wanted to sleep together. Turning off the lights, the little girl muttered: “Saying I didn’t envy her was a lie, I definitely envy her for being pretty, but I’m already pretty good. Even though I’m not that pretty, I’m pretty cute.”

    Chen Yuan didn’t think she could be so opinionated, even praising herself for being cute. Although she also thought her daughter was pretty cute, she was very surprised that Sheng Xia was so satisfied with herself. She hugged her, and Sheng Xia hugged back, joyfully giving her three kisses.

    The child fell asleep quickly and her breaths evened out. Chen Yuan hugged her as if she was hugging a small animal, a treasure.

    This child wasn’t connected to her by blood. It was Sheng Xiyuan who pushed them together to be each other’s closest comrades. Before, she never expected that raising a child would give her such a sense of accomplishment and joy. Now, she understood a little, just a little, just enough to make her thank fate a hundred thousand times.

    Chen Yuan’s outburst of motherly love lasted for a week, until Sheng Xia couldn’t take it anymore and seriously waved her hand to reject her mother’s invitation to “sleep together” for the eighth day in a row: “I’m a big kid now, how can I keep sleeping with you, we need to give each other space!”

    After saying this, she fled for her life and jumped into her own bed.

    Chen Yuan didn’t know whether to laugh or cry, but this was fine, she would also have time to tend to her own matters. The room became calm in an instant, and she opened her mailbox. She kept avoiding that email that came a week ago, as if opening that email would be like opening Pandora’s box, but whether or not she opened it, when she opened it, it would still be there.

    Hiii Xiyuan,

    I’m still the same as ever. Chris is getting married within the next two years but doesn’t plan on returning to Hong Kong or China. The wedding will be in Vancouver. Please come if you have time, and bring your wife and Sheng Xia.

    Of course I still remember the house on Qishan street, are there any problems with the paperwork lately? I should have transferred everything properly when I left the country. That counts as marital property. We left it all to you when we got divorced. 

    If you have any problems, send me an email, I’ll ask a lawyer.

    Clare

    2017 May 16

    Chen Yuan suddenly let out a sigh of relief. 

    Her hunch was right, Clare really was Xiyuan’s ex-wife. Strangely, she didn’t seem to be very concerned about Sheng Xia, and Sheng Xiyuan’s friends only knew this person existed, yet didn’t know that she was the woman Sheng Xiyuan married back then, Sheng Xia’s birth mother. The house on Qishan street was even stranger. According to her, this house should have been left under Sheng Xiyuan’s name, but Chen Yuan knew nothing about it. The people who lived there also didn’t seem to know Sheng Xiyuan. Nothing made sense.

    She told the Deng Fei couple about Clare, and they were both surprised. Once she said that Sheng Xiyuan had another property, Deng Fei’s expression became a bit strange.

    Deng Fei already had a whole story in her head: Sheng Xiyuan married a rich woman for money. Although he got a daughter, at least he got a house, so he wasn’t losing out. The only loser was Chen Yuan, the one forced to accept everything without her knowledge, now still kept in the dark like a fool.

    Chen Yuan saw the changes in her expression, appearing contemptuous for a moment and sympathetic in the next, wanting to throw hands and denounce Sheng Xiyuan for being inhuman, but advising her not to throw away the child. (Chen Yuan) tried not to laugh.

    Deng Fei grasped her hand and seriously said: “ Xiao Yuan……”

    “What.”

    “He’s already gone……”

    Chen Yuan knew she was going to advise her to put down the past, but didn’t expect her to say this. She couldn’t hold it any longer and laughed.

    “You can still laugh, your heart sure is big.” Deng Fei was a bit angry.

    “You might not believe it,” Chen Yuan didn’t know whether to laugh or cry, “But I never suspected Sheng Xiyuan of being unloyal.”

    “Of course he couldn’t have been unloyal, I meant that he really is inhuman, hiding so much from you.”

    “Yes, he never mentioned any of this to me.” Chen Yuan was so calm that she surprised herself.

    “Then aren’t you angry?”

    Not angry.

    If Sheng Xiyuan was still alive, she might have sulked for a while, but Sheng Xiyuan was already dead. Her emotions were like smoke with no place to land, after turning in the air a couple times, they’d scatter clean, leaving only an endless emptiness and sadness.

    He always treated her well—actually, he treated everyone well, otherwise Mrs. Fan Shuzhen wouldn’t have surrendered so quickly—Chen Yuan didn’t know if there was a difference, but she was sure of one point: Sheng Xiyuan truly loved her.

    Deng Fei always said he was a good person, always said she shouldn’t be so proud of catching a good person, but Chen Yuan always remembered that they walked together, walked to the sports field at Xin University, and Sheng Xiyuan—pointed out to her: We used to always play basketball here…I liked the green tea biscuits the canteen sold in the morning. In college, bus 26 was my favorite, it followed Yangong causeway all the way up the hill. Boring right? He laughed, appearing a bit embarrassed, but I wanted to let you know. What about you? Tell me, ok?

    Thinking back now, Chen Yuan thought those five years were too good, so good that she wouldn’t forget for a lifetime, so good that even though she found out Sheng Xiyuan left behind a lot of shit, she couldn’t feel even the slightest bit of resentment towards him, only regret.

    Back then, she thought his past didn’t matter because they would share their future. But once Sheng Xiyuan died, all the promises made of a future together would never be realized. Only now did she learn that that Sheng Xiyuan she had, appeared to only be a small fraction of his whole person. She was greedier than she thought.

    So full of remorse, a remorse she could do nothing about.

    These thoughts were complexly interlocked, impossible to express in words. Chen Yuan had a terrible headache and couldn’t be bothered to explain, so after a few quick excuses about having to pick up the kid, she left first.

    On the way home, Sheng Xia appeared tired from a day of play and fell asleep in the passenger’s seat. For some reason, the road was terribly congested that day, the traffic stopping every few seconds, and Chen Yuan felt her solar plexus throb. The light at the intersection ahead flashed  red, and the big red tail lights of the row of cars in front of her lit up. Chen Yuyan suddenly felt a sourness in her mouth, and in an instant, vomit spurted out from deep in her throat. Her first thought was that this would stink up her car and be hard to clean, and she wanted to stick her upper body outside to throw up, but just as she opened the car door, she lost all consciousness.

    She woke up to the white ceiling of the hospital right before her eyes.. Mother was at her bedside grasping her hand, and someone walked out to call a doctor. She asked where Sheng Xia was, and mother said your father took her home, she refused to leave, so your father carried her away.

    Xie Jiayang and Deng Fei brought the on duty doctor over and said some words that Chen Yuan couldn’t hear clearly. She only heard that she got acute gastroenteritis. Mother Chen persuaded Deng Fei to leave, and only the mother and daughter were left in the sick ward. Fan ShuZhen saw her daughter’s sickly pale face and felt a sourness in her heart before crying. Chen Yuan hoarsely said: “Don’t cry.”

    “My heart aches,” Mother Chen’s tears fell unceasingly, “Why must my own daughter suffer such hardships?”

    “Did Deng Fei tell you something?”

    “Deng Fei didn’t tell me anything, but I’m your mother!” Mother Chen cried as she poured water for her, “When you lift your ass, I know exactly what you’re going to fart!”

     (t/n: Colloquial stuff is hard)

    Chen Yuan was both heartbroken and amused, but her whole body felt so sore that she had no energy to laugh. She only had the strength to slightly raise the corners of her lips, but she was still glared at by her mother: “You still laugh!”

    “I won’t laugh.” She surrendered, lifted a corner of her blanket, and motioned for her mother to lie down. Then she hugged her mother’s arm like when she was little, like those countless nights as a little girl, at the age when she still whispered heartfelt words with mother.

    Mrs. Fan Shuzhen hadn’t been hugged by her daughter like this in a long time. As the two lay in silence, peace descended on the sick ward.

    “Are you too tired?”

    Chen Yuan heard her mother say.

    “Hm?”

    “When you and Xiyuan were dating, I was worried. My daughter was still a child, how could she get married and live on her own, would you be ok, you’d even instantly become a mom after passing through that door. Back then your father and I cursed that Deng Fei every night, cursed her to death.”

    Mother Chen’s voice was soft, yet her temper was explosive. It was rare for her to be so soft-spoken.

    “Then we met Xiao Sheng. When I first saw him, I thought that kid was pretty suave, if he wasn’t a divorcee then you wouldn’t have got him. He was good at cooking, hardworking too, with this and that, he had everything arranged properly. I saw that with him, you lived better than when you were alone. Your father and I thought he would know how to treat his wife so we let you marry him. You wouldn’t enjoy the greatest fortunes, but you wouldn’t have to endure much hardship. And you wouldn’t have to get pregnant to have kids, you got a big fat daughter for free.”

    “I never thought Xiyuan would have his accident. If I knew he would, I would never let you marry him even if I was beaten to death.” She spoke quietly as if sighing, “But what can be done, you two’s fate is too shallow. The two of you were destined for five years, five years of living a happy life, used up, God took it back.”

    “Xiao Yuan, this is all God’s will.”

    Chen Yuan pillowed half her face on her mother’s arm, large teardrops rolling down. 

    Sheng Xiyuan was like a tumor growing on her heart , drawing out all her happiness and vitality as nutrients, growing bigger and bigger, how could she not know. But she couldn’t forget, couldn’t let go.

    “I know, mom.” Chen Yuan softly said, “I know.”

    Author’s note:
    Even a child licking ice cream off her finger is illegal?! I’m thirty and I still lick ice cream off my fingers stunned

  • XCGS Chapter 3

    /

    t/n: Told myself I’d finish updating before school started but that didn’t happen. Too lazy to read over this so I’ll just throw everything out over the next few days. Enjoy!

    No. 227, Qishan Back Street

    By the time her emotions and memories started to become clear, she was only left with one thought: she wanted to be with him.

    ——

    Hi Clare,

    I still have all my old phones.

    I got divorced five years ago, Sheng Xia is in the third grade now.

    How are you and Chris?

    I’m also very concerned about your situation.

    Sheng Xiyuan

    2017 May 13

    —–

    Xie Jiayang and Sheng Xiyuan met over sports, they were both on the School of Information and Telecommunications’ basketball team. Only after playing together for two months did he realize that Sheng Xiyuan was his girlfriend Deng Fei’s classmate.

    The basketball team practiced every Friday afternoon until five. The boys always walked out in the groups of twos and threes hollering for a dinner get-together, but Sheng Xiyuan always declined their invitations for personal reasons.

    Deng Fei told him that every Friday night, Sheng Xiyuan home tutored a highschooler  programming, earning 200 yuan from each two hour lesson. 200 yuan every week and 800 every month was enough for his living expenses, but he also worked as an outsourced employee for a company outside school to make extra money, earning about 1500 a month.

    Xie Jiayang thought this person was a miser, why work in college, he should be studying. Deng Fei snickered that he was just envious of him for earning 200 yuan from each 2 hour lesson. That Sheng Xiyuan could enter the Olympiad in high school, we worked to death just to get into college while he got guaranteed admission.

    Saying this, she rubbed his head: “Word hard, if you can’t, let your son screw him over later.”

    Xie Jiayang felt sour and didn’t reply.

    Afterwards, everyone worked on projects and prepared for competitions together, gradually becoming closer. By their sophomore year, Xie Jiayang, Sheng Xiyuan, and Deng Fei were already good friends. One day, the three were supposed to have dinner together, but Sheng Xiyuan said he was busy again and couldn’t come. Deng Fei was displeased, so Xie Jiayang said they’d have a good meal themselves, without Sheng Xiyuan.

    They agreed to go to one of the most expensive restaurants in the city, but just as they sat down and saw the prices on the menu, they froze on the spot. As they glanced left and right, struggling to decide whether or not to thicken their skins and leave, Deng Fei suddenly leaned over and mysteriously said: “Look left.”

    Xie Jiayang turned his head and looked out the window. Deng Fei turned his head: “Aiya look at my left!”

    Sheng Xiyuan and a strange man and woman were sitting in a booth eating.

    Xie Jiayang sent him a text: “So you were going to eat at a fancy restaurant, no wonder you didn’t want to take us.”

    From not far away, they saw Sheng Xiyuan lower his head to look at his phone, say something to his companions, and walk towards them. Seeing him come closer and closer, they instantly panicked, covering their faces with the menus until Sheng Xiyuan’s usual gentle, calm voice sounded above their heads: “Are you going?”

    “Going where?” Deng Fei said sarcastically.

    “Today, someone treated me to dinner. I said my friends were also here and wanted to say hi. They said we should all eat together, her treat.”

    “Rich lady?” Deng Fei’s eyes drifted over.

    “Yup.” His voice carried some amusement, “Come on Miss, bring Xie Jiayang.”

    That was the first time Xie Jiayang met Zhang Kelai and Zhang Kesi (older sister and younger brother). His first impression of them was that they should be pretty wealthy, or he should say generous. His second impression was that these sibling’s names were very foreign-sounding, strange. Only later did he learn that they weren’t from China, they were actually from Canada. Their dad returned to China for business and brought them over as well. Sheng Xiyuan was the brother’s home tutor.

    “They said they came to acknowledge their ancestors and return to their homeland.” Sheng Xiyuan explained.

    “Then why’d they leave in the first place.” Deng Fei retorted.

    Xie Jiayang sipped his milk tea and said: “They have money, they can live well anywhere, what’s wrong with leaving and then coming back?”

    They were rich enough to casually give Sheng Xiyuan a newest model cell phone, though to return the favor, Sheng Xiyuan began tutoring Zhang Kesi math.

    Afterwards, Zhang Kesi began frequently appearing on the Xin University sports field to play basketball with them. Xie Jiayang saw the name Chris on his basketball. Zhang Kesi explained that it was his english name, but everyone still called him Zhang Kesi because saying Chris felt weird. Sometimes, his sister could come to the school to pick him up. Around 2003, a red sports car driving into school was still very conspicuous, attracting gazes from across the field. Zheng Kesi would say he had to leave, start running and yell, “Clare, why’d you come pick me up so early,” both outdated and foreign, truly a spectacle.

    So Clare Chang was Zhang Kelai, and Chris Chang was Zhang Kesi. But they never called them Clare or Chris, at least not in any circumstances Xie Jiayang and Deng Fei could remember.

    Chen Yuan found Zhang Kelai and Zhang Kesi in Sheng Xiyuan’s old cell phone contacts, there were even text logs.

    On that phone, Zhang Kelai’s most recent text was from August 2007.

    “All the paperwork is done, you don’t need to rush to return the money to me. The proof of property is shown in the picture.”

    A picture from 2007 displayed an address: No. 227, Qishan Back Street.

    This location of this address could be considered a downtown area 10 years ago, with markets, hospitals, and parks, everything you could need. Aroun 08, because of city policy changes, a new city was built, and this place gradually calmed down, but it was still a densely populated area, although mostly full of old people.

    On Saturday afternoon, Chen Yuan knocked on the door of No.227.

    A young girl half-opened the door, holding a child and looking at her suspiciously. Chen Yuan tested the waters, asking: “Excuse me……if Sheng Xiyuan here?”

    Once these words left her mouth, she was surprised to feel a strange sense of anticipation, though she didn’t know what exactly she was anticipating.

    The girl once again suspiciously looked her up and down and turned to shout into the room: “Sis!!”

    A woman around forty years old walked out, asking what was wrong, and the girl said she was looking for Sheng Xiyuan, but there was no Sheng Xiyuan here? The woman suspiciously glanced at Chen Yuan and shook her head: “You’ve got the wrong person.”

    ——————————————————————————————————————–

    It was in the midst of May, the weather was clear, the sky was like an inverted lake, and the lake was like a mirror. The city was full of balsam trees crowned with clouds of green, children ran across the open fields flying kites, young parents pushed strollers out to bask in the sun or have picnics, and pet dogs also indulged in the pleasant atmosphere, rolling around in ecstasy.

    Chen Yuan expressionlessly sat on a bench in Qishan park for an afternoon until Deng Fei called: “Didn’t we agree to go to your mom’s house to have dinner, aren’t you coming to pick up the kid?”

    Driving over, from a distance, she saw Deng Fei with Little Deng and Sheng Xia eating ice cream at the convenience store at the entrance to the neighborhood. Deng Fei saw her get out of the car and waved at her with a gorilla-like gesture. Chen Yuan knew she was doing this to amuse her. Before leaving, she grabbed the car door: “Are you still replying to those emails?”

    Chen Yuan told her not to worry, and Deng Fei reached over to straighten her collar, sighing: “You can’t live like this for a lifetime.”

    Chen Yuan smiled but remained silent.

    At the dinner table, Sheng Xia ate another big bowl of rice, and reached for some meat, notably red meat. Normally, with Chen Yuan’s temperament, she wouldn’t let her act like this, it wasn’t good for her body, but today, she only busied herself with her own food. The Chen parents noticed this but didn’t dare to speak.

    On the way home, Sheng Xia spent half the ride in silence until Cheng Yuan stopped at a redlight and suddenly said: “You ate ice cream today.”

    “I know.”

    “You ate more than one bowl of rice just now.” She seemed a bit mad, “You ate so much braised pork but not a bite of vegetables.” Chen Yuan turned to look at her: “Should I praise you for eating well?”

    “Green light green light!” She yelled.

    Chen Yuan was still angry when they got home, but she didn’t have the energy to speculate on the child’s mental state. After dragging her daughter into her bedroom after showering, she lay on the sofa and fell asleep.

    In her dreams, she returned to the time when they hadn’t started dating yet.

    Deng Fei arranged another gathering, wanting to be a matchmaker to the end, but Sheng Xiyuan wasn’t very keen on this, coldly expressing that he still needed to pick up his daughter, so he wouldn’t have dinner with them. Chen Yuan said your daughter goes to that preschool? Jiguan preschool is really close to my house. You drive, right? The traffic is really bad there so it’s hard to find a parking spot.

    Down three, five to two, the reluctant Sheng Xiyuan reluctantly drove to a stop at Chen Yuan’s neighborhood, walked to pick up his daughter, and was dragged to Chen Yuan’s house for dinner.

    This was the beginning of the story.

    At the time, Sheng Xia was four years old and called her Auntie Chen, then Auntie, and then under Deng Fei’s bad guidance stickily called her Auntie Xiao Yuan[1].

    The girl was already a little chubby at the time because of how much Sheng Xiyuan spoiled her. His mouth was strict, always saying she couldn’t eat anymore of this or that, but with a pout from her, he would wave his flag in defeat. Auntie Xiao Yuan was different, Auntie Xiao Yuan was bad, she always had a smile on her face but her mouth was very strict, never agreeing with her.

    They always brought Sheng Xia when they met from when their meetings weren’t dates to when they were dates, passing by menswear shops where salesmen eagerly greeted: Come inside miss, your husband is both tall and handsome, he’d look great in this.

    Sheng Xiyuan always felt embarrassed, but Chen Yuan never explained, so it wasn’t clear who took advantage of whom, and in this way, the two stuck together and became ambiguous friends for a year. Everyone around them knew that Chen Yuan was flirting with Shen Xiyuan, but the man appeared to have no interest in her at all for 80% of the time. She was not ashamed of this, on the contrary, the more frustrated she felt, the more courageous she became. Matchmaker Deng Fei felt regretful: “What’s so good about him, used goods with left-over baggage! What are you looking for?”

    “Love.” Chen Yuan joked, but the moment these words left her mouth, she regretted them. Luckily, Deng Fei didn’t hear clearly: “Do what?”[2]

    “Someone good at cooking.” Doing love was also good, his lips looked soft and he had a straight, muscular back, but she couldn’t say this[3].

    Thirty three year old Chen Yuan suddenly opened her eyes in a field of darkness, frozen back in time. Just when did she fall into this web of love.

    She couldn’t say.

    She could only remember that they had bought some clothes for Sheng Xia, met some college classmates, and after exchanging some greetings, her companion playfully said with a smile: “Chen Yuan, that’s no good, how could you dress like that on a date?”

    She suddenly felt embarrassed. For some reason, all the points and comments that everyone made behind her back which she treated with indifference for the past year all amassed at that single time and place. She felt so embarrassed she could evaporate on the spot.

    Then she heard Sheng Xiyuan say: “No matter. I think you’re great.” He reached over and grasped her wrist, repeating: “I think you’re great.”

    Later, Sheng Xiyuan once asked her with a face full of perplexity, I have nothing, only a fat daughter. What do you like about me, when did you start liking me?

    She laughed, she couldn’t remember.

    When she started liking him, what she liked about him, she didn’t remember, she already had no recollection.

    At first, she only thought that this person was interesting, his eyes looked nice, but by the time her emotions and memories started to become clear, she was only left with one thought: she wanted to be with him. In the movie theater, as she watched his profile half illuminated by the light of the movie screen, she thought, I want to be with this person, no matter what.

    Also, do you remember that house on Qishan street?

    Sheng Xiyuan

    2017 May 13

    [1] 小垣阿姨 adds ‘little’ in front of Chen Yuan’s given name to signify closeness

    [2] Here Chen Yuan says 做爱 (zuo ai) which literally means do love. If you lurk on the Chinese internet alot you might have seen the term “doi” a lot in fandom spaces. It means sex.

    [3] 做饭好 literally means good at cooking. Has the 做 = do word to reply to Deng Fei’s question in the previous paragraph. Jokes don’t translate to english well

  • XCGS Chapter 2

    /

    t/n: All chapters of this novel will be unedited from now on. Feel free to comment any typos you may find.

    Turn of the Century Nokia

    The last message on the Nokia was from 2007.

    —–

    Hi Clare, (in English)

    Everything’s fine. How about you?

    Sheng Xiyuan

    2017, May 7

    —–

    The city had been shrouded by a drizzle of light rain since the night before. The office was both damp and stuffy, like the beginning of the yellow plum season a month prior.

    She didn’t know whether her boyfriend had been rained on. Looking out the window upon waking up, she began to feel annoyed that she should have returned home to sleep. Now, she had to go through the whole city to get to work and didn’t bother to eat breakfast.

    Thinking of this, He Shiyu couldn’t help but smile.

    “Doctor Auntie,.” A young lady knocked on the open door. Seeing her gesture, she jogged over and put the small bag in her hands on her desk.

    “What’s this?”

    “Daifuku.” The young lady was round, at a slight risk of obesity, but still within the healthy range. She mentioned this to her mother last time, but the other party was frightened to death. He Shiyu still remembered how her eyes instantly widened and she hastily pulled out her phone to ask if the doctor had any dieting suggestions. She also felt the child ate too many snacks but never thought she’d become overweight. 

    He Shiyu could only begin to comfort her, there was nothing wrong, she was still in the healthy range, but her snack consumption should be controlled……but everything still needs observation, this body fat percentage is still healthy, Chen-jie[1] doesn’t need to worry. 

    “Where’s mom?” He Shiyu patted her head and asked.

    “In the back.”

    While talking, the woman also followed into the office and took a box of wagashi out of her bag. “Today her school had testing so school ended early. I brought her over on the way home. I brought this back from a business trip last week, have a taste.”

    He Shiyu rested her chin on her hand.

    She was over thirty years old, short haired, wearing half-rimmed glasses, with faint wrinkles at the corners of her eyes. On her chest hung her company’s work badge, printing her picture and name: Chen Yuan. He Shiyu still remembered the first time they met two years ago, she had led her child in, sat down, and said: This child’s father died in a car crash last month, but she doesn’t cry or make a scene, she just can’t sleep at night.

    At that time she was in this state, on the surface appearing calm, collected, yet her heart smelt of dead ash. He Shiyu was Sheng Xia’s psychologist for two years. The child had slowly shown signs of improvement, but she was always like this. To He Shiyu, she was the one that truly needed treatment.

    “Thank you Chen-jie.”

    He Shiyu narrowed her eyes and smiled, revealing her two canines. This smile was too contagious, and the corners of Chen Yuan’s lips involuntarily curved. Thanks to this smile, she was quite happy for the rest of the day. Sheng Xia felt that she was in a good mood and asked her mom if she could eat tomorrow’s share of daifuku. Chen Yuan replied: “Then you can’t have any tomorrow.”

    “Then, then that’s fine.” She revealed a pleading expression.

    “You’ll have indigestion tonight.”

    “……” Sheng Xia’s eyebrows hung down.

    Chen Yuan patted her head: “So you can’t.”

    “……Then can I watch an extra half hour of TV?” She continued to bargain.

    Chen Yuan laughed and stroked her daughter’s head: “No.”

    So at 9, Sheng Xia still gloomily went to bed as usual.

    ———————————————————————————————————————

    When Chen Yuan finished showering, she sat in the dining room and turned on her computer. That morning, she had received a second email and still hadn’t looked at it. She thought of Xie Jiayang and Deng Fei’s expressions that night. The scene was just like a wife suddenly finding out that her husband had an affair and looking to her friends for advice.

    She first heard of Sheng Xiyuan in college through Xie Jiayang, her lab senior, but she only knew that this person existed. After graduating, she attended graduate school and worked without ever meeting Sheng Xiyuan. On her twenty sixth birthday, Deng Fei asked if she had time to have dinner together. That night, Xie Jiayang brought Sheng Xiyuan.

    That night was truly the first time Chen Yuan met Sheng Xiyuan.

    She vaguely sensed that Xie Jiayang and Deng Fei  wanted to play matchmaker, otherwise why would they try so hard to guide the topic of conversation to marriage. Sheng Xiyuan originally didn’t realize this, thinking they were just going out to eat, but the more he listened, the more he felt that something wasn’t right, and simply said: “I need to leave early, my daughter’s home alone.”

    This caught Xie Jiayang and Deng Fei off guard.

    A week later, Deng Fei treated her to a meal as an apology: “Sorry, I didn’t know. Sheng Xiyuan that boy got married after college. He’s divorced now and even has a three year old kid.”

    Cheng Heng smiled and signaled for her to continue. Deng Fei laughed and stretched her neck to say: “What do you say, dinner, drinks, and shopping are all fine, but I’ll accompany a gentleman at all costs[2].”

    Chen Yuan calmly replied: “That’s fine, plan another meal with Shen Xiyuan.”

    Until the two got married, Deng Fei didn’t have the heart to say that their fated marriage was to her credit. Sheng Xiyuan always laughed at her: “Deng Fei is really muddle-headed. Good thing it’s you, good thing us two tortoise and octopus see eye to eye, otherwise there’d be more complaints.”

    At that time, she slapped his back and reproached what tortoise and octopus, I’m not.

    Thinking of this, Cheng Yuan smiled once again and opened Clare Chang’s new email.

    —-

    Hi Xiyuan,

    I didn’t think you’d reply to my email. I thought it’d be too presumptuous of me.

    Are you married now? How’s Sheng Xia?

    Chris also misses you and asked if you kept the phone he gave you, haha.

    Clare

    2017 May 10

    —-

    Under the light of her desk lamp, Chen Yuan bit her fingers, reading the email over and over again.

    She knew about Sheng Xia and seemed to have had a good relationship with Sheng Xiyuan but didn’t know that Sheng Xiyuan died two years ago, not even knowing he was married – or she should say, remarried.

    Was she his ex-wife? She suddenly thought. She once asked Sheng Xiyuan why he got divorced, but he only said that the other party wanted the whole family to immigrate and they had clashing personalities so they got divorced a year after marriage.

    These days, as long as you look, you can find anyone. Social media, email, live chat tools, phones, anything works. No matter how you looked at it, an ex-wife with a clashing personality who never communicated after so many years of divorce didn’t seem like the right person to have a long and peaceful conversation about the past with.

    She gave Deng Fei a call and asked: “Do you know the last name of Sheng Xiyuan’s ex-wife?”

    Deng Fei was bewildered: “Ah……?”

    “I think this email might be from his ex-wife.”

    “I also don’t know……He got married quietly, and I was still in America at that time.”

    Chen Yuan settled down, “Then do you know who Chris is?”

    “Guizi? What guizi[3]?” Deng Fei didn’t know anything and continued to ask, “Did you get another email?”

    She didn’t want to keep asking, so she casually said some perfunctory words and hung up, staring at the screen in a trance. Only when she suddenly felt a sharp pain on her fingertip did she realize that she’d bitten through her fingernail and had started bleeding.

    There was a first aid kit in the house, but it only had antiseptic solution, bandaids, and gauze. These were all bought by Sheng Xiyuan and were probably all expired. Chen Yuan thought in disappointment.

    Sheng Xiyuan’s temperament was like an old mother, he knew how to do everything, he could do anything. When she first moved in with him, Sheng Xia was four years old. His parents had died long ago so no one could help him, but he could do everything methodically: Wake up at seven, wash his face, brush his teeth, make breakfast, hang the clothes out to dry, wake up Sheng Xia for breakfast at seven thirty, send her to preschool after eating, and go to work. In the afternoon, the nanny would make dinner and pick up Sheng Xia from school. No matter how busy he was, he would get home by six for dinner even if it meant working overtime at home after eating.

    Back when Mrs. Fan Shuzhen heard that Sheng Xiyuan had been married before and even had a daughter, she was very displeased. When Sheng Xiyuan invited his future mother in law to stay over for a weekend, his ability to do the laundry, cook, clean, and other household chores left her speechless, even secretly telling her husband: “Xiao Sheng is pretty capable.”

    What was even more to her liking was that Sheng Xiyuan could recycle anything like an old person, an old T-shirt could be pajamas, old pajamas could be used as dishcloths, the pinnacle of the virtues of diligence and frugality.

    After getting married, Chen Yuan couldn’t handle this habit of his and directly threw out a large pile of old clothes to desensitize him, though there were still a bunch of old electronic products that were Mr. Sheng’s treasures.

    An idea suddenly struck Chen Yuan. 

    Sheng Xia was awakened by the sound of her digging through the cabinet and stood by the door to ask her: “Mom, aren’t you going to sleep, I’m tired.”

    “If you’re tired, go to sleep, I’ll be quieter, sorry.” She apologized. Then her fingertip felt a hard package at the bottom of the box though her bandaid. Fishing it out for a look, it was a Nokia popular at the turn of the century with a charging cable and spare battery neatly arranged in the box beside it. The phone obviously couldn’t be turned on anymore. She thought of charging it, but after sitting there waiting for twenty minutes, the screen remained silent and dark.

    This might not be it, she comforted herself.There were still lots of old phones in the box, Motorola, Samsung, iphone, all phones used over the years were in that box.

    But for some reason, she had a subtle hunch.

    The next day, Chen Yuan took the phone to a cell phone repair shop. The cell phone repairman looked at the box and smiled: “This is an antique.”

    Chen Yuan exhorted him: “Don’t mess with the messages inside.”

    “I’ll try, but this old phone might not be fixable.”

    Chen Yuan became irritated in an instant and could only force a smile. That evening, she ran straight to the cell phone repair shop after work. From afar, she saw the repairman holding a food box with a smile on his face: “It’s fixed, it’s fixed!” Only then did she breathe a sigh of relief.

    After eating dinner and cleaning the dinner table, she urged Sheng Xia to shower and rest. Sheng Xia was not pleased: “I already finished today’s homework, can I watch TV?”

    “Thirty minutes.”

    “You already said I can watch until eight every day, it’s only seven.”

    Chen Yuan also thought it wasn’t good to go back on her promises so she could only concede: “Ok, watch until eight, then go shower, ok?”

    Her daughter sat in the living room watching cartoons. Chen Yuan was finally free.

    The repairman was true to his word, the antique was working, but the screen was really too small, looking at it strained her eyes. Chen Yuan quickly scrolled through the phone’s contacts, looking for Chris, Clare Chang, and the surname Chang, but no matter how she looked, she couldn’t find anything.

    Like a madman, she looked through the remaining communication records and text messages in the phone one by one but still couldn’t find anything. Sheng Xiyuan got a new phone later so the last message on the Nokia was from 2007.

    The phone she left in the dining room suddenly rang, and in a trance, Chen Yuan almost pressed the answer button on the Nokia. It was Xie Jiayang, on the other side of the phone, he said: “Chen Yuan, I remembered that Chris you were asking about.”

    [1] older sister

    [2] 我舍命陪君子 It means to accompany and follow each other at all costs. There is a touching story from the allusion of “Yang Zuo”. During the Warring States period, two people, Zuo Bo Tao and Yang Jiao Ai, met each other and went to Chu to see King Zhuang of Chu. In order to help their friend, Zuo Bo Tao gave all the clothes and grain to Yang Jiao Ai, while he himself hid in an empty tree and committed suicide. In later times, the friends who had a deep friendship were called “sheep left”. Ma Lianliang, a famous Peking Opera artist, also compiled a new play based on this story called “Sheep-horn Mourning”, also known as “Shedding Life and Friendship”. The friendship of life is now called “life with the gentleman”. Don’t really know how to translate this phrase. Copied the baidu explanation into deepl

    [3] guizi means cabinet. He thought Chris sounded like guizi

  • XCGS Chapter 1

    /

    t/n: Hello readers. I translated this novel during my winter break last year. If you’re interested in editing this novel please contact me. Enjoy!

    A Strange Letter Arrives

    Xiyuan, how are you?

    Since going to school on Friday morning, Sheng Xia seemed off, as if hiding something. She wouldn’t answer when asked, distracting Chen Yuan all day. That afternoon, when a colleague asked how her new project was going, she (Chen Yuan) didn’t react until called upon several times, saying: “I won’t work on it anymore today, I need to head home early to look after my daughter.”

    It wasn’t even six by the time she got home. The dinner table was covered with pots and pans, and her parents were still busy in the kitchen. Chen Yuan saw an empty bowl on the table and frowned slightly: “You gave her ice cream again?”

    Mother Chen came out with some dishes: “The child came home from school at four. If she waited for you to come home before eating, she’d be starving.”

    Watching flames burn towards her, Chen Yuan quickly looked down and shut her mouth.

    Arriving at the dinner table, Sheng Xia suddenly brought out a small cream cake out of the fridge. Only at this point did Chen Yuan remember that today was her birthday and her daughter’s strangeness all day had an explanation – she secretly let grandpa take her to buy a birthday cake with her own pocket money.

    In an instant, Chen Yuan’s heart melted.

    The next day was Saturday so they didn’t need to go to work or go to school. Chen Yuan took her daughter to stay the night at her maternal home as usual. At night, once Sheng Xia fell asleep, she stealthily snuck into the dining room and was caught by her mother, Mrs. Fan Shuzhen.

    Chen Yuan put her hands together: “Looking for water to drink.”

    “There’s a hot water dispenser in the cabinet.” Mother revealed a “when are you going to speak the truth” expression. She also couldn’t help it and helplessly confessed: “Couldn’t fall asleep, went to find some wine.”

    Ever since Xiyuan’s accident two years ago, she hadn’t had another fitful sleep, but she couldn’t let her mother know this, because there’d be no point in worrying her more.

    Mother Chen could tell what her daughter was thinking from her expression and hesitated for a moment before saying: “Are you free on Sunday? You remember Auntie Zhu right, her son returned to Xin Chuan recently and asked if you have time to share a meal.”

    “Let’s take Xiao[1] Xia.”

    “Didn’t Xiao Xia say she was going to a friend’s house to play? It wouldn’t be good if she’s late. Let your dad send her. You can accompany me to eat out.”

    “If Xiao Xia isn’t going then I won’t go.” Chen Yuan also revealed a “when are you going to speak the truth” expression similar to her mother’s.

    Mother Chen couldn’t do anything more and pinched her daughter’s arm with annoyance and a bit of sadness: “I won’t mess with you anymore.” Saying this, she turned and left the room. Once the master bedroom door closed, the dining room returned to being a field of pitch-black. Chen Yuan could hear her parent’s indistinct voices in the bedroom. Dad said she wouldn’t go again? Mom was even angrier, saying if she doesn’t want to go then she won’t go. Would anyone want a widow like her?

    After a while, a faint sobbing sound traveled through the door. Father Chen whispered words of comfort to his wife, and Chen Yuan moved over to listen. They seemed to be talking about how each child has their own fortune or something.

    She understood what they meant. She turned 33 this year, a widow for two years with a ten year old daughter. No matter how you looked at her, she wasn’t the type who could be picky in the marriage market. Not getting married also wasn’t an option. Not to mention whether the child would have any problems from growing up in a single parent household, without a man to take care of the two ladies, they couldn’t relax.

    In the darkness, Chen Yuan took a cup of tea and lay on the sofa, opening wechat. It was May, the weather was nice, one of the few good days in the year. Everyone announced their weekend plans in succession. Scrolling her finger up and down, she only felt tired.

    ———————————————————————————————————————

    The last time she saw Sheng Xiyuan was a clear morning in April. That morning, he finished making breakfast, even setting the table, before opening the door to wake her. Those five minutes, in Chen Yuan’s mind, in her midnight dreams, in those minutes she lost concentration at work, quickly and clearly replayed time and time again. That day, he was clearly just going to work, but in the complete opposite direction from his company, he was hit by a car at a street corner.

    Just what was he doing, Chen Yuan asked in her heart countless times, why did he go there. In your last moments of life, did you want to say something to me?

    This was a question that would never be answered.

    Her phone vibrated, the screen lit up, and an alert for a new email arrived. Only then did Chen Yuan suddenly realize she had already been sitting there for an hour.

    Looking down, in her profile picture, Sheng Xiyuan’s smile was warmly captured in a certain moment, smile lines at the corners of his eyes and lips like dandelions floating in a spring breeze.

    ———————————————————————————————————————

    The family Xiao Xia said she was visiting were not outsiders. Chen Yuan, Sheng Xiyuan, and they were all graduates from Xin University. Deng Fei was Sheng Xiyuan’s classmate, and her boyfriend Xie Jiayang was Chen Yuan’s senior in one of her labs. After graduating, they went overseas together to study abroad and got married in America. They returned at age 28 to tie the knot for Chen Yuan and Sheng Xiyuan.

    Their son Deng Kai was two years younger than Sheng Xia.

    Downstairs from Deng Fei’s house was a large mall. After eating dinner, the three took the two children to shop together. The children climbed all over the playground while the adults sat and drank in the dessert shop next door. The Hong Kong style milk tea Deng Fei ordered wasn’t enough so she randomly ordered three or four more desserts. Chen Yuan pressed down her hand to say she had enough but she just rolled her eyes: “You’re still afraid of getting fat? You’re as thin as a bamboo rod.”

    Chen Yuan laughed and waved her hand: “Not finishing would be a waste of money.”

    As they were speaking, two orders of caramel pudding arrived. Chen Yuan thought that just the smell was too greasy and pushed them towards Deng Fei. The moment Deng Fei saw them, she opened her mouth as if to say something, but stopped as if the words were stuck in her throat. Staring at the pudding and then glancing at her, she pretended nothing was wrong and moved her line of sight. Chen Yuan sized up her “I have something to say but don’t know if I should say it” expression and simply asked: “Is something the matter?”

    She smiled and said nothing was the matter, how could there be. Instead, Xie Jiayang sighed and spoke the truth: “She wants to ask if you’ve been alright recently. If you need any help, tell us. Don’t carry everything on your own.”

    Chen Yuan nearly burst out laughing. What was that? She never meant that she was lacking money. What were these two so concerned about?

    “I’m not lacking money. I have my own salary, my own house, my parents have their own retirement savings, and there’s Xiyuan’s life insurance.” She paused, obviously feeling the two’s sudden anxiousness, and joked: “What are you so nervous about, needlessly worried.”

    Since Sheng Xiyuan’s car accident, seemingly everyone at her side, including her parents and friends like Deng Fei and Xie Jiayang always maintained a strange sort of nervousness when with her, especially when Xiyuan was mentioned, as if just mentioning him would make her immediately breakdown and try to jump off a building.

    “But on the topic of help, there really is something I want you to look at for me.”

    Xie Jiayang received her phone. On the screen was an email sent last night at 1 a.m, the recipient was Sheng Xiyuan’s personal mailbox, the sender was Clare Chang (in english), the contents were very simple, only two lines of words:

    Hi Xiyuan,

    How are you?

    Xie Jiayang appeared to have no reaction, but his heart quickly thought about this person’s relationship with Sheng Xiyuan.

    In college, Sheng Xiyuan lived in the same dorm as him for four years, but he didn’t remember Xiyuan knowing someone named Clare Chang, and seeing Chen Yuan’s expression, she didn’t either. But Clare was a girl’s name, once he thought of this, this short email of two lines seemed ambiguous in tone – she knew Xiyuan’s name, and clearly didn’t have a shallow relationship with him.

    More importantly, Xiyuan was already dead for two years. This email was too strange.

    Deng Fei shouted what what let me see and moved over to take a glance, also immediately sinking into a state as quiet as a chicken. Chen Yuan saw the couple’s expression of trying not to cry or laugh as awkwardness seemed to solidify on their faces. Knowing that these two were also clueless, she took back her phone and smoothed things over: “Whatever, they might have just sent wrong.”

    The email could have been sent wrongly, but the name couldn’t have been written wrong. The couple didn’t dare to say anything else and nodded in agreement.

    After sending away Chen Yuan and her daughter, before going to sleep, Deng Fei and Xie Jiayang lay in bed side by side. Because Chen Yuan received that email, or they should say Sheng Xiyuan received that email, the two were anxious and silent.

    “Turn off the lights?” Deng Fei asked.

    “Ok.”

    In the darkness, she suddenly felt her husband reach over, hold her hand, and turn to hug her.

    Deng Fei joked: “What’s wrong, you also have something to confess to me?”

    Xie Jiayang buried his head in her shoulder and started laughing, laughing until she was itchy: “What are you thinking?”

    [1] xiao means little but I’ll keep it in pinyin

  • MJT Chapter 29

    /

    Sitting on the bed, Yi Chongren massaged his sore waist. After bathing, he laid down, not wanting to move, too tired. As expected, he had to acquiesce to old age. Today was the crown prince’s wedding day, and as the crown prince’s yifu and the leader of the inner court, Yi Chongren started preparing for the crown prince’s wedding a month ago. The inner palace didn’t have a female master, so Yi Chongren, the actual master of the inner palace, had much to worry about. A certain emperor who was greatly stimulated by the crown prince’s wedding became very consistent with bedroom matters, leaving Yi Chongren in today’s tired state. Fortunately, the crown prince finally got married, so he could finally rest for a few days.

    Huo Feng had sat on the throne for eight years. The crown prince went to the border to gain experience for three years, leading his troops to victory in several battles. He wasn’t afraid of hardship and slept and ate with the soldiers at the border, winning the admiration of the soldiers in the military. Afterwards, the crown prince went on an inspection tour in plain clothes for two years to understand the suffering of the common people. In the three years since he returned to the capital, the crown prince’s performance greatly satisfied Yi Chongren. The court ministers were delighted to have such a brilliant crown prince, and worried that the crown prince still refused to get married as he got older. The emperor’s harem was empty, and if the crown prince also didn’t marry, wouldn’t it be bad?

    Under the influence of imperial father and yifu, the crown prince also wanted to find a congenial woman as his wife. During the two years he was on inspection, the crown prince met a pair of sisters. The two sisters were from the jianghu, the elder sister was bold and earnest, and the younger sister was gentle and intelligent. The two sisters each had their charming points. The two originally didn’t know about the crown prince’s identity and they both fell for the crown prince as they got along, while the crown prince formed favorable impressions of these two sisters. Not knowing what to do at the time, the crown prince steeled his heart and left without saying goodbye, returning to the capital.

    The two sisters were deeply in love with the crown prince, so after the crown prince left, the two discussed for a night and finally decided to accept each other. The two women took their bags to the capital, but then realized that the man they loved was actually the crown prince of the dynasty. After Yi Chongren learned of this matter, he directly let the crown prince accept the two women as it wasn’t impossible for two women to share a husband. With yifu’s support, Huo Yunkai let go of the knots in his heart and took the sisters to the Eastern Palace. Huo Yunkai just returned to the capital so he didn’t want to marry so early, delaying the marriage until now. Of the two sisters, the elder sister became crown prince consort, and the younger sister became concubine. After Huo Yunkai ascended the throne, one would become empress, and one would become noble consort, jointly in charge of the inner palace. The crown prince consort and concubine were both pregnant which was also the reason why Huo Yunkai decided to get married.

    Huo Feng was unable to give Yi Chongren status, and the crown prince didn’t just get married, but married two at once, so Huo Feng was immediately stimulated by his son, which was also the reason why he was so sexually active during this period of time. Yi Chongren didn’t care about status. Even without a title, he was already tired at this point, so if he did gain a title, it’d be harder for him to disengage. Douzi and Baozi were already fourteen that year, and in a few months, they’d leave the palace to build their own residences. The two children could now help their imperial father. The three sons were all very promising, so Huo Feng’s burden became much lighter.

    Yi Chongren was very tired today, so after drinking some wine, he went back to Ningshen palace to bathe and rest. Huo Feng was still in the great hall drinking with the ministers. After drinking enough, Huo Feng called the crown prince to the imperial study alone to tell him some words from father to son. Nowadays Huo Yunkai was more prudent and self-reliant and had a restrained temperament. Huo Feng did not expend much mental and physical effort on this son, and it could be said that the crown prince was able to grow to this point entirely because of Yi Chongren. Even Douzi and Baozi were able to display such capability in court because of Yi Chongren’s painstaking teachings. In this family that wasn’t really a family in the imperial palace, Yi Chongren could be considered the true “virtuous wife”.

    Huo Yunkai respectfully poured a cup of tea for his imperial father. As a father, he treated his bloodline, his responsibility with deep awareness. These eight years, many people still opposed imperial father exclusively favoring yifu, and every time, imperial father suppressed these opponents’ voices and unconditionally loved yifu as always. And yifu, scrupulously controlled the inner court for imperial father, taught them three brothers for imperial father, and shared worries with imperial father when he was having trouble dealing with state affairs. In Huo Yunkai’s heart, yifu was not only his other father, but his mother. But because of yifu’s identity, imperial father could never give yifu a title. This was imperial father’s greatest regret and also his greatest regret.

    Huo Feng drank the tea poured by the crown prince with gratification and ruefully said: “In a blink of an eye, you’re going to be a dad, and Douzi and Baozi are leaving the palace to build their own residences. Imperial father is getting old.”

    Huo Yunkai felt like he was going to cry and immediately said: “Imperial father is still in the prime of life. It’s still early to be talking about being old.”

    Huo Feng laughed and shook his head. He really was getting old, already losing his ambition, only wanting to grow old with another person. His eldest son had a similar appearance to himself, but his thoughtfulness was just like another person.

    “Crown prince, do you still remember what imperial father told you eight years ago?”

    Huo Yunkai felt his heart tremble and he seriously nodded his head.

    Huo Feng said: “The reason why imperial father sits in this position is half because I was forced and half because of your yifu. If it weren’t for him, imperial father, you, and Douzi would have been reduced to a pile of bones long ago.”

    Huo Yunkai felt his emotions fluctuate. He often remembered when yifu took him out of the prince’s manor. And it was also at this time that he learned that yifu was a good person, learned that yifu suffered all kinds of grievances.

    “Crown prince, imperial father is passing this land to you. Protect it well.”

    Huo Yunkai gradually kneeled down and kowtowed: “This son dare not disappoint.”

    Huo Feng walked to the crown prince and supported him up with both hands, eyes full of emotion: “Thank you for succeeding imperial father.”

    Huo Yunkai was also emotional and said with reddening eyes: “Imperial father, this son wants to drink a cup from your and yifu’s wedding feast.”

    Huo Feng patted his son’s shoulders and laughed: “You will, definitely will!”

    By the time he returned to Ningshen palace, Yi Chongren was already asleep. Huo Feng knew he was exhausted and didn’t bother him. After washing, he carefully got in bed and lay in the spot Yi Chongren left for him. The two always lived at Ningshen palace, and Huo Feng’s bed chamber had long become a piece of decoration. Yi Chongren liked the peace of Ningshen palace, and Huo Feng followed him. After eight years, Huo Feng’s sideburns were beginning to turn white, but Yi Chongren still maintained his appearance from eight years prior. Time didn’t leave any traces on his face.

    Holding Yi Chongren’s waist, Huo Feng closed his eyes. He and Yi Chongren had already been together for almost ten years. These eight years, his love for Yi Chongren only grew, yet this person never said a word of love to him. But Huo Feng knew that he was in Yi Chongren’s heart. Perhaps he had a place in Yi Chongren’s heart since long ago. It’s just that neither of them knew.

    “You’re back……?” Deeply asleep, Yi Chongren suddenly mumbled a phrase. Huo Feng tightened his embrace and pecked a kiss on his neck: “En. I spoke with Yunkai for a bit. Go to sleep.”

    “You go to sleep too.” patting Huo Feng’s hand, Yi Chongren yawned, not making any more noise.

    Huo Feng closed his eyes, smelling Yi Chongren’s scent, and soon fell asleep.

    Yi Chongren gradually awakened from his slumber in the late morning. Stretching, he got out of bed. Pushing open the window, the bright sun shined overhead, and he twisted his waist, walking out. Once the maidservants saw him get up, they immediately brought water for him to wash his face and a cup of mouthwash. Yi Chongren wiped his face and asked: “Where’s his majesty?”

    “His majesty went to the imperial college and will have lunch with some scholars, so you don’t have to wait for him.”

    “En.”

    Yi Chongren frowned in his heart, that person seemed to return very late last night. Now he went to the imperial college so early in the morning. Did he think his body was made of steel? Ever since Huo Feng’s sideburns began growing white, Yi Chongren became more concerned with bodily care. Huo Feng was eight years older than him, so he had to pay close attention.

    “Your excellency, Lady Qin is here.”

    Yi Chongren quickly rinsed his mouth and strode out of the room. Seeing Xiaoqin carrying a child inside, Yi Chongren reached out to hold the child who had just turned two in Xiaoqin’s arms, calling for her to come inside. Xiaoqin was once willing to be a saboteur by the Jiazheng emperor’s side, and because she served the Jiazheng emperor, she didn’t want to get married. Who knew that on her way back to the capital with Yi Chongren, she developed feelings for the unmarried Xu Baicai. Xu Baicai didn’t care that Xiaoqin used to serve the Jiazheng emperor, instead thinking that Xiaoqin was very brave. The second year after they returned to the capital, Xu Baicai brought betrothal gifts to the Zhang residence to propose marriage. Zhang Deyuan and his wife were Xiaoqin’s adopted father and mother, so when Xiaoqin found such an ideal husband, Xu Baicai was even a general, they were very happy and immediately agreed. Now, Xiaoqin was already the mother of three children.

    Entering the room, after the servants withdrew, Xiaoqin said: “Dage, next month Baicai and I are returning to the border.”

    Yi Chongren raised his eyes: “Why in such a hurry? Didn’t you just go back last year?”

    Xiaoqin smiled and said: “Baicai said it’s too pitiful to separate Ruan dage and Huaiqiu ge. He wants to hurry and bring Ruan dage back to the capital. He said that of the four of them only Ruan dage is on the solitary path now. As brothers, they should help him.”

    Yi Chongren snorted: “Then you can only blame his own incompetence.”

    Ruan Xingtian and Zhang Huaiqiu were often separated these few years because Ruan Xingtian was a general who had to return to the border. Zhang Huaiqiu wasn’t willing to go to the border with Ruan Xingtian, so Ruan Xingtian could only suffer from the pain of being separated in two places. Zhang Huaiqiu never married and Xiaoqin gave her and Xu Baicai’s second son to him. Zhang Deyuan and his wife weren’t not disappointed that their son got together with Ruan Xingtian, but they also didn’t make things difficult for them. But from beginning to end, Zhang Huaiqiu refused to give Ruan Xingtian status. The two lived and ate together in the capital, no different from a couple. Ruan Xingtian once had a wife, but she passed away from illness, only leaving him a daughter. Last year, Huo Feng granted her a marriage to the top scorer in the palace examination, and now she was almost a mother, living happily. With no other worries, Ruan Xingtian only hoped that he and Zhang Huaiqiu could rest and fly together.

    Huo Feng didn’t return at noon, so Yi Chongren wanted Xiaoqin to stay for lunch. Baozi and Douzi were also coming at noon. The two children were moving out of the palace soon, so they, who had grown up by daddy’s side, couldn’t bear to part from him. But fortunately they could still enter the palace everyday and often dine with daddy.

    As the two people were chatting, a eunuch suddenly ran into Ningshen palace burning with anxiety and trepidation, yelling with panic: “Your excellency! His majesty fainted!”

    Yi Chongren’s expression became alarmed. He returned the child to Xiaoqin, and his figure abruptly disappeared from the room. Then his stern voice could be heard asking: “Where is his majesty! Have you called the imperial doctor?!”

    “His majesty suddenly fainted at the imperial college, people have already been sent to find an imperial doctor, Lord Zhang is sending his majesty back to the palace and ordered this servant to report to your excellency.”

    Yi Chongren only felt a “buzz” in his head. Firmly biting the tip of his tongue to keep calm, he hurried towards the palace gates. That person was still fine yesterday, still holding him to sleep last night, how could he suddenly faint! He must be too tired, that must be it! Yi Chongren madly rushed towards the palace gates as leaves flew all around him.

    Reaching the entrance to the palace, he saw Zhang Huaiqiu driving a horse carriage over. Yi Chongren recognized Huo Feng’s imperial carriage and rushed over. Without a word, he jumped on the imperial carriage, not even speaking to Zhang Huaiqiu, and Yi Chongren rushed into the carriage. That moment, his heart seemed to stop beating.

    “Your majesty!”

    Throwing himself on Huo Feng’s unconscious body, Yi Chongren’s hands trembled. As soon as he grasped Huo Feng’s hand, Yi Chongren turned his head to yell out: “Huaiqiu! Hurry up! Let the imperial doctor go to Ningshen palace!”

    “Jia!”

    Zhang Huaiqiu firmly smacked the horse’s ass.

    Soon, the crown prince, the two princes, and the important court ministers all gathered at Ningshen palace. By the bed, Yi Chongren’s face was pale as he sat there and the crown prince stood behind him. Baozi and Douzi’s eyes reddened. Imperial father suddenly fainted so the two were extremely frightened. The imperial doctor already checked his majesty’s pulse, and the medically skilled Ji Di pressed his fingers on his majesty’s wrist to check again. After a while, he removed his hand, and Yi Chongren immediately asked: “How is his majesty!”

    Ji Di frowned: “Same result as the imperial doctor’s pulse diagnosis, his majesty overworked and became ill. In addition, the internal injuries he sustained from his years leading troops never fully recovered, so illness adds to illness. His majesty definitely can’t work too hard any more, he needs to recuperate.”

    Yi Chongren took a few deep breaths and nodded: “I see.”

    The imperial doctor made a prescription, and after Ji Di saw that there weren’t any problems, he gave the prescription to Lu Tao. Y Chongren glanced at Douzi and Baozi as the two children left with Lu Tao. At this time, Yi Chongren couldn’t relax if other people simmered Huo Feng’s medicine.

    “Yifu, imperial father is going to be fine.” Huo Yunkai soothed.

    Yi Chongren gently wiped the sweat perspiring on Huo Feng’s forehead and told himself, also telling everyone at the scene: “His majesty will be fine.” Then, he stood and bowed to everyone in the room. Everyone was startled.

    “Lord Yi!”

    Standing straight, Yi Chongren said: “His majesty has fallen ill from overwork so he can no longer deal with state affairs. I hope that you all can assist the crown prince with all your heart so his majesty can recuperate at peace.”

    “This is our duty. At this time, Lord Yi must take care. His majesty still needs your care.”

    Yi Chongren’s bow gave many people quite a shock, even startling Huo Yunkai. Yi Chongren turned towards Huo Yunkai and hoarsely said: “Crown prince, from today onwards, you must lead the state until your imperial father is in good health.”

    “This son is at your command.”

    No one was dissatisfied with Yi Chongren for going beyond his authority, and at this time, Yi Chongren’s words were tantamount to his majesty’s words.

    After he finished explaining, Yi Chongren sat by the bed and held Huo Feng’s hand right in front of the crowd. Only he himself knew how agitated, how uneasy he was.

    Xie Ming motioned to the others, and they all quietly withdrew. Huo Yunkai deeply glanced at imperial father and yifu and also withdrew. Once the door closed, Yi Chongren hugged Huo Feng. The end of their promise of ten years hadn’t arrived yet, hadn’t arrived yet!

    “Your majesty, there are still two years for our agreement, can you wait no longer?” Yi Chongren placed Huo Feng’s not warm enough hand on his own face. He was never so scared of someone leaving him.

    Huo Feng’s breathing worsened, and his eyelids moved, as if he was awakening. Yi Chongren hastily shouted softly: “Your majesty! Your majesty!”

    After struggling for a long time, Huo Feng finally opened his eyes. Yi Chongren’s hands trembled. Huo Feng’s gaze gradually moved to Yi Chongren’s face and he struggled to tighten his hold on Yi Chongren’s hands. He opened his mouth with  difficulty: “Chong, ren……”

    Yi Chongren’s heart tightened, and his lips parted: “Huo Feng……”

    For so many years, he seldom called this person’s name unless he was emotional. But at this moment, he didn’t want to call this person “your majesty”. Huo Feng was visibly happy to hear Yi Chongren call him so, slightly smiling.

    “Sorry…… scared you……”

    “You scared me.”

    Yi Chongren stabilized his mind, poured a cup of water, and helped Huo Feng drink it. Huo Feng drank weakly, and then tugged at Yi Chongren to say: “I’m, very tired, accompany me to sleep for a while.”

    Yi Chongren gradually laid Huo Feng down and said: “Lu Tao is simmering your medicine. Drink your medicine before sleeping.”

    Huo Feng frowned: “I’m fine, just a little tired, I’ll be fine after sleeping.” His words weren’t as weak as before.

    “I’ll accompany you after you drink your medicine. You fainted so you can’t not drink medicine.” Yi Chongren’s hands were still shaking. He twisted a damp cloth and carefully wiped Huo Feng’s face and hands. Huo Feng’s Adam’s apple moved several times and he deeply gazed at Yi Chongren as he took care of him. After Yi Chongren wiped him off, he hoarsely said: “Chongren, if I abdicate, will you think I’m a coward?”

    Yi Chongren’s hand paused, and then grasped Huo Feng’s hand, fastening their fingers: “I was just thinking about how to persuade you to abdicate.”

    Huo Feng smiled. Yi Chongren lightly said: “The land is at peace and the common people live in peace and work happily. Now could be considered ‘the golden age of Kangzheng’. These years, you worked assiduously for the country and the people. I saw this all.”

    Pausing, Yi Chongren grasped Huo Feng’s other hand: “In the past, I called you a coward because you held troops yet never made yourself emperor, letting an incapable ruler and corrupt ministers spread misery and suffering. As the emperor, you had a clear heart. Now, I’d rather you be nothing than see you faint again.”

    Huo Feng was especially moved by Yi Chongren’s words. He finally attained it?

    “Chongren, am I in your heart?”

    Yi Chongren leaned forward and kissed Huo Feng lightly, not answering yet answering, and said: “As long as you want me, I won’t leave.”

    Enough, those words were enough. Huo Feng broke into a smile, joy filling his body.

    “I’m not the emperor anymore. Our promise needs to be changed.”

    The corners of Yi Chongren’s mouth raised. Huo Feng laughed and said: “Chongren, let’s grow old together in conjugal bliss, alright?”

    “Alright.”

    “Hehehe……”

    Huo Feng laughed heartily as if he obtained a treasure he had waited for so long, too long. The sound of laughter traveled out of the room,  traveling out of Ningshen palace. Yi Chongren also laughed, because of Huo Feng’s joy, because of a person’s longing and happiness for him. No matter how much he suffered from an unfair fate in the past, at this moment, he thanked the heavens for giving him those hardships. Because of those hardships, he met this man who loved him so much.

    It’d been eight years. There was no need to say more. He had long clearly understood this man’s feelings for himself. Even if ten years passed, he believed that he and that person would have another ten years and another ten years.

    There were many people in Yi Chongren’s heart, but there was one person who could never be replaced.

    Huo Feng, I, Yi Chongren, am yours.

    ——————————————————————————————————————-

    The eighth day of the first month of the ninth year of Kangzheng, Huo Feng, who was resting in Ningshen palace, issued an order passing the throne to the crown prince, and he became father of the reigning emperor. The second month of the same year, Yi Chongren retired from official duties, and the inner court’s matters were passed to the empress and noble consort. The third month, crown prince Huo Yunkai officially ascended to the throne, changing the era name to “Yonghui”. As soon as the new emperor ascended, he passed an order to seal his yifu, Yi Chongren, as “Yide Wang[1]”, respectfully “De fu[2]”, to enter the temple of the emperor. Once this imperial decree was passed, the world was in uproar. Huo Feng was unable to give Yi Chongren a title, but his son was able to accomplish it. And there was one thing Huo Feng only told his son, which was after he died, only Yi Chongren’s coffin could be placed next to his coffin. The coffins of the empress and imperial noble consort who died long ago were put in another part of the imperial tomb.

    The fifth month of the first year of Yonghui, a group of people left the palace, left the capital, on a sunny day. In the carriage, Huo Feng and Yi Chongren, who had just become grandfathers for a month, leisurely looked at the streets of the capital. The two unburdened people were prepared to take a good look at the land of Yue and properly make up for all the time they had wasted in the past. But one person was still a bit dejected.

    “Chongren, I’m already fine, I don’t need to eat this medicine.”

    “This is the medicine the imperial doctor and Lord Ji prescribed to you to strengthen your body. Just pretend you’re eating sweetened peas.”

    “Sweetened peas? It’s obviously bitter.”

    “Good medicine tastes bitter.”

    “……”

    Should he confess to Chongren? After thinking about it, a certain person still obediently ate the “sweetened peas”. Forget it, between eating medicine and his life, his life was still more important.

    In the imperial palace, Ji Di whispered to an imperial doctor: “You must never leak this matter! If Lord Yi finds out we tricked him, we’ll die!”

    “Yes yes yes, this official definitely doesn’t dare to say anything.”

    “En. Put more hawthorn in his majesty’s medicine.”

    “Yes.”

    [1] 义德王 same yi as in yifu. 王 means he basically a prince now

    [2] 德父 fu as in father

    End of main story

    t/n: Thank you everyone who has read up until this point. All of your likes and comments make me very happy. There is an extra but I don’t plan on translating it since I’ve moved on from this novel for quite some time. It’s quite cute so if any other translators want to work on the extras feel free to ask me for help. I’ll be back next week with a new novel so stay on the lookout for that. It’s BG but it’s a mystery tragedy so I really like it. The novel I’ll be working on after that will be BL. Hope you’ll stick around 🙂

  • MJT Chapter 28

    /

    After being angered by You Hong, Huo Feng left the imperial study and headed straight to Ningshen palace. You Hong even talked about Yi Chongren’s identity, rudely saying that his majesty shouldn’t mingle with a castrate all day as it was detrimental to the throne. Huo Feng tore off You Hong’s black hat on the spot, bluntly saying that insulting Yi Chongren meant insulting the crown prince’s yifu, insulting the two prince’s father, so he wouldn’t show mercy! Some people pleaded for leniency towards You Hong, but Huo Feng dismissed them from their offices, and the atmosphere in the palace instantly became tense. In response, none of the important ministers said a word, remaining silent, and those who still wanted to plead for You Hong finally chose to shut their mouths.

    Huo Feng was enraged as he went to Ningshen palace, but as soon as he stepped in the bedroom, he immediately restrained his anger. Walking to the bedside, he curiously asked his person: “Where are Baozi and Douzi? Why don’t I see them? Did you not let them rest this afternoon?”

    “They were playing go this afternoon. Yunkai came and took them out to play. Are you staying here tonight?” Yi Chongren couldn’t get up, half laying in bed.

    Once he thought of this, Huo Feng’s anger rose once more and he repressed his bad temper to say: “I’ll stay here tonight. In the future, I’ll always stay here. I’ll let Lu Tao prepare a meal.”

    “Don’t be in a hurry.” Yi Chongren grabbed Huo Feng’s hand, letting the man sit beside him, and lightly said: “Wait for your anger to quell before eating.”

    Huo Feng froze.

    Yi Chongren lazily said: “I already know about You Hong. You don’t have to get angry with him. Leave it to me.”

    Huo Feng frowned: “I should settle this matter. I’m still the emperor, so I can’t ask you to come forward for everything.”

    “What you need to settle is the livelihoods of the people. Leave this unimportant trash to me. You’ve also said before, I won’t hide behind you just seeking comfort.”

    Seeing the confidence on Yi Chongren’s face, the anger Huo Feng had been holding back instantly dissipated. How could he forget how amazing his Chongren was. Even he himself was no match for this person, not to mention You Hong. As long as this person wanted, even the world could fall in his hands.

    Huo Feng smiled: “Then this husband will leave it to you.”

    Yi Chongren’s heart thudded. Husband?

    “Chongren, I really want to seal you as the empress.” With regret and guilt, Huo Feng kissed Yi Chongren’s still visible red and swollen lips. Yi Chongren was still a somewhat distracted, “husband” ……

    ——————————————————————————————————————-

    Huo Feng, who was originally pretending to be so troubled by You Hong, moved into Ningshen palace without a word. For a few days, his expression remained dark and the atmosphere in court became particularly stifled. Those officials who previously petitioned his majesty to hold a concubine selection would receive his majesty’s censure with any slight misstep. No matter how muddled a person could be, they could understand what his majesty meant.

    After You Hong was dismissed from his post, he threatened to die for his beliefs. If he hadn’t agreed to leave the matter to Yi Chongren, Huo Feng would definitely have cut off You Hong’s head. That day, Huo Feng discussed new legislation with the ministers until dark before returning to Ningshen palace. He had already eaten in the imperial study, but he privately wanted to hear Yi Chongren’s advice regarding the promulgation of new legislation.

    Ever since Huo Feng moved to Ningshen palace, Baozi and Douzi stopped sleeping with daddy. The two moved to a room adjacent to daddy’s. The candlelight in the two sons’ room shone, and Huo Feng directly returned to his and Yi Chongren’s room. Pushing open the bedroom door, a look of surprise appeared on Huo Feng’s face.

    “Chongren?”

    In front of the dressing table, clothed in his crimson official robes, Yi Chongren was facing the bronze mirror doing his makeup. He glanced at the person who just returned through the bronze mirror and continued to apply his powder. Huo Feng walked behind Yi Chongren with confusion, asking: “Why are you putting on makeup? I thought you didn’t like it.”

    “I don’t like it.” Yi Chongren looked at his gradually whitening face in the mirror and coldly explained: “I’m going to go see people in a while, so I need to use this face.”

    “Who?” Huo Feng had a guess.

    “You Hong.”

    As expected!

    Huo Feng pulled a stool over to sit beside him and glanced at the rouge and gouache on the table, asking: “Do you need my help?”

    “You know how?” Yi Chongren side eyed him.

    Huo Feng revealed a reminiscent smile: “No. But I want to try.” Saying this, he picked up the brush for drawing eyebrows on the table, “You can teach me.”

    Yi Chongren looked at Huo Feng for a while, finished applying his white powder while facing the mirror, and then placed a few boxes of different colors in front of Huo Feng, telling him how to draw his eyebrows, eyes, and lips.

    Drawing eyebrows and lips……only a husband would draw eyebrows and lips for his own wife…… Huo Feng never thought of Yi Chongren as a woman, and although Yi Chongren had a beautiful appearance, he also never had these types of thoughts. At this moment, Huo Feng felt that he was a man drawing his wife’s eyebrows. He wasn’t very skilled, his hands were unsteady, but Yi Chongren calmly sat before him, letting him paint his face, and Huo Feng couldn’t help but want to kiss the other party.

    When he finally finished, Huo Feng knitted his brows in dissatisfaction: “It doesn’t look as good as when you do it.”

    Yi Chongren turned to look in the bronze mirror and took the lip brush in Huo Feng’s hand: “Not fierce enough.”

    Yi Chongren retouched his face and the demonic appearance of the former Lord Qianhu of the Hu An guards gradually emerged. Huo Feng said with distaste: “You still look better without makeup. I don’t even know where to kiss you.”

    The corners of Yi Chongren’s lips slightly raised and he stood: “This originally wasn’t meant for you to see. I’m going.”

    “You’re going by yourself?” Huo Feng held Yi Chongren’s hand.

    Yi Chongren withdrew his hand and said: “Your martial arts aren’t good. I’ll go by myself.” Saying this, he patted Huo Feng, not giving the other party the opportunity to oppose, and in a flash, he was gone.

    Huo Feng felt down, but there was nothing he could do about it.

    You Hong was in his study writing at a tremendous speed. He wanted to submit a joint petition with a few ministers from the previous reign to his majesty to expel Yi Chongren from the capital. Yi Chongren used his identity as a eunuch to charm his majesty, and he must be punished! You Hong went from simply wanting his majesty to hold a concubine selection to wanting to eliminate Yi Chongren. He was clear that if Yi Chongren didn’t die, his majesty would not return to orthodoxy. That person was a scourge! During the previous reign, he and Noble Consort Ru had an ambiguous relationship; Now, he seduced the emperor. In You Hong’s eyes, all of Yi Chongren’s so called good deeds were done for his own benefit, to leave an escape route, having nothing to do with loyalty.

    A gust of wind blew in. You Hong raised his head, wondering how the window opened. He hurriedly used a paperweight to press down the randomly flying pieces of paper and stood to close the window. After he closed the window, You Hong turned. The next moment, he screamed “Ah” as if he saw a ghost and fell to the ground. Then, he lost his head in panic and frantically tried to escape, pushing the door, only to realize it was actually locked from the outside!

    You Hong felt the blood drain from his face, and he pounded the door screaming: “Someone come! Someone come! Help me! Help me ah!”

    With a “whoosh”, something dropped from the sky, gazing You Hong’s face as it flew by. “Ding!” a dagger pierced into the door panel. You Hong felt his hairs stand on end, and a yellow stream of water flowed from his crotch. You Hong gradually looked down……he, he peed.

    “Lord You neglected sleep and forgot about food out of loyalty for the state, yet he can’t even remember to go to the latrine.”

    Hearing the sneer behind him, You Hong was itching to dig a hole and bury himself inside. He was actually so scared of Yi Chongren that he wet his pants!

    “Am I that scary? Or are there any treasures on that door?”

    You Hong gradually turned around with trembling legs and looked at Yi Chongren, that demonic face of Yi Chongren. No one who had contact with the Hu An guards wasn’t afraid of that face. You Hong lost all the grandeur he had while remonstrating in the imperial study. He seemed to be back in the previous reign when at any moment, he could be thrown into the Hu An guard’s prison and subjected to the cruelest of punishments.

    Yi Chongren slowly removed the paperweight and picked up the proposal that You Hong was in the midst of writing. You Hong was trembling in fright, not knowing if he could escape this time.

    Yi Chongren leisurely read it over and lightly said: “It seems that your excellency is dissatisfied with me. Wu……charmed his majesty……should be punished…..these sins aren’t light.”

    You Hong couldn’t support himself anymore, and he thudded to his knees. He was frightened to the point that he couldn’t even speak, not to mention beg for mercy.

    Yi Chongren hung a sneer on his lips, slowly ripping the proposal to pieces right in front of You Hong, throwing it to the ground. You Hong felt that his fate was just like that piece of paper, torn to shreds by that terrifying man in an instant.

    Yi Chongren stood up and You Hong desperately shrunk back, but his back hit the door, unable to escape. Yi Chongren gradually stepped towards You Hong, and You Hong bloodlessly tried to shrink into a ball. Once Yi Chongren walked right in front of him, he was so frightened he didn’t dare to breathe.

    “Lord You,” Yi Chongren looked down at You Hong with eyes like knives, “You’ve already been dismissed by his majesty, so you should kneel when you see me. But because you’re loyal to his majesty, I won’t make things too hard for you. But……” He squatted down, and You Hong’s teeth chattered.

    “I, Yi Chongren, have never been a generous person. I won’t let anyone who troubles me live a good life.” Yi Chongren lightly patted You Hong’s trembling shoulders and coldly said: “Do your best.”

    Standing, Yi Chongren kicked open the locked door and strode out. You Hong’s entire residence was quiet, and everyone in the residence seemed to disappear at once, terribly quiet.

    After leaving the You residence, Yi Chongren “visited” a few ministers that liked to worry about Huo Feng’s “bedroom matters”. Although these ministers weren’t scared into peeing their pants like You Hong, they weren’t far from it.

    When Yi Chongren returned to the palace, Huo Feng hadn’t gone to rest yet, obviously waiting for him. As soon as he saw Yi Chongren’s face, Huo Feng knew that everything went smoothly. Once he heard that You Hong was actually scared into peeing his pants, he immediately laughed uncontrollably. Hurrying Yi Chongren to wash off his makeup, because he hadn’t touched Yi Chongren for many days to let him recuperate, Huo Feng hastily hugged Yi Chongren to bed and rolled in red waves[1]. A moment in spring is worth a thousand gold, it was still late at night. 

    ——————————————————————————————————————–

    You Hong left the capital with his tail between his legs. He was seriously ill for over half a month, then gave the prime minister, Xie Ming, a “letter of repentance” to give to his majesty, not telling a single person, and left the capital with his family. Supposedly, he left looking haggard, not looking like a person. In the letter of repentance, You Hong admitted feeling ashamed for being narrow-minded and betraying his majesty’s trust, obstinately bent on trying to kill Yi Chongren’s loyalty to the court. In the end, he realized his mistakes, no longer fit to face his majesty, and returned to his hometown. You Hong’s departure didn’t produce too big of a response in court. The crown prince clearly expressed his dislike for You Hong, and his majesty dismissed him from his post. He clearly never understood his own position. It was already fortunate that he could leave alive.

    No one else brought up concubine selection in front of his majesty. Huo Feng put all his energy in court politics, and Yue thrived. Those ministers that were initially against his majesty’s favor for Yi Chongren began to reflect. Was it really wrong for his majesty not to register any concubines? After experiencing the corruption of the previous reign, the common people now lived and worked in happiness, so what was more important than having a competent ruler? After the promulgation of numerous new decrees, the number of ministers concerned about his majesty’s household affairs gradually lessened. His majesty already had a crown prince to the rivers and mountains had a successor. If his majesty didn’t want to marry, then he wouldn’t marry.

    Firecrackers burst outside the palace, and in the blink of an eye, a year passed by. The night of New Year’s Eve, Huo Feng, Yi Chongren, and the three children ate a festive new years dinner at Ningshen palace. After eating, they accompanied Douzi and Baozi to play with firecrackers. Huo Feng wanted Yi Chongren to accompany him for a walk around the palace. The two drank some wine, but they weren’t drunk yet. Huo Yunkai proactively asked to go to the border to learn after the new year, and Huo Feng agreed.

    The two walked along the dimly lit palace road as snowflakes fluttered down from the sky. The imperial guards followed behind them far away, and Huo Feng nonchalantly held Yi Chongren’s icy hand.

    “When it’s cold, your hands get even colder.”

    “Your majesty’s hands are always scorching.”

    “Haha,” Huo Feng tightened his grip, “Perfect for keeping you warm.” Yi Chongren hooked the corners of his lips.

    After walking a few steps, Huo Feng ruefully said: “In the past, I never imagined there’d be a day where I could walk with you like this. Sometimes, I think that change was not necessarily a bad thing. You, were buried too deep. If it weren’t for those matters, I would have missed you. Every time I think of this, I feel so fortunate.”

    Yi Chongren lightly said: “If you missed me, then you missed me. You resolved to raise the troops, so I didn’t plan in vain.”

    Huo Feng shook his head, seriously saying: “If I missed you, I’d regret for a lifetime. At that time, you must have resented me for failing to meet expectations.”

    Yi Chongren glanced at Huo Feng with a look saying “you’re finally aware”. Huo Feng laughed and said: “I just knew you were annoyed with me. Someone with control over seven hundred thousand soldiers could be so useless. At that time, even if you directly told me that imperial brother wanted my life, I probably still wouldn’t raise troops. I’d only think you were stirring up trouble.”

    “So I forced you to see clearly.” Yi Chongren said with some self reproach: “Too bad I couldn’t save the two ladies.”

    “Don’t mention it anymore. You already tried your best.” Huo Feng didn’t say that if the two ladies survived, things probably wouldn’t go so smoothly with this person. Everything was arranged by the heavens.

    “Chongren, you knew that Xingtian would save me that time, so why did you secretly cut my ropes?”

    The atmosphere was both serene and warm, so Huo Feng asked out the doubts buried in his heart for so many years. Yi Chongren took a few steps forward and replied: “I couldn’t be sure that he wouldn’t meet any changes before arriving. By cutting your ropes, even if there were changes, you could save yourself. If Ruan Xingtian’s side made any careless mistakes, Huaiqiu and I could take you out. Of course, that was the worst case scenario.”

    Huo Feng subconsciously tightened his grip on Yi Chongren’s hand and bitterly smiled: “I really was a coward back then. But Chongren, you didn’t hold back on those punches.”

    Yi Chongren in a matter of fact manner: “I’m a person who remembers grudges.”

    Huo Feng took the man in his arms and asked by his ear: “Do you want to give me some more punches to vent? I was wrong.”

    Yi Chongren pushed Huo Feng away with laughter in his eyes: “You’re the emperor now. There’s finally no more people messing with me, so how could I go looking for trouble?”

    “Haha,” Huo Feng pulled the man back and lowered his head to passionately ask: “Chongren, am I in your heart?”

    Yi Chongren didn’t reply and opened his lips when Huo Feng kissed him. His heart pounded. Did it matter if it did or not? He wouldn’t be with a second man.

    All the guards behind them turned around, looking away from the indecency. Under the dancing snow, two people stood on the palace road, forgetting themselves as they kissed. In the past, they stood on this palace road exchanging blows to hurt each other. No one expected that one day, they’d stand here and embrace each other with mutual affection.

    The smothering kiss ended, and Huo Feng once again held Yi Chongren’s hand: “Let’s go back, it’s too cold outside.”

    “Ok.”

    Ther two walked back to Ningshen palace hand in hand, side by side. Snowflakes fell on Yi Chongren’s shoulders, and Huo Feng helped him wipe them away. Yi Chongren lowered his head, looking at the road under his feet, a light smile on his lips.

    [1] 翻红浪 The red brocade quilt is piled on the bed like waves

  • MJT Chapter 27

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    Trigger warning: Sexual content (not much)

    Every time he went to Ningshen palace to spend the night, Huo Feng would be refreshed and invigorated the next day. Today was no exception. Last night, he and Yi Chongren’s passion were not affected at all by not entering, instead they fell under a sort of illusion of mutual affection. But after carefully reflecting, Huo Feng didn’t think it was an illusion. If it wasn’t for the time not being right as Yi Chongren had to leave the palace today, Huo Feng really wanted to be an incapable ruler who “did not attend morning court” for once. He could understand why there were so many incapable rulers obsessed with beauty throughout history. No matter how beautiful  the beauties of the world were, they couldn’t compare to a smile from Yi Chongren.

    The emperor once again felt his soul leave his body. In the imperial study, the ministers exchanged looks with each other. Every time his majesty spent a night at Ningshen palace, he seemed to be in a trance the next day. You Hong, minister of Taichang temple[1], saw that no one reminded his majesty, so he stepped forward and said: “Your majesty, also state affairs must come first at the start of a new reign, your majesty’s affairs are the state’s affairs. Now that the inner palace is empty, for the health of your majesty’s dragon body and the peace of the court, your majesty must quickly select concubines and an empress.”

    Huo Feng’s expression instantly sank. Xie Ming glared at You Hong, trying to suppress his disgust. Among the memorials sent to his majesty regarding concubine selection, most were submitted by You Hong. After Huo Feng established the state, he commissioned many ministers from the previous reign who were persecuted by the Hu An guards and imperial guards. You Hong was one of them. This person used to serve the Taichang temple, so Huo Feng arranged for him to continue working there. If he knew this person was so stubborn earlier, Huo Feng definitely wouldn’t use him.

    Of Huo Feng’s most trusted ministers, only Xie Ming and Ruan Xingtian were present. Ruan Xingtian’s face was a bit pale today, seeming sick, so Huo Feng bestowed him a seat. Ruan Xingtian uncomfortably shifted his body and lightly swept his gaze across the others. Xie Ming was the prime minister, and he didn’t speak; Ruan Xingtian was a general and also didn’t speak. The others looked at him, and he looked at the others, but everyone kept their mouths closed. You Hong didn’t change the subject, continuing to say: “Your majesty, the country can’t go a day without a monarch, and the inner palace cannot go a day without an owner. This official thinks……”

    Huo Feng raised his hand to stop him, speaking with obvious displeasure: “I’ve already said that we’ll discuss this matter later. Do you see how many memorials are on my table! I don’t even have time to have a peaceful meal, so how can I have time to choose concubines? Ask again when I have time. Do you have anything else? If there’s nothing else you can retreat. I have matters to discuss with the general.” Saying this, he impatiently waved his hand.

    “This official will retire.” Xie Ming sounded first, and the others quickly followed to retreat. Seeing everyone leave, You Hong could only unwillingly retreat. After everyone left, Ruan Xingtian spoke: “Your highness, if people like You Hong aren’t suppressed now, they will cause major problems. Many people in the court aren’t satisfied with Lord Yi. If your highness doesn’t choose a concubine, those officials with daughters and sisters in their family will see Lord Yi as a thorn in their side. We must be cautious.”

    Huo Feng frowned: “I know. I’ll find a suitable time to kill their spirit.” Then, he asked with concern: “What happened to you? If you aren’t well, don’t enter the palace and rest in your residence. Although state affairs are important, your body is also very important.”

    Ruan Xingtian let out a bitter laugh. His body was indeed uncomfortable, but he was not ill, just a bit injured. However, he couldn’t say this to anyone, especially his majesty. He shook his head and said: “It’s nothing. This official accidentally hurt my waist. I’ll be better after a few days of resting.”

    Huo Feng laughed: “Even you can hurt your waist. It seems we’re really getting old.”

    Ruan Xingtian could only bitterly smile. Thinking of something, he seriously said: “Your majesty, it’s too dangerous for the crown prince to go to the temple. How could you let the crown prince go?”

    “Dangerous?” Huo Feng froze, “What’s dangerous? Isn’t Chongren going to pay respects to his relatives? Where’s the danger in that?”

    This time, the surprised one became Ruan Xingtian. He subconsciously asked: “Your majesty doesn’t know what Lord Yi is doing today?”

    “What is he doing !”

    A ferocious group from the imperial army sped out of the palace and went straight to the Buddhist temple thirty miles outside the capital. The capital guards who received the news in advance closed the checkpoint into the city, and set up checkpoints along the way to ensure the road out of the city was unimpeded. The common people in the capital saw the imperial army’s iron cavalry guard whiz out of the city, instantly shaking the hearts of the people. Nothing big was happening right?

    This was the first time Huo Feng left the palace, left the city, since his ascension. He never expected that Yi Chongren would hide such a big matter from him! Huo Feng unceasingly whipped his horse’s ass, anxious as hell. Ruan Xingtian’s body wasn’t fit so he stayed in the palace to keep watch, while Xu Baicai and the other military generals followed Huo Feng towards the temple. Once he thought of what Yi Chongren did behind his majesty’s back and once he saw his majesty’s dark expression, Xu Baicai shook his head in his heart. Would Yi Chongren lose his favor because of this? Definitely not. His majesty was once willing to plant Ji Di by Noble Consort Ru’s side for Yi Chongren. But as his majesty grew more and more concerned with Yi Chongren, and thinking of Yi Chongren’s temperament, Xu Baicai lamented his majesty’s misfortune. How could his majesty fall for a person so difficult to control?

    Xu Baicai wasn’t worried about Yi Chongren and the crown prince’s safety. He had long learned of Yi Chongren’s resourcefulness. If Yi Chongren was willing to take the crown prince with him, then he was definitely fully prepared. That person, definitely wouldn’t let anything go outside his plans. Xu Baicai learned this point first hand.

    Huo Feng didn’t know Xu Baicai’s thoughts, but even if he did, he’d still be furious. He hated that he didn’t have a pair of wings that could fly him to the temple in an instant.

    At this time, the temple was the scene of a fierce struggle. Everything was under Yi Chongren’s control. Those remnants of the previous reign who hated Yi Chongren to the bone gathered a large group and lay in ambush around the temple. Once they saw that Yi Chongren only brought a few dozen people to the temple, including the crown prince, they smiled. Today would not only be Yi Chongren’s death day, but also a heavy blow on the new reign. The death of the crown prince was enough to shake the foundation of the new dynasty.

    Once these people charged out of their hiding positions, they were shocked to find out that Yi Chongren was not only unfazed, but also letting out a sneer, completely unsurprised at their appearance. When the imperial guards appeared around them, they finally understood. They’d been had! Yi Chongren didn’t give them the chance to react, unsheathing the flexible sword at his waist to face Sun Changshu, the leader of the sinful party. Huo Yunkai also wasn’t untimely. Deeply influenced by yifu, he did not fear the murderous miscreants in the slightest, using the sword in his hand to cleanly cut off a person’s head. Huo Yunkai’s sword stunned the scene. No one expected the crown prince to be so tough. Zhang Huaiqiu led the five hundred men from the imperial army to outflank the enemies. Seeing the situation, these people were even more willing to fight, and for a while, the sound of shouting and killing resounded through the sky.

    Once Huo Feng led a thousand men from the imperial army to the temple, the fighting was already coming to an end. From afar, Huo Feng could see that intense crimson, like a crimson sharp blade, dying the sky with blood everywhere he went. The crown prince wasn’t far from Chongren, sword covered with blood, and wearing an expression similar in coldness to Yi Chongren. Huo Feng reigned his horse, and all his anger instantly turned into desire for a certain person, only that crimson red entering his eyes.

    —————————————————————————————————————–

    In Ningshen palace, after “capturing” Yi Chongren, Huo Feng’s expression once again became shadowed. Yi Chongren seemed to also think he was wrong for hiding things from the other party, pursing his lips in silence. Huo Feng paced back and forth in front of Yi Chongren and shouted at him: “How could you not discuss such an important matter with me! If Xingtian never mentioned it, I would still be in the dark! I thought you were just going to the temple to pay respects!”

    Yi Chongren looked down: “This official was wrong. This official shouldn’t have brought the crown prince along.”

    Huo Feng’s fury instantly soared. He forcefully clasped Yi Chongren’s shoulders with both hands and gritted his teeth: “I’m not blaming you for bringing the crown prince, but blaming you for hiding things from me!”

    Yi Chongren raised his eyes: “Tell me, would you let this official go?”

    “No!”

    Yi Chongren stopped speaking, but his message was clear. He only hid it from him because he knew he wouldn’t let him go.

    Seeing that Yi Chongren had no intention to reflect, Huo Feng lowered his head and bit him. Not expecting Huo Feng to suddenly do this, Yi Chongren was bitten head on. Lips hurting, he didn’t resist, letting Huo Feng vent his anger on his lips.

    When the two’s breaths became full of desire, Huo Feng let go of Yi Chongren, and tightly embraced him. Most of Huo Feng’s anger was quelled with this kiss, and he hoarsely said by Yi Chongren’s ear: “I don’t want to see you get hurt again. I can never forget how you were hurt by that arrow right in front of me, and I couldn’t do anything but watch you leave. You don’t know how much I envy Huaiqiu. When you got hurt, the one by your side wasn’t me.”

    Yi Chongren’s heartbeat “pounded” , shaking his eardrums, and an irrepressible desire surged in his heart. He raised his head and said some words that made Huo Feng lose control in an instant.

    “Let’s do it. Last night you didn’t enjoy yourself to the fullest. Next time I’ll tell you in advance.”

    “There’ll be no next time!”

    Directly hugging Yi Chongren, Huo Feng strode to the bedroom entrance and kicked the door close and fiercely said: “I must punish you heavily today! Let’s see if you dare to mess around again in the future!”

    Throwing the man onto the bed, Huo Feng pulled down the bed curtain and pounced. Yi Chongren proactively kissed Huo Feng’s scruffy chin and took a bite, both hands tearing at Huo Feng’s clothes. He wanted, wanted this man.

    Yi Chongren’s proactivity inspired Huo Feng’s beastly desire. He snarled and tore off Yi Chongren’s clothes, pulled off his trousers, took out his already hard masculinity and prepared to aim at Yi Chongren’s softness.

    “I must heavily punish you!”

    “Come! Ah!”

    Even Yi Chongren himself didn’t know what he said, or what he did. Lu Tao, who was guarding outside, heard motion inside and quickly motioned for everyone to retreat. After a while, he ran back and let the guards of Ningshen palace stand ten feet away. The two in the room were making too much of a commotion, so Lu Tao was very worried the bed would collapse.

    That day, Huo Feng stayed in Ningshen palace, not appearing in the imperial study until noon the next day. The ministers in the imperial study bowed their heads out of shyness. Many people guessed that every time his majesty stayed in Ningshen palace he used force. Why else would his highness’s lips always be broken? There were wounds on his chin. Not to mention the deep purple hickeys scattered on his neck. But if his majesty used force, with Yi Chongren’s temperament, how could he peacefully stay in the palace without leaving long ago. Not to mention others not understanding, even Ruan Xingtian, Xu Baicai, and Huo Feng’s other trusted officials couldn’t understand. In the end, did his majesty and Yi Chongren hold mutual feelings?

    Of course, Huo Feng wouldn’t explain his and Yi Chongren’s bedroom matters with his officials. His lips and chin hurt, but compared to the pleasure of entering paradise time and time again, this little pain was nothing. Especially since yesterday’s lovemaking was initiated by Yi Chongren. The two’s feelings were no longer only initiated by himself, so how could Huo Feng not be happy?

    Seeing the satisfaction and joy on his majesty’s face, You Hong ‘s heart sank. He hated the Hu An guards and imperial guards to the bone. Although Yi Chongren saved many people including his majesty and the crown prince, You Hong still found it difficult to see Yi Chongren in a positive light. Many of his clansmen were killed by the blades of Yi Chognren’s subordinates. Not to mention, Yi Chongren was also a eunuch. Even if the crown prince recognized him as his yifu, they couldn’t ignore the reality that he was a eunuch. His majesty didn’t select, didn’t look for concubines, scandalously spending his days with a eunuch! For the subjects of Yue, he definitely had to die admonishing,he  definitely couldn’t let Yi Chongren remain in the palace or the capital!

    “Your majesty,” You Hong presented a memorial with both hands, “This official, has a memorial.”

    Huo Feng’s expression immediately turned dark. When I don’t unleash my power, you all treat me like a sick cat!

    —————————————————————————————————————–

    Yi Chongren was totally “looking for trouble” this time. He didn’t even have to think about leaving bed in five or six days. However, this time he wasn’t as angry as the first time. He initiated yesterday’s madness, so he couldn’t blame “other people” for him not being able to leave bed. Yesterday was both painful and pleasurable. Pained just from physical discomfort; but pleased in his soul. His body couldn’t help but feel hot just thinking about it. Did he like Huo Feng? Suddenly, such doubts appeared in his mind.

    “Wu……daddy. Baozi can’t walk anymore.”

    The child’s voice returned Yi Chongren to his senses. Thinking of how he hadn’t accompanied the children in a while, Yi Chongren didn’t make them attend martial arts class. Daddy was sick “again”, so Baozi and Douzi obediently played go by daddy’s bedside. Baozi obviously wasn’t as skilled at go as Douzi, not knowing where to place the black piece in his hand.

    Glancing at the board, Yi Chongren patted Baozi’s head: “Think carefully. How did daddy teach you before?”

    “Wu……” Baozi’s worried little face became a real baozi (bun).

    “Your excellency, his highness the crown prince has arrived.” Someone reported from outside. Baozi threw down the black piece and stood to run out. Douzi also stopped playing go. The two children called “Dage (big brother)” but didn’t even see a shadow.

    “Baozi, Douzi, Dage brought snacks. Let’s eat.”

    “Is there osmanthus candy?”

    “Yes.”

    “Oh! I want to eat I want to eat.”

    Yi Chongren gradually sat up and supported his waist with a pillow. After a while, Huo Yunkai entered. The father and son didn’t appear awkward at all. Huo Yunkai moved aside the little table Baozi and Douzi were using to play go and sat on the stool by the bed. Yi Chongren asked: “Did the captives say anything yet?”

    “General Zhang is still reviewing. I just came back from outside the palace and bought some snacks for Baozi and Douzi on the way.”

    Yi Chongren didn’t hide the matter of “fishing” from Huo Yunkai. Knowing what yifu was planning to do, Huo Yunkai insisted on following. Huo Feng was originally from the military, and Yi Chongren also deliberately wanted to let the crown prince experience some “dangerous” situations. He even planned to let the crown prince go to the border to learn for two years. Only by establishing enough prestige in the military could the crown prince not fear the authority of the military commanders in the future. Huo Yunkai understood yifu’s painstaking efforts, so he had strict expectations for himself.

    Pouring a cup of tea for yifu, Huo Yunkai said: “I just met Lord Ji on the way here. He said imperial father is flying into a rage in the imperial study and wanted me to tell you to persuade imperial father not to damage his body out of anger.”

    A cold light flashed in Yi Chongren’s eyes, and he asked: “Do you know why?”

    Huo Yunkai said with a look of annoyance: “The minister of the Taichang temple, You Hong, told imperial father to hold a concubine selection again, even saying some unpleasant words. Lord Ji didn’t mention the specifics, but it sounds like he insulted yifu. Imperial father was furious.”

    Yi Chongren narrowed his eyes and coldly said: “You Hong? I have a bit of an impression. He’s an unlikeable guy.”

    Huo Feng said with some worry: “Yifu, no matter what those people say, don’t let go of imperial father. Imperial father really cares about you.”

    Yi Chongren’s heart was moved, and he raised the corners of his lips: “I promised to give your imperial father ten years. As long as he doesn’t break his promise, I won’t break the promise.”

    Seeing Huo Yunkai’s smile, hearing Douzi and Baozi chattering outside, Yi Chongren didn’t regret this promise of ten years at all. In the end, Huo Feng was the one losing out.

    “If your imperial father comes, I’ll persuade him. You also need to take care of your body, don’t fight too hard.”

    It was rare for Yi Chongren to show such obvious concern, so Huo Yunkai was very happy, repeatedly nodding: “I’ll take care. Yifu also needs to take care of your body.”

    Yi Chongren laughed. As long as he and Huo Feng did it less, his body wouldn’t have any problems.

    [1]  太常寺少卿 title for Northern way fourth grade officials who arranged sacrifices for the ancestral temple

  • MJT Chapter 26

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    Trigger warning: Sexual content

    After Huo Feng got out of bed, Yi Chongren opened his eyes to glance at him and went right back to sleep. Huo Feng also wanted to go back to sleep, but he was the emperor. A group of officials were already waiting for him in the imperial study waiting to discuss official matters with him. With a satisfied body and mind, Huo Feng casually ate breakfast and went straight to the imperial study. His majesty spent another night at Ningshen palace, so the atmosphere in the imperial study naturally wasn’t very relaxed.

    Yi Chongren didn’t get up until after dawn. Enduring his discomfort in a certain area, he went to the “inner court”. Guo An and Zhuang Ye were both startled when they saw him. They thought his excellency wouldn’t be able to attend. They both knew what happened between his excellency and his majesty, and the news had spread across the capital. They never imagined that the terrifying former Lord Qianhu of the Hu An guards would become his majesty’s person. They’re jaws dropped to the ground when they heard this news, it was too shocking. Yi Chongren appeared as usual, and Guo An and Zhuang Ye could only suppress their raging thoughts under his sharp watch, trying to keep their calm.

    “Your excellency, this subordinate has already investigated the origins of that eunuch you drove out of the palace.” Guo An reported, “You excellency said that you saw him by Noble Consort Ru’s side before, so this subordinate used that clue for the investigation. As expected, we found that that eunuch used to take care of the flowers in Noble Consort Ru’s palace. He and a palace maid by Noble Consort Ru’s side were in a relationship[1] That palace maid accidentally broke a jade vase so Noble Consort Ru had her flogged to death.”

    Zhang Ye continued with a deeper meaning: “Your excellency gave that jade vase to Noble Consort Ru.”

    Yi Chongren appeared to not understand what Zhuang Ye meant, coldly saying: “He wants to get revenge on me?” He had seen countless similar cases, so no matter how much that person masked his hatred, it couldn’t escape his eyes.

    Zhang Ye said: “I’m afraid so. This subordinate found that this person went to see someone after being driven out of the palace. That person must know that person, it’s Sun Changshu. This subordinate already sent someone to monitor him. There are some remnants of the Sun clan by Sun Changshu’s side.”

    “Sun Changshu? I didn’t expect him to survive.” Yi Chongren coldly scoffed. Sun Changshu was Sun Jiyu’s adopted son.

    Zhuang Ye said with shame: “This subordinate is incompetant.” 

    Yi Chongren raised his hand: “Don’t blame yourself. Back then, I asked you to weaken the imperial guards, not exterminate the entire Sun clan.” Then, a cold clarity appeared in his eyes, “Since the Sun clan still refuses to be silent, then don’t blame me for being discourteous. Spread the news that I’m going to the Buddhist temple to pay respect to my parents and clansmen soon[2]. I’ll wait for them to find me.”

    Guo An and Zhuang Ye immediately disagreed: “Your excellency, this is too dangerous. We still haven’t confirmed how many remnants of the Sun clan there are or how much power they still have.”

    Yi Chongren raised the corners of his lips: “The ones growing restless in the dark aren’t just the remnants of the Sun clan. I want them to tremble in fear just thinking of me.”

    Guo An and Zhuang Ye saw the cold smile on his excellency’s face, suddenly pitying the people who offended him. Even his majesty was once beaten by his excellency with no way to counter. Other people……they couldn’t help but admire his majesty. Only his majesty could obtain his excellency.

    After Huo Feng learned that Yi Chongren wanted to go to the Buddhist temple to pay respects to his unjustly killed relatives, he immediately ordered the Ministry of Rites to arrange this matter. He didn’t know that Yi Chongren made this trip for other purposes. After the two closed their relationship, Huo Feng completely stopped managing the inner court. Even when Yi Chongren reported to him, he didn’t bother to listen. He wasn’t afraid of Yi Chongren taking advantage of his powers. If asked who he trusted most in the world, it could only be Yi Chongren. They had shared children, so what if Yi Chongren monopolized his power? Wasn’t he just planning for the three children? Huo Feng put his whole heart into implementing new policies. The new monarch was open-minded, the crown prince was industrious, and the court officials were dedicated to the country. Yue swept away the dejection of the end of Southern Chu, gradually emerging as a new scene.

    Huo Feng still spent the night at Ningshen palace from time to time, but he spent most of his time alone in the imperial study, rarely staying in his own bedchamber. Huo Feng’s actions made the officials’ heads foggy. He didn’t show Yi Chongren the favor of three thousand in one, but he and Yi Chongren did become closer. Every time Huo Feng spent the night in Ningshen palace, his neck would be covered in hickeys or bite marks the next day, and in comparison, there were even more marks on Yi Chongren’s neck. Even a blind person could tell what the two did. But Huo Feng didn’t let Yi Chongren sleep in his own palace, nor did he linger everyday. Every ten days, he would go to Ningshen palace around two or three times. For an emperor, a man, this wasn’t considered frequent.

    What on earth did his highness mean with his treatment towards Yi Chongren? What was he planning? These doubts lingered in every officials’ heart, including those who were close to Yi Chongren. Zhang Deyuan and the other old officials who already stopped participating in court politics worried, but Yi CHongren didn’t want them to overthink, so they could only suppress the worry in their hearts.

    ——————————————————————————————————————–

    Pushing open the door, Zhang Huaiqiu, who didn’t return to the mansion until late at night, reeked of alcohol. Entering the room with slightly unsteady footsteps, he picked up a teapot on the table, brought it to his lips, and drank. The water in the pot had long turned cold, but he didn’t care. A person followed behind him, entered, and closed the door, carefully lighting the oil lamp on the table. The room brightened, and the person’s face became clearer. Unexpectedly, it was Ruan Xingtian!

    After drinking enough, Zhang Huaiqiu put down the teapot, wiped his mouth, and sat down on the chair, asking Ruan Xingtian: “Should you return?”

    Ruan Xingtian also reeked of alcohol. He put his hands by Zhang Huaiqiu’s side and bent over: “I’m staying here tonight.”

    An unnatural look flashed through Zhang Huaiqiu’s eyes and he pushed away Ruan Xingtian: “I already said I’m not interested in men.”

    “You are!” Ruan Xingtian grabbed Zhang Huaiqiu, the imperiousness of a military general bursting forth, “Don’t tell me you forgot that night.”

    “We didn’t do anything that night!” Zhang Huaiqiu made a move.

    Ruan Xingtian used his body to easily repress Zhang Huaiqiu on the chair, not letting him escape.

    “Didn’t do anything?” Appearing angry, he grabbed Zhang Huaiqiu’s trousers, “I still clearly remember the shape of this place. Don’t forget who provoked me first!”

    Zhang Huaiqiu gritted his teeth: “We only touched each other a bit. You didn’t lose out!”

    “I suffered a great loss!” Ruan Xingtian didn’t say another word and kissed Zhang Huaiqiu’ lips, palm madly rubbing Zhang Huaiqiu’s lower body. Zhang Huaiqiu forcefully struggled, but after a while, he turned weak.

    Ruan Xingtian’s kiss became gentler, lightly kissing from the corner of Zhang Huaiqiu’s lips to his earlobe. He hoarsely said: “See, you’re already hard. You still dare to say you don’t like it? Huaiqiu, is it really that hard to admit that you have feelings for me? I know you’re the only son in your family and you can’t break the Zhang clan’s incense. I had a wife and a daughter, so I won’t force you. No matter how painful it’d be, I’ll let you get married. I want your heart, want your heart to only belong to me, is that ok?”

    Zhang Huaiqiu breathed heavily, eyes blank. He never thought about such things happening with men. Yi Chongren and Huo Feng’s relationship gave him quite a blow. Chongren, was actually willing to lay under a man. Zhang Huaiqiu blanked out, but at the same time, he still felt a thick loss and sadness. He thought he could always stand by Chongren’s side……now, it seemed that Chongren didn’t need him anymore……

    “Huaiqiu……” Ruan Xingtian affectionately kissed Zhang Huaiqiu’s neck, leaving a faint mark, “I love you……I love you……”

    Zhang Huaiqiu’s body trembled, and Ruan Xingtian reached into his pants, directly touching his hardness. Why? He clearly didn’t have affection but why did he have feelings? Men really couldn’t be provoked.

    “Ahem.”

    A faint voice sounded from the shadows of the room. Ruan Xingtian and Zhang Huaiqiu instantly sobered up from their desire. Ruan Xingtian leapt up and stood in front of Zhang Huaiqiu. Zhang Huaiqiu hurriedly sorted out his clothes, taking out the dagger hidden underneath the table. Shit! There was someone else in the room!

    “Come out!”

    Zhang Huaiqiu walked beside Ruan Xingtian with a murderous look on his face.

    A dark figure walked out of the shadows, and once a crimson hem appeared in the light, Ruan Xingtian and Zhang Huaiqiu only felt their scalps turn numb, especially Zhang Huaiqiu, who broke out in cold sweat.

    “Chongren?!” Zhang Huaiqiu nearly dropped the dagger in his hand, “Why are you here!”

    The dark figure became entirely visible. If it wasn’t Yi Chongren, who else could it be? He indifferently looked at the two. Arms over his chest, Yi Chongren said to Zhang Huaiqiu: “I need the imperial army to be secretly arranged for my trip to the temple tomorrow. This matter can’t be made public. I need to ‘go fishing’.” As if he didn’t see anything out of the ordinary.

    Zhang Huaiqiu forced himself to calm down and asked: “Fish who?”

    Yi Chongren took a letter out of his sleeve and threw it over. Zhang Huaiqiu calmly caught and opened it. After reading it, he frowned: “You want to be the bait? Does his majesty know?”

    “He knows. That’s why I’ve come to find you. Only you can make sure it’s absolutely safe. I’m leaving the palace at 7:30 tomorrow.”

    Once he heard that his majesty knew, Zhang Huaiqiu didn’t argue. Consistent with his trust in Yi Chongren, he nodded: “I will make the necessary arrangements before 7. Should we exterminate them or leave some survivors?”

    “Your choice.”

    “Understood.”

    Yi Chongren slowly walked away. As he walked into the darkness, he suddenly said like a ghost: “Huaiqiu, I’m under his majesty out of helplessness as I have the heart but not the power. You can’t be considered powerless right?” For the first time, he admitted his relationship with Huo Feng in front of another person.

    Ruan Xingtian’s expression changed. The wind blew through, and Yi Chongren was gone from the room. He strode into the darkness and found an open gap between the windows. Ruan Xingtian feared Yi Chongren’s strong martial arts, but was especially angered by the other party’s instigating words! He turned his head to see Zhang Huaiqiu’s eyes turn dark. Ruan Xingtian silently called out “Oh no”!

    Yi Chongren actually suspected he “had the heart but not the power”! Zhang Huaiqiu stared at Ruan Xingtian like a wolf. Was he destined to be pressed down just because he wasn’t as strong as the other party? His lips curved up into a cold smile similar to Yi Chongren’s, and Zhang Huaiqiu walked towards Ruan Xingtian.

    ——————————————————————————————————————-

    Yi Chongren was in a pretty good mood when he quietly returned to the palace. He was eaten cleanly by Huo Feng, but he couldn’t get revenge even if he wanted to. Huaiqiu was his closest friend. If he couldn’t fight back, how could he let his closest friend be “subjected” to one of Huo Feng’s men? Ruan Xingtian wanted Huaiqiu, but it wouldn’t be that easy. Yi Chongren didn’t deny that he was taking his anger out on someone. Who told Ruan Xingtian to run into him? Ruan Xingtian could only be blamed for coming at the wrong time. However, Yi Chongren was very surprised that he actually never suspected that Huaiqiu and Ruan Xingtian would end up together. Yi Chongren reflected in his heart. He must be more careless now, otherwise he wouldn’t be so easily eaten by Huo Feng.

    As he took a step into the room, Yi Chongren heard a person’s voice: “Where’d you go?”

    Huo Feng? Yi Chongren walked into the room, looked at the person, and asked: “Why are you here? I thought you wouldn’t come tonight.”

    “I haven’t seen you in so many days.” Naturally holding Yi Chongren’s hand, Huo Feng once again asked: “Where’d you go?”

    Yi Chongren closed the door and whispered: “Went to find Huaiqiu. The crown prince is going to the temple with me tomorrow so I wanted to personally take care of the guards. Where are Baozi and Douzi?”

    “I let Lu Tao take them to my palace. Tomorrow, take Baozi and Douzi too. You’re paying respects to your relatives, and they’re your sons, so it makes sense. Why don’t I go with you?”

    Not caring about his position, Huo Feng thought he should go too. Yi Chongren didn’t actually tell Huo Feng that he wasn’t just going to pay respect to relatives. Once he heard Huo Feng’s words, he immediately said: “The site could scare Baozi and Douzi. Wait for them to grow older or want to go themselves and we can go offer sacrifices later. You can’t go. I don’t want to lose the tranquility of my future days.”

    “Ha ha ha……” Huo Feng broke into laughter and wrapped his arms around Yi Chongren’s waist to walk into the bedroom, “When did you become so cowardly? I thought you didn’t care about what others said.”

    “Could it be that you want to read accounts about me all day?” Yi Chongren raised his brow and asked.

    With one smooth action, Huo Feng held Yi Chongren to his chest, and he sat on the bed, making Yi Chongren sit on his lap. Yi Chongren didn’t blush, and he naturally caught Huo Feng’s neck. The sex between the two could be considered to be getting better and better. Whether Yi Chongren admitted it or not, his and Huo Feng’s relationship was becoming closer with each instance of physical intimacy.

    Huo Feng habitually pulled out Yi Chongren’s hairpin. He liked how Yi Chongren appeared with his hair down, and Yi Chongren would only allow himself to reveal this bearing at times like these. He lost much of his unapproachable coldness and gained much seductive charm. Every time, Huo Feng felt his mouth and tongue turn dry, wanting to swallow this person into his stomach with one bite. The intimacy between the two made Huo Feng fall deeper and deeper into the charm of being with Yi Chongren. This was a dangerous signal for this emperor, but for a man, a relationship of mutual affection wasn’t far away, and he, endured this hardship gladly.

    Not replying to Yi Chongren’s question, Huo Feng kissed Yi Chongren’s eye—clean, enchanting eye. He hadn’t not seen accounts about Yi Chongren. To avoid arousing suspicion, Xie Ming and the others gave all these accounts to him, and Huo Feng suppressed them all. Now wasn’t the time to confront the ministers, otherwise, one misstep could trigger the court officials to accuse Yi Chongren of misconduct, and the gains wouldn’t make up for the losses.

    Holding down Huo Feng’s hand which was untying his belt, Yi Chongren reminded him with unstable breathing: “I’m leaving the palace tomorrow morning. I don’t want to be unable to ride a horse.” Tomorrow would likely be the scene of foul wind and bloody rain. He couldn’t be immobilized.

    Huo Feng pulled Yi Chongren’s hand to his certain place and said roughly: ‘I’ve held back for so many days. If I don’t come tonight, both of us can’t even think about sleeping.”

    Under his palm, Yi Chongren could feel Huo Feng’s scorching heat through the cloth. Overcome with desire, Yi Chongren couldn’t help but feel his heart pound, but they definitely couldn’t do it tonight.

    After thinking for a while, Yi Chongren said: “I’ll use my hand.” Seeing his resolute attitude, Huo Feng could only accept reluctantly.

    This wasn’t his first time seeing Huo Feng naked, but it was the first time touching that part of Huo Feng. Once Yi Chongren’s hands held Huo Feng’s heat, a strong shock swept through his heart. So true men had these feelings. Compared to Huo Feng’s mass, his own was as immature as a child’s and carried the obvious scars of damage. Yi Chongren used both hands to surround Huo Feng’s masculinity with envy, wishing his own was also so normal.

    “Chongren……” Huo Feng’s voice was incredibly hoarse. Yi Chongren’s slightly cold hands comforted his place that needed release, and the other party’s completely naked body gave him a certain inexpressible satisfaction.

    “Lick……Chongren……” Huo Feng longed for Yi Chongren’s beautiful lips to hold him.

    Yi Chongren wrapped Huo Feng’s full cock with one hand, wondering if the fate of his family changed, would he also have such an imposing length? Rough big hands forced between his legs, covering his entire organ, and Yi Chongren comfortably groaned a few times. Unexpectedly, he bent down, lips aimed at Huo Feng’s dick which was dripping precum.

    “Chongren!”

    Huo Feng called out, body instantly stretching taut. This moment, Huo Feng seemed like a lamb for slaughter, losing the strength to turn over. Huo Feng’s reaction gave Yi Chongren a sort of delusion. He seemed to also be capable of pushing Huo Feng under himself and doing whatever he pleased, and could also show off his masculinity on top of Huo Feng.

    Sitting across Huo Feng’s legs, Yi Chongren used his mouth and tongue to control Huo Feng. Seeing Huo Feng’s enduring expression, hearing Huo Feng’s intolerable low pants, Yi Chongren grabbed Huo Feng’s hands, not letting him obstruct himself.

    “Chongren……Chongren……”

    Huo Feng felt dead from desire, as if his soul was sucked out of his body. Who would have thought, the cold, ruthless Lord Qianhu of the Hu An guards would use his mouth to serve another man one day, even so pleasurably.

    No! He also had to eat! Forcefully withdrawing his hand and pulling up Yi Chongren, Huo Feng turned and pressed him down, accurately finding the other party’s vulnerability and swallowed it.

    “Wu!”

    Huo Feng didn’t know that what Yi Chongren liked most was when Huo Feng sucked and licked him like this. Every time, he would think he wasn’t a castrate, wasn’t a eunuch.

    Although unable to enter, Huo Feng and Yi Chongren became more invested than any previous time. The two untiringly tasted each other’s bodies, explored the secrets of each other’s bodies. Once the two ejected their own desires, the two’s lips were still inseparably entangled with each other.

    Hearts feeling bouts of soreness and numbness, maybe, these ten years wouldn’t be so hard to endure.

    [1]  对食 refers to palace maid and eunuch becoming a couple. Could also refer to lesbianism in the palace.

    [2] 超渡 Free the souls of the dead from the sufferings of hell in Buddhism and Taoism. Cross over; pass over

  • MJT Chapter 25

    /

    Trigger warning : Sexual content

    Zhang Huaiqiu once again visited Ningshen palace. Yi Chongren, who had been lying in bed for five days, sat in the courtyard basking in the sun. The weather was cool, and the midday sun wasn’t especially harsh, making people drowsy. These few nights, Huo Feng didn’t stay at Ningshen palace overnight, as if that night really was just a drunken stupor. Huo Feng never admitted what he and Yi Chongren did. Though everyone was well aware, the emperor didn’t admit it, and Yi Chongren didn’t admit it, so this matter could be considered ambiguous. Huo Feng hadn’t established himself as the emperor for long, so he didn’t want the officials to pay too much attention to Yi Chongren. Of course, this was also to protect Yi Chongren. As for whether Yi Chongren needed this or not, Huo Feng didn’t take that into account.

    Yi Chongren wasn’t curious about why Zhang Huaiqiu came. After the other party sat down, he poured the other party a cup of tea as usual, and then looked up at the sky, thinking about who knows what. Zhang Huaiqiu took a sip of tea, poured himself another cup, and then said: “Are you and his majesty together?” The eye catching hickeys on Yi Chongren’s neck were visible to all who weren’t blind.

    Yi Chongren’s eyes gradually turned towards Zhang Huaiqiu, revealing an indistinct bearing that made Zhang Huaiqiu’s eyebrows scrunch into a “川”. People who have tasted the flavor of lust will naturally change, not excluding Yi Chongren.

    “What’s the attitude of all those people in the court now?” Yi Chongren replied with a question. This question could also be considered an answer to Zhang Huaiqiu.

    “Are you really with his majesty now?!” Zhang Huaiqiu obviously found it difficult to accept.

    Yi Chongren unhurriedly looked towards the sky and said with a bit of languidness: “Each takes what he needs. Do you think I’d forget myself just because of receiving his favor? Or think losing my body is a matter of life or death? Huaiqiu, I only chose what’s most advantageous for me.”

    “What did you choose?”

    Yi Chongren’s thin lips opened: “I want him to not touch women for ten years.”

    “This is what you see as most advantageous?” Zhang Huaiqiu was going crazy. How could Chongren willingly resign himself to a position below another man! He was so proud!

    “What do you think I should do? Kill him?” Yi Chongren mocked himself, “I want to give him a taste of his own medicine, but I’m unable to do anything about it.”

    Zhang Huaiqiu’s expression turned dark: “Why ten years?”

    “Ten years is enough for me to establish myself in court.” Yi Chongren said confidently: “In ten years, Douzi and Baozi will have grown up, not to mention the crown prince. At that time, even if he raises an empress, I won’t have no way out. If he gains other heirs, they won’t be a threat to Douzi and Baozi.”

    Zhang Huaiqiu understood clearly: “You’re doing it for the crown prince and Douzi?”

    Yi CHongren didn’t deny it. Zhang Huaiqiu subsequently asked something that made him stunned on the spot: “Do you like his majesty?”

    —————————————————————————————————————-

    When he returned to his senses, Zhang Huaiqiu had already left. Yi Chongren vaguely remembered that the other party seemed to say something about helping him. He trusted that Zhang Huaiqiu would help him, but why would Huaiqiu think he liked that person? Like…… after he was castrated, those kinds of feelings lost any connection to him. Huo Feng was a man, an emperor. How could he like that person?! Everything he did was for himself, for the three children who called him dad. He couldn’t possibly like Huo Feng, never! But why was his mood so bad? Yi Chongren lost his mood to drink tea and stood to leave, locking himself in the room.

    Huo Feng knew that Zhang Huaiqiu went to find Yi Chongren. It would be false to say that Huo Feng didn’t mind the two people’s relationship. However, he was the first person to obtain Yi Chongren’s body, and Yi Chongren agreed to be with him for ten years, so Huo Feng suppressed these thoughts in the bottom of his heart. Yi Chongren’s reaction after the matter exceeded his expectations, giving him even more confidence, especially because he still had three big bargaining chips in his hand.

    At night, Huo Feng, who hadn’t seen Yi Chongren in a day,  went to Ningshen palace. Yi Chongren had spent his whole afternoon in the house. Huo Feng knocked on the door that was locked from the inside, and after a while, Yi Chongren finally opened it. Huo Feng naturally held Yi Chongren’s hand and raised his foot to enter the room, saying: “I’ll rest here tonight.”

    Yi Chongren looked at their joined hands, silent. Closing the door, Huo Feng silently embraced the man. Yi Chongren didn’t calmly let him hug himself, struggling free. Zhang Huaiqiu’s question perturbed Yi Chongren’s heart. Facing Huo Feng at this moment, he only felt uncomfortable all over, not to mention the area where he was being hugged by the other party.

    The two people’s relationship just took a step forward, and Yi Chongren wasn’t one to act coquettishly in front of others, so Huo Feng didn’t think too much about Yi Chongren’s unwillingness. He understood that there was still a long road ahead to close the distance between their hearts and learn to love each other. Huo Feng also understood that Yi Chongren was willing to give him ten years mostly out of consideration for himself and the children. But he wasn’t in a hurry. Obtaining Yi Chongren’s promise for ten years, he could obtain the other party’s company until their hair grew white. As for why he was so persistent towards Yi Chongren, Huo Feng never thought about it deeply. He already understood the reason behind wanting to catch him many years ago. In the contest between the two, Huo Feng wanted to take the initiative, grasp every opportunity to take the initiative.

    Hugging the man once more, Huo Feng said with some weariness: “Let me hold you for a bit.”

    A scorching breath sprayed by his ear and goosebumps rose all over Yi Chongren’s body. But this time, he didn’t push Huo Feng away, just standing there, not raising his hands, letting Huo Feng hold him. Heart pounding more chaotic than normal, Yi Chongren furrowed his brows as Zhang Huaiqiu’s question echoed in his ears. No, he didn’t like Huo Feng. The only reason why he couldn’t calm down was that he wasn’t used to such intimacy, especially when the other party was a man, an emperor.

    After hugging for the time it takes for a stick of incense to burn, Huo Feng let go of Yi Chongren. From start to finish, Yi Chongren didn’t give the right reaction. Expression cold, conduct cold, he seemed to be telling himself he didn’t like this person, would never like this person.

    The crown prince didn’t come for dinner. After eating, Huo Feng let Lu Tao take Baozi and Douzi away and he entered the bedroom holding Yi Chongren’s hand. Although Huo Feng didn’t say anything, his hints were already enough. The moment they stepped into the bedroom, Yi Chongren’s heartbeat rapidly quickened. That bed seemed to be the open mouth of a beast, and Yi Chongren felt a rare sense of tension.

    Huo Feng closed the door, and Yi Chongren’s tension appeared especially pleasant in his eyes. Taking the man to the bedside, Huo Feng lightly pushed the stiff Yi Chongren down on the bed and let down the bed curtain.

    There was a dagger under the pillow……he didn’t drink, wasn’t drugged, could definitely fight back…… as long as he left this place he could escape……countless thoughts flashed through Yi Chongren’s mind. He couldn’t stop his body from lightly trembling. He knew tonight would be a repeat of that night. That night, he drank and was drugged. This time, he was sober and he could clearly hear his own heartbeat! It was easy for him to say he’d give himself to Huo Feng , but once things came to a head, he found it very hard.

    “Chongren, you promised me ten years.”

    //

    Huo Feng reminded Yi Chongren before he began moving, and subsequently pressed down. Yi Chongren couldn’t help but push Huo Feng away to try to get out of bed, but the man held him and immediately gave him a scorching kiss behind his ear.

    “Wu!”

    Yi Chongren’s body turned soft at once and the chaotic scene from that night swept past his eyes.

    “Chongren, you promised me ten years. Do you regret it?”

    Dragging the man back onto bed, Huo Feng’s rough voice made his heart palpitate, made the heart of the person in his arms palpitate.

    “My wounds aren’t healed yet.”

    Yi Chongren didn’t realize he was still afraid until he said these words. He, who never avoided or retreated, actually lied out of fear! But before he returned to his senses after this shock, his body was once again pushed down. Huo Feng easily tore away Yi Chongren’s belt, breath searing his ears.

    “You want to flee? The Yi Chongren I know isn’t a fleeing coward.” Tongue coquettish.

    Yi Chongren couldn’t help but groan as he tried to stay calm: “Stimulus is useless on me. I said I’d give you ten years, so I won’t regret it. Could it be that your majesty still doesn’t think it’s time to open up? Last time, your majesty could use the excuse of a drunken stupor. This time, how can your majesty block the mouths of the officials?”

    “Xie Ming, Zhang Huaiqiu, and the others are all my people, naturally they won’t say anything. Ruan Xingtian and those officials that followed me also won’t speak frivolously. The rest can be disregarded. Although I need to settle their hearts, I won’t let them be led by the nose. I’m the emperor, the son of heaven. They don’t have a say in this matter. Chongren, we’ve wasted too much time.”

    These words had a double meaning. Wildly kissing Yi Chongren’s lips, Huo Feng wouldn’t let this person escape. These lingering emotions had waited for too long. Even though reason reminded him that he should show some restraint, after seeing that person, all that was left was thick desire. If time could rewind, he would definitely take a good look at this person, definitely cherish his person, and not use those vulgar words to humiliate him, hurt him.

    Hair intertwining, Huo Feng once again unhesitantly sucked that unspeakable part of Yi Chongren. This wound was not only on Yi Chongren’s body, but also on his heart. Since that person minded it so much, he would use this method to tell this person that he didn’t mind.  Even if this person’s that part was completely cut off, he wouldn’t mind. What he wanted was just a person called Yi Chongren, a person who gave him infinite hope at his most desperate times and nearly threw away his life for him.

    Biting down hard on his lips, Yi Chongren held Huo Feng’s head with both hands, wanting to push him away yet also clinging to the comfort of his lips and tongue. Even if that regrown part was stimulated, it wouldn’t swell like a normal man, only becoming slightly hard as if it was still that of a child. Body flipped over, Yi Chongren grabbed the bedsheets as a warm tongue licked his newly recovered place. At this moment, deliberately keeping his private parts clean seemed to be out of love. Tongue probing in, Yi Chongren couldn’t help but groan, spirit seeming to escape his body with each lick.

    Feeling chills, Yi Chongren jolted.

    “Give me some medicine. Otherwise, you’ll get hurt again. A tongue isn’t as effective as ointment.”

    Yi Chongren’s heart sank. He pulled away Huo Feng’s hand, eyes cold: “I don’t need that. Directly come in or get off the bed.”

    In the entire world, only Yi Chongren treated Huo Feng so disrespectfully. Huo Feng kissed Yi Chongren’s back and explained: “If you don’t use medicine, you’ll have to stay in bed all day to recover. How will you deal with the inner court? I’m not against letting you recuperate in Ningshen palace all day, but that isn’t like you.”

    Yi Chongren tightly pursed his lips. Last time they did it, he stayed in bed for five days. But it just so happened that today once Huo Feng did it, he would be stuck in bed for a few days. Once he healed, this person would come back……what he said was right, without medicine, he probably wouldn’t be able to leave bed. But……once he thought of using medicine, he thought of those eunuchs that knelt on the dragon bed and were favored by the Jiazheng emperor. This was his last shred of dignity. He could give his body to Huo Feng, but he definitely would not let himself become a catamite, a male pet, a bed eunuch.

    “Don’t worry, I’ll clean you up later. I won’t let you feel any discomfort. This ointment won’t let you get hurt. It’ll benefit your body.”

    Sucking Yi Chongren’s ear as the other party was lost in thought, Huo Feng covered his finger with the ointment and gradually probed into Yi Chongren’s already wet walls. But it was still too tight. Tonight, he didn’t want to hurt him.

    Kissing along the scar on his back, the one finger in his body became three, and then four. His body was flipped over, and a sweaty face appeared before him. Both legs were raised by him, and his emptied body was immediately filled with another hardness. Yi Chongren left scratches on Huo Feng’s back to vent.

    “Wu……”

    It still hurt…..that place, was barely enough.

    Huo Feng kept caressing those two delicate balls, gradually withdrew and gradually pierced in. Once the whole length entered, he didn’t rush into a rhythm like last time, instead bending over to kiss Yi Chongren’s lips, teasing the other’s passion. With bed matters with Yi Chongren, Huo Feng needed patience.

    Two red points on his chest, Yi Chongren gradually sank into the lust Huo Feng gave him. Knowing he was prepared, Huo Feng began to thrust. Two groans escaped the two’s  mouths, one repressed, one satisfied. Gazes entangled, Yi Chongren only felt that his heart was going to burst because of Huo Feng. Scalp numb, Yi Chongren’s nails sunk Huo Feng’s muscular back, that was it!

    “Ah! Wu……”

    It was here, he didn’t remember wrong. Huo Feng pressed down his body, accelerating the rhythm of his waist, and Yi Chongren’s pale body was instantly dyed a layer of pink. Huo Feng whispered by his ear: “Chongren……call my name…..”

    “Ahah……”

    “Chongren, call my name, call……”

    “Huo, wu en……Huo, Feng…..”

    “Chongren, let’s always be together.”

    “Slow—-, ahahah……”

    Hair intertwining, fingers interlocked, breaths blending together……he didn’t drink, but why was he this dizzy? He wasn’t drugged, but why did his body lose all strength……how could a man feel such strange emotions under another man, strange, it seemed to be addicting.

    At some point, his arms wrapped around Huo Feng’s neck, and at some point, his legs wrapped around Huo Feng’s robust waist. Yi Chongren, who couldn’t escape, had no way to escape, stopped caring about the costs, sinking in the strange senses Huo Feng gave him. At this time, he seemed to forget about his bodily damage, only knowing that his original self could also have desire, could feel the joy of desire, feeling like he was floating to immortality[1].

    It wasn’t clear who released first. The liquid spurted by Yi Chongren was wiped onto Huo Feng, and the dragon essence spurted by Huo Feng was completely given to Yi Chongren. Their kiss wasn’t as strong as in the beginning, but even more intoxicating. Huo Feng left a special mark on Yi Chongen’s neck to let others know that this person belonged to him. When their lips and tongues separated, silver threads connected, and Huo Feng held the hand Yi Chongren stuck on his face. The two gazed at each other, something circulating between them.

    This moment, silence was better than sound. Huo Feng closed his eyes and rubbed Yi Chongren’s palms that though not delicate, made him especially infatuated. At this time, the scorching sun was in the sky, and the man’s cold hands calmly wiped away his sweat and cut off his drawstring, stealthily stuffed the crown prince’s token into his hand. Chongren……. Chongren……

    “Did you feed me the ‘Tian Xin pill’?”

    Huo Feng’s waist gradually began moving rhythmically. Yi Chongren still hadn’t calmed down from what just ended so it took him a while to understand what Huo Feng’s question meant.

    “En…..”

    Seeming to answer and seeming to groan, Yi Chongren’s eyes were half closed, appearing as if he was exposed. Huo Feng didn’t continue asking, he already received the answer he wanted. Huo Feng didn’t say anything else, whole heart engrossed in the pleasure of lovemaking. He believed that he wasn’t the only one to feel such pleasure.

    ———————————————————————————————————————

    //

    On the bed, Huo Feng wrapped his arms around Yi Chongren’s waist from behind, and the exhausted Yi Chongrn rested with his back facing Huo Feng, drowsy. After two times, Huo Feng laid down the flag and stilled the drums. This was also the reason why Yi Chongren wasn’t done until unconscious. Huo Feng did as he promised and personally cleaned up Yi Chongren after they finished, even giving him medicine. Yi Chongren wanted to do it himself at first, but Huo Feng refused to leave, and he didn’t dare to do these things right in front of him. He already saw everything anyway, so he relaxed.

    “Chongren.”

    “……En.”

    Yi Chongren fell asleep quickly.

    “Why did you kill Sima Xian? Did you think I couldn’t?”

    Huo Feng kept brooding about this matter. Okay, he still minded how Yi Chongren called him a foolish coward.

    Just wanting to quickly go to sleep, Yi Chongren murmured: “I don’t allow things from outside my plans to appear……just a charlatan overestimating his abilities……I’m going, to sleep……”

    Unable to support his head up any longer, Yi Chongren’s head sank and he directly fell into his dreams. Hs body was different from normal people, so he was especially tired after sex. Behind him, Huo Feng sank into thought, and gradually, a pleasant smile appeared on his lips. In that case, this person was planning to help him win the world from the beginning. If anyone messed with his plans, he’d kill them. Killing Zhang Zhong and Sun Jiyu, killing Sima Xian, planting saboteurs by Noble Consort Ru’s side……everything was for him.

    Huo Feng was both distressed and happy. Distressed because Yi Chongren didn’t believe in his strength; happy, naturally because Yi Chongren arranged everything for him. He believed, if Yi Chongren picked someone else, the person sitting on the throne definitely wouldn’t be him. Was it just because he held military power? Huo Feng suddenly wanted to know whether Yi Chongren liked him even a bit. If he wasn’t in his heart, why else would he plan for him to such a degree?

    Huo Feng didn’t want to imagine that his love was reciprocated, but he couldn’t stop himself from thinking this way. But Yi Chongren was already dead asleed. He could only hold him tightly and lightly kiss the marks left on his neck. It wasn’t important whether he held feelings towards him or not. This person’s body and heart were all his. With this confidence, Huo Feng closed his eyes. Sooner or later, there would be a day when they could sleep in each other’s arms without burden. That day, wasn’t too far away.

    [1]  飘飘欲仙 metaphor that describes someone’s feeling of relaxation and pleasure