Two World-Wrecking Demons
When Xuan Tian Hua saw Feng Zi Rui appear with a young girl before him, his mind had already collapsed past the point of collapse. Along the same route from the capital to Fu Zhou, imperial concubine Yun had already given him a fright of a similar level. Why was it that Zi Rui had to come as well?
On the other side, imperial concubine Yun was already beyond moved when she saw Zi Rui! As though she had gone mad, she rushed forward and hugged the child and began kissing his cheeks!
Zi Rui saw a beauty with a veil covering her face charge forward and thought that it could be a good thing. After all, although he could not see her entire face, her eyes were very pretty! But this beauty was a little too familiar! Even through the veil, he could faintly feel the saliva on her lips. Zi Rui felt embarrassed and tried to dodge but failed.
Xuan Tian Hua waved his hand, saying to the retainer: “They did indeed come for me. You can go for now.” When the retainer left, he closed the door. Only then did he pull imperial concubine Yun and Zi Rui apart. Staring at Zi Rui, he asked: “Who did you come with?”
Zi Rui had a bitter look on his face, wiping away the saliva from imperial concubine Yun’s kisses. He lowered his head and looked at his fingers in a pitiful manner, saying: “I didn’t come with anyone. I came on my own.” He then pulled Ying Cao over: “She came with me.”
Xuan Tian Hua’s mind whirred loudly. Even for someone who was free of worldly cares like him, it was impossible to remain calm at a time like this. He absolutely did not think that the two children would come all this way from the capital to Fu Zhou in the East. Although the trip would not be as dangerous as a trip to the North, for a child, the difficulty was rather high.
“Hua’er.” Imperial concubine Yun tugged his sleeve, “The children are already here. In any case, we should give them some food first.”
Xuan Tian Hua felt that he was like an extra in this dining hall. He could not even handle just his mother, yet two more venerable people had shown up. This was truly too much to handle!
“Forget it.” He did not know what he should say. Curse? He could not get any curses out. Beat them? He could not bring himself to do it. He could only do as imperial concubine Yun had said: “Eat first!”
Having received his permission, imperial concubine Yun quickly brought the two children to wash their hands. Zi Rui was a little dazed and would occasionally glance at imperial concubine Yun. He wondered to himself, who was this woman? To call his Highness the seventh prince Hua’er and be so intimate, could it be that she was Princess Chun? That’s not right, no, no matter how he looked at the seventh prince, he did not look like someone that had married a princess. But if she was not a princess, who was she?
This question revolved around Zi Rui’s mind until the end of the meal; however, he still could not figure it out. Xuan Tian Hua saw that the two children were finally full. Only then did he say: “For the time being, rest here for a couple days. I will have a guard send you back later on.”
Zi Rui was stunned then quickly waved his hand: “I won’t go back, I won’t go back! Seventh brother, I came to help you. I can’t go back.”
“Help me?” Xuan Tian Hua laughed, reaching out to pull Zi Rui to his side. Copying Feng Yu Heng’s usual actions, he pinched his small cheeks. This child had traveled from the capital to Fu Zhou. This long journey should have been rather difficult, but his cheeks were still very round. It could be seen that he must have brought a large amount of money from home and eaten quite well along the way. “What does Zi Rui want to help seventh brother with?”
From the initial shock to the slight anger later on to the reluctant acceptance of his reality, Xuan Tian Hua continued to adjust his mood. When he spoke, he regained his original refined manner of speaking. Zi Rui was accustomed to it, but Ying Cao never knew that there was someone like this in the world. Looking at Xuan Tian Hua, she opened her mouth in shock and could not shut it for a long time.
In regards to where he can help out, Zi Rui very seriously told Xuan Tian Hua: “I can help seventh brother read military books and talk about military strategy. Back when I was in Xiao Zhou, I read a lot of books about the art of war. Headteacher said that I have a lot of talent in this area. Seventh brother, I came to help you. You should be happy. At least when the two armies face off, you will have an extra helper.”
Xuan Tian Hua did not know whether to laugh or cry, “There are no battles in the East.”
“Hm?” Zi Rui was stunned, “No battles? What did you come here for if there are no battles?” That’s not right. When he was in the military camp near the capital, he had heard that the situation in the East was very tentative, and war could break out at any moment!
Imperial concubine Yun watched the two and rocked with laughter. From time to time, she would reach out and rub Zi Rui’s face, “This little guy is too entertaining. He’s truly too entertaining.”
Zi Rui was on the verge of crying. Desperately grabbing Xuan Tian Hua’s arm, he begged and asked him: “Who is this girl? Seventh brother, can you tell her to respect herself.”
Imperial concubine Yun laughed even more proudly, pointing at Zi Rui and saying: “You said that I am a girl? Hahaha! Hua’er, did you hear that. Mother still has some market value.”
Xuan Tian Hua facepalmed, “Mother, if you expose your identity, that’s fine, but what exactly does the latter half of that comment mean?”
Once the word mother was said, Zi Rui immediately reacted. It turned out that imperial concubine Yun, whose whereabouts he could not figure out on the way here was actually before him!
The child quickly got off his chair and brought Ying Cao to kneel and kowtow in salute to imperial concubine Yun. After all, she was their elder, and she was an imperial concubine. This salute was something that they had to do.
But when they had only kneeled partway, they were stopped by imperial concubine Yun and pulled into her embrace. She then began another round of pinching his cheeks.
Zi Rui accepted his fate and went with it.
In the end, Xuan Tian Hua expressed that he would compromise with imperial concubine Yun in order to “give dignity to his mother” on the matter of whether Zi Rui would be sent back to the capital. In the following days, the newly appointed General of the East, the seventh prince Xuan Tian Hua, was tied up with work from morning until night. As for brother Tian, who was suspected of being the seventh prince’s consort, brought along a boy and his servant, beginning their own duty. The three had only one mission: stroll around and eat, stroll around and eat, stroll around and eat! By the end, Zi Rui seemed to have gotten even fatter. Even Ying Cao, whose foundation was a bit lacking, seemed to have gained some color in her face.
Thus a rumor among the commoners spread, saying: “That young man must be the child of his Highness the seventh prince and brother Tian. Although his Highness has not taken in an official princess, as a prince and someone so old, he should have some concubines or servants to sleep with. Although brother Tian is a woman, she seems to be quite wild. Thinking about it, she does not seem to have the grace of someone that comes from a large family. Perhaps they met on the outside, and she was brought back to his palace, and she gave birth to a son.”
His analysis was reasonable, and he spoke as though he was certain, but there was still someone that refuted it: “Impossible! Have you seen how old that child is? He should be at most ten and at least eight. Could his Highness have such an old child? It’s impossible that he would have a child before he was of marriageable age, right?”
Thinking about it like this, they felt that something was not quite right, but if this was not right, what exactly were the backgrounds of brother Tian and the young boy?
All of the soldiers in the East spent all of their time thinking about this “weird case.” With imperial concubine Yun and Zi Rui embellishing it, the atmosphere was far more harmonious than when Xuan Tian Hua had just arrived.
At this time in the North, it was the largest snowfall that had occurred since Feng Yu Heng arrived in the North.
She did not know how to describe this snowfall. She just felt that it was far fiercer than the snowfall that had occurred the previous year in the capital. Most importantly, what fell was not entirely snow. There were also small pellets of ice. When the snow was heavier, large snowflakes would wind up sticking together and forming larger balls. When these fell to the ground, they would break apart, but when they slammed into a person’s body, it was a little painful.
Xuan Tian Ming’s army had arrived at Song Zhou the previous evening and set up camp ten li outside of the city. The heavy snow caused a number of difficulties for the soldiers setting up camp, but Song Kang told Feng Yu Heng that this sort of heavy snow was very common in the North. He had even seen snowfall that was even fiercer than this. Only then did Feng Yu Heng recall that Song Kang was once Duan Mu Qing’s subordinate. He had lived in the North for a long time. He would naturally be familiar with the North, thus she asked Song Kang: “Say, how do the people of the North deal with such heavy snow?”
Song Kang told her: “They just stay inside and don’t come out. The houses in the North are all made of heatable brick. They just heat them and are left feeling very warm. The inside of the house and the outside are two different worlds. As for food, this place was already a place that was covered in snow throughout the year. Every family has passed down knowledge of burying fish and pickled vegetables in the snow. This will ensure freshness. Things can be kept for a long time. In fact, food that isn’t finished in a day can be placed in a jar then placed in the snow. It can just be dug up whenever someone wants to eat it. That’s why a Winter disaster isn’t too much of a disaster to the people of the North. They had become accustomed to it long ago.”
Feng Yu Heng furrowed her brow and recalled how Feng Jin Yuan had come North to relieve the disaster the previous year. It seemed that the trip North, aside from the Duan Mu family sending reports of worry for over 100 years and Feng Jin Yuan being in charge, was most likely his attempt to improve relations with Qian Zhou.
“It’s snowing heavily and the winds are strong. Get into the tent!” Behind them, Xuan Tian Ming called out, and Song Kang tactfully excused himself.
Feng Yu Heng took a step forward and placed her hand in his palm. Feeling the warmth, she said: “Standing outside for a little while longer is also good. There are already six people hanging outside Song Zhou City. The seventh will be hanging there tomorrow morning.”
“Un.” Xuan Tian Ming nodded. The mask on his face hid his expressions, making it hard to see his emotions. He just said: “It’s not that this prince has a cold heart, but those people that gave up on the chance to celebrate the new year at home and traveled thousands of li to the North, their hearts and desires are enough to cause my heart to turn cold.” As he spoke, he reached out and held Feng Yu Heng’s shoulder, bringing her toward the snow. Each step landed at a different depth, which made walking very difficult. “This sort of heavy snow makes walking difficult, not to mention going onto the battlefield to fight a battle. Aside from the problem of the cold, the reason that we have tolerated Qian Zhou for all of these years is that the army from the central region has a hard time surviving in this sort of environment.”
These words were very helpless. The climate of the North was clear and present. Even if he had a large and powerful army and was known as a god of war, under these conditions, he had no choice but to give way.
Feng Yu Heng knew that Xuan Tian Ming felt helpless. Not to mention Xuan Tian Ming, even as someone that came from the modern era and had a mystical space, she could only frown in the face of the snow.
The two stood in place, with the snow covering up to their knees. Neither spoke for a long time until a thick pile of snow had gathered on their shoulders. Suddenly, the two turned their heads and looked at each other, saying in unison: “Let’s go into the city!”