Chapter 19 of Yun Zhong Ge marks the first chapter of volume 2 of the novel (in fact, Tong Hua re-starts her chapter numbering with each volume, but I’ve elected to continue the numbering for translation reference purposes). While volume 1 felt magical and expansive, like we are seeing something new and overwhelming that it takes time and patience to absorb it all, volume 2 instead turns inward. It’s a very intimate volume, with comparatively less action and more introspection. Volume 2 is my personal favorite out of the three volumes, finally tying together all the various threads established already and watching how it all plays out. If Yun Ge’s relationship with Meng Jue in volume 1 felt like the heady blush of first love, with pink cheeks, daydreams, and stolen kisses, then Yun Ge’s reunion with Ling gege explores another undeniable but wholly different romantic dynamic. It’s one with few words but complete emotional honesty, though it comes with a Heavens worth of baggage should she pick him. For now, let’s just make sure our Yun Ge is alright have getting stabbed through the chest. Then we can worry about all the other stuff.
Chapter 19: Post Ordeal Reunion
The eunuch dragged Yun Ge off to the side.
His movement was rough and it prodded her wound, the pain waking Yun Ge up.
She heard the faint voices of someone ordering a carriage to secretly take her to a jail cell to await interrogation.
Whether it was the pain, or the fires burning, but everything Yun Ge’s eyes saw was red and flaming. In the figures of the people around her, she saw a shadow that stood off to the side.
Everyone was abuzz but he remained silent and still.
The wind blew his robe around him, and on his waist……that jade……it appeared and disappeared with each wind gust……a dragon in flight.
Due to the loss of blood, Yun Ge’s mind was no longer fully conscious. Nevertheless, she subconsciously knew she had to crawl towards that shadow.
She tried to reach out her hand to grab that jade, and the trail of blood on the ground increased. But the distance was so far, and her strength was so little.
Try and then try, struggle and then struggle…..
She used all her might, but in the eyes of Heaven she in truth moved a few inches.
The eunuchs were checking the corpses of the dead assassins to find out any clues to their identity, then following Yu An’s instructions to burn the bodies.
Yu An tried many times to coax Liu Fu Ling back in the carriage and leave a few eunuchs to wrap up, but Liu Fu Ling just stood there watching the flames. In the inferno around them, Yu An felt the Emperor seemed so desolate.
He couldn’t fathom what the Emperor must be feeling right now, and didn’t fully understand why the Emperor wanted to quickly return to Chang An tonight but now was standing here not moving. Based on his personality, it was impossible for the Emperor to be frightened by a few assassins.
He couldn’t figure it out so he just stood silently behind Liu Fu Ling.
The wind blew his robe around him, and Yun Ge mumbled “Ling…….Ling……” She used all her strength and thought she screamed really loud, but in the wind blowing around her, it was just a moan.
Yu An heard a noise and looked down to see a dark figure covered in blood and mud reaching towards the Emperor and crawling over. He was so incredulous that he stepped forward and kicked Yun Ge aside “You guys, stop dawdling and hurry up here………….”
Yun Ge felt a sharp rending pain in her chest.
As her body rolled, she finally saw the face of that shadowy figure. Those eyes………those eyes………
She felt so much pain, more pain than the actual physical pain in her chest from the sword wound. Before she could figure out why she was in such pain, she fainted dead away.
Liu Fu Ling stared at the fire for some time before turning and getting back in the carriage. Yu An saw the Emperor get in the carriage and then heard him say very coldly “Return to Wen Quan Palace.”
Yu An called out “Return to Lu Mountain”, but the carriage traveled a ways before Liu Fu Ling “Turn around, back to Chang An.”
The carriage turned around and traveled for a bit before Liu Fu Ling called a halt. He appeared to be having difficulty deciding what to do. Yu An had never seen the Emperor this way before so he tentatively asked “Your majesty, shall we turn around back to Lu Mountain?”
Liu Fu Ling suddenly jumped out of the carriage and grabbed an eunuch similar in size to him “You pretend to be me and return to Lu Mountain. Yu An, you accompany me into Chang An. Everyone else return to Lu Mountain.”
Yu An was shocked and tried to dissuade the Emperor, or at least bring more people. Liu Fu Ling jumped on the horse “No one will suspect I would be so rash. Those assassins must not be sent to kill me. Based on what is happening, you shouldn’t worry about my safety, I ought to be worrying about your safety. Let’s go!”
Yu An didn’t understand what the Emperor meant, but after they rode for awhile, he suddenly realized what was going on. All of the Emperor’s concerns back there was for that yet-unseen Zhu Gong Zhi. The Emperor was afraid his actions would put Zhu Gong Zhi in danger, so he wanted to return to Wen Quan Palance. But he could not stop longing to see her, which caused his weird behavior back there.
The wind was howling outside but the owner of Qi Li Xiang was sleeping peacefully in his bed.
He dreamt that he was embracing a giant bag of gold and he was surrounded by more bags of gold. The owner of Yi Ping Ju was his waiter. He was laughing happily when he was suddenly rudely awakened. He thought it was his concubine and he reached out to grab her, only to touch a wide rough hand that was ice cold. He immediately woke up.
Standing before his pallet was a very menacing person, but for some reason, Uncle Chang’s attention was completely on another person standing in front of the window.
It was only a shadow, but in the darkness it showed a man who commanded attention.
Uncle Chang initially wanted to scream for help, but his voice disappeared back into his throat.
How could there be such a person in this world, who could make one feel fear or comfort, all without moving or even saying a word?
To have an intruder in the night meant a thief or a robber, but because of that shadow, Uncle Chang knew his life was not in danger.
The person standing next to the pallet appeared annoyed and flicked his wrist so that his sword was on Uncle Chang’s neck. Uncle Chang finally turned back at the person in front of his pallet.
The person’s face was concealed under a wide brimmed hat and he coldly stared at Uncle Chang “We’re not here for money or your life. I ask one question, you answer one question.” Uncle Chang blinked a yes with his eyes.
The man moved the sword away a few inches “Is Zhu Gong Zhi a man or a woman?”
“A woman. Everyone thinks its a man, but its actually a young girl.”
“Yun Ge, Yun as in white cloud, Ge as in song. At least that is what she told me. I don’t know if its a real name or not.” Uncle Chang saw the person standing next to the window appear to wobble slightly.
The sword holding man didn’t ask any more questions and the room descended into dead silence. Some time later, a cold and clear voice rang out “Is she……is she well?” His voice was suppressing so many things, and in the simple word of “well”, it felt heavier than a lifetime of waiting: long, hard, painful, longing, joy…………
Uncle Chang was used to reading people as he ran his business, but right now he couldn’t read that person at all. Should he answer in the positive or the negative? As he was thinking, the sword holding man ominously said “Tell the truth.”
“Yun Ge is well. If you sirs are looking for her, go out of this house and turn left. Down the alley there are two courtyards next to each other. The larger one is Lui Bing Yi’s home, the smaller one is Yun Ge’s home.”
Liu Fu Ling silently turned and walked out. Yu An used his sword and tapped Uncle Chang’s head “Go back to sleep and think of this as a bad dream.” Uncle Chang vigorously nodded his head. By the time Yu An sheathed his sword, his body had leaped out the door, as fast and silent as a phantom.
Uncle Chang incredulously rubbed his eyes and curled back into the blanket. He kept repeating “Bad dream, bad dream, its just a bad dream.”
Coming here they were in a rush, but now the person is right around the corner, Liu Fu Ling instead walked slowly. Under the Emperor’s casual demeanor, he appeared both happy and sad.
Yu An wanted to remind the Emperor that it was almost sunrise and they needed to hurry, but he sensed the Emperor’s odd vibe and decided to silently walked behind him.
“Yu An, what are the Heavens thinking? I actually already tasted her cooking. And you suggested I bring her into the Palace at that time. But I…….” Liu Fu Ling thought to himself that he felt the chef was a kindred spirit and he wanted to respect her wishes to be free. And at Gan Quan Palace, it was he who ordered her kicked out, so that Yu An was never able to find the singer.
Liu Fu Ling swallowed the rest of his words. Yu An knew how cold and cruel the reality it was for the Emperor to go from a playful mischievous little boy who played pranks with him into the seemingly dispassionate Emperor sitting on the dragon throne. Despite it being luxurious, but it was not comfortable. It was also precarious so a quick movement one would topple off.
“She’s been in Chang An for over a year. At the Princess’s Estate, we were separated by a wall. At Gan Quan Palace, we were mere steps from each other. In this not too small but not too large city of Chang An, how many times did we miss each other?” Liu Fu Ling was asking these questions filled with regret and sadness.
Yu An did not have an answer. He knew now that this Yun Ge was the person the Emperor had been waiting for since he was twelve years old. He knew the importance of Yun Ge in the Emperor’s heart.
All these years, day in and day out, year in and year out, he saw it all. No one knows how much the Emperor waited for her. No one knows how strong the Emperor’s conviction was in waiting for her.
During the day, regardless of enduring any treatment from Shang Guan Jie or Huo Guang, when the Emperor stood on top of Shen Ming Tai and looked up at the stars, he returned to normal.
To lower taxes and lessen punishments, the Emperor upset the power structure of the nobles and each step of his reforms was strongly opposed. But now matter how difficult the progress was, every time he finished viewing the stars, he would continue down his chosen path.
Because of Shang Guan Jie and Huo Guang, the Emperor was forced to take an Empress when he was just thirteen years old. The Han dynasty ruler, because of his one promise to a little girl, to this day has not consummated his marriage to his Empress, and has not touch any other woman as well. At twenty-one years old, most men would have wives and concubines, plus many kids already.
In an commoner family, the kids would be old enough to work in the fields. In a noble or royal family, the kids would be old enough to shoot a bow and arrow, ride a horse, and maybe even plot against siblings. Because of its importance to dynastic succession, the princes in the royal family typically focus on generating progeny. The former Emperor had his first woman when he was twelve years old. Other princes were already wedded no later than fourteen or fifteen, and then started having kids right away.
But the current Emperor has never even had a woman spend the night with him.
The Emperor could not oppose the will of everyone, he could not oppose fate, but he used his own methods to keep true to the promise he made.
Yu An finally said “Didn’t the Heavens let Your majesty find her now? Good things take time. Now that you’ve found her, everything will get better.” A smile appeared at the corner of Liu Fu Ling’s mouth, a genuinely happy smile despite the undercurrent of bitterness “You’re right. I’ve found her.” And with that last word, he quickened his footsteps.
Yu An also sped up and the arrived at the house Uncle Chang mentioned. Yu An wanted to knock but Liu Fu Ling stopped him “I’ll knock myself.” But he stood in front of the door for some time and didn’t move. Yu An teased “Is Your majesty feeling shy? Let me do it.”
Liu Fu Ling smiled at his own nervousness and then started knocking.
Because she had things on her mind, Xu Ping Jun couldn’t fall asleep. Liu Bing Yi next to her appeared to also have a lot on his mind, and he kept tossing and turning. It was late into the night before Liu Bing Yi fell asleep, and Xu Ping Jun could no longer stay on the bed. She got up to do some chores.
She was about to chop some food for the chickens when she heard knocking from the other house. She put down the knife and walked to the door to listen. The knocking wasn’t loud, as if the knocker was afraid of alarming the person inside the house. But the knocking was persistent, even knowing now that no one could be inside the house. The knocking continued, as if it would go on forever so long as no one answered the door.
Xu Ping Jun quietly walked over and softly asked “Who are you looking for?” Liu Fu Ling’s hand halted and Yu An turned around “Madam, we are looking for Ms. Yun Ge.”
Xu Ping Jun knew everyone that Yun Ge knew in Chang An, but these two people she had never seen before “You know Yun Ge?” Yu An smiled “My young master knows Yun Ge. Can we ask where Ms. Yun Ge went?”
Xu Ping Jun could only see Liu Fu Ling’s side profile but it was enough to convince her that this man had an incredibly regal aura. It made her feel in awe and afraid, so she decided to tell the truth “Yun Ge left Chang An already.” Liu Fu Ling turned around suddenly and stared at Xu Ping Jun “What did you say?”
Xu Ping Jun felt like his gaze was swift as lightning, not angry but powerful, so it made her take a few steps back “Yun Ge left Chang An last night. She said she missed home, so…..” Xu Ping Jun couldn’t finish her sentence anymore.
She was so startled by him earlier that she finally got a good look at his face. Even though his eyes were different than Liu Bing Yi, but there was a striking similarity. Yu An saw that Xu Ping Jun was just staring at the Emperor so he walked forward and moved into her line of sight “Did Ms. Yun Ge say when she was returning?” Xu Ping Jun shook her head. Yu An asked again “Do you know where Yun Ge’s home is?”
Xu Ping Jun shook her head again “Her family appears to love traveling, and they have residences in many places. I only know she’s headed to Xi Yu now.” Liu Fu Ling turned and leaped on his horse, flying forward like a shooting arrow. Yu An also jumped on his horse and followed. Xu Ping Jun stood there staring dumbly as Liu Fu Ling disappeared from view.
When she entered the room, Liu Bing Yi was getting ready to rise, dressing as he asked “Who was here so early?” Xu Ping Jun quickly got busy with chores again “Aunt Yu came to borrow a flame.”
From when the sunrise was a thin line until it was almost morning light, the horse hooves rushed forward. The wind gradually stopped and the sunlight was very lovely. But Yu An felt it was even colder than it was last night. Since she left last night, how could they catch up? And how could the Emperor not know this?
The trees rushed past them and soon they had passed Lu Mountain already. The sun started to tilt towards the West but Liu Fu Ling continued to press his horse forward.
An old man carrying a bundle of wood on his back was slowly walking down the mountain. Because his ears weren’t so good, he didn’t hear the horse hooves and walked into the middle of the road. When Liu Fu Ling turned the corner and saw him, it was already almost too late. The old man was rooted in place in shock.
Thank god Liu Fu Ling was riding a Blood Sweat Horse and at the very last second heeded Liu Fu Ling’s command and halted. Yu An jumped off his horse and pulled the old man aside. The old man was not harmed but his bundle of wood was scattered everywhere. The old man felt his legs weakened but he went to collect the wood anyways.
Liu Fu Ling got off the horse to help the man collect the wood, but he had never done any physical labor before so he had no idea how bundle the wood together properly. The old man glared at Liu Fu Ling “Can tell you don’t do hard work so stop adding more work for me.”
Liu Fu Ling awkwardly stopped and then looked at Yu An, who bowed and whispered “My master didn’t teach me this, so I don’t know how either.”
The two of them could only stand to the side watching an old decrepit man hard at work. They could only bring the wood that had fallen farther away over to him. To lessen the awkwardness, Yu An tried to talk with the old man “Old sir, why are out gathering wood at your age? Don’t you have filial sons and daughters?”
The old man humphed “The full Han Emperor knows not the suffering of his hungry Han citizens! Can I stop paying taxes? Will you take care of me? With a son who does nothing all day long, of course the parents have to keep working. We keep working until the day we can’t move anymore, and hope that the Heavens will take us earlier rather than later.”
In the Palace, Yu An’s position of power is below only one person, and above thousands. Even Huo Guang is polite to Yu An. Yet today Yu An has been berated by a old farmer so shockingly that it left him speechless.
When the old man finished gathering his wood, Yu An took out some money for him as an apology for frightening him. The old man didn’t take all the money, only a few pennies, and even then he looked a bit awkward about it “To buy some sweets for my grandchildren.” He then bowed and turned to leave “You guys don’t seem like bad people. Next time pay more attention to the road when riding your horses.”
Yu An has seen enough greedy grasping people, already wealthy beyond belief and still wanting more money or power. Today a poor old farmer was faced with money and only took a little of what he wanted to make his grandkids happy. Yu An stood there in shock, staring at the figure of the old farmer as he walked away.
After some time, Yu An asked “Your majesty, shall we continue to chase?” Liu Fu Ling stared at the old man’s departing figure and he silently shook his head. He got back on the horse and turned towards the direction of Lu Mountain.
Yun Ge, no matter how much I want to, in the end I cannot throw everything aside and selfishly follow you. I have my people, I have my responsibility.
Yu An breathed a sigh of relief “Don’t worry Your majesty, I will order people to chase her. No matter how fast Ms. Yun Ge is, she can’t be faster than the dynastic gate posts set up on the way to Xi Yu.”
Meng Jue tried to push down all the noise in his mind and heart. He sought an audience with Liu Fu Ling first thing in the morning, wanting to finish this important matter so he could quickly rush to find Yun Ge. He didn’t know how Yun Ge knew about him and Huo Cheng Jun, but based on Yun Ge’s reaction, she must somehow have found out. This is the only thing that could make her so decisively cold towards him.
From dawn until noon, from noon until afternoon. He waited and waited, and Meng Jue couldn’t help but feel annoyed. But the other person is the Emperor, and Meng Jue is the one seeking his help. He had no choice but to wait.
Liu Fu Ling finally appeared around dinner time, looking exhausted and saddened, making him seem quite shaken. The moment he walked in, he didn’t even wait for Meng Jue to kneel before saying “I was delayed by something important.” Despite his casual explanation, it was clear Liu Fu Ling’s words were sincere, and Meng Jue’s annoyance went away some.
He bowed and smiled “When I arrived, I was already told I would not see you until evening time, so I didn’t wait longer than I was told.” Liu Fu Ling lightly nodded his head for Meng Jue to sit and cut to the chase “What is there that Huo Guang can’t give you? What do you want from me?”
Meng Jue startled and then smiled “I am asking Your majesty to protect my worthless life.”
“What crime is Huo Guang planning to saddle you with?”
Meng Jue replied “Treason. Huo Guang has evidence that I associated with the Infante of Yen and Shang Guan Jie.”
Liu Fu Ling stared at Meng Jue and calmly asked “What’s wrong with Huo Cheng Jun? I’ve heard she’s quite pretty and Huo Guang favors her greatly. I’m sure her personality is unique enough.”
Meng Jue smiled “I don’t claim to be a virtuous person, and I admit I am seeking power. But even with the prospect of power, I will not be forced into something. If I want something, I will achieve it myself.” Liu Fu Ling asked “Since you came to see me, you must already have a plan then.”
“Yes. If Lord Huo wants to nominate me for an official position, will Your majesty appoint me the position of Sir Dong Lian.” Liu Fu Ling thought about it and stood up “I grant your request. If you need anything but can’t come see him, you can find Yu An.” Meng Jue walked Liu Fu Ling out “Thank you, Your majesty, for this trust in me.”
Yu An walked behind Liu Fu Ling and finally couldn’t hold it in any longer “Your majesty, I’m stupid so can I ask what is going on? Huo Guang is cautious and until he completely trusts Meng Jue, he won’t give him an important position. But it would definitely still be a position more powerful than Sir Dong Lian. In our dynasty, the official positions were created by the first Emperor, and in the first hundred official positions created, it didn’t include the position of Sir Dong Lian. This position was created only recently by the last Emperor and hasn’t even been listed in the official registers of ranking. The position Meng Jue is asking for appears to be one that no one seeking power would aspire to. Can Your majesty trust him?’
Liu Fu Ling explained “One: Sir Dong Lian may be a lowly ranked position, but it was created by my father as a guardian of the interests of the common people. It is a position with one purpose “Outside of the official one hundred, within the hearts of the people, enforcing laws, punishing violations, overseeing all of the court officials, listening to all the grievances of the people.” Meng Jue wants this position because of this very purpose. With it, it will be hard for Huo Guang to deal with him later on. Two: right now all positions in Chang An pass through Huo Guang’s hands. If its an important position, Huo Guang won’t agree readily. Meng Jue knows the situation well in Chang An and in asking this of me, he’s not putting me in a difficult position.”
Yu An thought about it and suddenly was overjoyed “No wonder Huo Guang wants Meng Jue so much, and if he can’t get Meng Jue on his side, he’ll destroy Meng Jue rather than risk him becoming an opponent. Congratulations to Your majesty for getting such talent on your side!” Yu An went off to prepare dinner.
Despite having no appetite, he didn’t eat all day and needed to stay up late to go through official documents. Liu Fu Ling intended to force himself to eat, but when he saw the dishes brought out, he thought about the person cooking for him at the Princess’s Estate. He thought about solving the riddles and how happy he felt to feel this kindred understanding with the chef. His heart sank and he couldn’t bring himself to eat a bite. He quickly got up and went to his study.
It was past 2 am by the time Liu Fu Ling finished his work. Yu An carried a lantern and accompanied Liu Fu Ling back to his sleeping residence.
When they stepped outside, it was a night full of stars. Perhaps it was the wild winds from last night, so tonight there wasn’t even a cloud in the sky and the stars shined clearly.
The sky was as brilliant as blue black crystals, with each star extra visible. Liu Fu Ling halted in his steps and craned his head to look towards the sky. Yu An silently sighed. As usual, he quietly stepped back and blended in the darkness, leaving Liu Fu Ling space and time that genuinely belonged to himself.
After some time, Yu An came back wanting to encourage Liu Fu Ling to continue to bed, but he heard Liu Fu Ling appear to be talking to himself. After he listened carefully, he realized that Liu Fu Ling was reciting a poem, and it was the same phrases “Traveling to traveling, a parting with a gentleman. The parting is thousands of miles, each at a corner of this world. The road block is long, unknown when to meet again………….. The days parted is growing longer, the clothing grows shorter…………..The floating clouds cover the sky, a traveler does not return…………Missing you spurs on aging, time waits for no one.”
Yu An purposely made his footsteps heavy and the voice immediately stopped. Liu Fu Ling turned and walked towards his residence. The little eunuch lit the way ahead while Yu An followed behind. “Your majesty, I have ordered people to check the roads and toll gates from Chang An to Xi Yu.” Liu Fu Ling lightly nodded and said “Please be careful.”
“Your servant I understand. And……your servant I am useless. That assassin we captured is heavily injured and lays in a high fever and unconscious. We have not been able to interrogate her. From her body we only found some empty pouches and no clue to her identity. I am worried the assassin won’t survive the next few days, and then all clues will die off………..”
Liu Fu Ling calmly said “It’s doesn’t matter. There is only someone who can track my movement in such a short time and send assassins. And that attempt didn’t appear to be trying to kill me. At this point, he won’t try anything rashly. Yesterday’s attempt might have been a testing of the waters. Yu An, you may need to protect me, but right now you need to be more careful about your own safety. If someone wanted to control a flying bird, the first thing he needs to do is pluck the feathers off the birds wing so the bird cannot fly. To me, you are more important than flying is to a bird.”
Yu An stumbled and croaked out “Your majesty need not worry, I will forever serve Your majesty. I plan to serve your sons and grandsons, and train great servants for them as well…….”
Liu Fu Ling’s expression shuttered and Yu An realized immediately he said something wrong and shut right up. After they turned the corner, a few night shift eunuchs were chatting under the awning. Liu Fu Ling heard a few scatterred sentences “………So funny………eyes hurt……all thought it was poison………just some harmless spices…………..” The voices were low and punctuated with laughter.
A thought flashed through Liu Fu Ling’s mind. His entire body stiffened. Years ago, Yun Ge tossed spices into the eyes of those soldiers. Yesterday’s spicy sensation was smoke that wasn’t poisonous. And that young woman said Yun Ge left Chang An last night………yesterday night?
Thoughts about the past and present swirled in his mind. Yu An thought the Emperor was upset at the eunuchs joking and immediately kneeled down “Your majesty, your servant I failed to train them properly…….”
Liu Fu Ling cut him off “Yu An, yesterday’s spicy smoke was just spices?” Yu An hesitated and had the eunuch Qi Xi called over to answer. The eunuch who arrived was there last night chasing Meng Jue and Yun Ge “Your majesty, because there was a fire afterwards, we don’t have any residue to investigate. So we can’t be certain what the smoke was last night. But the smoke that came later was indeed poison, and very powerful poison concocted by a master.”
Liu Fu Ling asked “What did you guys mean about the spices then?” “Your majesty, an assassin tossed some spices at us and hollered that it was poison. So we are all jokingly suspecting that the first spicy smoke was likely made from spices as well.”
Liu Fu Ling’s body teetered and he had to hold on to the railing for support. His low voice was filled with despair “The assassin who tossed spices at you……has she……..has she been killed?”
Based on the Emperor’s reaction, Yu An immediately realized what had happened. His face turned ashen and he kicked Qi Xi down “Why didn’t you tell me these things!” Qi Xi was in pain and nervous “I didn’t think it was anything important. All the assassins were wrapped snuggly from head to toe, it was pitch dark and there was smoke everywhere and we were tearing up from the smoke. We couldn’t tell who was who, so we didn’t know who threw the spices at us.”
Yu An hollered “Get out of here!” He then took out a few embroidered pouches and handed it to Liu Fu Ling, explaining with a shaky voice “Your….Your majesty. I heard from the interrogators that the assassin in the jail cell is…..a girl. Your servant I am such a fool. When I saw the embroidered pouches I never even considered that possibility. It really was a stretch to connect Ms. Yun Ge with the assassin. But…..your servant I am a such a fool!” Yu An slapped himself on both cheeks “Your majesty, Ms. Yun Ge is likely in the jail cell right now.”
Liu Fu Ling reached for the embroidered pouches. He saw one was embroidered with white clouds and his heart shrank into a knot. He put a pouch under his nose and smelled the scent of cooking spices. How many girls would put cooking spices instead of perfumed flowers in their embroidered pouches? He tightly grasped the pouches and said with a scratchy voice “What are you waiting for?”
Yu An stopped hesitating and immediately started running as he led the way. To prevent prisoners from escaping, the stairs leading down to the prison are very narrow and steep. It was hidden deep inside the ground, never seeing any sunlight or ventilation. The damp prison quarters smelled sour and foul.
Every step Liu Fu Ling took, his heart shrank another circle.
Yun Ge, Yun Ge, I was the one who caused you to be imprisoned in a place like this? I was the one who caused you to be gravely injured?
From last night until now, for an entire day, I’ve left you here to await death?
Liu Fu Ling……just what have you done?
Yu An’s voice was as tiny as a mosquito “Because we want to interrogate her, a doctor has tended to her injury. She’s been kept in the best prison cell, and given a mattress……….” Yu An could no longer explain when he saw what the “best prison cell” looked like. He immediately shut up.
A coarse blanket was wrapped around a completely lifeless girl. Her hair was scattered around her in the mud. Her face was completely white, so white that even her lips didn’t appear to have a drop of blood.
Liu Fu Ling kneeled down next to her as his cold hand caressed her cheek.
It was burning hot…..not…..not icy cold……..
Thank god it was not icy cold………but why was it so burning hot?
Yun Ge? Yun Ge?
He touched her neck but could not find the hair rope. But the whistle around her neck was the same one he always remembered.
Liu Fu Ling trembled and he tenderly and gingerly cradled Yun Ge in his embrace, just like when they were kids.
One of Yun Ge’s shoes was completely soaked through with blood, and the other shoe was missing, leaving only an exposed foot covered in mud.
Liu Fu Ling used his sleeve to wipe, but he could not wipe clean the blood and dirt from her foot.
On the back of a Sky Mountain snow camel, a little girl’s smile was as brilliant as a flower.
Her white exposed foot was half dangling out of a pearl embroidered shoe as it swayed under the hem of her green woven skirt.
His hand holding the whistle clenched into a tight fist. He used such strength that the whistle dug into the palm of his hand, drawing blood.
Yun Ge! Yun Ge!
Nine years later, how can it be that this is how we are reunited!