Let Me Pursue You – Chapter 115
Chapter 115 Extra Story – Past Life – Lu Shi Qing (1)
The twelfth lunar month was the coldest season of the year.
In the bitter wind and rain, Lu Shi Qing bent his legs and half-knelt by the bridge railing, hunching his back. He couldn’t stop coughing, each cough followed by a gulp of cold wind. The cold wind poured into his lungs, irritating his throat intensely, causing him to cough again.
Like this again and again.
Fine rain wetted the clothes the most. The dark purple official robe on his body was almost dyed black. He was not afraid of dirtying his third-grade court uniform, but the note in his hand was dry and clean.
After Zheng Zhuo gave him the note left by Yuan Ci Xian, Lu Shi Qing ordered him to return to the city to avoid being watched. He was the only one on the bridge right now. It was freezing cold, no one else would think of going out.
Lu Shi Qing coughed out of breath, and tried to prop himself up with his elbows, but failed after a couple of attempts, so he simply rolled over and sat down paralyzed with his back against the bridge railing. The cold wind was howling urgently, and it gushed into his sleeves, but luckily the cuffs of the official robe were narrow enough to block most of it.
He tightened his sleeves, and a distant voice seemed to sound in his ears, which came from the middle of winter two years ago: “Mr. Xu, you also wear a wide robe and sleeves in winter, isn’t it cold?”
He wanted to say it was cold. It’s just that if he changed into narrow sleeves, pinched the belt, and exposed his figure, it would not be easy to hide from people’s eyes.
But he couldn’t say it, so even though he was about to shake like a sieve, he pretended to be calm and relaxed, and said in a steady voice: “Xu is not cold, thank you County Princess for your concern.”
If he had known that his identity would still be exposed by Yuan Ci Xian later, why did he go through all this trouble to act in the first place?
Thinking like this, Lu Shi Qing twitched the corners of his mouth, raised a pair of empty and soulless eyes, and looked at the gray and white sky.
He remembered the first time he met her. It was in Daming Palace in early spring three years ago.
At that time, she was only fifteen years old, and because of the victory in Diannan, she followed her father to the capital to receive a reward. On the day of the canonization, she was dressed more colorfully than a grand princess. At the ceremony, there were hundreds of officials, princes and imperial grandson, and there was no one who did not casted her a look.
He also took a closer look at her. Nothing else, just pondering the court’s hidden secrets. He noticed that Yuan Ci Xian, this County Princess, had an outstanding appearance and had reached a marriageable age. After the canonization ceremony, many people might start having ideas about her. However, the identity of Diannan Prince was too sensitive. Except for the reckless ones, no one would dare openly express their intentions. He didn’t know how the emperor plan to make use of this marriage to further his own goals.
He was thinking about all these twists and turns, and when he was on his way back home after the ceremony, he passed the palace road and ran into a stupid scene. Right in front, Zheng Pei, the sickly Ninth Prince, stopped the Yuan’s brother and sister halfway. Watching from a distance, probably trying to tease the little lady.
The elder brother next to Yuan Ci Xian had a straightforward and outspoken nature. He didn’t have much tact and was quick to express his anger, regardless of the other person’s noble status.
Lu Shi Qing didn’t want to care about this. After all, he didn’t get along well with Yuan Yu, and there was a dog’s grievance between them. Seeing that he offended Zheng Pei, he should ignore it. But when he thought of Zheng Zhuo’s intention to win over Yuan’s family recently, if Yuan Yu make trouble, it would also be troublesome for them too, so before the quarrel over there started, he stepped forward and said with a smile: “Your Highness Ninth Prince, you’re here.”
As soon as he spoke, the Yuan’s brother and sister and Zheng Pei looked over in unison. He glanced at the three people, saluted them one by one, and then said to Zheng Pei: “On the way here, this official saw your eunuchs were looking for you. It seems there is urgent matter.”
Zheng Pei was interrupted, so he asked angrily: “What urgent matter?”
He said without batting an eye, “This official doesn’t know, maybe His Majesty has summoned you.”
Zheng Pei looked at him suspiciously, and finally took the sedan and left, just threw a sentence at the last moment: “Cousin Xian, let’s talk about it next time”.
He saw Yuan Ci Xian twitching the corners of her mouth, with a look of “talk my butt” in her eyes. He didn’t stay for long, just nodded and said goodbye to the Yuan’s brother and sister, and when he turned to leave, he heard her ask in a low voice, “Brother, who is that?”
Yuan Yu introduced casually: “Assistant Minister of Court Chancellery, surnamed Lu.”
Immediately afterwards, the breeze of Second month transmitted her admiration into his ears: “Oh, he looks quite good-looking.”
His impression of Yuan Ci Xian lingered on this sentence of praise for nearly two years. When he saw her again, it was at the end of the following year, when the winter was snowing heavily.
During those two years, Zheng Zhuo successfully wooed Yuan Yu, and when Yuan’s family came to the capital at the end of the year, he took the opportunity to visit as his teacher to talk about marriage.
Emperor Huining moved his mind, intending to ask Yuan Ci Xian to be his daughter-in-law and marry Zheng Zhuo. Zheng Zhuo chose to use this tactic to further strengthen his relationship with the Yuan family. Lu Shi Qing was then sent to work as a matchmaker, a lobbyist, and a show of sincerity.
That day the snow had just clearing up, and inside the Yuan mansion, the Yuan’s brother and sister were having a snow fight. Yuan Ci Xian’s face was flushed red from the cold, and she tirelessly hit Yuan Yu with hard snow balls, seemed to be having fun and laughing. Yuan Yu didn’t dare to hit her too much, for fear of hurting her, he ran away with all his strength, and when he had no choice, he took the soft snow ball and return back to her symbolically.
Seeing that scene, Lu Shi Qing suddenly flinched a little, wondering if he was being a bit cruel as a lobbyist.
The girl who was loved and spoiled by her family since she was a child, almost seventeen but still look like a child, and she was about to be drawn into the endless darkness.
After hesitating for a moment, he went to Yuan Yi Zhi’s study and said what a politician should say. After the talk, he met Yuan Ci Xian who came to deliver tea to Yuan Yi Zhi.
She had probably heard Yuan Yu’s introduction, so she knew who he was, and when she saw him, she said “I have been looking forward to meeting you for a long time”, her eyes like peach petals were bent into a crescent shape, and she smiled very politely, but also a little sly.
Thinking of the purpose of that visit, he suddenly felt that this smile was very dazzling. It made him feel a little guilty.
He didn’t show any enthusiasm, but just nodded and greeted her according to the etiquette.
Then he heard her ask if he was cold.
After saying “Xu is not cold, thanking County Princess for your concern”, he left.
It’s just that at that time, he felt that he had done something unsightly, and his heart was full of contempt and coldness, so how could there be a reason not to be cold.
The wind and snow blew into his sleeves, his back was straight, but he did not walk freely at all.
Although Yuan Yi Zhi said in the study that he didn’t want to marry his daughter into the imperial family and get involved in those intrigues, and politely rejected him, but he knew that there was no room for negotiation on this matter. After all, the emperor wouldn’t leave Yuan Ci Xian alone this time, and after weighing it and felt powerless, he thought Zheng Zhuo was a relatively “safe” candidate.
Lu Shi Qing came out as a lobbyist today just to go through the motions, rushing to express Zheng Zhuo’s position before the emperor, so that when the marriage decree came down, he would not sink into awkward passiveness.
After a few days, the imperial decree was really issued, and Emperor Huining waved his hand and bestowed their marriage.
Knowing that the Yuan family still had reservations about Zheng Zhuo, they must have some thought about this imperial decree. He originally wanted to make another trip as his teacher to appease them. But unexpectedly, the next day, a military report came from the southwest, saying that a war broke out in Diannan. Nanzhao raised troops to invade.
One was the border crisis, and the other was the Yuan family that was in trouble, so he volunteered himself to go for peace talks, set off on New Year’s Eve, and only returned on the Second month. On the day of his return, Zheng Zhuo met him at Xu Mansion and asked him if he had seen a jade female ring in Nanzhao military camp.
He said he saw it, and Xi Ju’s reaction was a little strange, so he was thinking that after returning to the capital he would find out what was going on.
Zheng Zhuo said no need to look into it, it was his fiancée who did it.
This fiancée was Yuan Ci Xian.
Lu Shi Qing asked for details, and Zheng Zhuo explained that on the first day of New Year, he and his brothers greeted Emperor Huining in the Daming Palace to celebrate the new year. Then he heard from the eunuch that Yuan Ci Xian had come to the palace to look for him and was waiting outside.
Emperor Huining was pleased with this situation and allowed him to leave early. After seeing Yuan Ci Xian, he found out that she came for Shaohe, and said she hoped he would do her a favor and arrange for her to meet Shaohe State Princess at Anxing Lane at noon.
Zheng Zhuo said that he didn’t pay much attention to it at first, and he didn’t ask the reason out of politeness. She was his fiancée after all, of course he would help with such a small matter. Afterwards, he heard from the spies that the Yuan family sent a confidential item out of Chang’an at night, and thought that something amiss. After checking, he learned that Yuan Ci Xian asked Shaohe for a jade ring to help Lu Shi Qing in the peace talks.
Lu Shi Qing understood after listening, and asked, “Why is she helping me?”
Zheng Zhuo shook his head: “I’m here to ask you this today, do you two have some friendship?”
He said “No”, and said: “Just for this, you waited for me for two months? Why don’t you just ask her earlier? ”
Zheng Zhuo said: “She didn’t directly ask me for help, which shows that she has reservations about me. If I ask her, wouldn’t it be a bit insensitive?”
Lu Shi Qing said, “You also knows you’re insensitive.” He then thought about it and continued: “Maybe it’s because my trip for peace talks can be regarded as solving the siege for the Yuan family. She helped me out of righteousness.” After saying that, he frowned again, remembering something, “Oh, could it be that thing last year?”
Zheng Zhuo asked what happened.
He said that in Daming Palace last year he lied to Zheng Pei and help her out.
Zheng Zhuo said with emotion that this County Princess is a straightforward person, toss a peach and get back a plum, the favor she got was small, but her affection was as big as thunder.
He felt uncomfortable when he heard this, and said, “Are you standing up for her? You should know that if it weren’t for me, it’s still unknown who would be her fiancé right now.”
Zheng Zhuo punched him jokingly.
The punch happened to hit him in the chest, causing him to hiss.
Zheng Zhuo panicked and asked, “Has the injury recurred?”
Last year when there was flood in Huainan, he went to rescue the disaster. On the way back to the capital, he encountered an assassin arranged by Ping Prince. He was stabbed in the chest and narrowly survived.
He nodded: “The trip to Nanzhao is a bit rushed this time. Just need to rest for a few days.”
Zheng Zhuo told him to go back and rest quickly, and said while parting: “Remember to thank County Princess when you have a chance. ”
Because Yuan Ci Xian had a marriage contract with Zheng Zhou, she had no reason to go back to Yaozhou with Diannan Prince. She was in the capital this whole time, so there must be a chance, and out of courtesy, it was also appropriate to thank her.
Lu Shi Qing then said “okay”, and then returned to Lu Mansion through the secret passage.
He already agreed, and the gratitude was also true, but he had never take the initiative to deal with a young lady in his twenty-three years of life. Not only was he uncomfortable, but more importantly, visiting the door was too ostentatious, after all, his identity was not suitable.
He calculated this matter like a court battle, and after calculating many pros and cons, he chose the least conspicuous method: the day before the Flower Festival on the fourteenth of Second month, Zheng Zhuo would hold a winding stream banquet at the Prince Mansion. At that time, Yuan Ci Xian, as his fiancée, should be present. Originally, he was not interested in participating, but now he reluctantly went.
On this fourteenth of Second month, he suffered for a half a day, listening to those boring people spitting and arguing, seeing Zheng Zhuo and Yuan Ci Xian talking and laughing while eating melons and fruits, he almost fell asleep. Finally, when a man named Dou Azhang won the first prize, the banquet was over.
When the crowd dispersed, he intentionally stayed for a moment. Seeing Yuan Ci Xian bid farewell to Zheng Zhuo, he got up and intent to go home.
Zheng Zhuo probably originally wanted to send Yuan Ci Xian back to Shengye Lane, but he didn’t mention it after seeing through his intention to thank her. He seized the opportunity to follow, thinking to himself how to greet her more naturally and less artificially.
——County Princess, you’re here too, are you planning to go home?
——Why is County Princess here alone, did His Highness not see you off?
He just thought of this, when he suddenly saw the person in front of him suddenly stopped, turned around to look at him, blinked her eyes twice and said strangely: “Assistant Minister Lu, why are you following me?”
At that moment, he felt a sudden jolt in his heart.
Damn it, I’ve been found out.