Chapter 77 — Premeditated (Part 1)
Translated by satellite of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
Feisha wobbled around dizzily after throwing himself at the wall. Obviously, it didn’t seem like they could depend on him to come up with an earth-shattering rescue plan.
Antonio looked over at Shamal, who stood there stupidly, then at Locktini, whose body had frozen over, then finally at Feisha, whose wobbling legs couldn’t even walk straight. He finally realized that the days of werewolf clans’ dominance and their famed awe-inspiring power had long gone. Thus he sent Feisha and Locktini back into their room with a wave of his massive hand.
After returning to their room, Feisha immediately rushed into the bathroom, washed up quickly, and jumped into bed, pulling his blanket over himself. Under the covers, he held his brooch tightly, his heartbeat thudding like thunder as he listened for any movement on the other side of the blankets.
Strangely enough, Locktini didn’t try to come after him.
Feisha waited for a while, and only when he heard water running in the shower did he finally peek his head out and look around.
Maybe…he’s given up?
After all, they hadn’t known each other for long, and the way this relationship started was rather baffling. If it the way it ended was also rather baffling…well that’d make sense.
Feisha comforted himself with those thoughts, buried himself in his blankets again and soon fell asleep for real.
In the middle of the night, he suddenly woke with the feeling he was being watched. Just like back when Gin creeped into his room while he was sleeping.
Feisha suddenly opened his eyes.
The sky was still dark, but the moon still shined.
Under the moonlight, Feisha could just make out the shape of Locktini’s silhouette– he was standing beside the bed, looking down at Feisha.
“Can’t sleep?” Feisha asked in an exceptionally calm tone.
Locktini remained silent.
Feisha continued staring wordlessly at him for a while, but since Locktini continued to stand there motionlessly, he turned over, adjusted his blankets, and continued to sleep.
Suddenly, Locktini bent down. Without waiting for any explanation, Feisha immediately struck forward with his fist! Locktini apparently didn’t expect Feisha to actually hit him. He quickly dodged his head to one side, but even so, he could feel the wind from the punch cutting across his cheek.
Feisha stood up, clutching his pillow in hand, and glared at Locktini belligerently.
Locktini suddenly felt a bit nervous.
But as both were rather caught up in their own feelings, they failed to notice that the brooch on Feisha’s chest suddenly blinked rather strangely.
“God damnit! Instead of sleeping, you get up in the middle of the night to play Sadako or something!? The Ring isn’t cool anymore okay, no matter how long your hair is! Besides, everyone else that cosplays her will at least hunch over while walking, but there you are, standing all straight and tall without a shred of professionalism!”
Locktini was originally full of bitter resentment, but after that spiel, it all evaporated, leaving barely a trace behind.
Feisha reached over to turn on the lamp, then threw the pillow forcefully at his face. “Go sleep on the floor outside!”
Locktini was completely stunned after being yelled at. Just as he was about to speak, he saw Feisha jumping out of bed and trying to haul up the bedside table. Everything on top of the table toppled over and fell across the floor but he didn’t seem to care as he continued trying to lift the table, heading towards Locktini.
Locktini raised his hand to freeze the table in midair, then slowly lowered and set it down.
Still unsatisfied, Feisha raised a leg and kicked the top of the table.
The table turned and fell over.
The crash of the heavy table hitting the ground finally knocked Locktini out of his stupor. He frowned. “What’s got you all crazy?”
Feisha seemed to be finished venting his anger as he stood in place, taking a few moments to catch his breath. Then he turned around, switched off the light, lifted his blankets, laid down, and went back to sleep.
Leaving Locktini stunned, standing alone in the middle of the mess.
A very light knock sounded from the door.
Locktini slowly opened the door.
Shamal quickly ducked inside and walked through the room, confirming the sound of breathing under the blankets before finally turning his attention back to Locktini. Walking back to him, Shamal asked quietly “What happened?”
“……” Locktini also wanted to know what happened. He was just thinking about what exactly he saw in Feisha in the first place? Whether it was his birthright, social status, or just personality…Feisha was definitely among the lowest of all the beings he had seen. And yet he had still been rejected?
This was an unprecedented shock for Locktini. When he fell for Almedande but lost to Dea, he could still still comfort himself with some kind of explanation, but Feisha… Because he just couldn’t figure it out, he couldn’t help getting up to take another closer look at Feisha, hoping to come to some kind of conclusion. Who knew that he’d end up seeing such a side of Feisha?
Shamal wanted to try to console him a bit, but upon remembering what Locktini had asked earlier, he immediately lost all desire to. He just shook his head before heading back to his own room.
Early the next morning, the palace sent a carriage to pick them up.
Jesse, because he was the clan leader, was given his own golden carriage. The rest of the party was divided into two other carriages.
Feisha and the others followed behind Jesse. After watching him enter his carriage and close the doors, they turned towards the two trailing carriages. But a hand suddenly extended from within the carriage to stop them, beckoning in Shamal’s direction. “You, come here and sit with me.”
Feisha instantly felt both Shamal and Locktini tense. At that moment, Locktini’s feet planted heavily right on top on his! Feisha’s face twisted, then looked down as he tried his best to free his feet little by little. But Locktini didn’t feel a thing and failed to move. He just lifted his head and sent Shamal a glance of undisguised provocation.
The horse seemed to sense the tension beneath the calm veneer and plowed at the ground uneasily. Shamal gently tugged on Locktini’s sleeve. The two of them were standing very close and the motion was carefully concealed, so no one seemed to notice…other than Jesse, whose angle gave him a perfectly clear view.
Geikie looked at Jesse, then at Shamal. He couldn’t take it anymore and was just about to step in to try to resolve things when Shamal suddenly moved.
Hanging his head, he walked up to the golden carriage. Watching his figure from behind, Feisha felt like he was attending the funeral of great and magnanimous gentleman.
In actuality, Shamal had been hiding many more thoughts his heart than he showed in his expressions. While stepping one foot into the carriage, he had already begun planning for the distant aftermath in his mind. For example, if he suffered a heroic downfall, his room back in Aishefae would remain empty, never again occupied by anyone, just like his grandfather’s room before him. The evenstar flowers on his balcony that bloom only once every one hundred and fifty years…he’d probably never have the chance to see their blossoms again. (1) He hoped that his lord brother would care for them well…
As his mind ran away with these wild and nonsensical thoughts, suddenly a pale hand extended towards him.
Shamal lifted his head in surprise.
Jesse was smiling at him. The indulgent gaze, with a faint teasing light within suddenly brought Shamal back to that time, one thousand years ago. Back then, he also liked gazing at him like this, reaching out and pulling him up into the carriage. He loved pulling him to his side, and once he had succeeded, he refused to let him go for great lengths of time.
In a strange, unexpected echo of the past, Shamal reached out and, just he did like a thousand years ago, placed his hand in his grasp, their hands joining again.
Jesse pulled firmly, and Shamal tumbled toward him involuntarily.
The carriage door closed.
Panicked, Shamal wanted to sit down, but was instead ensnared around the waist.
Jesse let go of his hand and switched his grip to Shamal’s chin, forcing him to lift his head so that he would have no choice but to meet his eyes.
Shamal’s heart sank immediately.
All of that really was just an illusion.
They would never be able to return to the past.
No matter whether it was before he chose to leave, or after Jesse uncovered his lies…perhaps from the moment the met, when he introduced himself as “Lion,” all of this had been set in stone.
Now, that pair of eyes that once held limitless warmth and tender affection were left with nothing but naked hatred and disgust. And within that bitter gaze, he could clearly see his own reflection.
His heart hurt deeply. It wasn’t like before, when the pain was a dull ache, sealed away behind a bandage, but a sharp, fierce wound, like a knife slicing right through him.
“Welcome back into my embrace.” Jesse’s lips slowly curved up.
Shamal felt his heart freeze, as if falling into frozen lake. He looked towards the beautiful scenery outside the window.
Although only a single door separated them, he knew that he was no longer able to reach the light out there.
Sitting inside his carriage, Feisha felt a bit uneasy. He somehow felt that Shamal had just walked into the lion’s den, like the little red riding hood visiting her grandmother. The scene ahead was treacherous, and there was no guarantee of coming out alive.
He wanted to discuss it with someone, but couldn’t find a good place to start.
Although Locktini and Antonio shared a carriage with him, Geikie sat right next to them as well, smiling politely. That expression clearly belonged to a gentlemanly disguised paparazzi. So despite his concerns, Feisha was forced to hold back.
Finally, they arrived at the palace.
As soon as he leaped off the carriage, Feisha began looking for Shamal.
Locktini was clearly of the same mind, though he was much more direct. He immediately pulled aside one of the warlocks and asked in a dark and threatening tone. “Where’s Jesse?”
Geikie just happened to be talking to someone inside the palace, and thus didn’t notice what was happening.
The warlock was startled by Locktini’s menacing stance and replied. “Our esteemed leader is a guest of honor– he has naturally been shown to a separate reception.”
It’s a conspiracy!
At that moment, those words suddenly sprang to Feisha’s mind. He turned to look towards Geikie, who was still in the middle of a conversation.
Geikie just happened to turn around at that moment and as their eyes met, he couldn’t help but smile slightly. This, this was definitely the smirk of a conspirator about to see their plan succeed!
With this impression ingrained deeply in mind, Feisha became even more convinced that malice was hiding beneath the smile.
Antonio pulled Locktini and Feisha aside and quietly urged. “I know you guys want to rush to the rescue, but calm down for a moment first.”
Feisha was just about to reply when Locktini cut in. “The one missing is my brother, how am I supposed to calm down?!”
This was a rare moment when Feisha sided with him. “We’re here to rescue people, but we’ve barely even set out and the rescue team keeps shrinking in size, while the number missing just keeps increasing!”
Antonio was rather baffled. “Isn’t Shamal with Jesse?”
“……” The whole problem was exactly because he was with Jesse! Feisha and Locktini exchanged a glance. In the time it would take to rehash the whole lengthy story, Shamal’s corpse would be long gone.
“Actually, Shamal is a deadly enemy of Jesse’s that he has long searched for.” Feisha summarized it in a single sentence.
Antonio frowned, and after a long time, finally said, “Well that’s terrible.”
No shit! Feisha and Locktini didn’t bother saying it out loud.
Antonio continued on. “But since Jesse went through so much trouble to take him away, he probably isn’t going to kill him anytime soon. Otherwise he would’ve done it way earlier.”
Feisha was rather shocked. He didn’t think that Antonio, too, would be able to use his brain occasionally.
“So we should still save Gin and Hughes first.” Antonio said. “They’re in much greater danger.”
Locktini was very displeased.
Seeing the conflicts growing in their ranks, Feisha turned his eyes to Antonio, held his hands, and spoke sternly. “You have to keep Shamal on your mind.”
“I know.” Antonio tried to pull his hand back.
“Because it’s likely that he’ll become your lover.”
“……” Antonio’s stopped trying to pull his hands away. Instead, his brain was pulled right out of his skull.
Feisha forced Antonio to swallow another pill. “Shamal’s been pining after you for a long time now.” (2)
Feisha turned to Locktini and said with a smile, “Now Antonio’s your future brother-in-law! So you can rest assured that he’ll definitely keep Shamal’s problems at the forefront of his mind.” (3) He finally understood why large clans liked using marriages to establish solidarity and stability. It was indeed both simple and straightforward.
Antonio had just managed shake himself from the daze that Shamal’s ‘pining’ threw him in, and was immediately thrown for another loop by the mention of ‘brother-in-law.’
Geikie finally ended his conversation, walked over to them and bowed in a welcoming gesture. “Please allow me to show you to the guest room to rest first.”
Feisha asked without batting an eyelid. “When can we see the clan leader? Without his instructions, we dare not move out on our own.”
Geikie smiled and said, “Please rest assured, all of this has been approved by Master Jesse.”
See, this was definitely a premeditated trap!
This time, even Antonio felt like something wasn’t quite right.
- The flowers are “夕阳花”, literally sunset flowers. Called them evenstar flowers for poetic value- also term for faerie in this novel is the same term Chinese people use for elves, so LotR reference!
- The original Chinese expression was “下了一贴猛药”, which roughly translates to “added another dose of potent medicine (or poison).” The general idea is that convincing someone to your side/manipulating them is ‘feeding them your medicine’ (where the medicine is your words). The closest saying I could think of in English was “swallowing a bitter pill” so I used it here, but it’s not quite the same (the Chinese implies a lot more clever talking/attempted manipulation on Feisha’s side)
- It’s worth mentioning that the original Chinese saying for keeping [people, situations, etc] on one’s mind is actually “放在心上” (to put on the heart). Most of the references to the mind from the past few dialogues was actually Feisha asking Antonio to put the situation close to his heart, which makes it a little funnier/poetic/etc.
Unfortunately we don’t really say that in English, at least not casually. In this part, Feisha actually reassure Locktini that Antonio, in regards to Shamals situation, will “放在心尖上”, lit put it in the deepest reaches/innermost tip of his heart. But unfortunately translating it that way has the opposite implication in English (pushing feelings down vs keeping things on top of one’s mind) so I’ve changed it.