Chapter 340: Untitled
Translator: Atlas Studios Editor: Atlas Studios
That way, Meng Fuyao was able to answer to the innocent folk of the nation. At least, she’d found them a very competent manager.
Duan Ming Era, on the 21st night of the fifth month. The lanterns bobbed dimly in the Yongchang Palace as Meng Fuyao walked in circles slowly around the room. After a while, she looked up at Ji Yu and smiled. “Mn, this puppet does look very much like me, remember to look after ‘me’.”
Ji Yu nodded silently, then said, “Do you really have to do it?”
“Of course.” Meng Fuyao packed her bag and added, “Can you tell your Master that you’re already my subordinate now? If he dares to cross the line one more time, I’ll fire you.”
Ji Yu retreated silently.
It was deep into the night, and the sky was pitch black without a single star. After a while, a shadow crept out from Yongchang Palace.
After walking several steps, a white flash suddenly appeared and shot straight towards the shadow, and after a moment of struggle, the night fell silent again.
Lord Yuan Bao dug headfirst into Meng Fuyao’s robes.
‘I know you’re going to Fufeng, bring me along! I want to find that Jin Gang and seek revenge!”
“Yuan Bao, tell me, what do you intend to do after finding that Jin Gang? Kill it? Boil it? Skin it?”
Meng Fuyao was leaning against a tree, poking Lord Yuan Bao’s head with a blade of grass. The hamster was currently assuming a Tarzan pose, narrowing its eyes as it sniffed the cold night air, thinking dreamily, ‘Ah… This is the smell of home drifting in the wind from far away… We’re getting closer and closer to home…’ Just as it was deeply immersed in its nostalgia, it suddenly heard Meng Fuyao’s words and turned to glare at her unhappily.
Meng Fuyao returned its glare with equal displeasure. ‘When you were begging me to bring you out, you were still so humble and polite, now that you’re out, you immediately turn on me, truly like a master, like pet!’
She was feeling rather melancholic as she looked at the view around her. Acres and acres of wild plains that stretched infinitely into the horizon, hiding all kinds of strange plants, flowers, and shrubbery. The blue sky seemed high up and far away, with snow-capped mountains dotting the horizon. When she squatted down and leveled her vision, the wind came rushing from the mountaintops, sending a whoosh through the plains, whispering the song of the tribe. It was as if everything had come alive.
This was Fufeng’s borders, the separation between Dawan and the sphere of influence of the three tribes of Fufeng, and also Ya Lanzhu’s home country. After crossing the border from Xuanji was a grassy plain that extended all the way to the inner region of Fufeng. Fufeng’s inner region was complicated, filled with all kinds of plains and mountains. The winter was harsh with little snow, and the summer was hot with a lot of rain; sandstorms were abundant during spring, and autumn was dry and cool. The farther north they traveled, the worse the weather, but at least for now, it was still rather comfortable.
Meng Fuyao stretched lazily and lay down, gnawing on a blade of grass. She’d heard that Fufeng was huge with little people, and indeed, that was the case. After walking for a whole day, apart from her own guards and a whole lot of birds, she hadn’t seen a single human. Only today did she finally notice nomadic establishment at the bottom of a river.
The guards began pitching their tents, the white canvases looking like pearls scattered across the plains. This time, when she had come to Fufeng, she had not brought 3,000 guards like when she had gone to Xuanji. Instead, she had only selected the best 300, apart from leaving Ji Yu behind to lead the Dahan Army to keep watch over the Dawan Imperial Palace, Tie Cheng, and Yao Xun were both to follow her, and she had already sent men to Dahan to summon Yao Xun. Camping in this area was in order for Yao Xun to catch up with them.
As for whether Ya Lanzhu would come along, it was up to her. Chasing after her love and going home were both important, so it was up to her to decide for herself.
Meng Fuyao propped a leg up and swung it distractedly. She had no interest in becoming an Empress. When she had accepted the position, it was but to gain power and facilitate her plan, for the sake of revenge. Later, she would give Dawan away randomly. Besides, they wouldn’t dare disregard her homeland. Her life’s goal had always been to do one thing; go home.
She wanted to go home.
To Fufeng, not just because there were many unusual treasures there to help her break through the ninth level of Cleaving Nine Heavens, but even more because, in order to go to Cangqiong, she had to go pass through Fufeng. In other words, she had already begun the road back home, and if there were no setbacks, she wouldn’t go back to Dawan.
In her sleeping chambers within the Inner Palace, she’d written a letter to Ji Yu, requesting him to open it only three years later. Three years later, if she hadn’t returned, it meant that her wish had finally come true, she was finally able to bid goodbye for real to this godforsaken Five Regions Continent.
After thinking up to this point, she felt a little excited. However, the excitement only lasted a fleeting moment before a wave of sadness once again washed over her—leaving, leaving forever, she, Meng Fuyao, would disappear from this world completely as though she were dead, yet she wasn’t able to shake off the marks that this world had left on her. She had created too many memories in this world, and while she was desperately sprinting towards her mother, she had avoided saying goodbye to the beloved friends and family she had left behind… And those very people were the reason for her glorious memories here and were equally difficult to part with. However deep the memories of her mother were, these people had also left deep marks within her life.
And she, as she traversed along her thorny path, her once steel-like heart had slowly begun to hurt. Could it be that she would have to live with the memories of both worlds, missing her mother in her previous life in this world and once she’d return to her previous life, to miss the… family of this world?
Yes, family, they too were family who had accompanied her, helped her, protected her, loved her. They were the warmest hands which held her through the darkest moments of her life and the people who kept the flame of hope burning within her.
Them, whom she had met along the way, who had managed to entrench themselves within her bones.
Zhan Beiye, Ya Lanzhu, Zong Yue, Tie Cheng, Yao Xun, Ji Yu, Little Seven, Lord Yuan Bao, and Lord Yuan Bao’s master… Zhangsun Wuji.
When she thought of that name, Meng Fuyao’s heart began to hurt. She bit her lip and suppressed the sudden surge of emotions, sighing deeply—She had been so determined all these years, never once wavering in her desire to go home, yet now that she was really on the journey home, saying goodbye still hurt, still hurt…
She took a deep breath and flipped herself onto the ground, burying her head in the dirt and suppressing her heart viciously, not allowing herself to feel hurt any longer.
Lord Yuan Bao hadn’t been able to take a deep breath before it was squished, and it struggled out of her robes, glaring hatefully at the woman who had been acting strange ever since she had entered the borders of Fufeng. This woman was starting to become more and more unreasonable, if not for its master’s request, it couldn’t have been bothered with her.
‘Why isn’t Master here yet?’ Lord Yuan Bao scratched its head with a paw and glanced around exasperatedly—he had said that he had some things to settle and would be late, but it still hadn’t been able to see even his shadow after a whole day.
Speaking of its master, he was truly pitiful, he had originally intended to return to Wuji first, but now that things had come to this point, it seemed he wouldn’t be able to do so. The only silver lining was that its master’s father was becoming more and more promising, not expecting him to return home and govern the nation, letting him out as a nomadic prince, or else… hehe.
Lord Yuan Bao sighed again, thinking that its master didn’t know how to appreciate a precious treasure that was right in front of him, instead choosing the smelliest and most stubborn moss-filled rock. It was truly unbecoming of the Crown Prince of Wuji and the stupidest thing he had ever done in his life.
After hearing it sigh repeatedly, Meng Fuyao began to feel frustrated and turned around to grab a piece of cloth to stuff her ears when her hand slipped and instead landed on the lotus embroidered bag that she’d found under Xu Wan’s bed. Back then, she had been too troubled to look at it and simply threw it into her bag to bring along with her, but now, she could finally take a careful look.
After opening the old fabric, she made out several faded words written skillfully with cheap ink.
“For my nameless child.”
It was the will that Xu Wan had left her. Meng Fuyao’s hand trembled.
“Recently, Mother has been feeling unsettled, as if something inauspicious is about to happen. After pondering for a while, I’ve decided to leave this letter to you, but I hope that you see this only after you’ve grown up peacefully.”
Meng Fuyao bit her lip, holding the aged paper as she read each word that Xu Wan had written about her and the life she hoped for her.
“… My child, carry yourself with humility and dignity. Always be righteous and courteous. Should you marry after you grow up, always remember to respect your in-laws, be filial, and support the family, be benevolent and compassionate, love your husband, and nurture your child…”
All the virtues of a traditional, historical-age woman, written by a mother, with her heart filled with fear, hoping earnestly for her daughter to pursue happiness in the way that matched the times, to live happily in the Five Regions Continent where men were superior, and women were suppressed.
Meng Fuyao’s eyes turned slightly red as she imagined, many years ago, in a small room with a candlelight the size of a bean, Xu Wan, immersed in writing the final letter for her daughter. Her heart filled with fear and uncertainty of the future, even more for the life of her young daughter. That kind of worry turned into the brush strokes and ink, into the bloodstained will that her daughter would read fourteen years later, bringing out all of her feelings.
And at that moment, she was already a pile of white ashes buried within the palace walls in eternal sleep.
‘I wasn’t able to grow up according to your wishes, but I was able to do what I should do.’
‘I’ve killed the b*tch that sentenced you to death and her tattletale daughter.’
‘I’ve destroyed the entire evil Royal Family of Xuanji, even the name, and ancestral temple, right from the roots.’
‘I’ve trampled upon the greatest wish of the man that fathered but did not nurture, the bastard that never cared about your situation. I’ve wiped out him and the entire Feng Clan that he treasured so much and gave him a taste of his own medicine, and to die as a world-class criminal without a single memorial tablet to commemorate his death.’
‘I’ve given them the most severe punishment they deserve.’
‘I’ve given you the biggest compensation I can offer, your name has become the name of the nation, the Royal Ancestral Hall only has your tablet, you are the first Empress Dowager of Dawan, courtesy name Eternal Compassion.’
‘Do you… still, have any unfulfilled wishes?’
“… My nameless child, if one day you are able to meet a man from the Qingze Tribe with a scar on his forehead, and if he should mention me to you, you must tell him on my behalf, Xu Wan has never once truly blamed him…”
22 years ago, a yet-to-wed couple from the Qingze Tribe had arrived in Xuanji after escaping their hometown. However, on the day that they had arrived in the bustling capital, the relatives that they had been looking for had already moved away, leaving them helpless. They had originally intended to commit suicide together at the Hongxi Lake in Dan City, yet had been saved by a lowly official who had pointed the path to life for them. That year, the Royal Family had been hiring concubines, and all unwed women under 16 were to enter the palace. Some officials had been reluctant to let their daughter serve others. Hence, they had been looking for poor girls to replace them. The lowly official had let this couple choose for themselves, for the man to enter the palace as a eunuch, or for the woman to replace his daughter and enter the palace as a maid. He would then compensate the man with a large sum of money, and after eight years, the woman would be let out, and they could wed then. After a night of painful deliberation, the pair had decided for the woman to enter the palace and return eight years later. After a tearful parting by Hongxi Lake, from then on, she had entered the palace and lived out the tragic fate that awaited her. And he had waited for her in the capital, holding onto that sum of money, trying all means to hear any news about her while waiting for the agonizing eight years to pass.
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