Once the agreement was signed, Lin Haihai wanted nothing but to rush back to Yang Shaolun. She bade Rong’s new emperor farewell before treating Murong Jinlin with acupuncture for one last time. The young man had woken up. Overtime, his gaze had changed from resentment to frustration to reluctance.
Lin Haihai put away the needles and considered Murong Jinlin’s youthful face. He was eighteen. An adult in this era, but a highschooler preparing for the national exam in the twenty-first century. Perhaps it was too much for him to shoulder the mantle of the nation.
However, Brother Yang had been fifteen when he took over the throne. He’d quelled the internal unrest, exerted his rule over the nation, rolled out new policies, and weeded out corruption, leading Daxing to prosperity with his swift actions. Perhaps there was only a thin line between heaven and hell. If Brother Yang hadn’t held firm to his belief, perhaps he would’ve been replaced by his Imperial Uncle already!
“What has been troubling you?” Lin Haihai sat across from Murong Jinlin and levelled him with a calm gaze.
“Have I really been that wrong, Physician Lin?” He had been the ruler of the nation. It was only natural for him to feel deprived now as a leisurely prince.
“Do you really think you’ll make a good emperor? It’s not simply about making orders from the throne. Everyone in the nation will be your child. Will you be able to take responsibility for their livelihood? Can you guarantee them a peaceful life? Are you confident that you’ll be able to prevent a war for them?”
Lin Haihai earnestly gave him advice. “You’re a hedonistic man who isn’t meant to be an emperor. In fact, it’s no fun being an emperor. You have to work yourself to the ground day and night. How much are you willing to suffer for what little privileges it’ll bring you? It’s a thankless job best done by other people. You needn’t shoulder the weight!”
Her tone grew light and mischievous at the end. Murong Jinlin thought for a while, his furrowed brows relaxing as he broke into a smile. “That’s right. It’s better for me to be a prince without responsibilities, away from all the mess involved in ruling a nation!”
Outside the window, Keqing broke into happy tears and snuggled into Haoyue’s arms. She had been worried that her son would be resentful, filled with hatred, but Lin Haihai managed to make him see reason with a few choice words. Keqing was again grateful to her.
Lin Haihai patted Murong Jinlin on the shoulder and smiled. “Once you recover and go to your territory, invite me as a guest, will you?”
“Thank you for saving my life and waking me up so that I may live on as a changed man, Physician Lin.” Murong Jinlin looked up at Lin Haihai with pleading eyes. “If you don’t find me too lacking, would you take me in as a disciple? I don’t imagine I’ll be able to learn that much, but it’ll be a highlight in my life to become your disciple!”
Keqing could no longer stay outside. She opened the door and entered to speak up for her son, “Please take him in, Xiao’hai. He needs someone to keep him in check. I hadn’t been able to do that, which led to him getting bolder and bolder over the years. He wouldn’t listen to his imperial mother, but he would listen to his master!”
Haoyue poured a cup of tea and handed it to Murong Jinlin, who dropped to his knees and presented the tea to Lin Haihai, his gaze almost reverent.
Lin Haihai was pleased, but she couldn’t help feeling depressed thinking about leaving this world. Life sure worked out in unexpected ways. When she first came to the ancient times, she had been thinking about nothing but her family from the twenty-first century. Even a stray dog she crossed paths with in the past would surface her mind. Now that she was going back to the twenty-first century, however, she couldn’t be more reluctant.
“Get up,” she said with a smile, accepting Murong Jinlin’s tea. “I’ll take you in as a disciple. I only hope that I’ll get to teach you!”
Keqing understood her unspoken words. She was dejected. But she managed to smile, “It’ll be fine even if you can only teach him for a day. With someone like you as his master, he’ll think twice before he does anything bad!”
“How can you talk about me like that, Imperial Mother?” Murong Jinlin felt a little reserved before Lin Haihai. He gave his mother a disgruntled look. She shouldn’t be talking bad about me before Master!
“Alright, Lin’er. Since you’ve become my disciple, you must follow the rules and behave yourself. Even if you cannot benefit the general public, you must not do anything to harm them. Understand?”
Lin Haihai didn’t have high expectations for him. She had accepted him as a disciple only to alleviate Keqing’s worry. Keqing believed that only Lin Haihai would be able to teach him well. The young man wasn’t actually bad-natured, but he lacked proper guidance. She hoped that he would be content with living as a prince with no responsibilities and not stir up any trouble. Then things would be easier for Murong Zixuan!
“This disciple understands!” Murong Jinlin said respectfully. He had only ever shown such respect to his late father in his life.
Lin Haihai smiled and looked at the room full of people. Murong Zixuan had been waiting by the door. Lin Haihai rose to her feet and cupped her fists at everyone. “I’m going back home. We’ll meet again if fate allows it!”
They might never see each other again. This might be their last goodbye!
Keqing went up to hold Lin Haihai tight. She was someone who knew about Lin Haihai’s condition. She knew Lin Haihai would have to leave the world not long after. She had been aching for her as Lin Haihai endured unbearable pain for her child.
Murong Zixuan went up to her and said, “I’ll see you out of the city!”
Lin Haihai nodded. She wanted to spend any moment she could with her friends and family. She wouldn’t be able to see them later even if she wanted to.
She waved her friends in Rong goodbye from horseback. She looked over her shoulder to see two silk bands hung on the city wall. Murong Zixuan had told her to remember the friendship between their two nations. She should return to Rong some time later.
Keqing collapsed into tears in Haoyue’s arms, while Murong Zixuan watched Lin Haihai fade out of his sight. He murmured, “It’s the greatest honor in my life to have met and befriended you!”
Murong Jinlin saw her off with a bittersweet feeling and swore to himself, “Rest assured, Master. This disciple will turn a new leaf in my life. I won’t make you regret saving my life!”
Haoyue tightened his arms around Keqing, contemplating the friendship between the two women. He appreciated and admired Lin Haihai. Anyone would be fortunate to have someone like her. The emperor of Daxing had good eyes!
Lin Haihai, Zheng Feng, and Wangchen gave Rong one last look before rushing back home. They didn’t know that over the past two weeks, Prince Pingnan had launched an attack unexpectedly, believing it a lost cause to form an alliance with Rong. He had incited unrest all over the nation to catch Yang Shaolun off guard.
His army charged straight toward the capital. Those who went after them were unskilled and inexperienced soldiers inland who had been away from battles. Soon, Prince Pingnan and his army reached the capital. There, Yang Hanlun’s army of hundred thousand and Yang Shaolun’s hundred thousand personal soldiers were waiting. The two sides entered a stalemate. Neither dared make a reckless move.
Li Junyue then developed the antidote in time thanks to Zhou Junpeng. The young master had provided him with the formula of the antidote, which had been tested on Bai Muyang and Minister Chen. Once its effect was confirmed, Minister Chen contacted officials who had been controlled by poison. They all took the antidotes, and they turned against Prince Pingnan.
Prince Pingnan never expected his people to betray him overnight. Morale plummeted, and he lost the war before it even broke out. Of course, he wasn’t going to just give up on his ambition. Under the protection of his army, he summoned the living corpses to surround the palace. When everyone was at their wit’s end, Chen Luoqing returned with someone - Monk Fa Hai, who had turned a new leaf because of Lin Haihai.
The general had run into the monk on his way back to the capital. Fa Hai had predicted the crisis, and had planned to eliminate the evil monsters in the city. Finally, he had done something good. Prince Pingnan escaped amid the chaos, never to be seen again!
When Lin Haihai returned to the capital, everything had settled down. There would be no war, which Lin Haihai was happy about. Baizi had said that her mission in this era was to resolve wars. Now that the mission was completed, and Daxing had signed a peace treaty with other nations bordering it, it was time for her to get off the stage. Her work here was done!
Yang Shaolun waited at the city gate for her to return from the long trip. It had been a month. She had lost quite a lot of weight, and the swell of her belly was now visible. She had a warm smile on her face despite the chilling wind sweeping past her. Yang Shaolun’s throat tightened. How long would she be able to stay with him?
He went up to hold her tight, unfazed by the whistling north wind cutting into his bones. He wanted only to embrace her, wishing for time to be frozen at this moment. Lin Haihai tasted sand and bitterness as she snuggled into his arms, closing her eyes to clear her mind.
That night, she stayed the night in Qian’kun Palace. After taking a bath, she sat on the bed holding onto her blanket, feeling the chill of early winter. She looked at the man massaging her calves. Yang Shaolun looked up at her and smiled. “Better?”
He had massaged her for close to half an hour because she said her muscles were seizuring.
“It’s fine. Come, I want you to hold me!”
Lin Haihai smiled brightly, extending her hand to him. Yang Shaolun took her hand, pulling her into his arms and caressing her swollen belly, a faint smile tugging his lips.
“Imperial Mother said our wedding would be held on the tenth day next month. You’ll be the most beautiful bride then!”
His wife, his most beautiful wife!
Lin Haihai lay bonelessly in his arms. That would be wonderful. She should marry him to fulfil her wish. It would be her most fulfilling moment in life!
Yang Shaolun’s heart was heavy. Xiao Yuan had been searching for a month, but found no clue on Passerby’s whereabouts. He was on the verge of breaking down, his heart burned by anxiety. Thinking of the torture Lin Haihai had to go through every day made his heart clench, but he dared not show his fear and pain to her at time like this. He had to put on a smile so that she could take care of her and her child without worry!
The next day, Lin Haihai visited the empress dowager. Yu Qing, who was now the sixth princess consort, and the empress were both there. It felt like a lifetime had passed when they saw one another again. Yu Qing gave Lin Haihai a onceover and asked worriedly, “Have you had any unusual symptoms lately?”
Lin Haihai shook her head. She had actually been feeling unwell, but she couldn’t tell anyone, and had to instead bear the pain on her own. Yu Qing had been as calm and collected as ever even after getting married. She had come to this era for Lin Haihai, and yet she had to stay here, while Lin Haihai was going back to the modern world. Fate had a cruel sense of humor!Previous Chapter Next Chapter
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