“You want to marry me?” Ling Yue’s voice shook. “Take me as your husband?”
“I promised you.” Shi Sheng kissed his lips. “Don’t be angry. I just wanted it to be a surprise—who knew you’d overhear half of it from somewhere else and then misunderstand me?”
“I… I’m sorry…” Ling Yue’s voice was very soft.
Too many noble lordlings had appeared by her side recently, so he had felt very insecure.
Ling Yue reached towards the spot where he bit her on the shoulder and felt dampness, so he anxiously stood up. “You’re bleeding… Let me help you bandage it.”
‘Just why did I bite so hard?’
Ling Yue clambered off the bed to light a lamp. Now that there was light, Shi Sheng finally saw the state her shoulder was in and how bloody her back had become. ‘Is this fellow a dog?!’
“I’m sorry. Does it hurt?” Ling Yue helped wipe away the blood on her back. “Do you want to return the bite?”
Shi Sheng glared at him. “Luckily you bit me in the shoulder and not my neck, else I’d be dead right now.”
“Forget it. I’ll just treat it as you leaving your mark on me.”
‘I really keep lowering my bottom line for him…
This fellow is going to be spoilt rotten by me one day!’
Ling Yue carefully helped Shi Sheng clean up the blood before applying ointment onto the wound. Only then did he lie back down with her in his arms.
“Do you know why I followed you down the mountain back then?”
Ling Yue’s hoarse voice spoke in the darkness.
“Was it not because I was utterly dashing?”
Ling Yue, “…”
“Before Master left, he told me I couldn’t leave Mt. Wanyuan for three years, or else I would experience a bloody disaster.”
‘Bloody disaster? Most probably has something to do with the FL.’
Shi Sheng began filling in the gaps of this melodramatic overarching plotline.
“Then why did you follow me off the mountain?”
“Don’t know. Instinct, I guess. I felt that you…” Ling Yue didn’t know how to describe it. Being with her felt natural, like how a river would form if enough streams converged.
Most importantly, his Master had left two satchels before his departure. His Master had told him to open the first one only when people came looking for him.
Hence, when Jiang Zhi came, he had opened the first satchel. Inside it were two slips of paper, one of which contained three words: Jun Liyou. Her name.
Ling Yue didn’t know why, but he just blurted that name out when he saw Shi Sheng that first night.
On the other paper, his Master had written that she was capable of resolving the disaster for him.
“Seems like your Master’s got some foresight.” Shi Sheng clicked her tongue. ‘He must’ve, if he could predict that much.’
“En, Master is very capable.”
“Take me to see him when we have the time.”
“Waifu, behave yourself! My shoulder hurts… I don’t wanna move.”
In the outskirts of the capital, Jiang Zhi was taking shelter in a rundown temple with a man. He was heavily injured, lying in her arms.
These past few days, Jiang Zhi had been scurrying from shelter to shelter with him in tow.
But the Prime Minister’s residence was very good at looking for people—Jiang Zhi couldn’t stay in one place for more than a single night.
“Jun Liyou! We can’t exist in the same world!”
‘If other people can lead fulfilling lives after they transmigrate, how come I have to suffer this much?!’
She wasn’t willing to accept this!
‘And the Empress! I’m her daughter, yet she’s helping that Jun Liyou kill me! Even a tiger wouldn’t harm its own cubs! The imperial family are worse than beasts!’
“Qin Hua, how are you?” Jiang Zhi immediately lowered her head to check on him upon hearing his light groan.
“Water…” Qin Hua moved his cracked lips.
“Wait just a moment.” Jiang Zhi set Qin Hua down and picked up a shabby-looking bowl. She ran outside to scoop some water from one of the half-broken water tanks.
She was about to go back in when suddenly, a group of people with a brutal aura charged in from outside the temple. Several had torches raised, and they spotted Jiang Zhi immediately.
Jiang Zhi could tell what kind of clothing they were wearing immediately. After a very brief pause, she took off running back into the temple.
“She was the one who wiped out our camp! Don’t let her run!”
Hearing the sounds of footsteps chasing her from behind, Jiang Zhi’s heart received yet another scare, adding to all the others she’d received the last few days.
‘That idiot Jun Liyou actually didn’t kill off these bandits!’
Jiang Zhi picked up Qin Hua and began running to the back of the abandoned temple. He wasn’t very heavy, but carrying an incapacitated person while running was definitely much slower than running alone.
Fortunately, she’d scouted out the area around the temple beforehand, so she knew there was a forest at the back that she could escape into.
Once Jiang Zhi and Qin Hua had entered the woods, under the cover of night, it became much harder for the bandits to find and capture her.
She didn’t dare to stop. The occasional shout from behind prompted cold sweat to ooze down her back.
‘I have to get away! I must!’ This was the only thought in Jiang Zhi’s mind, repeating endlessly like a mantra. ‘I haven’t gotten my revenge yet! I can’t die like this!’
“Ah!” Jiang Zhi lost her footing and fell. She smashed onto moist earth and ended up with a mouthful of mud for her troubles.
Before she could get up, something else fell on to her. Jiang Zhi could feel her ribs shatter as she fainted from the pain.
News that the Prime Minister was preparing for her big day, planning to take the priest Ling Yue as her first husband, seemed to sprout wings as it spread throughout the capital like wildfire.
Those noble lordlings who’d thought they had a chance felt like they had swallowed a fly upon hearing this news.
‘Taking a priest as her first husband?! Is the Prime Minister mad?!’
The Prime Minister’s faction immediately banded together to pay a visit in an attempt to persuade her out of this. However, they weren’t even able to enter the Prime Minister’s residence.
“Your Ladyships, please return. Her Excellency won’t see you.”
Since Shi Sheng refused to see them, the matter of chasing them away fell to Ying Yue and Dai Yue. The two tried their utmost to convince the ministers outside the residence to return home.
“Miss Ying Yue, just what is Her Excellency thinking? How can she marry a priest as her first husband?! If she truly likes him, she can just make him a secondary one. The title of first husband is simply unacceptable!”
“Exactly! Miss Ying Yue, please let us in to discuss this with Her Excellency personally. How can she take a priest as her first husband? This goes against tradition!”
“Yes, yes, this is simply unacceptable…”
“Miss Ying Yue, please help us inform her…”
Ying Yue felt a bit of a headache coming on from being surrounded by such a large group of ladies. “It’s not like you are unaware of Her Excellency’s temperament. Since she’s said she won’t see you, then no matter how many times we inform her, it won’t make a difference.”
After a slight pause, Ying Yue continued, “Her Excellency has set her mind on marrying Sir Ling Yue as her first husband. Even if Your Ladyships try to convince her otherwise, it’ll be no use. You might as well use the time to pick some good gifts to make Sir Ling Yue happy. Everything will be much easier with him on your side.”
The various ladies exchanged glances.
“Does Her Excellency truly dote on Master Ling Yue this much?”
Ying Yue nodded solemnly. “Allow me to give Your Ladyships some advice: never, ever be disrespectful to Sir Ling Yue. The consequences are very serious.”
Of course, these ladies had overheard the marketplace rumours too. But rumours tended to lack truth and were full of embellishments, so these ladies hadn’t believed them all that much.
From Ying Yue’s tone, it appeared that the rumours were in fact true—the Prime Minister really did pamper the priest Ling Yue.
‘Our Prime Minister doesn’t want to rebel? Fine. But now she’s actually infatuated with beauty…’
Prime Minister Faction: Prime Minister, are you rebelling or not?!
Shi Sheng: Why would I want to rebel when there’s a beauty right here?
Ling Yue: ……
Prime Minister Faction: Fatuous leader!!!