Marrying the Imperial Elder

Chapter 5: I’ll ask a question and you answer

But of course, the notion of a horse thieves’ internal strife was too frightening to be vocalized.

Therefore, Zhen Ting Yun just smiled at the innkeeper but refrained from saying anything else. Afterwards, she turned and went downstairs to instruct Steward Lin on some things regarding the man in black.

Naturally, she also informed him of her plans to learn horsemanship.

Steward Lin was not one to split hairs like Old Madame Zhen. But he still asked her, “Miss wants to learn horsemanship? Why not wait until we reach the Imperial City and inform Master of this? With Master stepping forward, the Instructor hired would be more honorable… Why is there a need to learn horsemanship from a horse thief?!” 

“I may not know how to ride a horse, but I do enjoy watching when others do. I could tell that this man’s riding skills are superb, the best I’d seen in my life. It will be such a waste if I let this opportunity slip by.” Zhen Ting Yun also added resolutely as she waved her hands animatedly, “Plus, I’ve consulted Grandma on this matter and she has already agreed to it.” 


Steward Lin was losing his hair after being tormented by this wonderfully outlandish grandparent and grandchild duo. After everything was said and done, he went to have a look at the so-called horse thief. Upon seeing the man’s face, Steward Lin could not help but secretly sigh, ‘Nowadays, do horse thieves all have such appearances?! Did they mistake a flower thief1Rapist for a horse thief?’

Thinking about how Miss wanted to learn horsemanship from such a person, Steward Lin was unable to fall asleep that night. He even took his anger out on the never-ending heavy downpour.  

Fortunately, this heavy rain finally came to an end in the middle of the night.

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Yesterday, when the man was unconscious with his eyes closed, he could be described to have cut a sorry figure. Yet, based on his facial features, one could tell that he was extremely handsome.


Now, with his eyes opened.

Dawn light illuminated his side profile. The visible half of his bloodless face looked very pale and indifferent. Yet, it had the exquisite quality of jade. He stared closely at Zhen Ting Yun who had just pushed the door open. In his countenance, there was no drowsiness that people who just woke up would have. It was a profound gaze.

Even if he was just half seated, leaning against the bedpost at this time and he needed to raise his head to look at others, his posture, expression, and gaze made people forget that he was in the simplistic surrounding of an inn. It also made others omit his slightly pale face and the crude attire he currently donned.

Based on what she observed, his eyes were like hidden pools of water, and his gaze was as sharp as swords, cutting across a person, piercing through them down to their very bones. It caused people’s steps to momentarily falter as their backs were drenched in cold sweat.

Even Zhen Ting Yun could not help but stop and frown, ‘Are horse thieves nowadays so arrogant and overbearing?’ 

In addition to Zhen Ting Yun growing up in the countryside, before heading to the Imperial City, she had that long dream. This caused her to feel that she had seen and experienced a lot. Although she was momentarily frightened, after she came back to her senses, she was not to be outdone as she returned the man’s stare and harrumphed, “What are you staring at?”                      

The man retracted his gaze when he heard her words. Instead, he raised his elongated brows and gave Zhen Ting Yun a smile.

When he smiled, the corners of his eyes were slightly lifted and the corners of his lips rose. This made the cold hard contours of his face soften. It was like the melting of fresh snow and when light pierced through the clouds, it shone down into the secular world; it was filled with brilliant lights and vibrant colors overflowing from the heavens.

Everyone loves a beauty, and Zhen Ting Yun was no exception. She unconsciously took a few steps forward before she came back to her senses. Lightly coughing, she wanted to settle this account with the horse thief. From him stealing her horse for no rhyme or reason, to her forgiving his past transgression and saving his life, booking a room, hiring a doctor, and buying medicine for him… 

In short, she needed to settle this life-saving grace with him first.

Just as Zhen Ting Yun was formulating in her heart on how she should broach this subject, the man casually raised his hand and gestured to the area beside the bed.

Zhen Ting Yun hesitated for a moment. In the end, she posed to have an aloof and dignified air as she sat down.


However, the instant Zhen Ting Yun sat down, the man who was originally leaning leisurely against the bedpost, suddenly turned his gaze and something flashed in his eyes. His arm shot over like lightning as he grabbed Zhen Ting Yun by the neck with his hand, forcing her to look up at him.

His movement was like a hunting cheetah; fast, accurate, ruthless, graceful, and powerful.

So much so that Zhen Ting Yun was subdued before she even had time to call out for help.

Zhen Ting Yun, “…”

“Don’t speak.” The man’s voice was slightly hoarse. He deliberated on his words before enunciating them clearly, “I’ll ask a question and you answer. If I sense that there’s falsehood in your words… I’ll exert a little strength on my fingers and I’m afraid your neck will snap.”

As he spoke, the corners of his lips rose ever so slightly. He had a sickly pallor, with no trace of blood on his lips and it vaguely looked like he was smiling.

However, in such close proximity, Zhen Ting Yun was staring directly into the depths of his eyes, she could sense the ruthless and tyrannical aura, causing one to shudder in fear. She was no longer mesmerized by such a dazzling smile and no longer remembered to appreciate his unbelievably handsome face. Only the feeling of terror remained.

Like a human facing off an angry ferocious beast. It was the feeling like one’s neck would be ripped out and the fear of being torn apart exploded from one’s heart. It was so terrifying that it made people numb and their hairs stand on end. Zhen Ting Yun even forgot to push away the hand that was clamped tightly on her neck, as she nodded blankly.

The man opened his mouth and asked, “Who are you?”

After asking, he loosened his grip so that Zhen Ting Yun could answer. However, the two fingers which were still clasped around her neck, reminded her that at any moment, he could still break her neck into two. It was as simple as snapping off the branch of a flower.

As the innkeeper said last night, he was still a little feverish. Even the two fingers resting on Zhen Ting Yun’s neck felt hot, like molten iron tongs. Despite all that, he still sat ramrod straight, his posture was upright and proper as if he had received some kind of special training previously. His arms were like cast iron, firm and forceful, unable to be pushed away. Essentially, he did not look like a person who was down with a fever.

Zhen Ting Yun inhaled deeply, stabilizing her breathing. Then she eased her tone as she softly replied, “My name is Zhen Ting Yun. You may not know me, but actually, I am-”


Before she could finish her sentence, the man impatiently squeezed Zhen Ting Yun’s neck as he indifferently reiterated, “I’ll ask one question and you give one reply.”

Zhen Ting Yun, ‘Damn your mother! Am I a dog you raise? You ask one question and I bark one time?!’

Unconcerned, the man continued with his interrogation, “How did I end up here?”

Zhen Ting Yun looked at him. After a moment of hesitation, she answered truthfully, “Last night, my horse brought you back. I saw that you were unconscious and thoroughly drenched. It wasn’t as if I could just leave you on your own so I had people carry you into the inn.” 

The man scrutinized Zhen Ting Yun, trying to decipher if what she said was credible. After a while, he asked, “Why did you save me?”

Zhen Ting Yun showed a hypocritical but gentle smile, “As I’ve said just now, I couldn’t do nothing and leave you on your own. I’m just trying to do a good deed.”

The hand around her neck tightened ever so slightly.

“Okay! Okay! I’ll tell you the truth!” Zhen Ting Yun knew she had to be honest. “When you stole my horse yesterday afternoon, I observed that you have excellent horse riding skills. So when I saved you, I was hoping you would teach me horsemanship.”  

Hearing this, the man’s brows flickered and his expression changed faintly. He stared at Zhen Ting Yun, as if incredulous and asked doubtfully, “I, stole your horse?”

Although her neck was still in his grip, Zhen Ting Yun was stating facts! So, she softly and tactfully responded, “Of course, there’s a possibility that you accidentally saddled the wrong horse. But it doesn’t change the fact that that’s really my horse. Furthermore, with my own two eyes, I saw you ride it away and last night, it carried you back here.”

The man did not speak but his eyes were like two nails, piercing into Zhen Ting Yun’s face. After a while, he gave a faint smile and then released his hold on Zhen Ting Yun’s neck.

Zhen Ting Yun breathed a sigh of relief before she started coughing heavily whilst covering her neck. Her face flushed red.


Seeing her cough, the man reached out and passed her a cup of already cold tea.

Zhen Ting Yun was overwhelmed by the sudden favor that after she took the teacup, she did not drink from it. Instead, stared at him with wide eyes.

The man did not force her to drink. His face was still carrying a smile when he suddenly said, “alright.”

Zhen Ting Yun blinked, a little confused. She could not quite understand what ‘alright’ referred to.

The man explained, “Didn’t you say that you wanted me to teach you the arts of horsemanship? I agree.”

Zhen Ting Yun, “…Actually, there’s no need to force yourself.” 

After experiencing the man’s ruthlessness firsthand, she was all but ready to give up on her previously ridiculous plan.

However, the man seemed to have made up his mind. His tone was casual as he informed her, “Just now, I was too sensitive. I deeply apologize for my actions. Regarding this life-saving grace, one should repay with their life. Just teaching you horsemanship is nothing. I’ll teach you whatever you want to learn.”

The more she listened, the more Zhen Ting Yun panicked. She hurriedly rejected, “No need, no need. I just thought about it and concluded that I was previously too narrow-minded! As the saying goes, ‘one shouldn’t expect compensation for one’s act of kindness’. If you’re feeling better, you should return. There’s no need to stay and repay this debt of gratitude.”

“Return?” The man repeated playfully. Then raising his eyebrows with a slight smile, he casually stated, “I don’t remember anything, where am I supposed to return to?”

Zhen Ting Yun swallowed and dazedly parroted, “Don’t remember anything?” 

“Yes.” The man nodded with a composed expression. She was unable to tell whether he was telling the truth, or lying.

Zhen Ting Yun suddenly recalled an incident where the son of a family in the village caught a fever. The fever fried his brain causing him to become a fool. This man suffered from a head injury and also caught a fever. Could it be that his brain was fried by the fever that he turned into a fool as well?

After contemplating, Zhen Ting Yun could not help but raise two fingers and asked tentatively, “Then do you know how many this is?”

After she asked, she even waved her two fingers in front of him.

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