Lord Seventh Chapter 1-10

Chapter 1: Seven Ephemeral Lives

In our first life, we would become burial mounds made of rocks, our love inseparable.

In our second life, we would destroy the rocks, connecting our destiny, walking side by side.

In our third life, we would burn the jades, promising that we would belong to each other whether in life or in death.

The equinox flowers blooming along the path were as crimson as blood. The water of the River of Forgetfulness flowed calmly, three thousand years to the east, then three thousand years to the west. Wandering spirits came and went; they walked on the road to the Underworld, crossing the Bridge of Helplessness. After drinking the Mengpo tea, they would forget everything in their previous life. People crossed the Stone of Three Lives every day but none ever spared it a glance, showing that the cycle of life and death was a mere phase of muddiness to the mind[1].

There was someone sitting beside the Stone.

It was a man who only looked like he was in his late twenties when one looked closer. He was dressed in a long blue[2] robes with large sleeves, a roughly carved flute carried by his hip. His hair was as white as snow, left untied and loosened around his figure.

The man had his back to the souls on their way to Hell, facing the cold hard stone. He merely sat there with his eyes closed, unknown whether he was asleep or awake, seemingly unaware of the fact that someone had been watching him for a very long time.

Hu Jia was a newly appointed Ghost Official and had only been around for approximately forty years. Ever since he took notice of the white-haired man, he had never seen him move an inch. After reporting his work, he would stand over here and stare at the other man for a while.

The Underworld was the realm of the ghosts, but that was not to say that ghosts would not exist in the world above in broad daylight either. Sometimes when his mood was down, he would stare at the man and found himself at ease shortly after, his mind strangely as calm and quiet as the sitting figure.

Suddenly, an uncannily pale hand rested on Hu Jia’s shoulder. Despite being a Ghost Official, he could not help but feel a chilling sensation emanating from that hand, snapping him out of the trance he was in. Turning his head, he saw Bai Wuchang’s[3] pasty face. He patted his chest, turning to the man and gave a formal salutation, “Sir Soul Reaper.”

Bai Wuchang gave him a faint nod of the head, lips unmoving but the words he said could be heard very clearly. “Go tell him, that the time has come for him to move on.”

“Me?” Hu Jia startled, looking at the white-haired statue-like figure, then back at Bai Wuchang again, “This is… I…”

“It’s fine,” Bai Wuchang spoke calmly, “Back then I had reaped the wrong soul, dooming him to a fate of separation and desperately seeking after his love for so many lifetimes. He has not been able to be at peace for hundreds of years now, I’m sure he has no intention of speaking to me.”

“Yes, Sir.” if the Reaper had said so, then he had no reason to disobey. After some hesitation, he asked, “How… How should I address him?”

Bai Wuchang looked surprised for a moment before replying in a low voice. “Just call him Lord Seventh like everyone else do, he’ll surely respond to that.”

No longer stalling, Hu Jia approached the man.

Back when he was still a living being, he heard a tale told by a private school scholar during his childhood: In ancient times, there was a legendary painter. One day, he scrawled a dragon on the wall for no reason, and this dragon had no eyes. Passersby asked him about it in confusion, and he answered that if he drew the eyes, the dragon would become real and flew away. No one believed him, and the artist had no choice but to add a few strokes. After being given the eyes, the dragon truly came alive, letting out a roar and flying to the clouds above; that was the “adding dragon eyes” legend.

At this moment, for some reason Hu Jia was reminded of it. The man with white hair was like a dragon painting without eyes, if he was ever awaken then this land would no longer be able to hold him back.

He came near, but the man seemingly had no clue; his eyes still shut, face angled toward the Stone.

Hu Jia cleared his throat and ignored his nerves to move the man’s shoulder slightly. “Lord Seventh, Sir Soul Reaper wants to tell you that the time has come, you have to go now.”

The man stayed still, as if he had not heard anything.

Hu Jia swallowed, raising the volume of his voice and inched closer to the man’s ear, “Lord Seventh, Sir Reaper…”

“I can hear you, I’m not deaf.”

Hu Jia stood there in a stupor, only reacting after a good while. He had no idea this man could talk, and he talked to him, no less.

The voice of this “Lord Seventh” was low and soft, almost like a gentle breeze gliding over your soul. Then he started to move, body sluggish probably due to the long period of sleep. His shoulders shifted a tiny fraction, and then he opened his eyes slowly to look at Hu Jia.

His eyes were incredibly clear and bright, eye corners wide and eyeline clear. His brows were raised a little, carrying a hint of mirth and rays of bright light, but only for a short moment before being restrained.

Hu Jia was amazed. This Lord Seventh is really easy on the eye, he thought.

The white-haired man examined him, then said somewhat wistfully, “I don’t think I have seen you before…”

“I am Hu Jia, I’ve only been a Ghost Official for about forty years.”

The man startled, calculating with his hands. He shook his head and smiled. “Have I really been sleeping for that long?”

Using the Stone as support, he leisurely stood up, dusting off the nonexistent dirt on his clothes, sleeves sweeping around. The equinox flowers seemingly swayed with his every movement. He turned and saw Bai Wuchang unsurprisingly standing not far away. Fixing his sleeves, he greeted him with a brief salutation. “Sir Reaper. We haven’t met for sixty years now, have we?”

Bai Wuchang stilled. He looked as formal and stiff as usual, but his voice betrayed him with a hint of surprise. “My lord, there hasn’t been a single day where I didn’t see you for the past sixty-three years every time I crossed this bridge. It was you who never paid attention.”

The man blinked, then laughed. “Sir Reaper, how come I’m hearing scorn in your voice?”

Bai Wuchang lowered his head. “I wouldn’t dare.”

This startled the man again. “The way you worded things makes it seem like I have caused you great offence.”

“Not at all,” Bai Wuchang’s voice was still as stiff as a board, “The time has come. Please come with me, my lord.”

“Hm, what time?” the man blinked, “come to where?”

“You need to come with me to enter your next reincarnation, it will be bad if we miss the timing. This is your seventh time already.” Bai Wuchang continued after pausing, “Once you are done with this lifetime, your destiny with He Lianyi will finally end. Ashes will remain ashes, and you will no longer be entangled with each other.”

The moment the name “He Lianyi” was uttered, Hu Jia was rendered astonished. He had heard of that name before back when he was human. When he was little, he learned about history through his old teacher, and the man specifically mentioned the Zhong Xing[4] Emperor of the previous dynasty with barely concealed admiration. The man was born in a time of aggression and turmoil both internal and external, and he had single-handedly saved a court so close to crumbling with his all-encompassing intelligence. As devoted and diligent as he was, he deserved to be called the most brilliant ruler in history.

He looked back at Lord Seventh. The man’s beautiful eyes were staring at the River of Forgetfulness, and he remained silent. Hu Jia stood beside him, seeing the layer of fog in his gaze, one that could surely confuse onlookers and reveal a sentiment of despaired haze. Over there, Bai Wuchang’s face showed no emotion either, but for some unknown reasons, Hu jia felt like there was sorrow enveloping the Soul Reaper.

Back then I had reaped the wrong soul, dooming him to a fate of separation and desperately seeking after his love for so many lifetimes. He has not been able to be at peace for hundreds of years now, I’m sure he has no intention of speaking to me.

Suddenly he saw that the white-haired man has returned to normal, eyelashes flickering. He turned to Bai Wuchang, perplexity evident in his question, “Who is He Lianyi again?”

Bai Wuchang choked on his words. “He is-”

After intensely concentrating, the man slapped the back of his head, cutting off the other’s answer with his revelation, “Oh, you mean him… Now I’m remembering somewhat. Gods above, why are these memories still here?”

Hu Jia’s expressions seemed to crack—this was the unrequited lovesick man he was told about? Lovesick? For such a man, his memories seemed rather awful.

The man glanced at Hu Jia, seemingly reading his mind. He stretched and spoke slowly. “Six cycles of reincarnation must have lasted for several hundreds of years. Who knows who or what he has been reborn into, and how can I remember that many times? Not to mention, I haven’t had a chance to be human for so long now…”

He lowered his volume at the end, the words finally turning into an insipid quirk of lips. He gathered the long sleeves, looking at Bai Wuchang. “I would have forgotten if you hadn’t mentioned it. I had had everything planned out back then, but because you had mistakenly reaped the soul of Qingluan and caused her to die prematurely, you had turned me and He Lianyi into enemies. No wonder you didn’t dare speak to me just now.”

Bai Wuchang avoided his gaze and lowered his head. The white-haired man shook his head, walking forward and patting Bai Wuchang’s shoulder. “Why do you insist on remembering those things, no wonder it’s said that the pretty ones are the small-minded ones.”

Hu Jia almost tripped and fell into the River at the words.

The man burst out laughing.

His laughter seemed to ring out across the entire Underworld with its thousands of spirits. His tall figure carried an unspeakable aura of someone completely unrestrained, as if even the Ten Kings of Hell was not worth paying attention.

Hu Jia heard Bai Wuchang replying softly. “Those two were supposed to possess a love destiny that lasted for seven lives, but as a result of my intervention, their fates were changed from eternal lovers to enemies.”

Hu Jia jolted. “A love destiny? He was…”

“Have you ever heard about Prince[6] Nan Ning?”

Hu Jia could not help but exclaimed out loud. “Ah, he was… he was…” The former Prince Nan Ning. No wonder the Reaper put the man above himself[7].

Bai Wuchang shook his head. “He was only thirty-two in his first lifetime. As he was overburdened with worries, his hair turned all white when he left the mortal realm. He was obsessed and stubborn even after death, refusing to drink the water from the River and insisting on suffering by the bridgeside, just to wait for the other to enter the next reincarnation at the same time…”

Hu Jia asked, “But wouldn’t he be unable to become human in the next life, since he refused to drink the tea?”

Bai Wuchang nodded. “That was why in his second life, he reincarnated into a flying insect. He flew under the other’s night lamp, but the mortal was unable to discern anything in the daze and crushed him in his palm.”

Hu Jia did not know how to respond to this.

“He waited for the other man for the third life too,” Bai Wuchang walked side-by-side with Hu Jia, the nobleman following with a definite distance behind them. The Reaper’s voice was so incredibly tiny and low, as if stuck in his throat, but every word was enunciated with clarity. “He was a black dog in his third life, raised by the one he loved since he was just a pup. But when the other’s family fell into poverty, they had to butcher him for food. In his fourth life, he was a jasmine plant given to his love by a maiden who was infatuated with him, and was taken care of nicely. But then the young lady was married to another person, so he was abandoned out of grief and withered as the other moved his residence. In his fifth life, he was a white fox, raised by the other for entertainment. The concubine of the man loved his fur, so he had to be skinned…”

“That was all too much!” Hu Jia’s eyes widened, “Surely karma exists, and he has not done any bad deeds, so why…”

Bai Wuchang glanced at him, head shaking, “Karma is not something we can understand.”

“Then after that…”

“After that, he returned to this river and drank three cups of the Mengpo tea.” Bai Wuchang gave a bitter laugh, “But somehow the tea didn’t work on him. He remembered things he desperately tried to forget, and he forgot things that he was supposed to remember. He often mocked himself that throughout these hundreds of years, sometimes even his own name wouldn’t come to his mind. After having to remember time after time after seven lives, he called himself Jing Qi[8]. During the sixty-three years of He Lianyi’s sixth lifetime, his lordship refused to return to the mortal world, choosing to sit by the Stone instead. Now is their seventh lifetime, their last one.”

Hu Jia was pulled out of the story. “No wonder.” He raised his head to look at the approaching man. He did not see the lovesick, unconstrained man in Bai Wuchang’s descriptions; his unruly snow white hair was the most sorrowful shade of color he had ever seen.

Jing Qi stood beside the Reincarnation Pond to wait for them. Once Bai Wuchang and Hu Jia was near, he asked playfully, “Am I going to be human this time or not?”

Bai Wuchang replied, “You will be a human of great status.”

Jing Qi examined him for a good while, lips pursed, “There’s no need for that, I only want a life where I don’t have to worry about what to wear or eat and can live peacefully until death.”

Bai Wuchang did not say anything to that, only extending his arm, “Please.”

Jing Qi carelessly bid them farewell with a smile before stepping into the pond.

Once he saw that the man was about to submerge completely in the pond, Bai Wuchang suddenly bit his finger and crooked his hand to perform a spell. Droplets of crimson fell from ghostly pale hand into the pond, turning the entire body of water red. Hu Jia was horrified and cried out, “What are you doing, Sir?”

Bai Wuchang paid him no mind while whispering something. Then he abruptly extended his bloody finger to make a dot on Jing Qi’s forehead, right between his eyebrows. Since he was still in the pond, Jing Qi was unable to dodge and could only look up in astonishment. The Reaper’s face remained expressionless, glassy eyes staring back at him. Jing Qi felt like someone was pulling at him and his body quickly went underwater. He could hear a low voice by his ears, “It was my fault that your fate became incomplete and full of suffering. There is nothing I can do to make up to you but this; giving up all of my cultivation to trade for one lifetime where you can have black hair again…”

Hu Jia watched in a daze as Jing Qi’s body sank in blink of an eye. At that moment, the Pond turned a brilliant shade of red, but then returned to its crystal-clear state before he could even exclaim. The water was calm again, like nothing had happened.

Hu Jia looked back, but Bai Wuchang was nowhere to be seen. There was only a slip of paper in the shape of a human left where he once stood, currently falling slowly to the ground.

There was an explosive noise before a dark shadow emerged. The figure picked up the slip of paper while Hu Jia startled and performed a salutation, “Magistrate…”

The man in black waved his hand. “Spare me.” The paper in his hand suddenly burst into flame and quickly turned into ashes. The Magistrate opened his palm to reveal a seemingly sentient blue wisp of smoke, which also flew into the pond. Seeing Hu Jia’s dumbstruck expressions, he said, “The Bai Wuchang you met is not someone who belongs to the Underworld, he was only borrowing the Wuchang’s body to wait for the person who was destined for him. Now that it’s time, it’s natural that he should leave.”

Hu Jia’s lips twitched, and he looked like he understood everything and nothing at the same time.

The Magistrate sighed, vanishing into the darkness again.

Footnotes:
[1] There are a lot of death-related Chinese mythology concepts mentioned in this passage, most stemmed from ideas from Taoism, Buddhism and folk religion.

Equinox flowers: or spider lily flowers, a type of plant typically grown near cemeteries around the autumnal equinox. In Chinese culture they are regarded as the type of flowers blooming in the Underworld to guide the dead into their next reincarnation.
The River of Forgetfulness, Mengpo and the Bridge of Helplessness: The River of Forgetfulness stands between the path to the Underworld and the Dark Mansion (another name for the Underworld). The water of the River can cause people to forget the past life, and Mengpo, the Lady of Forgetfulness, sits beside the bridge that crosses the river. It’s her job to ensure that the dead won’t remember anything once they are reincarnated, and only when they drink the tea she made are they allowed to cross the Bridge of Helplessness.
The Stone of Three Lives: born from the Buddhist concept of reincarnation, the stone dictates people’s love destiny; the three lives are one’s previous, present and future lives.
[2] 青 (qīng) as a color can be either blue or green.
[3] One of the Heibai Wuchang/Black and White Impermanence duo. They are deities in charge of escorting the dead to the Underworld.
[4] 中兴 (zhōngxīng), meaning “country’s revival”.
[5] 小白脸 is a slang for attractive young men, often used as a derogation.
[6] Depending on historical context, 王 (wáng) can also be used as a title for princes who don’t inherit the throne.
[7] Throughout their conversation, Bai Wuchang referred to himself as 小人 – meaning “smaller man” – an old honorific used to humble oneself in the presence of someone with a higher nobility rank.
[8] 七 (qī) means “seven”.

Chapter 2: No Place Like Home

Jing Qi felt the world tilt on its axis. In the haze, everything was both crystal clear and out of focus as if he was separated from the rest of the world by a veil. His body was so tired that he could very well fall asleep in a blink of an eye.

He remembered Bai Wuchang’s face at that last moment with his indecipherable coldness and stiffness that was not unlike a cover; but the touch of his finger to his forehead was strangely warm.

Legends always had it that the Underworld Road or the Gates of Hell were places full of yin energy, and people who were about passed away had to prepare a thick cotton blanket to bring with them under. Jing Qi knew it was because Ghost Officials were all as cold as ice, so cold that you could feel it the moment they were around a one-meter perimeter.

He was unsure what Bai Wuchang did, but now that he thought about it, the Reaper’s warmth that he received – coupled with his gentle words – vaguely carried a sense of finality.

In the trance, he thought: Is this really what you needed to do?

His consciousness became hazy again and his eyes were unable to be opened; he only started regaining feelings of his limbs after gods knew how long. According to his calculations, he had not really felt it for around sixty years now, so when he awoke with a start, there was heaviness settling over his body. His head hurt as if he was poked with needles.

Sounds of people walking back and forth reached his ears, the noises distant in one moment and very near in another. Someone opened his mouth and made him drink some medicine; must be a brute, as the way they fed him was like how people would feed a horse. His taste buds came to life and the bitterness rushed to his brain when he was not fully prepared. The stream of liquid down his throat made him struggle for air and he coughed profusely, causing more commotion.

The noisiness brought back some of his strength, and he tried to open his eyes.

It took him blinking forcefully for a few seconds to see everything clearly. He was leaning onto a young boy while being fed medicine by him. Seeing him coughing and opening his eyes, the boy quickly put the bowl down and stroked his back, crying out, “Go send for the physician, Young Master is awake!”

Being slapped like that while just recently recovering from coughing made Jing Qi feel resentful. Was this kid sent by his enemy to torture him?

The boy sniffled loudly and looked down at him. “Young Master, now that His Highness was gone, whatever will we do if anything happen to you?”

The moment the boy’s face came into focus, Jing Qi was taken aback.

He was Ping An…

Ping An, who was bought by his father when the boy was six, who had served him until death. His eyes were currently red-rimmed, and he looked no older than fourteen – still just a kid. Ping An was trying to hold in his tears, eyes blurry. His clothes looked too big on his frame.

“Ping…” Jing Qi opened his mouth, but his painfully dry throat made him unable to finish the sentence. Once he had thought that the hundreds of years he had been through would have made him forget everything, but the moment he saw the boy before him, all the faded memories flooded back.

Eventually he remembered his own name – Jing Beiyuan.

He was Jing Beiyuan, the infamous Prince Nan Ning with thousands of faces, the Prince Nan Ning who used to live only for one person, the Jing Beiyuan whose both body and heart died under that person’s hands at the age of thirty-two.

He suddenly understood what the Reaper meant by “to trade for one lifetime where you can have black hair again”. At this meddlesome behavior, Jing Qi had no idea whether to laugh or cry.

Seeing his dumfounded state, Ping An thought the sickness had made him silly. The boy shook him in fear, “Master, Master, please don’t scare me like this, what happened to you? How come the physician isn’t here yet, call for-”

Jing Qi tried to lift his hands with all his might; his current body seemed to weigh a hundred more times than his wandering soul. He pressed down Ping An’s shaking hands without a word, eyes fluttering shut halfway and head shaking slightly. Ping An seemed to understand, as the boy went to pour him a cup of water and carefully made him drink all of it.

Only then was Jing Qi able to speak, albeit hoarsely. “What time is it?” He was startled by his own voice; the raspiness did not conceal the fact that it belonged to a mere kid who had yet to reach adolescence. He looked down at his small, thin hands that looked sickly green and devoid of blood circulation.

“It’s currently the afternoon[1], Master. You fainted in the mourning hall and had a really high fever for two days straight, no one could wake you up.” His lips thinned as he lowered his head and secretly wiped away a stray tear. “The late Princess left us too soon, and the late Prince… His Highness was cruel enough to follow her. You are the only one we can depend on at the moment, if anything happened to you then I might as well be as good as dead.”

So… this was when he was ten, just after his father’s death.

His eyes strayed to his hands again. Even though he still felt incredibly exhausted, a sense of novelty washed over him. How unexpected, returning to his starting point after so many reincarnations… it overwhelmed him with a plethora of different emotions.

Then he remembered Bai Wuchang, and the feeling died down.

Reversing time – even if he did not know much about it, this must have cost the Reaper greatly. And all of this to pay him back?

To make him relive this wretched fate taking roots once again?

Ignoring Ping An’s ramblings and the boy’s clumsy attempt to lay him down properly, Jing Qi internally sighed. No wonder why Sir Reaper always looked so cold and did not speak much, turned out his intelligence did have flaws.

Did he think that living this life once more was like dust on a table that could be wiped easily?

The human heart was not made of stone; you could not stain it with dirt then wash it with water and expect it to become as spotless as before.

It did not take long for the physician to arrive. He checked his pulse and examined him from head to toe, showing a seemingly reliable performance of medical knowledge and spouting heaps of nonsense along the line of “Good people will be blessed by the heaven”; generally, what he meant was that there was nothing wrong with him and he just needed to rest well.

After nearly seventy years of sitting next to the Stone of Three Lives, Jing Qi possessed an abundance of patience, so he did not get agitated or angry at people who were just trying to follow a procedure. After all the medicine feeding and fussing around was finally done with, it was already midnight.

Ping An sent all the irrelevant individuals outside and helped him lie down.

Only then did Jing Qi ask him, seemingly without previous thoughts. “You said that I had passed out for two days, so tomorrow must be father’s First Seven[2], correct?”

A stunned Ping An thought he was worried, so he replied, “Please rest assured, Master. His Majesty has taken upon himself to arrange His Highness’s funeral, he even came to visit you yesterday and requested that you rest properly without any concerns.”

Jing Qi nodded, looking at the curtain above him dazedly. He suddenly turned his head to Ping An when the boy was about to put out the lights. “Wait.”

Ping An halted his movements, looking back at him quizzically.

Jing Qi tried his best to prop himself up with his toothpick-like arms. He leaned onto one side, eyes spanning the room including Ping An greedily.

Ping An looked around fourteen; he had grown in height but still retained his baby face, plump nose and round eyes. The child was born with a one-track mind, and coupled with his lanky limbs, his entire body never seemed to really co-operate well with each other; he lived his entire life with a severe lack of astuteness.

Nonetheless, Jing Qi thought, this kid was one of the very few people who treated me with sincerity.

Ping An’s voice was quite nasal, and often was he prone to tears back when he was younger – a crybaby with a perpetual sulky expression on his round face. But that year, when he had to shoulder the responsibilities that burdened the Nan Ning Residence, it was like the boy was forced to grow up in just one night. After the late prince’s First Seven, the Emperor took Jing Qi  into the palace; and since the butler was of old age, every single matter in the Residence, no matter big or small, rested in Ping An’s hands.

Looking at the young boy, Jing Qi thought: Ping An had devoted his entire life to this crumbling, already inadequate household, and all he gained was more misery and suffering to himself.

Seeing his master spacing out, Ping An thought he was still weak from the recent sickness. His voice was gentle, “Master, it’s not good for your health to sleep with the lights on. You don’t have to be afraid of the dark; I will be right outside so you can always call me whenever you need something.”

“Do you think I’m that capable to be able to wake a dead pig with my voice?”

Ping An was dumbfounded, then his face turned red after realizing the teasing. He stammered, “I’m not, at least I’m still breathing you know…”

Jing Qi was quiet at the hint of joy on his face. But his brows smoothed out and his eyes curved along with his lips. There was seemingly water glinting in his eyes, but it disappeared when one looked closely.

Ping An felt like his master’s smiling expression bore some resemblance to their old butler – it seemed both focused and distracted at the same time, seemingly carrying restlessness and reminiscence, with a little bit of reluctance and joy mixed in.

Was this really how a child should smile? Ping An was terrified with the possibility that the sickness had made his master unstable, so he put a hand on Jing Qi’s forehead, “Master, are you feeling unwell? Should I… should I call for the physician again?”

Jing Qi shook his head, eyes downcast, allowing Ping An to help him lie down again.

Ping An tucked him in properly before standing up, but was stopped by a tiny pair of hands.

His little prince was lying on the bed with his face up, eyes closed gently, voice low, “It’s fine, Ping An, I am here.”

The cadence was very soft and tender, and he sounded like a spoiled child with his kid voice. But looking at his face, Ping An could not help but feel a lump in his throat.

Jing Qi smiled and shifted his body, “Go rest.”

The lights went out, plunging the world into isolation.

Maybe it was because he had been unconscious for too long, but at the moment Jing Qi could not sleep. He stared up at the curtain with the faint shard of light coming from the window. After a while, Ping An’s pig-like snoring could be heard from outside, prompting Jing Qi to laugh out loud.

Seven reincarnations made him think about a lot of things, like He Lianyi, like Ping An, like the glorious-but-desolate Nan Ning Residence.

For what reason was he so attached to He Lianyi at that time?

That was a question he had never been able to answer until now, when he finally opened his eyes just then.

The late prince Jing Lianyu – birth name Mingzhi[3] – was no less foolish than his son. In fact, they behaved almost the same way: having useless eyes, blinded to truth. What they should see clearly was completely obtuse, and they went out of their way to uncover what should not be seen.

They both only had eyes for one person and stayed ignorant to everything else, leading them down the road of heartbreak.

Everyone said the late prince was so infatuated that when the princess passed away, it was like his soul was sucked out of his body. He was fortunate to have his cousin the Emperor, who took Prince Jing Beiyuan into the palace to raise with his sons.

When he was ten, his constantly-death-seeking father finally got his wish granted, leaving his son behind with an empty household.

The world was wide and vast, but he did not really have a place to call home.

Back then, he felt like He Lianyi was his only wish, his only savior, one that he had to reach out and catch no matter what – except for He Lianyi, he would not mind whether he was alive or death either.

His stubbornness could very well rival his father Jing Lianyu, and his foolishness was on Bai Wuchang’s level.

He only ever cared about that person and no one else, not even his friends, not even Ping An. Hearing the boy’s snores, Jing Qi felt like all the suffering in his past lives must have been karma for him being the most abhorrent person in this world.

After an indefinite amount of time spent turning things over in his mind, he fell asleep once more; awoke, then fell asleep again. He felt uncomfortable, as if his body was put in an oven, his bones all seemingly melting. He knew he was getting feverish again, but also that he would get better after this; so he did not call for Ping An. He curled into the blanket, enduring the sweat-soaked heat.

In the daze he heard a crisp noise, like something was broken. Jing Qi startled out of his stupor, eyes still lazily shut. He was used to Ping An breaking things on a daily basis.

But at that moment, a cold hand pressed down on his forehead, bringing him incredible relief. He then heard an angry voice, “How did you let him get this ill, what kind of servant are you? If you don’t call for the physician right now—”

Jing Qi immediately thought, I’d rather turn into ashes with this sickness…

Footnotes:
* Chapter title explanation: The phrase can be literally translated as “It’s better to return.” It references a legend where the spirit of King Du Yu of Shu transformed into a cuckoo bird (杜鵑 – dùjuān, also the name of the azalea flower), and people could make out the phrase from his sorrowful cries when he mourned for his hometown.

[1] 申时 is the time of the monkey according to the Chinese zodiac hours, it lasts from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. [2] This concerns the post-mortem rituals in some East Asian countries. Counting from the day of the person’s death, there will be a special ritual each seven days, lasting for seven weeks.
[3] 明哲 (míngzhì) means “intelligent”.

Chapter 3: Remained Old Friends

He would never mishear that voice anywhere, not even when he turned into ashes.

Back then, the sudden mention of He Lianyi from Bai Wuchang when they were beside the river did not manage to stir him emotionally. The passing years, coupled with his effort to forget, had buried that name in the deepest part of his memory and digging it up would be an almost impossible feat. But now, he would still remember it clearly as before. He remembered the many tricks that person had under his sleeves; he remembered his habits, like how when he touched Jing Qi’s forehead, he could not help but use his fingers to part his hair.

Those things seemed to have taken roots deep in his bones. Sometimes, Jing Qi would think about whether a Lord Seventh who waited beside the Stone of Three Lives for over sixty years would even exist, had he not been entangled with He Lianyi in a seemingly never-ending cycle.

Receiving bad karma was like being greeted with bird’s shit the moment you stepped out of the house. You could have had a hundred plans prepared to avoid it, but sooner or later there would always be a bird that came out of nowhere and dropped a piece of shit on your head, making you feel like bad luck would haunt you like a ghost from then on.

Jing Qi sighed internally. He knew his breathing pattern had changed the moment Ping An startled him awake, so there was no use feigning sleep. He opened his eyes.

In front of him was a young man who was only ten years old but had already possessed a noble-like aura.

Jing Qi thought, This He Lianyi is… still too green.

Seeing that he was awake, the young man’s angry expression faded. He quickly bent down and asked in a gentle voice. “Are you alright, do you feel unwell anywhere?”

In this human lifetime, it should have been natural for him to experience an onslaught of emotions when faced with the person he was once madly in love with and was deeply hurt by; but hundreds of years had passed.

At that moment, upon seeing him Jing Qi only felt a little out of his depth. He thought, This is He Lianyi? Why… why does he feel so unfamiliar?

He Lianyi thought his speechless daze was caused by the fever, so he put a palm on his forehead to check again. He then frowned and turned to the servants, “Is the medicine done brewing? We can’t let this fever draw out, it will mess with his head.”

My head is already messed up, Jing Qi thought. This fever should just burn me harder, so that I don’t have to deal with old things anymore.

When he finally came to his senses, he realized that he was lying down while his superior was still standing. Feeling unwell again, he tried to prop himself up, throat bobbing. “Your Highness…”

He Lianyi pressed him back down, laughing, “You seem to have learned some manners after this bout of illness. Just lie there, don’t move.”

Their current Emperor had some fairly bad habits, such as the moment he thought of something, he would execute it no matter what; or sometimes he would do silly, unimaginable things. Once he persisted to crown one of the Empress’s children and not his first child, and newborn He Lianyi was immediately given the title of Crown Prince when he had yet to be one month old. A few decades later, he would ignore his own heir without fail.

To put it bluntly, the Crown Prince’s importance to his father could not even compete with the latter’s pet starling which was raised in the study.

Furthermore, before He Lianyi there were his two vicious brothers – the Second Prince He Lianqi being ten years older and the First Prince He Lianzhao whose power and influence had already been well established. No one paid any mind to the “puppet” Crown Prince and only treated him as a joke, equating his existence to the likes of comedic tales such as “The Parrot General”, “The Imperial Tutor’s Wife”, or “The Story of the Prime Minister’s Advisor”.

The only one close to him was Prince Jing Beiyuan of Nan Ning, who was raised with him since they were little. The young orphan Jing Beiyuan had long gotten used to his uncle’s erratic and untamed behaviors, and was even influenced by him to some extent. He and He Lianyi could not be more different from each other whether it was personality or status, but they both shared one likeness: They grew up without their fathers’ attention.

He Lianyi sighed while tucking him in and patting him as if he was trying to appease a toddler. “I shouldn’t be saying this, but don’t drown yourself in grief; your father’s death was likely an escape for him. After the funeral you will come back to the palace with me, and everything will be the same as before.”

Jing Qi did not give a reply, and instead studied the boy’s profile intently.

At this moment, they were both children who had no one else but each other while growing up. The level of affection they had for each other could not be considered as shallow, and somehow along the way it had turned into vile animosity.

Jing Qi was startled to find out that the kind of love that acted like unbridled thorns in his heart back when he was waiting by the River of Forgetfulness was now fizzling out, flickering before vanishing completely, leaving a hollow space in his chest.

Seeing his sickness-induced watery eyes widened, He Lianyi could not help but poke him on the forehead. “Hey, Beiyuan?”

Jing Qi blinked. “Huh… Yes, I know.”

“And what do you know?” He Lianyi was torn between amusement and concern. Ping An brought them the medicine bowl at that moment, and he took it and told the servant to stand aside. He took it no himself to help Jing Qi sit up with the intention of spoon-feeding him.

The young man’s body inching closer carried with him a breath of warmth, and without a second thought, Jing Qi tried to scoot back in an attempt to evade, his back to the bed and one of his arms blocking the front of his chest.

Only after that did he remember when he was: This was their childhood, not the time when they turned their backs to each other; so this cautious defense would not do. He felt like his brain had turned into mush because of the fever, the memories of his past and current lives thrown into a state of disorder.

He Lianyi did not think much about it, and deduced that the pale face and the bolting back was because of the other’s aversion to drinking medicine. He laughed and tugged the back of the other’s neck with force, “Why are you hiding from this, how old are you?”

Taking advantage of the misunderstanding, Jing Qi put on a pained face that made him look like he was scared of the bitter liquid. He stared at the bowl, then at He Lianyi before shrinking back again.

He Lianyi looked down and took a small sip. He then turned to Ping An, “Get some sugared fruits for your master.”

For no reason at all, Ping An was terrified of their unfailingly gentle Crown Prince. He obeyed without any excessive talk and brought the fruits from a small table.

He Lianyi tried to coax Jing Qi into drinking. “It’s not that bitter, I just tasted it. Drink a bit and then I will feed you some fruits, alright?”

Jing Qi felt goosebumps breaking out on his body and finally understood what “the mind was enslaved to the body” meant. He quietly took the other side of the bowl and gulped it down with He Lianyi’s helping hand.

He and He Lianyi then had a nonsensical conversation consisting mostly of He Lianyi’s disguised persuasion, the rest was guarded replies by Jing Qi. There seemed to be something in the medicine that helped with sleeping, so after a while, he felt his eyelids drooping. He Lianyi was sitting by the bedside, voice soft. “Rest, I’ll leave after you have fallen asleep.”

Jing Qi closed his eyes in response, hearing a sigh from the other boy.

Of course he knew where that sigh came from; the Empress passed away too soon, and the Emperor was interested in anything but ruling the country. The First and Second Prince threw themselves into a bloody, lifelong rivalry; and while court officials burned their intelligence on fighting over who had the upper hand, when it came to actual work they all became utterly useless, to the point it could leave one enraged.

If He Lianyi was truly a gentle weakling like how he showed the world then there would be nothing worth noticing, but he was not.

Jing Qi knew it better than anyone that in the young man’s heart there was only the sight of this country; he was born to shake the world and reached unsurmountable heights. Sometimes Jing Qi was suspicious that their Emperor, whose greatest interest was listening to that shaggy damn bird cussing out his entire court, had done something exceptional in his past life¹. How else did he manage to give birth to such an individual worthy of the Crown Prince title?

Silence fell over the room, and the air smelled vaguely like fragrance on He Lianyi’s body. Jing Qi’s head turned muddled and he quickly fell asleep despite everything. Ping An woke him up at night fall. He was sweating buckets but the fever had gone down, his mind sobering some more.

Tonight was the first night of his father’s First Seven, with all the guests being well accommodated when they visited. Once the guests were all gone, it was the duty of a good son to keep watch beside his father’s coffin. After a quick bath, Jing Qi stumbled out. He waved away Ping An’s attempt to help. “I’m alright, you just go lead the way.”

The funeral hall carried a gloomy atmosphere. Big white lanterns were hung at the door, and the wind made them tremble, looking like they were leading to the underworld. Their old butler was already waiting with incense, paper and candles prepared.

Seeing that he had come, he told the servants to bring their master a cloak made of fox’s fur to put on when the night came.

Jing Qi, after a lifetime suffering being skinned as a fox, felt a surge of revulsion at the piece of clothing. But not wanting to shame his butler, he stood still with only a frown present and let the old man fasten the cloak with quivering hands.

Afterwards, his tiny hands reached out to scratch the cloak a few times while he internally mourned, Tonight I’ll burn lots of paper money² for you too, brother, please keep them with care as preparation and try not to be reborn as this animal again.

The old butler held his small hands and led him to stand in front of the memorial tablet. he bowed, “Young master, you should bow to His Highness. The Residence is your responsibility from now on.”

His countenance showed the resignation typical of old people who knew they were near death. With perfect manners, Jing Qi knelt down and bowed deeply before the father whose face he had long forgotten.

The First Seven was the time for the spirits to return to say their final goodbye. Jing Qi had no idea if his father, obsessed with chasing after his wife, still remembered that he had a son. He also did not expect to be here, back in the mortal world, and somewhat wistfully wondered whether he could see the realm under again.

He might not harbor love for it, but now that he could live a second life, meeting old friends… did not seem like a bad thing.

At that moment, a servant came in to tell them that the Supreme General of Ping Xi was here, prompting the butler to cast a look at Jing Qi. The boy startled, then spoke up, “Invite him in.” There was a hint of excitement in his voice.

Supreme General Feng Yuanji of Ping Xi was one of his father’s very few close friends back when he was alive. Jing Qi could actually call him shifu, since all of his amateur kungfu was obtained under the general’s training.

Soon enough, a robust man strode in, followed by Ping An at a slower pace.

Jing Qi knew the elder man cared none about customs, so instead of performing a formal salutation, he only greeted with a somber smile—he remembered all too well that Feng Xuanji’s current lifetime would soon come to an end.

Feng Xuanji, in contrast, thought the attitude was because his grief was still fresh. He sighed and ruffled the boy’s hair with his giant hand. “You have suffered a lot.” He turned to knelt and bowed before his father once while Jing Qi returned the courtesy. He then said to Ping An, “Bring another prayer mat for the General.”

The butler opened his mouth, “This is…”

Jing Qi cut him off. “There’s no harm, just do what I say. And both of you leave, I have something to say to the General.”

After a lifetime of being loyal to the Residence, the old butler put customs and orders before anything else. Jing Qi might only be ten years old, but since His Lordship had passed away, whatever his son said he would follow. He bowed and left without a word.

There were only two of them left with the brazier. Feng Yuanji sat on the mat without any grace; it was not in his nature to be gentle and tactful since all his life was made up of battles. He thought it over for a long time but did not know how to start, so in the end he only said clumsily, “This manchild Mingzhi was truly useless back when he’s alive, and now that he’s left, you… Your body looks so thin, need to look after yourself more.”

Jing Qi smiled, stretching his legs as he sat down. He threw some paper money into the brazier distractedly, “I’m fine, but you are leaving the capital soon, aren’t you?”

Feng Yuanji was taken aback and gaped at him, “How did you know?”

Footnotes:
¹ The original slang literally translates to “Stepping on dog’s shit”, meaning that one has trampled all the bad luck under their feet and there will only be god fortune awaiting them from now on.
² In many Asian countries, paper money, or spirit money, are burned with other paper items during the funeral with the belief that the spirits can carry those items with them to the afterlife.

Chapter 4: Hollow Splendor

At this point in his past life, Jing Qi was a mere child who lost his father in just a single night. Part fearful of his unknown future with possibly nowhere to settle down, part broken-hearted for his own fate, the child fell gravely ill due to those accumulated feelings; to the point that he could not take care of his father’s First Seven and missed the Great General’s visit.

Feng Yuanji and his father had been friends for a long time, and as customs were not taken too seriously by the former, he came to pay his respect despite it being the middle of the night. His action showed a rarely seen trace of sincerity in a world full of deception.

Who could have thought in this life he was able to see the older man for one last time before he left the capital.

Upon his questions, Jing Qi smiled suddenly. “I’m the Crown Prince’s study partner[1] after all; and now that His Highness is old enough to be involved in court matters, even though I can’t be there directly I have heard the news being thrown around.”

“Hah,” Feng Yuanji barked out a laugh. Jing Qi’s words had managed to touch his worries, and on his face was indignation and anger, unable to be concealed. But he was a strong-willed individual, so he did not want to show those emotions in front of the young child. He turned his head away to look at the dark sky outside the hall. After a long bout of silence, he finally managed to take control of his expressions and voice. He spoke in a low voice, trying his best to stay calm, “Even a child like you know about it, but the one who needs to know the most doesn’t.”

At midnight, seated in front of the King,

But instead of asking about the people, the King asked about ghosts.[2]

Jing Qi raised his brows, but before he could say anything, Feng Yuanji turned his gaze back inside and spoke in a deep voice. “Those words aren’t supposed to come out of my mouth, so you better pretend that they were never uttered in the first place.”

In the hall, the light from the white candle flickered in the breeze, and there was a slip of paper money half-burned inside the brazier. The young boy’s expression seemed to borrow some warmth from the fire; he sat silently with his deep, dark eyes, looking like he possessed knowledge of everything. Feng Yuanji could not help but soften.

He treated Jing Beiyuan like one of his own children; now that Jing Mingzhi had passed away and he was to leave for South Xinjiang, uncertain if he could ever come back alive, he could only see a magnitude of loneliness in the young boy currently clad in funeral garment and sitting in this mourning hall.

His voice went soft. “His Majesty ordered me to defeat the rebellion in South Xinjiang, this trip… I’m afraid this will be a taxing journey. Please take care of yourself when I’m not here.” He paused, then added with no less worry, “I know that you have always been close with the Crown Prince, and he is a decent individual, but…”

Feng Yuanji might not be a book-smart scholar, but he had been dealing with court matters for decades. Jing Qi understood his hesitation; the current Emperor seemed to still be in his hayday, but that was only a pretty layer of skin to cover the rotten parts inside caused by overindulgence. There was no guarantee about who this country’s next ruler would be unless the three princes waged war against each other; and this was the kind of corruption Great General Feng was afraid the young boy would be dragged into.

Jing Qi laughed softly, throwing more paper money into the brazier. “I am but a leisurely prince with a bad reputation who can only rely on the shadows of my predecessors, and is still a snot-nosed brat no less; being raised in the capital and is occasionally the entertainment of the elder royalty who is fond of children. In those officials’ eyes, I am no better than “Mister Supervising Censor” in His Majesty’s study, who will ever throw a glance my way? You worry too much, Great General.”

“Mister Supervising Censor” was actually the Emperor’s current favorite crested myna bird that never ceased its cussing out of court officials. At the boy’s almost satirical words, Feng Yuanji thought, How can a kid possess such thoughts?

He stared at the younger’s smiling, obedient posture; leisure and mysterious, he did not at all look his age.

Jing Qi said, “I will be alright, but do you know that this battle in South Xinjiang can only result in death?”

Feng Yuanji startled, and could not stop himself from blurting out, “Why would you say that?”

“South Xinjiang may be a small land, but ever since our Great Founder united the realm, obtaining the Nine Regions[3] and creating a dynasty no less glorious than the previous, that area has always been a sore spot. His Late Majesty with all of his great might had waged war with the North twice, making the people there bend the knee, but even he and his army was unable to conquer South Xinjiang. That region was full of unpredictable and dangerous environment; beside the problem it poses for travel, the fact that our soldiers will be unable to acclimate to the conditions there is serious enough. Not to mention…”

There was no need for a history lesson; Feng Yuanji knew his fate was sealed the moment he received the order. But he would never expect this young boy to point out all of it. He cut in, “Who taught you all this?”

Jing Qi picked a random name, “Grand Tutor[4] Zhou.”

Feng Yuanji shook his head. Zhou Ziyi might have a name that was as light as the wind[5], but no one could compete with him in terms of small-mindedness and stubbornness. With the way he would never stray from his precious books, there was no way he would talk about court matters to a young child. Furthermore, he was a short-sighted scholar, it was highly impossible for him to be able to understand military principles this comprehensively.

Jing Qi smiled and said nothing.

Feng Yuanji clearly wanted him to continue. “Go on.”

With some difficulty, Jing Qi stood up; he was dizzy the moment he started to move. He tried to straighten up and went to close the door of the hall before returning to his seat, letting out a sigh as if it was one of the most straining activities he had ever done. After some hesitation, he spoke in a low voice. “His Majesty with his indulgence in lavishness seems intemperate, but he definitely doesn’t lack self-awareness about it…”

He was cut off by Feng Yuanji’s raised voice. “His Majesty is not your subject of gossip! The insolence!”

Jing Qi reached out and patted the elder man on the shoulder to calm him down, the whiteness of his sleeve was as light as a breeze. Despite the man’s harsh tone, the young man did not seem affected. “…Therefore, he will try to gain some kind of achievements worth being written in history books, so that he looks like a useful ruler. Beiyuan will be frank with you, since you’re not an outsider, those people have been eyeing your command tally for a while. You are as stubborn as a wall and has absolute control over the army, so it is not a surprise that they will have plans for you. As a result, they will try to please His Majesty by using this opportunity to remove you. Am I wrong, Great General?”

Feng Yuanji did not answer.

Jing Qi sighed. “This incompetent child should not have said these incredibly ill-mannered words, but…” His elegant eyelashes raised, revealing a hint of sharpness as he scoffed, “Great General, even if you don’t care about your own well-being, will you really turn a blind eye to those vile officials further corrupting His Majesty and ruining his reign?

Feng Yuanji looked at him, face grim, his expression unable to be read. After a good while, he let out a small sigh. “You’re just a child, why must you care so much about these adult matters?”

“If this country can maintain its peace and prosperity, I am content to stay a child until the end of my life.”

Ignoring this soul-crushing remark, Feng Yuanji asked softly. “Then what do you think I should do?”

Jing Qi was about to speak up, but the older man raised a hand to stop him.

“No, you don’t have to say it.” Feng Yuanji, after examining him, exclaimed. “Beiyuan, you take after your mother a lot, only your eyes were like Mingzhi’s. But personality-wise, you are so different from both of them.”

He stood up, hands behind his back, looking down at the kneeling boy. He had yet to reach his growth spurt, and his body was even thinner after this tragedy; his facial features were delicate like a maiden’s, but his posture exuded unimaginable assurance. Looking at him, he had the illusion that he was discussing with one of his peers and not a child at all.

But it was only that… an illusion. Feng Yuanji was sure that at the end, Jing Beiyuan was just a typical child who was raised surrounded by court politics.

“I should only tell you this two or three years in the future, but… then it’ll be too late, it seems. You have matured pass your age, so I think you can understand all of this, but I won’t force you to take it in if you don’t. Back then, I didn’t approve of Mingzhi’s choice to let you be raised in court, but he wasn’t really himself anymore, so he wouldn’t have been able to take care of you. Besides, seeing that you bear so much resemblance to his late wife would only cause more grief. I did plan to take you under my wings, but after all, this general Feng Yuanji whom is praised by people is merely a lowly man with lowly military background. You weren’t even fully one year old at that time, and I was afraid that I would only hurt you; it was impossible for me to raise a noble-blooded prince of Nan Ning Residence. So I decided against it and waited until you’re a little more grown…”

It was a rare occasion for Feng Yuanji to talk this much this patiently. Jing Qi, in his silence, suddenly realized that the man had passed away too soon for the younger to know him better.

“But seems like I won’t see the day you become a grown man, after all.” Feng Yuanji smiled self-deprecatingly. Then he suddenly turned stern. “You are raised in lavishness, under the care of women, but you must never forget that you are first and foremost a man!”

Jing Qi was stunned… where did this come from?

Feng Yuanji turned, eyes blazing. “Jing Beiyuan, a true man in this day and age needs not to strive for noble titles, but to live as a hero. He needs not wealth and luxury, but to live with his head held high. I, Feng Yuanji, receive the royal salary and is graced with the title of Great General, and my job is to battle both internal and external adversaries, and defend the border of our nations. It’s not like I can’t do these cheap dirty tricks in court you pointed out, it’s that they’re all beneath me!”

Jing Qi did not answer those dauntless boasts for a long while. In the hall there was only the crackling sound from the brazier while the two men, one big and one small, sat there in silence.

Then Jing Qi said, “Sir, one that is too firm is more prone to breaking.”

Feng Yuanji scoffed. “I’d rather be broken than bent.”

Jing Qi suddenly felt like the older man stood much taller than in his memories. He was always stubborn and listened to no one’s advice, perpetually determined to walk his own straight path without taking anyone’s words into consideration, without turning back.

However…  that was why he did deserve to be praised as indomitable and unyielding.

Heroes will be heroes until the end, Jing Qi laughed with self-ridicule. He spoke such disrespectful words to the old man only because he did not want such a talent to go to waste.

Feng Yuanji sighed, expressions softening. His big hands reached out to ruffle the boy’s hair, “You’re still young, don’t learn from those people…”

Don’t learn what from them? He realized he had no idea what to continue with, don’t learn their scheming mind, their vicious immorality?

But in the end… this child was not like him.

“Great General.” The boy’s voice pulled him back to reality. With a softer heart, Feng Yuanji thought, It’s good for him at his age to be able to discern good and evil, as well as being thoughtful about me. He thought his words just now were too harsh and could prompt unnecessary worries in the child, so his face turned gentle as he answered him.

After mulling it over, Jing Qi knew that Feng Yuanji would never be someone who could walk the same path as his, so he swallowed what he was about to say. “Please take care of yourself, Sir, the road to South Xinjiang is long and arduous.”

The current situation was similar to the end of spring: Like how faded petals covered the ground, people who were privy to it were all blinded, unable to see the claws of summer inching closer. With an incompetent ruler and useless officials, even if he was reborn, he was just a child without any power in his hands. He might own the “Prince of Nan Ning” title, but how different was he from a puppet clad in silver and gold?

He was helpless.

He could not stop this man from heading towards his death, he could not help this nation which was on the brink of ruin…

At the end of that year, victorious news from South Xinjiang reached the capital – Feng Yuanji did not disappoint. The Great Shaman of South Xinjiang proposed a peace treaty, agreeing to send his own heir to the palace to become hostage, giving rise to celebration.

The only sad news tainting the situation was that the Great General had died in battle, along with forty thousand soldiers of Da Qing.

Though, to the man sitting in the most valuable chair in the palace, it was merely a faint smudge on the victory. A general and forty thousand people for a reputation worthy of the history books was a fair sacrifice. Furthermore, that unpleasant man would no longer be able to admonish his shortcomings, so his life was getting better by the day.

Even further pleased was First Prince He Lianzhao, who was finally able to have a hand in controlling the impenetrable military force.

Everywhere was filled with joy since the end of the year was approaching.

Some said that even if something was extinguished, its influence would still remain. Others would also say that just a flap of a butterfly wing would bring about catastrophic consequences.

One was external struggle, one was internal corruption.

In that cold winter, the nation cheered for its own prosperity as always.

Footnotes:
[1] 侍读 is an official title for the person who assists and studies with the princes during their lessons; it can also be the title for the one who advises and teaches the princes and even the king. In this context, it means the former.
[2] Two lines from the poem Officer Jia Sheng, by Li Shangyin. The poem is based on a real official with the same name, who was exiled because of court corruption and whose advice for the king went ignored.
[3] Refers to the nine administrative regions that made up China since its early history.
[4] The title of the crown prince’s teacher.
[5] 自逸 (zìyì) means “one’s leisure”.

Chapter 5: False Affection

It might be either because he had gotten used to being a wandering spirit, or that his little body was in its developmental stage, but he always felt like sleeping. After a few continuous months, Jing Qi was disinclined to do anything.

Ping An felt like their young master could very well sleep through the entire year as he spent the entire three months of winter doing nothing but that, just like a pig.

After reporting his sickness to His Majesty, except for the few times he had to pay the man a visit, he did not take one step past the residence’s gate, being more “well-behaved” than young ladies from other families.

In his past lives, He Lianyi had taken hold of Jing Qi’s heart. Ever since he was little, he was used to putting the other’s problems and happiness first and foremost. Too diligent to serve him in fact, he had poured out all of his diligence which was supposed to be directed to his own father.

Then this lifetime came; and now that his infatuation was gone, it felt empty, but at the same time the weight had been lifted off his chest.

Now Jing Qi had adopted a more lighthearted perspective, and besides, he was still very young. Da Qing might have been rotten from its roots, but on the outside it still managed to keep up a delusion of opulence, so it would not crumble immediately. By the time the unrest finally revealed itself, the Crown Prince would have matured enough to hold down the fort.

He suddenly understood why the Emperor did not hold early court meetings in the past twenty years: To humans, what could possibly be better than having fun? Every day, he would sleep until past noon, then woke up and ate a meal just for the sake of it, then practiced calligraphy, wrote some nonsensical poems if the inspiration struck, read some pages about chess, skimmed through entertainment literature that covered anything from geography to folk tales, then slept right on the divan when his eyes got tired.

According to Ping An’s calculation, Young Master’s reading time was very long, making it seem like he was trying to be studious even at such a young age. But nine out of ten times he brought him more tea, the little lord was “reading” with his eyelids closed.

He was the embodiment of “sitting around and doing nothing”.

Once you stepped into the residence, time seemed to stretch on for much longer.

The more lazy he was, the more he slept. The more he slept, the more lazy he became.

It came to the point where even He Lianyi, who visited every time he got a break, found it abnormal.

Pitiful was young Crown Prince; on all the occasions he visited, whenever he asked “Where is your Young Master?” he was only met with either “He is already asleep”, “He has yet to wake”, “He is resting in the studies”, or “He is resting in the backyard.”

The location might vary depending on the time he was there, but the activity was a single constant – sleeping.

After a long period of time, He Lianyi suspected that he had developed some kind of illness, so he took the royal physician to see him. While his pulse was being checked, the Crown Prince stood to one side impatiently. At random times he would ask, “How is he?”

“This is…” The doctor paused. The moment he stepped through the door, he could tell that this prince of Nan Ning was completely healthy by his complexion alone. But he could not just say it as it was, since it would make him look not professional enough. Therefore, Physician Hu pretentiously scratched his chin and spoke with every word stretched out, “According to Basic Medicine[1], illnesses are born from qi[2] imbalance. Qi level is high when one is angry and low when one is frightened, qi flow becomes more sluggish when one is happy; qi withdraws when it gets cold and overflows when it is hot; qi becomes disrupted when one panics, is depleted when one is exhausted and coagulates when one is wrought with worries. Every human emotion can cause a change in qi, and once it is produced the organs will begin to function out of harmony…”

His book quotes seemed to be endless. Even though He Lian was unsure what he was talking about, he had an idea that the level of exaggeration in Jing Qi’s “illness” was pretty high. His face darkened as he glared at the other boy.

Once the physician was politely sent away, he looked back and asked mock-nonchalantly. “Your sickness seems serious.”

Jing Qi replied gravely. “You should know, Your Highness, that while this ailment isn’t deadly, it is not at all easy to cure. The physician talked so much only because he felt helpless about this situation.”

He Lianyi raised his brows. “What kind of ailment is it?”

“In the previous dynasty there was a book rumored to be written by a genius physician with the last name Du, and the ninth chapter in that book talks about illnesses that are difficult to treat – “sleep addiction” is one of them. This illness is really rare, only having occurred a few times in the past. It was normal that Physician Hu doesn’t know about it, he was still young after all.”

He Lianyi listened to him speak, his expression hard to read. He did not interrupt these incredibly fraud knowledge ramblings.

Jing Qi continued with astonishing confidence. “People who have this illness will behave normally at first and only wants to sleep a little more than the standard need, but gradually they will be almost perpetually dazed, and can fall asleep the moment they close their eyes. In a few years, they can enter a coma that lasts three to ten years at least and…”

“And how many, at most?” He Lianyi picked up a tea cup while still hearing him out.

Jing Qi’s eyes flashed strangely as he smiled. “Rumor has it that you can fall unconscious for sixty-three years.”

In that brief moment, He Lianyi felt like there was an indescribable emotion gracing the other’s delicate features; it was seemingly half mocking, half jesting. But it was there and gone in the next second, so he thought it was just his imagination. When he blinked, he only saw an unbearably mischievous face that frustrated him so much. He conveniently rolled the medicine book on the table into a stick and knocked it on the other’s head. “Sleep addiction? You are just lazy.”

Jing Qi laughed and dodged.

At the beginning, he wanted to reject this hobby of playing and joking around with the other boy, but he slowly got used to it; though sometimes, he really wanted to make an exclamation such as “So there was a time when nothing was wrong between me and him”.

The Wuchang ghost, true to his name, did such an impeccable job. The person in front of him would later become intelligent and heartless and ruthless and cruel, but right now in Jing Qi’s eyes, he was merely a stubborn child who refused to accept his fate.

Since He Lianyi was a few years older, it took him no time to catch Jing Qi. He trapped the younger boy in his arms and only let him go after he had pinched the small face so hard it turned red. He scolded, “Why can’t you and Father learn nice things? All you two know how to do is being dodgy.”

A child normally would not criticize their parents like that, not to mention the delusional old man was still the ruler and could sever heads with just a sentence; so this honesty startled Jing Qi. 

He Lianyi had always been very cautious with his actions and his principle was “one must not do any unnecessary actions”, he would never say anything out loud without thinking long and hard about it beforehand.

But at the moment he was only ten, his shrewdness yet to be honed. He would not have been this frank had Jing Qi had returned to the palace and he had someone to talk to again.

He Lianyi knew he misspoke the moment he finished that sentence, and he thought about how fortunate it was that Jing Qi was someone he could trust. He sighed and changed topic, “You seem to be living very well here.”

After a short period of silence, Jing Qi replied, “Your Highness, the rules are that the princes’ study partners are picked from noble families, and are people who have yet to inherit any titles. Father passed away too soon, so now… According to the rules, my studying from now on can be continued independently with a hired tutor…”

He stopped talking to glance at He Lianyi. With Da Qing’s inheritance system, age did not matter; the moment the father passed away, the title would be bestowed on the first son. The child could be five and he would still be considered to have become mature the moment it happened.

However, since Jing Qi grew up in the palace, it was not unreasonable for him to continue being the Crown Prince’s study partner—just like in the previous life… 

…unless he himself did not want it anymore and was only using the rules as an excuse. He Lianyi understood the intention and felt dejected. “Beiyuan…”

Jing Qi acknowledged the fact that he had lived past his prime. He no longer possessed the heart of a vigorous youth, and wanted no part in scheming with others – of course, the more primal reason was that he wanted as less connection as possible to this boy who would later become the next ruler. But even then, Jing Qi could not risk to displease him, so he asked after some thoughts, “Does Your Highness know who visited us during Father’s First Seven?”

He Lianyi was taken aback by that.

“It was Great General Feng Yuanji.” Jing Qi lowered his head with his eyes also downcast, fingers drumming gently on the border of the table.

Only then did He Lianyi snapped out of the trance, his face full of pain and his eyes full of regrets. After a while, he laughed coldly. “My first brother… what an excellent job he has done. His ability to frame the innocents and harm people of this country is truly unmatched.”

He stood up and walked around the room with his hands clasped together. “In this situation of hardship, facing those devils, if only I can… Hmph!”

He did not finish the sentence, grief and anger tightly packed into the sound of his scoff. His profile looked stiff, like the muscles were strained.

Jing Qi said, “If one has no power, they can do nothing else but follow what fate has in store for them. That’s why on that day I realized that if I’m no longer staying in the palace, at least I can provide a safe space for you here. In the future I won’t be the only one, and then one day…”

He Lianyi turned his head back to him. Many years later, he would still remember this: The boy sat over there in his pale blue robes, legs folded, hands cradling a cup of tea, eyes full of smiles. There were no trivial formalities, no pretentiousness, just a normal, casual back and forth exchange – at least I can provide a safe space for you here.

The boy, who had never tasted sadness before, who was full of doubts, who had yet to experience absolute power.

Unfortunately, spring waited for no one – but that was a story for later.

Jing Qi finally stepped outside six months after that, as the Emperor sent a direct order to the Residence, commanding him to visit the palace – the South Xinjiang hostage had arrived.

The Emperor had a very simple thought process: He heard that the young shaman was only around eleven to twelve years old, and the long and difficult trip here must have been hard for such a young child, not to mention the change in climate. Furthermore, the language barrier would further the child’s misery; and Da Qing was ruled with mercy, so it was out of the question for the level of hospitality to be impeccable – the boy must feel comforted and safe… Of course, mercy had nothing to do with the war they waged against South Xinjiang, those were completely different matters.

And it just so happened that Jing Beiyuan grew up under his eyes and had a leisure-loving, mischievous and clever personality that he was very fond of. He thought the child could benefit from making some friends.

That was why from the early morning, Jing Qi was surrounded with servants after servants to be dressed in his tiny court clothes. Then he would enter the palace with eyes only half open, on his way to meet the one with whom he would be entangled for the rest of his life.

Footnotes:
[1] The most comprehensive book collection about Eastern medicine.
[2] Literally means “air”, it is a concept that exists in some East Asian countries in that it is human’s vital life force or energy, and needs to be balanced for the body to function well.

Chapter 6: Witch boy

When Wu Xi entered the gate of the capital city in the carriage, he couldn’t help but secretly lift up the curtain.

After being on the road from South Xinjiang to the Central Plains for a few entire months, he was finally able to see that the Central Plains he heard about in legends was truly so large and so populous.

The city walls linked together, there was an endless traffic of carriages, and the street looked so long that it would take over a lifetime to finish walking.

The dense forests of South Xinjiang that were filled with dark fog year round and the strongholds held up by massive mountains seemed shabby and insignificant in front of this long and unbroken stretch of rivers and mountains that continued on for thousands of miles. So why was it a place that attracted the troops of the Central Plains people, who had to attack his own clan’s people?

Wu Xi had asked the Grand Sorcerer, the most authoritative and wise man in the tribe whose words represented the will of the god Jia Xi. Wu Xi would also be a Grand Sorcerer in the future, but he was still a child and there were many things he didn’t understand.

The Grand Sorcerer told him: “This is a test of the god Jia Xi, the god Jia Xi is omnipresent, looking at everything that everyone has done, and if the cause is buried today, the result will be harvested in the future. Only, the life of a mortal is too short, like a small bug that appears on the ground and then dies quickly, unknowing, not understanding the god’s will. When you grow up and have seen many people, and when you know a lot of things, you will slowly start to understand.”

When the Grand Sorcerer said this, the wrinkles in the corners of his eyes seemed to change, his serene eyes gazing at the hazy mountains in the distance, black and lacquered, like a pool of stagnant water that would not move.

Wu Xi looked at his eyes and suddenly felt particularly sad. The Grand Sorcerer patted his head and said to him: “You are already ten years old and you’re starting to make up your own mind and thoughts. There are many things that you might not remember even if I teach you, so it’s time for you to go out and look for yourself.”

Wu Xi stretched out and firmly grabbed the long robes of the Grand Sorcerer, but kept his mouth shut. The Grand Sorcerer sighed: "The Central Plains is like a snare, with lively and rich things that you can’t even imagine, the most beautiful people and the most exquisite things. You may start thinking that compared to the Central Plains, South Xinjiang is a broken place isolated by the mountains, and you will not want to leave that place and forget who you are.”

“I won’t.” Wuxi looked up him and solemnly raised a small hand. “I swear to God, I will definitely come back, I will never forget my people in my life. I will bring my people to fight back, I will remember who bullied us and I will not give those people a peaceful death!”

The Grand Sorcerer started to laugh, not looking like a heavenly messenger or a master who always meant what he said, only like an ordinary old man, with a little kindness and exhaustion, watching a child who grew up day by day with an indescribable kind of hope and expectation, and because the expectation was a little too much, some anxiety gradually appeared: “Remember the words you said today, remember your hometown. No matter how far you go, remember your people who are still waiting for you.”

The Central Plains were dazzling and made Wu Xi curious. When walking through a place, it was almost like he wanted to give birth to a new pair of eyes to look more carefully at everything, but his curiosity was mixed with fear. Every day before going to bed, he repeated the Grand Sorcerer’s parting words silently in his heart. But of all of the places in the world, not one was as prosperous as the capital, prosperous to the point that he felt like it wasn’t real.

Through the opened curtain, an unusual smell floated over, and Wu Xi carefully identified it as the smell of the thronging crowds of people and horse carriages, very thick with a very, very light fragrance in the middle, carrying something that seemed bewitching.

He raised his head, seeing crowds of people filling both sides of the road. There were some carrying bird cages, some lifting baskets, and all of the people looked at his group like they were watching some exotic animals with great interest.

The carriage slowly steadied and continued down the flat, cobbled limestone road. In the midst of the city, there was also a winding river, and several particularly large and gaudy boats were moored quietly on it as the water flowed past. The drooping branch of the willow on the bank of the river seemed to reach towards Wu Xi, but when he reached out to catch it, he did not succeed.

At this time, the carriage stopped and footsteps approached. Wu Xi lowered the curtain, sitting up properly, and when the carriage door opened from the front, he saw his clan member and travel companion A Xinlai mirroring his posture with a straightened waist and back, standing to the side, looking like he was trying hard to make himself look taller. Behind him was a grinning old man wearing a strange tall hat, wide sleeves hanging down all the way to his knees with his hands hidden inside, the voice coming out of his mouth sharp and thin: “Oh, this is the sorcerer youth master, is it not? This place welcomes you.”

Lu Baichuan, who accompanied him, quickly explained to them in the rough language of southern Xinjiang: “This is Eunuch Xi who serves next to the emperor, who is a first-class important person. The emperor specially sent the eunuch to the Xuande gate to welcome you, and arranged for your stay in the palace, which is an incredible promotion for you.”

Lu Baichuan was a Han Chinese person from the border of southern Xinjiang. During the war, he was one of the guides recruited by Feng Yuanji. His Mandarin and Xinjiang dialect were both very proficient, and he cleverly climbed the ranks of the army, becoming an important person. The South Xinjiang delegation’s knowledge of Mandarin was limited to simple conversations, so he was specially assigned to translate for the sorcerer youth.

Wu Xi’s face was covered with black cloth, only revealing a pair of extremely dark eyes, sweeping past Lu Baichuan. The smile on Lu Baichuan’s face stiffened for a moment, as he kept feeling that the child’s eyes were not at all childlike, so dark, so wild, looking like they were carved out of the same mold as the godlike and ancient Grand Sorcerer, the cold gaze making people shiver.

Wu Xi stood up slowly and Lu Baichuan reached out to help him with a flattering hand, but was slapped away by A Xinlai.

Lu Baichuan became furious, but when he turned and saw the fierce southerner currently glaring at him with anger and the colorful tattoos on his exposed upper body, the young man looked a little awkward. In an instant, Lu Baichuan’s anger cooled in his stomach and he moved aside, embarrassed, watching A Xinlai bend down, let Wu Xi hold his arm with a very humble action, and carefully helped him get off.

Wu Xi raised his eyes and looked at the shrill-sounding, shrewd-looking eunuch, hesitating for a moment, but then thought of the Grand Sorcerer’s parting reminder to restrain himself at the Central Plains in order to protect the whole clan and finally inclined his head slightly.

Eunuch Xi immediately turned to the side, showing that he did not dare accept this humble greeting: “This old slave does not deserve this greeting, I absolutely don’t dare!”

The Imperial City was in the center of the capital, palaces connecting to even more palaces, a golden glory that was easy to lose yourself in, rising into the clouds. Wuxi looked up and thought, it was really high…

He started to feel a little bit scared, but could not show it, because A Xinlai and the others were behind him and the enemy soldiers were watching. He couldn’t let his clan lose face.

Wu Xi quietly took a deep breath, straightened his clothes, and followed Eunuch Xi inside. 

When the warriors of South Xinjiang arrived at the main hall, the whispering civil and military officials suddenly became quiet, watching this group of rough and imposing Southern people march in. Many years of living in the wild made their shoulders particularly wide, and their shoulders were covered in totem-like tattoos, their honey-colored skin exposed, and their hair loose. 

Jing Qi, by the grace of the Emperor He Lianpei, was sitting next to this venerable figure and tried to sneak a yawn when he thought no one was paying attention. Halfway through the yawn, he heard the announcement and restrained himself, quickly blinking to hide his watery eyes.

He vaguely remembers that in his last reincarnation he only heard that the Southern people surrendered, the emperor satisfied his vanity, and there were no further malicious thoughts. There was no such thing as a hostage brought to the capital. Indeed, with the chances of another lifetime, there were still some things that would change.

He couldn’t help but be a little curious, observing from afar, wanting to see the appearance of the savage Southern people who destroyed 400,000 elite troops of Daqing.

But once he looked over, he saw a child escorted by those warriors. His small body was wrapped in a black robe, and even his face could not be seen, only revealing a pair of eyes, as if he were a ghost. He stood up very straight, and he seemed to face all the people’s judgement without fear.

However, Jing Qi didn’t know why, he just felt that this child was a little pitiful.

The military officers of Daqing kneeled, shouting long live long live His Majesty. The warriors of South Xinjiang looked at each other for a second and also uniformly kneeled. Only the black-robed sorcerer youth still stood there, seeming extremely lonely.

The Minister of Rites, Official Jian, stared down, loudly clearing his throat, and said in anger: “Audacious! Once you surrendered to Daqing, the sacred must be respected, you have met the prince, and seen the rites of the emperor, why do you not kneel?" 

A Xinlai said loudly: "Emperor of Daqing, we were defeated in battle and submitted ourselves to your rule, so kneeling is appropriate, but this sorcerer youth is the future Grand Sorcerer, the messenger of the great god Jia Xi, who does not to kneel down to anyone! ”

A Xinlai had a loud voice, and when speaking with force, the whole hall echoed with his sound.

Jing Qi squinted as he looked over. This person looked at tall and strong, but listening to the sound of this speech, he feared that this was still a child, with the feeling of a newborn calf that was not afraid of a tiger. 

Minister Jian’s face became cold, showing his anger: "Emperor Wu is the only true son of heaven, the ninety fifth deity, even if your insignificant barbarian gods personally descend from the sky, they cannot show disrespect here, not to mention a three-foot child with an official sounding name! ”

A Xinlai stared at him with eyes like shining copper. Minister Jian was not as much of a capable person as Lu Baichuan, and although the old man looked like delicate intellectual, although he was the most disciplined in the Ministry of Rites, he was truly just an old, crabby donkey. In all his life, he was best at two things: one was insulting people, and the other one was glaring at people after insulting them, and even He Lianpei tried to avoid him. Now with A Xinlai, one old and one young person stared at each other, neither willing to budge.

Jing Qi lowered his head slightly, suppressing the corners of his mouth that were curving upwards.

But Wu Xi suddenly reached his hand out and pressed it on A Xinlai’s shoulder, then took a step forward and kneeled politely: “Southern Xinjiang sorcerer youth Wu Xi pays respects to His Majesty the Emperor of Daqing.”

His voice still hadn’t changed, but the sound was clear and cold, with no softness. His hands were propped on the ground, revealing rather pale fingertips, and then he leaned down and bowed with his forehead touching the ground. Jing Qi noticed that at that moment, the Southern warriors behind him all curled their hands into tight fists, and the guy who had just clashed with Minister Jian looked like he had been slapped with frost, the rims of his eyes turning red.

He Lianpei clicked his tongue and waved his hand: "Everyone rise.” Turning his head, he sharply stared at Minister Jian. “Official Jian Ai, you just said that my Daqing is a heavenly empire, so we must be tolerant towards the people. He is a child, coming from thousands of miles away, how old can he be? What are you doing by bothering him? Call the attendants, have them take good care of this sorcerer youth.”

Waiting until after the boy had already touched his head to the ground, then reprimanding the old minister, making this person look wholly bad to set off his own image of compassion. Jing Qi felt that his family’s emperor was truly capable.

He also saw the treasured emperor lean forward slightly, looking at the little sorcerer youth of South Xinjiang with a child-like curiosity, immediately asking: “South Xinjiang’s sorcerer youth, I ask you, since you are called the sorcerer youth, do you have any outstanding abilities?”

He reached out and gestured: "By cultivating your craft, can you become a heavenly immortal? Can you control the wind and the earth? Oh… Yes, do you have the ability to go through walls?”

The main hall became silent for a moment. The magnificent ninety fifth deity was receiving a statement of surrender, and his first sentence was neither an appeasement nor a threat, nor a statement that the other party lost well and should be obedient in the future, but his first question was whether the other party could go through walls?

It is likely that many people’s frame of mind was similar to that of Jing Qi, wanting to cover their faces with their long sleeves and pretend they weren’t present, or they were like old Minister Jian—although they didn’t speak, their whiskers were twitching, seeming like they wanted to attack at any moment.

The author has something to say: It’s raining today, thundering, I just pulled out the cable. == I bought yogurt for a minute and got delayed and almost got stuck outside because of the rainstorm.

Chapter 7: A hilarious

Notes: Hi everyone! I’m really glad some people are interested in reading this, since originally I wasn’t sure if anyone else would care about this when I picked it up. Some parts of this chapter were honestly very difficult for me to translate, so if you find mistakes, please let me know! (Unfortunately, I don’t have an editor, I do my best to translate and edit by myself in my free time.)

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Wu Xi’s hands in his sleeves tightened into fists, his fingernails digging into his palms. The lofty and remote man held his chin with one hand and smiled, making him feel an indescribable sense of discomfort. He thought, that person looking at your own appearance is like a noble looking at kittens and puppies for fun.

The high ceiling of the main hall seemed like a small sky, the lifelike dragon on the big pillar spiraling through the sky and straight into the Imperial Court. Everyone’s eyes fell on him. Wu Xi thought that he had always been calm, and that he had learned a lot from the Grand Sorcerer and knew what was right and what was wrong, but he had never been unable to control himself the way he was now.

In South Xinjiang, the Grand Sorcerers were their gods, and the people deeply respected the Grand Sorcerers just as they respected the great god Jia Xi. The sorcerer youths were the Grand Sorcerers of the future, and it was said that they were little messengers from the heavens. Leaving home, he grew up next to the Grand Sorcerer and learned all kinds of things. In the eyes of his people, he was not any less worthy of respect because he was a child.

It was like a rush of blood suddenly went through his heart, violently wanting to break through his body and pounce on all the people who disrespected him.

Wu Xi turned his head and saw the expressions of A Xinlai and the others–his brave people and warriors stood there, disgraced. Their faces showed anger that they could not express with indignation, these men who did not even retreat when confronting wild beasts and poisonous snakes, at that moment, had to raise their heads to look at those lofty, arrogant people.

It was like a bunch of small bugs getting trampled on.

Wu Xi took a deep breath and slowly spoke in the unfamiliar official language: “The things that the Emperor talked about are probably from the sorcery of the Central Plains. We have no such things in South Xinjiang.”

“Oh? Then what do you cultivate?”

Wu Xi gave him a fixed glance, and not just He Lianpei who he stared at, but also Jing Qi who was standing beside him, couldn’t help but feel that the child’s eyes were very strange, with an unusual demonic energy. It made people feel uncomfortable in their hearts, not at all lovable like the other children.

Wu Xi stood up: “Would the Emperor allow me to demonstrate?”

He Lianpei busily nodded and said: “Good, do you need any supplementary items?”

Wu Xi didn’t talk, his exposed eyes curving slightly for a moment, as if he was smiling, but Jing Qi couldn’t help but frown. When Wu Xi turned around, he just so happened to meet Jing Qi’s frowning gaze. He only then noticed that standing next to the emperor of the Central Plains, body slightly turned to the side, there was a not very conspicuous child. But Wu Xi just slightly glanced at him, turned and walked two steps, and stopped in front of the Official of the Ministry of Rites, Jian Sizong.

Wu Xi looked up with a curved eyes that were large and black, pressing his hands to his chest as if giving a polite greeting. Jian Sizong did not know what he meant, and only frowned while trying to size him up.

Suddenly, Jian Sizong felt that something was wrong, as there seemed to be something blinding his eyes, making his vision unclear. He hurriedly took two steps backwards, a buzzing noise filling his ears, making him look around blankly, unable to recognize the people around him. Jian Sizong knew in his heart that he had fallen into the sorcery of the small child, and he became both scared and furious, angrily pointing at Wu Xi: “You…..”

But when he looked again, standing before him was no longer a child with a covered face and black robes, it was clearly a youthful woman in pink clothes. He saw the woman smiling at him, cheeks turning a light shade of pink, her eyebrows lowered, tactfully flirtatious. The tips of her eyes looked like they had grown hooks at the ends, and she looked very much like the famous courtesan of the ancient willow lane, Xiao He Yue.

Jian Sizong’s face immediately turned red.

He saw that the beauty took two steps forward, and reached out to undress, and Jian Sizong wondered, in a public place with so many people, how could there be such a wanton woman who would dare to go so far without shame? He was about to stop her, but suddenly realized that there was not a single other person in sight. In the empty hall, the crowd of officials and ministers had disappeared. Only he and the woman were left.

Looking again, where even is the main hall, this is clearly the “Smoke Tower” covered with red silk.

The woman who deeply resembled Xiao He Yue came deceptively close, her outer garment mostly undone, her soft breasts half-exposed, a bright cinnabar mole showing in her chest area. Her eyes were hazy, seeming shy and resentful, circulating with different feelings, but looking again, they disappeared, only leaving a pair of watery almond eyes.

Seeing this scene, Jian Sizong felt heat start flowing through his lower abdomen, his three souls and seven mortal forms were already mostly scattered, and he could not help but reach out and embrace the beauty.

He felt that the person in his arms was struggling to push and refuse, adding even more soul-melting charm. He couldn’t wait to be with her and fall in the warmth of the red silk to go to Wushan with the clouds and rain.

At this time, he heard a chuckle in his ear, and the chuckling person seemed to be a child. The sound was a little bit sharp, but very cold, and when entering the ears, it felt like it pierced the heart and caused it to tremble.

Jian Sizong was actually scared into a cold sweat, his continuous rubbing against the women was suddenly stopped, and his eyes widened.

He only felt a pain in his chest, then was forcefully pushed away.

Jian Sizong looked up, and standing there was not the Xiao He Yue of the Smoke Tower, but was clearly a meaty body, with a face full of wrinkles and a sunken mouth, the Minister of Revenue, Zhao Mingji, Master Zhao!

Everyone in the room was dumbstruck.

Originally, when seeing Wu Xi inexplicably going to find Jian Sizong who had just caused him trouble, the reasons seemed very unclear. At that time, the two stood two feet apart, staring at each other in hostility for a moment, before they saw that Jian Sizong suddenly moved back two steps, reaching out to point with one finger, but before actually lifting it, he had already put it back down.

Then his eyes squinted unblinkingly at the empty hall in front of him, no one knowing what he saw. Everyone watching seemed to observe that his face obscenely started to flush red, and then this most rule-abiding and old-fashioned person started laughing like “Hee hee,” saliva flowing out of the corner of his mouth, a vulgar expression in his eyes, the absolute opposite of his normally uptight and honorable self.

Everyone’s eyes pinned straight on him, and He Lianpei leaned forward out of his chair, very much wanting to get closer and see this scene more clearly.

Then, Jian Sizong suddenly made an even scarier move. He actually opened his arms and pounced on the person next to him like a fierce tiger, embracing Zhao Mingji!

In all honesty… th-th-that master Zhao Mingji, even if his face couldn’t frighten the heaven and earth, it could at least frighten some demonic beings and scare a couple children, but Minister Jian was embracing him as if he was the most beautiful woman in the world. The expression on his face was extremely lewd, but just embracing might have been okay if he didn’t also start groaning and moving his hands up and down, his mouth stammering “Xiao He Yue”, “Darling,” ceaselessly.

He Lianpei was stupefied, and after a while, he blankly said: "This… where did all this come from? Ah, Official Jian Ai, even if for Master Zhao, for Master Zhao, you always had this kind of admiration, you should not ignore the fact that he has a wife and children!”

Jing Qi was worried he might fall down headfirst.

His Majesty the Emperor’s outburst astonished everyone, again confusing all of the officials whose wits had just began to return to normal. Jing Qi quietly took two steps back, and his eyes fell on the sorcerer youth.

Just a few moments ago he already felt that this brat had demonic energy, and it turned out that he really did know some sorcery. This small poisonous creature was already so full of revengeful spirit at a young age, he would really become a force to be dealt with in the future.

As he moved back, he just happened to see He Lianyi look up and over in the direction of Wu Xi. Jing Qi saw that the calm face of the teenager flashed with killing intent.

At this time, if there was still no one who would come out and speak, things would escalate into a big problem, and Jian Sizong was the backbone of the oldest prince’s faction. Having just finally recovered his spirit, He Lianzhao stood up and shouted furiously: “Father Emperor, under the eyes of the public, a court official of the imperial household was ridiculed, what should be done?!”

This furious shouting finally blasted everyone awake, Zhao Mingji’s face was choked purple, but with his body that had the strength of a dried and salted fish, he could not push away the suddenly forceful Jian Sizong. He hurriedly struggled and refused and yelled, but the other side did not respond, and his clothes were even partially torn apart.

“Audacious!”

“This is dishonoring respectable people, really humiliating!”

“Still no one is coming to drag this evildoer out of here!”

The sound of one after another seemed to explode into a boil, and He Lianpei coughed and gave Wu Xi a difficult look. Of course, he couldn’t really have Wu Xi dragged out. The sorcerer youth was eccentric, but he was still a child. He was a benevolent and righteous ruler, how could he be narrow-minded and lower himself to become like a young child?

Besides …… besides, this show of sorcery was truly a problem that was a product of his own curiosity, in any case He Lianpei could not hit himself in the face, so he forcefully slapped the table and shouted: “What are you being so noisy for?!”

This was the emperor after all, so the passion and excitement of the crowd of officials immediately stagnated, and they kneeled uniformly. Wu Xi smiled and also kneeled, but he kept his waist and back quite straight.

Only He Lianzhao, even though currently kneeling, dared to call loudly: “Father Emperor! Father Emperor, Minister Jian is a longstanding official of Daqing, a person of virtue and prestige, this… this is to forcing him hit his head on the pillar of the Main Hall and die, Father Emperor!”

He Lianpei coughed lightly and said to Wu Xi: “This … South Xinjiang sorcerer youth, this indeed is unacceptable behavior, would you hurry and remove the spell on Master Jian? I have seen that the sorcery from South Xinjiang is just like this.”

But Wu Xi replied: “Emperor, this is just a small trick, I simply cast a kind of love spell, which is called ‘An Inch of Fairy Footsteps’ where we are from. Whoever it is cast on will see the person who they are thinking about in their heart. Where we are from, thinking about someone means you want to be with someone, isn’t that right? Why would he want to hit his head and die?”

"This…” He Lianpei touched his nose and could only say vaguely, “The Central Plains is a civilized place, which is naturally different from the place where you are from. After you settle here, you will naturally be assigned a gentleman to teach you to read and reason. Then you will understand, some things… Some things can’t be done in public.”

Jing Qi turned his face to the side and almost broke down because of the emperor’s sentence – “Can’t be done in public.”

Actually, He Lianpei could also be considered to have a good temperament, with a little bit of compassion and good feeling. If he wasn’t sitting on this imperial chair, he might actually be an interesting person.

Wuxi finally nodded: “So it turns out that it can’t be done in front of people, I understand now.”

This one sentence pierced the heart of an innumerable amount of people present, feeling like this evil creature from South Xinjiang was truly dreadful, having poisonous thoughts from such a young age, always ridiculing people when speaking, he was clearly full of evil ideas and undisciplined.

They only saw Wu Xi reaching out his hands, patting a few times with a strange rhythm, sneering. Jian Sizong seemed to have been hit with martial arts, abruptly becoming motionless, Zhao Mingji took the opportunity, breathing roughly, he pushed him away as if fighting for his life.

Jing Qi actually became interested this time. Others didn’t know, but Jian Sizong was a core person in the eldest prince’s association, and in the previous lifetimes had helped He Lianyi sweep clean all his brothers, and he had seen and heard all of these atrocious deeds with his own eyes and ears. Naturally, he knew what kind of person this supposedly righteous Jian Sizong was, but it was a pity that in his last life, the world was a place where people would fight in the dark, and there was no superior master who fought regardless of the situation like this South Xinjiang sorcerer youth, creating this lively and cacophonous scene.

He appeared to be ignorantly standing next to the emperor and pretending not to exist, but in his heart he was rejoicing in the other’s misfortune, and was imagining how this Minister Jian would react after waking up.

Zhao Mingji furiously pointed at Jian Sizong, his entire body shaking and his face swollen, and even the thousands of wrinkles on his face seemed to be flattened, but no words came out of his mouth for a long time.

Speaking of which, the party struggle between the major factions of the country seemed to have already reached a finale, but after all is said and done, not everyone can find people who share their vile habits.

There are inevitably some people who aren’t cared for by their grandmas or loved by their uncles or even acknowledged by dogs, relying on no one, not fond of anyone, mouth always spurting blood, biting whoever they catch. Unfortunately, that Master Zhao is such a person. It is pitiful that Zhao Daren always bites people, opening his bloody mouth like a sacrificial bowl, and biting determinedly and ferociously, but as he now tried to rack his brains to figure out how to righteously curse this person who should be cursed, looking for the perfect way to condemn this blackened person, he was so angry that he couldn’t speak any human words.

He could only tremble uncontrollably.

Jing Qi thought, with this kind of temperament, this person will probably escalate this stupid situation and then start knocking himself on a pillar.

Sure enough, he saw Master Zhao bellow furiously: “This shameless villain! This righteous-looking group full of robbers and prostitutes managed to laze their way into the Imperial Hall, insulting an imperial official! I, Zhao Mingji, may be untalented, but I’ve definitely read a few books, and I know what is proper and honest! It is beneath me to be associated with this cunning, immoral plot!”

After this frenzied outburst, he indeed ran headfirst towards the stone pillar of the hall. Fortunately, Master Zhao was no longer young, and did not have the old but vigorous spirit of Minister Jian, so he ran slowly and was chaotically pulled back by the people standing.

Zhao Mingji kneeled on the floor, with intermittent bouts of snot and crying, howling things like “This saint has been disrespected,” “From now on I will no longer have face”……

It turned out that when this man started to cause a disturbance, it was not much better than a woman, and He Lianpei’s brains were almost exploded by this scene, his face emaciated.

Jing Qi then thought, after such a long disturbance, Jian Sizong probably should have come to his senses, this time it was Minister Jian’s turn to hit the pillar.

Chapter 8: Look back

Jian Shangshu is indeed an old-fashioned and cunning master, and Jing Qi underestimated his shamelessness. After Jian Zongzong reacted to what happened, he did not hit the pillar or the wall, and he did not cry, quarrel, or hang himself. He rolled his eyes, stretched his legs, and passed away.

OK, this time I can say nothing and save everything.

Helianchi raised his face slightly, and sighed at the scolding of Zhao Ming's traces. The ministers came and went to fight with you. He gradually heard a little numbness, and looked up with a look of eyes blindly. In the consciousness, he did the same look-up action as Wuxi.

He felt sad and wanted to yell and you all shut up. He wanted to slap the table and yell loudly to see what kind of products your fellow saints and disciples are. I want to say that those who corrupted Chao Gang and all the tainted southern Xinjiang's iniquity were all pulled out and cut!

But he can't say anything, he can't do anything. He is just an extra person who has just been allowed to attend the testimony and has the name of the East Palace, but don't say real power, even the words will be ridiculed. I did n’t say much in one step, I did n’t make a mistake in one step, but my brothers who were jealous were waiting to get him off the horse, and they were just like walking on thin ice. How can they manage other people ’s affairs?

He remembered Zhou Taifu telling history. Zhou Taifu said that the country will die and the evildoers will come out.

The hall was still there, but the sky in Daqing was about to collapse.

Once the farce was over, Jing Qi looked at it with a smile, but Helianchi wanted to cry. But maybe whether you want to cry or laugh, the mood is the same.

Wu Xi kneeled there calmly, very calmly. He didn't feel that he had done wrong, nor did he regret it. The finger of the man who was called "His Royal Highness" was about to poke his nose. Most of what he said was incomprehensible, but he knew it was not good.

"... The sinister intentions are enough!"

This means to kill him. Wuxi understood, and he tilted his head and glanced at the great prince Helianzhao, who seemed to have a deep hatred like himself. He thought that if they had known that they were going to kill themselves because of this, they would not be embarrassed. Let the old man named Jian Zhanmao Qiqiao bleed to see his dead ghost father.

The Vasa people in their southern Xinjiang are the most true-tempered people. They eat when they are hungry, even if they are bark of weeds, when they are sleepy, they fall down and fall asleep. Be with her all my life, be kind to her, and never change my heart, come to the friendly guests, treat with good wine, the world can be brothers, meet enemies, there are not so many false names, no matter The teacher is famous or the teacher is unknown. If there is hatred in his heart, he must pay for his blood debt. If he can relieve the cramps, he will cramp. If the enemy cannot be defeated and killed by the other party, as well as his relatives, friends and brothers, as long as the Vasa people have not died, this hatred will be passed down from generation to generation.

I have never heard of a Vassar man who was bullied outside and hides in hiding, like the Central Plains who only dare to remember it in his heart, like a grass dog, only dare to spit on the side. , Wait until the other party is unlucky, then dare to step forward and step on a sigh.

He thought that what the shaman had told him to be patient is actually wrong—for his clan, he could n’t even bow down. He is a man who represents the Great God of Xi. If even he becomes a man, he will only wag his tail and nod his waist. People, what should the tribe do?

This is a time of sorrow. Prosperity has seen the decline, and the heroes are fledgling, and they can only watch the bears become popular. Unwillingness and grief are suppressed in the hearts of the children prematurely, allowing them to grow up in such strength , Waiting to tilt out the anger towards the whole world and turn it into a destructive force.

Jing Qi gradually couldn't laugh anymore. He sighed softly, and there was a little sense of powerlessness in the outside. At first, he felt that the witch boy in southern Xinjiang was a bit nasty. He was so young, so he must report. There is no room for tolerance, but at this moment he looked at Wuxi, who was kneeling in the middle of his mouth, and realized that the child's eyes were just too dark, not evil, too stubborn.

He looked at him coldly, like a little beast that could not be injured and moved, and was proud and arrogant.

The great prince Helianzhao struck his head on the ground: "Father Emperor, this is the image of chaos. If you don't kill this person, you will chill the hearts of the courtiers!"

The second prince, Helianqi, chuckled, "The words of the big emperor are really heartfelt. The southern Xinjiang is a place of nowhere, and he doesn't know the etiquette and law. He is just a little baby who can't hold it up. If he didn't force his father to kill this little child, it would be his father who, regardless of the Jiangshan community, destroyed the Great Wall and chilled the hearts of the civil and military in the dynasty? I don't know ... adults, whose heart has been chilled? "

His gaze turned to the side, Helien Qi looked exactly like his mother Zhuang Fei, her eyes were very high, and there was a bit of femininity in the flow, but she turned to the side with a smile like a smile, not feminine Angry, it's yin and yang strange.

Anyone who has eyesight can immediately understand what the following words say. It should be the family's phoenix, the grandson, the grandson, and the grandmother. If you do n’t have enough status, you must shut up as soon as possible.

Even Zhao Ming, who had not been able to live just now, lost his voice and no longer sought death.

He Lianzhao said angrily, "What do you mean?"

He Lianqipi smiled and smiled: "It's just a matter of discussion. Brother Huang, don't be so strange. I won't talk to my brother. I'm sorry to offend you."

In this dynasty, one son and one courtier, Helian Xu finally saw enough, and said, "Father Emperor, son Chen ... Chen Chen suddenly felt a little unwell ..." He Lianpei looked at the little son and found him Sure enough, his face was extremely pale, and even the blood on his lips seemed to fade away, and he shivered slightly, and said, "Hey? What's the matter? Come on, help the Prince down, and declare the Prince."

The father-in-law hurriedly took a nap, and helped Helianpeng personally. Jing Qi looked at his back, but felt that the young man's back was slightly hesitant.

He Lianpei waved his hand impatiently: "Okay, what's the noise? What does it look like ?! All of them stunned!" He glanced at the Wuxi still kneeling there, and said softly, "Witch Boy, you get up too. "

He Lianpei glanced gloomily over the two grown-up sons: "The saint once said that the word is governed by politics, the punishment is punished, and the people are shameless. The morality of the word, the courtesy of Qi, Shameful and qualified ', but he has no knowledge of children and has not been educated. A benevolent should impart it by virtue and receive it with courtesy. If he kills this person, he will kill it. If this person is killed, the matter will spread to the world. Laugh at me Daqing monarchs have no measure and kill tyranny? "

Jing Qi rolled his eyes and said that he heard the words of Jun, and he could really hang himself.

He Lianpei asked Wuxi affectionately, "How old are you? Have you read books in southern Xinjiang?"

Wuxi stunned: "I ... Eleven, the big wizard is my teacher, but I haven't read your book in Central Plains."

He Lianpei shook his head and was very sorry: "Unfortunately, the beauty of reading is to go up to the holy, and down to Jin Xian, to talk about one or two, isn't it wonderful? Unfortunately, you are far away, and you have never experienced this. The happiest thing-hey? Beiyuan ... "

Jing Qiyi was surprised, and suddenly he was named, and he bowed in a hurry: "He is there."

"Ah, you child, I didn't even say a word for a while, I almost forgot about you." He Lianpei gave him a glance, "Why is it so boring like a little old man at such a little age? 朕I heard that you haven't been out of the house except for entering the palace for months? "

Jing Qidao said: "The subject bears heavy filial piety and dares not make trouble."

He Lianpei sighed and stretched out his hands and pinched his shoulders: "Although Ming Zhe has a different surname, he is like a sibling ... oh, you have to take care of yourself and know your filial piety, but do n’t let yourself be damaged— —Now the witch ’s mansion in Beijing has not yet been built, but they have to be wronged. They lived in the post hall for a while, and some guests came from afar. Do n’t take it easy. I think he ’s about the same age as you. It ’s okay, you are of average age, and there is something to say.

Jing Qi rolled his eyes greatly in his heart, but had to respectfully say, "The minister led."

He Lianpei nodded and said to the witch boy, "This is my King of Nanning, Daqing, and you are considered to be in a similar status. It is not a disgrace to the distant guest. In the future, you will have to live in the capital and ask Beiyuan to take you. It's good to be close to the children of the family. Hey ... "

He just spit out a word, only remembering that Helianji had just been ill and was taken out, he frowned slightly, his eyes rolled around the hall, his face flashed helplessly for a moment, Then he said, "Where is the Temple of Hongyu Temple?"

Hongyuan Temple secretary Chen Yuanshan busy said: "He is there."

He Lianpei nodded: "Chen Aiqing, there are many things in the southern Xinjiang that you have to worry about."

Chen Yuanshan said busyly: "The minister obeys the order."

He Lianpei rubbed his eyebrows, without covering his face with tiredness, Huihui sleeves, stood up: "I will stop today, weary, let's loose."

Immediately, the father-in-law came forward, Helianpei held the father-in-law's arm, took two steps, remembered what looked like, looked back at Jing Qiyi, and whispered: "I listen to my son, you say you'll be better , So he asked for the Xixi in the palace, didn't he go to the palace to read? "

Jing Qiyi: "Emperor, the rules of this dynasty ..."

But He Lianpei shook his head and interrupted him: "If you don't want to, just let it go, you ... you're big now, knowing things, and turning back to point you to a gentleman who is both academic and moral. , I have to go to the palace to accompany you, not to hurt you for so many years. "

He finished and turned away.

Jing Qi suddenly remembered that in the last life, actually He Lianpei implicitly hinted that he was going to point him to a Western seat, so he didn't have to go into the palace anymore, but he was thinking about He Lianhe at that time, and didn't realize what he was meaning.

The ministers sent away the emperor and left one by one. He Lianqi smiled at He Lianzhao with a smile. He Lianzhao froze, snorted, and walked away—Jing Qi was looking in his eyes, he thought. The confused emperor, after all, was not completely confused, and really had planned for himself, and hinted that he should not be involved in the ugly battles of his sons.

It was a pity that at that time, it took He Lianpei's hard work.

Jing Qi suddenly felt that, in fact, the emperor was just a poor man who was lonely and involuntary.

Not far away, Chen Yuanshan, the secretary of the Hongye Temple, was talking to Wuxi. Chen Yuanshan was kind to everyone, and would not offend this savage witch boy in southern Xinjiang too.

The emperor's will has come down. If he is not good enough, he will persevere without saying a word, so he puts a smile on his face and walks to Wuxi.

The author has something to say: Shuanggeng ... I was moved by my own hard work ==

Chapter 9: Pivotal

Jing Qi has always been the kind of person who is relatively cheap in nature, especially when he always laughs at three points. When he smiles, the corners of his eyes and his eyebrows are bent, and he looks particularly sincere and flattering.

Wuxi is listening to Chen Yuanshan politely and embarrassedly, just thinking that the people here, whether they are true or false, meet each other no matter how much they hate each other, they always have to put on a smile, true It seemed like Boo Han asked warmth, hypocrisy was extremely boring.

He turned back with a feeling, just as he saw the Nanning King said by the emperor to come here.

Do not know why, Jing Qi was glanced at him, and the smile on his face suddenly couldn't stop.

It is said that southern Xinjiang is a place of wild virginity. People are not educated and are no different from wild animals. They live a life of drinking blood. When the South Xinjiang child saw him in the past, his body was obviously alert and tense, and he took a half-step to the side and looked at him as if he could see through him that he was not as good and harmless as the surface.

Jing Qi understands that this little beast-like child also has a little beast-like intuition. He can see who is good, who is perfunctory, and who is not.

He touched his nose awkwardly, and first fisted at Chen Yuanshan: "In the past few days, my father was bereavement, and there was a lot of work for Master Chen. Beiyuan was really ashamed to be able to thank him in person."

"The emperor misses the old grandfather, and the lower officer is only worried about the king, and he dares not to take credit. He also asks the grandfather to mourn." Chen Yuanshan lowered his head a bit, "Two, please here."

Chen Yuanshan, the grand prince of Dahong Temple, is like a seamless egg. He has such exquisite personalities that he is not too close to anyone. The two flies of the two princes want to bite the red man in the eyes of the emperor. Unfortunately, no place has been found so far, and even Prince Helen of the future faintly embraced the idea of solicitation.

His own faintly few words were blocked by the other party in a few words, and he was also in the name of the loyalty of the patriotism and patriotism. Jing Qi was not angry, and he still knew a little about the Lord Hongluo Siqing.

He turned to Wuxi, but put away the smile on his face, and said, "You have just arrived in Beijing, you have to do a lot of trivial matters, and you have to trouble Master Chen to arrange. Friendship. "

When this man did not have a smile on his face, he suddenly had such a special and stable temperament. For a moment, Wu Xi felt that the young man was a bit like the great wizard far away in southern Xinjiang, and couldn't help but sting. For a moment, his subtle hostility retreated a lot.

Following Chen Yuanshan's voice, he asked very naturally, "Is your father dead?"

The word "dead" is not auspicious and taboo. The person he said is the old King of Nanning, and it is even more disrespectful. Chen Yuanshan paused, and carefully looked at Jing Qi, for fear of the unobstructed Nanmang The witch boy annoyed the little prince.

The meaning of Chen Yuanshan is that although the king of Nanning was young, he was raised in the palace from a young age and grew up with the princes. He was also good at the friendship between the old lord and the emperor, or because the noble people made people laugh and cry. Regardless of the rhyme, anyone with a good eye can see that although he has no power or power at the moment, he is more favored than the three biological ones in the emperor Helianpei.

The witch boy in South Xinjiang is already awkward as a proton, and this temper doesn't seem to be easy to get along with. The first prince has already offended the great prince one party. If you add a king of Nanning, you will really have more lice. No more worrying.

I just wanted to make a round of words, but when I saw Jing Qi nodded indifferently, "It's been more than a year."

"Oh, it's been a long time." Wuxi looked at him like a smile and said, "No wonder you said your father was dead. I don't think you are very sad, it has been so long."

Chen Yuanshan then shut up. He felt that the southern Xinjiang witch child was like a curious child who didn't know the height and height. He reached out and patted the tiger's ass. The tiger was too lazy to worry about him when he was half asleep and awake. Twisting Tiger Beard.

He firmly believed that if someone like Witch Boy could survive in this place in the future, it would be a miracle.

Jing Qi frowned slightly and asked, "The three-year validity period has not yet expired. What does the witch mean is that the king is not filial?"

Look, the clay figurine still has three points of spleen, not to mention that Lord Nanning himself is a half-old child. Chen Yuanshan didn't know where the emperor couldn't figure it out. Find a kid to coax the kid, lest the two of them won't get up?

I had to laugh at it: "Father and son nature, human relations, how can the little prince not be sad? Just the heart wound is not like a physical wound, you can see at a glance, the sadness is hidden in the chest. Witch child said, wouldn't it It hurts Xiao Wang ’s filial piety? ”

Wuxi paused for a moment: "I ... didn't mean that, I didn't say you were bad." He took a look at Jing Qi, thought for a while, and explained, "Alai's father died while fighting, He retrieved his father's body from the battlefield and carried it home. His sister and mother cried loudly. Although he didn't cry, we can all see his sadness, how you look like him the same."

Jingqi just approved Zhang Zipi, and of course it was impossible to compare these trivial issues with Wuxi, and he found that the kid basically said what he had in his heart. He wouldn't go around the corner and said that it was simple and simple, but it was actually lacking. Mindful.

With a chuckle, he revealed it, and Jing Qi said leisurely: "After the death of the first mother, my father ... my father has always missed her very much. Although it is a sad thing for those of us who are alive to die, Maybe it's a good thing for him. "

Wuxi nodded, seemingly understandable, silent.

He lowered his eyes, his long eyelashes half-dropped, and looked a little confused.

Chen Yuanshan couldn't help but look at Jing Qiyi more, and said that the king of Nanning was not very old, but he was extraordinary. I saw that he was speaking with a careless slowness, not stubborn, and his voice was a little low, just to suppress some of the milk gas that he brought out because he was young, and raised his hands without half contrivance, self-made Pie, faintly revealing a little relief.

I also heard that King Nanning had been in and out of the East Palace since he was a child, and had a close personal relationship with His Royal Highness ... Chen Yuanshan's heart moved, and he had some vagueness.

At this time Jing Qi looked up and smiled at him: "Master Chen, I remember that the post hall is not far away?"

Chen Yuanshan froze and said busyly: "Yes, Xiaguan goes one step ahead and says hello, lest they neglect the guests."

Of course, this kind of thing does not require Chen Yuanshan to come forward, but King Nanning seems to have something to say, and does not want his expression to suggest that Chen Yuanshan is still understandable, and took an excuse to take him away.

Jing Qi paused for a moment and turned straight: "Witch boy, I might say something inappropriate."

Wuxi looked up at him.

Jing Qi said slowly: "Our Daqing, the boy is crowned at twenty, and after the salute, he is an adult. If he is a family member or an accomplished person, at the age of fifteen, he can enter the court hearing or marry a relative. If you do, people will no longer be treated as children. "

Wuxi didn't understand what he meant.

Jing Qi shook his head, tilted his head and looked at him. Looking closely, Wuxi discovered the beauty of King Nanning, and his eyebrows were delicately carved. The flesh had the special characteristics of the Daqing aristocracy. The delicate whiteness of his pride and respect, and the childishness of the child's outline, but when he looked over, his eyes could easily make people ignore those things, and he couldn't help but want to hear what he said.

Jing Qi pressed his voice almost into his throat, and took out a bit of murderousness out of thin air, saying, "If you are not of this age, if ... not so respectful and reputable today, what you do today, Even a thousand deaths are not many. "

Wuxi opened his eyes wide and looked at him wryly.

Sure enough, he didn't understand.

Jing Qi narrowed his eyes and looked up at the sky, and whispered, "While you are here for the first time, you do n’t understand some things. The person who wants to kill you today is the great prince Helien Zhao. The father-in-law's father, now the eldest prince is only covering the sky in the middle of the dynasty, and even the prince is not in his eyes. If he has the heart to hurt you ... "

Wuxi was silent for a long while before cutting off: "Why do you tell me this?"

Jing Qi laughed, why did he tell the witch child these words? Why did Hellenba find him to accompany the faraway?

The battle to win the war between the DPRK and the DPRK is close to white heat. Both Helianzhao and Helianqi are endless. In Helianpei's eyes, maybe the dumb little son really is not the life of a prince and emperor, even if he faces the East Palace The title is nothing but a shroud-like existence.

In the future, no matter which son has the power to gain the throne, this is the youngest son of the prince from birth.

He Lianpei usually turned a blind eye to this sister-in-law, but it was also a kind of protection.

I want his brothers to come and see him in this little brother, who has been quiet and obscure for years, and has not been favored.

Where is South Xinjiang? The poor mountains, the sturdy folk customs, and the easy to defend and difficult to attack, as soon as the spring and summer seasons, they will run rampant. Even if Feng Yuanji took Daqing with over 400,000 in the past, he was born in it. He Lianpei has not been in the DPRK for more than a year He made an appearance in the hall, in order to greet the witch children in southern Xinjiang, and brought in the filial filial piety of King Nanning and the prince, this was the beginning of paving the way for the younger son.

Perhaps He Lianpei himself also knew that the so-called spring and autumn heyday was just a joke. He was not Wang Ba and could not live a long life. But when he died, wouldn't the young child who was not yet an adult be buried with him?

King Nanning was a prince when he was a child. He has always been close to Helianyu, and he is about the same age as the witch boy of southern Xinjiang. Helianpei specifically found him, and wanted the Prince and the witch boy to get closer. Stay, in the future, southern Xinjiang can be a retreat for him-even if Lu Yaomahan, even if it is a barbarous place that is not educated.

It is a pity that his good prince did not accept this feeling.

Jing Qi remembered that He Lianzhao finally blurted out a word, and suddenly he remembered that He Lianzhao had left the table, and the flash of tiredness and disappointment on his face couldn't help but sigh.

He Lianpei was not the kind of man who was capable of fighting against storms. He could not grasp the movements of the DPRK and Chinese ministers, and he could not control the course of his sons' disability, which might eventually lead us to usurp the throne. The next son died.

Reincarnation of the Seventh Century, all the sad, regrettable and contemptible things that the Seventh Century has seen, are nothing but human affections.

Wuxi still stared at him alertly with that kind of indifferent look, his slick pupils, just like the little black cat who exploded Mao desperately trying to appear mature and threatening, Jing Qi couldn't help but want to reach out and shoot Clapping his head, remembering the huge loss of Jian Shangshu, he drew back his hand, slaps his chin, and said, "It means Prince Edward."

Jing Qi's face had been exercised in the past, so deep that he had a deep black essence, and lied like eating and drinking, without pushing his eyelids in a blink of an eye, pushing the cause and effect to Helen ——-anyway, it was the emperor's meaning. Seeing Wuxi's confused face, he said, "Helian Zhao's Sima Zhao's heart is already like this, His Royal Highness His Royal Highness is not full, and he can't move him, in the future ..." He sneered softly, his face was not much Cold, but asked Wuxi to open his eyes again.

Jing Qi bent his eyes and smiled, and said, "The battle in the southern Xinjiang ... is not what the emperor meant, do you understand?"

Just a long time ago, Wuxi could hear the fog in the clouds, but he understood this sentence, and in a hurry, grabbed Jing Qi's wide sleeves: "What did you say?"

Jing Qi tilted his head and didn't look at him: "You said your tribe has suffered countless deaths and injuries. Now you must hate our Daqing people, right?"

"I can't wait to kill all the enemies here." Wu Xi said without hesitation.

Jing Qi was blocked by the child's honesty regardless of the subject, and he coughed before saying: "But our people died 400,000, how many are 400,000 people. If the dead body is tied together, you just break your neck and look No head. "

Wuxi is still angry.

Jing Qi sighed: "But why do we have to fight this battle? People in the Central Plains cannot go to live with you, the road is inconvenient, it is not always frequent, the sky emperor is far away, and Daqing officials cannot control it In your case, it ’s still your big wizard who manages his tribe. Do you say that Daqing got any good? ”

Wuxi couldn't help but hold back. This was a question he hadn't figured out all the way.

Jing Qi's voice was getting lower and lower, and he could only see his lips trembling slightly, and his voice ran away when the wind was strong. He said: "Because the great prince wanted General Feng's power, Unwilling to give him, he must find a way to kill General Feng— "

Wuxi paused, and for a long while, asked indifferently, "So ... then why did your emperor agree?"

Jing Qi sighed: "Daqing is so big, he doesn't know everything."

Wuxi followed him dullly until Chen Yuanshan returned and led them to the post hall, but he never returned. For the first time, he knew what it meant by "importance". It turned out that a person could carelessly kill so many people for what he wanted, because ... .

Chapter 10: So-called fortune

After arriving in Beijing, Wuxi, which caused numerous storms, has not done anything extraordinary since the blockbuster that day. Almost nothing stayed in his post hall, waiting for the witch boy's Proton House to be cleaned up, it is half a year later, I do not know whether it is intentional or unintentional.

Originally, it was rude, but no one cares about it, because the adult Jian Jianzong Jian Jian, who usually likes to use "common system" as a mantra, is burned because he has been involved in the crime of unsystematic system.

These things are not known in Wuxi, but Jingqi is also in the heart.

The witch boy has stopped, but many people have played by the topic. This group of people who are afraid of the chaos in the world will be able to make a few laps around the whole city.

Someone from Jian Jianzong, from the style of life, all the way to his generation of secret tigers and wolves, has a lot of thought. Of course, we all know who this "tiger and wolf" is, and if the height rises a little, it will become someone who has no father and no intention to rebel, etc. Folded up.

There are those who complained against Jian Zongzong, and used it to talk about the witchcraft magic. From the witchcraft art, they talked about divergent discussions on the maintenance of Taoist priests in the middle of the DPRK, and listened to the word and practice of alchemy. The Taoist priest named Li, for a while, the words of evil, evil arts, misconduct, and so on spread all over the world. You came and went with joy, and the dragon case was almost overwhelming.

Although the dynasty of North Korea is suffocating, for the children who do not have these worries, the life is extremely fast. The teenagers grow tall like a strip, and they read in a daze.

Although Wuxi lives close to Jingqi, he doesn't communicate much.

Wuxi seemed to have an instinct to resist this beautiful and elegant boy. He always felt that his smile seemed to be mixed with something else.

He didn't touch a lot of Central Plains. He didn't know what the Central Plains should look like. He just felt that the big prince who was clamoring to kill himself and covering himself with the sky that day was fine. Either the emperor, or it is always in the mist, even Master Chen who does not know what he is thinking, is not as scary as the Nanning king.

Jing Beiyuan was like the mist in the forest of the Southland hanging on his face, and it couldn't be seen any closer. Wuxi felt that the Nanning King was not like his peers, but a ghost who didn't know how many years he had lived, like a big wizard, or older than a big wizard, through that layer of fog and young people. Looking over his eyes, no one knew whether he was kind or malicious in his heart.

Children in southern Xinjiang will learn the basic skills of hunting in the woods and preventing various poisons with adult men when they are four or five years old. At the age of seven or eight, they can go out with adults. When they are ten years old, they can live independently. Already. What they could tell from a gust of wind was a small animal that could be hunted, or a fierce and cruel beast, could see through the camouflage of the most cunning fox, and instinctively knew where the danger was.

Now, instinctively tell Wuxi not to approach this young man called Jing Beiyuan.

Jing Qi is also calm. People have to depend on fate. He feels that he and the solid-eyed child are mostly a bit uninvited and do not bother each other, but he is occasionally caught by Helien Wing and going around. If you get something new, always let Ping An send a copy to Wuxi, regardless of whether he is a wolf cub or a rabbit cub.

In the past three or four years, in the past few years, where are the people who come and go from witch boy all day, Jing Qi knows it.

The background of the witch boy in South Xinjiang is set aside. In the eyes of He Lianqi, he played Jian Jianzong in the eyes of the chapel.

Unfortunately, this Wuxi belongs to a donkey. The top and bottom of his house are all the way up, and the southern Xinjiang warriors at the gate and nursing home all have donkey tempers. Seeing that you are not pleasing to the eye, who you love, the door is one. Just throw out the phrase "the host doesn't see the guests" and ask for your own help.

Since ancient times, they have not reached out to smile at people, this witch boy in southern Xinjiang is only to smile at people.

Jing Qi secretly told Ping An to find a safe person, and to make a lot of money for Wuxi, his family is quite rich, plus a lot of things Helen Pei appreciated, but he does not care about this money, but Ping An is not uncomfortable every time .

After a long time, he muttered behind Jingqi and murmured, "Master, the government has money, but it is not a defeat. A family member should take good care of it. I have never heard of it. Drifting ... "

Jingqi holding the anecdote of the previous dynasty, did not raise his head when he heard the words, and hummed lowly: "Have you heard the sound?"

Ping An was angry: "Master, you are a white-eyed wolf." At the end of last year, the old housekeeper officially unloaded the burden, asked for grace, and returned to his hometown to take care of himself. At present, all the big and small things at the Nanning Royal Palace are being handled safely. At first, he stumbled, a pile of baskets, making the young man burnt out, hanging two huge dark circles every day, like dead dogs.

Jing Qi didn't care about him, he would smash things when it was done, and it would be more than damaging. He had something in his heart and did n’t point it out, and he did n’t feel bad when he added something outside of him. He knew that the child had gone through it. , But also to find out by Ping An himself, and occasionally mention a few words.

It is also said that it is talent. Ping An is a child of great wisdom and ignorance. Looking at the foolish and steward's affairs, once he got started, he was really good at it. It didn't take long, the parents were short, the Grange shop, the money in and out, up and down. RBI, they are all done quite a bit, and there are quite a few confidants that can be used.

The only drawback is that I feel that when I first came to control the house, I lost a lot less and made him have some obstacles in my heart. This year, I have almost got to see the money. This is the way the protagonist of his own family cares.

"After the new year, the master will talk to the government and listen to politics. In the coming years, I will pay attention to people. Where is the less money?" Late autumn was slightly dry, Jing Qi was too lazy to listen to him muttering, turned and went to the study, safe. Perseverance and chasing after him, "Why is it so? Did you get it in the second prince's way, or did the southern barbarian thank you in the future? Good people aren't like this ..."

Jing Qi settled his steps, staring back at the peace with a poor expression.

It's a pity that Ping An has always known his temper, and understands that he is shameless but only shows it to others, he may not really go to his heart, and he is not afraid of him. He still said in a rough voice, "You said I said Got it right? "

Jing Qi's face suddenly stepped down, and he shook his head helplessly: "Where is the peace ..."

"Slaves are here."

Jing Qi took a face that he had just and honestly delivered, and lifted it up and down again, unwilling to lift it up again, and then let it down, so that he was very uncomfortable, and had to scold: "If you marry a daughter-in-law in the future, You have to marry a deaf! "

Walk away.

Ping An didn't care about it. He kept up, opened his two thick lips, and continued to chatter: "Master, the third day of next month is Lord Lu's birthday, and the birthday party invitation is here. You want ..."

"You take care of it yourself."

"Master, people are here to let you. This Lord Lu is a generation of Confucian masters, who are all over the world. Just after Qiu Yi has just ended, all the new and upstarts of the North Korean Central will visit, and they are invited by Baba to send them up ..."

"Just say I'm sick." Jing Qi was "buzzing" in his head. Why didn't he find Ping An so annoying before?

"Master, Your Royal Highness means that you also go there in person to pay tribute and make more people, and you may join the DPRK next year ..."

"Peace," Jing Qi turned sharply. "From now on, if you can shut up for an hour every day, Grandpa will give you long money."

This trick is the most spiritual, and peace really shuts up honestly.

Speaking of Helian, it was another scourge that was disturbing.

In this life, he is nothing but a child.

Jing Qi Leng watched him grow up little by little, squeezing back those easily exposed angers, pressing them into his heart socket, exposing the sharp lines like his previous life, slowly overlapping with the man in his memory. .

I felt that the person who had read the seventh century suddenly had a blurred face.

He thought that the person who was too deep-hearted when he was young was actually a young man who was struggling to suppress himself and struggle in the cracks. Jing Qi sometimes looked at him, and suddenly he understood why he and he would endlessly endlessly-probably because he had never known this person before.

Probably because he was a child at the time, he could only see his city, but he could not see his forbearance, he could see heaven and earth, but he did not know the paranoia and suffering in his heart.

His young Crown Prince was too careful and exhausted in his early years. Suspicion was something that had been integrated into his bones. Jing Qi thought that the little cleverness that he had calculated in that year should surprise him in the dark center, right?

On the contrary, in this life, he is unwilling to control anything, and unwilling to think about anything, but occasionally when Helian came here, he sat silently with him for a while, and sometimes he did n’t even say a word all afternoon. Helien stunned him, Jing Qi read his idle books, and held the lamp. When Helien woke up, he quit and left, sometimes staying for a simple dinner, but let Helien faintly use him Be a confidant.

The rock-solid barriers of previous lives seem to have never existed.

What the world ca n’t ask for, it ’s just that the world does n’t understand how to retreat, and it just says that it ’s just making things happen.

In the end, the celebratory feast of the great lord Lu Renqing Lu, Jing Qi still went, because He Lianzhen went out early in the morning and went out to the palace to come to dig people.

The author has something to say: Well, this chapter is over

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