After chapters worth of Yun Ge and Meng Jue’s are-they-are-they-not dance around each other, finally their relationship moves from nebulous to official. I can see how happy she is, having let go of the fantasy Ling gege inside her heart and accepted the real person in front of her. But just because Meng Jue came clean with Huo Cheng Jun about who Yun Ge really is doesn’t mean the pampered princess is ready to concede defeat. In the delicate web of young love, the person making the choice in this case is Meng Jue. When he has both girls in his hands, it’s actually not clear which girl he will ultimately pick.
Chapter 16: Forming One Heart
Qi Li Xiang was open for business but it was still empty. Xu Ping Jun looked around at the empty room and whispered in Yun Ge’s ear “Are you done? If done, let’s leave early today.”
Yun Ge asked quizzically “Didn’t big brother say he was picking us up? Aren’t we waiting for him?” Xu Ping Jun turned red “I want to see a doctor. It’s been a month since it came, and I suspect, I suspect……..”
Yun Ge furrowed her brows “Maybe your food intake has been on the cold side, shouldn’t be a problem to treat if you eat warmer foods this month.” Xu Ping Jun swatted Yun Ge “You’re so stupid! I suspect I’m expecting.”
Yun Ge looked confused “What are you expecting?” Xu Ping Jun rolled her eyes and finally said it out loud “Expecting a baby!”
Yun Ge startled for a moment and grabbed Xu Ping Jun happily, but then let her go, as if she was afraid of injuring the baby. Xu Ping Jun grabbed Yun Ge’s hand “I’m not certain so that is why I want to see a doctor. When I’m certain I can tell Bing Yi, otherwise we’ll both be disappointed.”
Yun Ge nodded “True. Then let’s go right now.”
When the doctor told Xu Ping Jun that she was indeed pregnant, both girls were so happy they were speechless. The normally stingy Xu Ping Jun actually paid the doctor extra, thanking him profusely.
The doctor was so embarrassed “No need to thank me, you should thank your husband, I didn’t do anything to deserve the thanks.” Everyone turned red after he said that, but Xu Ping Jun did stop thanking him.
Yun Ge almost fell off her seat she was laughing so hard. After they left the clinic, it was already dark out. Both were so giddy still. Yun Ge said “From now on, I’ll be in charge of your meals. Don’t take any pregnancy medicine, let’s just eat the right foods. When we go back, have Meng Jue check you….”
Yun Ge suddenly realized the street was eerily quiet. A bit of animal instinct allowed her to sense it, and she grabbed Xu Ping Jun’s arm and they started running. But it was too late, masked men surrounded them.
Yun Ge was thinking about Xu Ping Jun “Who do you want? No matter what you intend, it’s enough if you have me.” A voice huffed “We want both of you.”
Xu Ping Jun grabbed Yun Ge’s hand but she was shaking too hard “We have no money, we are just poor simple folks.” Yun Ge grabbed Xu Ping Jun’s hand and calmly said “We’ll go with you. Don’t hurt us, otherwise you’ll get nothing if we both die.”
The leader appeared shocked at how easy it was to accomplish his task. His men shoved the girls into a secure carriage which quickly left the scene. Xu Ping Jun touched her belly and asked ‘Who are they?”
Yun Ge shook her head “We have no money or any enemies. This must be concerning either Meng Jue or big brother. Don’t worry, big sister, If they didn’t kill us right away, they need us alive to threaten either Meng Jue or big brother to do something. We’re safe for now.”
Xu Ping Jun nodded and leaned on Yun Ge. Because of the baby, Xu Ping Jun was very needy right now, and Yun Ge suddenly realized she had to protect two people.
Yun Ge suddenly realized she was carrying the small dagger Meng Jue gave her awhile ago. Yun Ge told Xu Ping Jun to start crying loudly. Xu Ping Jun realized Yun Ge always had weird ideas so complied.
Yun Ge pretended to console Xu Ping Jun, but took out her knife and scratched a hole in the floor of the carriage. Once she dug a hole, she handed the dagger to Xu Ping Jun. From her pouch she took out some pepper and dropped it out of the hole one by one. Before the carriage stopped she had run out of peppers, so she dropped everything she had in her pouch.
Before the carriage stopped, Yun Ge covered the hole and then grabbed Xu Ping Jun, looking for the world like they were huddled together crying. They were covered in a black cloth before being removed from the carriage. When the cloth was taken off, they were inside a shabby room.
Soon someone brought them food. Yun Ge told Xu Ping Jun to rest, to either wait for Meng Jue or Liu Bing Yi to rescue them, or if they needed to escape themselves, they would have energy.
Xu Ping Jun softly asked “Will your plan work?” “I don’t know. I hope Meng Jue or big brother will notice it, and pray it won’t rain tonight.”
Shortly after she said that, the winds picked up and soon it began to rain. Yun Ge wondered if the Heavens were aligned against her. She decided to rely on herself then!
Xu Ping Jun was awoken by the rain and asked “Yun Ge, can we get out safely?” Yun Ge smiled “Of course! They must have noticed we are missing, and maybe they discovered my peppers already and are looking for a way to rescue us. Plus the rain had a good side effect of making the guards lax, so we can better escape.”
The second day arrived.
The rain continued to fall. Their captors wouldn’t take to them, but continued to bring them food. Yun Ge noticed they were well trained, not normal folks.
Yun Ge initially wanted to wait for Meng Jue to come save them, but she knew now that she had to save themselves. She lasted until it was night time again before asking Xu Ping Jun to back up a few steps. Yun Ge opened a small deer skin bag and a few spiders the size of a baby’s fist came crawling out. Yun Ge quietly back away and let them crawl out the window.
Xu Ping Jun quietly asked “Are they poisonous?”
Yun Ge nodded “A few days ago I spent a lot of money to buy it from the Xi Yu merchants. It’s poisonous but can be a good medicine. It’s called a “Black Widow” and will eat male spiders. The ones I bought are raised by humans and only consumed male spiders to increase their poison. When the guards delivered food this afternoon, I put on male spider essence on them. After being hungry for two days, the Black Widows ought to follow the scent, and the rest is up to our luck.”
Xu Ping Jun stood by the door and nervously listened for any noise from outside. Yun Ge took her dagger and slashed the blanket, using the outside to make a rain coat for Xu Ping Jun, and the inside she sliced into strips and then bound into a sturdy rope. Because it was a rainy dark night, other than the occasional guard, everyone else was inside eating and drinking.
The two guards keeping watch over Yun Ge and Xu Ping Jun were feeling unhappy so they didn’t even pay attention to the danger crawling on the ground. The Black Widow’s poison will first cause a numbing affect on its prey. One guard rubbed his hand with annoyance. The other whispered “Be patient, we’ll off them tonight. Perhaps soon our leader will give word to do so.”
The two guards felt sleepy suddenly and couldn’t stay awake anymore. One said “I’ll just sit for a moment” and then leaned against the wall and both of them passed out. Xu Ping Jun indicated to Yun Ge it worked, and Yun Ge nodded, first rubbing garlic on their shoes “Black Widows hate garlic. We don’t know where they went, so best be careful.” Xu Ping Jun heard that, and then rubbed garlic all over her face, body, and neck. Yun Ge laughed and then draped the rain coat she made over Xu Ping Jun.
Xu Ping Jun knew she was pregnant so she wasn’t being polite with Yun Ge, only tightly grasping her hand in thanks. Yun Ge grabbed her danger and then cut open the door lock. The door opened and the two guards fell into the room. Xu Ping Jun asked if they were dead and Yun Ge lied that they were just unconscious.
Yun Ge handed the dagger to Xu Ping Jun “You run that way, I’ll be right there.” “Where are you going?” “I need to disguise this area first, otherwise a guard coming by will immediately know we escaped.” Yun Ge endured her fear as she placed the corpses of the two dead guards against the wall on the bed.
When Yun Ge caught up to Xu Ping Jun, her face was white and she was shaking. “Yun Ge, are you okay? Did you retch?” Yun Ge shook her head “I’m fine, we need to hurry before they discover we escaped.”
The two of them ran until they saw the high wall they saw that first day. Yun Ge’s pitiful martial arts was enough to flip over with help from the tree branches, but Xu Ping Jun didn’t know any martial arts. “I’ll go first and then secure the rope.” Yun Ge got on the wall and secured the rope, but Xu Ping Jun was afraid that she would fall.
Yun Ge got down and had Xu Ping Jun stand on her shoulder and then she could climb the rope the rest of the way. Yun Ge knew those people were going to kill them soon, they had to escape. Xu Ping Jun bit her lips and then climbed on Yun Ge’s shoulder.
When Xu Ping Jun climbed halfway, Yun Ge saw her struggling and kept encouraging her, but soon they heard voices and footsteps. Xu Ping Jun worried about Yun Ge, who decided to yell at her “Xu Ping Jun, I don’t care about you useless person, I care about that baby in your belly. Do you want the baby to die? Big brother will hate you for it.”
Xu Ping Jun cried but summoned all her strength and climbed on the wall. Yun Ge told her to pull the rope up and the release it on the other side and then climb down. On the wall, Xu Ping Jun could see people with weapons getting close, so she cried out “What about you? Hurry and climb!”
Yun Ge made a face at her “I’ll go another way. I know martial arts, and without you as a drag, I can escape easily. Hurry and climb down, don’t be a burden to me.” Yun Ge finished talking and rushed off.
The guards heard Yun Ge purposely making a lot of noise and called out to follow her. Xu Ping Jun cried and climbed down the rope on the other side. When she landed, she started running and inside her heart she cried out “Bing Yi, Bing Yi, Meng Jue, Meng Jue – where are you guys? Where are you guys?” Her tears mixed with the rain, in the dark night Xu Ping Jun was filled with despair. It was all her fault for sneaking off to see the doctor. If anything happened to Yun Ge, it was all her fault. In the pouring rain, all around here there was only darkness.
Xu Ping Jun could only run but she didn’t know where to go, so in her hopelessness she screamed into the dark “Bing Yi, Bing Yi, where are you?” To her shock there was an answer “Ping Jun, Ping Jun, is that you?” “It’s me, it’s me!” Xu Ping Jun cried out and when she saw Liu Bing Yi appear before her, she collapsed on the ground.
Liu Bing Yi grabbed her and heard her cry “Go save Yun Ge, go, go, before it’s too late………” Meng Jue’s face was stark white and he rushed off. Liu Bing Yi looked towards where Meng Jue disappeared and then looked at the weakened Xu Ping Jun, stopping his body which was moving to join Meng Jue. He told the people behind him “My friend is still inside, will you all please help Meng Jue save the person.”
The people rushed forward and one laughed “After we save the person, we can do as we wish. So excited to be able to satisfy my itchy hands at dealing with these villains.” Li Bing Yi laughed “Of course, enjoy yourself!” He then lowered his head and tenderly said “Let me take you home first.”
Xu Ping Jun shook her head “I want to wait until Yun Ge is safe. We came together, we leave together.” Liu Bing Yi asked “Can your body handle it?” Xu Ping Jun laughed “Just a bit of rain, it’s mostly fear that affected me.” Liu Bing Yi said nothing else, wrapping Xu Ping Jun in a rain cloak and then carrying her towards where everyone went.
Liu Bing Yi stood at the side of the wall and Xu Ping Jun thought she entered into a different world. Liu Bing Yi’s hooligan friends were everywhere, all of them different and unique and powerful. Xu Ping Jun softly asked “These are the legendary martial arts masters hiding in the world who serve the people and fight against villainy?” “Yes.” “They are your friends?” “Yes.”
Xu Ping Jun knew Liu Bing Yi for so long and knew that his personality could be difficult and hard to figure out. This was the first time she wondered if she ever really knew him? Liu Bing Yi had the look of dashing valor, but in his eyes there was even more a look of commanding presence, like he held the fate of the world in his hands. Xu Ping Jun felt like the Infante of Guang Ling couldn’t even match up to Liu Bing Yi’s aura at this moment.
She suddenly saw He Xiao Qi’s sword swing out and then a person’s head went flying. Xu Ping Jun gasped and realized that people were dying around her. Her stomach roiled and her body swayed. Thankfully Liu Bing Yi was holding her around the waist so she didn’t tumble on the ground. Liu Bing Yi gently placed her face against his shoulder and covered her eyes “Don’t watch, and don’t over think. They were bag guys, they deserve what is happening to them.”
Liu Bing Yi calmly watched the carnage, not because he was curious or interested, but his eyes sweeped the scene looking for a familiar figure. When he saw the person Meng Jue carried in his arms, Liu Bing Yi let out an barely there sigh of relief. He smiled and placed his finger in his mouth and blew a loud whistle. He got a rousing reply and the people around him genuinely went to town on the kidnappers.
Liu Bing Yi carried Xu Ping Jun and walked over “Is Yun Ge hurt?” Meng Jue shook his head “Some scratches but she’s fine. She scared herself more because she killed people, and its likely her first time. She was already frightened out of her wits, and when the person wasn’t yet fully dead and grabbed her by the leg, she fainted. Thank god Er Yue (February) arrived just in time, otherwise………………”
“I went to a cemetary with her once and thought she had lots of guts, who knew……….” Liu Bing Yi laughed and the servant next to Meng Jue also laughed. Xu Ping Jun’s worried heart finally relaxed and she yelled “She said she knew martial arts, but look at her now!”
Right then Liu Bing Yi’s friends all walked out and made a hand gesture to him before departing. Xu Ping Jun was afraid to look at them so she looked at Meng Jue’s direction. Thankfully Meng Jue’s servants were like him in style, the maids were elegant and the porters were refined. Liu Bing Yi smiled and looked at at the estate where there was not a single person alive inside “This rain storm will wash away all traces.”
Meng Jue was impressed by Liu Bing Yi “Fast and decisive, finish them all and then depart. Your friends all hide their abilities in the world, no wonder even scholars like Xi Ma Qian wrote historical accounts about assassins and hidden martial arts masters of the past.”
The carriage arrived and Er Yue opened the curtains so everyone climbed on. In the carriage, Meng Jue smiled at Xu Ping Jun “Let me take your pulse.” Her face turned red “Meng dage already knows?” He smiled and nodded “I can guess, but figure you want to tell him yourself, so I haven’t told him yet.” Liu Bing Yi asked “What are you two talking about?”
Xu Ping Jun lowered her head and handed her arm to Meng Jue, who listened and smiled “No big problems. A bit of rain and some shock, but your body is normally healthy so after taking some medicine and some rest, you’ll be fine. But you can’t stay out in the rain again, not every time will be so lucky.”
Xu Ping Jun nodded and then asked “How did you guys find us?” Liu Bing Yi answered “We have to thank Yun Ge’s peppers, which are unique to Xi Yu and most Chang An folks have never seen it before. Other than Yun Ge, who would throw such expensive spices on the ground. We found it too late, but it still gave us the right hint.”
Yun Ge suddenly wake up and started yelling “Don’t grab me, don’t grab me.” Meng Jue smiled and then grabbed Yun Ge’s leg “Grab you like this?” Yun Ge was shaking and her voice was shaking as well “Don’t grab me, don’t grab me. I don’t want to kill you, you wanted to kill me first. I don’t want to kill you…………..”
Meng Jue wanted to tease her some more but then realized she was genuinely frightened this time. He lightly patted her cheek “Yun Ge, it’s me.” Yun Ge opened her eyes and saw Meng Jue, the fear in her eyes slowly vanished and then she started hitting him “What took you so long? Why are you so stupid? I thought you were smart! I killed three people……………sob, sob…………..I killed three people…….and I touched their corpses. It was soft and warm, not cold……………are there vengeful spirits in this world, I used to not think so, but now I’m really scared……….sob, sob…..”
Yun Ge was hitting and hitting and then she started bawling in Meng Jue’s arms. Meng Jue tenderly rocked Yun Ge and whispered in her ear “I know, it’s not your fault, not your fault. Those dead spirits can come haunt me, it wouldn’t be counted against you.” Xu Ping Jun averted her eyes in embarrassment, while Liu Bing Yi opened the curtains and looked outside.
Yun Ge finally cried out her fear of killing people for the first time and gradually calmed down. Once she realized there were other people in the carriage, her face turned red. She pinched Meng Jue hard and glared at him, angry he didn’t tell her that they weren’t alone. Meng Jue smiled and grabbed her hand so she couldn’t wriggle around anymore.
Yun Ge smiled at Liu Bing Yi and then at Xi Ping Jun, who shook her head. Yun Ge’s smile was filled with secret joy, so Liu Bing Yi asked “What is it that you two are keeping from me?” Yun Ge stopped smiling and then angrily asked “Which one of you did Xu jiejie and I have to suffer for?” Liu Bing Yi fixed Xu Ping Jun’s seat back cushion and then sat back with a lazy smile “Nothing to do with me. You should ask our Mr. Meng!”
Meng Jue apologized to both Xu Ping Jun and Liu Bing Yi “The Infante of Yen was pushed into a dead end and wanted to use you ladies to force me to help him assassinate Huo Guang.” Yun Ge was confused “Then taking me was enough, why grab Xu jiejie as well?” Meng Jue knew why, that the Infante of Yen had once seen him with Xu Ping Jun and back then he didn’t clear up the misunderstanding because of his own personal reasons. Even though Xu Ping Jun is married, the Infante of Yen must want all the hostages he can get to force Meng Jue to do his bidding, so he grabbed Yun Ge and Xu Ping Jun.
Meng Jue made the excuse “Probably because you two were together at that time, and they didn’t want the information to leak out.” Yun Ge asked “Assassinating Huo Guang? Better to assassinate the Infante of Yen, who has no power anymore, whereas Huo Guang can cover the entire sky with one hand. So what did you guys do?”
Meng Jue and Liu Bing Yi exchanged a look and Meng Jue said “I went to see Huo Guang about the plot and worked with him to stop the Infante of Yen from doing any final grasp for power. Bing Yi was off tracking your whereabouts. This afternoon we got the message that the Infante of Yen has committed suicide.” Meng Jue casually explained away the dead of a great Infante. “Ah” Yun Ge gasped “The Infante of Yen does not seem like someone who will kill himself. He seems like someone who will fight to the very end. Plus didn’t the Emperor spare him, so why does he need to kill himself? If he can either fight to the death or accept his fate and live out the rest of his life in luxury still, why would he choose to kill himself?”
Meng Jue and Liu Bing Yi exchanged another look before Meng Jue said “The Emperor’s army is at his city gate, and he probably thought that his dreams of being the Emperor is forever over, so he couldn’t deal with it. Yun Ge, why are you over thinking it. His fate has nothing to do with you.” Yun Ge huffed “Nothing to do? Then what just happened……….” Before she could start complaining again, Meng Jue grabbed her hand “It’s over, and I promise nothing like this will ever happen again.”
Yun Ge smiled at Meng Jue “I don’t blame you.” Meng Jue smiled back but his eyes showed his worry “I blame myself.” Xu Ping Jun lightly coughed “The goosebumps on my arm are out of control, guys.” Yun Ge’s face turned red and she feigned sleep “I’m tired, going to rest for a bit.”
Despite Yun Ge taking the sleep aid medicine Meng Jue prescribed, but she couldn’t shake off the spectre of having killed people for the first time in her life. She often would wake up in the middle of the night from nightmares.
Neither Yun Ge nor Meng Jue were the type of people to conform to societal norms and strictures, so Meng Jue would come every night to keep her company. The two of them slept on the pallet while divided with a curtain. Even though he couldn’t stop her from having nightmares, at least when she had a nightmare, he would wake her up and keep her safe.
When Liu Bing Yi found out Xu Ping Jun was pregnant, he was both happy and sad. But he concealed his sadness about bringing a son into the world with his lot in life, and just showed to Xu Ping Jun his joy at expecting a new life. He bought wood and built a cradle in the courtyard, plus he was planning to make a rocking horse.
He wouldn’t let Xu Ping Jun do any physical labor, instead doing everything around the house himself. Yun Ge cooked, but everything else from washing, cleaning, fetching water, making wine, he took it all over. Xu Ping Jun complained “People will laugh at you to see a man washing his wife’s clothes.” Liu Bing Yi laughed “What’s a real man if he can’t wash clothes. Plus how I pamper my wife is my business, who cares what they think.” Xu Ping Jun’s heart brimmed with sweetness. While Liu Bing Yi made a cradle in the courtyard, she sat beside him and sewed clothes for the baby.
The sunlight shone through the trees into the courtyard, bright and clear. When she got tired, she raised her head and saw Liu Bing Yi carving wood, and it would shake her to feel such a overwhelming sense of happiness. Since she was small, working hard day and night, this was the only dream she ever had. And now the dream has come true and she wished for time to just stand still at this moment.
She placed her hand on her stomach and said silently in her mind “Baby, you are not yet born but already so many people love you. You are more blessed than your mother! No matter if you are a boy or a girl, mom and dad will love you the same. And you will have an aunt you loves you, and a very capable future uncle.”
Meng Jue left the house first thing in the morning, but came back before noontime, asking Yun Ge to go with him somewhere outside the city. He drove the carriage himself and Yun Ge sat beside him, chatting about everything.
Yun Ge talked about her food, about interesting poems she read, about her family. When she got to a happy thought, she would laugh; when she talked about something unhappy, she would furrow her brows like someone owed her money.
Meng Jue quietly listened to her, his smile casual and his expression not changing with her stories. But he would hand her a water flask from time to time, and when the sun was strong, he would shield her with a cover. When Yun Ge was laughing so hard she might topple off the carriage, he would reach out a hand to steady her while the other hand would steady the horses.
When the carriage stopped outside an estate, Yun Ge suddenly realized Meng Jue was not taking her out to play. The estate was called Qing Residence, a beautiful residence that showed a bit of aging but was still stately. “Who does this belong to?” Meng Jue held Yun Ge’s arm “Do you remember the uncle I brought you to meet last time?” Yun Ge nodded.
“This is his estate. Uncle Feng is quite sick and medicine can no longer help. This might be the last time we see him. No matter what he says today, don’t disagree with him.” Yun Ge nodded again “I understand.” Meng Jue took her down a long corridor and they arrived at a bamboo residence.
Meng Jue had Yun Ge wait outside and he went in first, kneeling “Xiao Jue is here to beg forgiveness from Uncle Feng.” A porter helped Lu Feng up and then left. Lu Feng stared at Meng Jue and said nothing, and Meng Jue just quietly kneeled there.
Lu Feng was tired and closed his eyes, sighing “Fanning the flames so the Infante of Yen will rebel, increasing the conflict between Huo Guang and Shang Guan Jie, those who ought to die are dead and now Huo Guang controls the entire Han court. Are you happy now? Xiao Jue, you have wants that are too big, no wonder Jiu Ye won’t hand over his Xi Yu businesses to you.”
Lu Feng heard the porter speaking outside with a female voice “Who did you bring? Yun Ge?” Meng Jue replied “It is Yun Ge. I thought Uncle wouldn’t see a guest in your condition so didn’t dare let her in.” Lu Feng cut him off “Didn’t dare? Don’t act innocent with me. Let Yun Ge in.”
When Yun Ge came in, she saw Meng Jue kneeling on the floor and she went to kneel with him. The person on the pallet was sick but his eyes were still sharp and he didn’t have a sick patient’s demeanor. Lu Feng saw Yun Ge and smiled “Little gal, we’re not familiar with each other, why are you kneeling before me?” Yun Ge’s face turned red and she sneaked a glance at Meng Jue “You are Meng Jue’s elder. If Meng Jue kneels before you, I will kneel before you.”
Lu Feng smiled and nodded “Good girl. Have you decided to follow Xiao Jue then?” Yun Ge shook her head “No.” Both Lu Feng and Meng Jue were stunned and stared at Yun Ge. She smiled “I won’t be following him, and he won’t be following me. We will be together, we will walk the path together in the future.”
Lu Feng laughed out loud “Definitely Yu…..and…… their daughter……” He started coughing as he was speaking so Meng Jue got up and helped pat his back. He tried to take his pulse but Lu Feng waved him off “No need, it’s this way now. Let me laugh when I still can.”
Lu Feng looked at the two of them and then took out an ink badge from under his pillow and gave it to Yun Ge. She hesitated but then accepted it. Lu Feng smiled “Yun Ge, if Xiao Jue is ever mean to you, take this badge and someone who knows it will help you.” Yun Ge asked “The controller badge? I’ve heard of it. Oh, Mo Zhi! All the students of Mo Zhi the famed scholar must listen to the order of this badge.”
Lu Feng explained “I may not be a Mo student but I have always respected him. This organization sprung from students of his teachings and is very powerful. When they see this badge, they will do anything you ask. Chang An, so called a city named Forever Peace, but is in truth never peaceful. Keep this badge beside you to help you find peace.”
Yun Ge tried to give it back “I don’t need this.” Lu Feng insisted “Yun Ge, this is the wish of an elder, please accept it.” Yun Ge remembered what Meng Jue said earlier so did not decline again. Even though she met this uncle only twice, she felt a strange comfort around him. Plus he was Meng Jue’s uncle, so Yun Ge saw him as her uncle. She accepted the badge “Thank you, Uncle Feng.”
Lu Feng stared at Yun Ge “Seeing you with Xiao Jue, I am very happy. It’s too bad Jiu……” There were tears in Lu Feng’s eyes “Yun Ge, please step outside, I have a few things to say to Xiao Jue.” Yun Ge bowed and then walked out of the room.
Lu Feng said to Meng Jue “From now on, all the businesses in the Han dynasty and in Xi Yu belong to you to do as you wish.” Meng Jue straightened and bowed “Thank you, Uncle.” Lu Feng solemnly said “The first reason is because your last name is Meng, the second is because of Yun Ge, and the third is that we are all men, and I was young and had ambition before. Xiao Jue…………….” Lu Feng closed his eyes and stopped what he was intending to say. In the end, he just patted Meng Jue on the shoulder “You were beside Jiu Ye for many years, you must have been influenced by him. Since I’ve handed everything to you, I don’t want to waste my time on lecturing.”
Lu Feng closed his eyes “You can leave now, Xiao Jue! Now need to come see me again, I’ll be leaving late tonight. I want to go visit places I went as a child, and I finally have the time. I will go visit Xiao Dian and Xiao Lei as well.” Meng Jue bowed three times before leaving. When he lifted the curtain, he heard from behind him “Don’t let this chance pass you by.” Meng Jue’s hand hesitated and then he walked out to join the person waiting for him “Yun Ge.”
Yun Ge immediately ran over and Meng Jue smiled before taking her hand. Their affection with Lu Feng wasn’t very strong, and this parting Lu Feng was still rather alert and strong, so neither was feeling very sad though there was a sense of melancholy. Meng Jue held Yun Ge’s hand and they walked up the mountain.
They climbed to the top of the mountain, and when they looked down from the mountain at the peaks and up at the blue sky, their melancholy started to disappear. The wind on the mountain top was very strong, almost blowing Yun Ge off balance. Meng Jue pulled her into his embrace and turned his body to block her from the wind. He lowered his head and whispered in her ear “Did someone say back there she wanted to marry a certain someone? In the future, we can tell the kids ‘Back then it was your mom that was chasing your dad and hollering that she wanted to marry him.’”
Yun Ge was very open and forthright with Lu Feng back there, but now she was so embarrassed she wanted to find a hole and hide there. With Meng Jue teasing her, she turned her embarrassment into anger and tried to push him away “Who wants to marry you! I was just saying that to make Uncle Feng happy, it doesn’t count.”
Meng Jue’s arms didn’t loosen and he instead he hugged her tighter “Fine, that didn’t count back there. So let’s do it again. Yun Ge, will you marry me?” Yun Ge calmed down, and she remembered a night long ago when a different person said to her under the stars “I accept it, Yun Ge, so you must remember!” “With the stars as witness, no regrets and no change.”
“Yun Ge, will you marry me?” Meng Jue asked again, raising Yun Ge’s head and his eyes betrayed his nervousness. The stars of yesteryear was just a childhood dream, this person before her, this was the man of today. Yun Ge smiled and lowered her head, softly saying “You go ask my daddy. If my daddy says yes, then yes.” Meng Jue laughed “So does this mean you already said yes?”
Yun Ge didn’t say anything so Meng Jue lifted her chin. Before Meng Jue’s lips landed on Yun Ge’s cheek, she had already closed her eyes. In the desolate mountain top, the winds howling wildly. Whether it was Meng Jue’s hand or the wind, her hair pin was knocked loose and her hair came free in the wind. Meng Jue used his hand as a hair pin and wrapped her hair around his hand.
His hand became Yun Ge’s hair pin, and Yun Ge’s hair covered his entire hand. Meng Jue smiled and said softly as he kissed Yun Ge “Knotted Hair, Knotted Heart.” His face was cold but his lips was warm. Yun Ge didn’t know what was real and what was a dream. She seemed to see an entire mountain of red flowers blooming and then exploding in a heated fire as it applauded in the wind.
In the coming days, Yun Ge would do chores and just smile secretly. Or she would be holding vegetables and then zone out, not moving for some time. Her face would turn bright red and she would be in her own little world. Xu Ping Jun entered Yun Ge’s courtyard and saw her standing next to the water barrel, holding the water ladle and completely blanked out.
Xu Ping Jun sidled up to Yun Ge and whispered “Did you and Meng dage secretly get engaged?” Yun Ge’s face was beet red “I’m not telling!” Xu Ping Jun laughed and tried to tickle Yun Ge “See if I can’t make you tell.” Yun Ge laughed and tried to duck, using the water in her ladle to splash Xu Ping Jun but every time she missed.
As the two were having fun, suddenly a person walked into the courtyard. The water from Yun Ge’s ladle didn’t hit Xu Ping Jun and instead hit the person who walked in. Before Yun Ge could even say “I’m sorry”, she saw the person was Huo Cheng Jun. Yun Ge was frozen to the spot, not sure what to say or do.
Xu Ping Jun immediately stood beside Yun Ge, almost like they were going to face an enemy together. Huo Cheng Jun’s maid started yelling “Do you want to die? How dare you splash my lady………..” Huo Cheng Jun wiped her face and said coldly “I told you to wait outside. Why are you inside?” The maid immediately walked out.
Because this person was Huo Cheng Jun, the daughter of Huo Guang, Yun Ge didn’t want Xu Ping Jun involved “Xu jiejie, please go home first, I want to speak with Ms. Huo.” Xu Ping Jun hesitated for a moment before walking out.
Yun Ge handed a cloth to Huo Cheng Jun, who ignored it and stared coldly at Yun Ge. The water on her face was like tears, cutting down on some of her aura. Yun Ge took the cloth back and bit her lip, asking “You saved my life and I never did thank you properly.” Huo Cheng Jun smiled “Not only did you not thank me, you turned around and stabbed me in the back.” Yun Ge looked chastened “What do you want today?”
Huo Cheng Jun stared at Yun Ge, as if trying to understanding what Yun Ge had that she didn’t. She was beautiful, she was rich and powerful, she was her father’s most precious pearl. She always thought her life would be peaceful and luxurious, with everything she wanted. But these days, with the death of her sister and Shang Guan Lan, she was shocked out of her pampered dream.
As Huo Guang’s daughter, she could see her future, and she didn’t want it. She was accustomed to luxury but she didn’t want to just be a pawn like her sister for the Huo family and get married for a strategic alliance. She wanted to maintain her lifestyle but still stay true to the feelings in her heart. So Meng Jue was the only man who could make both her dreams come true. He had the power to protect her. She didn’t want to become the next Shang Guan Lan or even her own sister.
Yun Ge felt her goosebumps rising as Huo Cheng Jun kept staring at her, so she inadvertently took a step back “Ms. Huo?”
Huo Cheng Jun took a deep breath and then smiled as usual “Meng Jue is someone with great ambition. He is actually more like my father than even my brother. This is probably a reason my father likes him so much. Meng Jue’s future is a place where you cannot help him. Other than being a good chef, what other strengths do you have? Get into trouble? Have him get you out of trouble? Yun Ge, you should leave Chang An.”
Yun Ge smiled and made a gesture of sending the guest off “Ms. Huo, you can leave now. When I come and go needn’t worry you. The Emperor of the Han dynasty has not prohibited me from staying in Chang An.”
Huo Cheng Jun smiled confidently “My last name is Huo, so I can do whatever it is I want. I hope in the future you won’t stick around and make my life difficult, and we can give each other some dignity.”
From outside came the voice of Liu Bing Yi, likely he wanted to enter but Huo Cheng Jun’s maid was blocking him. Liu Bing Yi called “Yun Ge?” Yun Ge immediately replied “Big brother.”
Huo Cheng Jun laughed and shook her head “I just wanted to take a closer look at you today, and look how nervous you all are. If I ever did anything, what’s going to happen to you guys? I’m off now.”
She passed by Liu Bing Yi, normally she was as haughty as a phoenix, but faced with Liu Bing Yi’s piercing stare, she lost some of her swagger. Huo Cheng Jun didn’t understand why she would back down in front of a man wearing raggedy old clothes.
“Yun Ge?” Liu Bing Yi asked again. Yun Ge’s smile was the same, not affected by Huo Cheng Jun “I’m fine.”
Liu Bing Yi relaxed “At least you are confident in yourself. If it was your Xu jiejie, she’d be worried sick by now.” Yun Ge made a face at him “Is big brother calling me shameless? A little mountain hen standing before a phoenix and not having the self-awareness to feel ashamed.”
Liu Bing Yi rapped Yun Ge on the forehead “Yun Ge, you only need to remember that when a man likes a woman, it has nothing to do with her status, her power, or her wealth.” Yun Ge smiled and nodded her head.
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