Four Great Experts of the Phoenix Clan
Lan Xun’s expression morphed again. “Ru Yi, couldn’t you just calm down and think over it carefully? I waited for you for two years, in hopes that you would calm down. However, you are still stubborn as ever. Do you think feeling that way is good for you? Why can’t you reason through it? The Ru Yi I grew up with wasn’t like this. I don’t dare say that I am a true gentleman but I, Lan Xun, have never told a lie to Lord Duke. In front of you, I swear that everything I said was the complete truth. Otherwise may I be smote by heaven and earth.”
Ru Yi stared blankly, then her eyes filled with anger, no intention of being calm. “What are you saying today. No matter how you put it, there is no longer a relationship between you and me. Did you as Lord Duke for my hand today because you wanted to humiliate me?”
Lan Xun sighed. “Ru Yi, why do you think that way? You hold an important place in my heart. You are my lover! For two years, you have been carrying out a mission in the foreign border, and there hasn’t been a day that I haven’t missed you. I asked Lord Duke for your hand because I love you! What do I have to do for you to believe in me?”
Ru Yi’s heart quivered. The anger in her face gradually abated as she saw the sincerity painted clearly across Lan Xun’s handsome face. She looked at him dully. How could she believe, when it was just a misunderstanding?
Lan Yu finally spoke. “Enough. You two don’t need to say anything else; I understand the situation. No matter, the one that used provoking and hurtful words was Lan Xun. Lan Xun, you have been with me for many years, so you know my temper. Ru Yi, you have suffered. Don’t worry; I will definitely give you a chance to vent. From now on, you and Ru Meng will be considered as my foster daughters. Since Lan Xun has hurt my daughter, then he must pay the appropriate price. Lan Xun, you do not need to explain anything. My daughter has gone to the borderlands for over two years and suffered who knows how much because of you. Now there are no more feelings between you and her. However, the pain you have given her can’t ever be erased. That’s why you must kill yourself.”
“What?” Three people cried out in shock in sync. One was Ru Yi, the other two were Yu Ru Yan and Nian Bing.
Yu Ru Yan said nervously, “Big Brother Yu, you can’t blame everything on Lan Xun. He has been with you for many years; don’t you know his personality? How could you so hastily decide his punishment? Big brother Yu…”
Nian Bing had already walked over to Lan Xun. It was him who exhorted Lan Xun to propose marriage to Duke Lan Yu. Now that this situation had arisen, how could he not be nervous. “Yes! Lord Duke, Lan Xun did make a mistake, but it’s not one deserving of death. How can you so abruptly decide a person’s fate?” This rash decision had made his impression of the duke fall, so much so that all his good impression of the duke’s household had vanished.
A layer of frost covered Duke Lan Yu’s face. He said calmly, “Ru Yan, I heed your advice on other matters, but I can’t this time. Do you think Lan Xun did nothing wrong? Indeed, it was a misunderstanding, but as a man, he knew his own misunderstanding but did not explain to Ru Yi. What is this an indicator of? Obviously, he was just playing with Ru Yi’s heart, and , he even put his own dignity before Ru Yi’s. If he had explained to her earlier, was more patient with her, would Ru Yi have suffered for these two years? Ru Yi has experienced much in her life. Now receiving such a blow, you would have me be merciful? Nian Bing, previously we blamed you mistakenly, but this is an internal affair so please do not interfere. Lan Xun, do as you will.”
Duke Lan Yu’s tone was extremely decisive, but Nian Bing felt that something was strange. There was a hint of a smile in his eyes. Was he just being delusional? No, it was no illusion. He really was smiling. His mind was sent into a whirl and in the next instant, Nian Bing understood the reason behind everything. He gave Duke Lan Yu a look, then sighed and took a step back. He did not try to stop him.
Lan Xun raised his head and looked straight at Lan Yu, then at Ru Yi. His face was unnaturally calm. With utmost respect he began, “Duke Lan Yu, you have raised me since I was young. My life is yours. If you order me to do something, I will not rebel. I, I only have one last request in the face of death. I hope you can grant it.” He was crouched on the ground, his courage while looking at death made Nian Bing swell with admiration.
Lan Yu said cooly. “Say it. Seeing as you have been with me for so many years, I will do my utmost to help you achieve it.”
Lan Xun did not have any fear because of his impending death. When he heard Duke Lan Yu promise him, his whole face immediately lit up. “Lord Duke, I really, truly love Ru Yi. You spoke the truth. It was I who did not let go of my face long enough to coax Ru Yi, and so that she spent over two years suffering, casting unforgettable shadows on her heart. Everything is my fault, so I should be punished. My final request is to ask you to take care of Ru Yi. Find Ru Yi a good husband that can take care of her, cherish her. So that even if I am no longer to be on this earth, I can die content. Lord Duke, Madam, you must take care of yourselves. Lan Xun will go now. Even if I am to go to hell, I will definitely pray for Lord Duke and Madam’s safety.”
A cold light flashed and his longsword was drawn from his sheath. He moved without any hesitation. With his two hands gripped on the handle, he was almost about to use all of his strength to slice his neck. The sunlight shone and the sword flashed brilliantly. Although he wasn’t using qi, anyone could see that he would die.
Yu Ru Yan shut her eyes, tears streaming down her face. Normally, Lan Yu would always listen to her, but if he was serious, she could not go against him. She had also watched Lan Xun grow up. At the moment he was to lose his life, she truly could not take it. She stealthily lifted up her right arm and was about to use qi to save him. For her, there was no difference in having her eyes closed or open. However, when she raised her hand, Duke Lan Yu speedily gripped her arm. She struggled against him but could not throw him off. She then knew that there was not enough time. Her heart pulsed violently, and she thought, It’s over.
“No,” came a scream. Yu Ru Yan opened her eyes only to see Ru Yi grabbing Lan Xun’s hands, her eyes filled with sadness. “No! You can’t die.”
Lan Xun said sadly, “Ru Yi, do you have to be like this? You know that for us, Lord Duke’s every sentence is a command. You can’t stop me. Promise that you will live well from now on.”
Ru Yi disregarded him. While forcefully gripping his arm, she turned to Duke Lan Yu. “Lord Duke, oh, no, Adoptive Father, I beg you: please let Lan Xun go.”
Lan Yu snorted coldly. “Ru Yi, he hurt you so deeply. How can I let him go? You are my daughter; no one is allowed to bully you. Move out of the way. I will definitely find you a good husband.”
Ru Yi vigorously shook her head, her tears flying off her face because of her movements. “No, no, Adoptive Father, I don’t want anyone else. I only want Lan Xun. Please, I beg you, forgive him. He is the only one I will love my entire life.”
The smile reappeared in Lan Yu’s eyes. Only Ru Yi, in her excitement, and Lan Xun, who was depressed because of his impending suicide, didn’t notice it. “Ru Yi, haven’t you fallen out of love with him? You just said that you wouldn’t marry him. You know, military orders are like a mountain. I have already issued an order; it cannot be so easily taken back.”
Ru Yi knelt in front of Lan Yu and sobbed, “Adoptive Father, I was speaking out of anger. I have always loved Lan Xun and now I see, that it’s all my fault. I was too extreme. If It weren’t for my jealousy, my incessant nagging wouldn’t have forced Lan Xun’s hand. He wouldn’t say such things, really. Lan Xun didn’t do anything wrong; it was all me. Adoptive Father, if you want to punish someone, punish me. Please, I beg you, don’t kill Lan Xun. He is a good person. HIs loyalty for me, even if it didn’t bear success, deserves credit. Please.”
Lan Yu sighed and said, “But I already gave the order. It cannot be so easily changed. In that case, if you marry him, he will become my son-in-law, so I will spare his life. Otherwise, there is no reason for him to continue living. Ru Yi, do you want to marry Lan Xun?”
“Yes, oh yes, I want to. Adoptive Father, I want to marry him; don’t kill him.” Ru Yi spoke almost without thinking. Lan Xun’s grip on the sword relaxed and clattered to the ground with a clang. Yu Ru Yan looked at her husband with astonishment, but saw him laugh heartily. “Yes, it is better to be friendly. You children have worried me. Now it is good. Lan Xun, I am betrothing you to my precious daughter, Ru Yi. From now on you must take care of her, love and protect her. If you dare bully her again, hmph, don’t blame me for not being polite.”
Although Lan Xun was willing to die for the Duke, even the mole crickets and ants live out their existences. And he was a human! Obviously it would be best if he didn’t have to die. Now, he and Ru Yi were like a broken mirror made whole1 Everything was wonderful now. He could scarcely believe that great sorrow had turned into great happiness. However, his mind was still sharp. He grabbed Ru Yi’s hands and prostrated himself to Lan Yu.
“Ouch!” The imposing, threatening Lord Duke suddenly shrieked, scaring Ru Yi and Lan Xun who lept up from the ground. However, all they saw Yu Ru Yan gripping Lan Yu’s ears.
“Well, Lan Yu, you were just putting on a show just now, weren’t you? Even fooled me. Say, what are you going to do about giving me so much grief?”
“Let go, Ru Yian, let go. I know I was wrong, but hear me out! If there hadn’t been some truth to my performance, how could I have gotten Ru Yi to show her true feelings? Did you think that I would kill Lan Xun? Both of them were wrong, but Lan Xun was the man after all. Giving him a bit of grief in exchange for a flower and jade like wife is letting him off easy.”
Lan Xun and Ru Yi exchanged glances. Simultaneously, they blushed bright red and knelt back on the ground. “Thank you for everything, Lord Duke,” they chorused.
Yu Ru Yan shook off Lan Yu and said, “You’re still calling him Lord Duke? From now on you must call us Adoptive Father and Adoptive Mother. You children can run off now. I really am too excited. Stand up now.”
Nian Bing suddenly felt a bit of jealousy from where he stood by Lan Xun. If he and Feng Nu could get some help from their seniors to get married, wouldn’t that be great!? Duke Lan Yu was no doubt the number one person in the Profound Orchid Empire. His ability to manipulate his subordinates was second to none. If he had not seen that hint, perhaps even he would have been fooled. Superior acting skills!
Ru Yi and Lan Xun stood, and she shook of his hand. At the moment, her heart had been unlocked. The frosty gaze had turned into a warm spring well. She turned to Nian Bing and said, “Mister Nian, I am sorry. Last time I was too impulsive. I didn’t try to investigate the situation, and I tried to kill you. Please forgive me. The truth is that I could see that you weren’t that type of person. I just didn’t want to admit defeat. I apologize.”
Nian BIng smiled. “Although it’s hard to bear the feelings of being wrongly accused, it is all in the past now. Congratulations, Miss Ru Yi, on your union with Brother Lan Xun. I do not have anything of value on me, but I am making a meal for Auntie Yu today. You are welcome to try it; it will be my gift to the happy couple.”
For the ordinary person, a meal as a gift would seem too cheap. But no one cared about that, and just took it as a sign of Nian Bing’s goodwill. But how were they to know that Nian Bing’s meal would be worth over a thousand gold coins not long in the future? The skills of the Magic Chef of Ice and Fire was not something just anyone could sample.
Yu Ru Yan walked over to Nian Bing and apologized. “Nian Bing, I blamed you wrongly. It was Auntie’s mistake; can you forgive her?”
Nian Bing shook his head and smiled. “Auntie, you did not do anything wrong. We have only met twice after all. If it were me, I would also believe my own subordinate. Auntie, do you still want me to have the Heavenly Flower Tile?” In front of the devastatingly beautiful auntie, Nian Bing could not blame her. At the moment, he was only thinking: A mother cannot be faulted for blaming her child.
“Of course.” Yu Ru Yi took out the Heavenly Flower Tile from her robes and put it back around Nian Bing’s neck. It was warm from her body heat and when it pressed against his chest, Nian Bing felt extremely comfortable outwardly and inwardly.
“Auntie, I will now make a meal for you. It’s also about lunchtime, so please sit at that table. I will go ask as fast as possible.” He went over to the stove.
Yu Ru Yan and Lan Yu smiled at each other. They were also very curious about the meal that Nian Bing insisted on making for them. The two led Lan Xun and Ru Yi and Ru Meng over to the table next to the stove. Ru Yi had brought out ten chairs before, so there were still empty spaces.
- Husband and wife reunited after fighting. ↩