[Chapter 3 - Lord Liu has arrived] ‘fraid he's here to talk about matchmaking again
[Chapter 3 - Lord Liu has arrived] ‘fraid he's here to talk about matchmaking again
In the world of martial arts, people who desire the Fen Xing are in the hundreds if not thousands; but most are plain fantasies only . According to legend, Jiu Xuan Ji is built by a junior of Lu Ban, the grandfather of carpentry . There are traps everywhere in the tower; a moment of carelessness can cost one's life -- to tell the truth, in recent years, the people from Jiang Hu who lost their lives there are not few; and so the rumors became more and more wild . Duan Yao has heard of it before, but he always had no interest in martial arts, and did not take note of it . He only knew that it is an extremely dangerous place, and had planned to avoid it if he encounters it in the future . Contrary to his expectations, he had unknowingly rushed into the place instead .
Duan Bai Yue placed the wooden box into his sleeve, and turned to leave .
Duan Yao: " . . . . . . . "
The two people went back to the inn wordlessly . Upon reaching the entrance of the room, Duan Bai Yue patted his shoulder, and said: " Today you worked hard, so just quickly go and sleep . "
Duan Yao sidestepped him, pushed open the door without a care, and walked in .
Duan Bai Yue reminded him from the back: " This is my room . "
"Let me take a look . " Duan Yao sat at the table and reached out his hand .
"Look at what?" Duan Bai Yue pretended to not know .
"The Fen Xing, of course . " Duan Yao said, "Why do those people in the martial arts world all desire it, and also, why do you also want it?"
Duan Bai Yue replied: "Don't know . "
Duan Yao: " . . . . . . . . "
"I'm not the one who wants it, someone else wants it . " Duan Bai Yue said it matter-of-factly, "Since you and I happen to cross paths with it, might as well retrieve it . "
"To put it so simply, 'might as well retrieve it'!" Duan Yao said in a fit of resentment, and poked a hole in the table with his finger, " Do you know how dangerous it was inside?"
"No matter how dangerous it was, you have already come out of it intact . " Duan Bai Yue said in a relaxed tone, "Beside getting a bit dirty, nothing else was lost . "
. . . . . . . . . .
Duan Yao felt that if this continues like this, he will be angered to death by the person in front of him before he even arrives at the royal capital .
After seeing him return to his room, Duan Bai Yue opened the wooden box, and took out a pearl from inside . Neither smooth nor perfectly round; of a dull color ;surrounded by torn cloth; it looks as if it was torn from a beggar's clothes, and does not look like it is of any value .
Duan Bai Yue frowned slightly, and was unable to find an opening despite poring over it for a long while .
In the neighboring room, Duan Yao took a shower grumpily and fell into a deep sleep the moment he hit the bed, and only woke up in the afternoon next day . He did not go to find Duan Bai Yue, but instead immediately went out through the window to stroll around aimlessly . Only after buying sweets and listening to stories to his heart's content, and going to a shop and ordering a full table of food, did he return to the inn in the middle of the night .
Duan Bai Yue is currently sitting at the table, drinking tea .
"Here . " Duan Yao put down the medicine bottle in his hands with a dong sound, "I borrowed the kitchen and just finished brewing this . "
Duan Bai Yue smiled: " And here I thought you forgot that today is the fifteenth . "
Duan Yao placed his cheeks on his hands, and guarded the entrance . A rich merchant who probably drank too much, walked past the room while discussing business matter with his companions loudly . While laughing halfway he noticed a 13 or 14 year old youth with a sword looking at him with irritation and with an evil aura; he immediately quieted down and walked hastily back to his own room .
Duan Bai Yue finished the medicine concoction, and meditated quietly on his bed . Only 2 hours later did he open his eyes .
"Will you die?" Duan Yao asked while leaning on the entrance .
Duan Bai Yao answered: "Not within 3 to 5 years . "
Duan Yao pouted: " Harm passes on for a thousand years . "
Duan Bai Yue can't help but laugh, and said " I'll pretend that you dislike me having a long life . "
Duan Yao yawned widely, and went back to his room to sleep .
In the royal capital, the news of the murder has been momentarily suppressed, and Gu Li's servants are relocated to the palace as a temporary measure . Even using the fastest horse and riding through the night, a journey to and fro the capital and Ah Nu will take at least 3 months; it cannot be rushed even if one wants to .
"Your Majesty" On this afternoon, Eunuch Si Xi announced at the entrance of the royal study, " General Shen has arrived . "
"Summon him quickly!" Chu Yuan threw aside the report in his hands upon hearing the news .
"General Shen, please enter . " Eunuch Si Xi opened the door for him, and said in a low tone,
"The emperor has summoned you back here; the court has not been peaceful lately . "
Shen Qian Fan smiled, and walked into the study .
In the martial arts world, there is no one who doesn’t know about the Shen Clan . The head of the clan, Shen Feng is wizened and wise; the first son, Shen Qian Feng is highly skilled in martial arts, and commonly agreed to be one of the candidates for the next leader of the martial arts world; although the second son, Shen Qian Qian, did not embark on a journey in Jiang Hu, he is still a elegant gentleman of high status; the fourth son, Shen Qian Lin, is bright and lively; it is said a smile from him can cause a hundred flowers to bloom in winter . As for the third son, he is the famous battle strategist of the country of Chu, Shen Qian Fan . The Shen family had contributed unrelentingly, whether be it the initial capturing of bandits or the quelling of the rebellion later on; hence Chu Yuan viewed Shen Qian Fan as one of his most important people .
He initially wanted to return to Jiang Nan(1) to call on relatives; who knew that he hasn’t even left for half a month before being called back to the capital .
“You have worked hard, general . ” Chu Yuan descended the royal throne .
“Your Majesty flatters me, this is simply my duty as a general . ” Shen Qian Fan asked, “Did something happen in the imperial court?”
“Official Liu(2) seems to have made a move, so you are called back here . ” Chu Yuan said, “We wish to eliminate them in one go . ”
“Your Majesty wishes to bring forward the plan?” Shen Qian Fan is a little shocked at this .
“This is one matter; there is yet another matter . ” Chu Yuan said, “I wonder if you have heard of it?”
Shen Qian Fan shook his head: “ I rode straight from the gates of the city back to the palace, and did not talk with anyone, nor did I hear any rumours on my way here . ”
“Gu Li is assassinated . ” Chu Yuan returned to the royal throne .
“Is this done by Official Liu?” Shen Qian Fan frowned deeply .
“You too think this is so . ” Chu Yuan smiled coldly, “We think so too . ”
“Then the assassin has not been captured?’ Shen Qian Fan said carefully .
“Even if they are caught, one can only pretend that they have not been caught . ” Chu Yuan said, “Otherwise what else can we do?”
Shen Qian Fan tried asking: “Then, what is the next step you wish to take, Your Majesty?”
“We have already concealed the incident; a messenger is being sent to Ah Nu . ” Chu Yuan stated, “Knowing Sha Da’s temper, there’s chance some scoundrel will take advantage of this again; moreover it is my great Chu that is in the wrong here, a moment of carelessness will cause others to treat us as a joke . ”
“I understand . ” Shen QianFan nodded .
“Respected official rushed all the way here and must be tired, go back to the manor and rest first . ” Chu Yuan said . “As for other matters, it can be discussed tomorrow . ”
“Your Majesty . ” Eunuch Si Xi just so happened to announce outside, “Interior minister Liu (3) has an issue to discuss . ”
Shen Qian Fan, who was walking out, hesitated .
“Go and wait in the back first . ” Chu Yuan waved him over, indicating that he should hide .
Shen Qian Fan felt a sense of relief .
Lord Liu is loyal and frank, with a big belly and a rich aura and so should be well-liked; however he is too long winded and likes to matchmake, and has been trying to get his own niece to get married to Shen Qian Fan . Once caught by him, Lord Liu will chatter on endlessly, and had even attempted to propose the marriage via the emperor, causing a headache for everyone .
So it’s better to avoid and not meet him .
“Liege pays respects to Your Majesty . ” Lord Liu is holding a painting in his hands .
Behind the screen, Shen Qian Fan can only put his palm on his face .
“Respected official, please rise . ” Chu Yuan invited him inside .
“Many thanks to Your Majesty . ” After Lord Liu sat down, he first asked about Shen Qian Fan, “This subject heard at the doors just now that General Shen is back?”
“Ke”, Chu Yuan coughed and touched his chin, “He has returned to the general’s residence already . ”
Lord Liu revealed a gleam of happiness in his eyes; it’s obvious he has already prepared to pay a visit .
Shen Qian Fan decided to have his meal in the palace, and only go back at midnight .
“The purpose of respected official coming here, it’s to find Qian Fan?” asked Chu Yuan .
“Naturally it is not . ” Lord Liu rushed to stand up, and offered the painting in his hands, “This is a painting that was sent from the country of Gao Li just yesterday . ”
“Are you suggesting that I take an empress again?”
“It is not the case this time . ” Lord Liu shook his head vigorously, “If Your Majesty wishes to take an empress, naturally she will be chosen from all corners of the country; and beautiful, intelligent, loyal and righteous women of a suitable age will be recruited into the palace; a women like her is dull and was born in a foreign land; how can she shoulder the responsibilities of being the empress?” Afterwards he continued on, “Moreover she looks to be too thin, and can’t be with child easily . ”
Chu Yuan: “ . . . . . . . . . ”
“Ke ke” Duan Bai Yue, who was in the inn, coughed .
“Hey!” Duan Yao scrambled to hold on to the small jar in front of him, afraid that he will blow his gu chong(3) away .
Duan Bai Yue stated: “I’m a bit dizzy . ”
“You will be fine if you marry . ” Duan Yao said carelessly .
Duan Bai Yue, suspiciously: “Marriage can even cure headaches?”
“It should be possible, it seems like marriage can cure a hundred diseases . ” Duan Yao transferred the gu chong into another jar, “previously when third sister had a stomach ache, Lady Wang said it like this; just marry and give birth and she will be fine . ” If you like it, you can also have a child .
Duan Bai Yue: “ . . . . . . ”
Looking at Lord Liu’s jubilant expression, Chu Yuan seriously wished to get someone to drag him out, and save himself a headache .
But Lord Liu is certainly oblivious to being aware that he should leave .
Chu Yuan can only ask: “With respected official being well, then why is this painting brought to us?”
“This lady is the younger sister of the Gao Li King, named Jin Mei . ” Lord Liu said with a hint of mystery, “she is of marriageable age, but refuses to marry anyone; only after asking several times did she reveal she desired King Duan of Xi Nan . ”
Chu Yuan: “ . . . . . ”
Lord Liu repeated once again: “King Duan of Xi Nan!”
Chu Yuan: “ . . . . . . ”
Behind the screen, Shen Qian Fan listened with puzzlement; a princess of a vassal state in the north east desires the ruler of Xi Nan; so why is the painting delivered to the palace of Chu?
“How does this relate to respected official?” Chu Yuan also asked .
“King Duan has always been unruly, and has had conflicts with the Gao Li King before . ” Lord Liu explained, “The Gao Li King has been agonizing over this, and can’t stand his own sister who keeps making trouble; with no other ideas, he could only think of this idea . ”
“What idea?” Chu Yuan picked up the teacup to cover his face .
“The Gao Li King wishes to ask Your Majesty to be the mediator, and let King Duan allow this marriage . ” Lord Liu smiled fortuitously, “Even if she cannot become the wife, it’s not like she can’t become his mistress; Gao Li King doesn’t mind this; as long as the marriage can go on . ”
Shen Qian Fan, leaning in the back, genuinely admiring Lord Liu; to be able to matchmake from the north east to the south west, there can only be one such person .
(1) Jiang Nan (江南) - Name of a place
(2) Liu Fu(刘府) - lit . “Liu prefecture”, but in this context it’s referring to the Liu family who is in charge of the prefecture .
(3) Gu Chong(蛊虫) - To get a Gu Chong, a bunch of poisonous insects are put together in a battle royale . Last insect remaining will be referred to as Gu, hence the word Gu Chong .