Book 1: Winds Begin to Blow in Tai Yuan
Chapter 23 – Limitless Longevity of a Dog
However, storm and lightning seemed they would strike down soon.
When Meng Fuyao led her horse to enter Yanjing’s city gate, her heart still had a vague feeling of nervousness. Yet, once she saw the excited but peaceful crowds on the expansive, large street, she suddenly calmed down.
What was she afraid of? No matter how much overthrowing would happen at the Tai Yuan Palace, what did it have to do with an ordinary citizen like her?
Because the Emperor’s 50th birthday was coming, everyone would celebrate together on that day. Both the imperial capital and the various province capitals each set up Daoist rituals to chant holy scriptures and honor the ancestors, while craftsmen filled the two sides of the main streets with decorations of beautiful paintings and silk cloths. The entire city of Yanjing looked bustling, wealthy, and colorful, with a festive and splendid scene filling one’s eyes.
Ten li before entering the city, Yuan Zhaoxu had separated from her. Meng Fuyao knew very clearly that continuing to follow him would not necessarily be good for her, and so in that moment she walked forward alone without hesitation.
When Zhaoxu said goodbye to her, his expression was as usual. The eyes that were like the deep sea held a light smile inside, without any sign of internal emotions. Master Yuanbao, however, seemed very happy. It hopped up and down in satisfaction, most likely with the complete feeling of joy that comes with finally getting rid of a pain in the ass. Seeing this Fuyao became completely cheerless, and in a fit of anger she yanked out another three hairs on its butt – putting it nicely, it could be considered her parting gift.
As for whether that one would harbor resentment in its little heart, Meng Fuyao didn’t care at all.
After finding an inn to rest at, Meng Fuyao went out for some street shopping. Here she bought a mask, then over there she bought a sugar person, purely just idling away time.
The things quickly piled up in her hands. With a pastry person stuck in her mouth she walked back to her room, when with an eye she spotted Yao Xun wiggling and weaving through the crowd, probably up to his usual “work” again. She couldn’t help but laugh.
Due to this laugh, some of her attention was diverted, and so when she turned past a corner her eyes weren’t looking. Suddenly, she heard an erupting of galloping hooves while a white shadow flashed past – from behind the corner immediately burst out a horse, its pace extremely frantic and its attitude fiery-tempered. Discovering a person in front blocking its way, the horse’s feet lifted up and kicked towards Meng Fuyao!
Amidst the street-goers’ surprised cries, the person on top of the horse anxiously yelled, “White Lightning! Halt!”
Fuyao raised her head. The white horse’s large hooves had already reached in front of her eyes. Instinctively, Meng Fuyao wanted to use a powerful blow to break the hooves, but with a glance out of the corners of her eyes, she found that it was a fine steed. Thinking it a pity, her hand retracted, and she drifted up. With a “shua” sound she leaped onto the back of the horse, all the while still holding onto that bag of stuff she bought.
The person on the horse had originally left his residence with his mind preoccupied with troubles, distracted by thoughts the whole journey. It was only because of this that he had urged the horse to run too fast and risk injuring others. Just when he was regretting his carelessness, he unexpectedly saw that girl underneath the horse suddenly leap onto the horse, stably landing behind him. Shocked, he couldn’t help but let out an “Ah!” sound.
Instinctively twisting his head back, he let out yet another “Ah!” sound.
At the same time, Meng Fuyao also shouted out.
The youth on the horse was gentle and handsome, elegant and graceful – who else could he be, other than her first love who was about to marry a luxury bitch?
Fuyao narrowed her eyes, inwardly sighing that enemies truly encounter each other everywhere in life. Just look at Yan Jingchen’s red rosy face! He must have been having such a good time these past few days.
If Yan Jingchen knew what she was thinking right now, he most likely would have coughed up blood due to grievance. His face was clearly haggard and pale, his thoughts absent, and furthermore because of that scene today when his father warned him with implied threats, he almost frightened his horse from distractedly thinking about Meng Fuyao! Who knew that, when this appearance reached her eyes, it had somehow become a rosy face.
Fuyao didn’t care about any of this, however. She had always believed that after breaking up with someone, her ex definitely couldn’t be having a better time than herself! If you were living happily after leaving her, her mood would become very bad.
The moment she saw Yan Jingchen in front with an expression of shocked joy, Meng Fuyao became completely disgruntled, and with a turn she went to dismount.
Before she could move, her wrist was suddenly caught. Meng Fuyao slanted her head, not looking at Yan Jingchen but only staring at her wrist. With a chilly voice she said, “Release me.”
Jingchen hesitated for a second. Thinking of that day in the Profound Origin mountains when Meng Fuyao had attacked with such ruthlessness, he awkwardly retracted his hand, then softly said, “Fuyao …”
Meng Fuyao completely ignored him. Yan Jingchen became anxious, his hand extending to block in front of her. Clenching his teeth he said, “Fuyao, hear me out before leaving, otherwise you can just chop my hand off!”
Fuyao frowned while looking at the arm horizontally in front of her, then looked at the crowd of people around them. Sneering, she replied, “Little Marquis Ye, you have quite the good plan huh? You want me to chop your hand off in front of all these people in this public square? Isn’t that just bringing down bad luck on myself?”
“That wasn’t my intention.” Yan Jingchen took back his hand, fixedly staring at Meng Fuyao. “Fuyao, how about we go find a place to sit and talk this over?”
“If you need to fart just let it out here. Meng Fuyao climbed upright on the horse, then squatted on her heels, showing her refusal to sit together with him.
The crowds of people all orderly turned their heads, looking at that young girl who was crouching on top of the horse like no one was around. They couldn’t help but point and stare, while Meng Fuyao only pretended she didn’t notice anything.
Seeing her eccentric and mysterious posture, Yan Jingchen helplessly sighed, and slowly spurred the horse to go past the street. Only after entering a small alley where people rarely came through, did he say in a low voice, “Fuyao, my clan wants me to marry Pei Yuan, but how could I be willing? These past few days my heart has felt like it’s being tortured in boiling oil …”
“Is that it? I’m done listening.” Fuyao cut him off, getting ready to hop off the horse.
“No!” Yan Jingchen became frightened, and immediately stopped professing his feelings, his words rapidly rushing out. “The reason why my father wants me to marry Pei Yuan, is mainly because Pei family’s ‘Thunder Shaking Form’ is a world-famous first-rate martial technique. Father hopes that I can obtain the Thunder Shaking Form and meld it together with our family’s Stirring Wind sword art, then go on to make a name for myself at the True Martial conference …”
“What does that have to do with me?” Fuyao yawned.
“That’s why …” Yan Jingchen clenched his teeth, lowering his voice even more. “Father actually has another, deeper plan. Since the Pei family has the ‘Thunder Shaking Form’, then it may be possible that they also have ‘Breaking Nine Heavens’. No matter how fierce thunder and lightning are, they all originally come from the Nine Heavens – even if their strength can split mountains and lift the seas, they still can’t be more powerful than the vastness of the heavens. Only, ‘Breaking Nine Heavens’ is too precious of a technique, and Pei family may be keeping it a secret. Once I marry her, the Pei family might hand it over .. Fuyao, martial skill is heavily emphasized in Tai Yuan, with all the large powers fighting both openly and secretly. I am my clan’s successor and all of my family’s hope is placed on me. Victory at the True Martial conference is extremely important to me …”
“Breaking Nine Heavens you say?” Meng Fuyao, who was originally half-listening, suddenly laughed.
Jingchen only felt that her expression in that instant was strange yet pitying, containing a slight trace of derision. However, in a blink that expression vanished, quickly recovering that lazy attitude from before.
“I’m clear, I understand, I comprehend,” Fuyao extended her hand all of a sudden, using force to pat Jingchen’s shoulder, “are you done? Have all your inner thoughts been poured out? Have all your grievances and pressures from not being able to explain been released? Then good, I know now, the Thunder Shaking Form, the Breaking Nine Heavens, the True Martial conference, added together equals your marriage.” When she laughed, her pupils lit up like the stars. “Your father’s guesses really have good judgement, I think that ‘Breaking Nine Heavens’ has maybe eighty or ninety percent possibility to be in the hands of the Pei family. Quickly go marry her, I’ll wish you success in training your arts, there’s no need to castrate yourself in worrying about me.”
“Fuyao!” Yan Jingchen bit his teeth while pulling her, hurriedly saying, “Fuyao, I know your heart is in pain, I know you feel sad that I’m leaving you! You don’t have to intentionally spite me, and even more so you don’t have to say these words to hurt yourself —”
“Ah ha! I’m in pain? I’m sad? I intentionally spite you? I intentionally hurt myself?” Meng Fuyao pointed at her nose, staring at him so hard that she went cross-eyed.
Student Yan, aren’t you being too full of yourself? Yes, I’ll admit I did go through a period of sadness, and I did like you before. But without even mentioning that the liking had not necessarily turned into love yet, even if it was love, I Meng Fuyao would never be so unreasonable about it like you’ve described.
So you believe that I’m shrinking back in order to advance, still holding onto some kind of past affection? So my straightforward breakup, in your eyes, has been turned into an intentional act? Fuyao raised her head to the sky, feeling boundless depression.
Her silence, seen by Yan Jingchen, became even more like evidence for “Meng Fuyao is heartbroken”. A fire couldn’t help but flash in his eyes, and this gave him the courage to speak his next words.
“Fuyao, wait … wait for when me and Pei Yuan marry, once I’ve obtained the Thunder Shaking Form and Nine Breaking Heavens, after that … it won’t be up to her anymore. I promise you, I will definitely not touch her at all, in the future, in the future, the Yan clan will only be us!”
Great. What a great scheme, great calculations.
How did I not discover how much potential and imagination you were capable of?
Meng Fuyao was speechless for a long time, then laughed.
Crouched on the horse’s back, her laugh was warm and sincere. Despite her awkward posture, one could see her bright, clear spirit, and her unending elegance.
“Marquis Yan, believe me. In this life, the Yan clan will be yours, it is yours and that luxury bitch of yours, and never ever will anyone replace you and that luxury bitch, because that would truly be an unfortunate and unwise decision.”
Searching in her robes, she found that half-chewed pastry man, then used her hands to knead it. After kneading it into a certain animal form, she placed it into the shell-shocked Yan Jingchen’s hands.
“I wish you two a harmonious union lasting a hundred years, and limitless longevity for the dog.”
With a spring she jumped off the horse, fiercely kicking the horse’s flank along the way. The fine horse felt pain, and madly galloped forwards.
Yan Jingchen on the horse hurriedly controlled the reins, only pacifying his beloved steed after exerting great effort. Stopping in the middle of the road and looking back with disappointment, that girl’s whereabouts had long vanished from view.
Silently sighing, Yan Jingchen thought of the Meng Fuyao just then. She had already completely taken off the makeup she wore back in Profound Origin, becoming even more resplendently beautiful, her looks shining like a fire red hyacinth.
The hyacinth that had first bloomed in his vision, which because of his smile could sway with unquantifiable charm, was now still vibrantly blooming as before, but was no longer a beauty that was his alone.
When plucking a flower one should do so immediately; he had missed the most beautiful time, missed the opportunity to take the flower into his palm. So did that establish that for the rest of his life, he would only be able to stand at the sidelines, and see her bloom for some other person?
No … never …
She will forgive me …
Yan Jingchen clenched his hands, as if wanting to use that force to settle his turbulent heart. Only with that grip, did he remember that thing Meng Fuyao shoved in his hand when she left.
He lowered his head, looking at the thing that he had almost kneaded flat.
A pair of ugly dogs molded from dough.
1. A type of street food common at festivals, its crystallized sugar on a stick that is made into different shapes. Pastries made into shapes are also common. Picture:
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