Chapter 1366: [Epilogue] The sky falls down, the Grand Tutor bears the burden

Qin Min wanted an excuse? 

Gu Beiyue thought it over for a long time before finally stating, "I…want to eat the longevity noodles you make."


What kind of reason was this? 

Did it count as a confession?[1]

Were they lovers? Or family?

Qin Min didn't know whether to laugh or cry, but the kiss to her was already enough. Lover or family, she was his. She replied hoarsely, "Gu Beiyue, I'm willing…to make it for you every year."

Did this count as her confession?

All that aside, Qin Min hugged Gu Beiyue tightly and buried her head in his chest as if wanting to verify that this was not a dream. Little Shadow had been looking at his parents the entire time. He was blushing when they kissed, but kept watching. If this was any other day, he would be covering his eyes. But this time he only broke into a silly grin amidst his tears. When he saw his mother leave his father's embrace, Shadow finally dashed over and burrowed into his father's arms, leaving his tears and snot all over him. The most comforting thing for a child wasn't words, but hugs. A tight hug let a child knew that you were there!

Gu Beiyue hugged little Shadow tightly and gently stroked his back in silence. At this moment, Lil Thing who had almost cried itself faint leaped over too to vigorously nuzzle its gentleman. Qin Min carefully took Gu Beiyue's pulse and discovered that the true qi within his body had already calmed down. If he could control the secret of cultivating true qi and master this energy, his martial arts would vastly improve. After all, this true qi was a gift from Han Chen and Long Feiye, to be encountered but not sought.

This night, at the insistence of Little Shadow, Gu Beiyue and Qin Min lay down on the same bed. Little Shadow lay between them and held their hands while refusing to sleep. Qin Min slept on the very inside, Shadow in the center, Gu Beiyue on the outside. Lil Thing snuggled next to Shadow with its body plastered next to its gentleman. Neither Gu Beiyue nor Qin Min left the bed. It wasn't until midnight when Shadow finally fell asleep that they looked at each other and smiled.

Qin Min was about to get up when Gu Beiyue muttered, "Sleep, you've been tired these few days."

Qin Min really was exhausted! Not just these few days, but these few years, she had rarely rested easy.

"You sleep. You still need to rest. Shaoyao and I will keep watch outside, call me if you need anything." She was an easily satisfied woman after all. Or maybe she was just easy to please in front of him? Even if he spoke up to keep her, or kissed her, she still didn't dare to break the habits between the two of them. Gu Beiyue saw her fatigued state as pain flashed through his eyes. He replied softly, "Sleep without worries, I'll keep watch."

Qin Min didn't lie back down, but insisted on getting off the bed. In the end Gu Beiyue used two words to let her lie obediently next to Shadow's side.

He said, "Be good."

That night, Gu Beiyue looked after Lil Thing, Shadow, and Qin Min to peacefully pass the time. The next morning, he wrote a letter and sent it out by messenger hawk. In his heart, he was still worried about Han Yunxi's Ten-Year Agreement. Two days ago, the battle at Ice Sea had already begun. He didn't know the current situation yet.

Gu Beiyue not only sent out letters, but instructed Qin Min to take Shadow back to the capital city after breakfast. He himself would hurry towards the Ice Sea. Qin Min could tell he was worried and felt her heart ache. He had barely recovered from a major illness and was going to travel thousands of li just to hurry to the Ice Sea. How could she not fret? 

But she didn't stop him.

The Shadow Clan could give up their lives to protect the royal family. What did this little worry count for? She didn't know how well she understood this man, but she knew his heart carried Han Yunxi, Long Feiye, the Great Qin royal clan, and all of the empire! His heart was too vast, broad to the point she felt too helpless to dare claim it all for herself. She could only beg for him to leave a space in his heart for her, Shadow, and himself.

"Father, I want to go too!" Shadow hadn't seen the crown prince and Yan'er for a long time and rather missed them, especially Yan'er. If he hadn't been so preoccupied with his father's illness these days, he would never have gotten used to not having Yan'er around. 

Gu Beiyue hesitated just as Shaoyao hurried over. "Grand Tutor, a letter for you from Northern Li."

"It has to be good news!" Shadow was thrilled. In his heart, both the emperor and empress were undefeatable.

Gu Beiyue opened the letter for a look and instantly paled. He retreated a couple paces and almost toppled over as the thin paper shook in his trembling fingers. Qin Min was alarmed. What could make a man as calm as Gu Beiyue so shocked? How bad was the news?

"Something happened?" she asked urgently.

Shadow simply took the letter and read it himself. Afterwards, he was so scared he tossed it away. "It's fake! Father, this has to be fake!"

The letter had said that there was a change in the battle at Ice Sea. The emperor and empress were sealed beneath the sea in a layer of ice, the sea itself had been poisoned, and Princess Yan was still missing in action, her whereabouts and survival unknown.

Qin Min finished reading and also blanched. "How…how could this be?" She covered her mouth and didn't know what to say.

This was…too big!

Gu Beiyue held onto the table for support in order to steady himself. Qin Min clearly saw him taking deep breaths, the sorrow in his eyes undisguised! He looked blankly towards the distance but didn't stay dazed for long. He looked towards the clueless Lil Thing and suddenly raised his voice. "Lil Thing, go! Hurry!"

Lil Thing was still lazing on its back when it heard the serious tone. It instantly jumped to its feet and leaped onto the gentleman's shoulder. Gu Beiyue left just like that without explaining a thing. Qin Min and Shadow didn't even have a chance to speak with him.

"Mother, I'll go with father. You go back to the capital first!" Shadow declared.

"Be careful on the road! Hurry!" Qin Min said sharply.

Shadow immediately chased after his father down the mountain. Although he couldn't catch up, he wouldn't lose him, either. Gu Beiyue truly had lost his reason in the midst of panic. It wasn't until an entire day had passed that he sensed little Shadow following behind him the entire time. He stopped to wait for him and took a short break before setting off immediately.

By the time Gu Beiyue brought Shadow and Lil Thing to the shores of Ice Sea, it was already over 10 days later. Rui'er, Gu Qishao, and the rest had also been standing guard by the shoreline for over 10 days. Aside from Jin Zi, who was still looking lively, everyone else was lost in the depths of despair. Jin Zi deployed some of his trusted agents to secretly search the southern shores of the Ice Sea and even the adjacent grasslands for Princess Yan's whereabouts, but there was unfortunately no news even now.

The reason for the secret search was because Jin Zi had taken into consideration the Ten=Year Agreement between the esteemed empress and the Wolf Sect's eldest young Miss. There were very few people present at the duel, so they were the only ones who knew that the emperor and empress were sealed in ice below the sea. There was no way news of this could spread, or else Great Qin would fall into chaos! After all, the crown prince was only ten years old!

It was currently sunset and the afterglow of the sun's rays scattered on the black ice surface, illuminating it in an extraordinarily hideous, terrifying way.

Rui'er, Gu Qishao, Ning Jing, Tang Li, Mu Linger, and Jin Zi were all crouched by the shoreline in silence. Whether they were guarding or keeping each other company, all of them were just thinking of Yan'er, Long Feiye, and Han Yunxi.

Perhaps they were still stubbornly denying the reality at this moment.

Abruptly, Gu Beiyue's voice sounded from behind them. "Rui'er!"

Rui'er was the first to turn, followed by the rest. They only saw Gu Beiyue standing behind them with Shadow and Lil Thing by his side. Rui'er had stopped crying for days, but seeing the Grand Tutor he lost control and bawled out loud again. He flew towards them and threw himself into Gu Beiyue's arms just as the man crouched down. "Grand Tutor!"

To Rui'er, the Grand Tutor was a different person altogether. He was even different from Gu Qishao. In the entire world, only the Grand Tutor gave him a sense of security aside from his father. He could only rely on the Grand Tutor! Because of this, Han Yunxi had even felt jealous and asked Rui'er, "Dare I ask whether imperial mother is inferior to Grand Tutor in your heart?"

Rui'er had replied, "Mother is a woman, so Rui'er has to protect mother, not rely on mother. Grand Tutor is like father. With him here, Rui'er isn't afraid even if the sky falls."

Rui'er nestled in Gu Beiyue's arms and sobbed. Over the past few days, he had shed many tears, but never so loudly. Now he couldn't help it in the Grand Tutor's embrace. He seemed to have returned to that safest hug in the world—the one that was from his father.

Gu Qishao and the rest ran over too to help coax Rui'er. Shadow was lightly rubbing his back, but Gu Beiyue simply gestured for them to stay quiet and keep back. He picked up Rui'er in his arms and flew to a distance to sit on a large boulder. He didn't coax, but simply held Rui'er tight and murmured, "Child, cry if you want to…the Grand Tutor's here. Even if the sky falls, the Grand Tutor will prop it up for you."

Rui'er kept crying as if he wanted to sob out all of his trials and sorrows over the successive days. In the end, he got tired and felt into deep slumber. That night, Gu Beiyue held onto Rui'er to let him rest easy. Gu Qishao took off his outer robes and draped it over Rui'er before sitting down next to Gu Beiyue. Tang Li, Ning Jing, Mu Linger, and Jin Zi also came over to surround the duo and sit down.

"Where's Shadow?" Gu Beiyue's voice was a little hoarse.

"He was in a hurry to find Yan'er and went to the Ice Sea with Lil Thing. I couldn't stop him," Jin Zi said.

Gu Beiyue didn't reply. He wasn't worried when it came to Shadow and Lil Thing. Gu Qishao told him the details about everything that happened while Jin Zi added on information about the 10+ days of searching. Gu Beiyue listened carefully as his eyebrows knitted successively with each narrative. 

Compared to everyone else's emotions of grief and mourning, Gu Beiyue was exceptionally calm. Besides his overwhelmed expression at Endless Mountain, he was still rational and sensible right now. Gu Qishao stopped talking after he explained things and sat on the side to look at Gu Beiyue. He couldn't figure out what the man's heart was made of to stay so cool and persuade others to act the same way while analyzing the situation.

He said the Ice Sea had turned into a poison sea where the Water of Ten Thousand Poisons had no antidote. At the very least, Cloud Realm and the Mysterious Continent would be forever separated without passage from each side. It was probably Cloud Realm Continent's safest barrier in the north.

He said there was no one anyone could reveal that the emperor and empress were still alive or that Princess Yan had gone missing. The secret succession of the crown prince needed to be prepared as soon as possible.

He said the emperor and empress were still alive, so they had to pull themselves together and protect Great Qin until they returned from the ice.

He truly was very logical.

Yet when Lil Thing brought him to the ice cavern next morning, he finally lost his cool…

1. Similar to the Japanese saying where the husband says "I want to eat the miso soup you make for me everyday," as a way to express how he wants to stay with his wife for a lifetime.

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Ruyi's Thoughts

every time a chapter features GBY now my motivation slows to molasses. thank goodness there's only 4 chapters left.

with the way the author's written/hinted about GBY's unrequited pining towards HYX i sometimes wonder if he cares for Rui'er so much because he's the flesh and blood of the woman he loves (and still loves, but represses and gives up since LFY is there). which makes me feel ehhhhh about him during the Rui'er/GBY bonding moments (especially when Rui'er says GBY feels just as safe as his dad) but then again, my opinion of GBY's been in the negatives for a long time now, so bias alert.

it also jars me that he held Rui'er to sleep for an entire night outdoors when he and QM have been abandoning Shadow alone in bed while living together cause they just aren't a real family (yet) like that. seriously, the favoritism just rubs me the wrong way.

seriously, he's so lucky he's got a super understanding wife and kid like QM and Shadow. actually, they don't even feel like equals to him, because he was the dominant party that saved one from her family and the other from being an orphan. they're more like...his vassals or charges, in a sense, than family? that's why i feel the dynamics between him and QM/Shadow feel so much colder than his natural affection for Rui'er + constant warmth to HYX. it's vexing if i think too much about the disparity, however...