“You may get up. Tomorrow, this prince will dispatch people to send you to the Military Weaponry Department. From now onwards, you will be in charge of that department.”
“This subordinate will not forsake Your Highness’s trust.”
After that, Situ Han Zhu gets up and kneels towards Yun Qian Yu, “Two years ago, it is thanks to Mistress that Han Zhu gets to live. It is already a given for Han Zhu to serve Mistress for this entire life to repay your grace. And now, Mistress actually gives Han Zhu the life I have always been yearning for. Since Mistress wants to help the imperial grandson, Han Zhu vows to give His Highness his loyalty. One day, there will be a day where the weapons that Han Zhu developed becomes His Highness’ best support.” After saying that, Situ Han Zhu looks up at Yun Qian Yu with tearful eyes. “After Han Zhu gets up, I will no longer be able to swear my loyalty to Mistress. I would like to thank Mistress’ grace while I still can.”
Yun Qian Yu gets up and helps him up.
“In this world, everything will part in due time. Having met someone is called fate; it needs to be cherished. Having to part means that your fate with the other person has run out; it needs to be dealt with gracefully. You are of exceptional talent, it will be such a waste if you are not allowed to fully utilize your ability. Follow Yu Jian properly; this is probably why the gods had bestowed you so much pain prior.”
Han Zhu nods in agreement. He wipes his tears before proceed to stand behind Yu Jian.
“Han Zhu, you will leave tomorrow, so you must unassemble the trap in Jin Luan Palace. But do not make it obvious, they must not be able to sense it. Can you do that?” Yun Qian Yu asks.
“I can, please rest assured Your Highness,” Han Zhu replies.
“Alright, you can do it now.” Yun Qian Yu instructs Feng Ran to go with him.
Yun Qian Yu then turns to Yu Jian, “Let’s check your palace.” She glances at Gong Sang Mo, as though asking whether he will come with them or leave.
He looks at Yu Jian who is clearly not keen for his presence today, “I will come with you.”
The three of them heads over to Yu Jian’s palace.
The hidden passage is underneath Yu Jian’s bed. Yun Qian Yu uses her power to lift the entire bed and move it 2 metres away. A white jade tile underneath the bed is raised slightly. A green tile is visible underneath it, looking really sleek. In one look, nothing seems out of the ordinary.
Yun Qian Yu place her ears on top of the tile; she can hear a long, hollow sound. She gets up and turns to Gong Sang Mo, “The passage is very long. Do you have a way to open it?”
Gong Sang Mo calls for San Qiu who is hidden somewhere, “San Qiu, go and get Yi Ri.”
Hearing Yi Ri’s name, the corner of Yun Qian Yu’s lips twitches.
Yi Ri arrives real quick. He is pretty similar to San Qiu in appearance, just he looks more serious than San Qiu. “Master.”
“Go and see if you can open that green tile.”
Yi Ri carefully eyes the green tile before leaning over to give it a soft knock. An incense stick time later, he gets up. “I will not be able to take it out properly. There should a self-destruct mechanism on the other side. If we force this open, the entire passage will blow up.”
Gong Sang Mo looks at Yun Qian Yu, waiting for her decision.
“Is he an idiot?” Yu Jian asks curiously. The enemy is basically grasping him within their palm, isn’t the construction of the passage will be of vain then, if it will simply collapse if they try to open the tile from this side. He cannot understand the perpetrator.
Yun Qian Yu’s eyes shines, she suddenly realizes something after hearing what Yu Jian said. This passage is leading to somewhere the perpetrators didn’t want anyone to know. That’s why they construct it in this self-destructive manner. That place must be somewhere she and her grandfather could not even imagine.
Yun Qian Yu orders a hidden guard to restore the entrance of the passage to it’s original appearance.
Seeing Yun Qian Yu understanding everything now, Gong Sang Mo smiles.
“You can go back first. I will chat with Yu Jian first before returning to the manor.” He knows Yun Qian Yu still have some doubts to solve.
Yun Qian Yu looks at him curiously. What is there for them to talk about? Thinking about how the person Yu Jian respects the most is Gong Sang Mo, she lets it be.
She instructs Feng Ran to guard Yu Jian tonight before turning around and leave. Instead of going back to her palace, she goes to the imperial study.
Once Yun Qian Yu left, Gong Sang Mo and Yu Jian are left staring at each other.
“What is wrong with Yu Jian today?” Gong Sang Mo asks, wanting to laugh at the little big man look on Yu Jian.
Yu Jian’s eyes flash as he purse his lips, not saying anything.
“You don’t like me together with your Qian Yu jiejie?” Gong Sang Mo asks, going straight to the point.
Yu Jian’s face changes once Gong Sang Mo exposed him.
“But your Qian Yu jiejie will have to marry, sooner or later,” Seeing that look on Yu Jian’s face, Gong Sang Mo knows he guessed right.
“Jiejie can be my empress once I am old enough!” Yu Jian finally admits what he really wants.
Gong Sang Mo suddenly remembers what Yu Jian said in the resting palace in Mount Yun the other day, about how he wants to marry Qian Yu once he is older. His heart suddenly falls, why is it so hard to bring home this wife of his?
Never mind Hua Man Xi, at least he is of age, but what is little Yu Jian doing here joining the fanfare? By the time he is old enough, Yun Qian Yu would have already becomes a spinster.
Gong Sang Mo looks at him earnestly; he needs to deal with this properly. Or else, if Yun Qian Yu finds out, things will become awkward between these two imperial siblings. It will affect their interaction, in the future.
“Yu Jian, let’s not even talk about the age gap between you two; the two of you are imperial siblings, it is impossible for Qian Yu to be your empress in the future.”
“Why not? We are not even blood-related.”
“Even though you two are not blood-related, Qian Yu has personally been instated by the emperor as Princess Hu Guo. She is included in the imperial family’s registry, this is an undeniable truth.”
“When the time comes, I will retract her official title.”
“Yu Jian, things are not as simple as you think it is. Your imperial grandfather will not be able to keep you company for long. Qian Yu will be accompanying you through the most difficult phase of your life; she will help you protect this land once it falls into your hand. Have you even consider what Qian Yu will have to sacrifice for you? When the time comes, how will you explain everything to your people? How you pushed your Qian Yu jiejie to that position? Are you sure Qian Yu will accept your arrangement instead of leaving in disappointment?”
Yu Jian’s eyes dims down. He purse his lips.
“You have been in the morning court these past two days, you have seen how hard it is to deal with everyone. The emperor has to read memorials everyday and barely has time to rest, you see that yourself. Once you are emperor and cannot do that on your own, Qian Yu will have to do that for you. Our kingdom is currently peaceful, but if something happens that threatens that peace, it will be even harder and more tiring. Qian Yu is a girl, don’t you wish there will be someone whom she can lean to while she sacrifices herself to help you? A shoulder to lean on while she is tired?”
Yu Jian lowers his head.
“Besides, marrying her is what you want; are you sure Qian Yu shares the same idea as you? How do you know she hasn’t liked someone else? You are only ten years old, but Qian Yu is already of age. By the time you are 18 years old, Qian Yu will already be 23. Do you want your jiejie who dedicates her life to help you, to waste away the most beautiful years of her life?”
Yu Jian clutches his hand together, clearly uneasy.
“If you are grateful for what Qian Yu does for you, then you need to do everything you can to make her happy. Even though both of you are not blood-related, you are closer than most blood-related people out there. Families does things for each other; you cannot only receive without giving. She did not have to do this for you, but instead, she chose to forgo her freedom to help you secure the throne. The reason she did that is because she considers you her little brother, her loved one.”
After saying all that, Gong Sang Mo falls into silence as he looks at Yu Jian, waiting for him to soaks everything in.
Yu Jian finally raises his head, “I understand everything. I am only sad because there will be a day where imperial sister will leave me.”
“You are still young; you don’t understand the feelings between men and women. Once you are older, you will meet the girl that you like. By then, you will understand. Besides, if I marry Qian Yu, I not only can protect her, I can also help her. Not only that, you and I are so close; if she marries me, do you think she can go very far from you?”
Hearing that, Yu Jian’s eyes sparkles; why had he not think of that? Brother Sang Mo is the biggest hero in his heart while Qian Yu jiejie is the warmest shoulder he can lean on; if they get together, they will suit each other very much. He also no longer need to worry about her leaving him. Xian Wang’s manor and the imperial palace are both in the capital, he only needs to release a verbal decree and Qian Yu jiejie can immediately enter the palace. He, himself, can sneak out to Xian Wang’s manor, too.
At the moment, Yu Jian does not realized that he is being mollified by the Gong fox. By the time he is be old enough to understand, Gong Sang Mo would have taken Yun Qian Yu far away and he will be left in the imperial palace, gritting his teeth while waiting for their news.
“Alright, Sang Mo gege. I am putting Qian Yu jiejie in your hands. You must not bully her!” Yu Jian finally thinks it through; the dark expression on his face finally disappearing.
“With a great brother-in-law like you backing her up, how can I bully her?” Deep inside, Gong Sang Mo says: How can I bear to bully her? I won’t even have enough time to pamper her!
With this, Gong Sang Mo finally settles his youngest competitor on the battlefield. He happily returns to Xian Wang’s manor.
At this moment, Yun Qian Yu is in the imperial study, looking at the palace’s map with Murong Cang.
Murong Cang has personally fetched this map from Cang Bao Pavillion and has replaced it with a fake one.
Yun Qian Yu eyes the couple of lines that are stretched from Yu Jian’s palace. Yu Jian’s palace is located in the eastern part of the imperial palace, which is also the late crown prince’s palace. The secret passage should not be heading west; it will have to pass through Jin Luan Palace. The northern side is where normal officials lives; while the southern side is the gate entrance to the imperial city. After that, it is mostly business premises and Tian Street; it is impossible for them to dig through the passage without anyone noticing.
From the look of it, it can only be heading east.
Yun Qian Yu ponders heavily; the eastern side is very complicated. Not only is it the area where the Prime Minister lives, it is also where the Vice-Minister of Work, Vice Minister of Rites, Rui Qinwang and Duke Rong lives. Without investigating deeper, the immediate suspect ought to be Rui Qinwang; after all, he is the next immediate member of Murong Clan. But, the more Yun Qian Yu looks at it, the more impossible it becomes. In order to get to Rui Qinwang’s manor, they would have to go through Duke Rong’s manor first.
When Yun Qian Yu voice that out to Murong Cang, he nods in agreement.
Murong Cang’s expression is solemn. When he first heard of the secret passage underneath Yu Jian’s palace, his mind immediately went to Rui Qinwang. But now, it seems pretty unlikely.
That is what makes him worried the most; the person he always considered an enemy is actually not the most dangerous one. Turns out, someone else is also watching him and Yu Jian in bated breath and he has no idea who that person is.
“Yatou, thing seems to be getting more and more complicated. I do not have much time left, do you think you can do it?” Murong Cang asks in worry.
Yun Qian Yu senses the storm inside Murong Cang; she takes her eyes away from the map.
“Grandfather, we have no other way. Whether I can do it or not is not the problem here. Since I already picked this road, I can only walk forward without looking back.”
“Yatou-ah, am I too selfish?”
“I consider Yu Jian my little brother, my loved one.”
Murong Cang sighs. No matter who the perpetrator is, they no longer have a route to back-up from.
“Yatou, I have a plan. Let me share it with you.”
Yun Qin Yu looks at Murong Cang without blinking, waiting for him to speak.
“It is clear that my health is not as good as in the past; these past few days, I cannot even bring myself to eat. My days are really numbered.” Murong Cang is hit with a sense of powerlessness. “I have been thinking; what will you two do once I passed? Will Yu Jian be able to grow in peace? Will Yu Jian be able to succeed the throne?”
Yun Qian Yu understands what Murong Cang is trying to say, now. “You want to let him succeed the throne in advance?”
Murong Cang knows that Yun Qian Yu is smart; he is not surprised that she got it spot-on.
“Correct. Rather than let you and Yu Jian face this big problem while still mourning over my death, why not let him succeed me in advance? Besides, I only have a couple of months left. At least, if we put it in advance, the two of you will not have to face the trouble after the succession all by yourselves. Now that Yu Jian’s palace is no longer habitable, he can also use this chance to move palace without arousing suspicion.”
“This idea is good, grandfather.” Yun Qian Yu nods. This way, Yu Jian’s safety will be secured. Once grandfather has passed away, Yu Jian is already an established emperor. Their enemies will have to think really careful before doing anything.
“Since you agree, I will arrange Yu Jian’s enthronement on my birthday. This matter should not be spread outside before it’s time.”
Yun Qian Yu calculates in her heart; Murong Cang’s birthday is less than 10 days from now. An emperor ascending the throne is no trivial matter, seems like the coming days will be really busy.
“Yatou, I have already asked people to prepare everything in the dark. However, on the sacrificial day, he will need to go to the imperial monastery to pray and it will take three days. And it cannot be done openly too, what should we do?”
Murong Cang is troubled. It is compulsory to go to the imperial monastery before ascension; otherwise, they will not get the gods’ protection. Even though he does not really believe in things like that, the common people do!
Yun Qian Yu’s eyes sparkles after thinking for a while, “Grandfather, this is not really that hard.”
“You have a plan, yatou?” Murong Cang excitedly looks at Yun Qian Yu.
Yun Qian Yu whispers something to his ears, one that makes him laughs out loud, “Sly yatou.”
Yun Qian Yu looks at the laughing Murong Cang before pointing at something on the map.
Murong Cang promptly stops laughing, his face turning solemn, “Just do as you sees fit; nothing is more important than Yu Jian.”
Yun Qian Yu understands what Murong Cang means.
Murong Cang suddenly thinks of something, “Yatou, once Yu Jian ascends the throne, you will still attends the court and be involved in politics. That authority is very essential, so….”
“Grandfather, Qian Yu already has authority in politic, I do not need power in anything else. You can hand over everything to Yu Jian. That will tell everyone from the very start, who their master is and to whom their loyalty should lie to. Qian Yu only wants to ask of one thing.”
“What do you want, yatou?” Murong Cang did not expect that Yun Qian Yu would reject other powers.
“I want grandfather’s Xiang Bao Sword.” Yun Qian Yu solemnly says.
Murong Cang is surprised; Xiang Bao Sword is an emperor’s imperial sword, it represents imperial authority. It enables the wielder to strike first and reasons later. If the wielder is a former ruler, he can even wield it to kill corrupted ruler and disloyal ministers. That is how much power the Shang Bao Sword wields.
“Alright, grandpa will bestow it to you on the day of Yu Jian’s ascension,” Murong Cang promises, without any doubt towards Yun Qian Yu’s intention.
Yun Qian Yu smiles at how much Murong Cang trusts her.
“Grandfather, Yu Jian is very smart. He grows up faster than we thought he will, once he is capable enough to rule on his own, I will give that sword back to him.”
“Yatou, if the sword is bestowed to you, it means it is already yours. If you do that, doesn’t that mean you are scorning grandpa’s good intention? If I don’t trust you, who else can I trust?” Murong Cang unhappily says.
“Grandfather, Qian Yu knows you trust me, but Qian Yu does not trust my own descendant. The only use that sword has for me is to sweep obstacles from Yu Jian’s path. Once Yu Jian is strong enough to protect Nan Lou Kingdom on his own, the sword will be rendered useless to me.”
“Yatou, why do you make other’s heart aches so much?” Murong Cang’s old eyes are glistening in tears. He knows Yun Qian Yu is saying all that so that he will not worry the sword will be used against the imperial clan in the future.
After the pair of grandfather and granddaughter finish discussing about the ascension matter, Yun Qian Yu returns to her own palace.
Murong Cang on the other hand, continues sitting there in a daze.
Li Jin Tian stands by his side, his heart aching beyond words.
“Old companion, come here.” Murong Cang beckons Li Jin Tian.
“Yes, Your Majesty.”
“Old companion, how old are you this year?”
“This servant is 63 years old this year, Your Majesty,” Li Jin Tian raise his sleeves and uses it to wipe his tears.
“Zhen is older than you by two years. How fast time passes. In the blink of an eye, we are both old.”
“You are right, Your Majesty.”
“You have followed zhen since zhen was only 6 or 7 years old. Back then, you were just a little thing. You couldn’t even walk properly. Zhen had to purposely walk slower to wait for you.” Murong Cang laughs, remembering about the past.
“That was Your Majesty being compassionate towards this servant.”
“A few decades passed in the blink of an eye. In this lifetime, you have been with zhen longer than anyone else. You understand zhen as much as you understand yourself. Once zhen passed, you, my old companion, must protect the two children on my behalf. Inform me everything about them every year, during the tomb sweeping day.”
“Your Majesty….” Li Jin Tian is now choking in tears.
“What are you crying for? Everyone will have that day, the only difference is when. Zhen wants to let go, but zhen is still worried about the two children,” Murong Cang sighs.
“Your Majesty, the imperial grandson is clever beyond his age and the princess is outstanding above everyone else. This servant has been watching her and this servant think that it will be very hard for people to harm the imperial grandson as long as she is with him.”
“You are right. That girl is very clever!” Thinking about Yun Qian Yu, Murong Cang cannot stop himself from laughing.
Murong Cang has witnessed it himself; how Yun Qian Yu solve all the problems coming her way with an indifferent expression on her face; from the breaking of her engagement in Feng Yun Manor to right now.
No one knows though, that Yun Qian Yu is not as calm as she appears to be.
After she return to her palace, she goes to bed to rest, skipping her daily practice.
She knows that a lot of things are out of her control; things like death and such. Hearing what Murong Cang said just now made her realize that the people she cherish will leave, one day. This lifetime is not the same as her previous lifetime. In the previous lifetime, she only thought about her little brother. After her little brother grew under her care, she no longer had to worry about anything else.
When she passed, she had no regret. But in this lifetime, a lot of people have entered her heart. She is suddenly afraid; afraid of losing them. She is afraid of getting close to them, only to lose them the next day.
Yun Qian Yu trace the red bean bracelet and heart-shaped pendant with her fingers, thinking about Gong Sang Mo. What if Gong Sang Mo leaves her? Yun Qian Yu’s heart twists in pain, suddenly feeling empty. She finally realizes that Gong Sang Mo has slowly wormed his way into her life and has become an indispensible part of her days.
Yun Qian Yu rest her face against the bracelet; lucky she understands it at the right time.
The color of the night sky is thick; Yun Qian Yu falls into the dreamland with a slight smile on her face.
On the next day, Yu Jian comes over in a hurry.
He immediately asks her the moment he enters, “Imperial sister, have you prepared yourself?”
“Why are you so happy?” Yun Qian Yu asks.
“You won the bet, of course I am happy!”
“Come here, I have something to discuss with you,” Yun Qian Yu calls Yu Jian over.
“What is it?” Yu Jian walks over to her.
Yun Qian Yu tells him everything she and Murong Cang discussed about last night.
Yu Jian falls into silence after hearing that. He did not make a fuss as per what Yun Qian Yu expected him to do; in fact, he is pretty calm about the entire thing, “This is also good. Grandfather has been busy his entire life. Let him rest properly for his remaining life.”
Yun Qian Yu looks at him in surprise before praising him, “Yu Jian has grown up.”
She remains oblivious to the fact that Gong Sang Mo’s coaxing last night plays a big role to this reaction of his. He made Yu Jian realize that he too needs to do something in return for the people who cares for him.
“Alright, imperial sister. The morning court ought to be arduous today, let’s fill our bellies first.” Yu Jian sits down first and downs Hong Su’s porridge.
Serene: Chapter 62 is sponsored by Kei!