Chapter 41: Confession
Three days after Nangong Piaoran left, Hua Jianli was at the imperial palace of An city in West Zhi for the new emperor to ascend the throne. The news quickly traveled to Ye Yin. Along with the news came an urgent letter pleading for Ye Yin to hurry to An city in order to become prime minister.
When he finished reading the letter, Ye Yin smiled silently. He wrote a brief letter saying he could not go, and then sent the letter off on a pigeon.
Hua Jianli was definitely panicking, otherwise he wouldn’t ask him to come personally. This was the reason why he had not gone to An city. He only hoped that Hua Jianli would be unaware forever, otherwise with his personality, he would definitely blame himself, which would affect the new dynasty. He did not want Hua Jianli to feel guilt either. He had few friends and did not want one of his true friends to live forever blaming himself. Fortunately he had already passed on the important government decrees to Hua Jianli early on. However, there were still a few more he had to write, he just didn’t know if he had enough time left.
Watching the pigeon fly away, Ye Yin sighed deeply.
When Rouge entered, Ye Yin was lying by the window sill on an embroidered couch, reading a book. His head was partially tilted, his hair still yet to be combed, hanging a little disheveled behind him. His hand that was holding the book appeared pale and weak. Blue veins protruded conspicuously against his pale skin.
“Drink some medicine!” Rouge lowered her gaze, trying to hide her worry.
Ye Yin obediently drank the medicine in one gulp. He looked at his own hand, laughing derisively at himself. “Who knows if I’ll last until Nangong Piaoran returns.”
Rouge grasped his hand. “If you know you’re unhealthy, then why don’t you rest? Do you want to shorten your life?”
Ye Yin laughed. “I don’t have much time left, I’m afraid, so I want to do things I’ve been meaning to do.”
Rouge’s eyes flashed with pain. She said with difficulty, “You will be fine.”
“Rouge, do you hate me?” This thought had lingered on the back of his mind, but he had never had the courage to ask.
Rouge froze. After a long time, she shook her head. “No! I have never hated you.”
Ye Yin’s eyes filled with grief. His unease was nearly imperceptible. “Rouge, you should blame me. Did you know that day you didn’t have to have been… I could have saved you, but I didn’t. I sacrificed you for my own objectives. Rouge, I am sorry! I know that whatever I do, I can’t make up for my wrongs. I…”
“Is that why you blocked that sword for me?” Rouge asked calmly. “Actually, I already knew everything.
Ye Yin froze. Rouge spoke slowly, “I heard overheard your conversation with young master Hua that day. I originally wanted to ask you a question, but…”
Ye Yin smiled bitterly. “So you heard everything. But you still don’t blame me?”
Rouge shook her head again. “I don’t. I never have.”
Ye Yin lowered his gaze and fell silent. For a moment, all was silent.
A gust of wind blew. Outside, the tree leaves rustled. A few fluttered to the ground. The osmanthus flowers had already withered. Although their fragrance remained in the courtyard, the temperature had dropped greatly.
Rouge walked over and closed the window. “It’s cold, stop sitting next to the window so often. It’s very easy to get sick. Your body can’t withstand that right now.
Ye Yin nodded. “Rouge, I heard that after I was wounded, it was you who took care of my wounds. Do you have medical knowledge?”
Rouge poured a cup of tea for Ye Yin before speaking. “I learned from my maternal grandfather. My grandfather used to be an imperial physician and was very skilled, but unfortunately, he did not know how to treat animal illnesses.” Rouge’s gaze turned somewhat sad. After a while, she resumed: “You already know my past, except perhaps you didn’t know my maternal grandfather was an imperial physician. My two grandfathers were good friends. Because he hated being restricted, with my fraternal grandfather’s help, he was able to be reassigned to the countryside. However, Chu Feiye slaughtered my entire family for a military achievement. Grandfather was able to secretly smuggle me out. He never wanted me to take revenge, because I, a powerless girl, would not be able to even touch Chu Feiye. So I listened to his words and lived peacefully in the countryside, but later… After grandfather was killed by Qi Chengfeng, I lived only for revenge.”
“Rouge, your grandfather taught you well.” Seeing Rouge try to contain her anguish, Ye Yin didn’t know what to say.
Suddenly, Rouge smiled. “Do you know what I was first thinking about in that room after you brought me here?”
“You…” Ye Yin shook his head.
“I was thinking about you!” Rouge looked Ye Yin in the eye. “I was thinking with my ruined body, would you still want me?”
Ye Yin’s mouth dropped open. Rouge giggled seeing his flabbergasted expression. “I liked you, you didn’t know? The first time I saw you, it was night and you were dressed in white. You seemed like you had descended from the sky. It was the first time there was a ripple in my heart. I admired your manner of speaking when you discussed with me how we were to collaborate, your refined expression. I agreed in part because I had been won over by your graceful bearing. Later, I genuinely fell for you because of your 《Harmonious Water Song》poem. When you asked me that day if I liked you, I really wanted to say yes, but I couldn’t at the time. Later, when you said I didn’t need to serve Chu Feiye, I was overjoyed. I thought that if I remained pure, I could be worthy of you, but…”
“Ever since you brought me here, I did not dare to face you, because I knew I was not worthy of you any more. With your bearing, looks, and talent, you would definitely attract many women, while I was nothing. However, I was still unresigned. I wanted to ask you if I could just remain at your side even without any status. As long as I could remain at your side! But the day I overheard you discussing with Hua Jianli, I felt despair.”
Ignoring Ye Yin’s wide eyes and gaping mouth, Rouge continued, “Knowing that you hadn’t been willing to save me, I lost hope, because that meant I was not in your heart, otherwise you would not let another man violate me, but… But I didn’t blame you, I couldn’t bear to blame you, the person I loved. They say that a woman in love turns foolish. Day and night, I was at a loss for if you liked me, but I never worked up the courage to ask. I preferred you protecting me, making me food, because that way I could continue on thinking you liked me. I thought that the days would pass peacefully like this, but…”
Rouge shook her head and did not say another word. Meanwhile, Ye Yin was thoroughly flabbergasted!
He continued to watch Rouge with wide eyes. He could not respond, thoroughly shocked by her words. Was this a confession? He was being confessed to by a woman? This… this… could he refuse?
Rouge laughed quietly at Ye Yin’s gloomy expression. Her burdened heart finally relaxed. This youth who was always prepared for everything in advance could have such an expression? Wasn’t he very calculative? Shouldn’t he have planned for her feelings? She had suffered for him mentally, wrought with emotions, but today, it was he who suffered!
Rouge stood up, hiding away the glee in her eyes. She said softly, “You should go rest! I will prepare your dinner. Also, my real name is Xie Lanzhi, not Rouge.”
Rouge, no, Xie Lanzhi left. Ye Yin continued to be in a daze. He simply could not process Xie Lanzhi’s words. Whether in this life or his past life, he never expected for a woman’s confession. Was he too successful at becoming manly?
Ye Yin continued to be in a daze. Only when Du Luo came did he come to his senses. When he saw Ye Yin’s gloomy expression, Du Luo asked curiously, “Little Qi, what’s wrong with you? Why do you have such an expression?”
Ye Yin didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. He shook his head and muttered, “It’s nothing, I was just shocked by something.”
“Shocked?” Du Luo was perplexed. “Little Qi, you’re also capable of being shocked? Let’s hear it, who shocked you? What shocked you?”
Ye Yin shook his head. He couldn’t tell Du Luo that he had been shocked by Rouge’s confession. He would laugh to death!
His mouth twitched a few times before he couldn’t help but change the topic. “Brother Du, how is Aman?”
This kid was trying to change the topic? Whatever shocked him must have been embarrassing and pretty big. What could it have been? Here, there was only him and Rouge. But what could Rouge have said that shocked him so much?
Seeing Du Luo only blink and watch him, Ye Yin knew that Du Luo was definitely skeptical. He coughed. “Brother Du, stop trying to guess. It was nothing.”
Nothing? Nothing could make you have such an expression? Du Luo smirked. Although this kid would never say something he didn’t want to… when there’s a will, there’s a way! “Little Qi, how was your day?”
“So-so, not good but not bad either,” Ye Yin replied calmly. His condition worsened day by day and he didn’t know whether he could last until Nangong Piaoran returned, but he didn’t want to worry Du Luo.
Du Luo frowned deeply. Every day, he would ask Ye Yin about his condition, but every time, Ye Yin would calmly respond with “so-so.” They were both carefully avoiding the sensitive subject. Ye Yin spoke as if he was really alright, but Du Luo knew his condition was definitely worsening. Although he always laughed quietly, every day, his body was thinner, his energy more gone, but Du Luo could do nothing about it.
“Brother Du, you still haven’t told me about Aman!” Ye Yin understood Du Luo’s silence, but he didn’t want his friend to continue to worry. If he had to face death, then so be it. He didn’t fear dying a second time. It was just a pity that there were still many things he wished to do.
“Why are you so calm? Little Qi, I doubt with your young age that you view death lightly. We all know that your body is worsening. Every day, you are one step closer to death. Why are you not even the slightest bit afraid? Little Qi, I wish you would be like a normal person and fear death. With such a calm expression, you really look like you’re just waiting for death. Little Qi, you can’t be this thoughtless!” Du Luo proclaimed. His voice was constrained with anguish.
“A normal person? Am I not normal?” Ye Yin laughed slowly. “Brother Du, I am not thoughtless. I know you are worried about me, but what use is fear? Every person must face death. I am just facing it a bit earlier, that’s all. If I must die, I just hope I’m greeting it with a smile, not with vengeance. Vengeance will only leave my close ones in pain, so I would rather be calm. Actually, brother Du, death is just another beginning. When you die, you are reborn, perhaps in another world. Why are you afraid?”
Du Luo froze. He lowered his gaze. “Little Qi, even if you’re not afraid, I am. I’m really afraid that tomorrow, when I come to see you, you will already be… Little Qi, you must persevere until Nangong Piaoran brings the medicine, okay?”
“Okay!” Ye Yin lowered his head, hiding the sadness in his eyes. He would try to survive so long as the heavens gave him the chance.
Du Luo stood up, his gaze distant. Perhaps relying on only Nangong Piaoran was not enough. Had that person learned of the news yet? Although he didn’t like that man, he hoped that this time, that man was really as almighty as the rumors said.