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TL’ed by snowflake_obsidian
Edited by Xia
 云岭; Yun Ling or cloudy peaks, also known as the Yun mountain range is in northwest Yunnan province. The mountains are beautiful and majestic and were a salt transportation route in ancient times. Salt in ancient times was used like money and the salt industry was controlled by the government. One use of salt that we modern people don't tend to think of is preserving food. In a time when there was no refrigeration, food preservation could mean the difference between starvation or being able to continue living.
 Rules are dead, people are living; The gist is that people are alive and therefore are more important than following rules. The expression is used to justify ignoring and circumventing laws and rules.
 ; Yunan province is home to the famous 石林 which literally means stone forest. These are very scenic stone formations.
Ch32 – Vicious Ru Yi Sows Dissension
Su Tang's ears perked up waiting for more to be said. (But) she didn't see him open his mouth again for a long time and turned over in her mind that cold noodles probably didn't want to continue this topic. Although she was keenly interested about Daren Xiao Zhan, to continuously ask about another man in the face of her own man appeared somewhat improper. Therefore, she thought for a bit and then didn't ask anymore.
But, it was a long-suffering night and she couldn't sleep. So what ought to be done?
Su Tang tossed back and forth with the appearance of a pancake being properly flipped. By the time she was properly cooked, Song Shi An couldn't stand it anymore.
Song Shi An became threatening. "Did you take the wrong medicine again?" It was hard to restrain himself. He wanted to calm his mind and sleep but couldn't stand Su Tang tossing and turning at his side. As a result, he made cold sarcastic remarks with knitted eyebrows
Su Tang listened though was unable to make heads or tails of these comments. She saw his interrogating eyes and couldn't help but blankly stare, "No."
"Then why are you moving around so much!?" Song Shi An finished his words, and turned over again to go to sleep.
"…" Su Tang (mentally) countered for quite a while but it was (already) the next day when she understood what his words meant. Overly thinking about yesterday evenings' embarrassing situation, her face again turned red. (But) in the twinkling of an eye she flew again into a rage and lifted her foot to cross over!
Err, no wait a minute. What did she kick a moment ago?
Looking at Song Shi An's scowl as he abruptly turned around, one hand still placed on his buttocks, Su Tang shamefaced gave a tiny smile. She drew back her foot in a relaxed manner. "That, a slip of the hand, a slip of the hand. Uh no, a slip of the foot, a slip of the foot…."
Both of Song Shi An's eyes quickly emitted fire. He's lived 28 years, his status being the nation's senior-most general. When has someone, has someone, has someone kicked….kicked….that!
And the leg strength was great!
Suppressing his fury, he indignantly turned over and proceeded to get to sleep!
But this fire hadn't yet extinguished, when he heard that woman on his side indistinctly sigh again. "Hey, the feeling in my foot is still pretty good."
Senior general Song listened to this voice which seemed pleasantly memorable, and without breathing almost spit blood.
Su Tang wiggled her foot and fixed her eyes on Song Shi An's butt. In her heart she was still thinking of the kick. She wasn't drowsy at all and her heart was cheerful. Thinking about his somber face that afternoon, she felt that even if there wasn't anything the matter she ought to sympathetically inquire. It wasn't a bad idea to display gentle and soft female virtues, integrity, moral fiber, and show consideration. So accordingly, she again poked and jabbed his back. "Hey, cold noodles. Are you asleep yet?"
Song Shi An really couldn't stand this response and suddenly got up intending to get out of bed…. will she let him sleep or not!
"Uhm, where are you going?" Su Tang asked in a whisper upon seeing his bad expression.
Song Shi An thought for a bit and laid back down again…. he was about to leave but was afraid that grandmother would interrogate him again.
Su Tang's mouth deflated, said, "I merely wanted to ask you why the coffin wood board face this afternoon!"
Ok, he had managed to forget about the matter of welcoming the diplomatic mission, but (now) this was called to mind again!
Song Shi An stared at Su Tang, his face blackening. It took a great deal of energy to endure the impulse to seal her mouth. But (instead) he glared for a while and suddenly recalled that day's matter of her grabbing the Phoenix crown and smashing that dog Pei Ru He into a pulp. The corners of his mouth couldn't help but tuck into a tiny arc of a smile.
After laying down, Song Shi An said, "The emperor is having me meet and welcome the diplomatic mission from Yan country."
Su Tang asked, "Isn't that, that person?"
"Greeting is greeting, but why, uh. I thought it was a minor matter!"
Hearing the tone of it being beneath her dignity rendered Song Shi An speechless. This is their nations' hated foe! An enemy to fight to the death! Thinking a bit, he was somewhat dejected again. Granted that things are the way they are, he still had no choice but to switch his military apparel for ceremonial attire and respectfully welcome their royal carriage outside the city!
The peace negotiations were completely oriented with the common populace in mind. His persistence was to no avail.
The emperor clearly knew that all the blood in his body demanded justice but still paid no heed. Can he depend on this woman at his side, this flighty woman?
Don't even bother saying anything.
In this period of Song Shi An's vicissitudes of life, this woman whom he considered from the core of his heart as "shallow", suddenly rolled over again. Her sparkling eyes gazed at him as she said, "Then again, you were totally warranted in being unhappy that day. He held me under duress and (also) hit me so that I passed out."
Song Shi An was speechless, this woman was way beyond shallow!
"Ok, I'm only kidding." Su Tang curled her lips and again smiling said, "If you have anything to say to me, go ahead. In doing business you can't be benevolent and blameless. If we can't be husband and wife, then we still can be friends. Anyhow, I can't sleep, and it looks like you can't either. I heard that all along you advocated fighting to the bitter end, but everyone says to negotiate the peace and settle. Why then do you insist on defying the natural order?"
Song Shi An finally couldn't stand it anymore. Clenching tight his fists, he heavily said, "The (royal) Pei family of Yan country seized our three cities in the Yun Ling mountain range . This declared themselves as an enemy state! Furthermore, they slaughtered my soldiers and officers. This wasn't war, they made it personal! These shabby pedantic scholars in the royal court have never seen a battlefield drenched in blood, never seen our soldiers bathed in blood bravely fighting, courageously defending a city. I saw everything with my own eyes, experienced everything with my own body. How can I easily bury the hatchet and be friends. How, how can I resign myself! If it weren't for this old fool, Li Kang Zhi, placing obstacles in my way. If it weren't for his officials stroking public opinion. If I only had three years, I would adeptly recover lost territory and bring Yan country to their knees!"
Every word that Song Shi An spoke contained blood, every sentence carried a knife. Everything that was supposed to be hidden could not be kept hidden in his outrage! Listening to this man tightening and cracking his fists, Su Tang saw unwillingness on his distinguished face, and couldn't help but be emotionally moved.
Pursing her lips, Su Tang spoke, "But I heard that nowadays our Song country national treasury is empty and so we're unable to sustain hostilities. That. We who are in trade best understand the principle that an undertaking cannot be completed when there's no money. What's more, 10 years is not too late for a gentleman to exact revenge. We're having the peace talks now. Recuperate for a few years and build up strength. We can fight again!"
Song Shi An was frustrated and disappointed. "The peace negotiation will have both sides mutually agree to not violate the treaty for a period of 50 years. When the time comes I will be too old."
Su Tang saw him display an expression of heroism in his declining years. She couldn't refrain from being somewhat disturbed by pity, and comfortingly said, "When you're old, won't there still be sons and furthermore grandsons, boundless generations of descendants! You can have your children and grandchildren have "family ceremonies and traditions" which won't let them forget Where would you be afraid of not being able to see it through! It goes without saying that the treaty rules are dead, and that people are living . Who can say for sure that the pact won't be invalidated in the next 50 years! It's not like there's been no precedent in ancient times."
Listening, Song Shi An was silent.
Su Tang abruptly recalled something. "Xuan Zi's father and mother also died at their hands!"
Song Shi An's eyes darkened, an arrow shot through the heart, a writhing body bleeding to death. Han Ying was attacked from all sides. He fought with all his might and yet perished. 10,000 horses trampled him until there wasn't even a body anymore. All this was personally conferred by Pei Rui Xiang the emperor of Yan country!
Bitterness, his close most treasured kin died a tragic death in the enemies' hands and he can't avenge them!
Su Tang saw his agonized expression and blood thirsty gaze. She couldn't help but grip his hand, "There will be an opportunity!"
Song Shi An appeared to be thinking about his own chest experiencing the throes of this writhing death, when he unexpectedly detected a warm hand gripping his own hand. Involuntarily, his heart completely stopped up.
The woman in front of him had clear glittering eyes, radiating sincere resolve. A dazzling moment, he somehow couldn't recall the twisting and writhing anymore.
Muddled, both eyes lowered, Song Shi An sighed and said, "It's no longer early, go to sleep."
Su Tang drew back both hands. Seeing that his face was heavy, she also did not speak again.
Tossing about for half the night, two people finally embraced the blanket on the bed and fell sleep. Only at midnight, unsure what happened (but) Su Tang's quilt was kicked to the foot of the bed so then she was thoroughly cold. After that (somehow the blanket) was completely pulled apart, then Su Tang merely squeezed into cold noodles' blanket.
Song Shi An awoke when the blanket exposed his head and shoulders (to the cold). His mood was complicated upon seeing the woman who had snuck into his embrace. Thinking a bit, he was going to let her have her way, and after a little while he carefully pulled a little of the blanket over….
Su Tang slept extremely well this night. But when she awoke early to see herself sleeping in cold noodles copious blanket, her heart was unavoidably suspicious …could it be cold noodles took advantage again?
Carrying this pile of doubts, she got up from the bed and was told Song Shi An early had gone out.
Exhale. A high-ranking officer is very busy.
Thinking quite a bit about his manner last night, Su Tang once again thought that being a senior general was not easy.
Washed up, ate, then afterwards properly tidied up and went to Fu Rui courtyard to pay her respects. She fundamentally thought that lao taitai knew about the matter of her going out last night and expected an inquiry about it. Who would have expected that after the greeting, grandmother didn't mention a single word about it. Su Tang couldn't help but inwardly esteem her, that's what's called astute! She couldn't believe that lao taitai didn't know each and every movement in the manor.
In the afternoon she had a matter which required going out but there was leisure time in the morning. After exiting Fu Rui court, Su Tang realized that although she had been in the generals' household for a few days, she still hadn't taken a proper stroll through the complex. Thinking that really didn't matter, she soon afterwards got ready for a stroll.
It was fine clear autumn weather; the sky and terrain were lovely. The outing in the gardens was indeed a reward. Shao Yao led the way. Su Tang sauntered along looking at things with Xi Que at her side praising what she saw.
Avoiding the winding corridors which linked structures, they went through very grand flower gardens, passed by rugged stone forests , and soon afterwards arrived at what Shao Yao said was most beautiful place in the estate…. Long Ze lake.
The lake water was dark green like jadeite. A soothing gentle breeze suffused slight waves. On the lake's side was the remains of a small boat. A few autumn lotuses were situated in the water, and as well, the heart of the lake had a pavilion that was beautiful beyond compare. Su Tang stood on the flat portion of a fake mountain and looked down from that point. Feasting her eyes on the exquisite scenery, her heart felt free from worries, her spirit quiet and joyful.
And yet at this moment, people's voices came from around the fake mountain. Listening, it seemed to be the voices of Xuan Zi and Ru Yi.
Su Tang knit her brow. Why are they running into her?
Shao Yao's soft voice explained, "Young master likes this place and every morning he comes here. There over to that side is a small pond (where) he raises a few fish. As for lady Ru Yi, she knows young master enjoys coming here. Therefore, when there's nothing to do as well as when there is something to do, they'll come over here."
Su Tang slightly nodded. After that she motioned for them to speak softly. Gingerly walking, she lifted her skirt and made her way down from the rockery.
Xuan Zi was in the middle of feeding those small red fish. He hadn't seen them for a day and they weren't willing to eat, appearing to be ill. Xuan Zi was distressed. Out of the corner of his eyes, he caught a glimpse of people nearby who (ended up) standing in front of him.
He raised his head and saw Ru Yi wearing a willow yellow colored silk skirt looking at him, smiling. As well as to her rear, there naturally were all the other three women.
At the outset, Xuan Zi's impression of Ru Yi was pretty good because she merely came to find him to play. Only there was a time when he was eating something, and the juice accidentally got on her clothes. Agitated, her countenance suddenly changed so he wasn't keen on her anymore. After that, she was always muttering malicious remarks in his ears, so he disliked her even more. Upon seeing her now, Xuan Zi merely glanced at her. Afterwards he continued to feed the small red fish, his head lowered.
He also thought for a bit after that, and spoke, "Stand over there on the side. You're blocking my sunlight."
Ru Yi naturally didn't know Xuan Zi's thoughts about her. Still looking after her own interests, she got intimately close to him and said, "Little Xuan Zi, I haven't seen you for one day and now you're treating me like a stranger."
"…" Am I (that) familiar with you?
"How, your new mother bribed you, right? I heard that she made good things for you to eat. Even more she purchased toys for you." Ru Yi continued to speak.
Xuan Zi still ignored her.
A Han Chinese man with character can't be bought like this. That is her deliberately currying favor with you these past several days, doing it so your father will see it. She's waiting for you to relax your vigilance, (but) is merely is giving herself away." Ru Yi gave her malevolent accusation.
Ji Xiang and Ru Shi on the side also echoed the same sentiments. "That's right. Stepmothers all have bad intentions. At present she's nice towards you, of course that's a display of false affection. Little Xuan Zi, don't be hoodwinked. When she gives birth to her own child, you'll have hardships. She'll be more distance towards you…."
Xuan Zi listened and was a little irritated, these same few phrases again and again. He also didn't want to stay here now, and walked to the front of Fu Rong and said, "Let's go." He just wanted to go.
Ru Yi quickly strode over to block him. Bending over she said, "Little Xuan Zi, I have a secret to tell you. Do you want to know?"
In the final analysis Xuan Zi was a child with a child's disposition. Consequently, he was somewhat curious.
Ru Yi looked at Xuan Zi's dark liquid eyes. Facing these two beauties she gave a meaningful glance, and again pursed her lips in a smile. "Does little Xuan Zi know who your birth mother is, and do you also want to know who your biological father is?"
Xuan jolted in shock upon hearing this.
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