Han Yunxi couldn’t imagine what Baili Yuanlong’s expression had to be at this moment! But she couldn’t bother with that now, because she was hard-pressed to save herself! Yes, she had read both books by flipping through them offhandedly. She not only regretted that, but her own carelessness at stuffing them under her pillow!
No! No! No! What she regretted most of all was accepting them from Zhao mama in the first place!
Even though Baili Yuanlong was only a partition away, Long Feiye was very patient. He arched a brow and asked, “Did you finish reading it all?”
Baili Yuanlong couldn’t hear their private conversation beyond the curtain, or else he would have spat up blood by now. How was Han Yunxi supposed to answer?
I’ve read it all...how could she say that?
I haven’t...only ghosts would believe a lie like that! Would she have never read books stuffed beneath her pillow?
Long Feiye’s lips played with a smile as he studied her coy expression. He couldn’t help but gently lift her chin as he dropped his grin. “Han Yunxi, you’re too wicked!”
Han Yunxi didn’t resist or explain, but buried her head in his chest. Although she was angry and embarrassed enough to hit him nonstop, she didn’t put any force into her blows. In the end, she ended up circling her arms around him to hold him tight. Long Feiye loved it best when she acted like a little girl, his mood so good it turned hazy. He stroked Han Yunxi’s stray hairs and burst into loud laughters again, the bright, clear sound filling the entire tent even as it magnetized and mesmerized.
Finally, Baili Yuanlong had had enough. “Your Highness Crown Prince!” he shouted.
Han Yunxi pushed herself up from Long Feiye’s chest to look at him in alarm. Long Feiye remained smiling as he rubbed her nose dotingly. Gently he said, “Go rest for a bit. There’ll be a good show when you come to the bonfire banquet tonight.”
“He…” Han Yunxi pointed outside, both worried and confused.
“Leave it to me. No need to worry,” he said as he finally released her and got up.
Baili Yuanlong was waiting outside, so Han Yunxi couldn’t ask too many questions or delay him. She wrapped herself up in her silken quilt and withdrew to a corner. Long Feiye dressed up and fixed his hair before slipping on the white brocade outer robes. He strode out of the curtain while buttoning himself up and retying his waistband. Han Yunxi sat watching him and felt that he looked especially tall and strapping.
Baili Yuanlong was angry enough to emit smoke at the sight of Long Feiye’s disheveled dress. He couldn’t say a word until Long Feiye straightened up his jade pendant and turned towards him.
“Your Highness Crown Prince, you…” he sputtered furiously, “You’ve utterly disappointed this soldier!”
“Does General Baili mean to say that this crown prince has to satisfy you?” Long Feiye asked calmly. He had been happy and laughing just then, but now his black pupils were wretchedly cold and filled with impressive might! Baili Yuanlong met his eyes and was instantly cowed. Half of his temper dissipated into thin air. Although this master of his had yet to ascend the throne and proclaim himself emperor, he was filled with a domineering, dignified nobility. His air was superior to any of Cloud Realm Continent’s currently reigning monarchs. For a moment, Baili Yuanlong saw the unshakable, inviolate majesty of the former Great Qin Empire’s royal clan.
He was seized with terror…
“General Baili, since this crown prince dissatisfied you, what are you planning to do?” Long Feiye’s tone was completely emotionless, but Baili Yuanlong had already fallen to one knee.
“This soldier definitely didn’t mean it that way! This soldier wouldn’t dare! I beg Your Highness to forgive me!”
“Definitely didn’t mean it that way?” Long Feiye smiled coldly. “Then what do you mean by ‘disappointing you?’”
Baili Yuanlong found it difficult to explain himself. “This soldier misspoke! May Your Highness forgive me!” He had been too caught up in his anger and truly disappointed to say such things out loud.
“Xu Donglin, get in here!” Long Feiye demanded.
Baili Yuanlong’s heart gave a lurch while Xu Donglin half ran, half stumbled inside. He too, was frightened by His Highness’s rage.
“This crown prince told you to guard the door. Who allowed you to let him in?” Long Feiye asked.
Xu Donglin quickly fell to his knees. “This subordinate had been blocking him for awhile, but General Baili said that this was the military, where the rules of the sovereign could be disregarded, much less with a trifling guard like me.”
Baili Yuanlong glared at him, but Xu Donglin allowed him to stare. He wasn’t making anything up, after all.
“A sovereign’s rules can be disregarded in the military?” Long Feiye scoffed. “Baili Yuanlong, so that’s what you meant! Hehe, this crown prince understands!”
“Your Highness!” Now Baili Yuanlong was truly frightened. His other knee went crashing to the ground as well as his hands touched the ground. “This soldier was muddleheaded and misspoke in a instant. I beg Your Highness to spare my life! The Mermaid Clan has recognized the East Qin imperial clan as our masters for 300 years. Our sincerity is as clear as the sun and moon, ah! May Your Highness spare this soldier once on behalf of the Mermaid Clan’s generations of loyalty! This soldier knows his wrongs!”
Han Yunxi felt a little sorry as she listened to him pleading from beyond the curtain. Baili Yuanlong hadn’t made any major mistakes, and his whole heart was set on Long Feiye’s wellbeing.
“Where were you wrong?” Long Feiye asked coldly.
Baili Yuanlong finally raised his head. “This soldier was wrong in disrespecting Your Highness. The intent of a sovereign is equal to imperial order and military law! This soldier, as a member of the military, is fated to follow and submit!”
“Heheh, looks like you haven’t gone senile yet!” Long Feiye was quite satisfied.
He let Baili Yuanlong knew that he doted on Han Yunxi today with no scruples just so he could flaunt his strength and have the man recognize his status. He needed to know that between a monarch and his vassals, the latter were to obey first and foremost! Recently, Baili Yuanlong had already broken rules more than once because of Han Yunxi’s status. Long Feiye had always remembered the Mermaid Clan’s loyalty and Baili Yuanlong’s lifetime of servitude without reacting to his transgressions, but what he did today offended him. When they returned, Xu Donglin had said that Han Yunxi wanted him to drink a toast in apology. Before he could ever speak up, Baili Yuanlong had already taken the matter into his own hands and refused her entry into the banquet. He didn’t say anything then, but that didn’t mean he accepted Baili Yuanlong’s rejection.
Seeing that His Highness’s temper seemed to have calmed somewhat, Baili Yuanlong’s heart lowered a bit back into his chest. He never thought his half lifetime’s worth of power and might would be at stake during his later years. In the end, he had no choice but to put forth the Mermaid Clan’s ancestors to ask for mercy. He looked towards the opaque curtains and wished he could drag Han Yunxi out this instant and drown her in a wicker basket! That woman must be hiding behind there and laughing at me!
Leaving aside this point, he greatly admired and esteemed Han Yunxi’s ways. But after seeing that book today, his impression of her overturned. He never thought the woman could be so *** and completely shameless! It was too much! His Highness’s self-control and discipline had all been cultivated through hellish training in his youth. He had suffered thoroughly to grow into the man he was today. In the future, he would have to restore East Qin to its former glory and inherit the throne of his ancestors. He would also need to revive the imperial clan though its descendants. If this woman ruined everything or led him astray until he was a ***, what was to be done then?
Thinking up to here, Baili Yuanlong detested Han Yunxi all the more. Although he knew he had been grossly wrong to disrespect His Highness and meddle in his affairs, he wouldn’t budge a step when it came to Han Yunxi. Once His Highness stopped being angry, he would definitely ask her just what had happened today. Why was His Highness still mixed up with that woman?
Long Feiye didn’t lecture Baili Yuanlong any further, but simply strode away with large strides. The general didn’t dare to linger either, but just followed close behind until they reached the main barracks. Long Feiye had hardly sat down when Baili Yuanlong dismissed all of the retainers and fell on both knees. He lifted both hands above his head and made a respected bow with hands clasped in front.
“Your Highness, may this soldier be so bold as to speak directly, there are words I have to say!”
Long Feiye naturally knew he was going to talk about Han Yunxi, so he simply said coldly, “Speak.”
“Han Yunxi is the West Qin princess, our East Qin’s number one enemy. You Highness wasn’t aware of her identity before, so it’s excusable that she became your consort. But now that her status is clear, entangling with her is 1) dangers, 2) unconvincing to the public, 3) unworthy of our ancestors, and 4) jeopardizing the great task of restoring the nation. The calamities are endless, may Your Highness think thrice!” Baili Yuanlong said sincerely.
He had no power to meddle in Long Feiye’s affairs, but he had the right to admonish him as a courtier would.
“And if this crown prince isn’t willing?” Long Feiye asked.
“This soldier cannot interfere with Your Highness’s policies, and will definitely abide by your orders. If Your Highness insists on continuing this way, this soldier will retire on account of old age. May Your Highness give orders to seek out another able general1” Baili Yuanlong was resolute.
Long Feiye’s eyes flickered with gratification. In the end, Baili Yuanlong didn’t dare to amass his troops to challenge his authority as a way to force his decision.
“You may rise,” he intoned.
Baili Yuanlong was thrilled. “You Highness is wise and brilliant!”
“This crown prince hasn’t agreed to your request yet,” Long Feiye said unhappily.
“Your Highness!” Baili Yuanlong grew desperate and refused to stand up. “Your Highness, Han Yunxi’s poison skills are consummate, it’s too dangerous for you to be by her side! Even if Your Highness doesn’t care what the army thinks, you must protect your own life before she poisons or bewitches you! If Your Highness needs women, this general can find plenty of beautiful candidates!”
Baili Yuanlong dearly wished that His Highness had only been charmed by Han Yunxi’s looks and couldn’t resist the temptation, rather than truly love that woman. But even he felt like these words were just lying to himself. Before meeting Han Yunxi, His Highness had shown zero interest in any females. Then he only doted on her alone and ignored the rest. How could he simply be interested in Han Yunxi physically?
Long Feiye bent over and said, word by word, “Baili Yuanlong, this crown prince will be perfectly happy even if I die by her hands.”
Baili Yuanlong was shocked. “Your Highness Crown Prince!” he exclaimed out loud before falling back on the ground. “Your Highness Crown Prince, you...you...can you let down the East Qin ancestors or the soldiers sacrificed in East Qin’s name?! Your Highness Crown Prince, did you forget how Consort Wan died?”
“This crown prince remembers everything! Baili Yuanlong, don’t you worry. This crown prince knows of my responsibilities. I will definitely restore East Qin and start war anew with West Qin after dealing with the Wind Clan. If I meet Han Yunxi on the battlefield, this crown prince won’t yield a step on account of her! But no matter who wins or loses, your lordship is determined to possess her unless I die in battle!” Long Feiye replied coldly.
These were the exact same words that Han Yunxi had voiced to Ning Cheng.
A solution to world peace?
Since both of them had burdens to shoulder while loving each other, then their only solution was to work hard and stay alive! Survive until they fulfilled their vows and performed their duties, until they didn’t disappoint their clansmen or their kingdom and finally, each other.
Both of them had to live well until the end.
Baili Yuanlong looked at the master he’d served loyally for years...
My poor E and R keys...sigh. =o=