Chapter 135 Burnt Ends: Heartfelt Thoughts
After listening to Feng Luodi, Fu Bo sighed. "Master is only a Supervising Censor of the court now. He is no longer the Grand Tutor of the Heir."
Feng Luodi opened her eyes wide. "Why is that so?" She knew that that position meant more to Jiang Moyin than just a status. It represented his aspirations.
"I don't dare to speak too much about it," Fu Bo felt upset too, "Master will tell you more if he is willing to speak of the issue."
Feng Luodi didn't pressure Fu Bo any further and rushed to Jiang Moyin’s courtyard.
Under a pavilion surrounded by the lush greeneries, a man in white was playing the zither. The music followed his movement, echoing a sad and sorrowful melody as he placed his hands on the zither. He is the outstanding and elegant Second Master of Chang' an. He should be playing high-spirit and graceful music. Yet, these are the songs that he is playing now.
Feng Luodi remembered that he could only live for 5 more years. She held back her tears and gently called out to him. "Brother."
Jiang Moyin stopped playing and look towards her happily. "Luodi, you actually came."
Feng Luodi slowly walked towards him and sat down. She looked at Jiang Moyin and spoke softly. "You have grown thinner."
"But I can finally get out of bed." Jiang Moyin smiled warmly and said indifferently, "you are still as lively as ever. I am happy for you."
"Do not change the topic," Feng Luodi's gaze fell onto Jiang Moyin's hands, abnormally pale and thin. She felt a lump in her throat as she continued, "Didn't you say that you always lived in Chang'an and never went out to see the world? You have a chance now. Why not bring your doctor and servants with you and explore the Xuan kingdom? It will definitely be a journey worth travelling."
Jiang Moyin lost his smile for a short while before saying helplessly, "It is my mistake. You would have known what had happened if you saw the plaque. You are smart enough." He sighed before continuing, "I will never have a chance to explore the world. I am destined to die in Chang'an."
"Nothing is predestined. You never believed in destiny before." Feng Luodi replied firmly.
Jiang Moyin surrendered. "You always have a way with words. I can't win against you in an argument."
Feng Luodi couldn't help but laugh. Yet, her heart was filled with sorrow. Time is really a scary thing. The once famous Four Gentlemen of Chang'an… One of them is in a coma. One is sick and stripped of his status, while the other two have some conflict due to relationship problems. Time really has the power to change things.
Jiang Moyin opened his heart to Feng Luodi and spoke painfully, "When I'd stood by the Heir in the past, I'd thought about the prosperous future of the Xuan kingdom. I'd thought about how the Heir will rule his country and how I will be helping him by his side. However, he has changed, and I have changed as well."
His words were few, but Feng Luodi knew that Jiang Moyin was hurting a lot inside. Just a year ago, he was telling her about his vision for the Xuan kingdom and how the Heir will become a good Emperor. Now, everything had changed.
He must be utterly disappointed in the Heir and didn't want to continue his position anymore. Feng Luodi guessed the reason for his resignation. However, she would never ask her brother directly. She forced a smile and pretended to be relaxed. "What are your plans for the future? Please do not say that you will die in Chang'an anymore."
Jiang Moyin closed his eyes and sighed. "More people actually came to visit me after my resignation. The people whom I always argued with in court last time came and presented me with gifts. Fu Bo must be having a headache from all these visits."
Feng Luodi blinked in confusion. Seeing the hint of ridicule on Jiang Moyin's face, she was enlightened.
"The other Princes are looking to gather you under their wings."
"As expected of Luodi," Jiang Moyin smiled, "you are right."
"I do not understand politics, but I know how enticing the throne is. Humans want power. To achieve it, they will do anything in their power. Chang'an is where the fight is the worse and most bloody." Feng Luodi's words seemed unintentional, yet they enlightened Jiang Moyin on the actions of the Heir.
Jiang Moyin closed his eyes again and smiled wryly. "Not many people can understand this logic. No one is able to let go of the power in their hands."
No, there is one person. Situ is able to. Feng Luodi almost spoke out her thoughts.
Situ was the most heroic man she had ever seen. It was his nature to lead in wars and fight in battlefields. People wanted him to be their hero. It was his calling. He was unique. He knew what to hold onto and when to let go. Tears welled up in the eyes of Feng Lodi as the thoughts raced through her head. And that man is lying on his bed right now, on the brink of death.
"Are you unwell?" Jiang Moyin panicked. He immediately stood up only to fall back down again, coughing heavily. Feng Luodi got scared and hurriedly supported Jiang Moyin.
"Let me send you back to your room. Don't worry about me. I am fine." Feng Luodi helped Jiang Moyin to his feet and brought him to his room. She could feel how weak Jiang Moyin was as he rested his body on her. Her heart was in pain. She watched as Jiang Moyin fell asleep due to exhaustion and sighed. Then, she left the residence. How could she mention Situ under those circumstances?
After returning to the Feng residence, Feng Luodi became gloomy. She couldn't eat and rest well as her heart continues to ache for her loved ones.
In the next few days, Qi Jianqiu kept bringing her bad news. Situ was still in a coma and his condition was deteriorating. The Eighth Prince didn't find the culprit and was recommending people to replace Situ's position along with the Heir. The court was in a mess.
Feng Luodi could not sit still anymore. She didn't believe that Situ would die in the hands of despicable assassins. After preparing for a short while, Feng Luodi went to the Duke residence. However, she hesitated when she reached the residence. She thought that she would never come to this place again.
The head steward had just sent off a guest and immediately saw Feng Luodi lingering outside. He held back his emotions and went to call her. "Miss Feng, are you here to visit the Duke?" The head steward stared at Feng Luodi's expression and shook his head helplessly.
Before she could stop herself, the words spilt out of her mouth. "Am I allowed to enter the residence and pay him a visit?"
"Of course. If the Duke is awake, he will definitely be very happy to have you visit him." the head steward replied.
"Is he not awake yet?" Feng Luodi's heart sank. She could tell that Situ was in a dire condition from the head steward's expression.
The head steward shook his head. "At first, they said that he hurt his heart and lungs. Then, they said that the arrow has poison on it and the poison has already entered his system. We can only rely on the Duke's willpower now."
Feng Luodi felt her heart clench from every word the head steward spoke. The head steward sent Feng Luodi to Situ's room and left. Feng Luodi stood outside the door for a while before pushing it open.
The Covert Watch who were hiding in the shadows looked at each other. Miss Feng actually came to visit their General?
Feng Luodi lifted the valance and went to the bed, staring at Situ in silence. He was lying on the bed, similar to when she last saw him. His face looked waned and his hair was messy, his eyes tightly shut. Everything looked the same, but he wasn't awake.
It was her first time looking at such a peaceful Situ. Feng Luodi suddenly stared at the ceiling and let her tears flow down.
Regret washed over her heart.
Feng Luodi sat by the side of the bed and placed her hand on Situ's face. She gently touched his forehead, his nose, his lips and lastly, his beard.
"Everything is warm, but why are you not awake yet?" Feng Luodi could finally speak her heartfelt thoughts without any inhibition.
"You cannot die now. I have yet to tell you my feelings." Feng Luodi lifted her face again. "I always thought that I will never regret, but I am regretting now. I always thought that if I reject a guy like you, I will face the wrath of heaven."
"Isn't it weird? If you are standing in front of me all safe and sound, I will definitely be angry and ignore you. But now that you are in a coma, I suddenly feel that if I go back to my homeland, I won't be able to forget you."
Feng Luodi wiped her tears with her sleeve, "I thought it was raining."
"You are the General-in-chief of the North, the one who commands a huge army of a million soldiers. You are the youngest Duke who has skilful Covert Watch protecting you. You have a group of loyal subordinates standing by you. How can you be by a simple assassin? How can you be hurt so badly? You are so useless."
Feng Luodi continued, "I remembered when we were in the North, you went alone to the maze and retrieved Remembrance for me, single-handedly. General Fei told me then that you were the most powerful among all of them. How can someone like you be hurt? Useless."
"If you wake up now, I will take back my words. You are still the powerful Situ Muye that I know."
"I don't know why am I saying all these, but I know that if I don't say it, I will regret it even more. I know that I should be heartless and not find you, but my legs won't listen to me. Speaking of legs, do you still remember the things you did before the Autumnal Hunt? I kept wondering why I hadn't kicked you then, but I realised I must have been frightened by you. However, those actions are not suitable in this era."
Feng Luodi continued to speak to Situ about the moments they had together. She couldn't believe how much she had said but yet, she continued. She needed to console herself. Just as Feng Luodi retracted her hand to tidy his blanket, she heard an anxious voice from outside the door.
"Eighth Price, the Duke is still in a coma. If there is anything you want to ask, the Assistant Generals are in the antechamber." It was the voice of the head steward.
"I just want to check on the Duke. I will proceed to the antechamber once I have finished."The voice was strange and unfamiliar.
Feng Luodi hurriedly stood up and hid behind the screen.