Gu Fang Bu Zi Shang - Volume 2 - Chapter 30
Gu Fang Bu Zi Shang Vol02 Ch30
The invincible Duke of Zhen-Bei of the battlefields was defeated by the Bai Pingting who did not fear death.
He was not convinced nor willing to submit.
Just that when he looked into her two eyes, all of the displeasure and dissatisfaction disappeared.
Who told him to harden his heart or use ruthless means?
Who knew Pingting would expose such a beaming innocent smile from seeing his expression or by relaxing his brows, show even the slightest bit of compassion would result in so much in return, making it truly the world's most worthwhile action?
Bai Pingting was as relaxed and free as a willow branch swaying in spring breeze. She felt merry. She understood that compromises were useless and, in all fairness, intended to take the initiative to recover from her eight months of suffering.
Until then she would get out of the bed to admire the snow.
Hongqian cleared out the pavilion and asked Moran to bring the qin, before fetching the alcohol.
Chu Beijie had yet to enter the room when he already heard the sound of qin floating through the walls.
He paused, narrowed his eyes and listened.
Distant and light;calm and happy.
As free as clouds drifting, as strict the orbits of the moon and stars and an ample laziness that made anything seem possible with time.
Only mountains would stand quietly, straight and unyielding. Numerous small animals were on the mountain, not afraid of the wind and snow. The moment the snow stopped, out they came with snowball fights. They dug snow caves and picked the final few pinecones of a tree, forming a scene of fierce competition. What exhilaration!
Chu Beijie couldn't help himself, but he wanted to be closer to the qin sound. Proudly, he turned into the courtyard where there was a small pavilion, a guqin, good alcohol, some servants, and the incredibly merry, yet incredibly lazy woman who held his heart.
Ping! The qin sound was stopped by an abnormal noise.
Chu Beijie paled in shock. His mind raced as he flew into the pavilion. ’’What's wrong?’’
Pingting lowered her head, holding her right hand. Her index finger had been sliced by the sudden break of the string, causing a single thin wound.
’’Why are you so careless?’’ Chu Beijie's eyebrows were tightly knitted. He grabbed the soft hand. ’’Does it hurt?’’
Hongqian peered behind Chu Beijie, hurriedly saying, ’’I will get the medicine.’’
Bright red blood slowly escaped from the fingertip, forming a thin stream. Chu Beijie's thundering expression was both from anger and frustration. ’’Why play qin on such a cold day?’’ He remained irritated by the red blood. He grabbed the white jade finger and placed it in his mouth, causing the taste of blood to melt in his mouth.
Pingting couldn't help laughing, her eyebrows forming crescent shapes as her wound was licked by Chu Beijie's fiery and moist tongue.
’’Still laughing?’’ Chu Beijie's face darkened and used his imposing General attitude to suppress the surrounding air. ’’You mustn't be so careless next time.’’ He let go of her finger, no longer bleeding, and grabbed her by the wrist. ’’Let's go into the room.’’
Pingting refused to budge.
Chu Beijie turned back to look at her. ’’Hm?’’ he asked with a frown.
Pingting's energetic eyes were rolling and lazily held up the other, perfectly intact index finger, ’’This one also wants to be kissed by the Duke.’’
The more she received, the more she wanted. It seemed that after a while, the dignified Duke of Zhen-Bei would become an incompetent fool who would only obey his wife?
Chu Beijie's expression darkened. ’’Quit messing around. Let's go inside...’’
Before his words left his lips, Pingting's expression was replaced by a cold one. She placed her finger between her mouth and unhesitantly bit down hard.
’’You...’’ Chu Beijie forcefully grabbed her other hand, but it was already too late. Her left hand that was once pretty and perfect had now met an unexpected calamity. It had deep teeth marks, cruelly betrayed by its owner.
Blood slowly oozed out from the teeth marks.
’’What was that for?’’ Chu Beijie was afraid of her doing stupid things again. He tightly held onto her hands. His eyebrows were locked in a tight frown as he grinded his teeth.
Pingting did not care her hands had been damaged and leaned into Chu Beijie's arms as if it were the most natural thing in the world.
’’Pfft.’’ She laughed.
Her face returned to its usual colour. She lifted her head and looked at Chu Beijie. ’’As long as Duke is worried about Pingting, what else matters even if these two hands go to waste and never play qin again?’’ Her voice was soft.
Her words were relaxed and calmed, without any hint of falsehood.
Chu Beijie's heart was jolted. He held her fiercely to himself. In a low voice he ordered, ’’Your life and death, honour and disgrace are mine. You mustn't neglect nor harm yourself. If you violate this, then I'll punish you according to the army's ways.’’
The corners of Pingting's eyes wavered and she took a deep breath in Chu Beijie's arms. Looking into the depths of his eyes, she replied, ’’The army's ways are harsh, so Pingting will surrender herself.’’
Leaning against Chu Beijie's chest, feeling his strong muscles ripple, she felt the powerful force that belonged to him.
Pingting closed her two eyes, lightly sucking her lip. ’’Swallows bring fortune, but too much fortune brings damage. A joy to look, a joy to look...’’
Chu Beijie listened while hugging what seemed to be the world's most fragile treasure, that was also the most likely to vanish.
A trace of a sweet smile escaped from his manly face.
It was the Zhen-Bei Ducal Prefecture like back then, when Pingting was still in his arms, singing beautiful songs.
The song was there, the melody was there and the person was there.
The sun, stars and moon were there;the sky and earth were there.
The Bai Pingting in his arms remained.
From that day on, Pingting's clear singing was often heard from the small pavilion.
Listening and listening to the tactful, moving music, made others jealous of the man by her side, hugging her.
To Hongqian, these changes were a mixture of surprise and delight. She quietly told Zuiju, ’’See? Because of their grudge, they were literally at each other's throat. Now that it's all resolved, it's as great as now. The Duke is a famous general, but to the woman he loves, he had to admit defeat too. Sigh, as expected even amazing people become softhearted when in love.’’
Zuiju deftly prepared Pingting's food and turned to see Hongqian leaning in the doorway, watching the two people snuggling by the lake. ’’The Duke is a strong opponent, yet Miss Bai is an opponent of another league. I really wonder how the skies have brought these two to collide,’’ she exclaimed.
Hongqian turned around. ’’But it's the collision that makes life interesting. Who else apart from Miss Bai is a suitable woman for our Duke?’’
Zuiju lightly replied, ’’Observers may find this amusing, but no person of the loop ever knows how many hardships lie ahead. Have you already forgotten about the incident of the two princes?’’
Mentioning the two princes of Dong Lin, Hongqian could no longer laugh either. She looked beyond Zuiju.
Zuiju turned around to see Moran standing expressionlessly behind her.
’’Don't mention that again.’’ Moran coldly replied.
Zuiju answered, and glanced at the silhoutte of the two figures.
Does not mentioning mean you could forget?
Pingting fully enjoyed Chu Beijie's love, after enduring eight months of silent treatment. Looking at Chu Beijie's begrudging yet utterly helpless expression, she dearly loved the darkness it casted on his face. Despite all his superiority, he personally made the porridge and fed her the medicine. Putting down all of his work, Chu Beijie accompanied her to see the sunrises, sunsets, and the movement of the stars and moon.
Many of her wishes had been granted. She leaned in his arms, listening to the winter snow. She asked him to pick the most beautiful plum blossom in the residence, and to put it in her hair.
Everything was a perfect dream, a dream floating on a gray shadow. Pingting and Chu Beijie indulged themselves to ignore the shadow that must never be forgotten.
’’Pingting has done something very stupid.’’
’’Oh?’’ Chu Beijie felt the chill of the night, but she cried that she wanted to watch the stars. He had to open the window. While holding her tightly, he casually asked, ’’For example?’’
’’For example, to the Duke...’’ In the middle of her sentence, she closed her small lips, her bright eyes looking thoughtfully at Chu Beijie. Then she laughed self-deprecatingly, ’’I have a very stupid wish.’’
Chu Beijie lowered his head and examined her. ’’How stupid?’’
Pingting shifted her gaze towards the shadows casted by the trees in the bright half-moon. For a while, she remained silent before saying, ’’Stupid that I want the Duke to not change his mind about me, regardless the hundreds and thousands of twists and turns beyond.’’ There was a trace of a bitter smile as she whispered, ’’The clever Bai Pingting, the stupid Bai Pingting, the kind Bai Pingting and the evil Bai Pingting...will always be the Bai Pingting loved by the Duke?’’
There was no expression on Chu Beijie's face, but the colour on his face gradually darkened. ’’Don't say any more.’’ He reached out and shut away the colour and light of the starry sky. He firmly, yet gently, pushed Pingting onto a soft mattress.
’’It's too cold. Go to sleep soon.’’
He undid Pingting's clothing proficiently and took off her heavy coat, revealing the white silk garment underneath. With a wave of his hand, Pingting was wrapped up in a blanket, leaving only her face exposed. He himself undressed in a few moments and wriggled into the bundle. He grabbed her thin waist, allowing the side of Pingting's face to rest on his chest.
’’Sleep obediently. Don't think about useless things.’’
In a huff, he blew out the last lit candle in the room.
The inky black eyes full of wisdom were not closed but full of light melancholy.
The two stuck tightly to each other, listening to the other's heartbeats the sound of flowing blood.
’’What?’’ Chu Beijie's strong and sturdy body moved, his hand moving towards Pingting's forehead.
’’Noth...cough cough cough cough....’’ Pingting tried to muffle her cough.
’’Your prescription doesn't seem to work. A few doses have made it even worse. I'll get Zuiju to look at you. Even if you don't trust in the skill of those doctors, there's no way you don't trust in Huo Yunan's disciple.’’ Chu Beijie said while propping himself off the bed, preparing to call Zuiju.
Pingting also lazily sat up, stopping him. ’’Even if I do need to see one, seeing one right now makes no difference. Why not tomorrow? If we do something so chaotic, I'll have even more difficulty sleeping.’’
Chu Beijie carefully studied her eyebrows, which indeed had a hint of sleep. He nodded, cuddling her to sleep once more. He ordered, ’’You must sleep properly, and don't think any more useless things.’’
Charcoal crackled as it burned in the furnace.
Pingting closed her eyes and obediently went to sleep.
The next day, Zuiju was summoned in the early morning. Entering the room, she saw there was no one on Pingting's currently favourite couch, so she simply stood out in the atrium until she heard Chu Beijie's deep voice saying, ’’We're inside.’’
Zuiju went in.
Chu Beijie was already up and fully dressed. There was a fine layer of sweat on his forehead as if he been practicing his swordsmanship. Pingting was still lying on the bed and tried to get up when she saw Zuiju entering. Chu Beijie stopped her. ’’When I wanted her to come yesterday night, you stubbornly refused. Now that you're like this, you still try to pointlessly move about? Lie down obediently and let Zuiju take your pulse.’’
Zuiju stepped forward and sat by the bed. She smiled at Pingting, ’’Rest assured, Miss Bai, my Teacher says I am proficient in the field.’’ She reached out her hand into the warm blankets, gently grasping Pingting's wrist and brought it out.
Before she could intently listen to her pulse, she was interrupted by a gust of wind from the opening door. The door curtain was suddenly lifted and Moran appeared at the doorway, his expression serious. ’’Duke, a private letter from the Royal House.’’
Chu Beijie's thick eyebrows rose in surprise. ’’A private letter from the Royal House?’’
’’The King's private letter.’’
Chu Beijie's expression was suddenly serious. His waist straightened like a javelin. ’’Go to the office,’’ he instructed Moran.
He took two steps before turning back to Zuiju. ’’Take her pulse properly, administer medicine carefully and determine the root of her sickness. Her general health isn't too good, so don't use strong medicines.’’ Then he strode out in large steps, hurriedly leaving.
The two entered the office at different times. When Moran entered the room, he quickly shut the door behind him and took out the letter from his sleeves.
Chu Beijie took it, observing the royal seal. There were a few tiny words written on the letter: ’’Confidential to Beijie’’. Indeed, this letter was from his only brother, personally written by the King of Dong Lin. Ominously, his heart thumped. Because of the poisoning of the two princes, he had led a raging storm through the capital, a mutiny full of battle-hardened soldiers. The ordeal ended with parting from the King of Dong Lin dejectedly.
After such bitter misfortune, unless it was the last resort, there was no way the King of Dong Lin would send a personal letter.
Chu Beijie and the King of Dong Lin were born from the same mother, and the two brothers had been intimate from childhood. One made the decisions of a King, while the other loyally led troops to defend the country, their feelings completely without friction. Although Chu Beijie had angrily and heartbreakingly sworn a life of seclusion, the ties of flesh and blood override hearts. How could he not worry about his brother, in the faraway capital, after such an urgent letter?
Chu Beijie broke open the seal, unfolded the letter and read it attentively.
The letter was not long and was undoubtedly written by the King of Duke without scribes. The more Chu Beijie read, the dire his expression became. Moran couldn't help becoming increasingly worried. He waited breathlessly.
Chu Beijie read the entire letter and held his hands behind his back. It was a long time before he replied, ’’Yun Chang and Bei Mo have formed an alliance and sent three hundred thousand soldiers to pressure my Dong Lin's borders.’’
Moran had accompanied Chu Beijie on the battlefield through fire and water, so he fully understood the military strength of the four countries. The Bei Mo army was clearly not strong in battle a year earlier. The Yun Chang who've always occupied a corner was surpising since they had a lot of potential due to their constant neutrality. He thought for a while before asking, ’’Which general has Yun Chang sent to command the troops?’’
Although Chu Beijie's expression was heavy, he still managed to give him a pleased look, ’’Moran really does get straight to the point. There's a great improvement.’’ A light flashed in his eyes as he spat, ’’He Xia.’’
’’He Xia?’’ Moran had already guessed this a little, but he couldn't help but frown when hearing Chu Beijie's reply. ’’His strength and strategies are extremely good. I'm afraid that on Duke has the ability to rival him. Hmph, Yun Chang has finally sent out their Prince Consort. I'm afraid that Miss Bai...’’
’’Pingting doesn't know anything.’’ Chu Beijie replied, ’’She doesn't need to have any contact with these kind of things any more.’’
Moran nodded in agreement. ’’Indeed.’’ He then thought back to Dong Lin's military affairs and hesitated before saying, ’’Even though the army borne of Yun Chang and Bei Mo's alliance is said to be three hundred thousand, in reality there is only at most one hundred and fifty thousand. With the current strength of Dong Lin's army with Duke accompanying them, coupled with Duke's former, special group of warriors, there is enough to resist the enemy.’’
Chu Beijie's gaze was far away. There was a slightly bitter smile on his handsome, angular face. ’’I never thought that my Dong Lin who has conducted wars and pressured other countries' borders would have its own border pressured one day? It seems that it was indeed my greatest fault in not capturing Bei Mo's capital in one fell swoop. As a result, they've allied with Yun Chang.’’
Moran immediately closed his mouth, refusing to say anything.
Bai Pingting had damaged the Battle of Bei Mo. The process had been complex. Moran knew what had happened, better than anyone else. Bai Pingting was Chu Beijie's Achilles heel.
Chu Beijie's expression was enigmatic and held no clues to decipher.
A tense atmosphere filled the room, causing breathlessness to the people inside. Moran waited anxiously before forcing himself to ignorantly change the subject. ’’The enemy is advancing step by step, and the opposing general is the widely acclaimed He Xia. Without Duke's commands, I'm afraid my Dong Lin's army will not be able to resist very long. Does Duke plan to immediately return to the capital and prepare for war?’’
Chu Beijie's large back straightened, determined. There was a faint hint of his heroic, influential battlefield style as he sneered, ’’I may be living in seclusion, but the country is in trouble and He Xia is harming my Dong Lin. How can I just sit back and watch? I shall set off immediately.’’
Moran hesitated, not knowing how to react. Chu Beijie turned around, ’’I shall rush to the capital by horse, to see my Brother.’’
Chu Beijie waved a hand to stop Moran, commanding, ’’It's enough to have me on the battlefield. You lead the guards to protect this place and protect Pingting.’’ His tone lowered as he looked out the window, at the morning light in the east. In a cold voice he added, ’’The Queen has never forgotten her hatred for the assassination of her two sons, so she must have secretly sent some spies here, waiting for the opportunity to harm Pingting. You should know what to do.’’
Moran replied in order, ’’I have also sent spies to them beforehand. The Queen's spies are good in skill but few in number. The remaining guards, both in number and skill, are enough to deal with them. I am just a little worried that after the Duke is gone, perhaps the Queen will decide to fully eradicate Miss Bai and mobilise the army...’’
’’Can she mobilise the army of Dong Lin to attack my residence?’’ Chu Beijie's deep voice was full of confidence. ’’That is also the reason I want you to stay. As long as you stand at the front door, what general dares to act rashly?’’
That was true as no one dared to go against Chu Beijie in the army. Moran was the most trusted confidant, making him the best representative of Chu Beijie.
Chu Beijie lifted his head, seemingly thinking deeply about something. His gaze swept lightly across the wall, before walking forwards and picking up the precious sword that never left his side on the battlefield. He held it in his palm, touching it gently.
Inside another building.
A trace of surprise leaked from Zuiju's eyes.
Zuiju removed her fingers from Pingting's wrist before directing her sparkling, bright eyes to look at Pingting.
There was smile in Pingting's lips, one full of sweetness that could not be easily dispersed. She nodded gently.
Zuiju sucked in a long breath, whispering, ’’When did you know?’’
’’When I grew suspicious, I took my own pulse.’’
’’No wonder you refused to let the doctor take your pulse.’’ Zuiju studied her deeply before sighing, ’’Miss, you messed around far too much. You knew yet still did something like refusing to eat. If the Duke was really heartless, then wouldn't two lives have died in vain?’’ She shook her head in disapproval, asking again, ’’Does the Duke know?’’
Pingting hadn't always been a romantic yet now she was unusually shy. She lowered her voice, ’’Can I personally tell him?’’
Zuiju thought a little and nodded her head. ’’Fine. But let me tell Miss first, you have already ruined your body enough. From now on, you have to be carefully nursed back to health and eat a proper diet, all under my instructions. You mustn't play qin in the snow or stargaze in the cold wind. If you don't listen to me, I will get the Duke to come over and have him ban you from moving. You will not even be allowed get out of the bed.’’
The more she said, the more serious she was. Pingting couldn't help laughing and softened her voice, ’’Understood. Pingting knows she was wrong.’’
Her voice was melodius, and her posture was elegant. She had a faint smile, her brows and eyes relaxed. With her soft words, Zuiju couldn't continue to scold her but helplessly shake her head in exasperation.
In her heart, Zuiju sighed, as she realised that this was what a charming, unrivalled beauty was like. When they were finally in role, they were unstoppable unmatched romantics that could not be resisted by anyone.
She had the ability to make Chu Beijie happy and the ability to make Chu Beijie worried. Zuiju was still sighing to herself when a glimpse of Chu Beijie entering the room made her hurriedly stand up.
’’Have you taken her pulse?’’ Chu Beijie asked, ’’How is her sickness?’’
Zuiju's eyes flicked towards Pingting, replying, ’’Nothing much, she just has to carefully restore her health back. Zuiju will now leave to prescribe the medicine.’’ She left the room, giving Pingting an opportunity to be alone with Chu Beijie.
Pingting leaned on the bed, her eyes following Chu Beijie's every movement. She watched Chu Beijie lean towards her. He revealed a more delighted smile than usual. She took the initiative and tugged at Chu Beijie's sleeve, saying, ’’Sit here Duke, Pingting has something to tell you.’’
As Chu Beijie sat down, Pingting's gaze fell on the sword on his hand. ’’Is the Duke going to practice? Why are you holding onto your precious sword?’’ she asked curiously.
’’I'm going to hurry back to the capital.’’ Chu Beijie looked deeply into the eyes of the most beautiful woman and handed the sword to her. ’’Do you still recognise this sword? I have two swords, one is Parting Soul, which has been given to He Xia to symbolise the five-year truce to Gui Le. This is divine Spirit, a set with Parting Soul.’’
When Pingting heard that Chu Beijie was going to leave, her face was wiped of its original joy. She took the heavy sword, lowered her head to stare at the exquisite patterns on the scabbard and was speechless.
Chu Beijie then said, ’’It is remote here, so I leave Moran and the guards here to protect you. If...if the unthinkable happens here, send someone by a fast horse with this sword to the Dragon Tiger Barracks twenty miles north of here and ask General Chen Mu to help. He recognises my sword.’’
When he finished, he saw that Pingting's face was full of loneliness. He raised his large, rough hands smoothing the hair on her forehead. ’’Why so silent?’’
Pingting placed the Precious divine Spirit Sword down and slowly leaned towards Chu Beijie's chest, deeply breathing as if trying to draw strength from there. A moment passed before she asked in a lowered voice, ’’Is the Duke going to war? Who dares to attack Dong Lin?’’ She felt Chu Beijie stiffen slightly and immediately reached out, covering his mouth. She raised her head towards him, ’’Duke doesn't need to explain to Pingting. Pingting is no longer concerned about anything apart from Duke now.’’
Chu Beijie saw this as delicate and charming. He couldn't help but tightly hug her. He lowered his voice, ’’Didn't you have something to tell me?’’
Pingting calmly watched him for a while, asking, ’’Pingting passed her birthday alone, so as for Duke's birthday, could we be together?’’
Chu Beijie was born on the sixth of the first lunar month, leaving only fifteen days. If he had to rush back to make it on a fast horse, he could spend no longer than four days at the Royal Residence.
As the same time, the situation of the army and borders were unknown, Chu Beijie could not easily determine whether he could get away from the Royal Residence in just four days.
He didn't want to disappoint Pingting, so he remained silent without answering.
Pingting did not mind this, her eyes hiding warm laughter. She raised her head towards Chu Beijie, ’’Duke is a natural general. Eleven days is enough to travel to and from the Royal Residence and four days is enough for Duke to gain favour with the King's troops. Pingting is not greedy, just hoping that Duke will come to see Pingting once before heading out to the battlefield. On Duke's birthday, Pingting wants to tell Duke something very important.’’
Chu Beijie's heart thumped, asking, ’’Something important? Can't you tell me now?’’
The white and black parts of Pingting's eyes revealed a little stubbornness and obstinacy. She shook her head, ’’It's something very important and must be said on an unforgettable and auspicious day.’’
Chu Beijie was about to ask more, when Moran had already marched into the room, reporting, ’’Duke, everything has been prepared.’’
He then studied the figure in the room, carefully asking, ’’Perhaps you would like to set off at a later time?’’
’’No, I must set off immediately.’’ Chu Beijie released Pingting and placed her on her pillow. He watched her undoubtedly beautiful black hair spread out. A look of pity appeared on his chiselled face. He finally opened his mouth, ’’I'll try to hurry back soon.’’
Seeing infinite joy suddenly replacing the deep gaze of her bright eyes, he turned and stepped out of the door.
The best horse, fed with the best grain, was already tipping and tapping outside the entrance.
Chu Beijie launched himself onto the horse, his blazing eyes sweeping towards Moran.
Moran gritted his teeth and heavily nodded back.
Chu Beijie then lowered his gaze and called towards the staying guards. ’’I shall go to the Royal Residence to receive the King's commands. I will return before heading towards the border to handle the troops there. Everyone, make sure to guard properly. Do not make any mistakes!’’
All of the guards were borne of the battlefield and each was a battle-hardened veteran. Hearing enemy soldiers threatening their country made their veins boil. The moment Chu Beijie spoke, morale boomed and everyone thundered ’’yes’’.
Chu Beijie faintly smiled and whipped the horse, causing the four hooves to quicken and blow away the snow.
A back view full of arrogant pride seemed even more noticeable further away than near.
Pingting remained in the room, calmly propping herself to a sit.
She heard the distant cries beyond the way, and her eyebrow fretted slightly. She knew that Chu Beijie had departed, leaving her heart empty.
’’Does the Duke know?’’
She lifted her head, only realising that Zuiju had entered the room some time ago.
’’The sixth of the first lunar month is his birthday, I will tell him on that day.’’
Zuiju was puzzled and her voice was a little anxious. ’’It's already good enough if Miss tells the Duke, why on earth would you drag it to the sixth of the first lunar month? Sigh, why is it that the more intelligent a person, the more mysteries they like to make? If this goes on, something is going to happen even if nothing is supposed to happen.’’
Pingting frowned, shaking her head. ’’I don't know why but the Duke suddenly said that he had to immediately return to the capital. I suddenly worried. I'm really scared that something terrible will happen in Dong Lin's capital. In the critical moments, the Duke may have to make dangerous decisions, meaning the fewer considerations, the better. It's better not to tell the Duke the news of my pregnancy. Let's not add to his worries,’’ she replied thoughtfully.’’
Zuiju surprisedly measured Pingting's expression. She relaxed her voice, ’’Moran once said that Miss has the sight of a thousand miles. Listening to Miss' tone, perhaps you already have some clues about what is happening?’’
’’Clues about what?’’ Pingting's smile was wry. ’’I have been without news of the outside world for a long time now.’’
Yangfeng's last letter only mentioned that she and Ze Yin had gone into a life of seclusion with no other details.
Perhaps Yangfeng didn't want to tire her body and mind by participating in those annoying battles for power.
Bei Mo had been at war with both Dong Lin and Gui Le once, resulting in massive damage to the troops. Until now, the only country that had the potential to challenge Dong Lin was Yun Chang which had always been outside the picture.
However, why did Yun Chang shift from its national policy of defense and non-attack towards threatening the powerful military of Dong Lin?
She turned back and saw Zuiju, a gentle smile escaping from her face. ’’Don't worry, no matter what happens, there are two things I'm absolutely sure about.’’
Zuiju couldn't help asking, ’’Which two?’’ after hearing her soft voice full of confidence.
’’First, no matter how powerful the enemy is, the Duke can still gain victory.’’
Zuiju agreed with this point and she nodded. ’’Then the second?’’ she asked again.
’’The second?’’ Pingting's eyes brightened, revealing a hint of pride. ’’No matter where the Duke is, as long as I am in danger, he will definitely come back to me in time.’’
Zuiju was stunned.
Why did this smart, tough girl who tested the Duke over and over again put so much confidence in the Duke's affection at this time?
Pingting approved of Zuiju's stunned expression, revealing two shallow dimples. She lazily stretched out, ’’As long as these two points are guaranteed, why should I waste energy on other things? Ah, Zuiju, you must look after the child properly in my tummy so when the Duke returns, I can tell him the good news super healthy and glowing.’’
Zuiju answered and went outside to look at the herbs she had brewed for Pingting. When she reached the courtyard, she happened to see Moran who had just sent off Chu Beijie.
Moran said, ’’The Duke has left. Why is your expression so strange? Has anything happened to Miss Bai?’’
Her expression was a little nervous.
Zuiju shook her head and seriously thought for a while, revealing an expression exclusive to teenage girls. She faintly sighed, ’’I now understand that a woman finding the man of her dreams is something seriously reassuring.’’
She sighed consecutively several more times, both sentimentally and enviously. She then went to see the herbs, leaving behind a baffled Moran.
Chu Beijie was on the roads on a fast horse, moving rapidly away from the secluded area like an agile pigeon flapping its wings in the sky.
This general, one who shook the four countries, was soon away from the mountains and forests of seclusion, bringing his distinguished presence back into the world once more.
At Dong Lin's Royal Residence, the majestic King of Dong Lin slowly paced back and forth in the, accompanied by only four personal maids. The Queen of Dong Lin stopped her track at the wooden door and held her maids back, entering alone.
’’King,’’ she slowly sat on the Dong Lin King's bed, looking at her husband's face. The Queen of Dong Lin asked, her voice full of concern, ’’Does King not feel better after eating the genius Doctor Huo's pills?’’
The King of Dong Lin let out a comforting smile and held the Queen's wrist, ’’Sorry I made my Queen worry.’’ His gaze shifted towards the empty doorway, ’’Any news from my Brother?’’
’’I just received the news. The Duke of Zhen-Bei has already left and will soon arrive at the capital.’’ The Queen relayed the news from the reporting letter. ’’He did not take any men and left alone. I have already ordered the Senior Offical to pass on the instructions to the town officials, so they can properly look after of him.’’
She paused, before lowering her eyes. ’’The Duke of Zhen-Bei...as expected, left Pingting behind.’’
’’It's because he doesn't want to hurt you. He doesn't want Bai Pingting to appear before us, therefore has reluctantly left his woman behind.’’ The King of Dong Lin coughed twice, his pale face revealing an unnatural shade of red. His eyes darkened, ’’Has everything been prepared?’’
The Queen nodded, helplessly sighing. She softly comforted him, ’’Don't blame yourself, King. Any member of the royal family would consider it an honor to sacrifice themselves for the country.’’
Even though she said this, her always dignified and unemotional face couldn't help reveal a trace of sadness.
The massive battles of Gui Le and Bei Mo had caused some loss to Dong Lin's military power, but it was Chu Beijie's retirement to a life of seclusion after leading a mutiny that had delivered a huge blow on the once-powerful country of Dong Lin.
Had Chu Beijie completely given up his military power and continued his life of seclusion, it would be difficult to measure the extent of the cracks in Dong Lin's power.
But even so, the morale of the Dong Lin's army had been shaken.
In just one short year, the power of the four countries had shifted and shockingly, the one who had gradually profited the most from this shift of military power had been the new Prince Consort of Yun Chang, He Xia.
This alliance between the armies of Yun Chang and Bei Mo had resulted in three hundred thousand enemy soldiers approaching menacingly. Although Dong Lin had always been a country of dominance, they had been at loss for once, giving birth to the emotion of fear.
The Queen of Dong Lin had intercepted He Xia's handwritten confidential letters. The three hundred thousand troops that were arriving just wanted a single woman.
Just a woman.
Just a...Bai Pingting.
The woman who murdered her two juvenile sons, the woman who Chu Beijie hated to bits yet loved to bits seemed to be the saviour of Dong Lin at the moment.
Wasn't that truly ironic?
Wasn't that truly embarrassing?
It was such a bizarre thing, yet there was no room for doubt on He Xia's personally written letter, covered with the official seal of Yun Chang, including Princess Yaotian's handwritten initials.
The King of Dong Lin summoned his most trusted officials before discussing by the bedside.
’’The Duke of Zhen-Bei refuses to hand over Bai Pingting.’’
’’My Brother will fight and win this war for us.’’
’’King,’’ The Senior Offical, Chu Zairan, knelt down. His words were direct and full of pain, ’’With the current enemy's troops, even if the Duke of Zhen-Bei can win, it will be a bloody battle. Dong Lin's soldiers will suffer innumerous casualties.’’
The King of Dong Lin studied the elderly officials that had accompanied them for so many years, not making any sound.
For all those young men's lives, his Dong Lin's Royal House and the officials that protected them, it was just not worth it for just a single woman even if it was the dearest woman to Chu Beijie.
If Chu Beijie was still Dong Lin's Duke of Zhen-Bei, then he should know that it wasn't worth it.
’’Queen...’’The King of Dong Lin called his much-worn wife in the chambers, at the dead of the night.
He watched the resolute and noble expression on the Queen's face for a long time. The King of Dong Lin then sighed, ’’I know that the Queen has sent troops to camp near Brother's secluded residence and have prepared to ambush them to avenge your murdered our murdered children.’’
The Queen's expression did not change as she frankly replied, ’’Yes.’’
’’But the Queen has never sent the order to do so.’’
The Queen laughed self-deprecatingly, her expression dark. ’’After all, she is the most beloved woman of the Duke of Zhen-Bei. If I really ordered them to do it, then the brotherhood between King and the Duke of Zhen-Bei will be completely drained away. He...is not only King's own younger brother but also the protector of Dong Lin as the Duke of Zhen-Bei. He is Dong Lin's moat that is unable to be attacked. No matter how ignorant I am, I would not destroy this country's supporting column for my own feelings.’’
The King of Dong Lin had been married to her for many years and knew she was thinking of their two dead sons. A knife pierced his heart. He grabbed her soft body in his arms, holding tightly. ’’Don't worry Queen, I know.’’
How could Chu Beijie, his brother, Dong Lin's greatest general, the Duke of Zhen-Bei that shook the four countries, forgive the woman who poisoned the young Dong Lin princes?
The Queen turned away, holding back her tears. She calmly asked, ’’He Xia has kept his word and has retreated ten miles away from the border, awaiting further news. Has the King decided yet?’’
The King of Dong Lin closed his eyes and thought for a long time. When he finally opened his eyes, he said, ’’Send out a letter, allowing He Xia and his men towards Brother's secluded residence and take away Bai Pingting. As for the capital, make Brother stay at the Royal Residence at all costs until Bai Pingting is taken away.’’
The King of Dong Lin's personal letter was then sent to Chu Beijie, who had been deep in love with Bai Pingting, and just like that, made the Chu Beijie, who could not forget the matters of his country, reluctantly leave Bai Pingting's side.
Chu Beijie had already left and arrived at the outskirts of the capital by daytime. He had no idea that every step of the horse he rode danced closer towards the palm of the Royal House who knew everything, closer towards the palm of his only brother, the King of Dong Lin.
In the Royal Residence, the two were unattended.
The Queen looked at the increasingly sickly King of Dong Lin and finally asked the question the officials were afraid to mention before him.
’’When the enemy soldiers retreat and the Duke of Zhen-Bei learns that Bai Pingting has been taken away by He Xia's men, how should we explain to him?’’
The King of Dong Lin's face was drained of colour. Despite his melancholy, there was a likeness to Chu Beijie's strong determination. With the certainty and pride suitable to a King, he replied, ’’No need for an explanation. As long as he is my Brother, as long as he is still the Duke of Zhen-Bei, as long as he still has a trace of the fiery blood of Dong Lin's Royal House, then he should understand how to face and choose in the best interests of this country.’’
The Royal House was one that gave up their own spirit by replacing it with their country and its people.
No matter how beloved the woman, it was not as important as a patch of Dong Lin's barren soil. Just as the King of Dong Lin was upset over losing his sons, the cost of losing Dong Lin's Duke of Zhen-Bei was much too great.
He could never forget that Chu Beijie, his only Brother, was forever the Dong Lin's battlefield's representative, the Duke of Zhen-Bei.
Until then, day and night, Chu Beijie passionately listened to Pingting's leisurely singing in her room.
They had no idea that that a life of seclusion was never one for them to have.
Power, war, strategy, and even affection made up the complicated woven web that now lay before them.