Chen Xing thought that he might as well tell Fu Jian, “Trying to just blindly arrange marriages for people and forcibly making me and Tuoba Yan tie the knot is useless, I can’t live beyond twenty anyway, and I’m really busy too……” But after hearing that Xiang Shu had arrived, their conversation stopped abruptly.
Xiang Shu didn’t wait for Fu Jian’s permission before he stepped straight into the imperial study. He was frowning slightly as he looked for a place to sit by himself.
Chen Xing glanced at Xiang Shu, and saw that Xiang Shu had changed into a set of black martial robes and a pair of black boots today. There wasn’t a single stitch of embroidery or ornate decoration on him from head to toe, except for the black iron brass knuckle on his right hand. His attire was simple, which further contrasted with the fairness of his skin. He looked just like a vigorous and upright poplar tree that stood ramrod straight, his radiance illuminating everyone else.
Lots of people want to marry the Great Chanyu, Chen Xing thought, if you’re bored, you should help them arrange their marriages. Marry all sixteen of those young men in the hall this morning to Xiang Shu, I’d like to see what he would do then.
“Shulü Kong?” Fu Jian said, “I heard you offered 16 marriage proposals to the Xianbei, Xiongnu, and Qiang families in Chang’an?”
Chen Xing, “……”
Xiang Shu didn’t answer and just sat down at one side. Fu Jian quipped, “You’re of marriageable age now too, but if you marry 16 at one go, would you be able to endure it? Don’t try to indulge too much in your youth and vitality. If you go round after round each night and contract some disease, or……” As he spoke, he studied Xiang Shu with a skeptical look, “Do you have some other kind of preference?”
Chen Xing almost laughed aloud, but he reined himself in, yet Xiang Shu said calmly, “Cut the crap. Jian Tou, you’re probably the one who isn’t capable anymore, which was why you dispatched that Murong something so far out, right?”
Fu Jian said angrily, “I’ll show you what Zhen is capable of right now!”
Fu Jian casually draped an arm around Chen Xing’s shoulder. Chen Xing looked baffled and hadn’t yet understood the underlying meaning behind their conversation, but he did sense a dangerous air emanating from Xiang Shu.
Fu Jian laughed carelessly and released Chen Xing. He said to Xiang Shu, “Or do you intend to personally try yourself?”
Xiang Shu withdrew his murderous intent, “Get lost!”
Silence suddenly fell in the study. Chen Xing pondered for a bit, then disrupted the quiet atmosphere, “It’s time to take the needles out, Your Majesty.”
Fu Jian motioned to him that it was okay to just take them out, then said to Xiang Shu, “I heard that a Han man died on Tongren street last night in the northwest side of the city, a coachman who was driving a carriage.”
Chen Xing’s heart jolted; he didn’t expect Fu Jian to pay attention to such a trivial affair. Oh right, if an ordinary person died violently on the streets, the government should have already intervened. But this person was related to the Great Chanyu, so the government wouldn’t dare to investigate it and could only report it to the palace.
His mind was in a perturbed state right now, and he wanted to know how Xiang Shu would explain it.
Yet he didn’t expect Xiang Shu to just lightly say, “I killed him, so?”
Fu Jian casually said, “What would you kill an unarmed Han man for? That’s unlike you.”
Chen Xing felt rather complicated, but Xiang Shu said, “Because I’m a rabid dog who kills anyone I see.”
Chen Xing, “……”
Fu Jian naturally knew that that wasn’t the truth, and Xiang Shu had only said that to shut him up.
“This is Chang’an, not the lands beyond the Great Wall.” Fu Jian’s tone turned stern as he explained, “After crossing the pass, we must abide by the laws and regulations here. It took me a lot of effort to bring the five tribes beyond the Great Wall under control and get them not to kill the Hans. What you did ruined the laws and discipline of my imperial court and slighted my imperial decree. Shulü Kong, don’t do that again, you’ll make me lose face.”
“That……that wasn’t the case.” Chen Xing wanted to explain, but once he glanced at Xiang Shu, he swallowed his words.
Xiang Shu shook his head gently, to mean that he shouldn’t say anything.
Fu Jian said lightly, “Chen Tianchi, what do you think of the Chang’an that’s governed by Zhen?”
Chen Xing kept silent for a moment before speaking the truth, “It’s governed very well. Prosperity and peace abound, it really deserves to be the capital.”
Before entering Chang’an, Chen Xing had envisioned a completely different scene. He didn’t expect the capital to be so prosperous, and that the Hus and Hans would not inflict the slightest harm on one another and instead live together in peace and harmony.
“When they used to live beyond the Great Wall, they had no laws and regulations,” Fu Jian said calmly, “Even if laws were established, most would not abide by them. It’s truly too difficult to let them understand the price they would have to pay for taking another’s life. Zhen wants everyone in the world be able to eat their fill and dress warmly. When the Great Tao prevails, everyone will be a part of society, and society will belong to everyone; for the old to be cared for until death, for adults to be gainfully employed, for children to be nurtured. To rule with benevolence, emphasise courtesy, and what is shown to the people should be the convention……Shulü Kong.”
Chen Xing finished taking the needles out and putting them away. Fu Jian moved his shoulders around, having already returned to normal, and nodded in satisfaction.
“Think carefully,” Fu Jian said, “This isn’t like the times from when we were beyond the Great Wall.”
Xiang Shu was a little impatient from listening to him and just got up, then glanced at Chen Xing.
Chen Xing knew that Xiang Shu had something to say, so he got up and bid farewell to Fu Jian.
Yet Fu Jian said, “You haven’t given Zhen an answer regarding the matter we brought up before, Chen Tianchi. There truly aren’t many people in the world who would dare use delaying tactics to deal with Zhen.”
Chen Xing didn’t expect Fu Jian to actually remember. He looked at Xiang Shu, then at Fu Jian.
Yet Xiang Shu left first. He didn’t want to listen to their conversation. Chen Xing hesitated for a moment before saying, “Your Majesty, even if I did want to get married, there should be feelings first ba? For people who have no feelings for each other, even if you were to matchmake them, they would most likely not be happy in the end. I……you have so many things to deal with, so don’t worry about this anymore.”
Fu Jian didn’t expect Chen Xing to reply in such a way at all, so he burst out laughing and said, “Feelings can be nurtured even if there aren’t any to begin with. Your answer was pretty interesting. Never mind, go ba.”
Chen Xing felt like he had just obtained an amnesty and quickly retreated. He suddenly thought of Tuoba Yan and began feeling awkward. After glancing to both sides, he realised that Tuoba Yan was no longer at the door, and only Xiang Shu was waiting for him.
Chen Xing felt heavy-hearted as he followed Xiang Shu out. Xiang Shu suddenly turned around; Chen Xing was now on guard after getting hit and thought that Xiang Shu was going to beat him up again, so he quickly took a step back. He watched Xiang Shu vigilantly and was ready to flee at any time.
When Xiang Shu saw Chen Xing like this, it wouldn’t be good for him to approach any closer, so he said, “I’ve thought it through. You didn’t lie to me, you are indeed an exorcist. At Mt. Longzhong that day, you used magic.”
Chen Xing thought, you’ve both hit and scolded me, and now that you snapped out of your stupor, you’re here to apologise? Do you think an apology would make it like nothing had happened?
“Oh.” Chen Xing said, “So what?”
Xiang Shu said coldly, “But you shouldn’t have gone to the Songbai residence last night. Jian Tou already knew of their secret plot a long time ago; it’s just that he hasn’t obtained enough evidence yet, so he doesn’t want to casually start a massacre.”
Only then did Chen Xing know that Fu Jian had long since caught wind of news that the Feng family was plotting a rebellion and the assassination of Fu Jian right under his nose in Chang’an City. He was just biding his time right now. On the one hand, Fu Jian has always had a lot of confidence in his own strength; this group of people who were planning to rebel against him were merely clowns to him.
On the other hand, the other party hadn’t made a move yet. Fu Jian doesn’t want to be known as a tyrant who liked slaughtering Hans, so he at least needed to hold a criminal charge against them before executing their entire family.
“How would I have known that?” Chen Xing said, “I just wanted to look for the ruins of the Exorcist Headquarters. How could I have expected that they would be hiding in the Songbai residence to discuss something like that?”
Xiang Shu surveyed the surroundings. There was no one, so he just sat down in the corridor and hugged one knee to his chest as he fell into deep thought.
Chen Xing really hated him to the core, but looking at Xiang Shu like this, he just couldn’t get angry at him. The sunshine of early spring shone down and landed upon Xiang Shu. This beautiful man was truly a treat to the eyes. Xiang Shu was dressed like an assassin today, and a handsome yet dangerous air was emanating from his entire body.
Chen Xing could only vent his frustrations on a tree in the garden. He snapped off a branch and whipped the bushes a few times to treat it like he was whipping Xiang Shu, “In the end, they asked me to help them kill Fu……kill that person, and I didn’t agree to it. If I wanted to do something I would have done it today. Why would I have to wait until you came to find me?”
Chen Xing guessed that after Xiang Shu waited for a long time and didn’t see him return, he was afraid that something would happen so he rushed over to take a look. Speaking of which, Xiang Shu did treat him rather peculiarly. While he beat him up on one side, he worried about his life on the other. It was the same last night; if he wasn’t afraid that Chen Xing would encounter danger, he definitely wouldn’t have gone to the Songbai residence so recklessly.
Chen Xing narrated what happened the previous day and observed Xiang Shu’s expression. He thought that Xiang Shu should be a tight-lipped person; he wasn’t someone who spoke much in the first place after all. For some reason, he has always felt that he could be at ease telling Xiang Shu about what he knows.
“There’s a lead on the person who tried to kill you?” After Xiang Shu listened to Chen Xing’s narration, he suddenly asked this.
“No,” Chen Xing answered, “Could it have been dispatched by the Feng family?”
“Impossible.” Xiang Shu rejected without even thinking about it.
“Why?” Chen Xing said, “After seeing that they couldn’t convince me, they could have decided to kill me in order to silence me……”
Xiang Shu answered, “Because the Feng family knows that you were taken away by me, so they wouldn’t take action that night. Otherwise, they would just be inviting trouble for themselves.”
Chen Xing pondered, “Then who would it be?”
But after thinking about it carefully, it shouldn’t be Feng Qianyi, because the shadow assassin was obviously some kind of yao. Since Feng Qianyi couldn’t activate his family heirloom knife, he naturally wouldn’t have the ability to enslave that kind of yao.
Chen Xing and Xiang Shu looked at each other; it was as if the Heart Lamp’s power let them know each other’s thoughts.
The only possibility is……
That mysterious group who had already targeted them.
“‘They’ are in Chang’an City?” Chen Xing murmured.
“Isn’t that clear to you yet?” Xiang Shu answered, “You were acting too rashly!”
Chen Xing shrugged, “Firstly, before I came down the mountain, I had no idea that there would be a group of guys like that who would be conspiring to do this and that in the human world, and that they wanted to overturn the Divine Land. Secondly, when I said I was an exorcist, you didn’t stop me either, Lord Protector……”
Xiang Shu said coldly, “I’m not a Protector, I just want to find out the truth.”
Chen Xing, “Okay. Let’s take a step back. What’s the use of acting like a Zhuge Liang after everything happened? You……” As he spoke, he studied Xiang Shu, and asked curiously for the first time, “Why are you so persistent about understanding the inside story of the drought fiends?”
Xiang Shu answered his question with silence.
This chapter is migrated and/or formatted by our fellow chicken enthusiast(s), kee.