Chapter 430 - To Be A Gentleman

Chapter 430 - To Be A Gentleman

Original and most updated translations are from volare. Please don't read elsewhere and stop supporting theft.


How so? Ji Yunshu pulled out the folded piece of paper from her sleeve without haste, unfolding it slowly and spreading it flat onto the surface of his desk. She turned it around 180 degrees so that Wen Lingyang could read the four lines on it:

To watch a dark reflection,

To wait for one’s uprising,

To return to where one was,

To finally meet those missed.

Ji Yunshu spoke, “This one was indeed clueless as to what these four lines of Advisor Wen’s meant, but after all that has happened, I have finally deciphered it.”

“Oh? Perhaps Teacher could enlighten me.” Wen Lingyang shifted his gaze from the door to the piece of paper sitting before him, his smile never once wavering.

“The dark reflection you speak of must be your father, and ‘to wait for one’s uprising’ refers to yourself. ‘To return to where one was, To finally meet those missed’ meant that you would meet Yun Tongyang, Li Mingzhou and the rest of the six, where the past converges with the present, where the living meets the dead.”

Wen Lingyang listened attentively; those four lines were curt, but they represented his entire life, from its humble beginnings to his eventual end.”

Ji Yunshu continued, “When you wrote down those words, you wanted to hint to me that you were the murderer; it wasn’t just these four lines, but also that little box that you would carry on you all the time - the unopened third drawer must contain ink mixed in with false daisy. If the crazed Li Yuan had not barged in at that moment, you would have already shown your hand. If you had wanted to shirk away from the crimes you have committed, you would not have let Prince Rong discover that scar on your body where the Moonlight Mark used to lie! You did all this on purpose - you wanted me to notice these things.”

Wen Lingyang did not deny any of it as he looked up in praise. “I had believed there would be nobody else in this world who could understand these four lines, but the Teacher has uncovered it all. I’ve only heard of Teacher Ji’s intelligence, but it was not something I had thought to be true - how could such a talented man exist? But now, I not only respect Teacher Ji, but I know that you are the smartest person that I have ever met; this life would be worth now that I have been acquainted with Teacher Ji.” He spoke truthfully!

Ji Yunshu gave a little smile, “The only person who could appreciate Boya’s music was Ziqi [1. 1. Chinese story about a famous man named Boya who used to play his guqin (a zither-type instrument). He was extremely skilled but had thought that nobody truly knew how to appreciate his music, until a woodsman appeared one day while Boya was playing in the mountains. This woodsman, Ziqi, was on the same wavelength as Boya - he could completely understand what Boya was trying to express! They decided to become sworn brothers, promising to meet Unfortunately, Ziqi passed away before that promised day came, and Boya smashed his guqin at Ziqi’s grave in despair - without his soulmate, his instrument and his music was worthless! This story spread far and wide, lasting till this day. https://baike.baidu.com/item/%E4%BF%9E%E4%BC%AF%E7%89%99/780118?fromtitle=%E4%BC%AF%E7%89%99&fromid=4896184 ]. When Ziqi died, Boya destroyed his guqin - without a listening ear, his instrument served no purpose; only Boya himself could understand this pain. If in another lifetime, Advisor Wen were Boya, this one would be happy to be Ziqi - infinite possibilities exist.”

“With Teacher Ji’s promise, this one can die in peace.” He gulped down his tea.

Ji Yunshu retrieved another item from her sleeve, likewise pushing it towards Wen Lingyang. It was a cubical rock with its centre drilled through. Something must have been strung through it as the surfaces of that hole were rounded, smoothened out and darker than its surroundings. The strangest thing about the rock were seven strokes of differing strengths, widths and lengths - with age and time, the seven strokes had been polished into shiny ridges.

Wen Lingyang’s heart sank and his brows became knitted at the sight of that rock. “This was my father’s.” He felt his throat tighten, and he carefully picked up the rock, fingering those weathered-away ridges.

Ji Yunshu explained, “Li Mingzhou had two reasons to dig up Chang Shiliang’s grave: firstly, he wanted to destroy Chang Shiliang’s body and bury all other evidence, and secondly, was to look for this rock. Ever since your father’s death, Chang Shiliang had kept this rock with him at all times. When he died, the Chang Family buried it together with his body and placed it in his coffin. For Chang Shiliang to keep this ordinary-looking rock for twenty years, and for Li Mingzhou to risk capture while retrieving it, I think, it must be extremely important to them both.”

“These seven ridges were created by my father and his brothers - it represented the seven of them. I thought that they would have thrown it away when he died.” But, Chang Shiliang kept it close for twenty years, and Li Mingzhou did not forget it as well - the seven brothers’ relationship must have been much stronger than it seemed. Wen Lingyang sighed, placing the rock into his palms. It felt cold to touch, sending a shudder down his spine.

Outside, dawn had long broken as the sun peeked its head out of the valley. The weak rays shifted from the ground to reflect on the bamboo-covered walls, signifying that it was already morning. Wen Lingyang looked up after a moment, removing that single bamboo from its vase and handing it to Ji Yunshu. “This one needs to ask Teacher Ji for a favour - please give this bamboo to Xinlan. That girl liked this bamboo the best, always bugging me for it. Now that this place will soon be vacated, leaving this here would serve no purpose at all; why not give it to someone who would care for it.” His voice trailed off feebly.

Ji Yunshu held it carefully and nodded, “Don’t worry. This one will personally make sure it ends up in Miss Zhang’s hands.”

“Many thanks.”

Ji Yunshu stood up, smoothing out the creases on her robe. As she turned to leave, she suddenly stopped, asking Wen Lingyang, “Do you regret it?”

She could not tell what expression his face held, but could feel him chuckle softly, “Regret?” Wen Lingyang’s smile still hung on his lips, “Life is but a game of chess; you can only make a move after pondering, and a gentleman would never regret any move he has made. I could not be a good man, but I’d like to be a gentleman.” His voice became weaker, and weaker, fading into barely a whisper...

What a gentleman! Ji Yunshu could not bring herself to look back at Wen Lingyang. She could hear a thump, the sound of someone’s head falling. She sucked a deep breath in and stepped outside.

When the yamen runners entered, they found only an icy cold body. Wen Lingyang sat upright, his head hung low and his eyes tightly shut, a faint smile still on his face. That rock was still clasped firmly in his fist! His shadow lay on that screen behind him, growing longer and longer with the moving sun.

At that moment, the sun was already hanging high overhead…

Outside Wen Lingyang’s estate, Zhang Xinlan stood with empty, red eyes, still clutching those unopened scrolls in her arms. She stood in a daze, staring at the room within for a very long time.

She did not dare enter, did not dare look at Wen Lingyang, just like Ji Yunshu. Ji Yunshu walked over to her wordlessly, only sticking that bamboo into her scrolls.

Tears rolled off her cheeks as Zhang Xinlan choked out huskily, “What did he tell you?”

Ji Yunshu shook her head.

“Did he say when he was going to teach me how to write?”

She shook her head again.

“So he broke his promise, right?” It was as if a thousand blades were cutting into her chest; it was suffocating.

Ji Yunshu did not answer, only turning to walk away!

...


ChouFleur Rants Corner

...I'm not crying. It's just dust! T_T


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