All of Yun Zhong Ge volume 3 has chapter headings pulled straight from Chinese lyrical poetry. I joked once that the chapter titles of YZG kept getting longer and longer that by the time Tong Hua reached volume 3 it was out of control. The full title for Chapter 54 is “That Time Was Not a Mistake, A Good Floral Moon Invokes the Heaven’s Envy” and is a line of lyrical poetry from famed Qing poet Nalan Xingde (納蘭性德). I thought I was done with YZG but apparently not since this week a random discussion thread spun off a tangent and I ended up sharing my ideal K-actor cast for adapting this epic novel. Novel translation is a very tedious and time consuming project and I lost my commitment to YZG due to its length (twice as long as its prequel Da Mo Yao). But now I just got the translation bug back so I want to try and finish the last few chapters of the novel. I’m all done with my screencaps for my ideal C-drama cast so I’ll switch in screencaps of my dream K-drama cast. Kim Soo Hyun as Liu Fu Ling, Jung So Min as Yun Ge, Yoo Seung Ho as Meng Jue, Song Joong Ki as Liu He, Moon Chae Won as Hong Yi, Yoo Ah In as Liu Xun (Liu Bing Yi), Im Joo Eun as Huo Cheng Jun, and Kim So Eun as Xu Ping Jun.
I went young since the characters are in the late teens early twenties when the novel first starts. I’m watching Missing You lately and I realize that the insane amount of pain and bad things it dumps on the leads seem so excessive in the context of a modern drama, but is really a walk in the park in period drama settings. YZG really puts everyone through the wringer, and at this point in the novel let’s have a quickie recap: Yun Ge and Meng Jue fall in love and break up because he gets his revenge and then is tempted by power, Yun Ge reunites with Liu Fu Ling and they get married before he dies, Meng Jue forcibly aborts Yun Ge’s baby with Liu Fu Ling in order to save her life but she vows revenge on him and marries him in order to emotionally torture him, Liu Xun becomes the new Emperor and locks up his cousin Liu He and has Hong Yi killed, Xu Ping Jun is stuck between a rock and a hard place, and Huo Cheng Jun becomes an Imperial Consort and is still a bitch. As if this is not enough pain, Yun Ge suspects Ling gege was poisoned, and therein segues into this chapter.
Chapter 54: That Time Was Not a Mistake, A Good Floral Moon Invokes the Heaven’s Envy
[Yun Ge is learning medicine through reading all the medical journals kept by Jiu Ye (Meng Jiu, who is Meng Jue’s adoptive father, and also the first love of Yun Ge’s mother Yu Er). She goes to the countryside and finds the retired Dr. Chang, who was the royal physician Liu Fu Ling asked to treat Yun Ge when she was stabbed and first reunited with Liu Fu Ling.]
Yun Ge and Dr. Chang step out of the simple clinic and walk down the road along the rice fields. The verdant green and the golden hue turned the earth vibrant with color. The farmers were busy in the fields but when they saw Dr. Chang each person stopped working to greet him. Yun Ge saw in their simple gestures a deep-seated respect that a royal physician would never experience.
“Dr. Chang, I’m also learning medicine. Guess who my teacher is?” Dr. Chang laughed “Mrs. Meng’s riddle is easy to guess. Lord Meng Jue’s medical skills are one equal to the entire world. You needn’t find an outsider to teach you.”
Yun Ge smiled and shook her head “Wrong! He’s my elder brother disciple and not my teacher. Also, Dr. Chang please stop calling me Mrs. Meng. Call me Yun Ge or Ms. Yun is fine.”
Dr. Chang stopped for a minute before saying “So you are learning from his master through him. Congratulations, Ms. Yun. This is also great news for Mr. Meng Jiu, and also great news for all the patients of the world.” When Dr. Chang said the name Mr. Meng Jiu, he paused for a minute and bowed to show his respect.
Yun Ge shyly said “Dr. Chang is too generous with your praise. I only try my best not to ruin my teacher’s great reknown.”
Dr. Chang smiled. Meng Jue was brilliant but ultimately he wasn’t suited for medicine. Perhaps Yun Ge was the real successor to Meng Jiu’s life teachings.
“But my decision to learn medicine is not to save people, if Dr. Chang will forgive me. It’s to solve a puzzle” Yun Ge proceeded to list each one of Liu Fu Ling’s medical symptoms when he fell ill, which Dr. Chang diagnosed back then as heart constriction disorder.
Dr. Chang listened to her and said nothing. Yun Ge continued “You all said his heart constricted, but that is a disease that affected older men. There is no record anywhere of it striking a young man in his prime. Even a novice in medicine like myself cannot figure it out. Didn’t Dr. Chang have any second thoughts back then? I’m standing right here, please tell me the truth.”
Dr. Chang sighed “Second thoughts, suspicion, doubt, I had even more then that. Like Ms. Yun said, its a disease that strikes older men and the Emperor was a very healthy person from childhood. Plus there was no reason for that disease to strike at that time. Since Ms. Yun entered the Palace, the Emperor was in a very good mood. Even if he had the illness, there was no reason it should suddenly erupt. Lastly, even if it erupted, if properly contained, the Emperor could live for 4-5 years longer.”
Yun Ge said “Do you think someone sped up his disease? If you had such doubts, why not raise it before?”
Dr. Chang said “The Emperor falling ill concerns the entire dynasty. To suggest he was poisoned might turn into a catastrophe. I cannot voice my suspicions just like that. I did secretly investigate and research more and I can assure Ms. Yun with my life that the Emperor was not poisoned.”
“What proof do you have?”
“All poisons need to enter through one of the five orifices, and once entered it works immediately. But the Emperor’s disease was slow. I also asked Yu An to pay close attention to the Emperor’s meals. Yu An was trained since childhood to test for poison and he found nothing unusual. Plus all the Emperor’s meals were eaten by poison tasters first. None of them ever got poisoned.”
Yun Ge was speechless. Just like Dr. Chang said, Yu An was very loyal and thorough, and none of the poison tasters ever got poisoned. In front of such evidence, all her suspicions were for naught.
Dr. Chang said “Ms. Yun, as an elder, let me say that I hope one day you will let me call you Mrs. Meng. In this lifetime, no matter how painful the experience, one must keep going forward and not stand in place circling.”
Yun Ge had tears in her eyes and stared out at the field, but the vibrant earth was murky in her eyes. “Staying in one place is not preserving one’s memory. Will the Emperor want to see you like this?” Yun Ge appeared to not want to hear the rest and quickly said “Dr. Chang, you don’t understand. To me he has never left, he is always here.”
Dr. Chang wanted to say more but Yun Ge quickly bid farewell and left. Her slender figure departed rapidly into the colorful distance. Dr. Chang looked at her disappearing form and sighed.
Since coming back from Dr. Chang’s, Yun Ge sat in her room in a daze. Dr. Zhang’s evidence was strong, and perhaps she was overly suspicious. Did she mishear what Huo Guang and Huo Cheng Jun said that night? Was she looking for an excuse to hold onto the past?
Everyone has moved forward. To the entire world, Liu Xun was now the Emperor. Everyone has forgotten him. Those who once sidled up to him, those who curried his favor, those who hated him, everyone has forgotten him.
His figure has faded into the distant time, disappearing little by little each day. Until the very end, when history became only the ink in a book and his life would be sandwiched between other Emperors, not even able to catch one’s eye.
But only she was lucid. In the passage of time, nothing grew faint, and in fact actual grew more vivid. She was lucid and didn’t fit into this time. Everyone wanted to seek their future by walking forward, yet she was the only one constantly reminding them. Don’t forget! Don’t you dare forget! He once sat on the gold throne. He once smiled on Shen Ming Tower. He once worked so hard so that everyone’s live would be better. No one is allowed to forget…..
Is it because there is nothing in the future that she wants? Is that why everyone runs forward and all she wants to do is stand in place? She once told herself to be strong, to not cry, but her tears now fall uncontrollably.
Ling gege, I miss you! I really, really miss you! I know you want me to be strong. I will, I will….. She kept making this vow in her heart but it just made her tears fall faster.
In the courtyard, Meng Jue stood under the tree, his figure blending into the dark night. He could see the candle light flickering in her windowpane. If he took a few steps he would be able to step into her room. He could sit beside her as they let the candle burn down. But those few steps was as wide as the sky.
Her every tear pierced his heart. He could only stand in the distance and act nonchalant as he watched her. After a very long time, she extinguished the candle and closed the window. She locked him outside of her world. In the darkness, he stood alone outside her window.
The night, it was very quiet. It was so quiet one could hear the dew falling from the leaves. The stars in the night twinkled bright, as if asking why he was standing alone outside in the dark night?
Dawn, when the golden light shone on the window pane, that was when the birds started chirping as well. San Yue carried two books into the room. Yun Ge was combing her hair and when she saw San Yue, she pointed to the bookshelf. San Yue was used to Yun Ge’s coldness and she smiled and said “Master told me to hand these two books to you, but I heard you went out. Master will be busy in Court the next few days and said if you have any questions to make note of it and he’ll discuss with you later.”
Yun Ge softly concurred. San Yue saw a pile of drawings with flowers on it, with tiny notes written down the side. Yun Ge’s face changed and she quickly put it away before dismissing San Yue. As San Yue walked out, she muttered “Just a bunch of flower drawings, not like I haven’t seen it before. Once when I climbed a mountain with Master, I saw an entire field…..”
“Stop!” San Yue stopped and turned around. “You saw what kind of flowers?” San Yue didn’t like Yun Ge’s sharp tone of voice but for her Master’s sake she tamped down her annoyance “The flowers that look like silver bells. So pretty! I asked Master and he didn’t know what kind of flowers it was called.”
Yun Ge’s face turned ashen “Where did you see it?” San Yue thought “In a mountainside outside of Chang An. Very wide and vast, so beautiful it’s almost unreal.”
“Take me there.” San Yue responded “What? But I have other things to do………”
Yun Ge grabbed San Yue’s arm and ran out. San Yue’s arm hurt and tried to break free from Yun Ge’s hold but couldn’t. San Yue wondered when Yun Ge’s martial arts became this good? San Yue yelped “I’ll take you there! Let me go before you crush my arm!”
Yun Ge called Yu An to grab the carriage and they were off. After a few mountainsides, San Yue found the field “It’s here! There is also a lake with lots of fish. Last time I saw…..” Yun Ge cut her off “Take me up the mountain to find the flower you saw.”
As they walked up the mountain, Yun Ge’s speed was quick until she suddenly stopped and look towards a cluster of vines in the mountain top. Those vines flowed down into the waterfall and into the water below. San Yue quietly said “It’s called Ye Teng, that is what Master told me.” Yun Ge’s face was so pale there appeared not a drop of blood in her as she asked “Meng Jue told you that was called Ye Teng?” San Yue nodded “Yes, isn’t it?”
On the mountaintop, San Yue couldn’t find the field of flowers like the dusk. She couldn’t find it though she was sure it was supposed to be here. Yun Ge coldly said “Will your Master have allowed such vast field of such flowers to continue existing?”
San Yue turned and met Yun Ge’s eyes and in that instant she felt a chill go down her spine and she actually had the urge to run away. Yun Ge stared for awhile before walking forward. With her current level of martial arts, she wouldn’t injure herself so San Yue didn’t worry about her. But then Yun Ge suddenly slipped and almost tumbled down the cliff but she grabbed one of the vines. San Yue quickly pulled her up and saw her wet drops on her face. Yun Ge steadied herself and then shoved San Yue away before stumbling down the mountainside.
Yu An was waiting by the lake side and when he saw Yun Ge all bloody and bruised he was startled and took out his sword to protect Yun Ge. San Yue didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. Even a lowly servant next to Yun Ge was in truth a martial arts master. Was he really like what others suspect, a real hidden master who came from the Palace?
“Brother Yu, Ms. Yun tripped on the mountain, no one is chasing us.” Yu An put his sword away and helped Yu Ge, quizzically wondering what happened since with Yun Ge’s current martial arts skills how could she trip?
In the carriage ride home, Yun Ge was silent and San Yue vowed never to come out with Yun Ge again, this girl was totally growing weirder and weirder.
In her room, Yun Ge paced as she ran through all the scenarios, but it all ended in the same place. In her heart, she still could not believe it. Could Meng Jue really be that vicious?
Ye Teng, it’s real name was called Tie Wen (or Iron Kiss). If an animal ingested it by accident, it would cause breathing to tighten and the muscles to lose all strength. In the end, one’s heart would slowly stop. This flower like a beautiful bell had an even deadlier name: Hu Tao (Fox Trap). It’s blooming season was short but it was the deadliest of all the poisonous flowers. If someone ingested it, the person would die relatively quickly. There is no cure because it worked so fast that an antidote would be too late.
This poison could create the perception of heart failure, but it worked too fast yet Ling gege had a form of slow heart failure. But Meng Jue was an expert in using poison, there might be nothing he can’t do…..
Yun Ge’s legs buckled and she could barely stand. Her entire body shook uncontrollably. Huo Guang could have done this alone. He and Huo Cheng Jun knew of this field of flowers. Perhaps it had nothing to do with Meng Jue. But then how did Meng Jue know about those flowers? Why did he lie about its name to San Yue? How could he not have recognized it correctly? If he wasn’t hiding something, then why did he…………
A maid came in with incense and almost backed away when she saw Yun Ge’s face. Yun Ge smelled the incense and could identify some of the herbs in this mixture. Suddenly she heard a loud pop in her brain and her entire body toppled forward. The maid cried out “Madam! Madam! Let me call the doctor!”
Yun Ge’s eyes saw black and gradually it turned blood red. After a moment, she sat up and weakly said “Summon Yu An here.”
Yu An hurried over and when he saw Yun Ge, his eyes moistened and he kneeled before her “Miss, please stop tormenting yourself this way. This old servant ought to die now since I will have no face to see His Majesty in Heaven.”
This was the first time Yu An mentioned Liu Fu Ling’s death in front of Yun Ge and her tears sprung forth. But she quickly wiped it away “Yu An, do something for me and don’t let anyone in this estate know. I need you to go to the apothecary to mix an incense blend.”
Yun Ge listed out the ingredients in her head and Yu An went off. Yun Ge laid in bed and her entire body was cold and her mind was a blank. Whether or not it was true, when Yu An came back she will know for sure.
After some time, Yu An returned and said “This incense is hard to mix and I went to several apothecaries and none of them could mix it. I finally went to see Dr. Chang and he mixed it, though he said to do it properly he would need three days.” Yun Ge closed her eyes “Light the incense.”
Yu An light the incense and sniffed the smell “This smells so familiar…..oh right, it’s the incense you used many years ago, the incense that Meng Jue mixed for you.”
Yu An turned around and saw Yun Ge had fainted. He rushed over and held her in his arms to revive her by pressing energy into her back. Yun Ge opened her eyes but the energy caused her old injury cough to return and she started to violently cough. No matter what Yu An did it was to no avail, her coughing became more and more violent until she started coughing up blood. Yu An stood up to call for Meng Jue but Yun Ge grabbed his arm.
She continued to cough as she spit out the words “Do not call him! He is our enemy! I will not die. Until he dies, I will not die.”
Yu An grabbed her a cup of water and said “My life was saved by Meng Jue. Otherwise while the current Emperor might not dare kill me outright, but he would definitely assassinate me. And Fu Su. And Ms. Yun.”
Yun Ge swallowed a medicinal pill that helped suppress the pain in her chest. “My medical skills are rudimentary and I don’t know how he managed to make the poison, but he must have found a way to slow down the poison effects. Then he used the incense as the lure to bring forth the dormant poison in Ling gege’s body. This incense can help control the air waves but it contains a lot of cold energy. This is exactly what confused Dr. Chang, about where a lot of cold energy could have come from to make the symptoms activate. It was me…..it was me…..I’m the one who killed him…….”
Yun Ge raised her hand and Yu An was so stunned by what she said he reacted too slowly and couldn’t stop her from viciously slapping herself on the face. Yu An grabbed her hand as she tried to strike herself again. Yu An started to cry “Ms. Yun! Ms. Yun!”
Yun Ge’s unending cough caused her to spit up a large pool of blood and she lost all her strength and collapsed on the pallet with her eyes wide and lifeless. Her eyes were vacant and her face like death, with her lips a deep purple color. Yu An saw that she stopped coughing and didn’t know if it was good or bad “How about we leave here right now. We can move in with Dr. Chang and he can treat you.”
Yun Ge wiped the blood from her lips and said “I want to stay here. Yu An, there is a hidden pamphlet in my bookshelf, please get it.”
Yu An grabbed it and opened it to see that it was a collection of all the poisonous flowers.
“Lower left hand corner, there is a vine-like plant. It grows where we went today by the waterfall. Please go there and bring some back.”
Yu An looked at her and asked “But what about you….” A cold smile appeared on Yun Ge’s white face “I’ll mix a tinsure for myself, don’t worry, I will be just fine. I will be more than fine.”
When Meng Jue returned to the estate it was pitch black out. He didn’t know why Huo Guang was suddenly trying to align with him, asking for his advice on everything. Xu Ping Jun was pregnant again and just opened two more clothing shops that was keeping her so busy that the Crown Prince was becoming more like Meng Jue’s son. Every day he was by Meng Jue’s side. Even though he was busy, but finally he felt more at peace. Because he knew that when he came home, there was someone close to him. Even though she locked him out of her room, but compared to ten years ago this was already better. Back then she didn’t even know who he was. But know she knew who he was, and she even risked her life to save him. So he was filled with confidence that one day she will open her heart to him again. It might take ten years, or even twenty years, but he didn’t care. He had an entire lifetime to wait for her. As long as she was beside him.
He opened the door and felt someone in his room. “Who?”
Yun Ge lit the candle and looked at him with a smile. He laughed “Why are you sitting in the dark room” He looked at her face directly and took big steps foward “What’s wrong with you? Why is your complexion so wan?”
Yun Ge nonchalantly replied “This afternoon an old illness came back but now its fine.” Meng Jue knew Yun Ge could decline but he couldn’t help himself and offered “Let me check you out.” But Yun Ge smiled and replied “Sure! After you’ve eaten, you can check my condition.”
Meng Jue was startled – Yun Ge learned medicine from him but she was learning the teachings of his adoptive father and never once accepted anything from him. But today………..before his shock had subsided another even bigger one arrived. “Did you eat yet?” “Not yet.” “I haven’t cooked in a long time, and I’m not sure how it’ll taste. But since you can’t taste anything, why don’t you try the food just to fill your belly!”
Meng Jue felt like he was in a dream and he started incredulously at Yun Ge “Yun Ge, you…….” Yun Ge pouted “If you don’t want to, then fine!” She got up to leave and Meng Jue quickly stopped her “No, No, I want to eat! I want to eat…..” He said it many times and appeared to want to keep saying it.
Yun Ge cut him off and pulled her hand away “Okay, I understand. Why don’t you go change and I’ll be back shortly! When you’ve changed the food will be ready.”
Meng Jue was so surprised that he hurried into his chambers to change. Yun Ge didn’t know that his sense of taste had returned. This time he knew he would be able to taste what she cooked and her thought behind it. In a bit, he would taste everything carefully and even tell her the name of the dishes. It would be his surprise of sorts for her.
Yun Ge put all the dishes in the basket except for the final soup dish. She stared at it for quite some time. Yu An walked over and whispered “Miss, Meng Jue’s martial arts is nowhere as good as mine. Why don’t I give him one sword stab and end it. Why must you suffer……….”
Yun Ge briefly smiled before she calmly said “Iron Kiss, it can cause a person to have difficulty breathing, it can slowly stop the heart from beating. Can you imagine a person slowly dying and how painful that must be. It can only be described as “wishing for death over the pain of living.” Ling gege endured this immense pain over and over again. I want to watch Meng Jue slowly, painfully, die. He brought this on himself. I was also an accomplice and I deserve this punishment. Did you know that I was pressed against Ling gege’s chest and I heard his heart slowly, slowly…..”
Yun Ge’s tears was coming forth and she took a deep breath before taking out a small tuft of Iron Kiss and placing it into the bowl of soup. “You go pack our things. I’ll be there shortly.”
Yu An’s face was white and he wanted to stop her, but he knew it was to no avail. He could only watch her walk into the darkness carrying the basket of food.
Meng Jue took off his official court robes and couldn’t decide what to wear. Suddenly he smiled and he reached deep into the drawer and pulled out the last robe on the bottom. Many years ago on Gan Quan Mountain, he wore that robe when he piggybacked Yun Ge that one night to go look at the waterfall. Later, for many reasons, he wanted to throw it away but he never did. He only hid it deeper and deeper inside the drawer. Now he held the robe and he pondered a good long while before he put it on. He smiled casually, knowing that she will never recognize it anyway.
He changed and walked out to wait for her. In the dark quiet night his heartbeat seemed to speed up. The wind suddenly picked up outside and he hurried over to close the window. The Summer night weather is quick to change and now layers of thick black clouds were rolling in. Meng Jue started to worry when he saw Yun Ge carrying a basket and walking in the wind, with her skirt and her hair all blowing around her.
He walked out to help her and the moment he reached her the sky split open with a loud roar of thunder. Yun Ge’s body shook and the cover almost flew off but Meng Jue reached out with one hand to grab the cover and the other to grab Yun Ge’s hand and the two of them ran into the room.
Once inside, he closed the door “Looks like a thunder storm is coming.” He turned around and saw Yun Ge staring at his hand, but she quickly lifted her eyes and smiled at him. She placed the bowl of soup on the counter “This is soup that we can drink later, so let’s eat!”
She opened the basket and said with a laugh “Mr. Meng, please sit, food is coming.” Meng Jue smiled and sat down and bowed to her in thanks. Yun Ge placed the four dishes before him and said “You eat and let me slowly tell you about each dish’s taste. This dish is……….”
Meng Jue cut her off with a laugh “It’s called tasting, not listening to taste being described. Let me eat it slowly and think about it myself!” Yun Ge smiled and leaned down to eat a few bites but she couldn’t taste the food properly so she put down her utensil.
Meng Jue looked at the dishes and tried to think about which one to eat first. It was clear Yun Ge’s four dishes were modeled after the Four Seasons – Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter. He should eat it accordingly to the seasons then. But…..he made up his mind and grabbed a piece of snow flake that glistened white. Each piece in this dish was shaped like a plum blossom.
Yun Ge saw his choice and stared at him with an odd look but then lowered her chin and said nothing.
It was cold and refreshing, with a hint of sweetness. The fragrant plum blossom spread in the mouth, elegant and light. This dish was a snow flake of Winter but hidden inside was the plum blossom of Spring. This probably described what a first meeting was like. It was there, it wasn’t there. In the light fragrance there was a lingering sensation. Meng Jue remembered a boy dressed like a beggar. He remember a girl with the long woven green skirt. He remembered her carefree wildness, her bright sparkling eyes and easy wide smile. It all flashed before him and he couldn’t help but smile.
After a few more bites, he went to pick up a piece of the peach blossom fish. Peach blossom, flowing water, fish, it was all the signs of Spring. But Yun Ge used the taste of peach blossom sap in it. The peach blossom only produced sap when all the petals have fallen. The sap flowing down like rivers of peach tears. This symbolized the falling flowers and the tears of farewell towards Spring. Therefore this dish resembled Spring but was actually foreshadowing Summer.
The fish was tender and together with the peach fragrance, it was truly heady. It was like the two of them, under the dark moonlight, he piggybacked her to see the waterfall. In front of the waterfall lunar rainbow, he opened himself to her for the first time. On that mountaintop, he grabbed her hair and made a vow that for this lifetime she would be his wife. The him and her of that time was drunk in the passions of love.
The third dish was lamb stewed with pink tea flowers which glistened like stars. It was beautiful and the flowers symbolized Summer. But those tea flowers may bloom in the Summer, it was the last flower to bloom during the Summer. When it wilted, that meant Autumn had arrived. For some reason, when he tasted the lamb, the first delicious flavor disappeared swiftly and what remained was a sour rankness. Meng Jue’s smile froze in his face but he swallowed the lamb and continued to the final dish.
The final dish was a chrysanthemum crab. Chrysanthemum was an Autumn flower and crab was in season during Autumn as well. But based on the first three dishes, Meng Jue knew this final dish was symbolizing Autumn but in truth was about Winter. When he picked up a piece of crab, he saw that there was no crab meat inside. It was minced up shrimp and pork stuffed into the crab. It appeared to mock him “since Winter is not the time for crab, don’t even think about eating it.”
Meng Jue got up his courage and put it in his mouth. His first urge was to spit it out but he kept his smile and as if tasting the most delicious food in the world, he slowly chewed and swallowed it. Not only did he swallow it, he picked up piece after piece and he ate it as his stomach roiled and his mouth was so bitter. His heart was also sinking in the bitterness as he knew Yun Ge used the world’s most bitter herb to cook the shrimp and pork meat. If this was hatred, then it might be the world’s most bitter hate.
“How does it taste?” In her eyes was a twinkling smile, and earlier he was so happy he didn’t carefully observe her, but now he could see that underneath the smile was a deeply seated hatred
Perhaps it was his despair as he smiled and replied “Delicious.”
She picked up the soup bowl and ladled him a bowl, even blowing gently on it before handing it to him. “This is the last dish. I used a very unique ingredient in it. Try it.”
He lightly brought it to his mouth and the second his tongue made contact a sharp bitterness rushed towards his head. Iron Kiss! So this was it! So the Heavens won’t even give him one chance. In the end, she still found out. There was nothing left between him and her now.
He raised his head and looked at Yun Ge. She bit her lip and smiled sweetly at him. Their eyes met, as if they couldn’t bear to not look at each other, as if they wanted to forever look at each other until death arrived.
He felt like he was lost in the desert and could only see the unending sand. His entire life was like living in such a desert without an escape, and now the backbreaking exhaustion rolled towards him. He smiled at her and then gulped down the soup.
When Yun Ge saw him drink the soup, her face turned stark white but she didn’t realize it since she was forcing herself to sit straight and keep smiling at him. He also smiled and looked at her as he drank the soup down. After he finished, he softly said “Yun Ge, come sit over here, I have a few things to say to you.”
Yun Ge’s face was white and she wobbled as she got up to sit next to him.
“Yun Ge, in a little bit I’ll be going to sleep. You need to leave Chang An with Yu An. Go home. Forget about Huo Guang. Liu Xun will get revenge for you. You just need to wait. Liu Xun will be a thousand times more vicious than you. As for Liu Xun…..” He looked at Yun Ge’s face and saw she didn’t have any reaction and he felt relieved “If one day…..all you need to remember is that Liu Xun’s life won’t be that easygoing either. One day someone will punish him for everything he did. I can’t explain everything to you in this short time. But I promise you that whatever Liu Xun did that caused you such pain, one day it will be paid back on him.”
Yun Ge’s eyes misted with tears and Meng Jue smiled as he looked at the dishes on the table “I’ve wanted to say this for a very long time. Yun Ge, the story of Buo Ya and Zi Qi, one who couldn’t play and other who refused to play, that was touching but it’s not the way true devotion is. Music was about kindred spirits and the first time Buo Ya played it was for himself. If Zi Qi was really Buo Ya’s musical kindred spirit, he would want Buo Ya to keep playing rather than refuse to play for the rest of his life. In Liu Fu Ling’s heart, your dishes wasn’t meant to just make him happy. You need to keep cooking delicious food. Don’t forget the reason you started cooking!”
Yun Ge’s tears fell and Meng Jue wanted to rub her head but his hand was starting to shake uncontrollably. He smiled and got up and staggered to the bedroom “You must leave now! Go as far as possible. Liu………..” His steps faltered and he leaned against the wall to keep from falling. He held on to the wall and took deep breaths before slowly walking forward “If Liu Fu Ling knew everything that was going on right now, he would not want you to kill someone to avenge him. He only wanted you to be happy. Will killing…..make him come back to life? Will it make you even a little bit happier? Each time you hurt another, your pain will increase! Yun Ge, you are not someone who can live in revenge and hatred. Neither is Liu Fu Ling. So please leave, take him in your heart and leave! Revenge and hatred is a swamp. Don’t….don’t……keep sinking in it!”
Outside a thunderous roar jolted Yun Ge from her stupor and she jumped up and stared with horror at Meng Jue,. He grabbed the bead curtain to enter the bedroom but his body fell forward and with a loud crash the beads ripped and fell with a resounding whoosh on the ground. He fell and had no strength to get back up again.
His face was turning more and more purple and his breathing was being ragged. His limbs started twitching and Yun Ge hurried to his side as she shouted “It was me. I poisoned you, I poisoned you!” Meng Jue wanted to smile but he couldn’t move his facial muscles. He only said “I….I know.”
“You should hate me. I want to hate you! Do you hear me, you need to hate me so I can keep hating you!”
In Meng Jue’s eyes there was only sorrow and an limitless derision at himself. If hatred was a strong lifetime emotion, then please hate me forever! The pain was excruciating and he hoped that it would stop shortly. His eyes were seeing only blackness but all he wanted to do was look at her one more time.
“Yun Ge, leave!”
With that final utterance he closed his eyes and was still. Yun Ge’s body weakly collapsed on the ground.
Yu An was waiting for her in the yard but he wondered why Yun Ge still wasn’t there. He rushed to the room and immediately heard Yun Ge screaming. He pushed open the door and saw Meng Jue laying on the ground and Yun Ge staring at him with despair and anguish.
He rushed forward and picked Yun Ge up to take her away but her entire body was shaking. Her eyes were unfocused and her entire being teetered a the brink of mental collapse. She kept muttering “He’s dead, he’s dead, he’s also dead…..”
In that moment Yu An realized with crystal clarity that there is a type of person in this world who cannot kill, and Yun Ge is that type. If Liu Fu Ling’s death was the darkest shadow in her soul, then if she killed the person responsible for Liu Fu Ling’s death it would not lessen her grief but would instead make it heavier. If Meng Jue died now, Yun Ge’s life would be over. She would forever be burdened by the shackles of this immense nightmare until she collapsed.
Yu An reached out to touch Meng Jue’s pulse and he grabbed Yun Ge “Antidote! Give me the antidote!”
Yun Ge stared at him blindly and he shook her even harder “Meng Jue is not dead yet! Antidote! Give me the antidote!” Yun Ge reached into her robe and brought out a white little flower plant. She wanted to give it to Meng Jue but the moment her hand got close she reached back. He killed Ling gege! I’m coward who doesn’t even have the guts to avenge him!
She tossed the plant on Meng Jue’s body but could not bear it anymore and rushed out after letting out a long anguished howl. In the thunder and lighting the rain came down in droves but Yun Ge was quickly gone in the storm.
Yu An wanted to chase after her but needed to take care of Meng Jue first. He propped him up and used his energy to contain the poison. Then he looked at the white flower and recognized it as growing on the poisonous vines. Then he realized that it was nature’s way of making opposites control each other. The antidote actually grew right next to the poisonous flower. He opened Meng Jue’s mouth and squeezed the flower to release drops of juice. After Meng Jue swallowed the juice, his breathing appeared to stabilize and he appeared to regain consciousness. Yu An shoved the rest of the antidote in his mouth and got up quickly, saying with disgust “Eat it” before disappearing into the rain.
Yun Ge ran through the streets of Chang An, then out of the city. No matter who wide the world was, it couldn’t compare to the heart, and right now her heart had no anchor and nowhere to go. In the darkness the vast Ping Ling (the Imperial Tombs) appeared before her.
The soldiers guarding the tombs of the Emperors appeared but Yun Ge paid them no heed. She rushed towards the Imperial Tomb and the soldiers brandished their weapons and rushed her. Yun Ge roughly disarmed them and was quickly at the tomb.
On a dark rainy day it was so unexpected that someone would invade the Imperial Tomb. The soldiers quickly asked for reinforcements sent from Chang An. Yun Ge battled a soldier before her while others surrounded her, and then a sword silently stabbed towards her back.
Yun Ge felt the sword enter her back and in that moment, she felt a sense of lightness as if shedding a heavy burden. She stared at the not-so-distant Imperial Tomb and thought “I’m so tired. I can’t walk anymore.” The sword stabbed into Yun Ge’s back and she could have avoided the sword in front of her but she stopped and allowed it to come towards her.
In the flash of lightning Yu An saw Yun Ge about to be struck down by two swords and he was still too far away to reach her. His tears streamed down his face and he loudly roared “YOUR—– MAJESTY—–”
With his roar Yu An rushed forward intending to kill everyone, wondering to the Heavens why this must happen to such a good person. A few soldiers heard the call of “Your Majesty” and reacted out of habit and almost kneeled down before reacting. But Yun Ge was startled alert by the roar and realized she hadn’t seen him yet! She cannot die yet! She escaped from the swords and Yu An arrived at that moment to shield her.
Yun Ge continued to rush forward while all soldiers were battling Yu An. Yun Ge quickly arrived at the Imperial Tomb and in that moment she stopped. She raised her head and read the tombstone. She appeared to want to leave, but after some time, she slowly walked up the steps.
When she stood before the tombstone and saw the three big letters “Liu Fu Ling”, her entire body slid down to the ground and her tears came forth. She didn’t ever want to face this, because her memory stopped at the moment when they were embracing in the snow in the mountain.
At that moment, he asked her to sing to him and then she fell asleep. When she woke up, she was in a strange carriage, therefore she never felt like he died. In her memory, he was just away temporarily. So she never wanted to hear others say he died in front of her. But now she had no choice but to face the reality that he had left her forever. No matter if she cried or laughed, no matter how much pain she was in, he would never respond to her. Because her Ling gege was laying here under this great vast expanse of earth. And the person responsible for him laying here is Meng Jue. And….her. If she didn’t allow Meng Jue to have a chance, Ling gege wouldn’t have been poisoned. But now she didn’t even have the courage to avenge his death. She cannot kill Meng Jue, she cannot kill Meng Jue!
“Ling gege, whatever shall I do? Whatever shall I do?” Yun Ge pressed her face against the icy cold marble but it appeared like she was curling up to her beloved and asking in a low plaintive voice, “Ling gege, I’m so tired! I can’t walk anymore. I know you want me to keep climbing that mountain and I’ll see an even more beautiful sunrise. But that isn’t what I want. It might be more beautiful, but I only want you! I don’t want another sunrise!”
“Ling gege, can I not climb the mountain anymore? I really can’t climb anymore. I want to close my eyes and go to sleep. In my dreams you’ll be there. Even if you don’t talk that will be fine. I want to keep sleeping, I don’t ever want to wake up……….”
“Ling gege, if you knew how hard it was for me, won’t your heart hurt? You won’t want me to keep climbing the mountain, right? You’ll agree that I should rest….”
Even accidentally disturbing the Imperial Tombs is a grave crime, much less intentionally barging in in the middle of the night and killing soldiers. The reinforcements arrived and when the captain of the guard saw Yu An alone on the dais with his “one against all” courage, he was so angry at being awoken in the middle of the night that he ordered the intruders killed if they cannot be captured alive.
Despite Yu An’s powerful martial arts, one person cannot withstand one hundred soldiers. As he fought he kept retreating until finally he was standing in front of Liu Fu Ling’s tomb. With a sword in hand, standing before the tomb, he shielded Yun Ge behind him so the soldiers could not attack, Around him was the priceless carvings and burial decorations that no soldier dared to destroy and risk the ire of the current Emperor. Everyone attacked very cautiously so Yu An could still hold them off.
He used every ounce of strength to keep the soldiers away from Yun Ge, but pretty soon he was hunched over and covered in wounds, appearing near defeat.
The captain of the guard heard Yu An held off all his soldiers until now and was so angry he grabbed his own sword and charged, shouting “Men, let’s take him down and then we can head back for some roasted meat!”
The soldiers saw his charge and everyone rushed forward. Yu An could not hold them back and he turned to call Yun Ge to take her and escape but saw her laying on the tomb with her eyes closed, seemingly unable to hear him.
He rushed back and grabbed Yun Ge’s arm to take her away but she clung to the tomb and murmured “Ling gege, I’m here. I’m so tired, I don’t want to climb anymore…….”
Yu An couldn’t move her and he gave up trying to escape. He faced the oncoming soldiers and couldn’t believe this was how his life would end. He thought that he was able to keep his vow to the Emperor and protect Yun Ge for his entire life. He thought about calling out that Yun Ge was Meng Jue’s wife, or the adopted daughter of Huo Guang. Then the soldiers may hesitate to kill her. But….. He turned around and saw Yun Ge laying there and remembered Liu Fu Ling’s passing and he tightly gripped his sword. Today, even in death, they will have nothing to do with Meng Jue or Huo Guang ever again!
The countless soldiers reached him and their swords cut through the air and glistened in the darkness. It was so thick that even raindrops could not escape.
In the distance the thunder was coming closer and the rain was coming down harder, making it seem like the entire ground was rumbling.
The dais on the Imperial Tomb ran with two rivulets of blood mixed with the rain. From the distance, it looked like the Imperial Tomb was crying two rivers of tears…..