T/N: Thank you patrons for sponsoring this chapter part.
Title: ChongFei Manual
Chapter: 171.1 out of 171
It was slightly hot during noon. A cool breeze passed through the window’s muslin curtains and entered the hot and stuffy room. Zhao Jie was sleeping on an arhat bed that was decoratively carved with dragons for his afternoon nap. One hand was placed over the other and they were both resting on his stomach. Perhaps, he was having an unpleasant dream. His expression was very ugly. His sword-like eyebrows furrowed more and more. In the end, both of his hands clenched into fists and pounded the bed. “Ah Luo!”
The bed made a loud sound and woke Zhao Jie up from his dream.
His forehead was soaked in sweat and his eyes were pitch-black. He slowly sat up from the bed. As he rubbed the area between his eyebrows, he called for a servant.
Hearing Zhao Jie’s voice, a young eunuch wearing a light green uniform hurriedly came into the room and respectfully saluted before saying, “Your Majesty.”
Zhao Jie said, “Where’s the empress?”
The young eunuch said, “To respond to Your Majesty, the empress is currently in the back garden with the crown prince and little princess.”
Zhao Jie lowered his eyes and seemed as if he was heavily sighing in relief. A while later, he finally waved his hand and said, “You can withdraw.”
The young eunuch bowed and left the room. Zhao Jie’s fists clenched tighter before loosening. His black eyes stared at a certain place. He couldn’t help remembering his recent dream.
That dream had undoubtedly been Zhao Jie’s most terrifying nightmare.
In the dream, neither Zhao Xi nor his younger sister existed. Zhao Jie also hadn't appeared in the dream. Zhao Jie had watched as little Ah Luo was sold to slavers by Du-shi, as she desperately fled from the slavers, and finally ended in a place called Long Shou Village. He watched as she was forced by her foster parents to marry a ghost, as she staggered to the capital to find her family… And later on… Zhao Jie clenched his fists so tightly that there was a cracking sound. He wasn’t willing to remember the things that happened after she arrived in the capital. In the dream, he hadn’t been able to will himself into appearing or say any words. He could only watch as Li Song appeared and did the things that he wanted to do. He helped that pitiful and helpless Wei Luo return to her home. He gave her a life of luxury, high rank, and great wealth. In the end, he even married her.
Zhao Jie closed his eyes. That dream had felt too realistic. He couldn’t move past the feeling of rage that he had experienced in the dream.
The helplessness and anger that he had felt in the dream remained fresh in his memory. Watching as his precious treasure fall into someone else’s hand had felt too real. Zhao Jie walked down from the dragon bed, put on a golden robe that was embroidered with dragons and clouds, and called Zhu Geng and Yang Hao over. Standing by the bed, he said, “Find out Li Song’s location. This emperor wants to know where he is right now.”
Zhu Geng and Yang Hao were Zhao Jie’s imperial bodyguards with high ranks. They would normally stayed close to Zhao Jie. Whenever there was a matter that required confidentiality, Zhao Jie would arrange for the two of them to handle it. When the two of them heard Zhao Jie’s order, their first reaction was surprise. After all, Li Song’s name hadn’t been mentioned by anyone for a long time. Perhaps, most people had already forgotten him. If Zhao Jie hadn’t just brought up his name, they would have almost forgotten his existence too.
Zhu Geng and Yang Hao were diligent and conscientious hidden guards. They quickly overcame that moment of surprise and said, “Understood.”
After Zhao Jie stipulated a deadline, he waved his hand to indicate for them to withdraw. He stood by the window for a long time by himself. He remembered the young eunuch’s words. Wei Luo and their children were all in the back garden. He didn’t think any further before striding over there. Right now, he urgently wanted to see and hug Wei Luo. He wouldn’t be able to let go of his worries until he confirmed that she was with him and not Li Song.
The capital was slightly stuffy and hot in August, but this heat only lasted during the afternoon. Once it was evening, the temperature became much cooler. When Wei Luo wasn’t napping in the afternoon, she liked to take her two children to the garden behind Wu Shuang Hall to play. There was a swing and lattice for flowering vines here. There was also a meandering stream. Zhao Xi and Ran Ran liked to come here the most to play.
When Zhao Jie arrived, Wei Luo was sitting beneath the wisteria lattice to enjoy the cool air. She was holding a baby girl that looked as if she was carved from white jade. The baby girl was wearing a pink jacket and skirt that was embroidered with white butterflies and there was a little hair bun on each side of her head. There was a golden chain hairpin with precious stones inserted into each of the hair buns. She was currently raising her head to babble at Wei Luo. The side of her face looked very similar to Wei Luo’s. She had Wei Luo’s large eyes, little nose, red lips, and snow-white skin. It was only that one of them was a beautiful, young married woman and the other was cute, young girl.
There was also another child sitting near Wei Luo’s legs on the beech couch. Zhao Xi was holding a burr puzzle and seriously moving the pieces back and forth. There were also several other burr puzzles with different shapes by his hands: there were ones shaped like plum blossoms, eight-side ones, twenty-four-sided ones, and so on.
This little fellow figure out these puzzles very smoothly. It only took him twenty-four moves to dissemble and put back together the burr puzzle that he was playing with. After he finished assembling it, he raised his elegant and exquisite little face and blinked his large, bright and limpid, black eyes. When he smiled, his dimples would be revealed. He brought the burr puzzle in front of Wei Luo to take credit for his achievement, “Mother, I finished. Aren’t I amazing?”
When Zhao Xi had been born, he had resembled Wei Luo. But, as his face matured, he looked quite similar to Zhao Jie.
As Wei Luo looked at the burr puzzle in his hand, she lightly lowered her long eyelashes. Although she was twenty-year-old now, her exquisite and soft skin was still the same as fourteen-year-old girls’. It was as soft and delicate as green onions. She stroked Zhao Xi’s face and praised, “Amazing.”
Zhao Xi’s eyes brightened. His little face gradually revealed a bit of pride. He expectantly asked, “More amazing than imperial father?”
In the eyes of three and a half year old Zhao Xi, imperial father was the most amazing person in the world. Countless court officials and ordinary citizens would obey his words just from him moving his lips. His words were all-powerful and no one dared to voice dissenting opinions. Zhao Xi thought that his imperial father could even call forth the wind and summon the rain without any problems.
Wei Luo chuckled. She coaxed him, “Xi-er’s amazingness is different from your imperial father’s. Xi-er is very amazing. Your imperial father is also very amazing. But, Xi-er is young right now. Wait until you grow up, then compare yourself to your imperial father to see who’s more amazing.
Zhao Xi immediately dropped the burr puzzle and climbed onto Wei Luo’s lap. One hand held his younger sister’s soft and chubby little hand and the other hand held his mother’s hand. He said, “When I grow up and become more amazing than imperial father, can I hold younger sister?”
He was too young and didn’t have sufficient strength to hold Ran Ran properly. Wei Luo was worried that he would accidentally drop her, so she rarely let him hold Ran Ran. But, he constantly thought about it. He whole-heartedly wanted to hold his rosy-cheeked young sister that resembled a rice ball.
Wei Luo said, “Of course.”
Zhao Xi was overjoyed.
T/N: I figured out a temporary solution (using an external monitor) until I can get a new laptop. I ordered an external monitor yesterday and it should arrive by 9 PM EST today. For any comments related to typos or link errors, I'll fix them once the external monitor comes. Sorry, I'm using the computer at the library and only have limited time.