Chapter 157 - Love, Promise
The night breeze was cool as night fell. The entire Inner Palace was quiet; even the cries of insects could not be heard. Yun Che sat on the roof of the Sightseeing Pavilion at the rear of the Supreme Profound Hall and was silently immersed in thought while bathing in the moonlight.
It had already been a year since he’d left Floating Cloud City. His original life’s plan was pretty simple; he wanted to restore his profound veins, accomplish something within three years, return to Floating Cloud City to free grandpa and little aunt, and also get back his dignity. After that, he met Jasmine and because of her, he was given a new lease of life. His fate, had also become intertwined with hers, and his life’s trajectory was then destined to turn upside down because of Jasmine.
But now, there was an additional Lan Xueruo in his life.
Liking Lan Xueruo was something that he was really certain of. He was deeply attracted by her beautiful appearance and her refined temperament the first time he saw her. Having been in contact for half a year, especially because they had experienced a life and death calamity together, the feelings they had for each other had slowly ripened.
And it was only until yesterday, did he find out who Lan Xueruo’s true ident.i.ty, and also found out the things she had to bear, as well as what he would have to face if he wanted to stay together with her.
What Qin Wuyou said yesterday was extremely cruel. However, Yun Che was unable to deny that each and every word he said was the indisputable truth. His ability was way too minuscule; while he might be able to take care of any personal grudges, toward the disputes of the imperial household that even involved two enormous sects, if he were to force his way in, then, like the sand used to fill up the sea, he will be immediately be engulfed and disappear without a trace.
“Junior Brother Yun, so here’s where you are.”
Lan Xueruo’s gentle voice sounded behind Yun Che. Subsequently, a fragrant wind brushed by and Lan Xueruo had already leaped onto the roof of the pavilion. She smiled at Yun Che. “I had just went to your quarters to find you, only to discover that you were gone. I didn’t expect that you’re actually interested in sitting here to admire the moon. Is something bothering you?”
“I won’t consider it as being bothered.” Yun Che continued to look ahead. “I am just pondering about a decision that might be very important in my life.”
Lan Xueruo sat down next to Yun Che. She hesitated for a bit, and then carefully asked. “Junior Brother Yun, I heard that you’ve received invitations from both the crown prince and the third prince at the same time. Furthermore, the time of the invitations were exactly the same. Are... Are you hesitating about whose invitation you should accept?”
Yun Che did not respond, instead, he asked. “Senior sister, whose invitation do you think I should accept? One is the crown prince and the other is the third prince; neither one of them seems to be someone who I could refuse.“
A deep, complicated expression flashed across Lan Xueruo’s face as she said hesitantly. “I, I want to hear about your decision. I... have no authority to interfere in your matters.”
“..... I heard that the current Blue Wind Imperial Palace is in turmoil with movements from the shadows. The emperor is currently bed-ridden; he doesn’t have much longer to live. If he were to die one day, all the unstable and hidden movements would erupt at once…. Senior sister, I want to know, do you want me to enter this Imperial Family’s dispute?” Yun Che asked with a calm and indifferent expression.
“No! I don’t! I would never want that.” Lan Xueruo hurriedly shook her head. “Junior brother Yun, I know that you are not the type of person who l.u.s.ts for power, and you would certainly not do that, right?”
“What if I must join the fray?” Yun Che faintly asked.
Lan Xueruo stiffened as her large pair of eyes panickedly looked at Yun Che. “Why must you join the fray? You’re not clear of how dangerous and dreadful the Imperial Family’s internal instability and undercurrents are. Once you get involved, it’s possible that you would never be able to get away. You can not imagine how complicated and dangerous it is. Junior brother Yun, you shouldn’t be a person who l.u.s.ts for power, or is fond of conflicts, what exactly are you planning? Could it be that you really are planning to submit yourself to either the crown prince or the third prince?”
“You’re right. I have no interest in power and have even less interest in conflicts. But in this world, there are a lot of things that I can’t just not do only because I’m not interested in them." Yun Che turned around to look at Lan Xueruo; he looked at her affectionately. “Senior sister…. should I call you Senior Sister Xueruo or…. Princess Cang Yue?”
Lan Xueruo beautiful eyes immediately widened as unrest and nervousness instantly appeared in her eyes. She hung her head and stammered. “You… you knew? Did Instructor Qin tell you about it? I… I really didn’t deliberately hide it from you. I only… only…”
Yun Che did not wait for her to finish and continued to mutter. “From the first time I saw you, I was captivated by your gentle, graceful and pleasing appearance. Afterwards, when Xiao Sect’s Branch Sect launched an attack, you risked the dangers of being involved to save me. Following that, you even personally left for the Branch Sect and we ended up fleeing for our lives together… Then, we arrived at the Blue Wind Imperial City and entered the Blue Wind Profound Palace, you were always carefully arranging and taking care of everything. If it weren’t for you, I would already been killed by Xiao Zaihe, or perhaps I would’ve become a vagabond, or perhaps I would still be fleeing for my life while having wind for meals and dew for drinks. How would I possibly have such a stable place to stay?”
“You had done so much for me, and I thought it was because you liked me. I, too, enjoyed every moment that I spent with you…. Until yesterday, when I received the invitation letters, Instructor Qin told me everything. Only then did I become aware that the reason you treated me especially well, the reason why you personally went to the Xiao Sect’s Branch Sect, the reason why you brought me to the Blue Wind Imperial City, was all because you fancied my apt.i.tude and potential; it was all done to complete your imperial father’s single wish and have me represent the Imperial Family in the Blue Wind Ranking Tournament. Everything that I had thought of before, they were merely my own imagination of your affection for me….”
Yun Che’s words faintly contained a sense of loss and grief. It made Lan Xueruo’s mind become disorderly chaotic and the last sentence he had said could not help but stab at her heart. She panickedly shouted. “That’s not it…. That’s not it! It was indeed because of my imperial father that I choose you, but I didn’t deliberately hide the truth from you because of that, nor did I want to exploit you. I only wanted to find a proper time to tell you everything. Because the longer I was with you, the more afraid I became… I feared that if you knew everything, then you’d think that I was deceiving and using you. But the reason why I was so scared was because…. because…”
“Senior sister…” Yun Che once again broke her off. He said with a sad voice. “I want to… have a moment in peace…”
After saying that, Yun Che slid down the roof and silently disappeared into the night.
“Junior brother Yun…. Junior brother Yun!!”
The moonlight was s.h.i.+ning and brightened the surroundings. However, Lan Xueruo was unable to find Yun Che’s silhouette.
“It’s not like that, it really isn’t like that…. I really didn’t deliberately conceal it from you. I never wanted to exploit you….” Lan Xueruo’s heart dropped into a bottomless abyss. Her body powerlessly crouched down and her arms hugged her knees as she began to weep.
When her father was seriously ill, she didn’t cry…. When the Imperial Family caught into a calamity, she didn’t cry…. When Fen Juechen of the Burning Heaven Clan continually press forward, she didn’t cry…. She quietly took on everything. However, at this moment, with Yun Che leaving, she felt that her mind and spirit had become absolutely empty. It was as if she lost some kind important thing from her life; as if her heart was being stabbed by needles. She was unable to control her tears and they frantically pouring down her face. She was as helpless as a fallen leaf that had been abandoned by the world.
“Senior sister, your tears are too precious. So precious that… I have no choice but to exchange my life for them.”
A soft dreamlike voice sounded near her ears. She immediately raised her head and saw Yun Che right in front of her through her tear muddled eyes. He extended his hands and softly rubbed her cheeks to wipe away her sparkling teardrops.
“Junior brother Yun, don’t… leave me!”
The words came with a deep sobbing noise and uncontrollably burst out from Lan Xueruo’s mouth. Because those words had been buried deep in her heart for a long time; even she herself did not realize that she said those words. The heart-stabbing pain from earlier was like a sharp blade that sliced open her heart and soul; it released the deeply buried emotions within her and allowed her to be completely aware of how deep her feelings for this ‘Junior brother Yun’ had become.
She threw herself into Yun Che’s bosom and began to cry her heart out. She had never willfully cried like this before, but being beside Yun Che and leaning against his chest, she felt that she did not need to pretend anymore and no longer needed to constrain her emotions. The worry, pressure, pain and remorse that she acc.u.mulated in her heart throughout the years… Flooded out and torrented willfully, like a broken dam.
“Senior sister, I’m sorry….” Yun Che softly apologized as he embraced her. “I did not mean any of the words I said earlier. I have known you for all this time, so how could I not know about how softhearted of a girl you are; how could you possibly be willing to hide the truth from me and use me. The reason why I said those words was because I was uneasy and afraid….. I do not know if I had actually entered Senior Sister’s heart because Senior Sister was so good to me and was also a princess. I, on the other hand, am powerless and of low birth. Other than my pride, hot-headedness, and my feelings for you, I have nothing else. Therefore, I was really uneasy and afraid…. I selfishly wanted to see if you would shed tears for me….”
“A man who makes his woman cry is the most repulsive man in the whole world… Senior sister, please forgive my unruly selfishness. I will properly treasure your tears in my heart forever; they will be my life’s most valuable treasure and also become my largest motivation….”
“It’s not your fault. You don’t need to apologize to me… It’s my fault, it’s all my fault. It was me who concealed the truth from you, it was me who had always possessed that sort of intent toward you…” Lan Xueruo forcefully shook her head within Yun Che’s embrace and mournfully wept. “I had always thought that all my worries, longing and urges to see you were only because you held the potential to achieve my father’s wishes… It was only just now when you disappeared from my side that I realized that I can’t separate myself from you anymore…. Uuu…. Don’t leave me. I don’t want to be a princess…. I won’t even make you partic.i.p.ate in the Blue Wind Ranking Tournament. I just want… you to stay with me so that I can always see you… Don’t leave me….”
Lan Xueruo had at last, completely revealed every last bit of her true feelings without restraint. Yu Che faintly smiled. He held Lan Xueruo closer and said softly. “The feelings that I have for Senior Sister are exactly the same as you have for me. Since our feelings are the same, then we share our burdens together. Senior sister’s matters are now also my matters. If I were to be unable to even accomplish such a minor desire that Senior Sister has, then how can I be worthy of Senior Sister’s love?... I will enter the Blue Wind Ranking Tournament and I will also partic.i.p.ate in the Blue Wind Imperial Family’s complications…. Don’t stop me yet. I had previously stated that I was making a really important decision in my life… and this is my decision.”
“Even though I am currently a mere eagle chick, give me time, and I will one day obtain wings. Please give me the opportunity to use my wings to protect you from the rain…. Even if the weather is too unstable and I cannot shelter you, I could still take Senior Sister and fly away. We can leave this land of unstable weathers forever to once again, look for a place that only belongs to us. This is the privilege I have because I like Senior Sister… Even if it’s Senior Sister, you still cannot take it away from me.”
Lan Xueruo did not respond. She only tried her best to hold down her sobs and violently trembling shoulder. The shoulder of the man she was nestled against was not big or wide but it gave her an immense feeling of warmth and ease. She felt as if she was a drifting and homeless duckweed that had finally found its warmest home.
The two sat cuddled on top of the pavilion’s roof and bathed in the moonlight together. For a long time, neither of them spoke. The tears, accusations and promises made the final layer that separated the two disappear completely. Their hearts were inseparable and closely connected as they listened to each other’s heartfelt wishes.
“Take me to see your imperial father tomorrow, okay? Don’t forget, your man is actually a genius doctor and there are no illnesses that he can’t cure.”
“Mn…” Lan Xueruo softly replied while leaning on Yun Che’s shoulder. She closed her eyes as the corner of her mouth slightly raised. With tears at the corner of her eyes, her beauty incomparable.