Chapter 39: Collusion.
The western market was filled with people old and young alike. Many came in pairs as they strolled through the brightly lit marketplace together, while many eventually gathered at a booth beside the river.
River lanterns of all kinds were sold at the booth. Wishes would be scribbled down on a piece of paper and inserted into the lantern before releasing it into the river.
Yan Luan, whose arms were full with a magnificent river lantern, stared curiously at the river littered with the beautiful lanterns, while the two brothers stood like bodyguards on both side of her.
“Do you like it?” Yan Jing grinned slightly at her stiffed shoulders as he stroked her head tenderly, while Yan Dao gripped her hand tightly with his, silently protecting her and vowing to himself that he would not allow her to go missing among the crowd.
“It’s so beautiful…” Her eyes gleamed as she nodded slightly, and after giving it a little thought, she scribbled down some words inside her paper – [Safe and sound].
Jiang FuYuan was right, instead of trying to avoid their destined lives and about the fated deaths of the people around her, why not live life as it is and hope for the best? From the bottom of her heart, she hoped that she and her brothers would stay safe and not live a life burdened by the views of society.
She rolled her paper tightly together before sneaking a peek at both of her brothers’ papers, both were filled with tiny words, but she could not see the words clearly as it was dark.
“Don’t peek!” Yan Dao stumbled in panic as he quickly hid his paper as soon as he realized that she was trying to look at his paper, his childish demeanor quickly resulted in a fit of giggles from her.
Later on, the siblings placed their papers carefully into the river lantern before releasing it into the river, and as Yan Luan stood by the river, she sighed softly at the disappearing light from their lantern as it floated away, only looking away when the lantern was clearly out of sight as it joined the others in the crowded river.
“My wish, please come true,” She whispered under her breath a final time, but immediately blushing furiously as she realized that both men had been staring intently at her, “L…Let’s go back.”
“No rush.” They grinned slightly before leading her back into the market, where she would then go on a shopping spree, with two strong men in tow to carry her goods. Both of them took her around the market in glee, not minding at all that they were among the common folks as they introduced her to countless fascinating items and accessories.
And it was on this very day that Yan Luan had finally come to terms with her brothers, and that they weren’t as bad as she had thought them to be.
It was already almost midnight and past curfew when the siblings returned home, with Yan Luan still speaking of the various events in the market as her brothers looked on, smiling and occasionally replying to her excitement as they carried her shopping loots. Their eyes were tender and warm as they watched her, though once again, Yan Luan had not noticed the look in their eyes.
The weather was warmest in June, and the date of departure was set in mid-June. Yan Luan had attended this grand occasion, and truth be told, it was overly-extravagant, it was no wonder that many weren’t in favor of this trip, while many more tried to be included in it.
She had bid her farewells to Princess YongKang, her mother, who was assigned to be part of the group due to her status in court. After that, she had then returned to the family villa, alone, as both of her brothers had been sent to their uncle’s place to study the ways of governance and court-issues.
Yan Luan had kept herself in her room for days, and after overhearing about the forest behind the villa, she decided to explore the place with her handmaidens in tow.
“What flower is this?” She asked curiously as she gazed upon the various wildflowers on the ground before picking up a hand-full of snow-white petals in her palms. The petals resembled plum blossom flowers, but at the same time, there were some resembles with pear flowers too.
‘These are white camellias.” The voice which responded to her question did not belong to her handmaiden, but to a familiar voice of a man. Yan Luan spun around in confusion at the deep voice, only to see the handsome Wang AnZhi standing underneath a nearby tree as he waved his fan at her.
“Ah, it’s you, it’s a surprise seeing you here too.” She nodded at him politely, but a sudden breeze arose at this exact moment, causing her long dress to flutter elegantly, like an angel who had fallen to earth.
Without realizing it, Wang AnZhi had released his grip on his fan as he stared at the mesmerizing view.
Crash! He jumped in shock at the loud crash but quickly recollected himself as he realized how rude and awkward he had been just moments before.
“My family’s villa is nearby too, and it had been a custom of mine to come here every year during the camellia season,” He replied quietly as he tried to calm down his heart, which was beating too loudly within his chest.
His gaze was scorching, and it wasn’t her first time seeing the flame within his eyes, but still, it was not something she could reciprocate.
“In that case, I shall not take up more of your time.” Her smile was polite and estranging as she kept her mind on keeping the distance between them, before picking up her skirt and leaving the place swiftly.
“Wait… Have I offended WengZhu in any way?” Wang AnZhi was filled with disappointment and sorrow, but his eyes cleared up quickly as he stepped in front of the escaping woman, blocking her tiny figure with his huge frame.
Yan Luan jumped back in surprise as her smile faded slightly from her delicate face, “Your concerns were uncalled for, I only wish to return as I’m not feeling well.”
“Is that so?” His voice turned chilly in an instant as his sharp gaze landed on her face momentarily, before slightly narrowing his eyes dangerously as they landed on her exposed collarbone.
Yan Luan felt as if every single hair on her body was upright at his intense stare, quickly noticing that something was wrong, she glanced down at her collarbone, vaguely seeing the faint love-marks that Yan Jing had left on her yesterday.
She opened her unused fan instantly, blocking herself from his view as she tried to calm herself down, “I shall take my leave now, my apologies for disturbing your walk.”
Fortunately, Wang AnZhi had not blocked her way this time, as he moved towards the side before staring icily at her disappearing figure, which was so small and so enticing at the same time.
“She’s already long gone, Lord, what use is there to continue staring at her direction?” A figure appeared behind a nearby tree as soon as Yan Luan was out of sight, surprisingly, the figure belonged to a well-dressed Chu YunShang, a huge smile beamed on her overly made-up face as she glanced at Wang AnZhi’s clenched fists.
She hid her annoyance at Yan Luan behind her exquisite fan as she came up with the perfect plan, “Lord, she does not appreciate your kindness, what a waste of your efforts and interest.”
“Do you wish to lose your tongue?” He spun his head around slowly, his eyes filled with a murderous intent unlike his usual cold and gloomy eyes.
Her smile froze instantly at his sudden change in mood, digging her nails into her palms as she forced her next words out, “Why are you angry at me, Lord? Though I do have a proposition, perhaps you might be interested to hear about it?”
“Think about it, Lord, if you can get rid of the entire House Yan and reach that highest and most sought after position… Would she not be fated to become one of your possessions?”
“XianZhu is really brave for suggesting something like this, did you forget your own surname?” Wang AnZhi chuckled coldly at her wild words.
Queen Dowager Chu would’ve been his first target if he decided to go with the plan, and as the Queen Dowager’s favorite neice, Shu YunShang’s ungrateful words made him scoffed with disgust.
Chu YunShang had merely raised her brows nonchalantly at his words, “As long as you can vow that I will be your future imperial queen, and murder both of the Yan brothers, I’m sure I can help you in your path to glory.” She spatted obnoxiously, no longer able to hide her ambitions and hatred from her face.
Wang AnZhi’s eyes gleamed at her words before he reached out a hand towards her chin, roughly turning her head towards the light to examine her vile expressions, he was, in fact, very surprised at her poisonous nature.
“Oh? A mere imperial queen position is of little concern to me, but before that, I would like to confirm XianZhu’s sincerity…”
I’m a lazy bum on non-smut chapters ;w; (I admit to my weakness okkkkk ;w;) But here you go, non-smut + world-building chapters are really difficult to translate, as the author tend to describe it very vaguely ;w;
Anyhow, it’s my birthday today!! Happy birthday me! *cackles madly at my growing age*
But oh? Is this a conspiracy I smell? (´▽｀) I’m lowkey hoping that Wang AnZhi is setting Chu YunShang up in a trap (I really hate that bitch).
Heads up, next chapter is another extra! So I’m assuming it’ll be filled with snuuuuusnuuuu :O
Yan Luan – Title “Mi Yang Weng Zhu”, the daughter of the imperial princess
Yan Jing – Eldest brother of Yan Luan, momentarily thought to be the ‘Legendary instant-cum’.
Yan Dao – Second brother of Yan Luan
Yan Fei – Elder sister of Yan Luan, vicious and revengeful towards her family due to her dead mother, who had been a mistress to Yan Rong. Hated Yan Luan due to her engagement to Emperor QiLing.
Princess YongKang – Aunt of the current emperor, mother to Yan Luan, Yan Jing, Yan Dao and Yan Fei. Holds dominance of the HuaiYin Hou.
Yan Rong – consort of Princess YongKang, father of Yan Luan, Yan Jing, Yan Dao and Yan Fei.
Bian Shi – Childhood friend and illegitimate wife of Yan Rong, mother to Yan Fei. She had been kept in his personal villa for many years as a secret lover, finally given the title of a mistress only after Yan Fei was born. Princess YongKang had somewhat allowed her into HuaiYin Hou, but she had, instead, tried to cause a rift between her husband and the princess, finally resulting in her imminent death on the hands of Princess YongKang.
Emperor QiLing – Current emperor of the dynasty, his full name was Yuan Jun and he was kept in position as a puppet-emperor by his overly-ambitious mother. He had a very weak and sickly body. Yan Luan’s fiancee.
Queen Dowager Chu – Her maiden name was Chu MiaoZi, mother to Emperor QiLing and sister to Lord Chu. She was a manipulative and ambitious woman who seeks to grab the entire dynasty within her palms.
Lord Chu – Title “Guo Jiu”, brother of the current Queen Dowager
(TNote: Guo Jiu means “uncle of the country”, usually bestowed to the emperor’s uncle.)
Lady Chu – Legitimate wife of Lord Chu after his previous legitimate wife passed away
Chu YunShang – Title “Xian Zhu”, daughter of Lord Chu, pampered and loved by the queen dowager
Chu Meng – Brother to Chu YunShang, husband of Yan Fei and fiancee to Princess Hanna.
Jiang FuYuan – the other girl who had drowned together with Yan Luan on the day of the feast.
Lord and Lady Jiang – House Jiang was bestowed the title “Heng Guo Gong”. It is a title of nobility and authority. (TNote: From what I’ve seen, there are usually 4 of these Guo Gong in each country, the position is pretty high, I think it’s right under the Wang title if I’m not mistaken…)
Princess Hanna – youngest princess from the northern country, likes Emperor QiLing but is engaged to Chu Meng (Yan Fei’s husband).
Zhao Yan – Princess YongKang’s loyal personal hand-maiden, sort of like a butler who handles all of her daily affairs and orders.