Translated by Addis of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
Editor: Kiramekineko, SpringBreeze
Xie Quan was a little concerned about what Marshal Ji said. Marshal Ji said that if Prince Saroyan knew about his relationship with Ji Cheying, he would get into trouble, but what was his relationship with Ji Cheying?
This question was not asked to Ji Cheying, nor to the marshal.
Rather, Xie Quan was asking himself.
For as long as he had known Ji Cheying, it seemed that he had never asked himself this question. For a long time, the only person in his life that he could call “close” was Anna, not to mention that now Anna had betrayed him, or had other plans for him from the beginning, Ji Cheying was not like Anna.
Ji Cheying and himself were not in a relationship of an exchange of interests, and Anna was not as close to him as Ji Cheying.
With the huge shoulder bag on his back, Xie Quan stood in the middle of a crowded street and suddenly froze. He never thought he would use this word to describe a person.
“Major General, this is the recent record of Marshal Ji’s whereabouts. Marshal Ji has mostly been participating in the various meetings of the military ministry recently, occasionally attending the court meetings in the palace, and the rest of the time he goes to have afternoon tea alone, nothing unusual.” After Joseph respectfully reported, he handed Ji Shanhong’s recent report to Ji Cheying.
Looking at Ji Cheying meticulously reading the pages, Joseph’s face was torn.
Without raising his head, Ji Cheying said, “Just say what you have to say.”
Joseph stood upright, just like his character, and deliberated a bit before asking, “Why is Major General investigating the marshal? It would be a serious crime for someone to find out about Imperial Marshal’s whereabouts.”
His eyes had already scanned the contents quickly, and as Joseph said, there was nothing unusual.
Ji Cheying put the report on the table, he turned around and walked towards the back of the table. While walking, he asked, “Joseph, what kind of person do you think Ji Shanhong is?”
Joseph was stunned, he did not dare to judge an imperial marshal, so he said carefully, “The marshal is honest and modest…”
Ji Cheying interrupted him, “Don’t beat around the bush.”
“… Marshal Ji is very inscrutable,” Joseph said frankly, “of the three marshals in the military, he is the youngest ever, but he is also the one who looks the least motivated of the three.”
But if he really had no desire, how could he be the marshal in this wolf-like military department at the age of just forty?
Ji Cheying sat on top of his own leather chair behind the table, his hands on the handles of the chair, resting his chin vaguely. He looked at Joseph who had fallen silent, and his eyebrows raised. “Continue.”
Joseph pondered for a second and then continued, “Marshal Ji is very good-tempered, my subordinates almost never see him lose his temper.”
“That’s only because nothing is worth his anger.” Ji Cheying’s eyes looked vaguely into the air a little, as if he were looking through a gap in space.
Joseph was right. Ji Shanhong was a deep-rooted person with a reclusive personality, but he was not always like this. Although he and Ji Shanhong were biological brothers, for certain reasons, they did not have much time together. Even in early childhood, Ji Cheying only heard that he had a brother.
It was only when he grew up a little later that he met the older brother.
At that time, Ji Shanhong was a different person from now. He was shady and cold, like a cloud that could not be dispersed, like a monster that escaped from the ground. Ji Shanhong killed everyone in the Ji family back then without blinking in front of him, but also saved him.
Later, he was thrown to an orphanage by Ji Shanhong, who then disappeared. Until a few years later, he suddenly appeared again, and at that time Ji Shanhong changed. He began to smile, with his eyes covering his piercing murderous aura.
Yet, no matter how Ji Shanhong changed, he hardly ever cried.
When he was eight years old, there was a huge thunderstorm that ran through the sky. The rain poured down from above like a waterfall.. In the midst of that noisy rain and thunder, he heard Ji Shanhong’s hidden and painful cries.
It was a cry that had never been heard again.
Ji Cheying respected Ji Shanhong and was grateful to him, but he never trusted him. Because he knew very well how crazy and horrible that man really was, and now Ji Shanhong was even more frightening.
A beast that had been out running prey was content, it would take a nap in the sun when there was no need. But a beast that has been imprisoned had only boundless killing intent inside, and once it was released, it would sit in a river of blood.
Ji Cheying was not the heart of his world, and if Ji Shanhong wanted to overturn the world, it would have nothing to do with him. Still, he couldn’t let the people he cared about get hurt.
When Ji Cheying brought Xie Quan back to the Imperial Capital, he thought he might be entangled by Saroyan, but he never thought that Ji Shanhong would be so attached to Xie Quan.
And Ji Shanhong’s preoccupation with Xie Quan was even more dangerous than that childish third prince’s pestering.
“Marshal, your orange wine.” The servant in the palace placed the goblet with the beautiful golden liquid on the coffee table beside Ji Shanhong, and the sunlight from outside the long corridor slanted in, illuminating the liquor even more crystal clear.
“A’Hong still likes this as usual.” The emperor was wearing a silk crescent-colored robe, and this year was his 55th birthday, but he still looked radiant. Although he was not dressed in fancy clothes, and he was reclining in that chair, he still had an awe-inspiring aura that was intimidating. He said, gossiping like a family man, “It seems that since I met you back then, I have never seen you drink anything else.”
Ji Shanhong smiled idly. “I didn’t think Your Majesty would have noticed this, I’m flattered.” The glass of wine made golden ripples under his eyes. He took the glass and shook it gently, the sour, sweet and refreshing smell of orange wine wafted out. He said contentedly, “I don’t like the harsh taste of wine, only this orange wine is sweet and sour, without much bitterness of wine, so it has always been my favorite.”
Emperor Hea shook his head with a smile. “I didn’t expect this famous military marshal to be afraid of the bitter taste of wine. If I were to tell the world, it would be laughable.”
“Then I hope that Your Majesty can keep this secret for me for the sake of a few points of face of the military department.”
“That is natural.” Emperor Hea looked at the cup of golden wine and his eyes darkened slightly. “Unlike A’Hong, I am very uncomfortable with orange wine.”
“Is it that Your Majesty does not like sweet-tasting wine?”
“Orange wine is too sweet, losing the character of wine. After all, I cannot be in the hall of elegance.” Emperor Hea said meaningfully, “So you should quit this wine before it’s too late, don’t let it tarnish your status.”
Ji Shanhong stood up under the gaze of Emperor Hea, and then poured the wine in the glass into the enchanting blue flower bed. Turning around, he gave a long bow to Emperor Hea. This was not a military courtesy, this was a courtesy of the palace. He said in a humble voice, “If Your Majesty does not like it, I will obey.”
On the street, Xie Quan suddenly heard a call with a question. He turned around and then saw a familiar figure. The young lady was wearing a very ladylike yellow dress, a white sun hat, and her bare skin was like gelatin, white and a little shaky.
Lilith saw Xie Quan turn around, some surprised as she sped up a few steps to meet him. “I did not expect it was really Mr. Xie, what a coincidence.” The deft and gentle eyes searched Xie Quan’s back for a moment, and she tentatively asked, “Major General Ji is not here?”
Xie Quan heard her and subconsciously asked, “Are you looking for him?”
Lilith hurriedly waved her hand. “Of course not.”
Rather, it was better to say that he was not there. Major General Ji was watching everyone who came near Xie Quan as closely as he would a child. If he were there, she might not even dare to come up and talk.
The sound of cicadas in the trees and Lilith’s long-sleeved dress in this heat made her look out of place in the street.
Xie Quan asked, “What are you doing here?” If he was right, this Lilith should be a pampered noble lady, how come she was walking alone in the street?
Lilith did not sweat, but her face was either flushed from the temperature or from seeing Xie Quan. She replied softly, “I went to the library in the morning.”
“You were alone?”
“Yes… It’s more comfortable to be alone.” Lilith asked, “Where is Mr. Xie going to go?”
“Just for a walk.”
Lilith froze, a little unsure. “Just a walk?” In such hot weather? She thought about it and then invited, “Mr. Xie wants to take a stroll? Then Lilith will accompany you.”
This time Xie Quan did not immediately refuse, but surprisingly nodded his head and agreed.
Lilith was delighted and took another step closer, almost to Xie Quan’s side, “Where does Mr. Xie want to go?”
Lilith followed next to Xie Quan, and the two really walked aimlessly like this.
This man and woman were very handsome and beautiful, attracting the attention of passersby, but the two were not self-conscious about it, just slowly strolling.
Gradually, Lilith found that Xie Quan really seemed to be “just walking around”.
When he came across a fork in the road, he didn’t even look in one direction. At first Lilith thought Xie Quan knew the way with a purpose, but later she found that the other party seemed to have simply chosen a direction at random.
After walking for almost an hour and a half and getting more and more out of the way, Lilith finally couldn’t help but say, “Mr. Xie, this is the slum area further ahead, not a place for strolling.”
Xie Quan’s footsteps were halted. “Slum?” He spoke in a slow tone, “There is a slum area in the Imperial Capital? I thought this was normal.”
Lilith replied, “Where can there be a place that is completely bright? There are bright and shiny places, so there are bound to be dark and damp corners. Although the Imperial Capital is not large, and every inch of land is expensive, there is always a dark area. There are many treacherous people here, people who live in the sewers and never speak of etiquette. We will definitely be in danger if we go in alone.”
Xie Quan listened and looked at the area in front of him. “Sewers?” He repeated the word Lilith said, and then he asked, “Have you heard of the Epsilon District?”
Lilith nodded. “It’s a place abandoned by the gods, a place of exile for vicious criminals, and I’ve heard that no one who goes in there gets out.”
“The gods?” Xie Quan laughed. “It’s really a mysterious rumor. It’s just a bunch of people who have nowhere else to go trying to find themselves a place to stay.” Xie Quan lifted his feet and continued walking in the direction of the slum, he dropped the words, “You go back, no need to follow me.”
Not far from them, a woman wearing a hat and sunglasses said to her terminal, “He’s headed for the slums.”