"Just say the word, and I will promise you anything. Whatever you ask me to do, I will do it."
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The visitor took off their mask and hood, showing his bright eyes, red lips, and white teeth. He said with a smile, “I’ve found you at last!”
“Tuoba Yan?” Chen Xing didn’t expect he would be able to meet Tuoba Yan here. He immediately dismounted his horse and ran over quickly. Tuoba Yan also got off his horse, laughed heartily, and embraced Chen Xing.
“I heard that The Great Chanyu took you back here to Chi Le Chuan,” Tuoba Yan said, “I asked for His Majesty’s permission to come here and find you.”
Chen Xing hurriedly motioned to the crowd that this was his friend. The Rouran cavalry’s faces quickly changed when they heard the words. They saluted and left one after another.
“Celebrating the Autumn Close Festival?” Tuoba Yan looked around.
The little discontent in Chen Xing’s heart was now swept away by the arrival of Tuoba Yan. Once again seeing a friend, he was now filled with joy. He laughed and said: “Yes, why did you travel so far without sending any letters first? Are you alone?”
Tuoba Yan nodded, and putting his hand on Chen Xing’s shoulder, he led his horse slowly towards Chi Le Chuan while asking, “How are you doing? They respected you so deeply, is it because of the Great Chanyu?”
“Him?” Chen Xing sneered, gave him a rough sketch of what had happened these past few days, then asked, “Should I get someone call Xiang Shu?”
Tuoba Yan felt a little worried. He looked at the distance, then back at Chen Xing.
“How is the court?” Chen Xing asked again, “Is there anything I can do for you?”
Tuoba Yan brought news regarding the Central Plains. Actually, there was nothing special. After Xiang Shu and Chen Xing left, Fu Jian returned to Weiyang Palace, and the drought fiends scurried away in confusion. The almost-destroyed Weiyang Palace nearly made Fu Jian vomit up blood. He had to rebuild it as soon as possible. Murong Chong stayed overnight in the palace, and in the end, he was persuaded by Fu Jian to not come and make trouble with Xiang Shu for the time being.
With only one condition: Arrest Feng Qianjun and hand him over to Murong’s family to be taken care of.
From what Fu Jian and the rest of the civil and martial officials understood, it was quite clear that Murong’s family now held a big grudge against Xiang Shu. The only reason they didn’t push the issue with Xiang Shu was just because they feared the Ancient Covenant behind him. After all, every single Hu had all been in a ‘you-kill-me-I-kill-you’ mode for so many years, fighting and killing each other in a never-ending cycle. After entering the pass, they still held onto much animosity and deep hatred. Knowing that Xiang Shu had such a big power behind him, Fu Jian’s only hope was only to try calming things down for now. They would get a chance to fix things later.
But still, in order to preserve Murong Chong’s face, and because Princess Qinghe’s death was shady and couldn’t be explained to the whole world, Fu Jian issued an arrest warrant to hunt Feng Qianjun down.
“He already left,” Chen Xing said.
“I know,” Tuoba Yan answered. “Later, I asked His Majesty for a writ of amnesty. At that time, the one who did it was the Great Chanyu, and the one who plotted it was the Feng’s family, but it had nothing to do with you... I also already informed Murong Chong’s side, you can rest assured.”
Chen Xing was slightly confused and just nodded his head, thanking him.
Tuoba Yan spoke: “I said that I wished to bring you back, and His Majesty told me to come and talk to you myself.”
“Where to?” Chen Xing asked.
“Back to Chang’an.” Tuoba Yan said, “Don’t you want to go back? With me, nobody would dare trouble you.”
Chen Xing suddenly understood, and he laughed. Tuoba Yan lowered his head slightly and looked at him seriously. With the space between his eyebrows showing his youthful spirit, Chen Xing felt he was very cute.
“Have a drink?” Chen Xing said, “They’re celebrating a holiday. The wine is delicious.”
“Good!” Tuoba Yan quickly spoke, “I haven’t been to the Autumn Close Festival for a long time!”
Chen Xing took Tuoba Yan back to the venue. After drinking, all tribes had started to trip over and fall down, talking about love and speaking in endearments. Other than the autumn harvest, the Autumn Close Festival also served as a means for those bold young men and women ‘to love each other’. The Hu men began to chase after the women, doing things they dared not do normally and saying things they dared not say normally. The atmosphere was really quite charming at times. Standing in front of a table full of wine, the ten thousand flirtatious feelings under Chi Le Chuan could truly be felt.
Chen Xing took some wine and gave it to Tuoba Yan to drink. Contrary to his expectations, Tuoba Yan had good tolerance. Carrying the wine jar, he went to the riverside, and under a tree, he first drank half a jar, then looked at Chen Xing. His face was red.
“Tianchi,” Tuoba Yan said, “I have something to say to you. Since that day in the royal study, when His Majesty mentioned to you... mentioned that... following that event, I’ve been thinking for a long time.”
Chen Xing naturally understood what Tuoba Yan truly meant. Else, why would he still chase him all the way to Chi Le Chuan even after they had left Chang’an? It was nothing much if he had only wanted to send word from Fu Jian, but the first sentence he said after meeting him was “I came to find you,” and not anything else. This truly touched Chen Xing’s heart.
“I know what you’re trying to say.” Chen Xing laughed, “Come, say it.”
Chen Xing took the initiative to take Tuoba Yan’s wine jar and drink it. Tuoba Yan was stunned by Chen Xing.
“You’re really beautiful,” Tuoba Yan said with a smile. “Tianchi, come home with me, ba. I’ve always wanted to get married to someone like you. Just say the word, and I will promise you anything. Whatever you ask me to do, I will do it."
“Tuoba-xiong,” Chen Xing sighed and looked straight into Tuoba Yan’s eyes, “Thank you for coming from a thousand miles away for me. When leaving Chang’an, there’s one thing I forgot. That is, to return this to you.”
Then, Chen Xing poured a bit of honey wine on the top of his hand, took off the ring that was given to him by Tuoba Yan, and then handed it out to him.
Tuoba Yan was silent. Chen Xing took his hand and put the ring in the palm of his hand.
“Alright,” Tuoba Yan said.
“Give it to someone else ba,” Chen Xing said. “Give it to a person which, as soon as you see them, makes you think that in all your life, if it’s not them, there won’t be anybody else.”
“You are that person,” Tuoba Yan said.
“No,” Chen Xing said with a smile, “I’m not. I just happen to be an individual that is in line with the one in your mind; the person you feel is 'right' and the one you think you should marry, nothing more.”
Tuoba Yan was puzzled and looked at Chen Xing, his eyebrows furrowing slightly. Chen Xing, with a touch of melancholy, continued: “You don’t understand. You ought to give this ring to that one person who... makes your heart pound uncontrollably whenever you see them, and you will always try to find more reasons to talk to them. When you see them with someone else, you will feel uncomfortable. When you see them sad, you won’t be able to bear it. When they smile at you, you will feel very happy and awfully cheerful.
“Instead of being with someone else, everyone thinks you and them should get married. They will also fit all of the characteristics of the person you want to spend your entire life with. Therefore, you should be together with them, because the one who is destined to be with you, is exactly them.”
Chen Xing raised his eyebrows and smiled. At that moment, he suddenly understood the odd feeling that was pressing down on his heart.
“I don’t understand,” Tuoba Yan was a little sad, his eyebrows now tightly furrowed.
Chen Xing explained: “It doesn’t matter. Just promise you will always remember what I said. One day, you will probably understand.”
Tuoba Yan didn’t overstep his limit. Between the two men, there were only breathing sounds, and nobody spoke anymore.
At last, Tuoba Yan said, “Okay.”
“Shall I walk you back?” Chen Xing spoke again. “For the time being, I don’t want to return yet. Xiang Shu had promised me...”
“It would be better if you don’t let the Rourans see him because otherwise, there would be a murder case.” Suddenly, Xiang Shu’s voice could be heard from behind a tree. Chen Xing was startled and furious: “You eavesdropped on our conversation!”
As a man who practiced martial arts, Tuoba Yan seemed to have long known that Xiang Shu was hiding behind a tree, stating: “Great Chanyu, sorry to have disturbed you.”
“What now?” Chen Xing said, “You treat your guests either by making them clean the room or by murdering them, does the Chi Le Covenant still have any etiquette left?”
“The Tuoba clan, on behalf of the country, once captured several thousand Rourans, making them slaves,” Xiang Shu came out from behind a tree. He had already changed back into his king’s robe. He told Chen Xing, “The Rourans have already become drunk. If they know who he is, I can’t say for sure, but they may just draw a knife to stab your boyfriend. Forgive me if I am unable to stop them then.”
“It doesn’t matter,” Tuoba Yan put on the ring and said to Chen Xing, “knowing that you’re safe and sound, I will leave now.”
“Hold on,” Chen Xing said, “stay here for a few days ba, you’ve come a long way...”
“Go back and tell Jian Tou,” Xiang Shu told Tuoba Yan, “Guwang doesn’t have any time to send anything to him these days, and also tell him to behave himself. If I ever hear of any turmoil happening in the Central Plains again, who knows, if he can’t even guard his own capital, I wouldn’t mind putting those Xianbei in order for him.”
Tuoba Yan replied: “I’ll certainly bring word to him.” With that, he got on his horse and galloped away. Chen Xing ran out a few steps, intending to stop him, but Xiang Shu caught hold of his arm.
“Xiang Shu, you let me go... Tuoba Yan!” shouted Chen Xing.
Tuoba Yan looked back at Chen Xing, and he suddenly smiled. There was a hint of bitterness in that smile, but it was covered up very well, and again, he shouted at him.
“Tianchi!” Tuoba Yan shouted, “Until we meet again!”
Chen Xing could only sigh. He shook off Xiang Shu’s arm and glared at him.
Xiang Shu knitted his brows: “I only went back to change my clothes. Where did you run to?”
Chen Xing: “How could you eavesdrop on us?!”
Xiang Shu: “I was only passing by and heard you two drinking under a tree... Chi Le Chuan is my territory, I can be anywhere I want. Who gave you the guts to ask that?”
Chen Xing: “You...”
Chen Xing walked ahead while practically spitting anger, and Xiang Shu immediately followed him, keeping the right distance. With that, the two men went back to Autumn Close Festival’s venue. Xiang Shu snarled: “You dare vent your anger on this Great Chanyu?!”
Chen Xing: “What? Want to hit me again? Bring it!”
Unexpectedly, Xiang Shu stopped, scrutinized Chen Xing, and frowned: “What’s wrong with you? Why are you this angry? If you don’t want to stay, just get lost! Follow Tuoba Yan back to Chang’an!
Cheng Xing took a deep breath; he was at his wit’s end. He pushed Xiang Shu forward. Xiang Shu didn’t even budge. Chen Xing was angry, shouting: “Bastard! You damn bastard!” He spoke while leaning on one side, ramming his shoulder against Xiang Shu. Xiang Shu was still like a stone rooted deep in the ground. He looked at him with a sarcastic face and pushed him aside using no real effort. Chen Xing, who was pushed aside, stumbled, and nearly fell to the ground.
Xiang Shu grabbed his wrist once again, Chen Xing immediately felt pain and screamed: “Aiya, aiya!” Right at the time when Xiang Shu was about to hit him, a shout came from nearby.
It was Che Luofeng. He was drunk, but his eyes were red, ignited with fury. Behind him were hundreds of Rouran cavalry, each orderly dressed in armor.
“Where is Xianbei’s Tuoba clan?!” Che Luofeng said, “Divine Doctor! Hand over your friend!”
I love Tuoba Yan… he’s such a cinnamon roll… huhuhuhu I kinda feel bad for him.
This chapter is migrated and/or formatted by our fellow chicken enthusiast(s), namio and Caro.