Chu Yu’s personality was decisive and firm, so her slightly affected emotions calmed down in only a moment. Trying hard to not think about what Rong Zhi just said, she replied, “It’s just that I see his rare talents, and can not bear to see a pearl to be covered in dust.”
If her guesses were correct, this Jiang Yan should be the Jiang Yan in history that wrote “the most deeply depressing thing, is no other than parting”. Even though the earth would still rotate without him, it would still be such a pity.
Rong Zhi smiled gently. Although his expression was a little indifferent, he didn’t say anything to refute.
Under Chu Yu’s guidance and Rong Zhi’s cooperation, arrangements for the six male concubines leaving the Princess’ Palace were made very soon. According to their personal circumstances, they were given different futures. Among them, Jiang Yan, who was a partial leader of the revolt, was put some distance from the other five; he was alienated.
Due to Chu Yu’s hand being injured, Rong Zhi helped write the recommendation letters and stamped them.
She didn’t know if it was her misconception or not, but Chu Yu felt that Rong Zhi’s gaze kept intentionally or unintentionally sweep over her right hand wrapped in white gauze.
Chu Yu once again held a gathering in the apricot woods; with only a two-day interval between, many thought that after a few days of quieting down, the princess had returned to her drunk and dreamy manner.
But Jiang Yan had an ominous feeling rising in his heart.
Due to Rong Zhi’s warning last time, Huan Yuan also came. He hadn’t seen the princess for many days, so he didn’t know what changed about the princess; he could only come see with his own eyes. Seeing is believing.
At this banquet, neither Liu Se nor Mo Xiang got the opportunity to sit beside Chu Yu. The two could only look at Chu Yu, who was at the head of the banquet, but dared not to come up. For beside Chu Yu, sat Rong Zhi.
Chu Yu’s right hand couldn’t function properly, so the tiresome little things such as pouring wine were done by Rong Zhi. With Rong Zhi sitting by her, compared to Liu Se and Mo Xiang, another benefit was that he wouldn’t look for every chance to press closely to her or ogle, trying to seduce her. He would only understand her intention and give a helping hand at proper times. This made Chu Yu save many of her worries.
After a few drinks, Chu Yu hinted with some glances for Rong Zhi to start. Smiling faintly, he pulled out six letters sealed with wax: “Jiang Yan, you come up.”
Jiang Yan’s heart sank. Before he came here, his instinct already told him that things weren’t good. Seeing Rong Zhi sitting beside Chu Yu, he couldn’t help thinking that maybe Rong Zhi felt unresigned to be threatened by Huan Yuan, so he preemptively told the princess about their conspiracy?
His steps feeling as heavy as lead, Jiang Yan walked slowly towards Chu Yu. He was just a scholar, so it was only wishful thinking to forcefully escape from here, not to mention becoming a wanted criminal after escaping.
No matter what was going to happen, all he could do was to calmly accept it, and calmly receive it.
Although it was only a distance of thirty to forty feet, Jiang Yan felt like he had walked his whole life. Coming before Chu Yu, he slowly knelt down, already prepared to die. There was no fervency or indignation in his heart, only emptiness; terrifying emptiness.
At this critical time, Jiang Yan suddenly regretted participating in Huan Yuan’s scheme. Sensing this change in his heart, Jiang Yan couldn’t help but feel a little ashamed. But to face death with fervency, wasn’t something so easy to achieve.
All of Jiang Yan’s psychological activity reflected only to dejectedness on his face. Seeing his expression, Chu Yu could already guess some of his thoughts. She carefully observed Jiang Yan’s appearance: his handsome and intellectual countenance, his thick black brows that added a heroic spirit, his narrow and long eyes, and his tightly pursed lips that made him seem a little depressed. Chu Yu looked intently; after all, he was going to be released very soon, and she probably wouldn’t ever get a chance to see this gifted scholar again.
With this rare chance of meeting a historical figure, Chu Yu looked for a little bit too long. Only when Rong Zhi gently tug on her sleeve under the long table, did Chu Yu realize it was time to get to business. She smiled softly, and took an envelope from Rong Zhi’s hand with her left hand. Handing it to Jiang Yan, her expression was gentle: “Jiang Yan, it’s been some time since you came to my place. I’ve decided to let you leave the palace. Here’s a recommendation letter; if you take it and go see the King of Jianping, Liu Jingsu, he will use you bring you up to prominence.”
Once second ago he thought he was cast to hell. But the next second, when he opened his eyes, he saw himself in heaven.
Jiang Yan listened to the sound of every word Chu Yu spoke. He understood every single word, but when put together, its meaning was so incredible and so hard to believe in. He was so shocked that even his palms started trembling.
What he dreamed for for so long, freedom and future; both, were offered in front of him.
At his fingertips.
Accompanying realization was ecstasy; enthusiasm flashed across Jiang Yan’s long and narrow eyes. He extended his hands forward, about to accept the envelope in Chu Yu’s hand; he could leave this cage, he could display his talents to his heart’s content……
Jiang Yan’s mind was blank. He took a deep breath, and was just about to accept that letter solemnly, when a soft coughing sounded from behind him. That sound was deeply familiar to him. He had once discussed poetry and literature with him, he had once plotted and conspired with him…… As if a thunderbolt suddenly struck his heart, Jiang Yan’s face went pale. Looking at the Chu Yu smiling before him, he suddenly understood the purpose of this letter.
He didn’t move. Chu Yu didn’t move either, just holding out the envelope with a smile on her face, maintaining the posture of handing it to him.
She smiled leisurely: are you going to accept it or not?
This was no secret plot, this was an on-the-table upright overt plot. So calmly placed in the light for him to see, but Jiang Yan just couldn’t decline it.
What Chu Yu now held in her hand, was what he had been dreaming for. If only he accepted it, he wouldn’t need to risk anything. He could leave safely, and head safely towards his future…… But the precondition for all this was—-
To betray Huan Yuan.
He knew a little bit about Huan Yuan’s identity. Normally, there was no way for Huan Yuan to leave this cage for the entirety of his life. Because of this, Huan Yuan took the risk and considered revolting. If Jiang Yan left now, it would be giving Huan Yuan a bloody stab at his most unsuspecting area.
Even if no one else knew, Jiang Yan himself understood the knowingness, empathy, and affection between him and Huan Yuan. Although they were putting on a show before the princess the other day, the show was fake, but the affection was real. If not for two years of deep relationship, how could they put on such a realistic show?
Seeing Jiang Yan waver, Chu Yu added the treat: “You have always had talent. The King of Jianping will definitely like you very much. I have already sent people to bring him the poetry you have composed in the past, so if you go, you will be greatly recognized by him.” As she said this, Chu Yu felt amused; she felt as if she was a witch tempting and alluring people with a sweet-smelling but poisonous apple, just that this poisonous apple would only do Jiang Yan benefits and no harm. What was harmed, was another person’s interest.
She wasn’t really worried that Jiang Yan would reject in the end.
One side was a comfortable career and foreseeable freedom, one side was a revolt that could already be counted as a failure; one side was unlimited glory, one side was roughness and ruggedness; one side was life clothed in silk robes, one side was death in a pool of blood.
The gains and losses to one’s interest are forever at the center of conflicts.
Humans instinctively avoid harm and seek profit.
Remembering his father that died at a young age, remembering his mother’s hopes and expectations for him, with a face as pale as a sheet of paper and trembling fingers, Jiang Yan accepted the recommendation letter that felt heavier than the sky from Chu Yu’s hand. The weight crushed on him, that he almost couldn’t breath.
Rong Zhi shook his head ever so slightly, sighing softly.
Chu Yu smiled with satisfaction.