Yun Zhong Ge Chapter 22: Two Shadows in the Window

I don’t really like leads who avoid confrontation and don’t demand explanation. I concede Yun Ge is sheltered and really naive, and when faced with disappointment and heartbreak her first instinct is to flee. But that bothered me because she’s got to face Meng Jue eventually, and its better if she told him off rather than take off. Her mommy Yu Er does so much better in that department, as she pretty much pestered Jiu Ye until the very end when she had no choice but to take no for an answer. Either Yun Ge really ends it with Meng Jue properly so she can start anew with Ling gege, or if she still had feelings for Meng Jue, then she might as well try to work through their issues and maybe learn to forgive his deception because ultimately he fell in love with her and is choosing her. Tong Hua writes so little of Ling gege yet I can almost say with certainty his personality is very crystal clear. If Yun Ge went back to Meng Jue, he’d be the first person to wish her well and give her back her shoe, because he loves for her to be happy more than himself. I don’t see that in Meng Jue, which is why I prefer Ling gege for her.

Chapter 22: Two Shadows in the Window

A luxurious carriage departed from the Muo Yang Residence of the Imperial Palace. Inside the carriage was the Empress of the Han dynasty – Shang Guan Xiao Mei. She entered the Palace before she was even six years old, but this was the first time she had ever left the deep recesses of the Palace since she entered.

She grew up being taught to behave like an Empress in her every gesture. To be elegant, refined, lofty. To smile with warmth, but not too much warmth. But right now she could not contain her excitement, and an uncontrollable smile came to her lips.

Big brother Emperor actually summoned her to Wen Quan Palace. She was about to see him.

Despite living in the back Palace residence, she knew all about the tension between her two grandfathers and the Emperor. She knew her two grandfathers forced the Emperor to marry her, and she could see in the eyes of the eunuchs serving the Emperor that they disliked her and guarded against her. But the Emperor who ought to hate her the most actually never once spoke coldly to her. In fact, he ordered Yu An to ensure her safety at all times.

But he always kept his distance from her, almost never looking at her with warmth. He never walked close to her, and therefore she never dared to walk close to him. But she understood why he kept his emotional and physical distance from her.

In the entire Imperial Palace, perhaps he was the only one who understood her pain. He understood how much she loathed the position of Empress. How could she have ever coveted the role of being the Mother to the entire world? She even wondered that if it wasn’t for this position of Empress, and she could call him just Big brother instead of Big brother Emperor, then he would treat her differently.

After her paternal grandfather died, everyone in the Palace was secretly joyous over the fate of the Shang Guan family, but at the same time, they grew even more fearful of her and the Huo family. She knew that they grew even more distant from her.

She grew so close to her maternal grandfather, so close that it appeared she forgot how her paternal grandfather, her father, her mother, and her younger brother all died. But wasn’t that the cardinal rule of surviving in the royal family? To learn to forget, to pretend that everything was perfectly normal.

Plus she believed that the Huo family will end up one day even worse than how the Shang Guan family ended up. For that, she must stay alive. She must stay alive so that when that day arrived, she will personally look upon what befalls the Huo family.

When that day arrived, she will finally be able to openly grieve for her parents and pay her respects. When that day arrived, she would tell them exactly what had happened to the Huo family, so that they would finally be able to rest in peace.

Shang Guan Xiao Mei looked out the window, but when she saw the carriage turn off the main road to Wen Quan Palace and head down a smaller path, she asked “What’s going on? Aren’t we going to see the Emperor?”

The eunuch Qi Si quietly replied “The Emperor is in a side residence of the Palace.”

Shang Guan Xiao Mei was confused. Those side residences were for servants and guards to reside in, so how could the Emperor be staying there? But she knew the eunuch would not give her any further information about the Emperor so she put her curtains down and waited.

They arrived at an average-sized courtyard, not as luxurious but quite refined. It looked like a simple residence. Shang Guan Xiao Mei suddenly felt her imperial attire seemed so out of place here. Before she left she went to all the trouble to dress herself up, but now she felt like she stood out like a sore thumb.

Qi Si saw her walk into the courtyard and pointed to the residence inside “Your majesty, the Emperor is inside there. I will leave you be now.” Qi Si bowed and walked away before Shang Guan Xiao Mei could dismiss him.

Shang Guan Xiao Mei looked towards the residence. A few white plum trees were blooming and obscured parts of her view. She could see part of a window where a man and a woman were sitting facing each other. They were playing Go. It was almost dusk and the waning sunlight happened to shine on the window, making the tableau appear almost like a painting it was so beautiful.

Shang Guan Xiao Mei was rooted in place unable to move, staring at the scene for some time. It wasn’t until Yu An coughed lightly next to her that she was startled out of her daze. Yu An bowed to her and she had him rise. She couldn’t help herself and asked “Who is that woman?” Yu An smiled “The Emperor brought Your majesty here so that Ms. Yun could meet Your majesty.”

Yu An did not say “pay her respects”, plus his words clearly said that Ms. Yun would be meeting her, and not the Empress would be meeting Ms. Yun. Yu An was a seasoned Palace pro and his words were always carefully chosen. He would not have misspoken in such a shocking way.

Shang Guan Xiao Mei’s heart thundered and she stared at Yu An. Yu An only slightly smiled back, not avoiding Shang Guan Xiao Mei’s direct piercing stare. Shang Guan Xiao Mei nodded her head “Thank you for the information, I understand now.”

Shang Guan Xiao Mei entered the room and was about to curtsy to Liu Fu Ling but he just waved her over. He pointed at her and appeared to want to say something, but when he turned to look at the girl sitting across from him, the words appear to be stuck in his throat.

Shang Guan Xiao Mei’s heart sank even further. As the Emperor, he couldn’t even bring himself to introduce who she was to this girl. Yun Ge saw a lavishly dressed young girl walk in and asked Liu Fu Ling “Do you have a guest?”

She noticed Liu Fu Ling’s expression so she looked at the young girl’s attire again and noticed that her age was about twelve or thirteen years old. Yun Ge suddenly understood and she forced a smile as she got up to formally bow “This commoner pays her respects to Your majesty the Empress.”

Liu Fu Ling grabbed Yun Ge’s arm and stopped her from fully kneeling for the curtsy “Xiao Mei entered the Palace before she was even six years old. I treat her like my little sister, you needn’t greet her so formally…..”

Shang Guan Xiao Mei laughed and clapped her hands “Big brother Emperor summoned me here to play. I was worried it was just a few more trees than in Chang An since its a mountain here, but who knew there would be such a beautiful older sister here. Jiejie, please don’t act like the others, being taller than me but always bowing and curtsying so you appear shorter than me. It causes me to feel awkward and not sure how to talk with them. No one understands how annoying that is!”

Xiao Mei was always a petite little thing, and right now she spoke in such an childish fashion so that it made her even cuter and mischievous, which helped to ease the awkward mood between them.

YUn Ge knew that Liu Fu Ling was so worried that she always wanted to leave, so he brought Xiao Mei here to show her. Yun Ge understood, especially since Yu An had already hinted at much that happened. Over the years, the Emperor didn’t even touch a single woman, which is why he was almost twenty-one years old and didn’t even have a single offspring yet. But every time she thought about him being the Emperor, and that he already had an Empress, it nevertheless made her feel very weird.

Yun Ge saw that Xiao Mei continued to stand so she gestured to the seat where Yun Ge had been sitting “Your majesty, please sit.”

Xiao Mei glanced at Liu Fu Ling and then sat down with a smile. Even when she was crowned the Empress at six years old, that day the Emperor didn’t even sit next to her. This was the first time she got to sit across from him. Xiao Mei said to Yun Ge “My name is Shang Guan Xiao Mei, Yun jiejie can call me Xiao Mei.”

Liu Fu Ling smiled at Xiao Mei and nodded his head. Xiao Mei felt this indescribable feeling in her heart as she wondered in a confused daze – so he is capable of smiling.

Liu Fu Ling wanted the standing Yun Ge to sit down next to him and tried to pull her, but Yun Ge kept trying to avoid him. Liu Fu Ling normally acceded to her wishes on everything, but this time he refused and forcefully pulled her down to sit next to him and wouldn’t let her stand behind him. One was pulling, one was ducking, both of them so stubborn. In all the jostling, Yun Ge was awkwardly contorted when she noticed Xiao Mei staring at them. She felt so embarrassed she had no choice but to give in to Liu Fu Ling and sit down next to him.

Liu Fu Ling said to Xiao Mei “You arrived just in time. Your Yun jiejie lost the Go match today so she will cook personally. Her skills are so good that after you eat her food, you might not want to eat Palace food anymore.”

Yun Ge pouted “Cooking is fine, but who said I lost the match? We’re not done yet, the victory is yet to be determined!”

Xiao Mei looked at the board and saw the match was still in progress. Despite the victory being yet undetermined, it was clear who was going to win. There were many times the black piece purposely left a weakness for the white to take advantage of and win, but the white piece was too softhearted and always passed up the chance. It was clear the skill differential in the black and white side was vast, so the outcome was inevitable even now.

Yun Ge saw Xiao Mei stare at the board “Looks like Xiao Mei is quite a talented player! You can use the already played pieces to predict the rest of the match.” Xiao Mei raised her head and laughed “I learned a bit in the Palace, but it was to pass the time. I don’t really understand. Your majesty, its like Yun jiejie said, the match is not yet clear who the victor will be.”

Lu Fu Ling turned to look at Yun Ge and tenderly asked “You want to finish this match?” Yun Ge shook her head “No” and snuck a peek at Xiao Mei, who had turned to stare at the plum blossoms outside, before softly saying “I know you’re going to win. What do you want to eat? Yu An says you love fish, so how do you like it prepared? I’ll make it for you.”

Liu Fu Ling thought about it and then softly replied “I want to eat “Missing you spurs on aging.””

Yun Ge’s face turned red “What’s that? I don’t know how to make it”, and then she got up and walked out. Who knew Liu Fu Ling would follow her out and accompany her to the kitchen “You cooked it for others already, why won’t you cook it for me?”

Yun Ge startled and then she remembered cooking in the Princess’s Estate and her heart thundered “You ate it? You were the one who guessed it all correctly? That huge reward was given to me by you?” Liu Fu Ling smiled and nodded his head.

Yun Ge suddenly felt this unending heartache inside, and in Liu Fu Ling’s eyes she could see that he was feeling the exact same emotion. Were they really fated, or not fated to be?

To say they are not fated – then why was it that all her thoughts and feelings, he understood it all, and all his thoughts and feelings, she understood it all. Him and her – one was quiet, the other active, yet they had the same interests and the same soul. To say they are fated – then why did they keep missing each other time and again. And now, because of his identity, a huge barrier had popped up between them.

Liu Fu Ling knew what Yun Ge was thinking and he said “The things in the past we cannot change, but the things in the future, we will make our own choices.” Yun Ge lowered her head. The future? Liu Fu Ling sighed. He knew that his identity was a huge blow to Yun Ge, so he could only choose to keep her here. He was gambling on using this one year to win Yun Ge’s heart. But could he really do that?

A year can be both short and long. She couldn’t be mopey all the time. And if she was planning to leave, she ought to treasure this time together even more. Yun Ge raised her head and smiled, saying in a cheerful voice “There is something else I need to get you back for. When the ice melts, I will push you into the cold water and make you soak in it for a few hours.”

Liu Fu Ling was so confused and asked “What for?”

Yun Ge thought back to that day in the Huo Estate – one was on the bridge, one was under the bridge – and her heart hurt again. But she said in a joking way “When I get back back for it, I’ll tell you why at that time.”

……………………………………………..

Time passed in the blink of an eye. From when Yun Ge was hurt until she fully recovered, she had lived with Liu Fu Ling in Wen Quan Palace for almost half a year.

This wasn’t completely unheard of. When Liu Che was in his old age, he lived in Wen Quan Palace most of his time. But Liu Fu Ling was right at the peak of youth and was worried it would be unseemly, plus it was almost nearing Lunar New Year and he needed to officiate celebratory events and prayer ceremonies to the Heavens to ask for peace and a plentiful harvest for the people. For these reasons, he had no choice but to return to Chang An.

Initially he wanted to leave Yun Ge in Lu Mountain, but he thought that people were bound to find out sooner or later, so he might as well make it known earlier. What was most critical was that he was not certain he could keep Yun Ge beside him after their year was up. Since they had been separated for so long already and had barely reunited, he was reluctant to be apart from her anymore. So he coaxed Yun Ge to return to Chang An with him.

Yun Ge accompanied the Emperor back to the Imperial Palace, and where to put her became a great source of headache for Yu An.

Inside Wei Yang Palace, other than the Emperor’s private residence of Xuan Shi Pavilion,it was Shu Fang Pavilion that Yu An liked the best amongst all the remaining residences. But the Empress resided in Shu Fang Pavilion. The other residences were too far away or too shabby or not secure enough.

Yu An thought hard and was frustrated that in the entirety of the majesty Imperial Palace of the great Han dynasty, where the previous Emperor had over three thousand wives, concubines, and ladies-in-waiting, he could not find a place to house Yun Ge.

As he was fretting, the Emperor made the decision for him. Liu Fu Ling told Yu An to place Yun Ge within Xuan Shi Pavilion. Yu An thought it was completely inappropriate but conceded that it was the safest and best solution right now. Plus the Emperor already decided, so Yu An could only go along with it. He placed Yun Ge in Xuan Shi Pavilion claiming that she was a Palace serving girl.

It was just a simple returning to the Palace, and Yun Ge was just supposed to be a simple Palace serving girl, but it caused the entire Han dynasty court to descend into thunderous shock.

The Emperor was not young and he didn’t yet have any offspring, so everyone was always paying attention to his personal matters. The next prince born would impact the ruling of the Han dynasty for the next few decades to come, and could be a perfect opportunity for someone to start the chess match from scratch. But the Emperor was not interested in feminine charms and had never selected a concubine or even slept with any Palace serving girl. Plus the powerful presence of the Shang Guan family and the Huo family aligned made everyone else give up and just wait around for the Emperor to consummate his marriage with Empress Shang Guan and produce the next prince born of Shang Guan and Huo family blood lines.

Suddenly there appeared to be a twist in this seemingly iron clad state of affairs.

Supposedly a girl can consummate a marriage once she is twelve or thirteen, but the Emperor still had not consummated his marriage to Empress Shang Guan. All the officials had been discussing this for some time, wondering if it was a sign of the Emperor’s intentions towards the Shang Guan and Huo families. Before people could figure it out, within a day the entire Shang Guan family had been wiped out, leaving the only remaining family member Shang Guan Xiao Mei.

After Huo Guang became the single most powerful official in court, he was very caring and solicitous towards his granddaughter Shang Guan Xiao Mei, and Xiao Mei appeared even closer than ever to her maternal grandfather. Huo Guang had been hinting at the Emperor recently to consummate his marriage, but the Emperor made no move to do so.

So to have the Emperor suddenly bring a girl with him back to the Palace caused everyone to descend into mad speculation. Right now Huo Guang was below one person and above everyone else, but if the future Crown Prince is not yet produced, then anything can change. Everyone watched this new development with curiosity and excitement, wanting to see how Huo Guang would react and waiting to see what would happen to that girl in the end.

Yu An was worried that Yun Ge would be unhappy in a foreign new place so arranged for a familiar face to be her servant. When Yun Ge saw the eunuch Fu Su, both of them were shocked and ecstatic.

That day, when the Infante of Guang Ling ordered his hounds to attack and Fu Su tried to protect Yun Ge and Xu Ping Jun, Yun Ge always remembered what he did. And Fu Su always remembered that Yun Ge wanted Xu Ping Jun to escape with him first.

Fu Su was born a servant and always thought his life was worthless. Even compared to the exotic animals who lived in the Princess’s Estate, if anything happened to them, the servants life could easily be forfeited. So it was his first time experiencing someone treating him like a human being.

Everyone thought Fu Su protected the girls because of his loyalty to the Princess, but in truth it was because they treated him like a human being and didn’t throw him away when faced with danger. So he treated their lives as valuable and knew that he wanted to protect them back.

After that incident, he gained the Princess’s trust and she placed him in the Palace. Though in truth it was so he could gather information for her and report back. But he needed to thank the Princess for that, because otherwise he would be dead now after everyone in the Princess’s Estate was killed after the attempted rebellion of Shang Guan Jie and Xang Hong Yang. Because Fu Su was already in the Palace, he was spared.

Since he arrived in the Palace, he was given marginal tasks since the Princess fell out of favor. So when he was summoned a few days ago to be prepared and go to Xuan Shi Pavilion, he was wondering why he was being placed in such an important position that every Palace servant dreamed of.

When he arrived today and saw Zhu jiejie, and learned that he was going to be her personal servant, Fu Su was so happy he thought this might be a dream. How could the Heavens be so good to him. Tonight when he went to bed, he must bow a few more times to the Heavens to express his gratitude.

…………………………………………

When Yun Ge first entered the Palace, everything was new and exciting for her. Accompanied by Fu Su and Muo Cha, Yun Ge thought that the Palace wasn’t as scary as she thought, and was actually rather fun. Forget everything else, even the decorations alone in the various residences and pavilions was enough to keep her occupied for quite some time.

Wen Shi Pavilion was painted with peppers and dirt mixed together, giving the walls a warm scent. The beams were made from cedar and the panels were made with amber. It gave off the essence of being in a green house when one entered, perfectly suited to its name.

Qing Liang Pavilion had cold jade tiles on the ground, with the bed made with precious stone and purple crystals lined the sides, which allowed this pavilion to be perfect for hot Summer days as it remained cool……………

Yun Ge played all around the entire Imperial Palace, and the places she loved the most apart from Xuan Shi Pavilion was the two repositories. Tian Lu Ge and Shi Zhang Ge were document and record keeping buildings where secret and precious texts were kept.

When Liu Fu Ling was meeting with his officials in the Great Hall and doing official work, Yun Ge squirreled herself away in the two record buildings to pass the time.

Today there were quite a few high officials who requested private meetings with the Emperor, each of them arriving one right after the other.

After dismissing Huo Guang, Liu Fu Ling looked a little tired so Yu An immediately asked the Prime Minister Tian Qian Qiu who was waiting outside to let the Emperor rest for a bit.

Liu Fu Ling sipped some tea and asked, with warmth in his eyes “Where is Yun Ge?” Yu An lit an incense and replied with a laugh “In Tian Lu Ge.” Qi Si quickly added with a smile “Ms. Yun is such an eager learner. Your servant I have never seen a well-bred lady who loves to learn so much. She is truly a lady with depth who is well matched to Your ma……….”

Yu An glared at Qi Si, so Qi Si immediately shut up. But he was confused. Didn’t Yu An teach him to learn to say things that made the Emperor happy? So what did he say wrong? He worriedly glanced at the Emperor’s expression but he didn’t seem upset and still looked rather amused, so Qi Si relaxed.

Learning? Liu Fu Ling thought about what Yun Ge was reading all day long in the book repositories and his head began to hurt.

Since she discovered that the Palace had “secret books” and “confidential journals”, she was vastly curious and took off reading. What’s worse, she insisted on talking about it with him every day after he finished his work.

“Was Emperor Qin Shi Huang really Lu Bu Wei’s illegitimate son?”

“Did Consort Zhao love Emperor Qin more, or Lu Bu Wei more?”

“What was the real relationship between the celestial Emperor Huang Di and Yen Nu? And what was Yen Nu’s real relationship with Qi Yo? Why did Yen Nu not help Qi Yo and instead helped Huang Di? If Yen Nu really was Huang Di’s daughter, then why didn’t Huang Di reward her after she earned a great victory? Why did he instead lock her up? Do you think Yen Nu hated Huang Di?”

All the bloody politics, all the dynasty ending warfare, all the fight for supremacy, when all that history got to Yun Ge, she turned everything into matters of love and lost.

He wondered what she was reading right now?

Liu Fu Ling snapped out of his daze and then realized that his exhaustion from meeting with Huo Guang was now gone. He was about to order Tian Qian Qiu brought in when he saw an eunuch poke his head in and summon Yu An. After Yu An spoke with him, he hurried inside and said something to Liu Fu Ling while looking very concerned.

Liu Fu Ling listened to what Yu An said, and after a moment of silence, calmly said “Have Tian Qian Qiu come in!”

Yu An was stunned. Did this mean the Emperor wasn’t going to do anything about it? He lowered his head and summoned Tian Qian Qiu.

Yun Ge was reading a story about Fu Su Gong Zhi’s travel experiences, which included poems he composed. When reading it, Yun Ge was pleasantly enthralled by it. She thought about Gong Zhi living such a full live, but in the end he killed himself. She sighed at the sadness of it all.

She suddenly felt someone standing behind her and she laughingly said “You’re done already? Come help me figure out what this poem means? It reads like a love poem written by Gong Zhi! I wonder which lady he wrote it for…………”

When she turned around, her eyes met Meng Jue’s completely disbelieving cold piercing gaze as he said “It really is you!”

Yun Ge’s smile froze on her face and her body shrank back. After being apart for half a year, he was thinner, which made his face more angular and lessened some of his previous gentle aura.

Yun Ge stared at him, her body unable to move, her lips unable to say a word. Only her heart felt like needles were pricking it, slowly and surely it pricked time and time again. Each stab went in slowly and painfully, but it was an invisible wound that left no blood but all the pain she felt. Even her lungs started to hurt, so much so that she started to cough.

Because she was well taken care of these days, it had been awhile since she had such a violent coughing fit. But the coughing woke her up from her shocked state so she stood up and prepared to leave.

She took two steps when she was pulled into Meng Jue’s embrace. His one hand traveled down her back helping her smooth her coughing, while the other hand took her pulse from her wrist.

After a few moments, Meng Jue looked less upset and in his eyes was a deep pain “I didn’t know you endured so much torment. Let me take you home right away, I’ll find a way to cure your cough.”

Meng Jue’s healing skills were exceptional and Yun Ge’s cough was back under control and her chest felt better. But she was still weak so when she tried to push Meng Jue away, she had no strength.

Meng Jue’s fingers caressed her cheek “Bing Yi is already a father, Xu Ping Jun gave birth to a son. Don’t you want to go visit them?” Yun Ge stopped moving and after some time, she smiled “That’s great.”

Meng Jue smiled “As the future husband to the boy’s aunt, I already gave him a money present for his one month celebration. As the aunt, you haven’t done anything yet.”

Yun Ge smiled bitterly “Meng Jue, you are you, and I am me. I’ve returned your hair pin to you. Whether you marry a Ms. Huo or a Ms. Wang, it has nothing to do with me.”

Meng Jue tenderly said “Yun Ge, even though I was in and out of the Huo Estate often during those days, and there was a lot of gossip, but I never intended to marry Huo Cheng Jun. I also never told Huo Cheng Jun that I would marry her.”

Yun Ge coldly laughed “Right! You never intended to marry her! Then who was it hugging her in public? Who was it that was so tender and intimate with her? If you didn’t intend to marry her, and you still treated her that way, then its even more heartless then if you did intend to marry her. Is it that you see every woman as only whether she has any advantageous value for you to use?”

Meng Jue never could have thought that Yun Ge had witnessed him with Huo Cheng Jun. His face turned white “Yun Ge, I have my reasons that I cannot explain.”

Yun Ge said “Meng Jue, you and I don’t place importance on the same things. And we do things completely differently. You need to go seek the things you want. What happened between us……let’s just treat it like it never happened………….”

Meng Jue pulled Yun Ge’s chin and kissed her, silencing her words “Yun Ge, no matter how you think of me, I’ve never not kept a promise. Since I made a promise to you that I will marry you, then I will follow through with that promise. I will marry you, you are who I want.”

Yun Ge’s chin was hurting from his grasp “You want too much, but a person only has two hands. Huo Cheng Jun is of value to you right now, but I……….I have no more useful value left to you.”

Meng Jue was stunned “Who told you I was using you?”

“I saw Uncle Ho, he said you need to call me big sister since we learned from the same master.” Yun Ge said this with a forced laugh, but her voice was quivering with tears “I might be somewhat stupid, but I’m not a complete idiot! When I first arrived in Chang An, who stole my pouches? The tune of “Cai Wei”, how much planning was concealed beneath it? Was that Gold Silver Flower hair pin for me, or for obtaining the untold wealth in Chang An? I don’t know how deep the former relationship of my parents were to Uncle Feng, but in the many years they haven’t seen each other, they still place value on it. But you cheapened that friendship into something you could use to obtain your goal. Uncle Feng and your adoptive father never got involved with the politics and power struggle in the Han court, but you are not like them. No wonder they were hesitant to hand you all the inheritance. For that reason, I became a chess piece you could use in your chess match. Now you’ve at least gotten half of what you wanted, Uncle Feng has given you everything in Chang An. With the money to pave the way, and the influence of the Huo family, you can climb as high as you want. All I hope is that you’re not in a rush to obtain your adoptive father’s wealth in Xi Yu, and not bring more disappointment and pain to him. And in that way, please leave me be.”

Meng Jue’s entire body was stiff as he stood there, unable to provide a single response or explanation. Because everything Yun Ge said was true!

His eyes stared at Yun Ge, in the depth of his eyes as beautiful as precious gems, there remained only desolation and despair as wide as the desert. His gaze pierced into Yun Ge’s chest and made her heart hurt more. She felt like a cough was coming so she pressed down on her chest, almost like she was pushing all her feelings right back inside of her.

Yun Ge pulled her hand back and tried to leave, but Meng Jue held on tightly, unwilling to let go. Yun Ge pried his hand off one finger at a time, slowly but surely removing Meng Jue’s hand from hers. In Meng Jue’s eyes she could see his unspoken plea, but Yun Ge could see only darkness.

When there was only one finger remaining, she shook his hand off and then rushed away from him. When she exited the building, she saw Muo Cha and Fu Su unconscious on the ground. No wonder Meng Jue could quietly walk up behind her.

Yun Ge’s heart thundered. Meng Jue was that daring and bold. This place was the Imperial Palace!

………………………………………..

There were no more officials waiting outside of the Great Hall. Normally at this time, Liu Fu Ling would leave and head to the book repositories to pick up Yun Ge and they would return to Xuan Shi Pavilion. But today, he ordered Yu An to bring some summons over and he started to go through official paperwork.

Yu An knew there were people secretly keeping watch, and if Yun Ge even called out once for someone, she would be protected and nothing would happen. Nevertheless, Yu An was worried. Yet the person who ought to be the most worried was instead calmly reading official documents.

Yu An sighed. No wonder there was that old saying “The Emperor doesn’t fret, the Eunuch frets to death first.” It’s not that eunuchs are more nervous, its that Emperors have such deep thought processes. But there was still something improper about it. Despite Yun Ge not having an official title, she still couldn’t be meeting with someone privately in the Palace.

Yu An heard footsteps coming this way and he finally relaxed. A few second later, an eunuch outside said “The Emperor is alone.”

Liu Fu Ling immediately tossed his brush down and his eyes lit up.

Yu An tried to contain his smile. So the Emperor wasn’t as calm as he appeared to be.

Yun Ge came running inside, her cheeks completely red. She ignored Yu An and immediately went and grabbed Liu Fu Ling’s hand, as if she was seeking a measure of comfort and solace in a turbulent world. Her other hand continued to press down on her chest, as if she was keeping all these things inside from spilling forth.

She smiled at Liu Fu Ling and appeared to want to say something, but before she could say anything, she started to cough. Her face was white and her cheeks extra red as she was coughing violently. Liu Fu Ling’s heart hurt and he quickly said “No need to say anything. I understand, I understand everything. If you don’t want to see him, then I won’t allow him to appear before you again. Don’t say anything, just take deep breaths and keep breathing…….”

Yu An ordered the little eunuch to go summon Dr. Zhang right away.

© 2012, ockoala. All rights reserved.

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Comments

Yun Zhong Ge Chapter 22: Two Shadows in the Window — 61 Comments

    • Being first showed how much I have waited for this. Need my dose of YZG sooooooooo badly. The wait is worth it, love LFL.

  1. Gosh! I love this chapter. LFL and YG are so perfect for each other. A man who knows what a woman needs and feels is the best partner!

    Thanks a lot! I was waiting all week and this chapter did not disappointment me.

    • agree.. i feel the same.. although this fall in line with the narrative (and allow us to see how awesome LFL is), still i thought it could be a bit more dramatic..

  2. Thank you! I love reading your translations. :)

    “Meng Jue cheapened that friendship.” Wow. The hairpin he gave Yun Ge was of the honeysuckle / lover’s vines. Talk about cheapening that experience too.

  3. Yehhheeeyy ! New Chapter ! Ah , Meng Jue and Yun Ge met again ! Now , I’m sure , I’m shipping Ling gege and Yun Ge !!!! Ah , Ling gege is such a wonderful guy ! no words needed , he understood yun ge’s feelings ….
    Thank you , Koala san ! Koalan san daisuki !

  4. Why did Ling Gege did not do anything and just wait?
    “When she exited the building, she saw Muo Cha and Fu Su unconscious on the ground. No wonder Meng Jue could quietly walk up behind her.Yun Ge’s heart thundered. Meng Jue was that daring and bold. This place was the Imperial Palace!”

    -What does it mean? Meng Jue knocked Muo Cha and Fu Su unconscious? if there are secret guards watching, how could Meng Jue do that?

    • Meng Jue comes in and out of the palace because he’s probably on official business, and no one was expecting him to do that, so he had a first mover advantage. LFL didn’t ask the guards to apprehend him because he wanted to see when Yun Ge would do.

    • The Emperor has tacitly allowed MJ to meet Yun Ge. When Yu An reported to him about MJ approaching Yun Ge, he chose not to do anything, hence Yu An understood that the Emperor wanted to allow MJ to see Yun Ge and let the two of them sort things out. This is yet another reason why I love Liu Fu Ling so much. He never forces things, he allows Yun Ge to make choices with full knowledge and without his interference.

      • you’re so right there, K. i love how LGG let YG sort out her problem herself eventhough he’s not onvinced YG will not leave him by the time their agreemtn ends.

        this act of LGG just shows you what a wonderful and great character he is.

      • Couldn’t agree with you more Ms K! Is there truly such a wonderful man around somewhere in this world or does he exist only in the imagination of Ms TH?

  5. I <3 Ling gege :)! I want one too. Please get me one for my Birthday. LOL. I love reading this story and reading/watching Korean drama recaps. All the guys are just perfect and lovely. We need more guys like that. If half the guys on this planet were to read/ watch cute things like this, we would have more perfect guys and maybe better relationships.

  6. Thank you to translate this novel for us !

    From some of the fact below,
    I thought that Liu Fu Ling arranged to make Yun Ge to meet up with Meng Jue . Liu Fu Ling is a gentleman and wants her to be happy. He gives her a chance to make a choice.

    – Initially he wanted to leave Yun Ge in Lu Mountain, but he thought that people were bound to find out sooner or later, so he might as well make it known earlier. What was most critically was that he was not certain he could keep Yun Ge beside him after their year was up. Since they had been separated for so long already and had barely reunited, he was reluctant to be apart from her anymore. So he coaxed Yun Ge to return to Chang An with him.
    – When she exited the building, she saw Muo Cha and Fu Su unconscious on the ground. No wonder Meng Jue could quietly walk up behind her.
    – Liu Fu Ling’s heart hurt and he quickly said “No need to say anything. I understand , I understand everything. If you don’t want to see him, then I won’t allow him to appear before you again. Don’t say anything, just take deep breaths and keep breathing…….”

  7. - There were no more officials waiting outside of the Great Hall. Normally at this time, Liu Fu Ling would leave and head to the book repositories to pick up Yun Ge and they would return to Xuan Shi Pavilion. But today, he ordered Yu An to bring some summons over and he started to go through official paperwork.

    – Yu An knew there were people secretly keeping watch, and if Yun Ge even called out once for someone, she would be protected and nothing would happen. Nevertheless, Yu An was worried. Yet the person who ought to be the most worried was instead calmly reading official documents.

    – Yu An sighed. No wonder there was that old saying “The Emperor doesn’t fret, the Eunuch frets to death first.” It’s not that eunuchs are more nervous, its that Emperors have such deep thought processes. But there was still something improper about it. Despite Yun Ge not having an official title, she still couldn’t be meeting with someone privately in the Palace.

  8. Beautiful. Bravo, YG! Thank you, thank you Ms. K for this riveting chapter as the Empress and MJ finally learns the truth about their respective “significant others.”

  9. thanks !! loved it!! my jaw dropped low when MJ suddenly appear. so ling gege confirmed that YG will not leave him right?

    aww…can’t wait …just reread DMY, will start rereading YZG again.

    xoxo

  10. I didn’t expect YG’s reunion with MJ so soon, nor did I expect for the author to say six months of YG’s year with Ling gege has already passed. Thanks to Koala’s preview of an upcoming chapter she posted awhile back, I know there’s going to be a dramatic event that causes YG to make up her mind once and for all. But, I feel kinda cheated out of a cutsey chapter of Ling gege being the perfect Emperor-boyfriend. (IMHO)

    Anyways…YG continues to hide or run away when MJ is around is due to something other (or in addition) to being coddled & naive. Her feelings are still in a jumble and she probably can’t face MJ and remain dispassionate without breaking down or displaying her lingering attachment. And it must be a little disconcerting for her to not feel in control of her emotions and she doesn’t want to show that to MJ.

    One day she should be able to pass him on the street and not feel everything as painful and raw as it was the day she hid in the water jar. But not yet. Now YG still needs to flee. I’m sooooo glad Ling gege is there to steady her.

  11. Thanks, Ms. Koala! Now Yun Ge is finally in the Palace! Props to Ling gege for being assertive in keeping Yun Ge by his side. I like how uncertain Ling gege is that he can keep Yun Ge by his side, but how he is willing to fight for their love in trying to win her heart. And he does it honorably without forcing her. I can see what you mean of how he does it in such a “Ling gege kinda way..”

    Thoughts:
    Poor Xiao Mei; she was so excited to see the Emperor and then she find him with another girl! So many firsts for her there.. First time to sit across from the Emperor, and first time seeing him smile…Probably the first time experiencing some jealousy as well. Yu An was smart though. His comment to her, “The Emperor brought Your majesty here so that Ms. Yun could meet Your majesty.” It allowed Xiao Mei to assess the situation and how important Yun Ge is to the Emperor.

    LFL is just so wonderful! He understands that YG will need to deal with MJ sooner or later. It’s not like LFL orchestrated it that they met, but more that MJ was already determined to see if the girl was YG and was already getting closer to finding YG and LFL just allowed for the encounter. His worried heart was so cute! His eyes lit up when he knew she came to see him and didn’t leave with MJ. =)

    Haha! thinking about YG reading all those documents made LFL’s head hurt! I can totally understand why too… =P Poor Ling gege… But if YG is ever able to survive in the Palace or in the political intrigues of the Palace, then maybe being aware of the history of all the past kings, queens, sons, daughters, officials, etc. might not be a bad thing considering how ignorant she is…

    Ack! How dare Meng Jue kiss Yun Ge!? And in such a situation and at such a place!? I wonder how LFL would feel about that if he found out? Yes, Yun Ge pretty much sums it up… “Yun Ge’s heart thundered. Meng Jue was that daring and bold. This place was the Imperial Palace!”

    But I have to admit that it did make me a little sad when MJ realized that he has lost YG when he found out that she knows everything. His look of despair and not wanting to let go of her hand was pretty heartbreaking. Still, I love Ling gege! But it doesn’t mean that I would turn heartless towards the other!

    Oh Yun Ge, Yun Ge, you give me mixed emotions.. and so do you, Meng Jue. But Ling gege, you just make my heart melt with your every word, action, gesture, and expression.

    • Hmm.. I might be thinking a little too much into it, but I wonder if Meng Jue was initially upset because Yun Ge disappeared for so long and he finally finds her in the Palace or that he is upset that she is with the Emperor. Meng Jue is a very smart guy so he should know that she’s with the Emperor since there has been gossip that a girl came back with the Emperor and Yun Ge is definitely at a place where no normal girls could wander off to… Come on, Tian Lu Ge where secret and precious texts were kept. And he did knock out Muo Cha and Su Fu who was certainly serving and watching over Yun Ge. If that is so, then Meng Jue was trying to put on his charms to charm her to leave with him knowing that she is the Emperor’s woman (or kinda since she technically is not formally the Emperor’s woman..yet.)! And how charming he really tried to be! Wow, how bold of him! Haha, that would be worrisome for Meng Jue then. If Meng Jue could fall for Yun Ge, definitely the Emperor can too! In his eyes, Yun Ge is one of a kind. And how do you fight against the Emperor?

    • Xiaoyi, agree with you absolutely about poor SGXM – my heart goes out to her. She and LFL are both similar in being victims of their birth and circumstance. Sadly, even if there were no YG, I doubt if LFL would have anything more than platonic affections for her.

  12. In a way, this chapter highlights how the two male leads are so different from each other. They may be both handsome suave etc, both probably love her equally but what is essential is what cannot be seen. Ling gege is the real deal.

    Thanks for another exquisite chapter, Koala. I am probably as riveted to this story as you are to K2hearts. For me, there is something extra when I read a story and let my imagination do the rest as opposed to actually watching it. Somehow the underlying feelings get intensified.

  13. i agree with your assertion, ms K. from what little has been written of LGG in this story, we could have clear picture of how his personalities are. i’d say jiu ye is like him in sacrificing themselves for the one they love.

    i like how YG let MJ know what he did that turn her run away from him. i hope by the way she’s running directly into LGG rather than waiting for him to pick her up, she’s already realised what her true feelings are. as LGG said
    “The things in the past we cannot change, but the things in the future, we will make our own choices.”
    hope YG relaised her feelings for LGG soon and brace the future bravely for 2 of them to be happy (at least before the sad ending … so wish Tong Hua made a twist in her re-written ending by letting LGG live)

    • I actually thinks LFL sorta feels like HQB. In a way that they don’t try to shield their love and let the girl decide herself. MJ and JY both wanted the girl to do what they think is best for her. JY want her to not be with her *at first* and MJ want the opposite. HQB although actively pursue YE but he let her decide.

      • technically, HQB didnt let JinYu decide. He did let her decide 99% or the time, but the 1% was at a pivotal time as well. I said HQB really played his card right.

  14. What a wonderful read! Both LGG and MJ in one chapter, interacting with YG on separate occasions. I must say that I am starting to like MJ more in this chapter than in any other previous ones. Stripped of his veneer of gentility, he comes across as surprisingly sincere and touchingly human. I like the fact that he no longer needs to put on a mask in front of YG and that probably started even before this encounter – when he confessed to not being able to taste food. The rough and rugged side of MJ is infinitely more attractive to me than the smooth and sleek one (Mr Teflon man!) I believe that if there were no LFL, and YG finds it in her heart to forgive him, MJ may just turn out to be loyal and true, definitely worthy of her love. However, there is LFL and honestly, after this chapter, I can say that there is no competition that comes close to LGG!
    Never before has it been made more obvious that YG and LFL are soulmates and kindred spirits. What was that old saying that if you truly love someone, you will set them free. If they come back to you, then it is meant to be. LFL attitude to YG and MJ’s relationship so closely reminds me of YG’s own feelings when she advised XPJ to give LBY some space (or something to that effect!). These two are meant to be – I love their companionable silences and TH has taken pains to tell us that they are best friends, if not lovers at this stage. Little wonder then that they should strike a chord when they met as children. Lest anyone dispels these childhood romances as pure fiction, I know of at least two couples who met as young children and have stayed together ever since.

    Thank you for a great read, Ms K. I can’t wait for the next instalment. I only hope that LFL and YG get to consummate their love (at least once!) before the great inevitable takes place!

    • 2 couples who stayed together are you talking about LFL and YG..
      But there is some tragedy right.
      And many things are gonna happen..

      • @ran. No, I was actually talking about real people. Yeah… sad that LFL and YG won’t have a lifetime together but I suppose it’s the quality of the time rather than the quantity that matters.. right?

    • @Darcy: Yeah, I agree that YG and LFL’s relationship is very much like best friends; they find comfort and solace in one another in deeper levels. They just understand each other like no other and complement each other in their need and weaknesses. They both aim to make the other person happy. It makes me think of their “Go” game. It’s just beautiful to watch.

      I still haven’t gathered my thoughts about MJ. I like him at times; I don’t like him at times. If you just take it as it is, then I like MJ. But then I concoct all these scheming into it and complicate the matter, so I can’t get myself to trust him. Talk about over thinking! However, his selfish motives don’t bother me as much as those downright evil manipulative characters in general who will do anything and everything to get what they want. At least there is a ray of light in his character which is love; he can selflessly love YG. Due to that, I cannot hate him. Also, I do believe that if YG really loved MJ and there was no LGG, then she would’ve forgiven him. That is the power of love – love covers all transgressions. But there is a LGG.. and one whom Yun Ge has loved for pretty much more than half of her life and he is exactly as how she has imagined him to be……….

    • I agreed that LFL and YG are soulmate more than lovers at this point.
      Funny how people think soulmate is the “one”, but it doesnt have to be in the form of a lover. What LFL and YG share is much deeper. I always think soulmate are people whose fates from their last lifetime have yet unfinished, so their fate continue in their current lifetime. And that is what I feel toward LFL and YG, and even their fantasy-like meeting. Their relationship feel out-of-this-world. They are two peas in the same pod, two separated but identical twin of fate.

      When I think about MJ, i think about him – his past, his ambitions, his determination, his manipulative way. I think of him as a fascinating character.
      But when I think of LFL, i cant think of him as one person, a separated identity. When I think of LFL, I think of YG. Like they are one – if i understand LFL, i can almost understand Yunge and vice-versa. Maybe that’s explain why although little had been written about LFL but I felt he has always been together with us from the beginning and every step of the way. He is presented through YunGe. Sometime, they feel like the same person. 2 person who long for love, for honesty – 2 looking at the same sky and counting the stars, singing the same song and having the same thoughts.

      • @Annie: I really like your analogy on soulmate. I never really thought deeply about what that meant since I don’t believe it soulmates. But you have described it very beautifully and understandably and in context for this novel, which now allows me to enjoy the interaction between Ling gege and Yun Ge even more. (= Thank you!

  15. I knew what will happen to LFL, thus reading this chapter and seeing how happy he is with YG made me even sadder. The fact that TH can come up with this painful love story is really beyond my imagination.
    Thank you Koala san for translating ^_*

  16. Thank you so much!! I was waiting eargerly!! This chapter is SO GOOD! I cant wait for the next one now.. >__< :) Thanks!

  17. Thank you. Oh my god, Meng Jue really dug his own grave. Now she won’t even listen to his explanation. He loves her but she is angry and going to forget him. The Emperor loves her but she doesn’t really have him in her heart again. Aigoo, now everyone is hurting. And this is not even the chapters where things gets complicated right?

    Oh dear.

  18. TH did a great novel….sometimes I wonder whether she did travel from the past…I am marvelled how she could weave love story in between real historical life.

    • ooohhh….really? LGG will have a Real talkies with MJ…..hope, it will go like this: MJ, ” u know we’re engage since so so age….i got a pearl green shoe from her” then, LGG will reply, ” u know, i also got a pearl green shoe from her and we also slept together under the stars….and, she first sang to me….how can u beat that? ” lolz! more LGG. ” deal with in man….YG is mine! ” *swoony!* ” she doesnt want your user friendly heart….u smoozey with HCJ, u lose!” MJ retorted, ” face it man….U cant marry her! and I can!”…..and added, ” dont care if ur soul mates coz im more bold and brazen than you….ur like my adoptive father but im more like YG’s father….what’s your take on that? ” *hawt!* lolz

      Thanks msK for a wonderfully translated chapter *hugs*

  19. Such a lovely chapter with tender moments between LGG and Yun Ge! LGG is so perfect, perhaps impossibly perfect as it’s hard to think as any real life man who thinks and acts like him

  20. Nice chapter! Thanks Koala!

    It occurred to me during the week how similar Meng Jue is to Emily in ABC’s revenge show. Their parents were murdered by the people in power. Their childhood stolen from them. They both used other people to achieve their goals e.g. Meng Jue used Yun Ge while Emily is using Daniel to get back to his family. They both faced a dilemma to choose love or ambition (Menj Jue choosing between Yun Ge and HCJ while Emily choosing between chilldhood love Jack and Daniel). Both want power so that they could have their vengeance and not allow anyone to take advantage of them, etc… Does anyone else see the similarities?

    Poor Empress!

  21. I hope with the little time they had, Yun Ge will make Liu Fu Ling happy.
    I’m so mopey when it comes to LFL. I think I understand why TH wrote a letter for him. Do you have plan to translate the letters miss koala?

  22. oh man I was waiting for that exchange between yun ge and meng jue from the moment she decided to leave him.

    Gah I just love how they really don’t need to say anything and still understand what they are thinking. The way he allowed her to settle her own problems and not try to force anything with her is just so marvelous.

    Here’s to hoping that she can return his affections more freely now that she’s had that exchange with Meng Jue. Although perhaps I would like to hear what Meng Jue has to say now that he knows that she knows….

  23. Thank you again for another fantastic chapter. I’m saddened to know that LFL is somehow going to meet some sort of tragedy as he and YG make such a great couple. Even though they are only good friends now. Life has an uncanny way of throwing in the unpredictable but I wish we get to see YG and LFL live to a ripe old age. What I would like to see…is LBY ascend the throne and LFL and YG live out a peaceful life, juz like HQB and YE.

    • I think that is what most people would like to see.. Unfortunately, TH isn’t that nice. I sometimes wonder if she’s a sadist and enjoy writing these sad endings (minus DMY and probably other books, but I’ve never read them so I wouldn’t know..). Then again, it is hard to change a story and stay within the confines of history. Since she already did that with HQB, it’s a little hard to do that with LFL. And LFL is an emperor, not a commoner. He has responsibilities. If he has given up the throne just to run away with YG, then you would call him an irresponsible emperor, which he is not. Since we already know the ending in respects to that, then I think it’s right to say that we should just enjoy and cherish the moments that Yun Ge and Ling gege have together. =) Though in the back of my mind I still wish that they will just travel away in the setting sun together, that Ling gege will finally be able to travel the world instead of reading discovery and expedition books so that it would just feed into my unreasonable desire… I guess it’s a good thing that Ling gege requested for a year so that we could have the one year of unforgettable courtship between those two. But it is rather bittersweet………

      I do thank Ms. Koala in warning us that it’s not a happy ending (for everyone it seems), else the shock from the devastating ending would probably make me want to throw my laptop across the room. I just hope I can make it to the end…..

      • I’ve already accepted the fact that TH is not going to change the course of history and LFL will die young. So once, this is a given, I can enjoy the story and make the most of the OTP’s special moments together. What I do like about the story is that the character of LFL does seem to be consistent with the very little we do know about him (from history) – that he is not reactive, is not easily swayed by popular opinion and that he is known to be exceptionally insightful, even from an early age. However, as YG and MJ are both the children of Ms TH’s creative imagination, I would hope that TH could make things a little easier on them and give them a happy ending after they suffer the usual trials and tribulations of young love. However, I can guess from the numerous comments that this is also not to be.
        Aaaargh TH, what is so wrong about a happy ending?

  24. I’ll confess I got a bit tired of waiting for the next chapter the past few days and googled and found the ending to the book on another site.

    I am totally devastated by the ending – it is far worse than I expected. Wished TH would just throw us a bone and give a character who started pooly in life a good ending or least a reprieve from his suffering. Bah, no such luck.

    Thank you Ms Koala for the translations so far. I may come back and read bits and pieces every now and then.

  25. I just wish MsK will release another chapter before wednesday comes *wink* pls? he he he

    yeah….it is indeed will be a sad ending as msKoala already forewarned. but, i’ll still stick on msKoala’s translation and live on my own imaginations on how things will be going :)

    • Agree! I don’t want a Reader’s Digest version of the story (i.e. an executive summary). I’d rather wait to read it slowly – chapter by chapter and let the story unfold fully. Thanks Ms K!

  26. I still like MJ. And feel like I have a soft spot for him. He just seems more real to me… which is funny, cause only him and yun ge are fictional characters. At this point in the story, while I enjoy the earlier interaction between LGG and YG as children, as adults I haven’t swoon after LGG yet. And so I’m still waiting….TH however, really spent time getting me invested in my feelings for MJ. I guess I’m one of those weird chicks that likes a little fire in her man. MJ is both bad and good… perhaps that’s why he feels more real to me. I’m glad TH didn’t allow YG to totally get over MJ yet.

    I f I had to make an assessment, I would say MJ is more like HQB in his aggressiveness towards what he wants. And LGG is more like Jiu Ye in his gentle sweet ways.

    • I agree with you, MJ is more like HQB in his aggressiveness towards what he wants. And LGG is more like Jiu Ye in his gentle sweet ways.

    • MJ is very human and flawed. He probably did not even though how much he really loved YG until she disappeared. He can be ruthless but his devotion is genuine. We love him because he is real to us.
      I love LGG because he is so perfect in every way but in portraying him this way, TH has made him unreal because no one can be so wonderful. He is our ideal man and therefore unattainable.

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