Su Su didn’t know how long she had swum for.
The river water was cold, fragments of ice cut her skin, and her stiff limbs were too numb to feel pain. As she swam forward, her speed became slower and slower, but she didn’t dare to stop.
Suddenly she choked on the water, and in a panic, Su Su grabbed onto a piece of driftwood. Half of her body lay on top of it and the other half was still submerged, helplessly floating along with the wood.
It began to snow again and snowflakes fell on her cheeks.
Su Su closed her eyes. She couldn’t even move a finger and fell asleep, exhausted.
Someone gently carried her up, and then her body became warm.
Without knowing how long had passed, Su Su regained consciousness, she heard the sounds of street vendors, gongs, and children’s laughter. Someone was discussing something in a hushed voice.
She opened her eyes and realised that she was lying on a soft bed. Next to it was a short window, and from nearby came the cracking of burning coals.
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Fw Fw pyv wr qasx vbl cle yde pyo yv y tzydnl vbyv vos xld olal pkvvkdt yv y vyczl.
“Zswa Tktbdlpp Ikdt Dwyd, Zw Ckdt?”
Gv bla osaep, Zw Ckdt aykple yd lulcaso, “Zsw’al yoyjl. Tso yal usw qllzkdt?”
“Ebu yal usw twup blal?” Fw Fw ypjle.
Zw Ckdt srldle bkp qszekdt qyd, tlpvwale qsa Fw Fw vs zssj yv Dkys Nkd. “Sltyaekdt vbkp, usw xwpv ypj xu Fldksa Jasvbla. Tl oyp osaakle ycswv usw, yqayke vbyv usw’e cl jkzzle cu vbl qsm elxsd, ps bl qsanle xl vs vaynj usw esod yzz vbl oyu blal. El asole qsa plhlayz eyup sd vbl akhla yde pyo usw, rypple swv, bwttkdt y rklnl sq osse. Zsw’al alyzzu zwnju. Rq ol bye clld ydu zyvla, R’x yqayke usw oswze’hl qasgld vs elyvb.”
Fw Fw prsjl pkdnlalzu, “Mbydj usw csvb.”
Dkys Nkd pyke, “Mbkae Nyeu, esd’v zkpvld vs Zw Ckdt’p dsdpldpl. Zsw pyhle swa zkhlp, ps ol yal vbl sdlp obs pbswze vbydj usw. Gnnsaekdt vs pldvkxldv yde alypsd, ol pbswze yzps ldpwal uswa pyqlvu.”
Zw Ckdt ypjle, “Ebu olal usw kd vbl akhla?”
Su Su replied, “Tantai Jin wanted me to write a letter to my brother to let them through Jiayu Pass, so I jumped into the river and fled.”
Yu Qing clicked his tongue in astonishment, “This husband of yours is really amazing.” It wasn’t sarcasm. Yu Qing sincerely felt that the person was a man of great depth. He was quite amazing to be able to endure humiliation in silence for so many years. Before this, neither him nor King Zhao had seen that he was actually a ruthless person.
Su Su hurriedly asked, “How’s my Eldest Brother? Is he all right?”
Xiao Lin poured a cup of warm tea for Su Su and said, “You’ve been asleep for two days. Tantai Jin’s ship has already passed through Jiayu Pass. Young General Ye was poisoned and was sent back to the imperial city for treatment.”
Seeing Su Su’s face turned pale, Xiao Lin reassuringly said, “Don’t worry, it’s not a life-threatening poison. He’ll be fine soon after he returns to the imperial city.”
Su Su sighed in relief, That’s great. At least he didn’t need to commit treason. Ye Qingyu’s life is saved.
After she finished her tea, Xiao Lin once again thoughtfully ordered food for her. Su Su was so hungry that she held up the bowl and started digging in.
Yu Qing looked at her with great interest, “Previously, I heard that Third Miss Ye was condescending, arrogant, and tyrannical, but why are you so different from the rumours?” When they picked up Third Ye, she was almost frozen into a little figure of ice. A girl actually had the guts to jump into the winter river. Many men couldn’t compare to her courage.
Su Su smiled and said, “I’ve also heard that King Zhao’s guest, Mister Yu, has a gentle temperament and is a refined gentleman. Mister Yu, there’s a great disparity between you and the rumours.”
So rumours couldn’t be trusted.
Yu Qing’s face darkened and he snorted.
Xiao Lin looked at Su Su and couldn’t hold back a smile from appearing at the corners of his mouth.
Su Su said, “There’s one more thing. What about the seven-tailed fox demon?”
“I’ve tried to contact my Martial Uncle. He should have countermeasures.” Xiao Lin said.
Although Su Su was worried, she knew that this was all that could be done. She must go to the Abyss of Desolation to look for the Tortoise Deity, and regarding that seven-tailed fox, she could only put her hope on Xiao Lin’s Martial Uncle. There was no way to defeat the fox demon with her current level.
After Su Su finished eating, Xiao Lin said, “Third Lady Ye, this is Qingshui Town. It’s a five day trip from the imperial city. Once you’re well rested, we’ll return. Don’t worry, regarding Tantai Jin, Father Emperor is astute in even the smallest matters, and the Great General is loyal and courageous, so he naturally won’t blame your family.”
Su Su hurriedly said, “I’ve something else to do so for the time being, I can’t go back. Your Highness King Xuan, can you and Mister Yu tell my father and grandmother that I’m fine and I’ll go home once I’m done?”
“Third Lady, what things do you have to do, and is it something I can help you with?”
He was dressed in white and had ink-colored hair. He looked serious, sincerely wanting to repay Su Su for saving his life earlier.
Su Su’s heart felt warm. Before coming to this world, her father had comforted her by telling her that she might meet old friends and asked her to take it easy. Su Su’s Eldest Senior Brother was called Gongye Jiwu, and he was the son of a noble family from the mortal world. He was twelve when he entered the immortal sect, and with a mortal body, he had cultivated to the God Transformation Stage. He was only 300 plus years old at that time, making him a rightful genius.
If she was right, Xiao Lin must be her Eldest Senior Brother’s past life.
But the word “past life” was unpleasant, for a person could only be reincarnated if they died with their soul still intact.
Seeing Su Su staring blankly at Xiao Lin, Yu Qing said, “Little girl, what are you looking at? Do you still yearn for my Senior Brother?”
Xiao Lin reprimanded in a low voice, “Yu Qing!”
Yu Qing said, “Alright, alright, alright. My mouth is despicable. I’ll shut up.”
Su Su hurriedly waved her hands, “Your Highness King Xuan, don’t misunderstand. I was thinking about something and got a little lost in thought. In the past, I was foolish, but I’ll be sensible from now on.”
Xiao Lin nodded and his smile was gentle, “I know that Third Lady…… is somewhat different from the past. Yu Qing has a loose tongue, Third Lady, don’t take it personally.”
Only after Su Su had eaten and drunk her fill did she realise that her clothes had been changed.
Yu Qing explained, “It was the innkeeper’s daughter who changed your clothes for you. Don’t worry, we don’t dare take advantage of you.”
Su Su had regained her spirit and was brimming with energy1生龙活虎 (shēnglóng-huóhǔ) – doughty as a dragon and lively as a tiger — brimming (or bursting) with energy again.
Su Su wasn’t overly courteous with Xiao Lin either, as she indeed needed his help now. She said, “I’m going to a faraway place and it might take a long time before I return. If it’s convenient for Your Highness King Xuan, can you lend me some silver2currency in former times? I’ll write a letter and ask Chun Tao to repay you.”
Xiao Lin took out a few silver notes3Banknotes with value in silver in former times. Su Su took a glance, My God! That’s at least several thousand taels.
Su Su only took one, “This is enough. Your Highness. Mister Yu, take care.”
Although she also hoped that someone would walk with her on this path of turning fate around, Su Su knew that it was impossible. Xiao Lin hadn’t become Gongye Jiwu yet. He was the prince of Great Xia. The two countries were about to go to war and he had his own mission as a prince. Meanwhile, Su Su’s mission was destined to be a lonely path.
She waved at them and went down the inn’s stairs.
Yu Qing looked at her carefree back and teased, “Senior Brother, this girl is full of vitality and quite cute. Back then, if she had looked like this, would you have married her?”
Xiao Lin frowned and said, “Be careful of what you say.” There won’t be any ifs.
In their line of sight, the young girl bought a young chestnut horse, then disappeared into the wind and snow.
“How long has it been since we’ve been back to our hometown?” Jing Lan An reached out her hand to catch a snowflake, looking somewhat in a trance.
Five days after passing through Jiayu Pass, they had finally arrived at the border of the Zhou Kingdom. As they headed further in, the climate would become warmer and warmer.
The snowflake had melted on Jing Lan An’s palm and was likely the last snow that they would see.
Tantai Jin asked, “Did Aunt miss the Zhou Kingdom?”
“I can’t say I missed it, but it’s a falling leaf returning to its roots4落叶归根 (luòyè guī gēn) – all things go back to their source eventually/A person residing elsewhere finally returns to his ancestral home or where they belong.. Everyone is born with their own roots. It’s very emotional to return to our homeland,” Jing Lan An said, “Speaking of which, previously Your Highness had asked me for the antidote to the ‘spring knot silkworm’, but this drug is extremely difficult to make. A few days ago, the clan’s sage used up all the remaining snow lotus petals to create the antidote, does Your Highness need it?”
She took out a delicate green jade porcelain bottle, and didn’t ask Tantai Jin who he used the ‘spring knot silkworm’ on.
Tantai Jin took it. The porcelain bottle was warm. He subconsciously rubbed it for a moment, then said, “No need.”
He lifted his hand and threw the antidote into the river.
“Would Your Highness care to play a game of Go5Chinese chess?”
“Alright.” Tantai Jin replied.
He lifted the hem of his cloak and sat across from Jing Lan An. She played the black pieces while he played the white.
“Your Highness, I seldom asked you about your affairs in Great Xia. Back then, I sent Liu shi to take care of you. After that, I heard that she had gone mad.” Jing Lan An placed a piece, “Did she protect you well?”
The white Go chess piece was placed down with a murderous aura. Remembering the mad nanny from the cold palace, Tantai Jin’s expression remained unchanged, “You suspect that I drove her mad?”
Jing Lan An remained silent for a moment, “Of course not.”
Tantai Jin fiddled with a chess piece and suddenly threw out a shocking statement, “What you’ve suspected is correct. At first, she wasn’t crazy and wanted to protect me well, hoping that one day, I could return to the Zhou Kingdom and continue to be an imperial prince, and she could live a sweet after sweat life6苦尽甘来 (kǔjìn-gānlái) – the bitterness ends and the sweetness begins/after suffering comes happiness.”
“What pitiful notions, to look forward to escaping one day when you’re clearly in purgatory. The days in the cold palace were too long and she finally realised that it was a foolish idea.”
“The Fifth Prince of Great Xia is a pedophile.” As Tantai Jin calmly said this sentence, Jing Lan An’s expression changed.
“Your…… Your Highness.”
Tantai Jin placed down a piece with a crisp clack. He propped up his chin and recalled, “Liu shi added something into my meal. Unfortunately, that meal was too rich for me to bear. I gave her the meal and took her to Zhegui Garden.”
“Aunt, I’m afraid you don’t know what kind of place Zhegui Garden is. All the filthy old palace eunuchs live there.” Tantai Jin bent his lips compassionately and said, “Liu shi went in and came back mad.”
Jing Lan An closed her eyes and sadly said, “Your Highness, it’s my fault.”
Tantai Jin shook his head and placed the final piece. “You have lost.”
Jing Lan An looked at the chessboard. It was said that observing a game of chess was like observing a person’s life, and the placement of their chess pieces would reveal a person’s character. Tantai Jin’s chess moves were murderous and decisive, and he did not care about the death of his soldiers at all.
Many of his chess pieces were dead, but he was the winner.
Tantai Jin had no interest in playing a second game. He abruptly got up and went back to the hold of the ship.
Jing Lan An picked up the chess pieces one by one and placed them back into the chess boxes. Even though she had raised Tantai Jin, she didn’t understand him at all. For instance, regarding Su Su’s matter. After she jumped into the river, Jing Lan An thought that he would send someone to hunt her down or chase her, but so many days had passed and he remained indifferent.
This indifference made Jing Lan An’s fingertips grow slightly chilly.
The sky would turn dark soon, and on the water, the shadow of another ship faintly appeared.
Jing Lan An stood at the bow of the ship, looking over to the other ship as someone whispered, “Madam, they’re the people who will be picking us up.”
Jing Lan An said, “These last few days have been tiring. Ask His Highness to get a good rest and order the kitchen to prepare an elaborate meal tonight. Where’s the famous Chinese opera actress I bought a few days ago?”
Not long after, an enchanting and beautiful woman crept softly to Jing Lan An’s feet.
Jing Lan An said, “I heard that you still haven’t budded yet, but you should know what you should know. Serve His Highness well and make him happy.”
“Yes.” Xiqin shyly and expectantly said.
She had seen His Highness. He was so good looking that she even felt inferior to him. Her heart beat faster at the thought of accompanying a man like him.
After Xiqin left in an elegant and graceful manner, the servant girl appeared at Jing Lan An’s side.
“Will His Highness use her?”
“It doesn’t matter.” Jing Lan An said, and her finger pointed at her heart, “He doesn’t have anyone here, so whatever doesn’t matter.”
But if there is someone in his heart.
Jing Lan An thought to herself, Perhaps, I can hope that things aren’t so desperate.
Warning: Might contain explicit content
Xiqin pushed open the door of the room.
The young man in black was sitting cross-legged on the bed. His eyes were closed and his black eyelashes were like dark raven feathers.
Sensing someone come in, he opened his eyes. Xiqin had seen countless people before, but for the first time, her legs went slightly soft just from the look in a person’s eyes.
She was a little scared, but she also admired the man in front of her even more. Xiqin knelt down and crawled closer to him.
Her red lips were slightly trembling as she uttered the pitiful words, “Madam has sent this slave to serve His Highness in bed.”
“Jing Lan An asked you to come here?” Tantai Jin asked.
“Yes.” Xiqin’s hands unbuckled her belt, holding back the stirring in her heart as she removed her clothes.
The woman’s skin was exposed to the cold air. She had a good figure and fair skin, having a body that could seduce any man.
Xiqin thought that she would see strong l*st in Tantai Jin’s eyes, but he showed no sorrow or joy, as if he was looking at a puddle of dead flesh. She tried desperately to entice him, unable to resist checking to see if there was a reaction three inches below his navel.
However, the young man was as calm as ever, and his thin lips were slightly curled, “Why? Are you very surprised?”
Xiqin hurriedly knelt down in a panic.
She couldn’t help but wonder if His Highness, who couldn’t feel anything for a woman’s beautiful body, was……
Tantai Jin raised his hand and blood fell on Xiqin’s shoulder as a venomous insect crawled out from the woman’s body. Xiqin saw the squirming insect and wanted to scream, but she found that her throat couldn’t make any sound.
“One Night Sunrise7Name for the poison.” Tantai Jin squeezed the venomous insect and sighed, “It’s really sad that Lan An wants me to die a happy death.”
His mouth spoke sad words, but there was no hint of it in his eyes. A Scarlet Flame Wasp flew through Xiqin’s skull and she fell straight down with wide eyes.
She didn’t even know what had happened until she died.
Tantai Jin’s face was expressionless as he walked past the corpse. Fourteen years in the cold palace, what had he not seen?
Tantai Jin had not told anyone that in his eyes, everything in this world was nothing but dead stones, grass and trees, soil and skeletons. A body was just a puddle of dead flesh and couldn’t emotionally move him.
In the future, there wouldn’t be any human being who could make him lose his self-control.
Edited by: Gaze
Translator’s Note: *reads the last sentence* Me: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ ( ͡• ͜ʖ ͡• )
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Thanks For Update <3.. Thinking about next part will only be published again on next Friday….. Poor Me TT
Thank you for reading!!! Welp, take it as mental preparation period for a
sadchapter… *runs away*
oh my Tantai Jin were you hoping that somehow that antidote will make its way to Su Su? And you haven’t even realized your feelings for her yet hehe. Thank you for the chapter!
kekeke… sadly I don’t think he’s going to realise it any soon /(ㄒoㄒ)/~~ Thank you for reading!!! （*＾-＾*）
All I can say is: DAMN, TANTAI JIN. He truly is the definition of looking chill but actually has ZERO chill at all. 😳😱 Thank you for translating! Icb next week will be THAT chapter already omg. 😭
Kekeke all the feeelsssss 😭😭😭
Guess Su Su isn’t human then…well technically she isn’t but oh well. Thanks for the chapter bee! I’m anticipating the next one
Keke next chapter gonna be dark and sad /_ \ Thanks for reading!!!!!
Translator Anonymous bee, I agree w/ your appraisal of that last statement. 🤣
Thank you very much ( ͡• ͜ʖ ͡• )