Chapter 24: Deal
As they exited the northern territory, Qiu Xing gazed at her master with admiration. After a while, she seemed to remember something.
“Young master, you promised to play matchmaker is part of the agreement, but will you succeed?”
“How could I not? Brother Du already has feelings for Aman, so I’ll merely just be fanning the flames.”
Qiu Xing stopped in her steps, her expression serious. “My lady, you really don’t feel anything towards young master Du at all?
Ye Yin paused at being addressed as “my lady” for a moment. Those four girls must have been secretly gossipping about this. He straightened and looked Qiu Xing in the eye.
“Qiu Xing, listen up, because I’m only saying this once. In this lifetime, Du Luo will only be my friend!”
Ye Yin gazed into the distance, his voice low. “He is not a good man.”
“Huh?” Qiu Xing’s mouth was wide open. Ye Yin laughed, serious as he said, “Du Luo is not a good man for women. He can become your most faithful friend, but he will never become a good husband. He is a lone wolf at birth. To him, his friend’s lives are first and his is second, third is wine, and then women is at best ranked fourth. The woman who marries him will definitely suffer, because he is not the kind of man who will take care of his family. To him, women are like clothes, disposable.”
“What?! Young master Du is a really good person though!”
“Yes, he is a good person, he is loyal to his friends to a fault, but if you fell for him, you would not feel this way. Alas, the heavens made him so. No one can change him. Aman will definitely suffer.”
“B-but you’re trying to help them get together? Won’t Chief Aman…”
“You pity her?” Ye Yin smiled. “She does not need your pity. Who told her to fall for brother Du? This is her own choice. Whether the future be bitter or sweet, she will have to endure it. Whoever loves the other more loses. They will suffer more. But I think as long as Aman can be with Du Luo, she will endure hardships gladly!”
After a while, Qiu Xing thought of something else.
“Right, young master, when did young master Du contact you? How come I didn’t know?”
“Who told you brother Du contacted me?”
“Didn’t you tell Chief Aman…” Seeing Ye Yin smiling wryly at her, Xiu Qing paused. She muttered, “Young master, did you lie to Chief Aman?”
“Who said I lied?” Ye Yin rolled his eyes. “Don’t you think brother Du would definitely come to help me if he knew I was going to attack Zhi (郅) city?”
Xiu Qing nodded repeatedly. “Of course!”
“Then I didn’t lie! Brother Du would definitely come to help me. But, he has to first find me, which is somewhat difficult. In his last letter, it said he would take a few months until he would reach Dongling. It will take an even longer time to find me. By then, I should have already have Zhi (郅) city in the palm of my hands.
Ye Yin had a sly smile. “I told Aman if brother Du knew I was going to attack Zhi (郅) city, he would definitely come to help me, but I didn’t say he would be able to make it. Because Aman was flustered, she didn’t notice, so I didn’t trick her. I just didn’t mention a few things.”
What, clearly you’re trying to trick Chief Aman. Also… young master, you sure are crafty, Qiu Xing thought to herself. As they continued on their way back to Wutian, Qiu Xing sympathized with Aman. When she talked with the young master, she would have to be more alert. Poor Aman, with merely a few sentences, she was tricked into lending a couple thousand troops! Young master sure was cunning!
Having successfully borrowed troops, Ye Yin was very happy. However, he did not know that the person who had helped him – Du Luo – was now in prison because of himself, in imminent danger.
Dongling, Prime Minister residence.
Du Luo leaned against a wall, many thoughts crossing his mind. He had already been locked here for three days. For those past three days, besides the person who sent food, no one else came. No one even came to interrogate him. He didn’t know whether or not that person had died or not and was simply stuck here, which left him unsatisfied.
He had come for justice, for the one who could drink with him merrily, the one he could talk with until the end of time, the one he had not see in a year. They had been like Yin and Yang. It was all because of that man, the owner of this residence – the acclaimed prime minister of Dongling, Ren Fengyao.
Recalling that refined, jade-like man, Du Luo felt a surge of anger. If it weren’t for that man, how could that woman who smiled like the flower, free as the wind, perish so early? If it weren’t for that man, that confident, unaffected woman would still be able to roam the land with him. If it weren’t for that man…
Truthfully, the one Du Luo hated the most was himself. If he had returned earlier, couldn’t he have prevented everything? If he had returned earlier, would she have died? If he had returned earlier, would she have married such a weak scholar and been tormented by others? With her personality, how would she have married someone, especially this kind of man? Du Luo could not understand. Her talent, her dream of roaming free under the heavens, was cut short by that man, so he hated that man, the one who had ruined his best friend!
“I am going to investigate him personally! Without my order, no one can touch him!” This was the man’s last words before he fell over. It was why no one had spoken with him the last three days while he was in this stone room. That man should only be interrogate him after he’s dead. He knew clearly how deep the sword strike had been. The likelihood the man would survive was close to nill.
Once that man died, he would not be able to live either, but it was worth it. He had avenged his best friend and he had no regrets left. He only hoped that in his next life, she and him would become sworn brothers again!
Yes, sworn brothers. She shouldn’t have been born as a woman. With her talent, she shouldn’t be reborn as a woman, she…
“Get up!” Du Luo looked up at the source of the voice. It was the cold faced fellow who had always been at that man’s side, probably his bodyguard. Du Luo knew that the cold faced fellow had very powerful martial arts. He had been blocked by him, but a step too late, resulting in one serious stab.
Du Luo laughed. “What? Going to kill me? Did that Ren whatever die yet?”
Leng Canxing’s eyes flared, glaring fiercely at Du Luo. “If senior brother hadn’t said he would personally interrogate you, I would have already…” Leng Canxing didn’t finish. He turned to the guard. “Bring him out!”
Du Luo was brought to a room that smelled thickly of medicine. Summer breeze blew, bringing with it the smell of flowers, but it seemed the person inside feared the wind, his window bound shut. Not only that, there was even a brazier inside. Under the light of the flickering candle, Du Luo eyed the man who had been stabbed by him. He sat on a brocaded couch calmly, watching him. He hadn’t died?!
Ren Fengyao sat lazily, his pitch black eyes contrasting from his white as a sheet face. Du Luo’s eyes slitted. The man looked completely harmless, a beautiful gentleman, but in the end, he was the cause of little Qi’s death.
“Please sit!” Ren Fengyao’s expression was very placid, his tone also calm, as if he were talking to a friend, like he had forgotten that Du Luo had almost killed him three days prior.
Du Luo quietly sat down in front of Ren Fengyao, his eyes slits. “Aren’t you afraid I’ll try to kill you again? Although my inner strength has been sealed and my martial arts controled, killing a sickly person such as you is very easy.”
“I am! It is because I am afraid that I want to know why you want to kill me. We do not seem to have any hatred between us, we don’t even know each other. Why do you want to kill me?”
Ren Fengyao sized up Du Luo. Du Luo did not have any unusual facial features with faint whiskers of a beard and the way he dressed seemed unconventional, but he seemed to have a natural charm, a kind and reliable aura. He was definitely the kind of person who was loyal to his friends. But currently, he looked apathetic.
Du Luo laughed coldly. “Do I need need a reason?”
Ren Fengyao paused. A smile surfaced. “Indeed, you do not.”
The room fell silent. Just as Du Luo thought it was over, Ren Fengyao continued, “That night, you said you were avenging her. Were you talking about Ye-er*?”
*Reminder: -er suffix is a form of endearment. Last time it appeared was chapter 2 I think
“Ye-er?” Du Luo’s originally apathetic tone turned emotional. “Don’t call her name with such intimacy, you’re not worthy enough! You murderer!”
“Murderer? Who said I murdered her?” Ren Fengyao said in a low voice. “I didn’t, I haven’t killed her!”
“Humph!” Du Luo sneered. “You think I’m blaming you for no reason? You think I didn’t investigate? Did you even speak with her after she married you? Do you know how much she was wronged?”
“I’ve heard from Canxing that you are the well known ‘Storm Blade’ Du Luo, surnamed Du. Did she never tell you about our agreement?”
“Agreement? What agreement?”
Seeing Du Luo’s baffled appearance, Ren Fengyao suddenly smiled. “Nothing, it was nothing important. Because she suffered many wrongs after marrying me, you determined I was the cause of her death?”
“I also investigated the hunting ground incident. She was shot down by an arrow, but was that arrow truly intended for her?”
“What do you mean?” Ren Fengyao continued to smile.
“She was raised as a weak young lady indoors with no chance of offending others. Who would try to kill such a weak young girl at the heavily guarded royal hunting grounds? Instead..”
“Instead it was I,” Ren Fengyao finished for him, “offending many people as prime minister, so that arrow was intended for me, but it hit Ye-er instead on accident, or Ye-er was sacrificed, correct?”
Du Luo did not respond, but his expression said this was indeed the case. Ren Fengyao lowered his gaze, saying softly, “Alright! Let’s say your assumptions are correct. What right do you have to avenge her? Don’t forget, no matter what, I am her husband!”
“Friend! I! Am! Her! Friend!” Du Luo spat each word out, sneering. “You said you’re her husband? Are you worthy? Little Qi never had any happiness after marrying you, did you ever act as her husband? Did you take care of her? How can you shamelessly claim to be her husband?”
Ren Fengyao did not respond. Instead, he smiled. “If you are Ye-er’s good friend, then you must understand her very well. You said she is a weak young lady, but is she?”
Du Luo was alarmed seeing Ren Fengyao’s meaningful smile. “What do you mean?”
“With your understanding of her, you really think she’s dead?” Ren Fengyao continued to smile at Du Luo. Du Luo froze.
“Brother Du, you should be very smart. Did you never think that perhaps she created a trap? Do you think she would die that easily?”
Du Luo’s gaze sharpened. He stared fixedly at Ren Fengyao. “Are you saying she faked her death?”
“I can tell you what I know, but…” Ren Fengyao paused, smiling charmingly. “Why don’t we make a deal?”
Du Luo’s eyes became slits. “Speak!”
These same words were now said again three days later, although the person in question had not changed. Du Luo never would have thought that three days ago, he had also been used as part of a deal.